Thursday, January 19, 2017

Cross-State Comparison of CCSS Standards Revisions

Abt Associates conducted a cross-state analysis of revisions to the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) made in nine other states as part of a much larger report designed to inform the Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education of the standards review process that has been conducted. The Board had directed the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (ESE) to consult with K-16 educators, curriculum specialists, and others to help identify recommendations for potential improvements to the Massachusetts English Language Arts (ELA) and Literacy and Mathematics Curriculum Frameworks based on lessons learned from implementation of the standards over the previous five year.
Abt initially conducted a broad scan of the standards review processes conducted across states that adopted CCSS, and ultimately settled on a more detailed review of the revised standards in nine states (AL, AR, CA, FL, GA, MS, NJ, OH, and UT) that, like Massachusetts, had revised the Common Core State Standards.

These stayes were selected these states by eliminating the 4 states (AK, NE, TX, VA) that never adopted Common Core State Standards, the 3 states (IN, OK, SC) that reported having repealed or withdrawn from CCSS, the 6 states (LA, MI, MO, PA, TN, WV) in which public accounts indicated that states intended to or had begun a process to repeal or replace CCSS, the 8 states (AZ, ID, IA, KY, MT, NY, ND, SD) undergoing a standards revision process still underway by August 31, 2016, and the 20 states (CO, CT, DE, DC, HI, IL, KS, ME, MD, MN (ELA only), NV, NH, NM, NC, OR, RI, VT, WA, WI, WY) that have made no revisions to CCSS to date.  

Overall 26.5% of mathematics standards across the nine states were revised. No changes were made to 73.5% (2,548) of the standards. The number of standards revised or added by these states ranged from a 17 to 282. Additionally, across the nine states, eight states added 51 total new standards. Some states added standards for new courses. For example, three states added calculus standards and one state added courses for Algebraic Connections, Discrete Mathematics, Mathematical Investigations, and Analytical Mathematics standards.

Among the revisions made in these nine states, the majority (68%) of the math revisions were clarifying changes in which states revised standards’ wording, formatting or notes or made changes to the examples provided. The next most common type of revision (25%) was to add a concept or skill to a standard. Figure 1 shows the percentage of mathematics standards that were revised and not revised, and, among the revised standards, the percentages of each type of revision made across the nine states reviewed. 

Figure 1. Nine-State Analysis of Mathematics Standards Revisions

No change to standard, 73.5%
Change to standard, 26.5% 

Moved cluster, 0.0%
Moved higher, 0.5%
Combined standards, 0.0%
Clarification, 67.8%
Addition, 24.5%
Removed concept/skill from an existing standard 5.6% 

Deleted standard 1.3%
Moved lower, 0.0%
Split standard, 0.2%

English Language Arts 

In ELA, across the nine states reviewed, the average number of changes made to standards was 102 and the number of standards revised by each state ranged from 12 to 330 of total standards.  2,851 (76.8%) ELA standards were not revised and 794 (23.2%) were revised. 

The majority (69.0%) of the ELA revisions were clarifying changes. Adding a concept or skill to a standard was the next most common revision (24.8%). In addition to revising standards, states also added a total of six new ELA standards, with states ranging from adding zero new standards to adding three new standards. Figure 2 below shows the breakdown of changes by type of revision to the ELA standards. 

Figure 2. Nine-State Analysis of ELA Standards Revisions 

No change to standard, 76.8%
Change made to standard, 23.2%
Moved cluster, 0.0% 
Moved higher, 0.1%
Moved lower, 0.2%
Combined standards, 0.0%
Split standard, 0.1%
Clarification, 69.0%
Addition, 24.8%
Deletion, 5.8%
Deleted standard, 0.0% 

On balance, the large majority of changes made in these nine states focused on clarifying the standards already in place. The revisions suggest that states mainly retained the original standards as adopted.

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