Higher Standards Are Critical to Preparing Students

Monday, January 5, 2015Printer-friendly version

Too often, recent high school graduates arrive at college unprepared for academic success. Remedial classes, in which students must re-learn material that they should have already mastered in high school, cost precious time and money and make postsecondary degree attainment even more difficult. Secondary and postsecondary educators alike strongly believe that higher academic standards are critical to solving our nation’s college remediation problem. 

Better standards are the first step toward better schools in Hawaii

By Gwen Lee, Yuuko Arikawa, and Mary Carlson, Honolulu Civil Beat

January 4, 2015

“Why did we raise the standards for our teachers and students? Simply put, existing standards — in Hawaii and across the U.S. — were no longer preparing students for the requirements of college or the workforce.

“For example, more than one-third of our public school graduates enroll in remedial college math or English at the University of Hawaii. Nationally, the picture is not any better. More than half of graduates entering two-year colleges face remediation, according to data from 33 states analyzed by a 2012 Complete College America report.”


“So what makes the Hawaii Common Core better? The new standards emphasize the importance of making sure students master key skills and concepts across subject areas as they progress from kindergarten through high school. They promote creative and critical thinking, challenging students to collaborate and sharpen communication skills that are essential to employers. For example, the math standards focus on students’ ability to reason and think outside the box to solve relevant, real-life problems, instead of relying on memorization to find answers to exercises.”

Standards for incoming college students are too low

By John G. Morgan, The Tennessean

December 24, 2014

“About 70 percent of the high school graduates who enter our colleges across the state aren’t prepared for college-level work. These students must complete additional remedial studies before they can begin earning college credit, so they are much less likely to graduate from college or complete their education goals.”


“It’s not because students can’t learn or teachers aren’t effective. The problem is our expectations have been too low. Setting a higher bar for children in elementary and secondary school will ultimately result in better prepared high school graduates.

“We’re already seeing improvements from the education standards put in place four years ago. Tennessee is the fastest improving state in the nation on the 2013 National Assessment of Educational Progress. Tennessee has also made dramatic improvements in student ACT test scores. It all starts with high standards.

“When Tennessee’s higher standards were put in place, educators from our state helped develop the standards and assessments that would appropriately gauge readiness for college and career. We opted in on higher standards because it was a process Tennesseans could influence and we could ultimately compare our progress with other states.”

Common Core facts, not fiction

By Margaret Hays, The Miami County Republic (Kansas)

December 31, 2014

“The Core also seeks to ensure that students graduating from high school are consistently prepared to enter two- and four-year colleges. What’s important to note is that states and school districts are on their own in designing curriculum to meet these standards. The standards establish what students need to learn but do not dictate how teachers should teach. Schools and teachers are to decide how best to help students meet set goals.”


“The goal is to build knowledge through content-rich materials that will enable students to answer verbally or in writing questions calling for careful analysis, resulting in well-defended claims and clear information. The focus on real-world application is the same in math.

“The Common Core gives our schools an opportunity to improve and to become more of a results-oriented system.”

Achieve has developed materials to help states, districts, and others understand the organization and content of the standards and the content and evidence base used to support the standards.

Visit www.achieve.org/achieving-common-core .

If you find a news clip supportive of the Common Core, please send it to Chad Colby at ccolby@achieve.org.