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March 2011 | Volume 68 | Number 6
What Students Need to Learn
David T. Conley
The Common Core State Standards could transform education—if educators translate them into new curriculum and instruction to get students college and career ready.
A potential sea change is underway in U.S. education. With stunning rapidity, 47 states and the District of Columbia have signed on to replace their state content standards with the recently developed Common Core State Standards. Even more remarkable in some respects, 45 states have joined the two assessment consortia working to replace their existing tests with new assessments aligned with the standards.
These developments create the opportunity for U.S. schools to move beyond test-prep instruction that fosters shallow learning—a practice that seems to have reached epidemic proportions in recent years. Implemented correctly, the common standards and assessments can vault education over the barrier of low-level test preparation and toward the goal of world-class learning outcomes for all students. Implemented poorly, however, the standards and assessments could result in accountability on steroids, stifling meaningful school improvement nationwide.
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Copyright © 2011 by ASCD
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