CEPR Faculty Director Thomas Kane shares findings from a recent report, Teaching Higher: Educators’ Perspectives on Common Core Implementation, in the following article by Education Week.
Over the past few years, the Common Core State Standards have been embroiled in a proxy war over the role of the federal government in education. To those most protective of state and local prerogatives, "common" became a synonym for "federal." Perhaps now that the Every Student Succeeds Act has settled that fight by curtailing the federal role, and the Common Core State Standards are now just the state standards, policymakers can recognize that the common standards and assessments are not antithetical to states' rights after all. On the contrary: With the common standards and assessments, state leaders will be in a much better position to learn from their policy differences.
Last year, the Center for Education Policy Research at Harvard University surveyed a representative sample of approximately 1,500 teachers across five states (Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nevada, and New Mexico) to learn about the instructional changes they had made in preparation for the new assessments from the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers and the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium.
My colleagues at the center (where I'm the faculty director) and I were surprised by the magnitude of the changes they described. Eighty-two percent of math teachers and 72 percent of English teachers reported changing at least half their instructional materials to align with the new standards. Moreover, the changes they described seemed to reflect the goals of the new standards, focusing more deeply on the concepts behind arithmetic and fractions in elementary grades and emphasizing close reading and persuasive writing in English.