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Archive for the ‘common core standards’ Category

A new report, released by ACT, is aimed at assisting states as they begin implementing the Common Core State Standards.

This first-of-its-kind research report, entitled A First Look at the Common Core and College and Career Readiness, provides an estimate of current student performance on the Common Core State Standards using ACT college- and career-readiness data as well as provides recommendations for local educators and state and federal policymakers that will be particularly helpful to the 44 states that are moving from adoption to implementation of the common standards.

States adopting the Common Core State Standards will have work to do to bring their students up to college- and career- readiness levels on the standards, according to the report’s findings.

The report analyzed the test results of more than 250,000 11th-grade students in several states who were administered select forms of the ACT Plus Writing exam in spring 2010 as part of their states’ annual testing programs. The students represented in this report are unique in that they are not self-selected as many college admissions examinees are, span a range of abilities and college aspirations, are from a variety of communities and schools, and include those tested under standard conditions and under accommodations. In essence, the students represented in this report are a typical representation of students in high schools around the country.

While the report is not intended to focus on student performance relative to current state standards, it does shed light on areas states will need to focus on in their move from current state standards to the Common Core State Standards. Some of the report’s key findings reveal that across all Common Core domains, strands, and clusters, only one-third to one-half of 11th-grade students are reaching a college and career readiness level of achievement. In addition, the percentages of Caucasian students who met or exceeded college and career readiness were uniformly higher than those of African American, Hispanic, and other underserved students.

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By Neil McCluskey, CATO Institute

Two important facts won’t be mentioned at the unveiling of the Common Core State Standards Initiative’s national curriculum standards: one, there is no empirical evidence that national standards produce superior educational outcomes; and two, this is absolutely not a “voluntary” effort.

First of all, the best comparative research on national standards is very thin – hardly sufficient to justify imposing radical new centralization on American schooling. Moreover, what research there is offers at best inconclusive results.

And the bit about the national-standards push being voluntary and state-led? To compete for money in the federal government’s $4.35 billion “Race to the Top,” states essentially had to sign onto the Common Core State Standards Initiative. Moreover, the Obama administration is very clear about wanting to make national “college and career ready” standards central to a reauthorized Elementary and Secondary Education Act (aka No Child Left Behind). In other words, far from being voluntary in any reasonable sense of the word, states are being coerced with their own citizens’ federal tax dollars into accepting national standards.

In light of all this, it is critical that the debate over national standards not get bogged down in what the CCSSI standards contain. What absolutely needs to be tackled – and sadly, hasn’t been yet – is whether having national standards makes any sense to begin with.

Neal McCluskey is associate director of the Center for Educational Freedom and author of Feds in the Classroom: How Big Government Corrupts, Cripples, and Compromises American Educationnmccluskey@cato.org. This post was originally published on CATO Institute’s Website on June 2.

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Yesterday, the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices (NGA Center) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) released the final set of state-led education standards, the Common Core State Standards. The English-language arts and mathematics standards for grades K-12 were developed in collaboration with a variety of stakeholders including content experts, states, teachers, school administrators and parents. The standards establish clear and consistent goals for learning that will prepare America’s children for success in college and work.

According to Education Week, the first official public draft, released in March, drew more than 10,000 comments on a Website set up by the NGA and the CCSSO. The final document incorporates that feedback, officials said, as well as final rounds of input from states and specialized groups.

Although the year-long process was led by governors and chief state school officers in 48 states, 2 territories and the District of Columbia, a number of core committee members refused to sign the final document.

“They aren’t terrific,”  R. James Milgram told Education Week. “What they are is far better than the vast majority of standards in this country…But they do not match up well with international expectations, and they are not quite as good as the best of the state standards, in California, Minnesota, Massachusetts, and Indiana.”

Despite a handful of people who are not totally sold on the standards, overall many state officials believe it is the right move.

“Strong schools are the surest path to our nation’s long-term economic success. America’s students are now competing with children around the globe for jobs and opportunities after graduation. We need to maintain a national focus to ensure our kids are ready to compete and ready to win. That’s why our nation’s governors committed to this effort to create a common set of high expectations for students across the country.  The Common Core State Standards reflect what can come from cooperation to improve student achievement,” said Delaware Gov. Jack Markell

The release signals the start of the adoption and implementation process by the states. In the coming months, each state will follow its own procedures and processes for adoption of the Common Core State Standards.

Learn more about the Common Core State Standards.

Additional sources: Education Week

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Today, the Thomas B. Fordham Foundation issued a new report containing its grade for the recently released ‘Common Core’ academic standards by The National Governors Association Center for Best Practices (CBP) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSCO). The think tank gave the academic standards a grade of B in both language arts and mathematics. The foundation evaluated the common core standards on two-point scales that focused on “content and rigor” and “clarity and specificity.”

 When compared to other international and national academic standards, The ‘Common Core’ standards received one of the highest grades from the foundation. The other national and international academic standards were released by the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), Trends in International Math and Science Study (TIMSS) and the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA). Here is a break down of the grades earned from the Thomas B. Fordham Foundation:

  • Common Core Reading/Writing/Speaking/Listening: B
  • Common Core Mathematics: B
  • NAEP Reading: B and NAEP Writing: B
  • NAEP Mathematics: C
  • TIMSS Mathematics: A
  • PISA Mathematics: D
  • PISA Reading: D

 Read the report and tell us what you think about the foundation’s evaluation of the ‘Common Core’ academic standards? Let NSSEA know your thoughts!

 For more information about the new report, visit: http://edexcellence.net/doc/20091008_NationalStandards.pdf.

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An updated draft of common core standards was released today in efforts to set academic standards for determining college and career readiness in math and language arts for students across the nation.

 The two organizations leading the common core effort are the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) and the National Governors Association (NGA) through their Center of Best Practices. Forty-eight states are participating in the common core effort. The goal is to ultimately establish uniform academic standards.

 The main difference between the two drafts is the section that pertains to language arts. The earlier draft, which leaked in mid July, was reorganized by CCSSO and NGA because they felt that aspect of the draft needed much improvement.

 The authors were having a hard time agreeing on whether the standards were too strict or not strict enough. They also wanted the draft to be very user friendly, meaning they wanted the draft to make sense to parents, teacher and the general.

 The language arts portion of the draft is broken into three sections. Section I begins by defining different skills for reading, writing, speaking and listening. Section II takes it a step further by giving examples on how these skills can be applied to real life situations; for example conducting research and using various media.

 The third section gives supporting materials or illustrative texts to improve the learning experience such as the Declaration of Independence. The new draft also includes passages from Jane Austen’s novel Pride and Prejudice; Walt Whitman’s poem “O Captain! My Captain”; the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “Letter from a Birmingham Jail”; Toni Morrison’s 1993 Nobel lecture; and many other business, science, and financial texts; and other materials.

 For more information about the revised draft, visit: http://www.corestandards.org/Standards/index.htm

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