Study: Common Core could boost U.S. math performance

By examining the top-performing countries in the TIMSS study, Schmidt and his team were able to identify what defines world-class standards.

The Common Core State Standards in mathematics have the potential to enhance students’ academic performance if properly implemented, but most states have a long way to go, according to research from William Schmidt, a University Distinguished Professor and co-director of the Education Policy Center at Michigan State University.

At an event co-sponsored by Achieve, Chiefs for Change, and the Foundation for Excellence in Education, Schmidt presented a briefing on his work, titled “Common Core State Standards Math: The Relationship Between High Standards, Systemic Implementation, and Student Achievement.”

Schmidt’s research took existing data from the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) to determine how the Common Core State Standards in math compared to math standards in countries whose eighth graders performed the best on math assessments.…Read More

How secondary school principals can master the Common Core

School leaders will have to ensure teachers have the necessary knowledge to put Common Core standards into practice.

As states move toward implementing the Common Core State Standards, school principals must ensure they are fully equipped to help classroom teachers incorporate the standards as effectively as possible.

Forty-six states and Washington, D.C., have adopted the Common Core standards, and 90 percent of U.S. students are covered by the standards, said Bob Wise, president of the Alliance for Excellent Education (AEE), during an AEE webinar that examined how principals can ensure that students will be ready to master the new college- and career-ready standards and can demonstrate this mastery on the new 2014 state assessments.

While states are in various stages of implementing the standards, “principals play a critical role in this work,” Wise said.…Read More

A call for curricular support as Common Core standards take hold

Many education experts are hoping for curriculum support as common standards take hold.

A diverse group of educators and stakeholders is calling for clear curricular guidance to complement the new Common Core State Standards that most states have adopted, including support for practical designs and examples of curriculum strategies that educators can use in their own classrooms.

The statement, released by the nonpartisan Albert Shanker Institute and signed by dozens of educators, advocates, policy makers, researchers, and scholars from across the educational and political spectrum, highlights the creation of voluntary model curricula that can be taught in the nation’s classrooms.

“It’s really a travesty … what many of our children are receiving in terms of instruction today,” said Susan B. Neuman, a professor in the University of Michigan’s School of Education and former U.S. Assistant Secretary of Elementary and Secondary Education.…Read More

Forum explores how to spur school innovation

Panelists at a recent forum focused on how to encourage more innovation in education.

Innovation was a key theme of President Obama’s State of the Union address on Jan. 25, and it also was the theme of a recent forum in Washington, D.C., that explored how policy makers and education leaders can encourage more innovation in the nation’s schools.

Hosted by the Aspen Institute, the Education Innovation Forum kicked off Jan. 20 with Education Secretary Arne Duncan calling on states to implement the Common Core standards and integrate more technology into classrooms.

“We’re nowhere near where we need to be as a country,” Duncan said. “The brainpower here, the innovation, the creativity [can help us] get not just incremental change, but … dramatically better outcomes for young people.”…Read More

States having problems with Common Core standards

Not surprisingly, a lack of funding was listed by states as a roadblock to implementation.

As states move forward in their adoption of the Common Core State Standards, a new survey reveals that thorough implementation of these standards is still years away, and many states are forgetting a key piece of the common standards movement: linking to postsecondary education.

Think of it like the all-too-common New Year’s resolution to work out more frequently—you feel good buying that gym membership, and your friends might pat you on the back, but then what happens? It sounds good in theory, but it ends up being a daunting task: Are you really going to have to run on that treadmill?

In a survey released today, titled “States’ Progress and Challenges in Implementing Common Core State Standards,” by the Center on Education Policy (CEP), states were asked whether they planned to make certain changes in their policies and practices for elementary and secondary education as part of their approach to implementing the common standards, and how soon these changes would be fully implemented.…Read More

Are qualified teachers always effective teachers?

An effective teacher can alter a student's achievement by as much as 50 percentage points.
An effective teacher can alter a student's achievement by as much as 50 percentage points.

Under No Child Left Behind, schools are required to make sure every teacher is “highly qualified,” which—according to the law—means teachers must be certified in the subject areas they teach. But amid a growing consensus that “highly qualified” doesn’t necessarily mean “highly effective,” a movement is under way to reshape how the nation views successful teaching.

The effort is particularly relevant as learning in today’s schools undergoes a 21st-century transformation, some observers say—and they say true reform won’t occur until education leaders redefine what “highly qualified” teaching means.

In the typical instructional model of the past, the teacher was a “sage on the stage,” well versed in facts within a specific subject area and able to teach from a textbook. But now, 21st-century education demands a different kind of teacher, many stakeholders say—more of a mentor than a sage, and someone who can facilitate both individualized and collaborative learning.…Read More

States collaborate on new national exams


A coalition led by Washington state is developing a plan for computerized adaptive testing.
Washington is leading a group of 31 states in developing a common test that would be given online twice a year.


Two large coalitions of states are competing for federal “Race to the Top” dollars to create a series of new national academic tests to replace the current patchwork system.…Read More

U.S. moves closer to common standards

Nearly every state has signed on in support of the common core standards.
Nearly every state has signed on in support of the common core standards.

Math and English instruction in the United States moved a step closer to uniform—and more rigorous—standards March 10 as a revised draft of new national guidelines was released. But the move toward common standards still faces several hurdles, including a debate over what the standards should look like and the significant cost of revising each state’s standards and curriculum materials.

Supporters of the Common Core Standards Initiative, led by the National Governors Association (NGA) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO), hope the lists of things kids should learn at each grade level will replace a patchwork of different standards in states across the country.

The effort is expected to lead to standardization of textbooks and testing and make learning easier for students who move from state to state. That could save publishers, states, and districts money down the road—but getting to that point will require a huge up-front investment.…Read More