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Reports Find 'Small Gains' After Common Core Implementation

Repots Find 'Small Gains' After Common Core Implementation

Are the Common Core state standards responsible for the rise in NAEP and ACT scores found in Kentucky? It may be too early to tell.

According to two recent studies, "student scores on the National Assessment of Educational Progress and on the ACT in Kentucky have risen slightly during the years in which many schools implemented Common Core State Standards," said an article on "Researchers say it is too early to tell whether there is a connection between the improvement in scores and the Common Core."

"Two studies released this week – one from the Brookings Institution's Brown Center on Education Policy and the other from the National Center for Analysis of Longitudinal Data in Education Research – showed small gains on students' scores nationally on the National Assessment of Educational Progress and in Kentucky on the ACT," the article said. "But it hasn't been determined whether those gains can be attributed to the Common Core standards, which most states only fully implemented within the last one to two years."

According to the article, "some supporters of the standards have said in the past that it's too soon to measure the impact of Common Core and that national exams such as NAEP only test every other year – 2011 and 2013, for example – when implementation arguably wasn't very far along. Students also have been making incremental gains in reading and math on the NAEP exam for years."

"With those two issues – the lack of data and the newness of this all, plus the fact that it's hard to define a good comparison group – to me, it's not really worth doing these studies yet," Morgan Polikoff, an assistant professor of education at the University of Southern California, said in the article. "I worry that they might actually provide misleading evidence. By trying to be first out of the gate, they might make people think these things aren't working and so we should change course, when in fact it could just be that we don't yet have the data to do a really good study."

According to the article, "Tom Loveless, a nonresident senior fellow in governance studies at the Brown Center, in his report brings up another issue that complicates how the value of Common Core is measured. It's hard to determine the true "starting point" for Common Core. Not all states adopted Common Core at the same time – although most did between 2010 and 2011 – and implementation timetables have also varied."

"You can’t figure out whether a policy worked or not unless you know when it began," Loveless wrote in the report. "The goal is not only to estimate [Common Core's] early impact, but also to lay out a fair approach for establishing when the Common Core’s impact began – and to do it now before data are generated that either critics or supporters can use to bolster their arguments."

Read the full story and comment below. 

Article by Kassondra Granata, Education World Contributor

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