The Foundation for Excellence in Education just released a new interactive website to all parents, students, legislators, activists, and anyone else interested in learning how proficient their state at educating its citizens. The website is aptly named WhyProficiencyMatters.com.
It defines proficiency as the “difference between [Nations Report Card] and individual states’ proficiency expectations.” This “proficiency gap,” as it’s called, shows how states are able to disguise how students are really performing.
Some of the data discovered show a disturbing picture of education in our K–12 schools:
- 74 percent of ACT-tested high school graduates fail to score “college ready” in English, reading, math, and science.
- 23 percent of 17–20 year olds taking the Armed Forces Qualifications Test do not earn a qualifying score.
- $7 Billion is spent by first-year college students to learn what they should have been taught in high school.
Looking at a few of the larger states, they show the following proficiency rankings for 8th grade reading and math:
- California is ranked 15th in reading and 4th in math.
- Florida is ranked 10th in reading and 17th in math.
- Illinois is ranked 11th in reading and 23rd in math.
- Massachusetts is ranked 17th in reading and 2nd in math.
- Ohio is ranked 42nd in reading and 37th in math.
- New York is ranked 1st in both reading and math.
- Texas is ranked 24th in reading and 15th in math.
The key when looking at these proficiency rankings is understanding the higher the rank is, the more accurate the picture of how well students are actually learning. The inverse is the lower the rank, the less the students have learned and the more inflating the states have done to hide this fact from parents, students, and legislators.