New Report Shows States Making Progress Toward Closing “Honesty Gap”

Thursday, January 28, 2016Printer-friendly version

Washington, D.C.—January 28, 2016—Achieve today released a new edition of its “Proficient vs. Prepared” report that shows that many states have taken steps to be more transparent about true levels of student proficiency in English Language Arts (ELA)/literacy and mathematics.

The original “Proficient vs. Prepared” report, released last May, showed that many states had wide discrepancies between the proficiencies reported by their state assessments and the proficiencies reported by the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). The last report, which compared 2013-14 state test results to 2013 NAEP scores, found that half of all states had a gap of 30 percentage points or more in either fourth grade reading, eighth grade math, or both.

The new report, which compares 2014-15 state assessment results to 2015 NAEP results, shows that many states have eliminated or significantly narrowed those gaps. Sixteen states have eliminated or nearly eliminated their gap in one or more subject areas, narrowing the difference to within five percentage points of NAEP scores. Nine more have made significant progress in the right direction by narrowing gaps by ten percentage points or more.

“We’re pleased to see so many states being transparent about student performance,” said Sandy Boyd, Chief Operating Officer of Achieve. “Parents and educators deserve accurate information about how well students are performing. The transition to college- and career-ready assessments in many states is an important step and while tests are not the only indicator of readiness, they are an important one. If we want to move the needle on student outcomes, we need to be clear about student performance; only then can we help students improve.”

NAEP, also known as the “nation’s report card,” is the only assessment with comparable results for all 50 states. NAEP is administered to a representative sample of students from all 50 states every two years. The main NAEP assessment for reading and mathematics, which provides results for individual states, can be compared with previous assessment years going back to 1990. State participation was optional until 2003, the year all states were required to participate.

As in the previous edition of this report, fourth grade reading has been highlighted as a gateway grade because learning to read by this grade sets the foundation for reading to learn throughout the rest of a student’s academic career. Likewise, eighth grade math has been highlighted because students need this foundation to be able to continue on through higher level math in high school.

The full report can be accessed here: http://www.achieve.org/publications/proficient-vs-prepared-2016

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MEDIA CONTACT: Chad Colby (202) 419-1570, ccolby@achieve.org

Kelly Van Beveren (202) 745-2306, kvanbeveren@achieve.org