Training Teachers about Standards A Dual Population Approach

By Meyer, Barbara Bredefeld; Paxson, Christine | Issues in Teacher Education, Fall 2016 | Go to article overview

Training Teachers about Standards A Dual Population Approach


Meyer, Barbara Bredefeld, Paxson, Christine, Issues in Teacher Education


Introduction

The Common Core State Standards have been a hot topic in the media since they were created in 2009 (corestandards.org, 2015). This set of standards is no better than previous standards, and vendors are responsible for their existence so they can replace current curriculum that is aligned to the standards by the publishers (Tienken & Orlich, 2013). In many regions of the country, teachers and K-12 administrators are not comfortable with the Common Core Standards, even with the workshops they attend. Minimal training and support and incomplete training on what the standards are and how they should be implemented impedes their ability to successfully use and assess the CCSS in their classrooms. Most workshops are provided by the local school district or staff in the building who have attempted to become experts by reading materials provided to them and attending seminars on their own.(EPE Research Center, 2013) Knowing that The Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) will measure the progress a student makes from one testing cycle to another towards readiness for college and careers upon graduation, many administrators are con- cerned that beginning teachers do not have the knowledge specific to the Common Core State Standards.

In Illinois, The Common Core State Standards were adopted as the New Illinois Learning Standards for all grade levels. According to the Illinois State Board of Education, "Illinois joined more than 40 states in a collaborative effort to raise learning standards and improve college and career readiness for all students, regardless of where they live." The state adopted these standards in 2010 as the New Illinois Learning Standards for English Language Arts and Mathematics, and they were fully implemented in their schools during the 2013-2014 academic year. (Illinois State Board of Education, 2016)

Just like in other states, there has been a lack of information and professional development for educators in Illinois. 0ne of the authors has become a regional expert on the CCSS and has provided CCSS training to in-service teachers in area school districts. Because of conversations with school district personnel, she suggested to her co-author that a workshop be developed for university teacher education faculty and preservice teachers. With that, a framework was created, materials were gathered and organized, and invitations to apply for the workshop were disseminated. Teacher candidates and university faculty participated in a series of six workshops over the course of a semester where they learned about the CCSS and their connection with Language Arts, Mathematics, course activities, Standards Based Grading, assessment, and technology. The workshop series took place during two different semesters with two sets of participants. This paper provides a detailed description of the workshop content along with an evaluation summary.

The Standards Movement

The standards movement in education started in 1983 with the publication of A Nation at Risk (National Commission on Excellence in Education, 1983; Phelan, 2015). This publication describes a crisis in American public education because of poor quality in the areas of content, expectations, time and teaching, and it makes recommendations to increase standards across content areas, require more time in schools, and require higher expectations in teacher preparation programs (A Nation at Risk, April 1983; Ramirez, Luo, Schofer, & Meyer, 2006). Ever since, the one constant regarding standards has been change. The most recent set of standards and standards expectations pertain to the CCSS and the assessment known as Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) that is aligned with them. PARCC was designed to serve as a benchmark assessment to ensure that students are academi- cally prepared for success after high school. According to PARCC, it is a standardized test aligned with state standards and designed to provide the big picture of a child's education, what they do well in and where they need improvement. …

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