Are Colleges Keeping Up With the Common Core?

By the numbers, 43 states have adopted the Common Core State Standards.  In addition, more than 200 higher education leaders have expressed their support for the national standards. However, there seems to be evidence that colleges themselves are not doing their part to advance the cause of the common core by having their entry level courses correspond both in terms of course expectations and grading criteria. And so, one must ask, is there a disconnect between the way we are teaching our students in high school and the way they are being taught and tested in college? The answer is “yes.”

Personally, I think the issue is not one of either stubbornness or neglect. Rather, I believe that this disconnect is the direct result of the fact that we are still in a transition period from what was an era of state-based standards to one of nationally-based standards.

How students are taught to read and write under the Common Core State Standards is not dramatically different from how they were taught before. The main difference is that holistic grading has been replaced by standards based grading, and end-of-the-year tests such as PARCC and Smarter Balanced measure student achievement according to specific strands, or objectives.

While it will surely take some time, elementary schools, middle schools, high schools, and colleges will all operate under the same set of rules, measure according to the same set of standards, and guide according to the same set of teaching principles. Change does not happen overnight, and nowhere is this more true than in the wide open wild, wild west that is America as we journey along the path of change.