CCSS = Cargo Cult State Standards

April 30, 2012

(Guest post by Greg Forster)

Over the transom this weekend came the latest “research” from Common Core advocates:

New Research Links Common Core Math Standards to Higher Achievement

Pretty amazing since CC hasn’t even been implemented yet! I’ve seen some impressive research design accomplishments in my time, but this is a whole new level. This is “pre-search!”

So how’d they manage to pull off this amazing feat?

Schmidt’s work focuses on the strong resemblance of the CCSS for mathematics to the standards of the highest-achieving nations; the improvement in focus, coherence and rigor of the CCSS for mathematics beyond the state standards they replaced; and the link between higher National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP) mathematics scores and states with standards closely aligned to the CCSS for mathematics.


And now, on a totally unrelated topic:

The term “cargo cult” has been used metaphorically to describe an attempt to recreate successful outcomes by replicating circumstances associated with those outcomes, although those circumstances are either unrelated to the causes of outcomes or insufficient to produce them by themselves.

But wait – it gets better!

The metaphorical use of “cargo cult” was popularized by physicist Richard Feynman…[who] coined the phrase “cargo cult science” to describe science that had some of the trappings of real science (such as publication in scientific journals) but lacked a basis in honest experimentation.

Or as Jay put it just the other day:

There is a cynical habit in the education policy world to fund and promote analyses that people know or should know to be faulty as long as those analyses advance their cause.  Shaming those who engage in this cynical practice by revealing the obvious flaws in Tucker’s work was the purpose of my review.

Image HT Roy Spencer