The Flimsy Evidence Behind Common Core

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Jason Richwine at National Review Online reports that the evidence behind the Common Core standards is "really weak", despite proponents' claims that they are "research- and evidence-based."

Richwine dives into some of the lackluster research behind the standards:

Now the Center for Education Policy at George Washington University has put together a compendium summarizing over 60 research papers related to Common Core design and implementation. If there is empirical evidence on the importance of strong standards, this is probably the place to find it. Unfortunately, only two papers in the entire compendium are devoted to measuring the impact of Common Core on test scores. Both papers employ the dubious correlation-across-states methodology, and both give mixed results at best.

Richwine goes on to detail the findings of both papers, which show only very narrow and preliminary positive results for the standards. One paper warns: "these analyses should be viewed only as exploratory in nature, merely suggesting the possibility of a relationship." The other, according to Richwine, suggests that "even if the correlation is genuine, the effect size is tiny."

Richwine notes that the inconclusive data behind Common Core mirrors that of other government education programs, like the push for government-sponsored preschool, whose actual merits have proven dubious.

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