A recent evaluation of proficiency standards asks how well states are doing at setting "world-class" academic expectations (see here). The answer: not great, unless you live in South Carolina, Massachusetts, Missouri, and maybe Hawaii.
The analysis, appearing in the summer 2008 issue of Education Next, holds state achievement tests up against the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). Also called the nation's report card, the NAEP measures fourth and eighth graders' proficiency in reading and math. Standards are rigorous and comparable to those of international achievement tests. A state's performance on the NAEP is a good indicator of how that state would fare globally.
Ohio's proficiency standards earned a middle-of-the-pack C-, worse than 27 other states and down from a C+ four years ago. This finding shouldn't surprise Gadfly readers. Fordham drew a similar conclusion last year in The Proficiency Illusion (see here). That report also found that Ohio's math achievement tests aren't calibrated across grades, meaning that it's harder to pass the math test in some grades than it is in others.
"World-class" schools seem to be on everyone's agenda (see here and here). Ohio has much work to reach this goal and increasing the rigor of the state's achievement tests would be a good place to start (see here).