A lot of concern about what will happen with Common Core test scores this year. The new tests are more demanding so proficiency levels will drop as they are implemented. That leads to worrying and thumb-sucking about whether this will lead to panic, politics, attacks on the schools and the like. Except, states that already raised the bar (Common Core states like NY and KY and non-Common Core states like VA in math) have seen scores drop without a lot of fanfare or fuss. That’s because most reasonable people understand the new “lower” scores are the result of the test, not a decline in teaching quality or performance. The schools aren’t getting worse, the bar is being raised.
Yes, it’s entirely possible the broader implementation of Common Core this year will lead to more problems along these lines because of the scale and the political/media hysterics about the new standards. But I don’t see that as the real risk Common Core faces in terms of test scores. Instead, a secondary problem is the much greater risk for Common Core: In a few years scores may not go up much. When you look around the country the support for Common Core implementation is inadequate to the scale of the challenge. A lot of places are “adopting” Common Core but without really doing the instructional shifts or big changes in classroom practice to up the bar for teaching and learning. And the sector is terrified to have an honest conversation about teacher quality and the Common Core and the implications of some hard issues.
So in a few years when more ambitious standards collide with inadequate capacity and classroom practice and scores haven’t, overall, moved upwards a lot is when the political bill could come due. Common Core will be declared another “failed” reform idea and something else will come along.* In fact, what Common Core will have in common with a lot of prior reform efforts is a diluted implementation, inadequate support, and half-measures.
*My money is on a lot more choice as the next thing. I think a lot of people will throw in the towel and, ironically, what the Common Core critics on the left say they are fighting against is what they’ll end up with in no small part courtesy of their efforts.
10 Replies to “The Real Problem With Common Core Test Scores – It’s Not This Year, It’s In A Few”
Common Core critics on the left (I suppose that’s a reasonably accurate description of me) wish they could reestablish alliances with more centrist Democrats, since they are more natural allies, and remain allies on a number of other issues, than are those federalist Republicans who look like the best allies on this issue. But that would require revising the Common Core; since dooming one’s children to a state of inferiority, in comparison with the youth in so many countries whose standards the Common Core writers looked at but then virtually ignored, is a non-starter. So yes, there may be a lot more choice in the near future, since those who have been ruling from the center of government have watched their majority become a minority largely through too much insider group think, and too little listening to oppressed alternative views crying for help from rulers who don’t listen.
Well said. Gates, Broad, etc. The left is losing them as district reformers. Who’s left?
There seems to be no long game from the unions, just as we’ve seen with steel mills, etc. .
Nancy Atwell, winner of the Varkey Foundation “Nobel Prize” for teaching advises young people against entering teaching because of the Common Core and too much testing. View her interview at CNN
<i.*My money is on a lot more choice as the next thing.
And then a few more years down the road, we still won’t see academic achievements we’re expecting.
I wonder if Andy will still be in the game.
Instructional shifts and big changes in classroom practice? But in the Myths and Facts section on the official CC website it says ” these standards establish what students need to learn but do not dictate how teachers should teach.” I guess “instructional shifts” don’t mean the same as dictating how teachers should teach. Looks like I need some lessons in close reading.
” In fact, what Common Core will have in common with a lot of prior reform efforts is a diluted implementation, inadequate support, and half-measures.”
Those things will not help CCSS, which is a fundamentally flawed one-size-fits-all curriculum where the highest level (from Kindergarten) only targets the likelihood of passing a college algebra course. Some of us had originally hoped that CCSS might fix fundamental flaws in K-6 education, but it completely let them off the hook. Opt in. Opt out. It doesn’t matter. Parents who know better will still have to support their kids at home or with tutors to achieve any proper college and career readiness level. CCSS could have adopted Accuplacer from the start and had an immediate calibration with most community colleges and vo-tech schools. What do we have instead? We have a typical fuzzy edubabble and in our state, a PARC test that is calibrated to no existing college data – not Accuplacer, and not SAT or ACT.
CCSS is an enormous failure right out of the gate. If parents rely on the test results, then they will be a year late and many tutoring dollars short.
“My money is on a lot more choice as the next thing. I think a lot of people will throw in the towel and, ironically, what the Common Core critics on the left say they are fighting against is what they’ll end up with in no small part courtesy of their efforts.”
It’s really unfortunate when people can’t see the issue as anything other than political. Choice is the only solution. It’s not the next best thing. It’s here right now in spite of many who want to kill it. It will eventually produce much better results, and for some, it produces results right now, not relative statistical improvements 5 or 10 years in the future with only a top goal of college algebra. Education should be about the best individual opportunities. CCSS is not that by definition.
The local schools where I live, are telling parents that they can write a letter stating why they don’t want their child to take the exam, and then their child is exempt. I understand both sides of why parents wouldn’t want their child to take the exam and then why parents would want their child to take the exam. From my point of view, the test scores are only going to show the state that they want the students to achieve something that they are unable to do.
Let’s get this straight.
The two lead authors for the CC are professors at schools that have NO INTERNATIONAL RANKING IN MATH OR SCIENCE.
The other authors are for the most part NO NAME NON MATH EXPERTS.
Professor Milgram of Stanford, and Professor Ratner of UC Berkeley have stated that the CC and the associated tests are GARBAGE.
Check global university rankings in mathematics for Stanford and UC Berkeley at US News and World Report.
Then try to find University of Arizona or Zimba’s no name school.
Choice. Choice. And more choice.
Let freedom ring.
Kentucky. Poor old Kentucky. What a pit.
Tennessee. What a pit.
Both are Duncan’s paragons of education reform.
And look at how they treat parents and children.
To Rotherham and the rest of the edu-industry:
You overplayed your hand.
Folks have caught on to the slick advertising and bogus claims.
The momentum is against you in a big way.
And it will get worse next year when CA weighs in with its feelings about CC.
Looks like no fishing for a while, eh?
I teach at a Title One school in Florida, this is our second year using Common Core. I have parents of second graders that cannot help their students with their math homework because they do not understand it themselves. We need to get rid of CC.