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Common Core Standards and AssessmentsSelected Research & Readings
 
  COMMON CORE STANDARDS AND ASSESSMENTS
 
What States Are Doing
Selected Research & Readings
 




12 for 2012 - 12 for 2012 is an ECS “read of the field,” built on our scrutiny of new reports and research, and our analysis of emerging drivers of change. The 12 policy areas do not represent an exhaustive list of the critical issues for the coming year, nor is this report intended to dictate your education policy priorities for 2012. Rather, 12 for 2012 is intended to stimulate thinking around how best to craft the “2.0” of powerful policy across the states. (ECS, 2012)...

Measuring Deeper Learning Through Cognitively Demanding Test Items: Results from the Analysis of Six National and International Exams - Anticipating that the Common Core State Standards may increase assessment of deeper learning, researchers looked at six national and international tests which were generally more cognitively demanding than state achievement tests. Their findings will serve as a benchmark to compare the cognitive demands of new Common Core tests under development by the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium and the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers. (Kun Yuan and Vi-Nhuan Le, Rand, March 2014)...

A Primer on Common Core-Aligned Assessments - This primer on Common Core assessment is for state policymakers, advocates, educators, and other stakeholders who are transitioning to new systems that measure student achievement under the new standards. Goals of the Common Core are explained and how those goals affect the new assessments. Comparisons are made current state tests, ACT Aspire, PARCC, and SBAC. (Education First, December 2013)...

Closing the Expectations Gap: 2013 Annual Report on the Alignment of State K-12 Policies and Practice with the Demands of College and Careers - This eighth annual 50-state report describes progress–and the lack of progress– in advancing state policies that will equip high school graduates with the knowledge and skills to succeed in college, careers, and citizenship. While all states now have readiness standards, fewer than half require students to learn those standards in time for graduation because they may refuse to take standards-embedded classes. No state has all four CCR prerequisites in standards, graduation requirements, assessments, and accountability. An appendix allows for state-by-state comparisons. (Achieve, November 2013)...

Standardized Testing and the Common Core Standards: You Get What You Pay For? - Tackling the questions of standardized test cost and quality, this report concludes the departure of a few states from testing consortia will have minimum impact on per-pupil cost. For example, the departure of Florida, second-largest member of PARCC, would only mean a per-pupil price increase of 60 cents for remaining states. If all states which are having a debate over the Common Core drop out, costs would still increase by no more than $2 or $3. The author cautions that test quality is crucial: used for high-stakes decisions, they could determine which school to close, which student to hold back, which teacher to fire. He synthesizes test quality into a set of design principles that should support and drive instruction, encourages states to form consortia and Congress to designate $30-$40 for per-pupil testing when it reauthorizes the NCLB. (Matthew M. Chingos, Brown Center on Education Policy at Brooking, October 2013)...

Common Core in the Schools: A First Look at Reading Assignments - No Child Left Behind (NCLB) may have improved math achievement in the early grades, but did little to budge low reading scores. The authors argue that NCLB inspired educators to abandon such classes as science and history to gain time for teaching reading skills while the complexity of assigned texts declined. They hope that the standards- and accountability reform implicit in the Common Core will change that and reading assignments will become more complex. Readers may find recommended high school reading lists interesting. (Timothy Shanahan and Ann Duffett, Thomas B. Fordham Institute, October 2013)...

An Overview of States' Progress and Challenges: Year 3 of Implementing the Common Core State Standards - Most states that have adopted the Common Core already say they are are teaching to the standards, at least in some grades and some school districts; all respondents in this survey agreed the standards are more rigorous. Some claim to be implementing them by grade span, or school district or both. A number –nine in math, 10 in English language arts–won’t begin implementing the Core until this fall or later. Many of these states report not having adequate resources to implement effectively. (Center on Education Policy, August 2013)...

Common Core State Standards 101 - Over the long term, the Common Core State Standards are the culmination of a 20-year effort to set expectations for what students should know and be able to do. More recently, in 2009, the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers invited state leaders to participate in development of common standards for mathematics and English language arts. An antidote to CCSS anxiety and opposition, this report walks readers through the state CCSS adoption process, assessment development, and range of possible costs. Supporters are listed: teachers, business leaders, military leaders. Keys to implementation are cost-effective assessment, integration with other reforms and sufficient support for teachers and students. (Robert Rothman, Alliance for Excellent Education, August 2013)...

Professionial Development for Teachers and Principals: Year 3 of Implementing the Common Core State Standards - All 40 states responding to a survey on implementing Common Score State Standards (CCSS) report that they provide professional development to teachers; 39 provide it to principals. In more than half the states, survey respondents said that a majority of K-12 teachers participated in some CCSS professional development, but fewer states report that very large percentages of their teachers have participated. Twenty-six states said providing professional development and other supports was a major challenge. (Center on Education Policy, August 2013)...

States Prepare for Common Core Assessments: Year 3 of Implementing the Common Core - Most states have taken steps to start assessing students' Common Core State Standards (CCSS) knowledge or will do so before the assessments developed by the two consortia, Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) and Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium are ready in school year 2014-15, according to a recent survey. Forty states responded to the survey. Half have begun to prepare teachers to use assessment results and half are working with schools and districts to plan for extra assistance for students who need help passing CCSS exams. Only eight are considering suspending consequences for schools or individuals based on CCSS performance. (Diane Stark Rentner, Center on Education Policy, August 2013) (Diane Stark Rentner, Center on Education Policy, August 2013)...

Uneven at the Start: Differences in State Track Records Foreshadow Challenges and Opportunities for Common Core - Some states might be more successful in implementing the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) than others. Using data from the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), the paper compares states' rates of improvement from 2003 to 2011 and their relative performance in 2011. Then they are rated overall and by how subgroups did on the NAEP. While states' past track records don't necessarily predict the future, the author writes that they might foreshadow challenges and strengths. (Natasha Ushomirski, Education Trust, July 2013)...

Improving College Readiness in the Age of Common Core - Short, intensive summer bridge programs between the senior year of high school and college have positive short-term effects which eventually fade. Meanwhile, few students who get a GED move on to a postsecondary institution. MDRC suggests a "bridge" that starts earlier, the summer after high school's junior year, for example, and ends after the first year of college. MDRC also is working with CUNY's LaGuardia Community College to connect GED students with postsecondary education and careers through enhancements to the regular GED curriculum. (MDRC, March 2013)...

The Common Core Meets State Policy: This Changes Almost Everything - Though Mike Kirst’s outline describes the Common Core’s impact on California, it gives an idea of the broad implications for the other 44 participating states and the District of Columbia. The enormity, the complexity of the process is breathtaking. He describes how all key state education policies will change in fundamental ways: assessment, accountability, teacher evaluation, instructional materials, professional development, career and technical education, alignment between early childhood and college– an anxiety attack on six pages. However, he points out the Common Core also offers the possibility of a “great opportunity for improving student attainment” and a “new vision for teaching and learning.” (Mike W. Kirst, Policy Analysis for California Education, March 2013)...

Variation in Children’s Experience of Kindergarten and the Common Core - This paper focuses on the structural elements of the kindergarten experience of American children and the new context of the Common Core standards. This paper will consider how differences in the opportunity to learn through publicly funded kindergarten may affect the potential for children to reach a common set of standards across these differences. Specifically, this paper focuses on structural variations in the provision of kindergarten, including length of school day and age of entry, as well as variation in the preparation of kindergarten teachers. (NAEYC, November 2012)...

Making Good on the College-Ready Promise: The Common Core and Higher Education Engagement MS Word - Education First has worked with the 10 Core to College states in the first year of their efforts to better align the work of the higher education and K12 sectors to implement the Common Core standards. This report highlights some of their early findings, best practices around faculty engagement and some likely next steps in their efforts. (Education First, October 2012)...

Framework for English Language Proficiency Development Standards corresponding to the Common Core State Standards and the Next Generation Science Standards - Many states have begun the process of developing or adapting English Language Proficiency (ELP) standards to align with the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and the forthcoming NextGeneration Science Standards (NGSS). This document presents a framework to assist states with this work. The goal of the Framework is to provide guidance to states on how to use the expectations of the CCSS and NGSS as tools for the creation and evaluation of ELP standards. (CCSSO, September 2012)...

Implementing the Common Core Standards in Urban Public Schools - 2012 - Some 87% of urban school districts plan to fully implement Common Core State Standards by the 2014-2015 school year, according to the Council of Great City Schools. The council sent surveys to all 67 members; 36 responded (54%). The survey, which is intended to be the first of a multi-year analysis of CCSS implementation, also found 93% of responding districts plan to have Math CCSS implemented by the 2013-14 school year. More facts, charts, and tables are presented.(Council of the Great City Schools, 2012)...

Education for Life and Work Developing Transferable Knowledge and Skills in the 21st Century - National Research Council appointed a committee of experts to more clearly define “deeper learning” and “21st century skills,” consider these skills’ importance for positive outcomes in education, work, and other areas of life, address how to teach them, and examine related issues. The committee found important areas where goals for deeper learning and 21st century competencies overlap with the new Common Core State Standards in English language arts and mathematics and the NRC Framework for K-12 Science Education. Findings and recommendations are detailed throughout the report. (National Research Council, July 2012)...

Putting a Price Tag on the Common Core: How Much Will Smart Implementation Cost? - This report estimates the Common Core implementation cost for each of the forty-five states (and the District of Columbia) that have adopted the Common Core State Standards and shows that costs naturally depend on how states approach implementation. (Fordham Institute, May 2012) ...

Choosing Blindly: Instructional Materials, Teacher Effectiveness and the Common Core - A new report from the Brookings Institution focuses on instruction materials, which, evidence shows, have large effects on student learning. The authors argue that states, with support from the federal government and philanthropic organizations, should collect systematic information on which materials are being used in which schools. (Brown Center on Education Policy at Brookings, April 2012)...

Instructional Supports: The Missing Piece in State Education Standards - The transition from current state learning standards to college- and career-ready standards being rolled out across the nation is more than a subtle shift. In this paper The Education Trust offers insights about the best ways states can support our nation's educators in their efforts to help students meet high academic standards. (The Education Trust, March 2012)...

U.S. Education Reform and National Security - This report finds that the United States' failure to educate its students leaves it unprepared to compete and threatens the country's ability to thrive in a global economy and maintain its leadership role. The Task Force proposes three overarching policy recommendations: Implement educational expectations and assessments in subjects vital to protecting national security; make structural changes to provide students with good choices; and launch a "national security readiness audit" to hold schools and policymakers accountable for results and to raise public awareness. (Council on Foreign Relations, March 2012)...

The 2012 Brown Center Report on American Education: How Well Are American Students Learning? - The 2012 Brown Center Report on American Education examines the current state of education in the United States. The author investigates achievement gaps on NAEP, explores common mistakes in interpreting international assessments, and makes predictions of the effect of the Common Core on student achievement. (Brown Center on Education Policy at Brookings, February 2012)...

Talking About Skills and Learning: A Frameworks Messagememo for the Core Story of Education Project - This MessageMemo outlines initial findings from FrameWorks research examining perceptual obstacles that prevent education reformers from engaging the public in meaningful discussions about improving skills development through educational reforms. It is the first in a series of interpretive reports. (Frameworks Institute, February 2012)...

Lining Up: The Relationship Between the Common Core State Standards and Five Sets of Comparison Standards - EPIC designed and conducted this study to determine the extent of correspondence (alignment) between the exit level Common Core standards and each of five sets of existing standards. The sets of standards were selected because they were either identified as exemplary state standards, were explicitly written at the college readiness level, or represented a rigorous instructional program focused on college readiness. The purpose was to see if the Common Core standards cover similar content, how broadly they cover the comparison standards, and how the cognitive challenge level of aligned content matches up. (EPIC, October 2011)...

The Common Core State Standards: Implications for Higher Education in the West - The only western states that have not formally adopted the Common Core State Standards are Alaska, Montana, and North Dakota. Additionally, Washington has provisionally adopted the standards. This unprecedented movement toward common academic standards in K-12 creates important challenges and implications for higher education. As the standards are implemented in states, higher education leaders need to be engaged in the discussions and policy changes that will result. (WICHE, June 2011)...

The Road Ahead for State Assessments - A blueprint for strengthening assessment policy, pointing out how new technologies are opening up new possibilities for fairer, more accurate evaluations of what students know and are able to do. Not all of the promises can yet be delivered, but the report provides a clear set of assessment-policy recommendations. (Rennie Center for Education Research and Policy, May 2011) ...

Preparation, Placement, Proficiency: Improving Middle Grades Math Performance - This brief contains highlights from the follow-up analysis to Gaining Ground in the Middle Grades: Why Some Schools Do Better. The follow-up analysis used the Gaining Ground data file. In addition, new analyses were conducted of the survey responses of the superintendents, principals and math teachers in the study to identify policies and practices that correlate with higher school achievement in grade 8 math, controlling for key school variables and students' prior test scores. In May 2011, EdSource released Needed: Careful Evaluation of Alegbra I Placements in Grade 8, a companion to the main report. (EdSource, 2011)...

NAEP and the Common Core State Standards (Part III: How Well Are American Student Learning) - This is the 10th edition of the Brown Center Report on American Education. In June 2010, the Common Core State Standards Initiative released grade-by-grade standards for reading and mathematics. As the only assessment administered to representative samples of American students, NAEP has called itself “the Nation’s Report Card” for decades. How well does NAEP match up with the Common Core? We examined public release items from the eighth- grade NAEP math test and coded them based on the grade level the Common Core recommends that the content be taught. The items registered, on average, two to three years below the eighth-grade mathematics recommended by the Common Core. Policymakers and analysts alike need to start thinking now about how NAEP and the Common Core assessments can be reconciled so as to inform, not to confuse, the public about student achievement. (Brown Center on Education Policy at Brookings, February 2011)...

Learning Trajectories in Mathematics: A Foundation for Standards, Curriculum, Assessment and Instruction - The report aims to provide a useful introduction to current work and thinking about learning trajectories in mathematics education and why they matter. (Consortium for Policy Research in Education, January 2011)...

A First Look at the Common Core and College and Career Readiness - This document provides an estimate of current student performance on the Common Core State Standards, using ACT college- and career-readiness data. The report offers both instructional and curricular support recommendations, as well as policy considerations for state and federal policymakers that can support teaching and learning of the Common Core. (American College Testing, December 2010)...

Now What? Imperatives and Options for "Common Core" Implementation and Governance - The authors asked experts from across the education sector to respond to a dozen questions on the future of the "Common Core" and synthesized the input into three different governance models: (1) Let's Become More Like France—with a powerful governing board; (2) Don't Rock the Boot—keeping the footprint as small as possible and updating the standards five or ten years down the road; and (3) One Foot Before the Other—the middle ground with an interim coordinating board promoting information sharing and capacity building among participating states. (Chester Finn and Michael Petrilli, Thomas B. Fordham Institute, October 2010)...

International Benchmarking: State Education Performance Standards - According to this report, what students are expected to know to reach proficiency levels on exams in some states may be as much as four grade levels below the standards set in the states with the most rigorous assessments. The report makes a case for states, as they collaborate on common standards, to use national and international benchmarking to make cutoff scores more demanding and improve the descriptions of what it means for students to be proficient in reading and math. (Gary Phillips, American Institutes for Research, October 2010)...

The State of State Standards--and the Common Core--in 2010 - This review of state English language arts and mathematics standards is the latest in a series of Fordham evaluations dating back to 1997. The major findings: (1) Based on Fordham reviewers' criteria, Common Core standards are clearly superior to those currently in use in 39 states in math and 37 states in English. For 33 states the Common Core is superior in both math and reading. (2) Three jurisdictions boast English language arts standards that are clearly superior to the Common Core. (3) In 11 states plus the District of Columbia the math standards are in the "too close to call" category, meaning that overall they are at least as clear and rigorous as the Common Core standards. State-by-state data are available in the report. (Thomas B. Fordham Institute, July 2010)...

Review of the Draft K-12 Common Core Standards - The Fordham Institute's expert reviewers have analyzed the draft Common Core K-12 education standards according to rigorous criteria. Their analysis lead to a grade of A- for the draft mathematics standards and B for those in English language arts. (Sheila Carmichael, Chester Finn, Gabrielle Martino, Kathleen Porter-Magee, Stephen Wilson and Amber Winkler, Thomas B. Fordham Institute, March 2010)...


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