Raising the Bar

The Economist June 15th 2013

Education: Raising the Bar

Chicago:  A Battle Over School Standards

“…the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers have been pushing for “Common Core” national standards in maths and English.  Forty-five states have said they will adopt them.  Science standards are being developed by a separate group of 26 states, and were released in April.  

The Common Core sets out the essential skills that pupils are expected to learn in every grade… The most important question, naturally is whether tougher standards will lead to better results.  In rich countries, school systems with exams based on robust national standards (ie, similar to Common Core) perform 16 pints better on the PISA test (an international benchmark) than school systems without them, says Andreas Schleicher, an education expert at the OECD, a rich-country think-tank. This puts them half a school year ahead. The effect is larger than almost any other national variable.”  

Raising the bar and lowering the bar are track and field idioms, the first makes jumps more difficult, the second easier.  Common Core School Standards will be tougher than current state standards.

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