Texas has just released a side-by-side comparison of their English and math college and career readiness standards with a draft of the same type of standards produced by the Common Core State Standards Initiative (CCSSI) led by NGA and CCSSO. I’ve been waiting for a state to do this sort of analysis and it is an interesting read. I was most struck by the fact that the Texas team found “strong alignment” between the Texas and CCSSI standards in many areas. Their gap analysis does list standards that Texas has but the CCSSI does not (at least in the summer 2009 draft they were working from). These items are worth paying attention to. They include:
• Analyze works of literature for what they suggest about the historical period and cultural context in which they were written;
• Use effective reading strategies to determine a written work’s purpose and intended audience;
• Identify and analyze the audience, purpose, and message of an informative or persuasive text;
• Geometric reasoning that makes connections between geometry, statistics and probabilities;
• Connecting mathematics to the study of other disciplines by using appropriate mathematical models in the natural, physical and social sciences.
What becomes clear as you read this is that it comes from a state with a great deal of pride in their standards. There hasn’t been a chance yet to see how these new standards will affect their NAEP performance, for example. But after finishing this report one is left wondering how the CCSSI standards might have benefited from Texas’ input at an earlier stage when it really could have mattered.