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States Are Closing the ‘Honesty Gap’ in Test Results, Study Says
Education Week              
A newly released follow-up analysis by Achieve finds that through implementation of rigorous education standards and high-quality assessments, states have begun to report proficiency rates more aligned with those identified by the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). Over half of states narrowed their Honesty Gap, and 18 narrowed discrepancies by 10 points or more in both fourth-grade reading and eighth-grade math. “Many states have resolved to take seriously the responsibility of providing parents and kids with honest and accurate information,” Karen Nussle explains. “Policymakers are mustering the political courage to level with parents about the fact that our students are not prepared for college or the workforce, and are now able to make policies that align with the reality of student preparedness.” In Georgia, for example, policymakers narrowed the state’s Honesty Gap by 57 percentage points in fourth-grade reading and 44 percentage points in eighth-grade math. “The closing of the Honesty Gap puts parents and students in a much better position to evaluate whether they are on track to master the content and skills needed to succeed in college or in a 21st Century career,” says Sandy Boyd, chief operating officer for Achieve.

When It Comes to K-12 Education, Goals of GOP Contenders Are Moot
Washington Post
Several Republican presidential candidates have pledged to repeal the Common Core, but “the president has no power over the Common Core,” reports Lyndsey Layton. “States decide academic standards. That has been true for years but was spelled out explicitly in the [Every Student Succeeds Act].” In a new memo, Karen Nussle says the Common Core State Standards are a “non-issue” in the presidential race. Most candidates’ “complicated relationship with the standards marked by inconsistencies and shifting positions…explain the difficulty candidates have in scoring a clean hit on the topic of Common Core, and why, in turn, early predictions about the political toxicity of the issue never quite materialized.”

Final Tally Shows Few Opt-Outs from Common Core-Aligned Tests in California
Just over 20,000 students in California opted out of Smarter Balanced tests last year, far fewer than in other states, according to a final tally. Only 0.61 percent of the 3.3 million eligible students refused to participate in the assessments. Only 39 of the 1,022 school districts reported having more than 100 students opt out of the English portion of testing, and only 37 reported more than 100 opt-outs in math. The assessments were administered in grades 3 through 8 and 11 for the first time in California last spring. Last fall Mike Petrilli, president of the Fordham Institute, wrote that while results from new tests are “sobering,” they are “finally giving parents, educators and taxpayers an honest assessment of how our students are doing.”

Correcting the Record:

Carly Fiorina on Common Core: ‘It’s All Crony Capitalism Folks’
Breitbart News
During a town hall event in Iowa on Wednesday, Carly Fiorina called Common Core, among other programs, a “bad idea.” “They are big bureaucratic programs coming out of Washington, and, by the way, there are a bunch of interests who helped write those programs. In the case of Common Core, guess who helped write it? Textbook companies and the testing companies. It’s all crony capitalism, folks.” In fact, Common Core State Standards were developed by educators and experts from across the country, and states voluntarily adopted the standards. Here is where Fiorina gets it wrong:

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Global Skills Gap Widens as U.S. Students Struggle
American students rank 35 among 64 nations in the most recent international testing. Those results come amid a flurry of reports that point to failures in the U.S. education system to keep up with a dynamic economy. In a UN Global Compact report Tuesday, two of the top three concerns among 5,500 leaders were how to close the skills gap. Another study by the Center for American Progress notes an alarmingly small number of students are able to meet education goals. But it’s not all bad news. A new follow-up analysis by Achieve and the Collaborative for Student Success finds many states have begun to close the “Honesty Gap” and provide more accurate information to parents and teachers.