Under Construction: Rise, Spread, & Consequences of Common Core State Standards Initiative in the U.S. Education Sector

How has the spread of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) changed relationships among organizations in the K–12 education sector, and what consequences are evident for teaching, learning, and achievement inequality in U.S. schools?

A primary rationale for Common Core State (CCSS) standards was to elevate performance and reduce longstanding economic, racial, ethnic, and English-learner gaps in educational opportunities and academic achievement, particularly in low-performing states and school districts. However, opposition to Common Core had grown. Despite the rhetoric, standards consistent with the Common Core are widespread across the U.S. Yet limited evidence exists specifically on the ramifications of the CCSS for achievement growth and achievement inequality. The investigators will examine if organizing schooling around a set of common standards lead to improvements in students’ academic skills. Secondly, does it do so uniformly for students from different economic, racial, ethnic, and linguistic backgrounds, and for high- and low-resourced districts and schools? Finally, the team will investigate whether setting common standards reduce or exacerbate inequalities. The team will draw on the administrative data and develop models that monitor academic achievement patterns among and within states and districts as they implement (or do not implement) CSSS. The team will also examine how differences in district capacity to implement reform affect achievement patterns.