Kansas has some of the highest education achievement standards in the country, but students are struggling to reach that high bar.
The new report from the National Center For Education Statistics standardized state proficiency assessments for math and reading in 2015. For eighth grade, Kansas had the highest benchmark for proficiency in both reading and math out of the states evaluated.
Kansas adopted tougher education standards in 2015. The higher benchmark meant fewer students labeled as college and career ready. Less than half of students were proficient in reading; for math.
“Change takes time,” said Beth Fultz, an assistant director with the Kansas Department of Education. “We have a lot of people in the state that have been really working on how to help teachers teach to the new academic standard.”
The standards have become central in the battle over school funding.
The state has argued before the Kansas Supreme Court that those standards are too high and shouldn’t be used to determine whether schools are adequately funded. The court has yet to make a ruling.
Stephan Bisaha, based at KMUW in Wichita, is an education reporter for the Kansas News Service.