Question: What are some Pros and Cons of the Common Core Standards?
The full implementation of the Common Core Standards is getting closer each day. The true impact that they have on schools and education as a whole will not be known for several years. One thing that is for sure is this shift to a national set of standards will be revolutionary. They will also be highly debated. As the media begins to recognize the significance of the Common Core, you can bet the debate will heat up even more. As their implementation approaches, we examine some of the pros and cons of the Common Core Standards.
- The Common Core Standards are internationally bench-marked. This means that our standards will compare favorably to standards of other countries. This is positive in that the United States has dropped considerably in educational rankings over the last few decades. By having standards that are internationally bench-marked that ranking should begin to improve.
- The Common Core Standards will allow states to compare standardized test scores accurately. Up until the Common Core Standards, each state had their own set of standards and assessments. This has made it exceedingly difficult to accurately compare one state’s results with another state’s results. This will no longer be the case with like standards and assessments.
- The Common Core Standards will decrease the costs states pay for test development, scoring, and reporting. This is because each state will no longer have to pay to have their unique tests to be developed. Each of the states that share the same standards can develop a like test to meet their needs and split costs.
- The Common Core Standards will increase the rigor in the classroom and thus better prepare students for college and global work success. This is probably the single biggest reason that the Common Core Standards were created. Higher education has long complained that more and more students need remediation at the beginning of college. The increased rigor should lead students to be more prepared for life after high school.
- The Common Core Standards will lead to the development of higher level thinking skills in our students. Students today often are tested on one skill at a time. The Common Core assessment will cover several skills within each question. This will ultimately lead to better problem solving skills and increased reasoning.
- The Common Core Standards assessments will allow teachers to monitor students’ progress throughout the year. The assessments will have optional pre-test and progress monitoring tools that teachers can use to find out what a student knows, where they are going, and to figure out a plan to get them where they need to be. This gives teachers an avenue to compare an individual student’s progress instead of one student against another.
- The Common Core Standards assessments will be more authentic to a child’s learning experience. We will be able to see what all a student has learned across all curricula through the multi-assessment model. Students will no longer simply be allowed to come up with the right answer. Often times they must give an answer, state how they arrived at that conclusion, and defend it.
- The Common Core Standards will benefit students with high mobility. States will now share the same set of standards. Students in Arkansas should be learning the same thing as a student in New York. This will benefit students whose families move continuously.
- The Common Core Standards will allow students to better understand what is expected of them. This is important in that if a student understands what, and why they are learning something, there becomes a greater sense of purpose behind learning it.
- The Common Core Standards will enhance teacher collaboration and professional development. Teachers across the nation will be teaching the same curriculum. This allows teachers in opposite corners of the nation to share their best practices with each other and apply it. It also provides the opportunity for meaningful professional development as the education community is all on the same page.
- The Common Core Standards will be a tremendously difficult adjustment for students and teachers initially. Make no mistake that this will be a difficult transition. It is not the way many teachers are used to teaching and not the way that many students are used to learning. There will not be instant results, but instead will be a slow process.
- The Common Core Standards will likely cause many outstanding teachers and administrators to pursue other career options. Many veteran teachers will retire rather than adjust the way they teach. The stress of getting their students to perform will likely cause more teacher and administrator burnout.
- The Common Core Standards are vague and broad. The standards are not particularly specific although you can expect more clarification in this area as the assessments are completed.
- The Common Core Standards will require younger students to learn more at a quicker pace than they ever have before. With the increased rigor and higher level thinking skills, early childhood programs will become more rigid. Pre-Kindergarten will be more important, and skills students used to learn in second grade will need to be taught in Kindergarten.
- The Common Core Standards assessment will not have an equivalency test for students with special needs. Many states provide students with special needs a modified version of the test. There will be no modified test for the Common Core Standards, meaning that 100% of a school’s population will have their results reported for accountability purposes.
- The Common Core Standards could be watered down compared to a few states who have previously adopted difficult standards. The Common Core Standards were designed as a middle ground of the current state standards meaning that while many states’ standards are raised, there are some who will come down.
- The Common Core Standards will lead many current textbooks to be obsolete. This will be a pricy fix as schools have to adopt new materials that are effectively Common Core ready.
- The Common Core Standards will costs schools money to update the technology needed for the Common Core Standards Assessments. Most of the assessments will be online. This will create many districts issues in that they will not have enough computers for all students to be assessed in a timely manner.
- The Common Core Standards will lead to an increased value on standardized test performance. High stakes testing is already a trending issue and now that states will be able to accurately compare their performances against another, the stakes will only get higher.
- The Common Core Standards currently only have skills associated with English-Language Arts (ELA) and Mathematics. There are currently no science or social studies Common Core Standards. This leaves it up to individual states to have to develop their own set of standards and assessments for these topics.