The new test results from the federal NAEP, reveal how arbitrary and low many state proficiency levels are:
Thursday, the day that the U.S. Department of Education released the 2003 NAEP results, Achieve Inc., a nonprofit group that works to lift academic standards, put out a report comparing 2003 state testing results with 2003 NAEP results.
Of 29 states giving tests in eighth-grade reading, all but Louisiana and South Carolina came up with more proficient and advanced readers than did the nation's report card.
And Maryland's discrepancy was small compared to most others. Texas found 90 percent of its eighth-graders reading at the proficient and advanced levels. The national test of the same middle-schoolers found 26 percent at those two levels.