100% Proficient

Posted by tricialauter on July 30, 2011

Recently, several states have raised the bar for students to demonstrate proficiency on state assessments. Michigan has requested a waiver from a law that requires “100% of students be proficient on state exams by 2014″(Higgins, 2011). With this waiver, Michigan’s education departments has increased the standard for students to pass-essentially raising the ‘cut score,’ or  “how well a student needs to perform to pass the standardized tests,” (Higgins, 2011). This new cutoff is thought to be a better indicator of how well a student is prepared to enter college or the workforce, better representing the skills that are needed-the skills that are beyond the “basics.” With this new plan, it is predicted that Michigan will see a drop in proficient students due to the more demanding standards, just as Texas has seen recently.


This change comes in the wake of the Atlanta public schools cheating scandal, as Texas state officials say that they do not want to be accused of inflating the numbers.  The new assessments are “being crafted to ensure that schools are preparing students for college or the workforce,” (Alexendar, 2011). States are feeling the pressure to meet the No Child Left Behind standards, less states, districts, and schools are “punished.” This in turn perpetuates the system of strict accountability driven by standardized tests. While these new assessments put together by Texas and Michigan education departments claim to be more rigorous, to “raise the bar,” and to better prepare students for their future, it leaves me wondering what actual skills are being assessed. Are the skills on a multiple choice test reflective of what a student will encounter after he or she graduates? Do the assessments take into consideration multiliteracies? If students become proficient on these assessments, will they be successful and happy in their lives?

As laid out in previous posts, skills of a multiliterate student go beyond what is acheived through the completion of a standardized exam. It is hard to believe that Michigan and Texas have found the answer to failing test scores.


Alexander, K. (2011). Tally of exemplary schools falls with elimination of controversial measure. The Statesman. Retrieved from

Higgins, L. (2011). Michigan’s education department seeks waiver on federal standardized test goals. Detroit Free Press. Retrieved from|topnews|text|FRONTPAGE.


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