NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Measuring Educational Progress

September 27, 1999

When the 1999 National Education Summit convenes in Palisades, N.Y., this week, governors, business leaders and educators can point to some substantial gains in classroom accountability since goals were adopted in 1996. But few would argue that there is not still a long way to go.

  • Today, 45 states have adopted standards in English, math, science and history-social studies -- up from 14 in 1996.
  • By 2000, 48 states will test students in key subjects to check progress toward state standards -- up from 39 in 1996.
  • Ten thousand employers -- ranging from many of the country's largest multinationals to thousands of small and midsize companies -- now use student records as part of their hiring process -- up from about 3,000.

Other measures are being implemented to improve accountability, conference organizers report.

  • Public report cards on schools are required in 36 states, and 27 states require students to pass tests before promotion or graduation.
  • Nineteen states are coming up with extra funds to help low-performance students.
  • Sixteen states impose sanctions on low-performance schools, while 14 reward schools that are ahead of the pack.

Source: Tamara Henry, "Taking Measure of U.S. Education," USA Today, September 27, 1999.


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