As we embark on our fifth year of implementation of Common Core, we continue to see the following question being posed -
"Has Common Core improved student performance?"
I think we are asking the wrong question. I believe the question should be,
"Has instruction changed to meet the Common Core Standards?"
Standards alone do not improve achievement. It is what we do with the standards that makes an impact on student performance. It is our core work - the intentional design of lessons that promote student engagement and learning. It is the shared instructional practices that drive collaboration, inform coaching, and create compelling learning environments.
I encourage us to truly reflect on the changes in instructional practice that have occurred over the last five years during our transition to new standards. Whether your State kept the Common Core name, or renamed the standards with revisions, all States have standards that represent an increase in student performance expectations.
Reflect on the following questions:
I know you may be thinking these are the things we have been talking about for years now. However, if you are not getting the results you truly desire . . . let's look at our practices before throwing the baby out with the bath water. The last thing we need in public education is another sea change. Let's stick with one thing long enough to see if it works. Commit to deep implementation and focusing on doing a few things really well.
Let's stop rehashing the standards and focus our energy on providing teachers the needed support and resources to meet the needs of the students they serve. I encourage you to take some time before the new year starts to reflect on the questions posed above and determine how your team will begin the new year with a laser like focus on student learning and a realistic "to do" list focused on instruction. It is the only thing that will increase achievement!
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