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Ridgewood Professor: Common Core Misses Marks

Christopher Tienken has public school administration experience as a PK-12 assistant superintendent, middle school principal, director of curriculum and instruction, and elementary school assistant principal, his website says.
Christopher Tienken has public school administration experience as a PK-12 assistant superintendent, middle school principal, director of curriculum and instruction, and elementary school assistant principal, his website says. Photo Credit: YouTube

RIDGEWOOD, N.J. — A Ridgewood professor is helping to shed light on the shortcomings of the Common Core's standards through a study he recently had published in a superintendent's journal.

Seton Hall University Associate Professor of Education Administration Christopher Tienken — along with Dario Sforza, EdD, and Eunyoung Kim, PhD — are suggesting that former New Jersey high school standards provided more opportunities to engage in creative and strategic thinking than the Common Core standards for the same subjects and grade levels based on the study's findings.

"When you go on the Common Core website they make it clear that it is all about global competence, higher-level thinking and a need for more with kids," Tienken said.

"But the idea of higher-order keeps coming out," he said. "And that's how it's been marketed."

Using Webb’s Depth of Knowledge framework to categorize standardize test questions, Tienken and his peers compared the levels of thinking required by the Common Core State Standards for grades 9-12 in English language arts and math with those required by the New Jersey Core Curriculum Content Standards, the study's abstract says.

The researchers compared cognitive complexity of the Common Core's standards to former New Jersey high school standards and found that the Common Core's standards are more difficult at some grade levels, but isn't exposing students to a higher level of thinking, Tienken said.

"Where the rubber meets the road in the global economy is in the 'so what, and now what,'" Tienken said. "I think the Common Core stops before that just at the 'what,' and we want [educators] to put the 'now what' back in."

Through the study's findings, Tienken has concluded that the Common Core is ineffective way to ensure all public school children are ready to compete in the global economy.

"At the very least we want high school principals and teachers to take it a step further for the kids they teach because we can't count on educational bureaucrat or officials," he said. "They're the people doing the work every day.

"There are no legal hurdles to making your curriculum better," Tienken said.

CLICK HERE for Tienken's article.

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