CONTACT:  Michele Clark
Communications Coordinator

Vol. 45, No. 62

Aug. 10, 2011


New Study Confirms Missouri’s Academic Standards Among the Nation’s Highest

A national report released today (Aug. 10) by the National Center for Education Statistics again confirms that Missouri’s academic performance standards in reading and mathematics continue to be among the most rigorous in the nation.  In four areas measured – 4th and 8th grade reading and math – Missouri standards now rate in the top three of all states.

The findings are based on a new study, “Mapping State Proficiency Standards onto the NAEP Scales: 2005-2009.” The analysis looks at academic proficiency standards set by each state and compares them by using the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) as a common yardstick.  The report is a follow-up to three earlier mapping studies released by NCES in 2003, 2005 and 2007.

“It is gratifying to see Missouri continue to be recognized for its high academic standards,” said Commissioner of Education Chris L. Nicastro.  “This report verifies what we have been saying for years:  Missouri has established high expectations for students and schools through our Show-Me Standards and the MAP tests.  Our challenge is to continue to increase the number of our students scoring at proficient on these rigorous measures.”

The new NCES study shows that states vary widely in where they set their student proficiency standards in reading and mathematics in grades 4 and 8.  By “mapping” the state standards onto the common scale used in the NAEP testing program, the study measures the relative difficulty of each state’s expectations.

Based on this study, Missouri’s proficiency standards are:

    • First in rigor in grade 8 reading.
    • Second only to Massachusetts in grade 4 reading and math.
    • Third in the nation in grade 8 mathematics (behind Massachusetts and Washington).