Researchers: Text Complexity of Common Core May Be a Problem in Early Grades

Diane Ravitch's blog

Elfrieda H. Hiebert and Heidi Anne E. Mesmer published an article in a recent issue of Educational Research about the problems posed by Common Core’s demand for “rigorous” and complex text in the early grades.

The researchers show how the writers of the Common Core have raised expectations and “text complexity” for children in the early grades, even though research is scant. Most children do not reach the level that NAEP define as “proficient.” The Common Core tests will raise demands on students in second and third grades to prepare them for college-readiness. The authors ask the obvious question: “When a majority of students is already failing to attain the proficient level, will pushing down demands increase their engagement?” 

Hiebert and Mesmer urge that more study and research are needed before raising the bar so high that many more children will fail. They conclude: Increasing the pressure on the primary…

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