Illinois Makes Significant Progress Closing the “Honesty Gap”
Following Implementation of New Assessments, Illinois More Accurately Reports Student Readiness
Illinois closed discrepancies between state-reported student proficiency rates and those found by the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), and actually achieved proficiency benchmarks more rigorous than NAEP in eighth-grade math, according to a newly released follow-up analysis by Achieve, an independent education advocacy organization.
Through the implementation of PARCC assessments, Illinois narrowed gaps between state-reported and NAEP proficiency rates by 21 percentage points in fourth-grade reading and 23 percentage points in eighth-grade math. Illinois is also recognized as a Top Truth Teller in 2015 for having a proficiency score within five percentage points of NAEP in both subjects.
A Look Back: Last May, Achieve released an analysis that identified discrepancies in student proficiency rates reported by state tests and those found on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), known as “the Nation’s Report Card.” The analysis – deemed the “Honesty Gap” – found more than half of all states demonstrated a 30 percentage point or more differential between proficiency rates calculated by state tests and NAEP. That meant states were not being straightforward with parents and educators about students’ preparedness for high levels of learning, and ultimately for college and careers—often with serious consequences. Of the Illinois students that require remediation at four-year colleges, only 27.3 percent go on to earn a degree within six years. Similarly, only 14 percent of college students requiring remediation in two-year schools complete a degree within three years.6
Prioritizing Accurate Information and Transparency: For the first time this year, most states administered tests aligned to rigorous academic expectations. As a result, most began reporting proficiency results that more closely reflect the rates identified by NAEP. The Collaborative for Student Success identified Massachusetts, New York, and Utah as “Most Honest” for significantly closing the Honesty Gap and reporting proficiency rates nearly identical to or even more rigorous than NAEP.
Additionally, 26 states are recognized as “Significantly Improved” for closing their Honesty Gaps by at least 10 percentage points in either fourth-grade reading or eighth-grade math. Twenty-four states, including Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, D.C., Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Utah, Vermont, West Virginia and Wisconsin, earned the status of “Top Truth Teller in 2015” for having Honesty Gaps of fewer than 5 percentage points in one or both subjects.
Illinois’ Gains: In 2010, Illinois adopted college- and career-ready standards in English language arts and math. Last spring, Illinois administered PARCC assessments, which measure students against challenging academic expectations. As a result, Illinois latest student test results closely reflect proficiency rates identified by NAEP, indicating parents and teachers are now getting more accurate information about their children’s readiness. In eighth-grade math, Illinois’ proficiency benchmarks are now actually more rigorous than NAEP, better ensuring that when met students are fully prepared for higher level material.
For more information read more: What is the Honesty Gap?