Key Coverage

Common Core at Four: Sizing Up the Enterprise

The Common Core State Standards have been reshaping the American education landscape for four years, leaving their mark on curriculum and instruction, professional development, teacher evaluation, the business of publishing, and the way tests are designed.

Even as those touchpoints of schooling shift with the new standards, another key milestone hovers. A year from now, all but a handful of states will do something they’ve never done before—give exams based on one shared set of standards. In fact, more than three dozen of those states will use two shared sets of assessments, too.

It’s an unprecedented level of change in a K-12 system that has long prized its ability to make curriculum and testing decisions at the state and local levels.

As Education Week explores in this special report, however, the initial vision for the standards—and for aligned assessments—is now bumping up against reality on the ground in states, school districts, and local communities.