Common Core effects remain unseen

Impact of national standards remains unnoticeable among incoming classes, yet education majors learn to teach under these standards.


Marika Adamopoulos

Matthew Maitz/THE CHIMES

Melissa Hedrick, Writer

The Common Core standards implemented in the majority of high schools in the United States have received criticism for the way different topics in math and English are now being taught. Though standards and accompanying assessments were first adopted in 2010 and implemented on a national level by 2014, it is still too soon to see results at the collegiate level, said Dennis Eastman, director of teacher education.

Fostering Deeper Understanding

“We are in a, literally on, the continuum — you have some schools that were ready to go, and some schools that were so far behind they couldn’t even see the starting line on the Common Core concept,” Eastman said. “The complexity of us rolling it out and getting trained and having the teachers be comfortable with it has been significant, let alone introducing it well to the students.”

The standards were established in order to foster a deeper understanding of concepts that K through 12 students are learning in math and English. This plays a role in the larger goal of preparing students to be college and career-ready.  

“The philosophy behind it was great — depth, more understanding. This is what we always do at college, in fact, that’s why so many people come in from high school and they really struggle with their first two or three math classes,” said William Wade, chair of math and computer science.

Bridging Gaps

One example that junior liberal studies, elementary education major Lauren Ades gave was the process of modeling which helps students better understand math. The idea behind modeling is to bridge the gap between hands-on learning and assessment testing. On a test, students would not have access to counting cubes to help them better understand a given problem, but modeling would be similar in that a student could use paper and a pencil to draw a beneficial representation of what they are envisioning.

“I think something that Biola has been really good about is preparing us not only to understand Common Core, but understand how to teach Common Core. So it’s not something to be afraid of, it’s something that we should aspire to understand to be able to teach students on their level,” Ades said.


Eastman said some Common Core standards have elicited a negative reaction. This has also caused some individuals to be unhappy with the training Biola’s School of Education students have received on implementing and working with these standards.

“We’ve been criticized for teaching Common Core,” Eastman said. “We cannot pull out of public schools as Christians — I think there needs to be more Christian teachers in public schools. So are we supposed to stop teaching standards-based education because somebody doesn’t like it? I can’t do that. We would close down the school and we have to pack up and go home.”

Concerns and Effects

Though the effect Common Core has on incoming students has not yet been seen, the effects of standardized testing are evident. There is concern that this set of standards and testing will not be much different than previous initiatives such as No Child Left Behind.

“Students are already coming into college with a fair amount of testing anxiety and educational anxiety, and that’s from No Child Left Behind,” said Aurora Matzke, co-director of the writing program at Biola. “So, really all we’ve done is we said, ‘That’s not working, so we’re going to amp it up.’”

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