Gas station without pumps

2010 July 26

California standards vs. Common Core

Filed under: Uncategorized — gasstationwithoutpumps @ 10:38
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Bill Evers and Ze’ev Wurman have just published an opinion piece in the Sacramento Bee, asserting that adopting Common Core standards in math would be a step backwards for California, as the K–7 common core standards are weaker than the current California standards, and would make 8th grade algebra more difficult to teach.

I have not had time to do a detailed comparison, but the reviews I’ve seen suggest that Evers and Wurman have a good point—the current California standards, which were adopted in 1997, are generally regarded as more advanced than the Common Core.  The California standards were instituted out of the same general dissatisfaction with poor math education that prompted the Common Core, but California did it quicker and, some believe, better.

So the question now facing California educrats, particularly the California State Board of Education, is whether having a nationwide agreement on what belongs at each level in school is valuable enough to accept some damage to what is currently the best of the state math standards.  The California State Academic Content Standards Commission thought so (with Evers and Wurman dissenting).

My opinion is that the whole notion of age-based grade levels is wrong and twiddling with the standards won’t fix that.  There is value to having standards that all schools and curricula must meet, but I wish that the standards were not labeled with grade levels.  There are students ready for algebra long before 8th grade, and students who are barely ready for it by the end of high school.  Having students progress through the standards based on mastery, rather than age, would be greatly helped by not labeling the standards with grade levels.

One specific criticism of the Common Core that Evers and Wurman raise, that there is a big jump at 8th grade because the K–7 standards are too weak to provide sufficient support for the 8th grade algebra standards, is probably a valid one and should certainly be considered by the State Board.

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1 Comment »

  1. [...] has an analysis of the new Common Core Standards, comparing them to existing state standards, standards in other countries, and a few well-known assessments or standards documents. (I’ve blogged about a different comparison almost a year ago in California standards vs. Common Core.) [...]

    Pingback by Analysis of Common Core Standards « Gas station without pumps — 2011 June 5 @ 10:00 | Reply


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