Uncommon Unity on Common Subjects

Ohio recently joined eight other states in a pilot effort to develop a common Algebra II assessment (Algebra II is required under the Ohio Core), as well as a uniform set of standards to go with it. The effort is led by Achieve, Inc., a national education reform group led by governors and CEOs, and includes (besides Ohio) Arkansas, Kentucky, Indiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island. Among its benefits, the pilot could help set a rigorous, across-the-board standard for student scores of “proficient” or better. And participating states are discussing ways to report scores to college placement offices in order to align testing standards with the expectations of college-level coursework. Achieve’s president Mike Cohen sees the Algebra II pilot as just the tip of the iceberg. “Now we’re open to talking with the participating states as to whether they want to take this further,” he said. We hope they succeed (see here ). After all, core content subjects shouldn’t mean different things in different places. The Buckeye State and its cohorts deserve much praise for showing some uncommon unity (and leadership) on some common academic subjects.

9 States to Give Common Math Test,” by Nancy Zuckerbrod, Washington Post, April 10, 2007.