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New data finds instruction doesn’t fully reflect CCR standards

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Teachers adding new content to lessons without removing old

Philadelphia, Pa. (June 7, 2017) – Forty-two states and the District of Columbia have adopted the Common Core state standards, while the other remaining eight states are implementing their own new challenging standards for college- and career-readiness. But carefully crafted standards matter little if they do not change how teachers teach. In its latest series of reports, the Center on Standards, Alignment, Instruction, and Learning (C-SAIL) uses new state representative teacher, principal, and district survey data to understand how college- and career-readiness standards are impacting classroom instruction, what implementation challenges schools face, and which resources educators find most useful in supporting use of the standards.

“Teachers in all states are mostly implementing the content in new standards, but they are also teaching a good deal of content they should not,” says report author Adam Edgerton.

“If we continue along this trajectory, standards reform efforts will fail,” says C-SAIL director Andy Porter.

C-SAIL researchers Laura Desimone (University of Pennsylvania), Adam Edgerton (University of Pennsylvania), and Rui Yang (American Institutes for Research) find that although teachers in Kentucky, Ohio, and Texas—three of C-SAIL’s partner states—are adding to their instruction to cover standards-emphasized content, they are unlikely to amend outdated lessons to remove de-emphasized content. They also find that implementation challenges and useful resources reported across states are largely consistent. Among the reports’ key findings:

Changing classroom instruction

  • About half of teacher groups report spending more classroom time on de-emphasized than emphasized content across all states, grades, and subjects. 
  • In elementary school, mathematics teachers tend to cover content more in line with the math standards than English language arts teachers do for the ELA standards. In all three states, elementary mathematics teachers report covering more emphasized content and less de-emphasized content. In contrast, Elementary school ELA teachers report covering more de-emphasized content than emphasized content.
  • In high school, the pattern is exactly opposite—mathematics teachers report covering more de-emphasized content and less emphasized content, while ELA teachers report covering more emphasized content and less de-emphasized content.

Challenges to implementing the standards

  • Across all three states, the top three challenges teachers cited were a wide range of student abilities, lack of support from parents, and inadequate preparedness in prior grades
  • In both Ohio and Texas, principals were more than twice as likely as teachers to say that lack of guidance for teaching the standards to students with disabilities and English language learners was a challenge.

Useful Resources

  • Teachers across all three states cited digital resources, such as videos, webinars, and online communities among the top five most useful resources in implementing new standards.
  • Principals in Kentucky and Texas showed particular interest in information about how CCR changes what students are expected to learn.

About C-SAIL: The Center on Standards, Alignment, Instruction, and Learning (C-SAIL) examines how college- and career-ready standards are implemented if they improve student learning, and what instructional tools measure and support their implementation. Based out of the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education, C-SAIL is led by the school’s former dean Andy Porter, with a team of researchers from the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education, University of Southern California Rossier School of Education, American Institutes for Research, and Vanderbilt University. The Center is funded by a grant from the Institute of Education Sciences (IES) of the U.S. Department of Education.