Society

Common Core: The Results Are In, And They Aren't Pretty

| by Lauren Briggs

According to a new global report, American high schoolers are performing dismally in math classes compared to the rest of the world, which many attribute to the wide implementation of Common Core standards.

The 2015 Program for International Student Assessment test results, released on Dec. 6, determined that American students performed 12 points lower than they did in 2012, putting them 20 points below the international average, reports The Associated Press.

The examination measures the performance of 15-year-old students across the world and compares them to each other, alternating each year between science, reading and math.

"Students are often good at answering the first layer of a problem in the United States," Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development's Education Director Andreas Schleicher told AP. "But as soon as students have to go deeper and answer the more complex part of a problem, they have difficulties."

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Science and reading scores remained stagnant near the international averages. Math results have been declining since 2009, shortly before Common Core's inception.

The National Governors Association Center for Best Practices and the Council of Chief State School Officers released the first set of Common Core standards in the summer of 2010, notes the program's website. Since then, states have picked them up at their own discretion. As of August 2015, 42 states, the Department of Defense Education Activity, Washington D.C., Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands and the U.S. Virgin Islands pledged to implement Common Core locally.

"We're losing ground -- a troubling prospect when, in today's knowledge-based economy, the best jobs can go anywhere in the world," said Education Secretary John B. King Jr., according to AP. "Students in Massachusetts, Maryland, and Minnesota aren't just vying for great jobs along with their neighbors or across state lines, they must be competitive with peers in Finland, Germany, and Japan."

President-elect Donald Trump has called Common Core "a total disaster" and vowed to eliminate it in favor of unregulated local education, notes NPR. But since state school superintendents and governors created the standards and adopted them state-by-state, the only way Trump would be able to end them is through incentivizing states to drop them -- just as President Barack Obama's administration started them.

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"The writing of education standards is still, and always has been, up to the states," spokesman Chad Colby of Achieve, a nonprofit that helped develop the Core, told NPR.

Sources: Associated Press, NPR, Core Standards / Photo Credit: Motown31/Wikimedia Commons

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