Preparing for Change, a National Perspective on Common Core State Standards Implementation Planning.
The early stages of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) initiative were largely occupied with debates over the merits of the standards and the feasibility of their adoption by the states. As the movement has matured, the focus of attention has shifted toward issues related to practical implementation, such as the readiness of teachers to actually enact the new standards in the classroom. To gauge state progress toward implementing the CCSS, Education First and the Editorial Projects in Education Research Center surveyed state education agency officials to gain their insights on the status of transition planning efforts. Recognizing that the movement toward a new set of standards could constitute a dramatic shift for many educators, administrators, and policymakers, their survey sought to examine how state leaders are preparing for this change, by collecting information on the steps involved in developing the capacity of their school systems to face challenges in several key areas.
In the survey, states reported on the status of their implementation planning as of fall 2011. This study provides specific details about the status of their plans for changes in the areas of: teacher professional development, curriculum, and teacher-evaluation systems. All 50 states and the District of Columbia—which is treated as a state throughout this report—were included in the study.
All but one of the 47 CCSS-adopting states reported having developed some type of formal implementation plan for transitioning to the new, common standards. Wyoming indicated work on its plan is underway.
The majority of states reported that they have at least begun the process of developing plans to align their systems to the CCSS by: providing professional development to teachers (45 states), changing or devising curriculum guides and other instructional materials (35 states), and revising their teacher-evaluation systems (38 states).
Every state that has adopted the CCSS—except New Hampshire—has a fully developed plan to provide teacher professional development aligned with the CCSS (20 states) or is in the process of developing such a plan (25 states).
Seventeen states have fully developed plans for providing CCSS-aligned instructional materials to teachers, and another 18 states are developing a plan. Eleven states report no progress toward developing a plan.
All but eight of the states that have adopted the CCSS say they are at least working on a plan for their teacher-evaluation systems that will include holding teachers accountable for students’ mastery of the new standards.
Seven states indicated they have fully developed plans for each of the three main implementation areas examined in our survey: teacher professional development, curriculum materials, and teacher-evaluation systems. Most of these states are recipients of federal Race-to-the-Top funds.
Eighteen states lack fully developed plans in all three of these implementation areas.