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Ohio's Standardized Tests May Just be too Easy

photo of Ohio Department of Education building
The analysis' author says that the findings are mean to evaluate the bar being set for students.

A new Stanford University analysis of state and national test scores shows more Ohio students pass state exams than similar nationwide tests. Researchers say that means the state’s proficiency standards are too low.

The analysis by Stanford’s Hoover Institution looks at NAEP scores, or the National Assessment of Educational Progress. The NAEP test is the only exam that compares academic progress across states. 

According to the analysis, about 20 percent more Ohio fourth and eighth graders are scoring proficient, or receive passing grades, on state standardized tests than on the NAEP national exam. Because of that difference, the report ranks Ohio 45th out of the 50 states and D.C. for the level of difficulty represented by those scoring standards, receiving an overall grade of C-plus.

Paul Peterson is the study’s author.

“This is not information about how well kids are doing in school. This is only a measure of how high the bar has been set for evaluating students,” he said.

Peterson says Ohio has set its proficiency standards too low, and students are receiving passing grades on state exams even though they do not show the same academic skill on the national test.