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October 18, 2007 7:00 AM

No Child Left Behind dilemma: What does 'proficient' mean?

Getting all students working at grade level, or “proficient,” in reading and math by 2014 as the No Child Left Behind law mandates is the new Holy Grail of American education. But some education experts say that provisions in the five-year-old law that allow states to set their own proficiency standards for their standardized tests — a critical component of measuring “adequate yearly progress” toward No Child Left Behind's reading and math goals — undermine that quest.

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