Last week, Illinois's education board lowered the score needed to pass its eighth-grade math test, an exam that almost half the state's students flunked last year. Board member David Fields cautioned that the decision to ease the cut score, coming on the heels of last year's relaxing of standards, might be viewed as "gaming the system." Might be? As the Illinois Business Roundtable put it, the state's latest move will result in "nearly 32,000 more students meeting Illinois's math standards on the basis of an administrative stroke of the pen." We'd note the obvious race to the bottom here-and underscore the points made by Ravitch and Finn above-but that phrase is wearing thin due to overuse. Sprint to the pits, anyone?   

"State may ease test norms," by Diane Rado, Chicago Tribune, February 23, 2006

"Board lowers passing score on tough state math test," by Rosalind Rossi, Chicago Sun-Times, February 24, 2006

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