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Gold Standards?: State Standards Reform and Student Achievement

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  • Goodman, Joshua

    (Harvard University)

Abstract

Proponents of the recent and widely adopted Common Core State Standards argue that high quality curricular standards are critical to students' educational success. Little clear evidence exists, however, linking the quality of such standards to student achievement. I remedy this by connecting data on state-level student achievement from 1994-2011 with measures of the quality of states' curricular standards as judged by two independent organizations at three different moments in time. I show that, within states, changes in the quality of standards have little impact on overall student achievement. Improved standards do, however, raise achievement of 8th graders in low-scoring states, particularly for low-scoring students. Given the known weaknesses of U.S. middle schools, this result suggests that standards may be beneficial in settings where pedagogy would otherwise be poor.

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  • Goodman, Joshua, 2012. "Gold Standards?: State Standards Reform and Student Achievement," Working Paper Series rwp12-031, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
  • Handle: RePEc:ecl:harjfk:rwp12-031
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    1. Schwerdt, Guido & West, Martin R., 2013. "The impact of alternative grade configurations on student outcomes through middle and high school," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 97(C), pages 308-326.
    2. Goodman, Joshua Samuel, 2012. "The Labor of Division: Returns to Compulsory Math Coursework," Scholarly Articles 9403178, Harvard Kennedy School of Government.
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    Cited by:

    1. Hill, Andrew J., 2014. "The costs of failure: Negative externalities in high school course repetition," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 43(C), pages 91-105.

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