Thursday, March 19, 2015

EdReports: Almost All Publishers Fail Common Core Math is a reformster non-profit set up to be the Consumer Reports of educational materials in the Age of Common Core. I wrote about them back in August of 2014, when they first hit the collective radar, and back then it looked easy to see where this was headed-- a well-connected group funded and backed by the Usual Suspects would presumably provide great "impartial" marketing cover for the major publishers.

Well, fast forward to now, and watch me eat my words. EdReports has stood up proud and tall and kicked the major edupublishers right where it hurts.

You can get the quick view in this handy chart.

EdReports looked at all the major publishers of math series. They checked for alignment with the Common Core and only one publisher met expectations across the board. Two partially met expectations, and McGraw-Hill was a winner in grades 4-5. All the rest failed their Common Core alignment test.

Holt McDougal. Fail.

Math in Focus. Fail.

Saxon. Fail.

And yes, Pearson's series only partially didn't fail.

The only series deemed to successfully align with Common Core was Eureka Math. From K-8, they are the only series that EdReports says will meet the requirements of Common Core.

EdReports also looked at Focus and Coherence, and again, many of the major players failed. Yes, including Pearson.

The executive director of EdReports is Eric Hirsch, and if you're guessing he's taking a few heated calls lately, you'd appear to be correct. Liana Heitin is covering this story in the latest print version of Education Week under the headline "Backlash Brews Over Critical Review of Math Materials," and that backlash appears to be from a whole bunch of grumpy parents who are upset that their pride and joy, their bouncing baby math books, are being stuck in the Remedial Group.

Methodology has been questioned and will be debated at length, but the rundown at the EdReports suggests at the very least that this is not a quick, ugly glance. At the very least, I'm figuring that if EdReports knew they were going to call out Pearson et al, they would make sure they'd done their homework.

This is kind of extraordinary because, again, this is not an anti-reform outfit. They were bankrolled by the Gates Foundation, as well as Hewlett and Hemsley money, and director Hirsch comes from the New Teacher Center and the Center for Teacher Quality. I think less of myself for experiencing a little wiggle of happiness when I see reformsters devouring each other; I'm going to start working on that tomorrow.

Diane Briars, president of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics thinks EdReports blew it. But Morgan Polikoff of USC and William Schmidt at Michigan State agree, according to Heitin, that "claims of common-core alignment are generally unfounded."

So if you're using Eureka Math, congratulations. If you own stock in Eureka Math, double congratulations. Everybody else-- it turns out you're not really doing the core after all. One more example of how the core standards are a botch as standards from top to bottom. And now they may stop working as even a passable marketing strategy.



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  2. @Mark,

    There may be a number of valid complaints against the Common Core State Standards, but yours isn't one of them. There is nothing the standards that mentions race or political party affiliation at all. You've been misinformed.

  3. Regarding the comment that it would be easy to predict where EdReports was going. Perhaps we fellow curmudgeons misinterpreted where it was going. With most recent data published by EdReports this is more clear:
    Illustrative Mathematics curriculum/ textbooks received incredibly high marks from EdReports-one of the few. But wait, its chief author is Dr. Wm McCallum(Common Core), and published by Open Up Resources- a non-profit funded by Hewlett, Helmsley and Gates Foundations.
    As it turns out, of course, so is
    We already know who the primary lobbying forces behind Common Core were.

    Problem defined, solution presented, implemented, reviewed and graded by the same funding sources? Would this be like teaching to the test? Perhaps, but only if the teacher was allowed to make up her own test.