MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Alabama must improve its proficiency standards for students statewide. Slightly more than half of our public school students are proficient in math and reading.
Compared to the National Assessment of Education Programs, the real benchmark, about a quarter of our students statewide are proficient at math and reading.
It is critical that our state compete nationally and right now, we are not. The State Department of Education and Board of Education should set higher levels for proficiency.
Public Affairs Research Council of Alabama data shows the percentage of students performing at Level 4 – exceeding academic proficiency – has increased in every grade but fifth in reading and math in Autauga County the past three years.
In Elmore County, the percentage exceeding academic proficiency has increased in every grade but sixth and seventh in math and fourth in reading the past three years.
In Montgomery County, the percentage exceeding academic proficiency has increased in every grade but sixth grade reading the past three years.
That is a positive and should certainly be applauded, but the reality check is that in all three counties those numbers represent less than half of the students and this is the level that most mirrors national standards.
The only way for more of our students to get better is to expect and demand better. They will get better if we raise the standards bar.