Unfit for Purpose? Common Core Fails to Achieve One of Its Key Goals

Unfit for Purpose Common Core Fails to Achieve One of Its Key Goals

As the first set of full results from the Common Core initiative come in, the program does not appear to be living up to expectations. Hardly any states have posted 50 percent attainment in any subject. Worse, one of the program’s initial goals — to allow parents, educators and the government to compare attainment across states — now appears increasingly unattainable. Arkansas, Mississippi, and Ohio have all decided to withdraw from the PARCC exam for next year, and the two big testing consortiums (PARCC and SBAC) cannot agree on a cut-off point for student rankings.

New York’s Governor Andrew Cuomo said on Thursday September 3 that he would launch a review of the system after hearing parent complaints. He says he will put together a team of experts, teachers, and parents to provide recommendations to overhaul the system before his January State of the State address. Cuomo said in a press release that “the current Common Core program in New York is not working and must be fixed.” New York state’s data on the tests, released a few weeks ago, showed that one in five students opted out of spring tests in English language arts and maths in grades 3-8. In several districts, around 90% of students opted out.

Aside from concerns on test uptake and performance, Common Core is also criticized for having a ‘one-size-fits-all’ mindset, with both disabled and ethnic minority advocates saying the test is not built with their experience of education in mind. It has also seen opposition from parents for putting too much pressure on young children’s shoulders and has been disparaged for its cost, with individual states struggling to finance the testing.

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