Common Core: Raising the Bar for Failure

Reilly Van Dyke, Staff Writer


As college students, we might remember being in middle school and high school and having a considerable amount of state testing. However, students now entering the public school system will be tested now more than ever before. With an increased emphasis on standardized tests, students will be taking more state exams and will be tested on material that they’ve yet to learn about in the classroom.
Increases in standardized testing are of concern to many parents and teachers, who are worried as to how this will affect students’ chances of getting accepted into college.
Scores are used to compare the results of students from one year to the next. For example, the results of an 8th grade science exam taken at one school will be compared to the results of the students who take the exam the following year. However, what these standardized tests fail to do is take into account the personal progress a student has made over the course of a school year. These exams also don’t take into consideration how well or how poorly a school is doing to educate its students. Furthermore, these tests give no indication of the type of programs a school offers for the students’ development.  Some schools offer a variety of programs in art, music and other subjects, while other schools don’t. This all is important when taking into consideration how well a student is learning and developing in school.
According to, there has been an increased emphasis on standardized testing since the passage of the federal No Child Left Behind Act of 2002. Having the risk of losing federal funds and receiving federal sanctions, schools are doing everything they can to comply with the law. This includes conducting annual testing in reading and math for grades 3 through 8, at least once in grades 10 through 12 and they must be tested in science in at least one grade in elementary school, middle school or high school.
However, these requirements are only the bare minimum; most schools are doing much more. It also varies from state to state as to how much testing students will have to complete before graduating high school.
There has been great debate concerning how high the standards should be when it comes to taking these exams. State standards vary; while some have chosen to keep their standards the same since 2007, when all 50 states were required to adopt some form of common core standards, most states have chosen to increase their standards.
The purpose of these tests?  To have schools with students who are focused, driven and able to meet basic proficiency levels, while still achieving basic skills. The education departments in every state want to make sure that teachers are being held accountable for what goes on in the classroom. But with the bar continuing to be raised higher and higher, the concern of whether or not students are being tested too much and/or too strictly has come to the surface.

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