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Last week, the Nation’s Report Card was released and there is exciting news for kids in Tennessee and Washington, DC: As early adopters of the Common Core State Standards, students and teachers are seeing gains in college and career readiness at historic levels.
Washington, DC and Tennessee students made the largest academic gains in the country in both math and reading on the National Assessment of Educational Progress, or NAEP. Administered every two years, 4th and 8th grade students are tested in math and reading against college and career ready benchmarks. NAEP is widely respected as the most accurate measurement of student achievement because it assesses critical thinking skills and deep understanding in math and reading, and it is the only assessment that gives us comparable results across the states.
Both DC and Tennessee adopted the Common Core State Standards in 2010 and immediately began implementation – a move that is paying off with the release of the 2013 NAEP results last week.
“The NAEP results are a testament to our hard working teachers and students across the state who have risen to the challenge of higher standards. It’s exciting to see the Common Core State Standards helping create such big wins for kids in Tennessee.”
How much progress did DC and Tennessee make? DC saw a 22-point increase since 2011 on all four tests – more than any other state in the history of NAEP. Tennessee’s average score increased 21 points on all four tests. Both Tennessee and DC had increases four times the national average. In eight other states that have also made the early transition to the Common Core—Kentucky, Delaware, Georgia, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, and North Carolina—students also improved in one or more grades or subjects.
What can we learn from Tennessee and DC? First, that early adoption of the Common Core State Standards is beginning to pay off. Not only have they asked teachers to use the new standards, but they have also provided resources and support, like updating instructional materials to reflect the new learning standards, so that teachers and students alike have the tools they need. It's working: students are responding to the hard work of educators in Tennessee and DC, and they’re responding through historic increases to proficiency levels in reading and math.
Congratulations to the students and teachers that are proving that remarkable progress is possible with hard work, higher standards and a commitment to a better education for all kids.