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How Well Are American Students Learning?

October 7, 2017

The report analyzes the early progress of the Common Core State Standards and finds they are not delivering on their promised results.

From the report's executive summary: 

Part three is on the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). Forty-five states have signed on to the Common Core and are busy implementing the standards. How is it going? Admittedly, the Common Core era is only in the early stages—new tests and accountability systems based on the standards are a couple of years away—but states have had three or four years under the standards. Sufficient time has elapsed to offer an early progress report. The progress report proceeds along two lines of inquiry.

First, a ranking system crafted by researchers at Michigan State University is employed to evaluate progress on NAEP from 2009–2013. The MSU experts found that states with math standards that were similar to the Common Core in 2009 scored higher on the eighth grade NAEP that year compared to states 6 The Brown Center Report on American Education with standards dislike the Common Core. The current study examines data from the NAEP tests conducted in 2011 and 2013 and asks whether the same finding holds for subsequent changes in NAEP scores. Have the states with CCSS-like standards made greater gains on the eighth grade NAEP since 2009? It turns out they have not.

The second line of inquiry utilizes a rubric that categorizes each state on the strength of its implementation of CCSS. NAEP gains were again compared. Here the news is more encouraging for the Common Core. States with stronger implementation of the CCSS have made larger NAEP gains. The downside to this optimistic finding is that the difference is quite small. If Common Core is eventually going to fulfill the soaring expectations of its supporters, much greater progress must become evident. 

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Education