After the Common Core State Standards were developed and released in 2010, 45 states quickly adopted them, citing their rigor, concision and focus on the skills that students need in the 21st century. But over the past several years—largely in response to political pressure—24 of those states revised those standards. This development was obviously concerning. Will these new standards prepare our students for success?
Fortunately, there is reason to be optimistic. In its new report, Strong Standards: A Review of Changes to State Standards Since the Common Core, Achieve argues that most states kept their standards rigorous and maintained college- and career-ready expectations for students. In other words, while these standards are technically changed, they have largely kept the substance and intent of the Common Core.
To complete their analysis, Achieve reviewed revised math and English Language Arts standards from across the country to determine whether they had the characteristics of strong college- and career-ready standards.
Their findings on math standards include:
- States kept their math standards focused, and avoided returning to standards that prioritized breadth over depth
- Most states maintained an emphasis on arithmetic in grades K-5
- Most states include concepts in grades 6-8 that support the advanced study of function, geometry and statistics in high school
Their findings on ELA standards include:
- In nearly all states, there was a clear progression of reading and writing skills from grade to grade
- 22 of 24 states retained each of the elements identified by Achieve as key to preparing studnets for citizenship, college and career
Of course, high quality standards only help students to the extent that they are taught and assessed well. But it is encouraging to see that most states, despite strong political pressure, have continued to prioritize strong instructional standards. You can read the full report here.