“These states, along with the other Chiefs for Change states, are setting an example for the entire nation,” said Chiefs for Change Executive Director Eric Smith. “The comprehensive reforms adopted in each state have resulted in students and teachers meeting more rigorous academic standards, and, as a result, they are making significant progress across the board – especially in core areas like math, science and reading.”
The 2012 Indiana Statewide Testing for Education Progress Plus (ISTEP+) resulted in record-breaking scores, with one-year gains in all subject areas. Since the 2008-2009 school year, Indiana students have achieved gains of at least eight percentage points in each subject tested. Overall, 71 percent of students passed both the English Language Arts and Math portions of the test, representing a one percent gain over the previous school year and an eight percent gain since 2008-2009.
Louisiana’s end-of- year assessment tests for the 2011-2012 school year resulted in statewide gains in academic achievements, with nearly 10,000 more students at grade level this year as compared to the previous year. Specifically, the percentage of students performing at grade level for all grades and subjects grew two percentage points from 66 percent in 2011 to 68 percent in 2012. The two-point gain represents the largest in three years.
Results for the 2012 State Based Assessment (SBA) exam showed marked improvement in many areas. Specifically, seventh grade math scores improved 4.1 percent, fourth grade reading scores improved 3.4 percent and fifth grade reading scores improved 3.1 percent. Overall reading and math scores increased by approximately one percent from the previous year, with roughly 50 percent of the students tested (third through eighth grades and 11th grade) reading at grade level and 43 percent solving math problems at grade level.
Oklahoma’s Achieving Classroom Excellence end-of-instruction tests in critical math subjects showed significant gains, with Algebra II scores up 21 percentage points compared to 2008. Students also showed notable gains in Geometry and English III, with increases of 14 percent and 10 percent, respectively, since 2008. Additionally, writing scores in the Oklahoma Core Curriculum Test increased by five percent over last year, with 90 percent of eighth graders showing proficiency in 2012.
Student performance on the 2012 Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program (TCAP) improved statewide for the second year in a row, resulting in the highest aggregate test-score gains in state history. Students in grades third through eighth reached higher levels of proficiency in 23 of the 24 TCAP assessments, achieving the highest scores in reading, math and science. High school students also showed significant improvement, with more than half of them scoring proficient or advanced in a number of subjects including algebra and biology.
“The time for complacency and the status quo in public education has passed. Leaders, educators and parents throughout the country are reclaiming the futures of their students,” said Patricia Levesque, executive director at the Foundation for Excellence in Education. “All children can learn; and, thanks to bold state leadership and committed teachers, students in these states will be better prepared for success in college and their careers. As more states make transforming education for students a priority, the sky will be the limit of what today’s students – tomorrow’s leaders – can achieve.”
Comprehensive education reforms have been the topic of much discussion at the state level as governors and legislatures across the country continue to pass and sign bold reforms into law. New Jersey lawmakers took a tremendous step this legislative session toward modernizing the teaching profession in their state by unanimously passing a student-centered bill that increases teacher accountability. New laws and regulations in Rhode Island promote virtual learning, expand career-technical education, and provide access to more Advanced Placement (AP) courses. Additionally, the State opened a “Data Hub” that brings together student data from prekindergarten through college to promote continuous improvement of teaching and learning. Maine Governor LePage issued an executive order requiring the Maine Department of Education to pursue a strategic plan for digital learning that includes more course options for students, especially those in smaller and more rural schools, and the renewal of the highly successful Maine Learning Technology Initiative. Additionally, Florida introduced higher assessment standards this year to its Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT), and was ranked second in the nation in test-score gains in a report released this month by Education Next.
Chiefs for Change is a coalition of state school chiefs and leaders that share a zeal for education reform. Together, they provide a strong voice for bold reform on the federal, state and local level. It is committed to putting children first through bold, visionary education reform that will increase student achievement and prepare students for success in colleges and careers. Learn more at www.ChiefsForChange.org.