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ERIC Number: ED534735
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2012-Feb
Pages: 4
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
Willing but Not Yet Ready: A Glimpse of California Teachers' Preparedness for the Common Core State Standards. CenterView
Center for the Future of Teaching and Learning at WestEd
California is on the precipice of implementing the Common Core State Standards (CCSS), which were developed through an initiative of the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers to reflect the knowledge and skills needed for success in college and careers. In California, one of 45 adopting states, the standards represent a significant shift in expectations for both teaching and learning, not just in English language arts (ELA) and mathematics, but also in literacy related to science and history/social science. The newly adopted standards call for a deep conceptual understanding of the content in ELA and mathematics and, also, for the ability to apply this content to other disciplines. It all sounds good. But are teachers ready to teach to the new standards? This was the primary concern driving a series of focus groups commissioned by WestEd's Center for the Future of Teaching and Learning in October 2011. Six groups were convened by Belden Russonello Strategists, LLC, to explore the following questions with teachers in Sacramento, San Francisco, and San Diego: (1) How familiar are teachers with the CCSS?; (2) What are their beliefs about their own expertise and ability to teach their subject matter under the CCSS?; and (3) What changes in practice do they think will be necessary to satisfy the new standards? The focus groups were designed to represent six specific subgroups of teachers: elementary (one group consisted of teachers with more than 10 years of experience, and another consisted of teachers with less than 10 years of experience); middle and high school mathematics; middle and high school science; middle and high school history/social studies; and middle and high school English language arts. The majority of focus group participants had little familiarity with the details of the CCSS; but, when presented with a brief description, most participants appreciated the standards' focus on critical thinking and real-world relevance, as well as the fact that the standards are consistent (i.e., aligned) from one grade to the next. For the most part, they welcome the new standards. However, a few of the participants with more teaching experience--those who have seen reforms come and go--are skeptical that the new standards will take root. There was also some concern that teachers had not been adequately involved in the standards' development. With implementation of the Common Core State Standards imminent, the fact that so many focus-group teachers knew very little about the standards and what they will mean for their teaching practice is of concern. This paper provides recommendations for districts and schools, institutions of higher education, and state leaders. (Contains 1 footnote.)
Center for the Future of Teaching and Learning at WestEd. 133 Mission Street Suite 220, Santa Cruz, CA 95060. Tel: 831-427-3628; Fax: 831-427-1612; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: Policymakers
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Center for the Future of Teaching and Learning at WestEd
Identifiers - Location: California