Both states submitted plans Monday that would give schools more time to reach easier goals.
The 85-page Massachusetts plan directs schools to cut the number of students failing to achieve proficiency in half by 2017, the Boston Globe reported. The decade-old "No Child Left Behind" law requires all students to be proficient by 2014.
The Tennessee plan says schools must show progress by increasing the number of proficient students by 3 to 5 percent a year, The (Memphis) Commercial Appeal said. The law sets a standard of 20 percent annual increases for Acceptable Yearly Progress.
"Unfortunately, the rising rates of proficiency required to achieve (acceptable levels of progress) make no sense," state Education Commissioner Kevin Huffman said Monday.
Critics say the law, one of the centerpieces of President George W. Bush's domestic agenda, sets impossible goals. Because there is no national test, they also say states can set a low bar for progress while those with tough tests are penalized.
The Obama administration has urged Congress to revise the law and is encouraging states to apply for waivers.