A 2014 Recap, and Common-Core Headlines You Probably Won’t See in 2015

By Catherine Gewertz — December 29, 2014 2 min read
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It’s been another eventful year in the curriculum world. Judging by our most-read blog posts of 2014, you’ve been very keen on monitoring how the common core, and its tests, will affect classroom instruction.

Our most widely read blog post this year examined troubling racial and gender patterns in AP coursetaking. Also in the top five were posts about math: one about PARCC math performance tasks, and another about the common core’s approach to teaching fractions.

Math was clearly on your minds this year; you devoured posts on the math problem that went viral because of a frustrated dad, on how to reduce “math anxiety,” and on whether teachers should stop teaching calculus in high school.

Many of you clicked through to read about the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics’ new guidance on common-core math practices. And you showed a lot of love for our post about elementary teachers rethinking their math strategies in the wake of the common core.

You were extremely attentive, too, to any moves by the big college-prep companies to change their curricula or assessments. Tons of you clicked on our post about ACT’s plan to drop the PLAN and EXPLORE tests, for instance. Also in our top five was a post about the Republican National Committee blasting the College Board for its new AP U.S. History framework. Not far behind: the College Board’s announcement that it would “clarify” the new framework.

Many of you were tracking a challenge to the Next Generation Science Standards, because you clearly were interested in a judge’s dismissal of that lawsuit in Kansas.

Testing is still high on your mind. One of our most widely read posts was about the rising tide of testing opposition in states and districts. Another was a report that Tennessee dropped out of PARCC.

2015 will doubtless be another banner year for the common core, as teachers translate the standards into instruction, and states and districts batten down for the first crop of results from PARCC, Smarter Balanced and other new common-core assessments. Given our experiences the last few years, we’re confident that we can offer you a list of headlines you probably won’t see in 2015.

10. Girls Outnumber Boys in STEM Courses

9. Republican Lawmakers: Common Core Represents ‘the Best of American Values’

8. Math Teachers’ Group: ‘Memorizing, Calculating, Sufficient’ for Common Core

7. States Flock Back to PARCC, Smarter Balanced Tests

6. Common-Core Tests Deliver on Promise of Cross-State Comparability

5. State Ed. Chief: Common-Core Results Show ‘We Need to Lower the Bar’

4. Testing Opposition Eases: Parents, Activists Embrace ‘Insights Gained’ From Testing

3. ESEA Reauthorization Doubles Down on Annual Testing

2. Most Students Score in ‘College-Ready’ Zone on Tough New Assessments

1. And, for the second year running: Secretary Duncan Declines to Back Common Core, Acknowleges His Support ‘Created Appearance’ of Federal Overreach

May the rest of your holiday season be joyously free of any curriculum or assessment preoccupations. And may 2015 be a rockin’ good year for teaching and learning.

A version of this news article first appeared in the Curriculum Matters blog.