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When is Common Core not Common Core?



When you call it the "Florida Standards" and add cursive and calculus. But also when you slap the term on a textbook without making many changes to the actual content.

University of Southern California assistant professor Morgan Polikoff found this to be the case in Florida mathematics textbooks, according to his latest blog post for Education Week.

In his post, he notes that three Florida math books touted as revised to align with the Common Core differed little from previous versions that were supposed to be teaching the state's Next Generation standards, which aren't the same:

"I compared the textbooks to prior versions of the same textbook series that claimed alignment to Florida's standards. I found substantial agreement (60-95%, depending how defined) indicating that publishers used much of the same material to cover Common Core as to cover Florida's standards. This is despite the fact that the two sets of standards ask for very different content."

He linked to a research paper that further explained that his review of three titles (both pre- and post-Common Core revisions) revealed a 60-70 percent agreement on content, "despite the fact that the alignment of the CCSS grade 4 with the Florida grade 4 NGSSS is only .268." The potential for problems is high, Polikoff writes in the paper, which is still marked "draft":

"Teachers relying on these materials to help them teach the Common Core for fourth grade mathematics will practice misaligned instruction in several ways. For instance, they will systematically fail to teach the advanced cognitive demand levels called for by the standards. They will also overemphasize some standards topics and neglect others. Unless teachers are made aware of these shortcomings of existing curriculum materials and assisted to address them by supplementing their curricula, implementation of the standards may be weaker than is desired."

Polikoff acknowledged that more research is required to determine how widespread the disconnect might be, noting that he reviewed only the three textbooks. He suggested, though, that without improvements, the move to the Common Core could become yet another failed initiative.

[Last modified: Friday, February 21, 2014 12:13pm]


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