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Minnesota’s “Honesty Gap” Remains

State’s Honesty Gap Grows in 4th Grade Reading

minnesota_2015_graphDisparities remain in Minnesota between state-reported student proficiency rates and those found by the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), according to a newly released follow-up analysis by Achieve, an independent education advocacy organization.

Through the implementation of Minnesota Comprehensive Assessments (MCA), Minnesota narrowed its gap between state-reported and NAEP proficiency rates by one percentage point in eighth-grade math but expanded its discrepancy in fourth-grade reading by 5 percentage points.

Click here to view the state’s previous results.

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. Minnesota spends about $65 million annually on remedial coursework.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.

Minnesota’s Ups and Downs: Last spring, Minnesota administered Minnesota Comprehensive Assessments. As a result, Minnesota’s latest student test results demonstrate that there is still further to go to provide parents and teachers with accurate information about their children’s readiness. Significant gaps remain, and policymakers should continue to tighten the state’s definition of proficiency. By doing so, they will provide parents and teachers with honest information about how well prepared their child is to move onto higher level material based on college- and career-ready standards.

For more information read more: What is the Honesty Gap?

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