Federal data shows a third of states lowered achievement standards

Many states lowered their standards on state math or reading tests from 2005 to 2007, according to data compiled by the Department of Education. While a number of states adopted stricter standards during the same time period, "overall, standards were more likely to be lower than higher," a department official said. No Child Left Behind requires states to show by 2014 that 100% of their students are proficient on state math and reading tests or face sanctions. "Clearly what a lot of states are doing is changing the bar so that a lot more students will become proficient," a researcher said.

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