Common Core for the Common Good

Elliot Ki

Despite its cost issues and vague standards, new testing system has potential to fix what’s wrong with our education system.

Educators have always been looking to improve standardized testing, and now they have with Common Core. The STAR testing format that students, parents and educators have known for so long is being changed to accommodate new Common Core State Standards. Forty-five states, including California, have adopted it. Teachers, researchers and leading experts have teamed up to design the benchmarks.

Common Core will help strengthen and further push students to excel, especially because they will be able to apply what they learn to real-life problems. Common Core is a big step forward and is a strong system that should be supported by everyone Students at MVHS may have to get used to these low scores, because the assessments are no longer multiple choice: Students are expected to arrive at an answer, explain how they got there and defend their answer.

More on Common Core


California will administer Smarter Balanced Assessment in spring 2014


all 3rd-8th grade students will take it, select 9th,10th and 11th will take


Alaska, Nebraska, Texas, Virginia and Minnesota have yet to adopt standards

Critics of Common Core say that the standards are vague and too broad. But the public just has to give it some time, since it is still being finalized. It will take time to gauge the effects of the new standards nationwide. As time passes, the standards will become more specific as experimentation happens. While the cost of implementation puts financial burden on the schools this is an inevitable byproduct of innovation. It is simply the question of opportunity cost. Do we want to improve our standards of education in this nation? Or should we save money but watch the quality of education deteriorate?

Low passing rates on the new version of testing were predicted (in New York, the passing rate was 31 percent). But this is expected as teachers and students have not had time to adapt to the change. As everyone gets more familiar with the standards, scores will improve. For example, when STAR testing was first implemented in 2002, 35 percent of students scored proficient or better in math, science, and English-Language Arts, and 29 percent scored proficient or better in history or social science. But for every year after that until STAR testing was abolished, there was improvement in scores, according to EdSource.

The benefits of Common Core are vast. Common Core focuses on interdisciplinary literacy so that students learn how to express their thoughts in writing not only in English and language arts but in math and science as well. Common Core will better prepare our generation for college and careers. The critical thinking skills that Common Core fosters will help students in the future instead of having them rely on rote memorization to get by. Students often cram and just memorize facts, but after the test all the information goes out the window and the learning that was done is wasted.

Futhermore, Common Core standards are internationally benchmarked. This means the United States’ standards will compare better to other countries’ standards if Common Core succeeds. According to a Nov. 10, San Jose Mercury News print article, Common Core will train students to focus on fewer skills, relate them to each other and use them to solve real life problems. Instead of spreading themselves thin with concepts they know only vaguely, students will learn to master a few concepts.

Students and their families who had to move frequently before had to adjust to different standards and testing when each state had their own individual standards. But with Common Core, all the standards are uniform. This creates a universal standard that all states can be compared by eliminating the problem of the inablity to compare states because each had a different set of standards.

Common Core can only help this nation’s education problem.Too many students rely on rote memorization to get by. People should give it a try before objecting to it and should learn more about the standards before jumping to conclusions.