According to Fordham Institute’s study, which surveyed 1,154 public school ELA teachers from across the country, findings showed that the “heavy lifting of aligning curriculum and instruction to the rigor of the CCSS mostly still lies ahead.”
For instance, though the CCSS emphasize text as the focus of ELA curriculum, the majority of teachers (73 percent of elementary, 56 percent of middle school, and 50 percent of high school) still say their lessons are dominated by skills. “They are more likely to try to fit texts to skills than to ground their skills in instruction in what is appropriate to the texts they are teaching,” explains the report.
Also, though the CCSS asks teacher to assign texts that provide complexity appropriate to grade level, “significant proportions of teachers (64 percent in elementary grades) are still assigning texts based on students’ present reading “prowess.” “This means that many youngsters are not yet working with appropriately complex language in their schoolbooks,” notes the report.
And though CCSS requires ELA teachers to use informational texts, many teachers (56 percent at middle school level) don’t assign any of the literary or informational texts listed in the survey, which represented both CCSS texts and other “high-quality” texts.
However, the one positive highlight of the report found that most ELA teachers (62 percent of all grade levels) thought CCSS would have at least some positive learning benefits for their students.
In order for the standards that ELA teachers seem to approve of to work, however, “they must change classroom practice,” notes the report.
*eSchool News editor’s note: Stay tuned for part 2 of this story where we talk to a sample of surveyed teachers, as well as the report’s authors, to discuss why the disconnect between ELA teachers and CCSS implementation might occur.