New National Standards Seek to Make All Students Ready for College

June 02, 2010

Higher-education groups praised a set of a national standards for elementary and secondary education that governors and state education officials announced on Wednesday, saying the guidelines would help improve college preparedness and accessibility.

The National Governors Association Center for Best Practices and the Council of Chief State School Officers collaborated with educators, researchers, and other experts to write the Common Core State Standards, which outline specific expectations for what students should learn across all subjects in kindergarten through fifth grade.

The groups also specified what students in sixth through 12th grade should learn in mathematics and English, as well as levels of literacy in history, science, and technical subjects.

The standards call for increasingly complex and diverse readings and a focus on logic, research, and narrative writing. They also call for a mix of skills learning and conceptual understanding in math.

Officials say meeting the standards will prepare student to be ready for college and the work force.

College officials say they will prepare teachers to help students meet the new standards and will also help the governors' association and school-officers' council determine ways to assess the effectiveness of the standards.

Terry W. Hartle, senior vice president for government and public affairs at the American Council on Education, said that having states work toward common standards for preparing students could help reduce the number of people who need extra academic preparation once they reach college.

"If you're academically prepared for college, you're far more likely to graduate," Mr. Hartle said. "Remedial education is expensive and inefficient, and if we're able to reduce it, we'll be able to focus on college-level work."