According to Catherine Gewertz at Education Week, “teachers are getting an increasing amount of training to prepare for the common core, but that doesn’t always make them feel ready to teach the standards.
According to the article, a recently released study, “From Adoption to Practice: Teacher Perspectives on the Common Core,” shows that while far more teachers are attending common-core training, they are giving those sessions low marks for quality.
- Professional Development and Training. In last year’s report, 71 percent of teachers said they had attended professional development or training for the common core. This year, that figure rose to 87 percent.
- Teachers were far more critical of their training sessions in 2013 than they were in 2012, however. Two-thirds felt they were of high quality in 2012, but barely half said so in 2013.
- Only 23 percent reported that the assessments had been a topic of professional development.
- Far more common is training on the English/language arts standards; training on the math standards runs a distant second.
- Their sense of preparedness, ranked on a scale from 1 (“not at all prepared”) to 5 (“very prepared”), was about the same in this year’s report as it was the previous year: just under half gave themselves 4s or 5s on that preparedness scale.
- Only one-quarter said in this year’s report that their students were well prepared to master the standards, and 14 percent said their students were well prepared for the tests.
- Teachers are unhappy with the lack of alignment between their instructional materials and the common core, a situation that’s stubbornly unchanged from the year before. Nearly six in 10 said their main curricular materials were not aligned to the new standards.
- Teachers are pretty cynical about publishers’ claims that their materials are “common-core-aligned.” Fewer than four in 10 said they’d trust curriculum providers’ claims of alignment.
- Only 18 percent classified themselves as “very familiar” with the math standards in the fall of 2012, but that number rose to 31 percent in the fall 2013 survey.
Why was there “far more training on the English/language arts standards; training on the math standards runs a distant second?”
Literacy is now a “shared responsibility” across all content areas. This means that all secondary teachers are expected to integrate purposeful reading, writing, and discussion of complex text into their lessons. In reality, few teachers have received the training or support to carry out this formidable task, which will take several years of focused practice to reach an acceptable level of proficiency.
Although elementary teachers are much better prepared to teach literacy skills, they must increase the amount of informational text and do more argumentative/persuasive writing, which are significant changes.