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Educating students to be successful in college or in the workplace continues to be a source of concern for parents and educators at the state level. In spite of the testing requirements laid out in the No Child Left Behind Act of 2002 (NCLB), test scores still vary significantly from state to state and fail to provide a consistently accurate national picture of academic achievement and students ability to compete.
A 2006 hearing conducted by the Commission on No Child Left Behind at Cambridge, Massachussetts listed concerns that are still timely. A major concern expressed during the hearing was the inconsistency of quality and rigor found in different state testing programs. There is also a widely held belief that in some cases these varying standards are an attempt to avoid NCLB sanctions. Tied into the variance in state tests was the concern that it would be extremely difficult to accurately measure and compare the progress made between states. Other participants stated that learning expectations set by some states do not match college and workplace realities. The hearing’s major conclusion was that schools need to encourage students to develop tests that encourage higher expectations and more consistent testing standards among the states. One of the suggestions offered was that national standards should be developed to place all states on a level playing field for scoring and analysis.
America is percieved by many eduators as falling behind in mathematics and the sciences – the fundamental skills needed for this country’s continuing leadership in the development of scientists and engineers in the 21st century. This is the challenge educators face and it begins in grammar and high school.