The Common Core educational initiative may need to have its focus readjusted when it comes to college preparedness.
A study released Thursday by ACT, a testing organization and original supporter of the Common Core State Standards Initiative, showed an increasing disconnect between the curriculum standards and students' abilities to take on college work from the start of their first year, according to professors.
“Although 40 percent of high school teachers report that the Common Core State Standards reflect postsecondary expectations about college readiness, and 40 percent of college instructors concur, far too few college instructors — a substantially lower percentage than in past surveys — report that their incoming students are well prepared for college-level work,” the study said.
And while familiarity with Common Core has remained fairly constant, the support from college professors who think it prepares students well for higher education has deteriorated over the last four years.
“In 2009 and 2012, the two previous surveys in which we asked this question, 26 percent of college instructors reported, on a four-point scale, that their students’ level of preparation was in the top half of the scale,” the study said. “This year, the percentage was only 16 percent.”
For the first time, the study included feedback from employees and supervisors. ACT asked teachers at all levels, as well as employees and supervisors, to rank 10 skill sets by the importance of avoiding deficiencies to ensure success at that level. Both employees and supervisors valued technology and speaking and listening much more highly than educators across the board, and critical thinking much less. In accordance with that, the study also pointed out the need to improve the use of technology in the classroom.
“Evidence is growing that some students may underperform on computer-based tests not because they lack the knowledge or skill being tested, but because they lack familiarity with the technology itself,” the study said. “While computer-based testing is certainly not always available for classroom assessments, states and districts should allot resources that will enable teachers to expose their students to computers and technology as much as possible.”