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شنبه, 21 سپتامبر 2019
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What’s missing from Common Core standards

Daniel Willingham - The discussions regarding whether or not adopting the Common Core standards will improve education is, to me, emblematic of a larger issue. When we adopt education policies at the state or federal level, the belief that they will improve things is not based on anything much more solid than faith or hope.
Two weeks ago I argued that it will be difficult to evaluate whether adopting the Common Core standards is, overall, a good move, because so many factors go into student outcomes (and interact with one another) that a positive change in one factor might yield no difference in student performance.
In other words, if we don’t have a good understanding of the system, what reason is there to think that we can accurately predict what will happen when we make changes to the system?
Last week I described two broad research strategies that might help us analyze our complex education system so that we could predict how education policy changes ought to affect student outcomes, and thereby select optimal policy changes.
One strategy would be to work towards quantitative, system-wide models (likely at the state level). The other would be to conduct much larger scale epidemiological studies of classroom, school, and district practices. (Here’s an example of the sort of thing I’m talking about.)
If I’m right, the political implications are twofold.
First, we don’t really know what we’re doing in education policy, beyond a very rough cut.
We can feel confident only in making bland statements like “good standards are better than bad standards.”

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