COMMON CORE STANDARDS DAILY UPDATE // MAY 20, 2016

News You Can Use:

What I Learned Making Common Core Videos with State Teachers of the Year: The Assumptions Are Wrong / Education Week
Joe Fatheree spent several months in classrooms filming for the National Network of State Teachers of the Year. Opposite to claims the Common Core limits creativity and encourages teaching to the test, the standards promote creativity, challenge student to use critical thinking skills, provide teacher autonomy, promote collaboration and help ensure students are college and career ready, Fatheree writes of his experience. Last year 21 State Teachers of the Year wrote, “Under the Common Core, teachers have greater flexibility to design their classroom lessons—and can, for the first time, take advantage of the best practices from great teachers in other states. View Fatheree’s film series here.

North Dakota Preparing to Write New State Education Standards / Inforum
North Dakota will use the Common Core State Standards as the framework to develop new education standards, state superintendent Kirsten Baesler said Wednesday. “These six years [teachers] have spent…is not a waste,” Baesler told the Inforum editorial board. Committees are being formed to write the new standards, which are due by early 2017, and to help create new assessments. A white paper by the Collaborative for Student Success explains “repeal-and-replace” efforts invariably lead to either modest adjustments to the Common Core or inferior academic expectations. “It’s impossible to draft standards that prepare students for college and career readiness and that look nothing like Common Core,” Mike Petrilli cautions, because Common Core State Standards incorporate the best evidence of the skills students need at each grade level.

Teachers Speak in Favor of Common Core Despite Backlash / Tri-County Times
A Michigan Senate committee recently approved a bill to repeal the Common Core, a move opposed by many teachers in the state. “Despite the backlash over the years, I do appreciate some shifts in thinking that the Common Core Standards have provided,” says Michigan middle school teacher Kathryn Morcom. “This is only our second year using Math in Focus, but we are already seeing benefits,” explains Julie Kazmierski of a lesson set aligned to the standards. “What I hate is the constant change,” adds Michele Ostrowski, who says Common Core State Standards have not been given enough time. By seeking to replace the Common Core, lawmakers risk setting schools on a path of disruption and turmoil and ultimately putting students and teachers at a disadvantage—similar to the outcome in Oklahoma.

 


 

Correcting the Record:

Common Core Failure
Naples Daily News
Declines on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) are evidence Common Core State Standard are working against students, argues Melanie Doyle, a Florida resident. “These results are especially significant because, unlike students who took the NAEP tests two years earlier, the 2015 test-takers had the benefit of full Common Core implementation. Or maybe ‘benefit’ is the wrong word.” However, contrary to Doyle’s claim, most states only recently began fully teaching to the new, more rigorous learning goals, and experts roundly agree it is impossible to attribute changes in NAEP to the Common Core. Here is where the letter gets it wrong:

Give Common Core State Standards Time to Take Root

In a letter to the Naples Daily News local resident Melanie Doyle argues that declines on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) are evidence Common Core State Standards are having a negative impact:

“These results are especially significant because, unlike students who took the NAEP tests two years earlier, the 2015 test-takers had the benefit of full Common Core implementation. Or maybe ‘benefit’ is the wrong word.”

Contrary to Doyle’s claim, most states only recently began fully teaching to the new, more rigorous learning goals. Even if students have had two years’ worth of full implementation, that accounts for only about 20 percent of the K-12 academic career.

As with most education policies, it will take time—probably years—for these changes to take root and begin to improve student outcomes. Moreover, as many experts acknowledge, a one-time decline on NAEP should not be construed as a trend.

“It’s unfair to say the Common Core had anything to do with these scores going down,” Tom Loveless of the Brookings Institution said last fall of the drop in overall NAEP scores. “If [the scores] went up, it would be unfair to say it had anything to do with them going up. You just can’t tell from the NAEP data.”

The strength of the Common Core is that the standards build strong foundations of fundamental skills beginning at early grades. Therefore, as more students in early grades begin to learn through the standards, it is likely achievement will gradually increase. But those gains will take time to be fully realized.

At the same time, early indicators suggest Common Core State Standards are raising classroom expectations. A study by Achieve this year found more than half of states significantly closed their “honesty gaps,” providing parents and teachers with more accurate information about student readiness.
A Harvard University study reaches the same conclusion: “In short, the Common Core consortium has achieved one of its key policy objectives: the raising of state proficiency standards throughout much of the United States.”


 

On Our Reading List:

How Mississippi Got an Award for Education / Hechinger Report
The Education Commission of the States recently awarded Mississippi the Frank Newman Award for State Innovation for largely for improving student performance on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). “The award was really about what was done with the third-grade reading gate and the NAEP scores that they increased on,” said Jeremy Anderson, the group’s president. The Honesty Gap analysis found Mississippi narrowed discrepancies between state-reported proficiency rates and those identified by NAEP by 32 points in fourth-grade reading and 40 points in eighth-grade math.