A majority of teachers and principals are on fire for the Common Core State Standards, according to a recent study by the Center for Education Policy Research at Harvard University.
The report released in February – “Teaching Higher: Educators’ Perspectives on Common Core Implementation” – shows that 69% of principals and 73% of teachers believe that CCSS will improve student learning.
In math, the study found that, “three aspects of implementation—more professional development days, more classroom observations with explicit feedback tied to the Common Core, and the inclusion of Common Core-aligned student outcomes in teacher evaluations—are associated with statistically significantly higher student performance.”
These findings are significant in many states where opposition to CCSS still festers, including Alabama, which used the CCSS as the basis for its College and Career Ready Standards. Currently in Alabama, two bills (Senate Bill 60 and House Bill 264) have been filed which attempt to pull Alabama’s College and Career Ready Standards (which are based on the CCSS), and replace them with former, inferior state standards. This is the fourth consecutive legislative session that repeal attempts have threatened to derail progress students and teachers have made in Alabama schools.
The authors of the Harvard study say the political squabbling over CCSS obscures the fact that “teachers and principals have embraced the CCSS and believe their students will benefit from them in the long run.”
As noted in an article published on newsworks.org, authors of the study also analyzed student test scores on Common-Core-aligned exams to see if certain implementation strategies could be correlated to better scores. Their analysis found students scored better on math exams when their teachers had more professional development days and more feedback “explicitly tied to Common Core principles,” like teaching methods that include the application of mathematic principles to practical situations, and demonstrations of problem-solving through student collaboration.