How the first Common Core state is seeing faster student gains


Kentucky has been in the news a lot in recent years when it comes to the Common Core State Standards (CCSS).

In 2010, it became the first state to adopt the Standards. And by the spring of 2012, after the first CCSS-based tests were administered, headlines drew attention to the significant drop in proficiency ratings - almost 30% - from the year before.

But now, in 2015, Kentucky is making news for a great reason: faster gains in student learning.

According to a new report the American Institutes for Research (AIR), students who had more exposure to the CCSS performed better on the ACT than those who were exposed to the Standards for only one year prior to taking the exam. This is significant, the researchers say, because the ACT is not specifically tied to standards and is a much more objective measure of student proficiency as a result.

While the study's authors caution against making direct correlations at this point, it is clear from the data that the CCSS are not detrimental to student achievement, as some opponents of the Standards have feared.

But what about that drop in proficiency ratings in 2012?

As explained in an AIR press release, the drop, which was also seen in New York and several other states, is likely the result of higher expectations and teachers' initial unfamiliarity with new Standards and processes.

According to The Courier Journal, however, just two years after implementation teachers said teaching with the CCSS was getting easier.

Though the Standards still face many critics, and adopting states like Kentucky have been quick to question or even abandon them altogether, I am excited and optimistic about this news.

As I have said in many past posts and conversations with educators - and as Kentucky has proved - the Common Core is a marathon, not a sprint


Dr. Michael Moody is the Founder and CEO of Insight Education Group. His experiences as a classroom teacher, school and district administrator and consultant have given him a unique perspective on both the challenges and opportunities in education today. Contributing regularly to the blog, Michael is always excited to start or join a conversation about helping educators grow. He tweets at @DrMichaelMoody.

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