Archive for April, 2010

ACCESSing Education will bring you posts on relevant issues and resources as well as engaging content and policy experts in conversations about current topics through guest bloggers and the participation of ACCESSing Education’s expert panel. During the next month, we are looking forward to posts on growth models, Race to the Top, and making the Common Core Standards user friendly.

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Beth Ratway

Senior Program Associate
Learning Point Associates

The national standards movement is in full force. The finalized version of the Common Core State Standards Initiative (CCSSI) is going to be presented to states in April 2010. What can states do to prepare?

I would like to offer a four-part process for states to consider when adopting and/or aligning the Common Core Standards. For clarification, I will be using the term Common Core Standards to refer to both parts of the CCSSI, the college- and career-ready standards and the K–12 standards, throughout the rest of the blog.

Analyze. Bring together a team of content experts to review, analyze, and discuss the Common Core Standards to develop a common understanding. Teams can create a chart outlining the new standards and place their current state standards on the chart, looking for connections and overlap.

Adjust. After the analysis, address the gaps between the current state standards and the Common Core Standards. Several tools can provide content-specific information for accomplishing this work:

  • Achieve has outlined Criteria for High Quality Standards for evaluating standards: clear, specific, rigorous, and teachable. The organization has developed a rubric to help states with this evaluation.
  • The Partnership for 21st Century Skills has identified a Framework for Learning with the critical components of 21st century learning.
  • The International Center for Leadership in Education has developed the Rigor/Relevance Framework to write grade-level standards by examining curriculum, instruction, and assessment.

Assess. Revisit the content and structure of the state assessment system and use this opportunity to explore developing a more innovative balanced assessment system that allows for collection of summative and formative assessment data. Achieve has developed a protocol titled the “Criteria for Aligned Assessments” that can help states analyze their current assessments.

Assist. Develop a statewide system of support for local implementation of the standards and assessments. Specific tools that can guide local education agencies in localizing the standards include:

  • Frameworks for learning
  • Grade-specific curricula guides for districts
  • Best practice frameworks for high-quality instruction
  • Online professional development modules that highlight high-quality implementation in classrooms

The four-step process outlined here can be useful when thinking of the connection between national standards, state standards, and local curricula. With the Common Core Standards being finalized at the national level, it is the perfect time for states to consider how to align and localize the standards to positively impact student learning in their state.

From Moderator: If you are interested in more ideas on how to localize the Common Core Standards, check out the two-day institute presented by Learning Point Associates and the Council of Chief State School Officers on May 5–6: “Localizing the Common Core Standards” featuring Margaret Heritage and Chris Minnich.