Federal education officials will end a practice that allows some states to classify students with disabilities as academically proficient even if they’re not.

Speaking at the American Association of People with Disabilities gala in Washington Tuesday evening, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan pledged to end the so-called “2 percent rule.”

“I just want to say — here and now for the record — we are moving away from the 2 percent rule,” Duncan said. “We will not issue another policy that allows districts to disguise the educational performance of 2 percent of students.”

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The Education Department allows states and school districts to give some students with disabilities assessments that are based on modified academic standards for purposes of determining a school’s adequate yearly progress under No Child Left Behind Act.

But under the proxy rule, federal regulators let states without modified exams count scores for up to 2 percent of students with disabilities as proficient no matter what the true results are.

Now Duncan says the free ride must end.

“We have to expect the very best from our students — and tell the truth about student performance — so that we can give all students the supports and services they need,” Duncan told attendees at the AAPD gathering.

Despite the new approach, Education Department officials say schools will continue to be able to use modified testing to assess some students with disabilities at least until more flexible tests, which are currently in development, are made available.

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