Curricular Coherence and the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics

Issue/Topic: Common Core Standards and Assessments; Curriculum--Mathematics
Author(s): Houang, Richard; Schmidt, William
Organization(s): Michigan State University
Publication: Educational Researcher
Published On: 2012

As 46 states move to implement the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics (CCSSM), the hope is they are high quality, internationally competitive standards that will improve achievement for America's children. Some question whether that will happen.

To explore the relationship of the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics (CCSSM) to student achievement

  • A very high degree of similarity exists between the CCSSM and the standards of the highest achieving nations on the 1995 Third International Mathematics and Science Study.
  • A wide variation in the proximity of state standards to the CCSSM was in effect in 2009.
  • After adjusting for cut-points on state assessments and controlling for state demographics related to socioeconomic status and poverty, researchers found that states with standards more like the CCSSM had higher scores on the NAEP.

Policy Implications/Recommendations:
  • The new CCSSM deserve to be seriously implemented.
  • It is time to stop debating the quality of the CCSSM and  move to assuring that the defined content coverage at the classroom level is actually being taught to all children.

Research Design:
Correlational analysis, regression, analysis of covariance techniques

Students who took the NAEP in 2009

Year data is from:


Data Collection and Analysis:
Authors compared the CCSSM with the standards of the highest achieving nations on the TIMSS, then looked at state standards in effect in 2009 and assessed the relationship between the proximity of a state's standards to the CCSSM and performance on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP).


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