The Common Core State Standards in mathematics have the potential to enhance students’ academic performance if properly implemented, but most states have a long way to go, according to research from William Schmidt, a University Distinguished Professor and co-director of the Education Policy Center at Michigan State University.
At an event co-sponsored by Achieve, Chiefs for Change, and the Foundation for Excellence in Education, Schmidt presented a briefing on his work, titled “Common Core State Standards Math: The Relationship Between High Standards, Systemic Implementation, and Student Achievement.”
Schmidt’s research took existing data from the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) to determine how the Common Core State Standards in math compared to math standards in countries whose eighth graders performed the best on math assessments.
“I think the time has come to really look more seriously at some of the issues surrounding these standards, especially as several states are [questioning their implementation],” Schmidt said.
Schmidt was involved in the TIMSS, which laid the groundwork that prompted groups to move toward developing the common standards.
“These standards are world-class,” he said, noting that the definition of “world-class” has been somewhat fuzzy. But by examining the top-performing countries in the TIMSS study, Schmidt and his team were able to identify exactly what defines world-class standards.
Using TIMSS as the basis and concentrating on eighth grade performance, Schmidt’s team coded results and concluded that the top-achieving countries—those whose eighth graders performed the best—shared three distinguishing characteristics.