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Lawmakers look to lower student testing standards

January 15, 2004
By: Aidian Holder
State Capital Bureau

Lawmakers at the state capital have proposed blocking the state from exceeding federal performance standards in the state's main test of elementary and high school students' knowledge. Aidian Holder tells us why lawmakers say lower standards are better for kids.

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A Republican senator has introduced a bill that would bring Missouri's tough standards for student proficincy down to the lower ones set by the federal government.

Educators say that because of Missouri's high standards, students . . . and schools . . . can get unfairly labled as failing because of the state's strict standards.

The answer proposed by lawmakers such as bill sponser Gary Nodler: lower our standards.

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Contents: "The bill explicitly says in no part will the state standard exceed the national standard."

The Republican leadership in both chambers say they plan to fast track the bill, and they expect its easy passage.

Tests will get easier for schoolkids, and assesments will get easier for schools, under a new plan introduced in the state legislature. Aidian (uh-dee-an) Holder reports.

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Missouri's standards for student testing are some of the highest in the country. Maybe that's not a bad thing, but educators say these high standards means kids . . . and their schools . . . can get labeled as failing unfairly.

So Republican senator Gary Nodler has introduced a plan to bring the state's standards down to match the lower ones set by the federal government.

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Contents: Nodler says when the state standards were created, there were no federal standards

Missouri doesn't have to adopt the lower standards, but new federal laws punish schools who have a lot of failing students, which, as one educator put it, creates an incentive for low standards.

From the state capitol, I'm Aidian Holder

Lawmakers in Jefferson City say the state needs to lower its standards for student testing. Aidian Holder tells us why they say Missouri's standards are too high.

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A Republican senator has introduced a plan to lower Missouri's student testing standards to the laxer ones set by the federal government.

Many educators say Missouri's strict student testing standards . . . among the nations highest . . . cause students, and their schools, to be unfairly labled as failing.

Senator Mike Gibbons, a St. Louis County Republican, says many excellent schools in his district get classified as failing by the federal government because of Missouri's high standards.

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Contents: "How can they get called failing on this measure but on other measures they're consistently rated excellent?"

The issue isn't just about student achievment . . . new federal laws punish schools that continually rank as failing, and with lower standards more schools would get a pass.

From the state capitol, I'm Aidian Holder