Saturday, March 13, 2010

Virginia not following Kentucky’s mad rush to the Common Core Education Standards

Kentucky may have rushed to adopt the Common Core Standards before they were even finalized (that won’t happen before April, or maybe even May at the current rate of progress), but other states which already have good standards are showing increasing reluctance to follow our brave, but perhaps dubious, lead.

Back in January we noted that hesitancy with the Common Core Standards has appeared in Massachusetts.

That is a significant development because most education observers consider Massachusetts’ current standards to be the best in the nation. The Massachusetts standards already have an enviable track record which includes the state’s top-in-the-nation performance on all recent National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) testing.

Now, people in Virginia are concerned that their very excellent Virginia Standards of Learning (SOL) may also be much better than the Common Core Standards.

By the way, there is good support for the SOL outside of Virginia. Thanks to that good reputation, we featured a comparison of the SOL-based tests in Virginia and our now defunct CATS tests in our “Assessing CATS: Questions that must be answered so that No Child is Left Behind in Kentucky” report back in 2004.

The latest NAEP reading results indicate our impressions of the SOL remain on target. We’ve heard an awful lot about how great Kentucky is doing in NAEP reading, but the facts are that on the 2007 NAEP fourth grade reading, Virginia’s white students outscored our whites, 233 versus 225. Virginia’s blacks outscored our fourth grade blacks in reading as well, 213 versus 203. A quick scan indicates only one state exceeded Virginia for black student performance in that assessment, by the way. So, the SOL are working for minorities, as well. Thus, it looks like Virginia may have some really good reasons to hold on to what it has already with its SOL.

I need to note that it appears both Virginia and Massachusetts educators have relayed their concerns to the team creating the Common Core Standards. The final version of the Common Core Standards certainly could benefit from that input.

However, if that doesn’t happen, it looks like states that already have solid education standards may not be reluctant to jump off the final Common Core team.

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