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Statement from U.S. Secretary of Education Duncan on 'Mapping State Proficiency Standards onto NAEP Scales: 2005-2009'

Press Office, (202) 401-1576,

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan issued the following statement on Mapping State Proficiency Standards onto NAEP Scales: 2005-2009, which the National Center for Education Statistics released today:

"Today's study shows that most states that changed their standards in reading and mathematics between 2007 and 2009 increased their rigor. Despite the progress, there is still much room for improvement in providing American students with a rigorous academic education that prepares them for success in the knowledge economy. As of 2009, far too many states were setting the bar at a level comparable to the below Basic level of achievement on NAEP, and only one—Massachusetts—expected students to achieve at a level equal to NAEP's definition of Proficient.

"I am optimistic that states will continue to increase the rigor of their standards. Over the past two years, 44 states and the District of Columbia have adopted standards that are designed to prepare students for success in college and careers. These standards will raise the bar so students are ready to compete in the global economy.

"Our role in Washington is to support states as they raise standards. In our plan to offer flexibility from No Child Left Behind's one-size-fits-all mandates, we will encourage states to set a high bar and raise their standards. Under the $350 million Race to the Top Assessment Program, states are working to create the next generation of assessments that will track students' academic growth and measure higher-order thinking skills.

"Higher standards and better assessments are essential reform, and I am committed to supporting states as they do the work of raising standards."