New Study: Common Core Does Not Prepare Students Well for College

Photo credit: CollegeDegrees360 via Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Throughout his campaign, Donald Trump has consistently voiced his opposition to the Common Core, calling it a disaster from the very first speech of his candidacy. In an interview earlier this week, his message was the same: “I like the concept of local education. I want to get rid of Common Core. I think Common Core is a disaster.” Trump has been widely maligned by the press for his observation that the standards are “obviously not working,” but a recent study from the ACT confirms that Common Core standards simply don’t prepare students for higher education.

According to the National Curriculum Survey, released yesterday morning, the writing skills taught in high school don’t match the skills expected by college professors. While high school teachers, following the requirements of Common Core, prioritize critical analysis of source texts, professors care far more about students’ ability to generate sound ideas. And while instructors agreed on the most important reading skills for college-level study, professors rated incoming students as under-prepared for almost all of them. Only about half of professors found incoming students mostly prepared to identify central themes and important details, and only a quarter or so found them well-prepared to draw conclusions or evaluate evidence. Less than 20 percent of instructors said that students entering their class were prepared to distinguish between fact, opinion, and argument.

Even the math standards, supposedly a strength of Common Core, were found lacking. One third of math teachers reported that most of their class lacked appropriate mathematical knowledge and skill at the beginning of the year. Continue Reading

The Giant Common Core Cover-Up

Photo via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY 3.0 BR)

From Breitbart:

Within the last two weeks both houses of Congress passed legislation that will effectively cement the Common Core national standards, or something very similar, in state school systems (politicians’ claims to the contrary are unfortunately mistaken). In light of clear evidence that Common Core is substandard, the creators and proponents are busily rearranging the educational furniture to hide the evidence.

The central problem for the proponents is that students trained (not educated) under the minimal, non-academic, workforce-development Common Core standards will not perform as well on legitimate tests as did their predecessors. Under the new direction of Common Core architect David Coleman, the College Board has addressed that problem by dumbing down the SAT. Making the SAT easier for Common Core victims (for example, by abolishing the writing section and the hard vocabulary words) helps them appear to be as prepared for college as were previous students.

But the SAT isn’t the only test that might reveal the decline in college-readiness. For years, SAT competitor ACT has offered other college-readiness tests called EXPLORE (given in the 8th or 9th grade) and PLAN (given in the 10th). These two tests are aligned to the ACT college-entrance examination and have proven to be good predictors of college-readiness.

That EXPLORE and PLAN are a threat to the Common Core narrative is evident from recent experience in Kentucky. Richard Innes of the Bluegrass Institute reports that Kentucky students’ latest performance from the 2014-15 school term on the two tests raises red flags about the effectiveness of Common Core.

Continue Reading