In several cases student achievement reversed under Common Core, and in every subject studied students would have been better off if states had not adopted Common Core.
“Contrary to our expectation, we found that [Common Core] had significant negative effects on 4th graders’ reading achievement during the 7 years after the adoption of the new standards, and had a significant negative effect on 8th graders’ math achievement 7 years after adoption based on analyses of NAEP composite scores,” the Center on Standards, Alignment, Instruction and Learning (C-SAIL) preliminary study said. “The size of these negative effects, however, was generally small.”
The study found not only lower student achievement since Common Core, but also performed data analysis suggesting students would have done better if Common Core had never existed. The achievement declines also grew worse over time, study coauthor Mengli Song told Chalkbeat, an education news website: “That’s a little troubling.”
Common Core is 640 pages of K-12 curriculum and testing mandates that nearly every state switched to between 2010 and 2013 under heavy federal pressure. President Obama, his education secretary Arne Duncan, and private financier Bill Gates promised the nation that overhauling what students learn and how it is measured would lead to student achievement gains.
It’s not that teachers didn’t work really hard to make Common Core succeed, either. C-SAIL’s report says “More than three quarters (76%) of teachers surveyed, for example, reported having changed at least half of their classroom instruction as a result of the CCSS, and about four out of five mathematics teachers (82%) and three out of four English teachers (72%) reported having changed more than half of their instructional materials in response to the CCSS.” Between two-thirds and three-quarters of teachers also said in surveys that they thought Common Core benefited their students, so while their perception may not match reality it doesn’t appear negative teacher attitudes obstructed Common Core either.
Teachers and schools made massive, good-faith efforts to comply with Common Core. The problem is that those changes didn’t help kids.
If CC Never Happened, Kids Would Be Better Off
Last month, C-SAIL researchers presented their preliminary findings in this longitudinal study of student results from 2010 to 2017 (the latest data available). The presentation included the graphs below.