As we race toward the new school year, a newly released report reveals a lag in common core alignment across many states. The report is a sign that schools may not be ready to fully embrace the Common Core State Standards, particularly in regards to math high school graduation requirements.
Issued by Change the Equation and the National School Boards Association’s Center for Public Education, the report called “Out of Sync: Many Common Core states have yet to define a Common Core-worthy diploma,” found that 10 states plus the District of Columbia — out of the 45 that adopted the Core — have yet to align their math sequences of courses and graduation requirements to standards. And it says that even the 13 states that seem to be aligned with the Core in regards to math still have “much to work to do to ensure that their high school course sequence and content is truly aligned to the standards.”
Indeed, the “traditional” course pathway — Algebra I, Geometry, Algebra II, and further mathematical coursework — might neglect critical Common Core content or mathematical practices if the courses are not re-examined and aligned to the new demands and teachers are prepared to teach the content. States and districts whose requirements stop before Algebra II are even less likely to expose all their high school students to the full range of Common Core material.
The Core standards are supposed to be fully implemented in states that signed on in the 2013-14 school year. There have been increasing calls in the past month for a moratorium on the high stakes associated with standardized tests that are aligned with the Common Core because so many teachers have not had enough time to learn and design lesson plans that meet the new standards. Some states, in fact, are pulling away from the Core, though it is not clear how many.
I’m including the methodology used in the report because it explains how they get the list of states that follows:
Methodology: According to the Common Core State Standards’ Mathematics Appendix A, the “pathways assume mathematics in each year of high school and lead directly to preparedness for college and career readiness (page 3).” For our analysis, we considered graduation requirements in math to be aligned if they call for math in each year of high school, including Algebra I, geometry and Algebra II. The Common Core authors suggest two curricular pathways through high school mathematics that incorporate all of the high school benchmarks:
…the traditional pathway: Algebra I, Geometry, Algebra II, plus further mathematical or technical coursework; or