Education Week just published an article that says “Most Math Curricula Found to Be Out of Sync With Common Core” (Subscription?). EdWeek says the new paper from EdReports.org shows:
“The first round of a Consumer Reports-style review for instructional materials paints a dismal picture of the textbook-publishing industry’s response to new standards: Seventeen of 20 math series reviewed were judged as failing to live up to claims that they are aligned to the common core.”
The reviews cover two grade ranges of math materials, K to Grade 5 and Grade 6 to 8.
While publishers of some of the low-rated materials objected (inevitably) to the EdReports’ evaluation methodology, university-based researchers William Schmidt, the co-director of the education policy center at Michigan State University, in East Lansing, and Morgan Polikoff at the University of Southern California, in Los Angeles, have also conducted instructional materials reviews and have come to conclusions similar to those from EdReports.
Schmidt’s findings are particularly important because he served on the Common Core State Standards Validation Committee and should have extensive understanding of what the standards were supposed to accomplish.
So, this raises an important question in Kentucky, which supposedly has been teaching to Common Core since the 2011-12 school term – or has it????
The deficiencies in curricular materials may also highlight issues with the Common Core itself. Really well-written standards should have been clear enough that publishers would not have had so much trouble understanding what was required and school systems would have been able to determine which curriculum materials really didn’t meet the standards.
A point I have repeatedly raised is good standards should largely preclude such confusion. I don’t think this is just an implementation problem or an issue of publishers trying to make a quick buck with what they already had on the shelf. I think this may well be an important indication that the Common Core itself has deep and systemic deficiencies that create a lot of confusion and – ultimately – a lot of off-target instruction.