AASA, the School Superintendents Association, has newly released a survey of superintendents on the adoption and implementation of Common Core State Standards (CCSS). The survey, “Common Core and Other State Standards: Superintendents Feel Optimism, Concern and Lack of Support,” found that although superintendents were overwhelming optimistic about the new standards, a majority also expressed concern about a lack of implementation support at the local level.
Forty-six states and the District of Columbia have adopted CCSS, which establish grade-level expectations in math and English language arts for K-12 students. The standards go into effect next school year, with the first state-wide student assessments expected in the spring of 2015.
Of note in the AASA survey is that many superintendents expressed concern that their districts will not be prepared for implementation of the standards, especially the year-end assessments.
Other key findings in the AASA Common Core survey of superintendents include:
• Superintendents overwhelmingly (92.5 percent) see the new standards as more rigorous than previous standards.
• More than three quarters (78.3 percent) agree that the education community supports the standards, but that support drops to 51.4 percent among the general public.
• More than half (60.3 percent) of the respondents who had begun testing say they are facing problems with the tests.
• Just under half (41.9 percent) say schools in their states are not ready to implement the online assessment, while 35.9 percent say they lack the infrastructure to support online assessments.
Part of the problem has been finding and approving new curriculum and teaching materials aligned with CCSS. NPR recently reported on the “void” between the new rigorous standards and the curriculum materials available to help educators develop enriched lesson plans. Fears that teachers may “hit a wall” when asked to teach tougher standards without changes to materials have contributed to concerns about next year’s assessments.
The National School Board Association (NSBA) supports high academic standards, including CCSS when they are voluntarily adopted by states with school board input and when the standards are free from federal directions, mandates, funding conditions or coercion. NSBA has previously raised concerns about CCSS implementation.
“High academic standards are important for improving student achievement,” said NSBA Executive Director Thomas J. Gentzel. “For Common Core State Standards and other state standards to succeed, states and school districts must have the financial resources, infrastructure, and the necessary professional development for school personnel before implementation.”