State content standards study show little overlap on core curriculum

iStock_000025474831XSmallThe U.S.does not have a national curriculum for math and language arts , but many states do have their own content standards, raising the question, do states share a core curriculum?

After reviewing standards from 31 states collected by the Wisconsin Center for Educational Research (WCER) at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, researchers concluded that there is little alignment between state standards and only a small core curriculum for grades K-8, says a recent article in Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis.They also found little alignment with national professional content standards.

“Neither are states’ content standards particularly well aligned to the NCTM (National Council of Teachers of Mathematics) standards and the NSE (National Science Education) standards as some have claimed,” the researchers write. “Many states say in the description of their standards that they have drawn heavily from the national professional content standards.”

The researchers generated content maps from the state standards, like topographical maps, from Excel software to examine the common core curriculum among states. The researchers created cells that represented content accounting for more than 1% of the content standards in Grades K–8.

In language arts, researchers identified 11 cells (Comprehension strategies, writing organization, comprehension strategies, public speaking/oral presentation, writing support and elaboration, capitalization and punctuation, writing purpose/audience/context, expository writing, prewriting, comprehension strategies, and narrative writing). The cells represented between 10.5% and 18.1% of each state’s total curriculum, with a mean value of 13.4%.

In mathematics , researchers identified 13 cells accounting for more than 1% of content standards Grades K-8 (Estimation, add/subtract whole numbers , number comparisons, time/temperature, number comparisons, summarize data in a table/graph, simple probability, whole data numbers, solve nonroutine problems, summarize data in a table graph/conjecture/generalize and add/subtract whole numbers). The 13 cells represented between 14.0% and 30.2% of each state’s total curriculum with a mean value of 18.6%.

In science, researchers identified 8 cells with those cells representing between 15.3% and 35.9% of the content of each state’s total curriculum, with a mean value of 21.7%.

“Is There a de Facto National Intended Curriculum? Evidence From State Content Standards,” Andrew C. Porter et al., Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, Fall 2009, Vol. 31, No. 3, pp. 215–229.

Leave a Reply

  • (will not be published)