Common Core Is Not Getting Kids College Ready

Students in Computer Lab --- Image by © Royalty-Free/Corbis

The New York Times reports that High School Seniors have dipped in both their NAEP math and reading scores.  This is especially discouraging since their scores were not stellar to begin with.

The results, from the National Assessment of Educational Progress, also showed a drop in the percentage of students in private and public schools who are considered prepared for college-level work in reading and math. In 2013, the last time the test was given, 39 percent of students were estimated to be ready in math and 38 percent in reading; in 2015, 37 percent were judged prepared in each subject.

In a survey attached to the test, 42 percent of students said they had been accepted to a four-year college, suggesting that the need for remedial courses in college will remain stubborn.

“This trend of stagnating scores is worrisome,” said Terry Mazany, the chairman of the governing board for the test. Mr. Mazany is also a former public schools superintendent in California, Michigan and Illinois and is now the president of the Chicago Community Trust, a large foundation.

“A strong foundation in math and reading is essential to a student being prepared for college academics and for most careers,” he said.

Scores improved for students at the top percentile in reading, but scores in both subjects dropped for students in the lowest percentiles. And the number of students scoring below “basic” in both subjects increased from 2013.

This corresponds with a drop we’ve seen among 4th and 8th graders. This should be Common Core’s death knell among reasonable people. We were promised by David Coleman et al, that their approach to literacy with a focus on informational text would increase reading proficiency. That is obviously not the case. The drop in math scores is not surprising as we’ve warned that the math standards ultimately put students behind and it certainly would not help students going into college STEM programs.

There are a lot of factors that can drive test scores, but I think we can safely say that Common Core hasn’t helped.  Top-down education reforms never do.