States are Making the Common Core Standards Work for Their Students

Contrary to Holland’s claim that Common Core aligned exams are “in the midst of a death spiral,” states are in fact staying the course with rigorous standards and high-quality assessments. Of the 45 states to initially adopt the standards, only one has moved to replace the standards with a set of distinctly different learning goals and this year most states passed a critical milestone by administering assessments aligned to the standards.

Research conducted by the National Network of State Teachers of the Year, which asked 23 State Teachers of the Year to judge PARCC and Smarter Balanced assessments against several states’ previous tests, found a marked preference for the consortia tests and Pam Reilly, a participant in the study, wrote, “I can say with confidence these new assessments are the kind we should want our kids to take.”

In a recent memo Karen Nussle explains, “States are finally measuring to levels that reflect what students need to know and be able to do,” and for “parents and educators, that should come as a welcome change.”

The fact remains that states will continue to have the option to use PARCC, Smarter Balanced, or potentially other high-quality aligned assessments. The important point is that they must continue to measure academic progress against college and career ready standards.