This year, California schools were required to make what experts call a gigantic leap, increasing the students proficient in every group by 11 percentage points, reports The New York Times. For the first time, hundreds of California schools fell short, a failure that results in probation and, unless reversed, federal sanctions within a year.

Across the nation, far more schools failed to meet the federal law's testing targets than in any previous year, according to new state-by-state data. And in California and some other states, the problem traces in part to the fact that officials chose to require only minimal...

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