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September 23, 2009
October 02, 2009
Several weeks back, Education First—a national education-policy and strategic-consulting firm—released the first of three reports intended to guide states through the challenges of implementing the Common Core. It focused exclusively on the existence of state implementation plans. Now the second report is out, co-penned by Education First and Achieve, and offering a useful if imperfect rubric and self-assessment tool to help states measure the quality of those plans. (The final installment will report on state progress towards meeting the benchmarks identified in this rubric.) The rubric describes the elements of “exemplary,” “strong,” “emerging,” and “inadequate” plans for state-level standards implementation in a number of realms. Among the most useful elements is an outline of “key instructional shifts” that ELA and math teachers will face as they begin to move instruction to the Common Core (which defines the differences between the CCSS and current state standards better than most of the current “crosswalk comparisons” available from states). And in the teacher-evaluation section, the authors make the important link between targeted professional-development activities and holding educators accountable for CCSS-aligned outcomes. All valuable. But not perfect. For example, the rubric specifically demands that states develop their own curriculum frameworks modeled after the CCSS in order for their plans to gain “exemplary” status. But given scarce resources, states may be better served developing such frameworks collaboratively—or piggybacking off others’ efforts. On balance, however, the rubric is a useful frame that can help guide state-level implementation planning. State policy leaders: Give it a thorough read.
Education First and Achieve, Inc., Common Core State Standards Implementation Rubric and Self-Assessment Tool (Seattle, WA: Education First; Washington, D.C.: Achieve, Inc., March 2012)