Trends in CCSS and how schools are moving towards adopting it
It’s only been a nascent two years for the Common Core State Standards since its inception and implementation by 49 states and territories in the US. A tremendously laudable effort, the CCSS seeks to create a national curriculum across the country and create excellence in education and practical learning for children. However, like any new idea to run its full-course, and successfully so, takes time…the Common Core State Standards is no exception to that rule!
The state schools in the US didn’t follow any synchronised pan-US standard, till now; and to suddenly adopt a new road-map is naturally coming as a challenge. Many teachers for instance, feel unprepared for implementing the Common Core Standards! Even before they begin imparting the knowledge, based on the new guidelines, teachers themselves need to be prepared and well versed with the subjects; and this in itself is taking time. Many states have promised to train students, educators, and parents through this transition, yet few have actually spent the time or money to do so! Therefore, districts looking for early training opportunities have to find ways to create their own programs.
The Common Core goal also stresses on equipping every teacher with the ability to teach any or all subjects, unlike mastery over just one chosen area – this, the think-tanks of the program feel will keep up the standards of excellence among teachers as well.
The Scholastic website reports the following about a survey conducted on Common Core State Standards –
“Twenty-seven percent of teachers surveyed feel somewhat/very unprepared to teach the standards, and only twenty-two percent say they feel very prepared. Among the tools that teachers say they need to effectively implement the Common Core Standards are student-centered technology, formative assessments, and new curricula and learning tools aligned to the Common Core”
The practical challenges notwithstanding, the positives of the program have been applauded by educators and visionaries alike! Hung-Hsi Wu, professor of mathematics at University of California, Berkeley, stressed on the strengths of the new Common Core Standards for Mathematics in the fall 2011 edition of American Educato. If well-implemented, these guidelines, as opposed to current curricula and practices have the potential to revitalize and enrich math instruction and learning, he stressed. A key feature among the recommendations provided in the CCSS, suggests a gradual introduction of concepts to children. This, Prof Hung-His Wu feels, will allow students to understand the principles of what they are learning. Topics become increasingly complex as students reach higher classes; but they all build on the foundations of previously learned concepts, he explained.
An essential aspect of the Common Core is the kind of importance that has been laid on technological training and use of digital tools for education. Social media platforms, apps and digitised resources are being leveraged for imparting today’s classroom education. The success of new technological platforms like the iPad is already known! Exciting, creative apps aligned to the Common Core is now filling stores as well. Check out the Apple online stores for apps like ‘Know your maths facts for free’ from Maths Munchkie; or our very own Splash Math Apps series from Studypad!
Since there is no strict reading list of textbooks mentioned in the guidelines, schools are broadly following the framework suggested by Common Core State Standards while selecting books. The Common Core suggestions in this regard, outline key criteria while making text selections, reading foundations and questions on tasks, and what a child ought to know in each grade level. Such issues as how texts should meet the needs of a wider group of students; or build on concepts and fluency and should have explicit and systematic instructional content are also clearly suggested in the Common Core State Standards manual for publishers and educators.
Whatever the criteria or the expectations set by the Common Core, educators wholeheartedly believe that learning or going to school, will be a whole new experience for today’s generation of children in the US; and will ultimately nurture an extensive knowledge pool like China and India!