Strong Standards: A Review of Changes to State Standards Since the Common Core

Achieve has released a new report analyzing the English language arts (ELA)/literacy and mathematics standards of the 24 states that have reviewed and revised these standards after initially adopting the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). The report, Strong Standards: A Review of Changes to State Standards Since the Common Core, found most states kept their standards rigorous and maintained college- and career-ready expectations for students.

“The state of state standards in Mathematics and English Language Arts is quite strong; they provide the necessary foundation to prepare students for college and careers,” said Achieve President Mike Cohen.  “The effect of the Common Core is clear – the state standards we reviewed, while unique to each state, and with few exceptions, incorporate the evidence-based characteristics of high quality standards on which the Common Core was designed.

Soon after development in 2010, 45 states adopted the Common Core. Over the past several years, however, standards reviews were triggered in 24 states largely in response to mounting political opposition to the CCSS or associated testing and accountability policies.

With the political battles largely subsided, Achieve reviewed the revised math and ELA standards across the country, looking at the extent to which state standards continue to incorporate evidence-based characteristics of strong college- and career-ready standards. The reviews were completed using the indicators of high-quality standards that that Achieve developed drawing on over 20 years of reviewing education standards.

“Maintaining overall strength and quality is a testament to the courage and dedication of state education leaders and the educators in each state who were involved in the development of their new state standards,” continued Cohen.

High-level findings for ELA include the following:

  •        In nearly all states’ new ELA standards, a progression of reading and writing skills from grade to grade was present.
  •        Twenty-two out of 24 states have retained each of the key elements required in ELA to prepare students for citizenship, college, and career. Only Oklahoma and Missouri have deficiencies that could impact students’ academic preparedness.

High-level findings for mathematics include the following:

  •        States kept their math standards focused; they did not revert to math standards that were “a mile wide and an inch deep.”
  •        Most states have maintained an emphasis on arithmetic in grades K–5.
  •        Important concepts that support the advanced study of functions, geometry, and statistics in high school are present in most of the states in grades 6–8.
  •        Most states emphasize in a balanced way procedural skill, conceptual understanding, and application in real-world problems in grades K–8.
  •        Most states include an emphasis on high school statistics and modeling.
  •        Nearly all the states include practice standards for grades K–12.

To read the full analysis, please see the report at https://www.achieve.org/strong-standards

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