The implementation of the No Child Left Behind Act was a good thing in theory; however, in reality did not work as effectively as it was intended. Many high schools across the nation found their student ACT scores were actually decreasing rather than increasing and their state tests were reflecting a poor retention of the material they had learned throughout the course of the year. When asked about this, some teachers would reply that they had no time to teach all of the materials needed, so they would only teach what they thought to be included on the state tests and hope the rest of the materials would fall into place.
The Common Core Standards is a newer methodology that hopes to take the place of No Child Left Behind and many states have already began its implementation into the elementary curriculum. The Common Core Standards hopes to eventually increase student ACT scores by helping students learn materials presented to them in the different groups (reading, mathematics, language) on various levels of cognitive comprehension, rather than simply giving the students a didactic lecture and expecting them to retain the information for the entire year.
The Common Core Standards will build off of a foundation of the lower level of comprehension (memorization) and move to higher levels of comprehension (analytical thinking and rationale). Hopefully, by following this method, students will actually learn the material and use it over and over until it is second nature for them and once the ACT test time approaches, they will be more thoroughly prepared as well as more knowledgeable in general.
Currently, there are around fourteen states that have implemented or made the decision to implement the Common Core Standards and there are expected to be many to follow. The states that have chosen this implementation decided it best to begin with the elementary grade levels so the students would become accustomed to this learning process early on in their academic careers. This does seem to make sense when one stops to think about the fact most students will learn to read in the lower grades, specifically kindergarten and first grade, and those students who are slow to get started with reading seem to have the most problems throughout the entire time they are enrolled in an academic institution.
The government realizes No Child Left Behind did not meet the theoretical goals it had set and is hopeful the new Common Core Standards will be something which helps students to fully understand the material and help them become more competitive as we move further into the 21st century and compete more vigorously for jobs in engineering, the sciences, and technology.
The United States has dropped from number one in educational status when compared to other countries and it is hoping this will help bring us back to the top due to the fact more jobs are going overseas and more jobs are becoming remotely based rather than having to commute. There will be several years before data reveals the numbers as to whether this is a success or not, but the US and its schools are hopeful.