A New $5 Million Study into Impact of Common Core

Photo credit: Woodley Wonder Works (CC-By-2.0)
Photo credit: Woodley Wonder Works (CC-By-2.0)

The Spencer Foundation and William T. Grant Foundation are spending $4.9 Million for a study, led by researchers from the University of Michigan, Stanford University and Brown University, into how Common Core has impacted classroom instruction.

eSchool News reports:

Based at U-M’s Institute for Social Research, the project, “Under Construction: The Rise, Spread, and Consequences of the Common Core State Standards Initiative in the U.S. Educational Sector,” is being led by principal investigator Brian Rowan, research professor at the institute and the Burke A. Hinsdale Collegiate Professor at U-M’s School of Education. Co-principal investigators include David K. Cohen, a public policy professor and the John Dewey Collegiate Professor at the U-M School of Education; Susan L. Moffitt, associate professor of political science and international and public affairs at Brown University; and Sean F. Reardon, professor of poverty and inequality in education at the Stanford University.

“The Common Core is a watershed in American education—the first time the vast majority of states have committed to common standards for all children,” Rowan said. “Our research will look at a wide range of data to determine whether the effort to organize instruction around common standards is, in fact, improving academic performance for all students.”

The Spencer Foundation is contributing the bulk of the funding for the research—nearly $4.4 million—with the remainder coming from the William T. Grant Foundation.

“We are pleased to be funding this set of interwoven research studies to help understand the implementation of this controversial endeavor,” said Michael McPherson, president of the Spencer Foundation. “Although the ultimate outcome will not be clear for years to come, we are convinced that these studies of the evolution of this effort, in the context of an extraordinarily complex and decentralized educational system, will prove highly instructive.”

“Educational inequality is one of our nation’s greatest challenges, and some view the adoption of common standards as an important step towards fostering greater equity,” said Adam Gamoran, president of the William T. Grant Foundation. “This study will help us understand how trends in achievement levels and achievement gaps may be related to patterns of adoption and implementation of Common Core. In doing so it will also help us to understand the limits and possibilities of large-scale standards-based reform to achieve greater equity in educational outcomes.”

It will be interesting to see what they determine. Looking at NAEP scores, what’s going on in Kentucky with their student achievement, etc. I think the answer is obvious. We’ll see if they draw the same conclusions.