New Report Recommends Nine Steps to Smooth Transition to Common Core
Washington, D.C. – A new report released today by the Center for American Progress outlines a set of nine recommendations to effectively implement the Common Core State Standards and assessments. The report identifies examples of states and districts that are employing promising and effective practices to implement the Common Core, but also stresses that more work remains to ensure a smooth transition.
Noteworthy among the recommendations included in the report is a proposal encouraging states to follow a gradual three-year plan to incorporate high-stakes consequences for teachers based on test results. This gradual, step-by-step approach affords teachers additional time to acclimate to the new standards and assessments.
- Year 1: The new Common Core-aligned assessments are used for all students; CAP recommends that states should not include student performance on a new test to make any high-stakes decisions.
- Year 2: States and districts—especially those that are adequately prepared and have stakeholder support—should have the discretion to use student test data to inform personnel decisions.
- Year 3: Once states reach their third year of using a Common Core-aligned assessment, all states and districts should include student test data to inform personnel decisions.
“Over the past year, the Common Core debate has been littered with misinformation aimed at scoring political victories on the backs of students. Children, parents, and teachers deserve a serious, solution-oriented conversation concerning the real challenges and opportunities these standards present. That conversation is exactly what this report aims to begin,” said Carmel Martin, co-author of the report and Executive Vice President for Policy at the Center for American Progress.
The report, titled “Roadmap for a Successful Transition to the Common Core in States and Districts” illustrates that while no state has implemented the standards perfectly, the many examples of states making progress exist. The best practices identified in the report should help states course correct where needed without compromising the integrity of the Common Core or the benefits it will have for students. Building on these best practices, the Center for American Progress recommends that states and districts focus their efforts on nine critical steps required to effectively translate standards into high-quality instruction:
- Administer better, fairer, and fewer tests.
- Continue to improve and implement educator evaluation and support systems but use a gradual three-year plan to incorporate high-stakes consequences for teachers and students that are based on the new Common Core-aligned assessments.
- Maintain accountability systems based on disaggregated student results on state assessments using the outcomes of the system to target more dollars and resources to students and schools that are struggling.
- Ensure that teachers are engaged in the development of—and have access to—comprehensive curricula and instructional materials aligned with the Common Core standards.
- Invest in training and ongoing professional development for educators.
- Provide teachers with more time for ongoing professional development as well as to plan and collaborate together.
- Engage educators, parents, and other stakeholders in the implementation effort.
- Assist districts and schools to further develop their technological capacity to support the new computer-based Common Core assessments and provide instructional tools that allow for more individual instruction.
- Leverage additional resources to improve the Common Core implementation process.
Raising expectations to meet the demands of the 21st century is a difficult endeavor and states must undertake the transition responsibly with fairness to students, families, and teachers. These recommendations chart a practical way that states and districts can realize the benefits of the Common Core and improve the quality of education for all students. This report provides examples of states and districts tackling each of the actions outlined by these recommendations.
The report’s recommendations were discussed today at an event featuring a bipartisan set of governors who adopted the Common Core while in office and two former assistant secretaries from the U.S. Department of Education. Footage from the event is available here.
Read the report: Roadmap for a Successful Transition to the Common Core in States and Districts by Carmel Martin, Max Marchitello, and Melissa Lazarin
Click here to view additional CAP resources about the Common Core State Standards.
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