This study provides a first look at how student college and career readiness have progressed in the early years of Common Core State Standards (CCSS) implementation. Using longitudinal administrative data from Kentucky, an early adopter of the CCSS, it followed three cohorts of students from the end of the 8th grade to the end of the 11th grade and found that students exposed to the CCSS—including students in both high- and low-poverty schools—made faster progress in learning than similar students who were not exposed to the standards. Although it is not conclusive whether cross-cohort improvement was entirely attributable to the standards reform, the study found that students made large gains in proficiency in the years immediately before and after the transition. Additionally, student performance in subjects that adopted CCSS-aligned curriculum framework experienced larger, more immediate improvement than student performance in subjects that carried over last-generation curriculum frameworks.
While this study and its information is not presented in the most visually appealing format, its value comes from findings that begin to shed light on the question of whether CCSS can deliver on the promise of improving college and career readiness. While it is not conclusive in its findings that student scores increased due to Kentucky’s implementation of CCSS, it does report that, during a time of transition to CCSS, there was no apparent disruption to student learning in the short-term, especially in high-poverty schools.