CQ Researcher: Does Common Core help students learn critical thinking? No.

The April 2015 issue of CQ Researcher includes a question on Common Core: Does Common Core help students learn critical thinking?

My answer is: No, and I argue in part:

Accountability and standards intended to drive higher expectations of students — expectations labeled today as “critical thinking” or “higher-order thinking skills” — always come down to this: What is tested is what is taught. Because all states implementing Common Core have also adopted high- stakes testing, students will not be asked to think critically. They will be prepared to take tests.

In the context of standardized testing, higher-order thinking skills are not critical but are discrete skills that lend themselves to efficient teaching and testing formats. True critical thinking involves investigating a text — moving beyond decoding and comprehension to challenging claims and agendas and examining historical influences. Thus, it is difficult to test in multiple-choice formats….

Ironically, a critical reading of Common Core standards exposes a commitment to more of the same failed approach that masks yet more test prep as critical thinking.

While CQ Researcher is subscription-only, if you are university-based, you are likely to have access.

See Teaching Critical Thinking, and then Pro/Con.


New Criticism, Close Reading, and Failing Critical Literacy Again

Research-based Options for Education Policymaking: Common Core State Standards, William Mathis

One thought on “CQ Researcher: Does Common Core help students learn critical thinking? No.

  1. I learned real critical thinking while in my high school social studies classes. Teachers would ask us to evaluate the pros and cons of some past historical political event and we would argue with each other back and forth. I remember my 10th grade social studies teacher asking the question: What should one do when the government refuses to listen to the electorate? A most relevant question today.

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