A big theme behind the effort to promote common academic standards for schools in this country has been the need to raise the bar. It's bad enough that state standards vary so greatly in their quality. It's much worse that too many states have such low expectations of their students.
Officials in New York City have begun to paint a picture of how common standards might raise the bar. At a recent hearing, they compared how the state now tests students to how it will test them after Common Core is fully in place. Here's the comparison for fifth-grade math:
The whole idea is to move beyond simple recall and operations towards critical thinking skills. Students will have to show their work.
If this is indeed the future of testing in New York State, then we can expect to see the passing rates slide after the new tests are in force two to three years from now. After that happens, it will take a lot of political and public will to stick by those higher expectations.
Image via Gotham Schools.