Common Core

U Michigan to Lead $5 Million Common Core Study

Researchers from the University of Michigan, Brown University and Stanford University have landed a grant worth nearly $5 million from the Spencer Foundation and the William T. Grant Foundation for the first phase of a five year study on the effects of the Common Core State Standards on teaching and learning.

The project "Under Construction: The Rise, Spread and Consequences of the Common Core State Standards Initiative in the U.S. Educational Sector," will examine the response of governmental and non-governmental stakeholders to the Common Core, and how it is affecting "classroom instruction and social disparities in academic achievement in school systems across the country," according to a news release.

Researchers will review video records of classroom teaching from approximately 240 teachers in six urban school districts that participated in the Measures of Effective Teaching project, which was funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. They will also examine a Stanford University database that tracks longitudinal student achievement trends in all 50 states.

"This study will help us understand how trends in achievement levels and achievement gaps may be related to patterns of adoption and implementation of Common Core," said Adam Gamoran, president of the William T. Grant Foundation, in a prepared statement. "In doing so it will also help us to understand the limits and possibilities of large-scale standards-based reform to achieve greater equity in educational outcomes."

The research project is based at the University of Michigan's Institute for Social Research and is led by Brian Rowan, a research professor at the institute and at U-M's School of Education. Co-principal investigators on the project include David K. Cohen, a professor at the U-M School of Education; Susan L. Moffitt, associate professor of political science and international and public affairs at Brown University; and Sean F. Reardon, professor of poverty and inequality in education at the Stanford University.

The Spencer Foundation is contributing nearly $4.4 million to the project, and the William T. Grant Foundation is contributing the remainder. The foundations will base further funding of the project on the progress made during phase one.

About the Author

Leila Meyer is a technology writer based in British Columbia. She can be reached at [email protected].