The mysteries of the classroom: What works, what doesn’t and why

Jay Matthews:

When I try to learn more about schools, I often feel as if I am struggling to get inside a black box — the mysterious classroom. I can get data on what goes into the box, such as the backgrounds of teachers and students. I can measure what comes out of the box — test scores, graduation rates and student work.

But what happens inside the classroom is hard to quantify.

This is particularly true of the major educational reform of this era, the Common Core State Standards. The project of the National Governors Association and Council of Chief State School Officers was designed to use research results to remake K-12 teaching. It recommended more lessons about the real world, more nonfiction reading and writing, and more unified math instruction.