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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