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Utah Closes the “Honesty Gap”

State Recognized among “Most Honest” for Second Straight Year; Providing Parents and Teachers with Accurate Information about Student Readiness

utah_2015_graphUtah is one of the most honest states in the country, with little difference between state-reported student proficiency rates and those identified by the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), according to a newly released follow-up analysis by Achieve, an independent education advocacy organization.

In 2015, Utah narrowed its Honesty Gap by three percentage points and is now reporting student proficiency scores only two percentage points higher than its NAEP score in fourth-grade reading. In eighth-grade math, Utah is only reporting proficiency rates four percentage points higher than NAEP. As a result, Utah is recognized as a Top Truth Teller in 2015 for reporting proficiency rates within five percentages points of NAEP in either subject. Utah is one of only three states to do so in both.

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.

Of the Utah students at four-year institutions that require remediation, only 23.4 percent earn a bachelor’s degree within six years. Similarly, 51.6 percent of Utah of students at two-year colleges in remediation are projected to 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.

Utah’s Success: In 2010, Utah adopted college- and career-ready standards in English language arts and math. During the past academic year, Utah administered the Student Assessment of Growth and Excellence (SAGE). Last fall, Utah officials released the results from those exams, which closely align with NAEP scores. The findings indicate parents and educators continue to receive more accurate 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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