Gina Dalma recently wrote this opinion piece for Edsource on the new Common Core state standards. She is the senior program officer at the Silicon Valley Community Foundation, and leads the Silicon Valley Common Core Initiative.
This spring, all California’s students in grades 3-8 and in grade 11 will take brand new tests. These end-of-year standardized tests – known in the field as Smarter Balanced assessments – will be administered as part of a new, more comprehensive state accountability system to measure student progress toward college and career readiness.
This system is based on the new Common Core State Standards for English language arts and mathematics adopted by California along with 42 other states.
Here is the tough part: For students and parents, the increased rigor of the new standards will likely mean that fewer students will score “proficient” on these new tests than on the ones they have been taking for the past 15 years.
But lower scores on the tests should not be an indictment of the new Common Core standards. Rather, they should underscore the hard work that will be needed to ensure our students become critical thinkers who will not need remedial courses in college before they can get started on college-level work. Let’s remember that test scores were also much lower when the previous standardized tests – the California Standards Tests – were first introduced.