Most states are participating in the initiative led by the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers to develop and adopt voluntary common core state standards that will outline what elementary and secondary school students are expected to learn in English language arts and mathematics. Implementing these standards will require complementary and sometimes complex changes to a host of education policies and programs, from teacher preparation to testing.
To learn more about states’ progress and plans for implementing the common core state standards, the Center on Education Policy (CEP) surveyed state deputy superintendents of education or their designees in October and November of 2010. Responses were received from 42 states and the District of Columbia, which is counted as a state in the tallies in this report. Responses were kept confidential to encourage frank answers.
Key Findings: Several key findings can be drawn from states’ survey responses.
• State officials cited educational quality issues more often than they cited federal Race to Top (RttT) requirements as important factors in their states’ decision to adopt the common core state standards. States that have adopted the common standards most often cited the rigor of the standards and their potential to guide statewide education improvement as very important or important considerations in their decision. Somewhat fewer states cited the possible effect of adopting these standards on their RttT application as very important or important to their decision.
• Many states anticipate it will take until 2013 or later to fully implement the more complex changes associated with the common core state standards.Most of the responding states that have adopted the new standards plan tomake related changes in assessment, curriculum, teacher policies, and other areas, but their timelines for putting in place these changes vary.Most of these states expect to accomplish changes in professional development programs by 2012 or earlier. But many states do not expect to fully implementmajor changes in assessment, curriculum, teacher evaluation, and teacher certification until 2013 or later, or to institute a requirement for local districts to implement the common standards until that time.
• Althoughmost adopting states will require school districts to implement the common core state standards, the majority of these states are not requiring districts to make complementary changes in curriculum and teacher programs.Most of these states are expecting, rather than requiring, districts to undertake such activities as developing new curriculum materials and instructional practices, providing professional development to teachers and principals, and designing and implementing teacher induction programs and evaluations related to the standards.
• The hope that the common core state standards will encourage a seamless system of education from elementary school through college is far from being realized. Officials from most adopting states were unsure whether their state plans to align undergraduate admission requirements or first-year college curriculum with the common core state standards. Smaller numbers said their state intends tomake these change, and a few said they will not make these changes. Although many states plan to align the academic or pedagogical content of teacher preparation programs with the common standards, roughly similar numbers of states are unsure whether they will take these actions.
• Developing teacher evaluation systems geared to the common core state standards and finding funds were most often cited by states as major challenges to implementing the standards. Many states also viewed aligning teacher preparation to the standards, developing curriculummaterials tied to the standards, and implementing new assessments aligned with the standards as major implementation challenges.
• Race to the Top funding appears to be helping with implementation of the common core state standards. Only a few states that won Race to the Top grants expect funding for standards implementation to be a major challenge, in contrast to other states. Many RttT winners expect to make standards-related changes in assessment, teacher certification, and teacher evaluation sooner than other states. A much higher proportion of RttT winners than of other standards-adopting states expect to link their teacher evaluation systems to students’mastery of the standards.
Monday, January 10, 2011
States’ Progress and Challenges in Implementing Common Core State Standards
This from the Center on Education Policy: