The Florida State Board of Education is meeting January 8th to set proficiency "cut" scores for students and schools. State Commissioner of Education Stewart has modeled school grades where a school getting only 62% of available points will receive a grade of "A". That is a RIDICULOUS curve. As a former teacher I can tell you that if I did that with a Biology final exam and it required that large of a curve, I'd be unlikely to have my contract renewed.
I had an op-ed published in TCPALM publications regarding this matter: Read it here.
America is setting itself up for failure by enabling poor performance. We need to stop "bluffing" our kids. By setting a low bar we are telling students you're proficient in reading (FOR A KID FROM FLORIDA). We do the same thing when we "adjust for demographics" we say to students: you're proficient (FOR AN AFRICAN-AMERICAN/ HISPANIC KID). This is just plain wrong. There shouldn't be parenthetical conditions for proficiency. Either you are proficient or we have work to do! This is the quiet racism of low expectations.
Facing the cold hard facts is the first step in solving the problem.
Read about the cut score issue here:
How do we solve the problem long-term?
1. Set the proficiency (a "C") cut score to NAEP 50%, then next year increase to 55%, then 60% and 65%. This incremental increase will result in a soft landing but increase expectations over time.
2. Use a nationally recognized test by having the State establish concordance scores for well validated tests such as Iowa Basic or SAT 10 (SAT & ACT in secondary grades) and allow individual districts to decide which of the approved tests they wish to administer.