Revisiting the Honesty Gap Post-Pandemic

We have been asked whether we will update the Honesty Gap following the release of the 2022 NAEP results, which capture the pandemic timeframe—one of the most disruptive events to ever hit our educational system.

At this time, we have chosen not to do so—at least in its current form.

The Collaborative for Student Success, in partnership with Achieve, launched the Honesty Gap in 2015 by spotlighting the difference between state reported proficiency rates and the National Assessment for Educational Progress (NAEP). The difference between those numbers suggested that parents and students were not being told the truth about student progress. We encouraged the adoption and implementation of rigorous, comparable standards and high-quality aligned assessments as critical for providing a more realistic picture of student progress.

Now, the vast majority of students across the nation are in classrooms empowered by high, rigorous expectations for learning, but of course, work remains. Ensuring access to and use of evidence-based, high-quality instructional materials and aligned, sustained professional learning for teachers are necessary next steps in making sure students achieve these goals.

We continue to stand for the strength of those principles. In fact, they are more important than ever.

However, we are deeply concerned by not just the dismal 2022 NAEP results, but also declining ACT scores, worrying data from widely used formative assessments, and flagging results from state summative assessments.

Those measurements are clearly mismatched with the grades that students are currently taking home. Research from our friends at Learning Heroes states that 92% of parents believe their children are at grade level. 84% of parents report their children get all Bs or above and rank report card grades as the top measure to know if their child is on grade level. Yet only 30% of teachers rate report cards as one of the important ways to gauge student achievement.

Perhaps this is the new Honesty Gap.

Parents deserve data and information that accurately depicts their child’s progress and needs. If the most direct and accessible information a parent has – their child’s classroom report card – is not reporting how that child is navigating grade-level content, then that family is already disadvantaged as they work to understand, support, and empower their child’s education.

The Honesty Gap will be revisited in the future, and the Collaborative will update this site with relevant news and resources. In the meantime, check out to monitor state assessment results and for best practices that are helping to accelerate learning and assist students in getting back on track.