Some states better prepared for the CCSS than others

Posted on Friday, 7/12/2013 4:27 PM

States need to be doing more to ensure their school districts can help K-12 students meet the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). This is the conclusion The Education Trust reached in its new report, titled "Uneven at the Start: Differences in State Track Records Foreshadow Challenges and Opportunities for Common Core." 

The report, which used data from the National Assessment of Educational Progress, is vital, as it shows which states may have more difficulty improving student achievement under the CCSS. This is important, as the 45 states that have adopted the Common Core are currently in the process of implementing the standards. Having access to the report's findings and recommendations can help states take action.

Based on The Education Trust's findings, West Virginia is one state that needs to do more to prepare for the CCSS. West Virginia's track record for student achievement across multiple subjects was weaker than that of the entire country. Oregon, Oklahoma and Alaska also performed poorly when compared to the rest of the nation.

Fortunately, not every state struggles to improve student achievement. In fact, Maryland excels at it, as the state had a stronger track record than the rest of the U.S. In addition, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and New Hampshire are also in a good position as their CCSS implementation deadlines approach.

"Instead of just pretending that the same amount of effort will be required everywhere to get children to the new standards, we need to make sure that the lessons from states that have improved the most for all groups of children inform implementation work more broadly and ensure that struggling states have the extra help they will need to build the forward momentum that is already present elsewhere," said Kati Haycock, The Education Trust's president, in a statement.

If students are to excel in Common Core-aligned classrooms, their school districts need to work with state officials to ensure access to high-quality instruction, according to the report. Whether states pump more money into teacher training or student software and other forms of technology, it is clear more has to be done.

"All states will need to work hard and smart to support their schools in making sure that all students get the learning opportunities they need to reach these college- and career-ready standards," said Natasha Ushomirsky, senior data and policy analyst at The Education Trust and the report's author. "And no state - not the advocates or foundations that are supporting them - can afford to embark on this effort without an honest appraisal of where its students and schools are. Our analyses can support this work by unveiling potential challenges, potential lessons, and potential opportunities."

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