Sunday, August 28, 2011

ED WEEK: In Common Core, Little to Cheer About

Andrew C. Porter has been an education reform advocate, supporting common core standards and assessments; however, he has changed his mind and expressed his current assessment in a recent Education Week article.
"In short, I hoped that new national curriculum standards would be better than the state standards they replaced, and that new student assessments would be better, too."

"I wish I could say that our progress toward common-core standards has fulfilled my hopes. Instead, it seems to me that the common-core movement is turning into a lost opportunity."

Common Core Standards

Using a "recognized content analysis tool," Porter participated in an analysis of the common core standards comparing them to existing math and English language arts standards in over 20 states. The resulting findings were "unexpected and troubling."

"The common-core standards do not represent a meaningful improvement over existing state standards."

When comparing these standards to those countries who are described as beating U.S. students and international exams, he finds other countries focus more on basic skills and less on higher order thinking skills. He wonders if the standards fail to achieve the "right" balance.

Common Core Assessment

Porter finds equally troubling concerns with regard to the common core assessments:
"But what I know so far about the work of the two multistate consortia developing the assessments isn’t promising. It sounds as if the new assessments may ignore state-of-the-art research and technological advances, settling for tests that are much like the ones we already have. Meanwhile, innovative work on assessments that’s been going on in the states has ground to a halt while everyone waits to see what the consortia come up with."

Porter concludes the common core et al may end up "much ado about nothing." He is, however, one more in a mounting number of voices questioning the effort.

From a taxpayer's point-of-view - who pays, who benefits?

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