Testing and Common Core

By Lawrence Hardy

It’s too soon to know what effect the Common Core State Standards will have on student achievement, but that fact has not deterred educators, researchers, and others from offering their predictions. What can be said, however, is that the ambitious, state-led, federally backed program now being implemented by 46 states and thousands of school districts across the country will have a huge impact on how teachers are expected to teach, students are taught to think, and how both students and teachers are evaluated.

Those facts alone make the coming transition from the patchwork of state standards to a new set of common guidelines -- and what are expected to be, essentially, common tests -- a truly foundational change.

“With the new standards, teachers will have to have increased content knowledge -- knowledge that looks different than it did in the past,” says Nicolle Karantinos, curriculum director for Arizona’s Chandler Unified School District. “We are going to make sure that we are teaching differently.”

Karantinos believes firmly in the Common Core and its power to change curriculum, teacher professional development, and testing -- and change them all for the better. “But it’s been a really short timeline,” she says, “and that’s been a struggle.”

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