Correcting GOOD Magazine: States are actually making progress to deliver more consistent academic expectations

A recent article in GOOD Magazine claims the U.S. education system is in “chaos,” citing the “rise and fall of Common Core” as one example of that. But in fact, the Common Core is alive and well, and states are making progress to deliver more consistent academic expectations between states and districts.

Only one state—Oklahoma—has replaced the Common Core with demonstrably different learning goals. Instead, most states are reviewing the standards, making tweaks and building on them further—exactly the Common Core was designed. Karen Nussle points out, the standards “are a floor, not a ceiling. And they were absolutely designed to allow states to tweak, amend and generally customize them in order to meet local needs.”

For a long time academic expectations varied widely among states, as the GOOD article suggests. The patchwork of education standards made it easy for state leaders to inflate student readiness indicators instead of doing the difficult work of improving student outcomes. But most states have begun to address the problem.

The Honesty Gap analysis released last spring found most states are taking steps to provide parents and teachers with more accurate information about student development. A follow-up report last month reveals those efforts are working.

According to the study, sixteen states have eliminated or nearly eliminated gaps between state-reported proficiency rates and those identified by the National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP). Nine more made have made significant progress by closing the gap by 10 percentage points or more in fourth-grade reading or eighth-grade math. Only four states continued to insist that far more students are proficient than their NAEP score indicates.

“We’re pleased to see so many states being transparent about student performance,” says Sandy Boyd, chief operating officer for Achieve. “Parents and educators deserve accurate information about how well students are performing…If we want to move the needle on student outcomes, we need to be clear about student performance; only then can we help students improve.”