At a time when a high school diploma — much less an equivalency certificate — is losing currency in the labor market, exams being introduced in January will start to be aligned with the Common Core, a set of rigorous academic standards for kindergarten through 12th grade that 45 states and the District of Columbia have adopted.
Dr. William Schmidt today released key conclusions from his research detailing how the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) for mathematics can potentially improve the performance of U.S. students if implemented appropriately. In an event co-sponsored by Achieve, Chiefs for Change and the Foundation for Excellence in Education, Dr. Schmidt presented a briefing on his work: Common Core State Standards Math: The Relationship Between High Standards, Systemic Implementation and Student Achievement. Download the PowerPoint.
The Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) recently issued a set of principles for the new Common Core–aligned tests.
The Department (of Education) plans to use a peer-review process to ensure that the tests are high quality and aligned to tough standards.
"Done poorly, this peer-review process could have disastrous consequences, namely giving lots of state leaders reason to ask, “The feds have to approve our tests? Tell me again how this isn’t nationalization of K–12 schooling at work?”"
The overall academic performance of U.S. students will never equal that of our toughest international competitors if we continue to focus on high-stakes tests alone, write Marc Tucker, Linda Darling-Hammond, and John Jackson.
"The countries that outperform the United States on international exams spend more than we do to measure and encourage these skills with essay tests and teacher-scored projects. And they can afford to do this because they test much less frequently than we do, typically only two or three times during a student's entire school career."
Nearly every teacher in the U.S. now knows about the Common Core State Standards, and 73 percent of math, English, science, and social studies teachers in states that have adopted them say they are enthusiastic about their implementation,...
In Julie Shankle’s English class at North High in Torrance, the Macbeth unit is no longer just the study of a 17th century play about a man who commits murder in a bid to become king and maintain power. Now, her 12th-grade lesson has an added element: Students must mine data to produce an essay based on the prompt, “Is killing ever justified?” This means making a compelling case and citing credible sources — perhaps a news article on euthanasia, or a TED Talks video of a professor expounding on the death penalty.
"The Common Core State Standards (CCSS, 2010) for reading focus heavily on students gathering evidence, knowledge, and insights from what they read. In fact, 80-90% of the reading standards in every grade require text-dependent analysis — being able to answer questions only by referring back to the assigned text, not by drawing upon and referencing prior knowledge and experiences."
With the Common Core State Standards, instruction in English language arts will dramatically change. Unlike prior state standards, these new standards place a greater emphasis on reading challenging texts.
"teachers need substantially more professional development around the common core, not just in understanding what the new standards include and how they differ from states' old standards, but also to fill the gaps in instructional strategies that will be needed for students to write well."
"The Pioneer Institute just released yet another paper claiming that Common Core sets a low bar in math. The paper’s authors, Sandra Stotsky and James Milgram, passionately believe that every American student should have to pass pre-calculus at least to graduate from high school and be ready for admission to a “selective” 4-year college. Legions of Common Core critics whose grasp on mathematics is, shall we say, looser than Migram's or Stotsky's are using their arguments to claim that Common Core is dumbing down math in this country."
Forty-six states, the District of Columbia, and the Virgin Islands have adopted the Common Core standards, and tests based on these standards are set to go into effect in 2015. Here are some resources to help you understand what to expect.
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