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standards (Arizona, Nebraska, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas). Our reviewers ...... reading and writing. A third area of strength is the clear positioning of ...... request of Congress to evaluate research on the teaching reading—a major ...
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August 2018


By Solomon Friedberg, Diane Barone, Juliana Belding, Andrew Chen, Linda Dixon, Francis (Skip) Fennell, Douglas Fisher, Nancy Frey, Roger Howe, and Tim Shanahan

With David Griffith and Victoria McDougald

Foreword and Executive Summary by Amber M. Northern and Michael J. Petrilli

The Thomas B. Fordham Institute promotes educational excellence for every child in America via quality research, analysis, and commentary, as well as advocacy and exemplary charter school authorizing in Ohio. It is affiliated with the Thomas B. Fordham Foundation, and this publication is a joint project of the Foundation and the Institute. For further information, please visit our website at The Institute is neither connected with nor sponsored by Fordham University.

Contents Main Report

State Reviews: Mathematics

Foreword & Executive Summary by Amber M. Northern and Michael J. Petrilli



Introduction 11 by David Griffith and Victoria McDougald


Findings 14 Guidance for States 25 State Reviews 28 by both ELA and Mathematics reviewers

State Reviews: English Language Arts by Diane Barone, Linda Dixon, Douglas Fisher, Nancy Frey, and Tim Shanahan

Common Core State Standards 29 Arizona 34 Indiana 38 Kansas 42 Missouri 45 Nebraska 50 New York 55 North Carolina 59 Oklahoma 63 Pennsylvania 67 South Carolina 71 Tennessee 75 Texas 79 Virginia 83 West Virginia 87

by Solomon Friedberg, Juliana Belding, Andrew Chen, Francis (Skip) Fennell, and Roger Howe

Common Core State Standards 91 Indiana 96 Minnesota 100 Missouri 105 Nebraska 110 North Carolina 114 Oklahoma 118 Pennsylvania 122 Tennessee 126 Texas 130 Virginia 134

Appendices A. B. C.

Reviewer Biographies 138 English Language Arts Review & Scoring Criteria 141 Mathematics Review & Scoring Criteria 149


Foreword & Executive Summary By Amber M. Northern and Michael J. Petrilli

For the first decade of Fordham’s existence, starting in 1997, reviewing state academic standards was our bread-andbutter. We would gather trusted subject-matter experts, request that they read all fifty sets of standards, and then ask them to offer their opinion. But the pattern was always the same: A few states had done a commendable job of identifying the knowledge and skills that students needed to master, grade-by-grade, to be considered on track for success. But most state standards were horrendous: poorly written, disorganized, and replete with dubious ideas. We would say so, and encourage these wayward states to adopt the exemplars as their own. Whether they took our advice was another story. All that changed in 2010, when we read the final drafts of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). Our State of State Standards—and the Common Core—in 2010 found that the CCSS were clearer and more rigorous than the English language arts (ELA) standards in 37 states and stronger than the math standards in 39 states. Naturally, we encouraged those states to adopt the CCSS instead of starting from scratch. This time, states took notice. Within a year, all but four had climbed aboard the Common Core train. But of course, it wasn’t just that we had suddenly become more persuasive and influential. Lots of states had helped to develop the Common Core, so they were already “bought in” and happy to adopt them. And there were also those federal Race to the Top funds; states that adopted “common” college- and career-ready standards had a better shot at winning a piece of that tantalizing pie.

Even at the time, that last bit was rather worrisome. We had argued forever that “national” standards were a good idea—but would only be politically palatable if they avoided the stigma of “federal” involvement. Still, for several years, all was quiet. S