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Just how effective are the Common Core State Standards?


A new infographic wonders how effective the Common Core State Standards will be.

With all the hype about the Common Core State Standards, it’s easy to forget that some states have decided not to adopt the standards–plus, some adopting states are now re-evaluating their decisions. Now, a new infographic questions some of the basic tenets of the Common Core State Standards.

Perhaps one of the biggest arguments against the standards, according to the infographic, is that “while core curriculum has improved performance in states with traditionally good education systems,” states that have struggled academically wonder if the standards are more a one-size-fits-all pathway instead of a “great equalizing force,” in which the common standards bridge a gap between vocational education and the university pathway.

(Next page: How do students fare in math?)

Three big arguments in favor of the Common Core State Standards, according to the infographic, are:

  • Students will learn more if their learning targets are set higher
  • Students will learn more if the passing grades for state tests are set higher
  • Students will learn more if lesson plans and textbooks are all made more complex and rigorous

This, however, can lead to a situation in which some students fall even further behind in school and drop out due to their discouragement.

The infographic looks at the Common Core State Standards’ stance on algebra, which is taught in the eighth grade. According to the Common Core, students who take algebra can become familiar with more complex math courses as they progress through school, and will have more knowledge when they enter college. However, the infographic points out that childhood brain development tends to plateau in the eighth grade, which makes it harder to learn and retain new concepts.

Algebra at an early age can discourage students and lead to problems down the road, according to statistics presented in the infographic. The data points to New Mexico, where 43 percent of white students dipped below proficiency levels in 2012, and in Tennessee, where 39 percent of white students followed suit. In 2012, 35 percent of students in West Virginia and 33 percent of Oklahoma students failed the algebra portions of their school exit exams.

Problems in algebra translate to problems with more advanced math in high school and college. Statistics note that only 1 percent of the 1.7 million bachelor’s degrees awarded in 2012 were in math, and only 58 percent of students entering higher education graduate. This means just .0058 percent of students who enter college successfully graduate as math majors.

Click on the image above to view.

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