JACKSON, Miss. – Mississippi is among 25 states and Washington, D.C., that demonstrated an improvement of at least 10 percentage points by closing the “honesty gap” in either 4th grade reading or 8th grade math since 2013, according to an analysis released by the Collaborative for Student Success and Achieve.

For the 2014-15 school year, Mississippi narrowed gaps between state-reported and National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) proficiency rates by 32 percentage points in 4th grade reading and 40 percentage points in 8th grade math. Mississippi is also recognized as a “Top Truth Teller in 2015” for having a proficiency score within five percentage points of NAEP in 4th grade reading.

A report released last May, Proficient vs. Prepared: Disparities between State Tests and NAEP and the Honesty Gap, showed many states were misleading the public on whether students are proficient in the most basic reading and math skills, creating an “honesty gap” between what parents are told and how students are actually performing. Mississippi was one of the states with the biggest gap. A year later, Mississippi has shown double-digit improvements.

“In fact, analysts said Mississippi had significantly improved. This is encouraging news for the state because now that the honesty gaps are closing, parents are in a much better position to evaluate whether their students are truly prepared for their next step in life, whether that’s the next grade level, college, career or the military,” said Dr. Carey Wright, state superintendent of education.

The report stated the presence of new, higher standards and more rigorous, aligned assessments appear to correlate to the improvements in the honesty gap.

Angela Bass, deputy director of policy at Mississippi First, said that the combination of high standards and rigorous assessments provides information that guides decisions for Mississippi students.

“We applaud state policy makers and the Department of Education for taking the necessary steps to ensure that we have more reliable information about students and schools. This is essential for ensuring that Mississippi students can successfully compete with students across the nation,” she said.

In the current school-year, Mississippi is administering the Mississippi Assessment Program (MAP), which will continue to provide meaningful feedback to parents, teachers, and students. The test is designed with the same level of rigor as NAEP.

“The Mississippi Department of Education is committed to meaningful state tests that measure what students are learning in the classroom. Reliable, transparent information lets students know if they are on track to be prepared for their futures,” Wright said.