CEP’s analysis found that almost half of the states (23 states) have “backloaded” their trajectories for reaching 100% proficiency.
In other words, they have called for smaller achievement gains in the earlier years of the trajectory and much steeper gains in later years, as 2014 grows nearer.
Another 25 states and the District of Columbia have adopted a more incremental approach that assumes steadier progress toward the 100% goal. The two remaining states have blended trajectories that do not fit readily into the backloaded or incremental categories.
The report, Many States Have Taken a “Backloaded” Approach to No Child Left Behind Goal of All Students Scoring “Proficient,” is posted on the CEP web site (http://www.cep-dc.org/) under “What’s New” and can be downloaded free-of-charge.
Kentucky is listed among states using a backloaded approach. CEP says,
There are several reasons why states may have chosen a backloaded approach. Some states may have assumed that they would need a few years to implement new testing programs. Some may have wanted to give school districts more time to ensure that curriculum and instruction were aligned with state tests and that teachers received the necessary professional development.
State officials may have felt that the positive effects of these efforts, as reflected in higher student test scores, would be more likely to appear in the outyears than in
the early years.
In addition, many educators have viewed the 100% proficiency goal as unrealistic, and some may have hoped that the goal would be reconsidered at a later point. A 2003 report from the National Education Association speculated that states were backloading large increases after the law’s scheduled reauthorization, in the hope that the 100% proficiency goal would be relaxed (NEA, 2003).