Arizona bucks U.S. No Child test trend

Tucson, Arizona | Published:

By Ben Feller
WASHINGTON Most states are failing to pass muster with the federal government over student testing and may lose money unless they improve quickly.
However, Arizona was among six states receiving full approval with recommendations for improvements.
The Education Department says 34 other states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico have major problems with the tests that were supposed to be in place in the just-ended school year. They will get federal approval only if they correct the problems in the coming year.
In addition, Nebraska's and Maine's testing systems were rejected outright.
They all face the threat of losing from $40,000 to more than $1 million of the money they receive to administer the No Child Left Behind law. In most cases, the total would be less than $100,000; Nebraska and Maine could lose one-quarter of their funding.
The money would go instead to school districts, skipping state governments altogether.
The report card of the states, released Thursday, is intended to get them to finish the job.
President Bush's education law orders states to hold math and reading tests in the third to eighth grades, and once in high school. The deadline was the end of the 2005-06 school year.
Every state did have testing in the required grades. But many states still have significant problems, such as developing exams for disabled or limited-English students, or ensuring that tests are technically sound.
Only 10 states won full approval. Four others are expected to get there soon.
Assistant Education Secretary Ray Simon said states' overall performances were positive.