Since 2005, researchers at Education Next have graded state proficiency standards on an A–F scale. To generate these letter grades, we compare the percentage of students identified as proficient in reading and math on state assessments to the percentage of students so labeled on the more-rigorous National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). The higher the percentage of students found proficient on the exam of a particular state, compared to the percentage so identified by NAEP, the lower the state’s proficiency standard is judged to be. When a state’s own proficiency standards are closely aligned to—or slightly more rigorous than—NAEP’s, we give that state an A. In 2017, 16 states and the District of Columbia received a grade of A or A- for their proficiency standards.
You can learn more about our methodology for grading the states, view the rigor of your state’s proficiency standards using our interactive graphic, or read the full article by Daniel Hamlin and Paul E. Peterson.