Academic journal article Education

Adapting to Change: Teacher Perceptions of Implementing the Common Core State Standards

Academic journal article Education

Adapting to Change: Teacher Perceptions of Implementing the Common Core State Standards

Article excerpt

Review of Literature

With each generation of students comes a change in educational practices. In 1954, Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka declared the unconstitutionality of separate public schools for White and Black students. In 1975, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) granted students with disabilities equal opportunities for free public education. In 2001, the No Child Left Behind Act sought to raise standards for all students while assessing students' attainment of those standards. Many educational changes have been looked at with admiration as a much-needed change in education. Nevertheless, others have been viewed with less than welcoming sentiments. The latest change in the educational system is the adoption of the Common Core State Standards--also known as CCSS or the Common Core--which has received much ambiguous attention by teachers, administrators, and parents.

The Common Core State Standards are a relatively new concept in education. In 2009, a group of state officials, members of the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices and Council of Chief State School Officers, designed "real-world learning goals" that would prepare students for college, career, and beyond (CCSSC, 2015). States began reviewing the standards in 2011, and in 2013, 45 states had adopted the Common Core standards. Since that time, 2 states have withdrawn their support. Porter, McMaken, Hwang, and Yang (2011) assert that having this common curriculum across states would allow for consistent expectations, focus, efficiency, and computerized assessments. However, in their comprehensive analysis of the Common Core standards at their implementation in 2010, they report a shift in "cognitive demands" on students. The researchers analyzed the data through Surveys of Enacted Curriculum (SEC), "a two-dimensional framework defining content at the intersections of topics and cognitive demands" (Porter et al., 2011, p. 104). They also note that while the Common Core math standards are "somewhat more focused," the same cannot be said for the English language arts and reading standards; and the Common Core standards are different from what many teachers report they are currently teaching. Some state standards are more focused than the Common Core standards while others are less focused.

Despite these findings, 43 states are still involved with Common Core and push to assess students based on its standards. While ACT (2012) points out factors that have helped some schools succeed with Common Core (e.g., high expectations, formative assessments, strong relationships between students and their teachers, etc.), many parents argue that the standards are taking the focus away from what is important, especially in the early grades (Gallagher, 2013). Two mothers in Indiana, for example, noticed their elementary children's changing math homework. Instead of simple addition and subtraction problems, students were being asked divergent questions, such as "How do you know?" (Gallagher, 2013). Just as parents noticed and complained about the changes in their children's homework, teachers are also noticing but are the ones being required to implement the change.

Educational Change

Change in any industry is inevitable. In education, change comes more frequently than in most other arenas. In education, veteran teachers are often criticized for being hesitant to implement the latest modification in the education system. However, although teachers are generally the individuals responsible for implementing changes, they are rarely given the opportunity to provide input into the development of such changes (Sikes, 1992). Many teachers fear change, or have an aversion to it, because of its moral implications. Some teachers worry that the newest rendition of the system "will not work or will make matters worse" (Fullan & Hargreaves, 1992, p. 5). However, many teachers realize that these changes are necessary because research constantly shows many first-year college students are unprepared for undergraduate work and need remediation (Cheng, 2012). …

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