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The Common Core State Standards Initiative, or Common Core for short, is a set of basic requirements for K-12 education in the United States. Students must meet a standardized series of criteria at each grade level. The idea is to prepare students to further their education, or be ready to successfully enter the workforce upon graduation from high school.

Although designed with noblest of good intentions, some are not certain of its ability to achieve its objective. One area of question is whether it can boost test scores, the ultimate gauge of student progress. There are four primary reasons why The Common Core Standards Initiative cannot boost test scores without help; perhaps a lot of help.


Statistics Don’t Lie?

If test scores are a gauge of a student’s readiness, the statistics after seven years of The Common Core are not encouraging. According to a national report card, 75% of the students are failing the math portion, and nearly two-thirds failed to meet the reading requirements. Clearly these scores are not acceptable. The Common Core is not boosting test scores.


Thanks for the Memories, or Lack Thereof?

One fundamental focus of The Common Core was to shift from a need for memorization. By design the structure hoped to teach students to use rational thinking in place of memorizing chunks of material. Critical thinking is a wonderful concept, but it doesn’t compensate for the need to learn how to use memory.


Curriculum Designed Around a Test

Establishing a united core of standards for students must learn was great. However, with the implementation of a rigid mandate to meet test goals, teachers began to teach to the test. The student experience was restricted to only knowledge that was part of a standardized exam. Learning suffers when the curriculum focuses solely on a test.


Testing Overload

It’s a commonly accepted premise that not everyone scores well on tests. Some kids are just not mentally prepared to do well in a test environment, especially at very early ages. The idea behind The Common Core was to test, and to test often. While a standardized system to make sure students are learning is wonderful, The Common Core took the idea to overload.

The idea that students should be given a baseline to strive for was reasonable. However, those entrusted with designing The Common Core were mostly non-educators. The system had three inherent flaws.

There are too many tests, too much focus on test-based curriculum and a shift from learning how to memorize. The statistics have produced results that strongly suggest The Common Core cannot improve test scores alone. It appears time to revisit the whole idea at its core.