Scholar blames Common Core tests for educational decline

Oct 30, 2015 by

By Jason Russell –

American students are regressing in math, and Common Core is to blame, says a scholar from the centrist Brookings Institution.

States whose students took Common Core tests in the 2014 to 2015 school year scored worse on the Nation’s Report Card in data released Wednesday, according to Brookings Senior Fellow Russ Whitehurst. “The correlation between Common Core assessment participation and changes in [National Assessment of Educational Progress] is -.35,” Whitehurst writes. The differences are statistically significant.

Declines still occurred in states that didn’t take the Common Core tests, so the educational standards aren’t fully to blame. “This analysis is not causal, and the modest correlation suggests that more is going on than disruptions in instruction associated with the rollout of a new assessment system,” Whitehurst writes.

Whitehurst examines only eighth grade math scores, but scores on the Nation’s Report Card also declined in eighth grade reading and fourth grade math. National, state, and local data released Wednesday encompassed only eighth and fourth grade math and reading.

Secretary of Education Arne Duncan credited Common Core for the modest gains in 2013. With the declines this year, however, Duncan is backtracking and saying that the challenge of implementing Common Core is causing temporary declines before long-term achievements. “Leaving aside that the secretary wants to have it both ways, his speculation about the disruptive effects of the Common Core deserve serious attention,” Whitehurst responds.

Whitehurst says the drop in eighth grade math is even worse than it seems, because scores had been expected to follow a rising trend. “The expected score for 2015 would have been 287 (rounded),” Whitehurst says. Instead, the average score fell from 285 points in 2013 to 282 in 2015.

Whitehurst is pessimistic about progress. “Based on those factors and the results here, I wouldn’t bet on a big rebound in 2017.”

Source: Scholar blames Common Core tests for educational decline | Washington Examiner

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