Editor’s note: This has been excerpted with permission from the Pacific Research Institute. To read the entire report, click here.
When the much-criticized Common Core standards and curricula were imposed on America’s schools after pressure from the Obama administration, tests aligned with Common Core came along with the package. However, now that so many parents and their children are choosing alternatives to the Common Core-infiltrated regular public schools, it is time to look for testing options that match what these students are learning.
As a refresher, Common Core is a set of national math and reading standards adopted in the early 2010s by most states.
In the wake of Common Core’s adoption, a study by the Boston-based Pioneer Institute found: “Instead of accelerating the curriculum to more advanced topics and following the practices of leading international competitors, Common Core’s politically-driven process resulted in the adoption of mediocre curriculum sequences used in a number of mid-performing states and promoted progressive instructional dogma shared by its developers.”
The result has been lower student performance. Mengli Song of the American Institutes for Research, who studied the impact of Common Core on national reading and math scores, said, “The negative effects tend to increase over time.”
These negative effects were apparent before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, but the school disruption caused by the pandemic pushed declining test scores off a cliff.
For example, recently released results on the National Assessment for Educational Progress showed that math scores dropped by the largest amount on record. Among eighth graders, just 26% scored at the proficient level in 2022, way down from the already low 34% in 2019.
As parents saw regular public schools fail to educate their children during the pandemic, they started to look elsewhere for learning alternatives.
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Lance Izumi is senior director of the Center for Education at the Pacific Research Institute.