PACE Event

Whither Educational Quality in California as We Move Into Common Core?

Martin Carnoy, Stanford University

U.S. states vary widely in their students’ performance on national and international tests. Part of these differences can be explained by compositional differences among states in students’ social class and racial/ethnic backgrounds, but part may also be due to differences in the quality of state school systems. At the same time, it appears that the performance of low, middle and high social class students in mathematics and reading has improved in all states over the past two decades.

In this seminar Martin Carnoy will present data on achievement gains across states and persistent variation among states in student performance. He will also discuss various hypotheses that could explain these phenomena with a focus on the particular case of California, which currently is among the lower scoring U.S. states even when social class differences are accounted for. Carnoy’s presentation will assess what we know about the factors that could explain why California’s students are not doing as well as students in other states and may be making less progress.


  • Martin Carnoy, Vida Jacks Professor of Education, Stanford University