What Colorado Students Don't Know Can Hurt Them

TALLAHASSEE, Fla., Sept. 18, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Colorado has the opportunity to ensure every child has the ability to compete in a 21st century economy that increasingly demands more skilled and better educated workers.

Right now, Colorado's leaders have the opportunity to save its students from a future of remediation and an irreversible skills gap. Soon, new state proficiency expectations will be announced and implemented.

"To be perfectly clear, Colorado must set higher passing scores on its new state assessments if they are to have any meaning. Scores must reflect in-depth knowledge of the subjects tested. If passing a test is not indicative of mastering the material, then it's a hollow accomplishment at best. Requiring more of students will always be harder than requiring less. But this is a challenge Colorado leaders must embrace to ensure every child has the opportunity to succeed in college or the workplace after high school graduation," said Patricia Levesque, CEO of the Foundation for Excellence in Education.

The state's lower proficiency expectations can be quantified by comparing results on state tests with results from the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). Also known as the Nation's Report Card, NAEP is considered the gold standard in measuring and tracking academic achievement.

Looking at results from 2013, Colorado's state-administered tests indicated that 68 percent of fourth-grade students were proficient readers. However, NAEP results from that year found only 41 percent of fourth graders had achieved reading proficiency.

The numbers for eighth grade math are the nearly same, with state tests indicating 67 percent of students were proficient in reading compared to NAEP results of only 40 percent.

Simply put, a low Colorado proficiency expectation conveys a false sense of student achievement to parents, teachers and educators. And it comes with consequences:

More than 16,800 Colorado freshmen entering two-year colleges require remediation and nearly 21,300 entering four-year colleges require remediation. (Source: Complete College America, Remediation: Higher Education's Bridge to Nowhere, 2012)

Colorado students seeking a four-year bachelor's degree lose up to $68,000 each additional year they don't graduate on time. ($23,000 in cost of attendance and $45,000 in lost wages.) (Source: Complete College America, Four Year Myth, 2014.)

Nearly 18 percent of the Colorado high school graduates that take the United States Army's Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) are found ineligible. (Source: The Education Trust, Shut of the Military, December 2010)

In 2014, Colorado's unemployment rate was 5.0 percent. (Source: U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Regional and State Unemployment (Annual) News Release)

Visit WhyProficiencyMatters.com/Colorado for more facts, graphics and sharable content. Join the conversation online with the hashtag #ProficiencyMatters.

A photo accompanying this release is available at: http://www.globenewswire.com/newsroom/prs/?pkgid=36219

CONTACT: jennifer@excelined.org

Source:Foundation for Excellencein Education