Where is Florida when it comes to the #HonestyGap?

Where is Florida when it comes to the #HonestyGap?

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Tallahassee, Fla. - Too many states are exaggerating the academic achievement of students in core subjects, setting them up for disappointment and failure after high school graduation. A recent analysis by Achieve, an organization that advocates for college-career readiness in K-12 education, quantifies this practice on a state by state basis.

Achieve looked at the percentage of fourth and eighth grade students deemed proficient on 2014 state reading and math tests. It then compared those to results from the 2013 National Assessments of Educational Progress (NAEP). NAEP is regarded as the gold standard in measuring educational achievement in the states. The most watched reports come every two years, when NAEP tests in reading and math are given to a representative sample of fourth and eighth grade students in every state.

Achieve found that most states classify a much higher percentage of students as proficient in these key subjects than is reflected in the NAEP results. For example, in Florida the state classified 61 percent of fourth graders as proficient in reading based on its test results, whereas the NAEP results reported a proficiency rate of 39 percent. This is a gap of 22 points. In most states, the gap was more than 30 points, and in some states more than 50 points.

The Achieve report refers to these discrepancies as the "Honesty Gap.''

"Parents should be provided consistent, honest information about where their children stand academically, where they need to be to be successful after high school, and what their schools are doing to ensure that happens," said Patricia Levesque, executive director of the Foundation for Florida's Future (@AFloridaPromise). "The Achieve report provides information to assist parents in understanding these gaps and provides data that can be used to take action to resolve these gaps.

"Florida has a long history of raising expectations on student learning. And this history shows that every time the state has set a higher bar, students have risen to those expectations. Another opportunity to increase expectations for our students will come when the State Board of Education and Commissioner set achievement levels on the Florida Standards Assessment this year. We encourage these leaders to continue the great progress in the state. Florida needs to set achievement levels that honestly reflect readiness for life after high school.''

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