State of State Standards & the Common Core in 2010View Best in Class
This review of state English language arts (ELA) and mathematics standards is the latest in a series of Fordham evaluations dating back to 1997. It comes at a critical juncture, as states across the land consider adoption of the Common Core State Standards. (At press time, roughly half of states had already done so.)
Here are our major findings:
- Based on our criteria, the Common Core standards are clearly superior to those currently in use in thirty-nine states in math and thirty-seven states in English. For thirty-three states, the Common Core is superior in both math and reading.
- However, three jurisdictions boast ELA standards that are clearly superior to the Common Core: California, the District of Columbia, and Indiana. Another eleven states have ELA standards that are in the same league as the Common Core (or â€œtoo close to callâ€).
- Eleven states plus the District of Columbia have math standards in the â€œtoo close to callâ€ category, meaning that, overall, they are at least as clear and rigorous as the Common Core standards.
- The Common Core ELA standards, which earned a B-plus in our review, are particularly strong when it comes to providing useful and explicit guidance about the quality and complexity of reading and writing that should be expected of students each year, including providing annotated samples of student writing. On the other hand, those states with â€œclearly superiorâ€ standards tend to treat both literary and non-literary texts with more systematic detail, addressing the specific genres, sub-genres, and characteristics of both text types.
- The Common Core mathematics standards, which received an A-minus from our reviewers, set arithmetic as a clear priority in the elementary grades and develop the often-difficult subject of fractions with clear and careful guidance. On the other hand, compared to many of the â€œclose callâ€ states, the presentation of high school content is disjointed and mathematical coherence suffers.
- Several states made great improvements to their math standards since we last reviewed them in 2005. However, similar progress was generally not visible for ELA. (In 2005, we reported the opposite: States had made greater improvements to their ELA standards, but not their math standards, since 2000.)
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Our review ofState Standards