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Standards & Assessment | News

Report: Teachers Want More Time, Resources To Prepare for Common Core

While more teachers today feel confident about their ability to teach Common Core State Standards, more than three-quarters of them reported they need more time to find teaching materials and develop lesson plans, according to a new survey of more than 20,000 teachers from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Scholastic.

The report, Primary Sources: America's Teachers on Teaching in an Era of Change, conducted by Harrison Group in July 2013 among 20,157 teachers nationwide, is generally favorable toward Common Core standards and other Gates Foundation priorities, such as teacher evaluations. The report heavily emphasizes the positive results of the survey and is decorated throughout the margins and section breaks with positive comments from teachers about the standards and education reform in general. Nevertheless, the report found that, despite an increased sense of preparedness from teachers (with 75 percent of teachers feeling "increasingly prepared to teach the Common Core" compared with 59 percent in 2011), 76 percent of teachers said they "require additional planning time, with a similar number pointing to a need for quality CCSS-based professional development (71 percent). Two in three (67 percent) teachers need guidance and ideas for teaching in an inquiry-based way and about six in 10 need CCSS-aligned curricula (63 percent) and more information on the content of the CCSS-aligned assessments that are being developed (59 percent)," according to the report.

And, overall, some 73 percent of math and English teachers indicated they believe there are or will be challenges in implementing Common Core.

Still, according to the report, 57 percent of teachers do think Common Core will have an overall positive impact on students, with 43 percent saying the standards will make no difference or will have a negative impact on students.

The survey was not focused exclusively on Common Core. It also looked at other aspects of the teaching profession, including challenges faced by teachers.

The most common significant challenge faced by teachers was "constantly changing demands on teachers and students," cited by massive 82 percent of respondents.

That question wasn't broken down by the types of changes that are imposed on teachers, such as new standards. However, according to the report, "In conversation, teachers identify various issues within 'constantly changing demands,' including changes in leadership, policies, curriculum, administrative systems and more. Many note that a large part of the challenge is the pressure these changes place on existing time and resources. As one teacher said, 'Too many changes at one time waters down everything and doesn't give teachers the time to effectively implement all of the changes.'"

Other challenges cited by participants included:

  • Not enough time for collaboration with colleagues (51 percent);
  • Large class sizes (43 percent);
  • Limited earning potential (42 percent);
  • Need for more parent-teacher collaboration (38 percent);
  • Not enough instructional time (34 percent);
  • Lack of academic help for struggling students and ELL students (30 percent);
  • Lack of school leadership (30 percent).

Interestingly, only 19 percent overall cited "not enough professional development to ensure my growth as a teacher" as a significant concern.

The complete report is freely available online.

About the Author

Executive Producer David Nagel heads up the editorial department for 1105 Media's education publications — which include two daily sites, a variety of newsletters and two monthly digital magazines covering technology in both K-12 and higher education.

A 21-year publishing veteran, Nagel has led or contributed to dozens of technology, art and business publications.

He can be reached at dnagel@1105media.com. You can also connect with him on LinkedIn at linkedin.com/profile/view?id=10390192 or follow him on Twitter at @THEJournalDave (K-12) or @CampusTechDave (higher education). A selection of David Nagel's articles can be found on this site.


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