Closing the “Honesty Gap” in South Carolina
As with most states, discrepancies have emerged between student proficiency rates as reported by South Carolina state tests and the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), most commonly called “the Nation’s Report Card.” For the 2013-14 school year, South Carolina showed a 49-point discrepancy between state reported proficiency scores and NAEP in fourth-grade reading, and a 39-point discrepancy in eighth-grade math.
In South Carolina, the State Board of Education sets the standard for proficiency and minimum score.
South Carolina K-12 Education at a Glance:
- K-12 Student Population: 735,998 1
- HS Graduation Rate: 1% (2014) 2
- College Enrollment: 3% (54.26% Four-Year Programs, 45.74% Two-Year Programs 3)
- College Remediation Rate: 37% Two-Year Programs * in math 4
Consequences of the Honesty Gap in South Carolina: Nationwide, only 25 percent of students who take remedial courses complete a degree within eight years. 5 In South Carolina, developmental education in math costs students and taxpayers $12,747,571 each year. 6
How South Carolina is Working to Close the Honesty Gap: In 2010, South Carolina adopted college- and career-ready standards in English Language Arts (ELA) and math which were later revised as the South Carolina College- and Career-Ready Standards. In the 2014-15 school year, South Carolina chose to give the ACT Aspire as their new state test. With new test scores due out this fall, parents, educators and policy makers will learn if the state is making progress on its Honesty Gap and giving parents the truth about how their child is doing – and how well their state is preparing kids for success after high school.
States Leading the Way: More than half of all states demonstrated a 30-percentage point or more differential between their calculated proficiency rates and NAEP. Some states, such as Kentucky, Alabama, and Tennessee took early steps to correct the Honesty Gap with promising results. Kentucky previously had some of the nation’s largest gaps, but after adopting a new, high-quality assessment, became one of the “Top Truth Tellers” in eighth grade math, narrowing a 32- percentage point discrepancy to 15 between 2011 and 2014. Additionally, between 2012 and 2014, the number of eleventh- grade students meeting college-readiness benchmarks on the ACT college entrance test increased by 15 percentage points.
Alabama also had huge discrepancies between their state tests and NAEP. In 2014, less than half of Alabama’s students were on track to be ready for college in both subjects at almost every grade level. That year students began taking a new test, which dramatically narrowed the gap by 50 points in fourth-grade reading alone. After Tennessee revised their state test in 2010, not only did their discrepancies between NAEP and the state assessment narrow, but by 2013, they were the fastest improving state in the nation. With the adoption of new, high-quality assessments, each of these states has narrowed the discrepancies between their assessments and NAEP scores and all are among the top truth-tellers in the country.
For more information read more: What is the Honesty Gap?