Common Core standards are set to determine reading, writing, and math curriculum and testing in the majority of states over the next few years. While 45 states are on board for the change, nine are expressing doubt and hesitating to follow through.
Benefits of Common Core
The standards, set by the U.S. federal government, are widely supported by the business, military, and higher education communities, according to Penn Live.
Common Core is also bench-marked, allowing U.S. graduates to more easily compete on an international level. With a common standard across the nation, it also makes it easier to compare student progress and success across states. Students who move from state to state will be able to adjust more easily with uniform standards.
Experienced teacher, principal, and education writer Derrick Meador, explains that the Common Core test questions will test several skills at once, promoting problem solving skills. Progress-monitoring tools will also allow teachers to track the progress of individual students. Students will have to be able to explain how they got an answer rather than just providing the right answer, which could help comprehension, writes Meador in a blog posting.
Teachers across the nation will also be able to share best practices with greater ease, as they are all working with similar curriculum and testing.
Downfalls of Common Core
Standardized, high-stakes testing has long been a contentious issue in education-system debates, and the Common Core testing has high stakes. Starting with the class of 2017, students will be required to pass standardized exams in algebra, biology, and literature to earn a diploma. Compared to many state school standards, the Common Core places greater value on standardized testing.
Some are concerned about privacy issues related to the availability of student information.
Meador points out that the transition will be tough on both students and teachers: “It is not the way many teachers are used to teaching and not the way that many students are used to learning. There will not be instant results, but instead will be a slow process.”
Some teachers may quit or retire early instead of adjusting. They could suffer under the pressure of getting students to perform well.
Meador says the Common Core standards are currently somewhat vague, but will become clearer over time. Young students will be required to learn more quickly than ever before.
An investment in new textbooks and computers will be required to match the new curriculum and allow for online assessments to take place in a timely manner.