Standardized Test Scores Drop As Maryland Adopts Common Core Curriculum

A July 23 Washington Post article reports on a statewide drop in standardized test scores for 2013 that educators blame on the transition to the new federal “Common Core” curriculum standards.  The educators allege in the article that the tests no longer align with the new curriculum and need to be revised.

A Washington Post analysis of test data Maryland released Tuesday shows that almost every county in the state saw a decline at both the elementary and middle school levels.   …The Post’s analysis combined passing rates for reading and math. It found that the statewide average passing rate at the elementary level, which includes third, fourth and fifth graders, was 85 percent, down from 88 percent last year. At the middle school level, which includes sixth, seventh and eighth graders, Maryland students had an average passing rate of 78 percent, a decline of 1 percentage point.

Maryland officials cautioned that the overall decline in state test scores does not reflect that children are learning less, but instead that the state’s standardized tests no longer reflect what educators are teaching in the classroom. As the state has been implementing new national education standards — known as the Common Core — classroom curriculum  has been tailored to the new approaches, at the expense of test performance on the soon-to-be-obsolete state exams.

“It means we are in transition,” State Superintendent of Schools Lillian M. Lowery said, adding that the state’s 24 school systems largely attributed the declines to the outdated test. “Nobody likes a drop, but we have to tell the story why.”

The article also notes that forty-five states and the District of Columbia have now adopted the Common Core standards.  Revised standardized tests that will more accurately reflect the new standards will not be in place until at least 2014.

Other July 23 and 24 coverage on the 2013 test scores and Common Core transition: Baltimore SunCapital-Gazette, Carroll County Times, Cumberland Times-News, Frederick News-Post, and the

Maryland State Department of Education Common Core Standards Description