As I said in a recent
post, if knowledge is power, it’s our responsibility to empower everyone
the best we can to help teachers help students do better by sharing what we
know and encouraging dialogue in the education space. That’s why we created the Let’s Talk series.
In this edition of Let’s
and Learning for College Readiness: The Role of Standards, Feedback and Support we share stories from the field and emerging
research on the role of standards, feedback, and instructional
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are 46.7
million Americans living in poverty. Careers
and economies are changing rapidly.
There are millions of job openings that go unfilled each year. And global and community challenges are
complicated and require resourceful problem solvers generating smart solutions.
Education may not be the only solution to these challenges,
but from our own experiences and from what we see each day from educators across
the country, education is a game changer.
For some children, education may be their only way out of poverty. This is the impetus behind college readiness.
College readiness is about recognizing that our students
must develop strong skills in math and literacy so they can access and be
successful in post-secondary opportunities.
It’s about equipping our students to think critically and
creatively—whether they pursue interests that require a technical
certification, a 2-year degree, a 4-year degree or a Ph.D. It’s about making sure students have the
grit, perseverance and social-emotional skills to achieve their dreams.
Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll find:
The Role of
Studies show that students learn best when expectations for
their learning are clear, and that aligning policies for instructional guidance
around a clear set of learning goals make policy and practice more effective.
The Common Core State Standards, designed explicitly to lead students’ college
and career readiness, help standardize these goals around English language arts
and mathematics consistently across states.
- What We Know: There is a 90% overlap between the Common Core mathematics standards and the standards for high-achieving international nations. Even states with mathematics standards similar to the Common Core have statistically significantly higher scores on the NAEP than states that do not. However, implementation of the standards has been uneven, and traditional curriculum materials are not yet aligned to the standards.
What We Still Need to Know: More research is needed on the conditions for effective implementation of the Common Core Standards. For example, how do we provide additional resources, opportunities, and support that accelerate support for students who need it most?
The Role of
Research by the National Commission on Teaching and America’s
Future tells us that teaching is the most important school-related factor in
student achievement and that the quality of teaching matters. In 2009, the
Foundation launched the Measures of Effective Teaching (MET) project, an
initiative to understand how to identify effective teaching as the first step
to designing better feedback and support systems. The project, which reached
more than 3,000 teachers from seven districts, has broadened the field’s
knowledge. We’ve found that effective teacher evaluation systems help teachers
improve their practice and inform school and district leaders about how to
direct resources for professional development and growth.
The Role of
Instructional Tools for Teachers
The Common Core State Standards generated new expectations
for what students should know and be able to do, which created a demand for new
tools. Anticipating this demand, the Foundation made a major investment in the
development and implementation of teacher-designed tools through the Literacy
(LDC) and Mathematics Design Collaborative (MDC). Developed by teachers for teachers, LDC and MDC offer a set of flexible instructional
modules, tasks, and formative assessment tools to support instruction tied to
- What We Know: Both LDC and MDC have led to statistically significant learning gains for students. However, teachers believe there is still room for improvement and need more help with incorporating the new approaches into daily classroom instruction.
- What We Still Need to Know: What would it look to give teachers more decision-making power over curriculum and instructional resources—including digital tools—rather than relying on state and district textbook adoptions and purchasing decisions?
Learn more about what happens when these elements come
together. The combination of common,
high standards, meaningful feedback, and instructional tools are a powerful
trio for teachers and students.
We hope you’ll sign up to stay up to date with the Let’s Talk series,
share with your colleagues, and contribute to the conversation.