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Schmidt: Common Core Math Standards can improve student achievement

Michigan State University College of Education News

May 3, 2012

Michigan State University Distinguished Professor William Schmidt today released key conclusions from his research detailing how the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) for mathematics can potentially improve the performance of U.S. students if implemented appropriately. In an event co-sponsored by Achieve, Chiefs for Change and the Foundation for Excellence in Education, Schmidt presented a briefing on his work: Common Core State Standards Math: The Relationship Between High Standards, Systemic Implementation and Student Achievement.

Schmidt explained during the event that the CCSS for mathematics strongly resemble the standards of the highest-achieving nations, and that they have more focus, coherence and rigor than most of the state standards they replaced. He also found states with standards most like the CCSS for mathematics have higher scores on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), demonstrating that standards – and implementing them well – matter.

“What is clear in the research is that the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics are an important improvement over the state standards that they replaced and that to see their full potential realized, they must be implemented well,” said Schmidt. “Their consistency with the international benchmark set by top-achieving countries shows that the CCSS are coherent, focused and rigorous, key attributes of math standards from countries that outperform the U.S. on international assessments.”

Schmidt used existing research on international mathematics standards that identified the key characteristics possessed by the world’s top performing “A+” countries. Research on the standards of the “A+” countries, whose eighth graders performed at the top of the international distribution, indicated three key features of strong mathematics standards: focus, coherence, and rigor. A statistical analysis of the CCSS for mathematics found a 90% overlap between the CCSS and the “A+” standards.

Furthermore, Schmidt’s research reviewed all 50 states’ previous math standards and compared them to the focus and coherence found in the CCSS for mathematics.

Read the full release from Achieve.

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