Proficiency

How many of Iowa students are proficient in reading and math?  It all depends on who is defining it.

The Iowa Department of Education essentially defines proficiency as scoring at or above the 41st percentile on the national percentile rank scale of the ITBS/ITED.  See the Proficiency page for more details.  For purposes of the National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP) tests, proficiency is defined by scoring at or above a specified cut score on the reading or math assessment test.  See the NAEP page for more details.  The following information is contained in the Annual Condition of Education Report 2009 available here.

4th Grade Math

The Iowa Department of Education reports that 80.1% of Iowa students are proficient (see Figure 49).  According to NAEP results, only 41% of Iowa students are proficient (see Table 101).

8th Grade Math

The Iowa Department of Education reports that 76% of Iowa students are proficient (see Figure 56).  According to NAEP results, only 34% of Iowa students are proficient (see Table 101).

4th Grade Reading

The Iowa Department of Education reports that 79.2% of Iowa students are proficient (see Figure 28).  According to NAEP results, only 36% of Iowa students are proficient (see Table 101).

8th Grade Reading

The Iowa Department of Education reports that 72.8% of Iowa students are proficient (see Figure 35).  According to NAEP results, only 36% of Iowa students are proficient (see Table 101).

For more on how Iowa’s proficiency standards for reading compare to both NAEP standards and the standards set by other states, see Matthew Ladner’s post at Jay P. Greene’s blog.  NAEP scale equivalent scores for state proficiency standards (for 2007) show Iowa 4th grade reading proficiency standards (199) are nine points lower than the NAEP basic cut off score (208) and thirty-nine points lower than the NAEP proficient cut off score (238).  Twenty-five states have higher standards for 4th grade reading proficiency: Massachusetts (232), Missouri (227), South Carolina (223), Minnesota (215), Maine (214), Vermont (214), Connecticut (213), Arkansas (213), Hawaii (212), Pennsylvania (211), California (210), Rhode Island (210), New Hampshire (210), New Mexico (210), New York (209), Florida (209), Nevada (207), Kentucky (205), Wyoming (204), Montana (203), Washington (203), Delaware (202), New Jersey (201), North Dakota (201), and Illinois (200).

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