Much of the criticism levied at the Common Core standards is directed to Kindergarten and first grades. The complaint is that some of the standards are difficult for some children to achieve, because they are “developmentally inappropriate”.
People like Dan Willingham and Ben Riley (of Deans for Impact) while not directly refuting such criticism, make a case that there are no set stages for when children develop. Children develop at different rates. Their reason for such statements may be a refutation of theories that developed from Piaget–notably from his disciple Constance Kamii who claims that teaching children standard algorithms prior to grade 4 does them harm because they are not yet “ready”. Doing so earlier eclipses the understanding, and results in a rote “math by doing” rather than “math by knowing”.
Point taken from Willingham and Riley. Nevertheless, there are some things we shouldn’t expect from all children at certain ages. So it is nice to see an article that articulates the “developmentally inappropriate” argument using the same framework that Willingham and Riley use.
“The average age that a child learns to be an independent reader is about six and a half. Some learn to read at four, and others at seven, and both extremes are developmentally normal. In fourth grade, kids who learned to read at four are typically not any better at reading than those who started at seven. Countries like Finland and Sweden, which outpace the United States in international testing, do not even start formal academic schooling until age seven.
“We need to respect children’s individual developmental timelines. The idea that “earlier is better” for reading instruction is simply not supported by research evidence. Children’s long-term achievement and self-identities as readers and students can be damaged when they are introduced to reading and literacy too early.”