State education officials misled the public about the academic achievement of Georgia public school students, reporting high proficiency rates on a test that was comparatively easy to pass, according to a national education watchdog group that analyzed testing data.
The group, Achieve, ranked states by what it’s calling an “honesty gap” — the difference between pass rates on state tests and on the National Assessment of Educational Progress, a federally-administered exam given to a representative sample of students across the country.
Georgia had the largest gap in the country in key grades and subjects, according to the report: 60 percentage points in fourth-grade reading and 53 in eighth-grade math.
The authors note that numerous states are addressing the gaps by implementing tougher tests, and Georgia may be one of them. The Achieve analysis was based on the Criterion-Referenced Competency Test results from last year. That test has since been replaced by the Georgia Milestones, taken by students this spring. The new tests are said to be more difficult to pass, but it’s too early to know whether Georgia has closed the gap with the federal NAEP.
The Milestones results won’t be reported until fall. Achieve says it will be comparing those outcomes with the next round of NAEP results.