Valerie Strauss reports on an important statement signed by more than 100 education researchers, asserting that the Common Core standards will not improve the achievement of the neediest students and will not reduce the achievement gaps between haves and have nots. Furthermore, the education researchers recommended that high-stakes exams should be abandoned, because they are not reliable, valid, or fair.

 

She writes:

 

“The researchers, from public and private universities in California — including Stanford University, UCLA, and the University of California Berkeley — say that the Common Core standards themselves do not accomplish what supporters said they would and that linking them to high-stakes tests actually harms students.

 

The brief says:

 

Although proponents argue that the CCSS promotes critical thinking skills and student-centered learning (instead of rote learning), research demonstrates that imposed standards, when linked with high-stakes testing, not only deprofessionalizes teaching and narrows the curriculum, but in so doing, also reduces the quality of education and student learning, engagement, and success. The impact is also on student psychological well-being: Without an understanding that the scores have not been proven to be valid or fair for determining proficiency or college readiness, students and their parents are likely to internalize failing labels with corresponding beliefs about academic potential.

 

More specific to California: a recent study on the effects of high-stakes testing, in particular of the CA High School Exit Examination (CAHSEE), found no positive effects on student achievement and large negative effects on graduation rates. The authors estimated that graduation rates declined by 3.6 to 4.5 percentage points as a result of the state exit-exam policy, and also found that these negative effects were “concentrated among low-achieving students, minority students, and female students.”