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June 2012

Growing Awareness, Growing Support: Teacher and Voter Understanding of the Common Core State Standards & Assessments

June 2012


Methodology

Methodology

On behalf of Achieve, Inc., Public Opinion Strategies and Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research are pleased to present the key findings from a national survey of N=1,000 registered voters and N=500 K through 12 public school teachers.

The survey was conducted May 6-10, 2012 and has a margin of error of +3.1% among voters and +4.4% among teachers.

To help inform this survey, a series of eight focus groups (four among parents and four among teachers) were conducted in November-December 2011 to explore perceptions of, and reactions to, information related to the Common Core State Standards and assessments.


Background

Background

  • In June 2010, the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) – K-12 standards in mathematics and English language arts/literacy developed through a multi-state initiative – were released.

  • Since then, 46 states and Washington DC have chosen to adopt the new standards as their own. Implementation efforts are now underway in most of these states.

  • 45 states and Washington DC are working to develop common assessments aligned to the CCSS, which will allow for better cross-state comparisons and will measure whether students are on track to graduating ready for college and careers.

  • As states are working to transform their education systems with new standards and assessments – impacting curriculum, professional development, and, in many cases, teacher evaluation systems – it’s critical that stakeholders, including teachers and voters/parents, are increasingly aware of, understand, and support the changes.

  • To support states, Achieve has been monitoring awareness and support for CCSS implementation through nationally-commissioned polling.


June 2012

Key Findings from Growing Awareness, Growing Support: Teacher and Public Understanding of the Common Core State Standards & Assessments

  • Voters and teachers strongly support common standards and assessments. Voter support remains strong regardless of age, education level, race, ethnicity,or party affiliation.

  • There has been a significant increase in awareness of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) among teachers since August 2011, while awareness of the CCSS continues to be very low among the voting public.

  • The more teachers know about the CCSS, the more positive impression they have of the standards. Similarly, voters who are aware of the CCSS hold a favorable view of the standards.

  • A majority of both voters and teachers support new CCSS assessments, and support holds when more information on the assessments is provided.

  • However, there are mixed reactions to some specific likely components of the new assessments, although voters and teachers are fairly consistent in their views on the highest and lowest rated assessment components.


June 2012

Common Core State Standards


Common core state standards

Common Core State Standards

Thinking about the last six months, how much have you seen, read or heard about these Common Core State Standards?

Among Voters

Among Teachers

65%

A Lot

60%

Nothing

At All

60%

Nothing

At All

46%

A Lot

Not Much

/Nothing

Not Much

/Nothing

Not Much

/Nothing

A Lot/

Some

A Lot/

Some

A Lot/

Some

A Lot/

Some

Since last summer, there has been virtually no change in voters saying they have heard about the Common Core State Standards.

However, teachers report a much greater level of awareness.


Common core state standards1

Common Core State Standards

And, has what you have seen, read or heard recently about the Common Core State Standards given you a favorable or unfavorable impression of the standards?

Among Those Who Have Seen/Read/Heard about CCSS

Voters

Teachers

24%

Very

11%

Very

No

Impact

No

Impact

No

Impact

Fav

Unfav

Fav

Unfav

Fav

Unfav

Fav

Unfav

Based on what they have seen, read or heard about the CCSS, teachers report a more favorable impression of the standards compared to last summer.


Common core state standards2

Common Core State Standards

Now, just so everyone taking this survey has the same information, let me tell you some more about these Common Core State Standards.

These new standards have been set to internationally competitive levels in English and math. This means that students may be more challenged by the material they study, and the tests they take will measure more advanced concepts and require students to show their work.

Knowing this, do you favor or oppose implementing these

new Common Core State Standards?

Respondents were then provided with the following information

about the Common Core State Standards and asked if they

would favor or oppose their implementation:


Common core state standards3

Common Core State Standards

Knowing this, do you favor or oppose implementing these new Common Core State Standards?

Among Voters

Among Teachers

47%

Strongly

45%

Strongly

43%

Strongly

33%

Strongly

Fav

Unfav

Fav

Unfav

Fav

Unfav

Fav

Unfav

Just a brief description of the CCSS produces solid support for the standards.


Common core state standards4

Knowing this, do you favor or oppose implementing these new Common Core State Standards?

Common Core State Standards

Among Voters

45% Strongly

Favor

Oppose

Among voters, there is broad and deep support across the major sub-groups.


Common core state standards5

Favor/Oppose Implementing CCSS Among Teachers

Common Core State Standards

After hearing a brief description of the CCSS

By Seen, Read or Heard of CCSS

39%

Strong

33%

Strong

19%

Strong

25%

Strong

18%

Strong

Favor

Oppose

Favor

Oppose

Favor

Oppose

Favor

Oppose

The more teachers report having seen, read or heard about the Common Core State Standards, the more support and enthusiasm they express for implementing them.


June 2012

Common Core State Standards Assessments

(CCSS Assessments)


Common core state standards assessments

Common Core State Standards Assessments

Respondents were provided with the following information about the development of new Common Core State Standards assessments and asked if they would favor or oppose their implementation:

As the Common Core State Standards are being developed, new tests that will reflect the new standards are also being developed.

These new tests are being designed to help determine what students know and can do, and whether they are on track to graduate from high school ready for college and career. Over time, these new tests would replace the current end of the year state tests being given here in (INSERT STATE).

Knowing this, do you favor or oppose implementing

these new tests?


Common core state standards assessments1

The brief description of new CCSS assessments results in majority support from voters and teachers.

Knowing this, do you favor or oppose implementing these new tests?

Common Core State Standards Assessments

Among Voters

Among Teachers

Standards

Favor77%

Oppose15%

Standards Favor72%

Oppose20%

40%

Strongly

25%

Strongly

15%

Strongly

Favor

Oppose

Favor

Oppose


Common core state standards assessments2

Among voters, there is solid support for the assessments across all the major sub-groups.

Favor/Oppose Implementing CCSS Assessments Among Voters

Common Core State Standards Assessments

40% Strongly

Favor

Oppose


Common core state standards assessments3

Again, the more teachers are aware of the Common Core State Standards, the more likely they are to support new CCSS assessments.

Favor/Oppose Implementing CCSS Assessments Among Teachers

Common Core State Standards Assessments

After hearing a brief description of the CCSS assessments

By Seen, Read or Heard of CCSS

31%

Strong

25%

Strong

23%

Strong

15%

Strong

14%

Strong

16%

Strong

9%

Strong

14%

Strong

Favor

Oppose

Favor

Oppose

Favor

Oppose

Favor

Oppose


Common core state standards assessments4

Reactions To Elements of The CCSS Assessments

Common Core State Standards Assessments

Respondents were read 14 different components of the CCSS assessments (as contemplated by the states in the PARCC consortia) and asked to rate each of them on a scale from zero to ten, where zero means it would be a very bad idea and ten means it would be a

very good idea.

The components were read in logical order, so participants were guided step-by-step through the various elements of the assessments.

“I would like to get your reaction to the various components and features of the new tests. Please rate each of the following using a scale from zero to ten, where zero means you think this would be a very bad idea and ten means you think this would be a very good idea. Of course, you can choose any number from zero to ten.”

5

4

6

3

7

8

2

Good

9

1

Bad

0

10


Common core state standards assessments5

Teachers offer lower scores across the board. However, voters and teachers agree on most of the components they score highest and lowest.

Common Core State Standards Assessments

Among Voters

Among Teachers


Common core state standards assessments6

Common Core State Standards Assessments

Overall, voters are more supportive of the various elements of the CCSS assessments than teachers. The majority of voters rate 10 or more of the 14 elements as a “good idea” compared to just one-third of teachers.

Number of Elements of CCSS Assessments Rated 8 or better (1-10 scale)

Among Teachers

Among Voters

10-14 of 14

(Supporters)

53%34%

5-9 of 14

(“Swing Voters”)

27%30%

10-14 of 14

(Opponents)

21%36%


Common core state standards assessments7

After hearing more about the CCSS assessments, voters offer an even more favorable impression of the tests and teachers hold steady with their opinions.

Common Core State Standards Assessments

Among Voters

Among Teachers

47%

Strongly

40%

Strongly

25%

Strongly

22%

Strongly

16%

Strongly

15%

Strongly

Favor

Oppose

Favor

Oppose

Favor

Oppose

Favor

Oppose


June 2012

The Bottom Line


The bottom line

The Bottom Line

  • As schools begin implementing Common Core State Standards and new assessments, there is majority support from voters and teachers alike.

  • Importantly, the more teachers know about the CCSS, the more likely they are to support implementing the standards and the new assessments. Teacher knowledge has grown significantly over the last six months.

  • It is possible that as states and districts move from the CCSS being an idea to reality with implementation, overall support may slip. But how much it slips may be dependent on how strong the implementation plan is – and how well that plan is communicated.

  • Ongoing and sustained communications is key to maintaining and building lasting support for both teachers and voters.


Bottom line

Bottom Line

  • It is critical to sustain or ramp up efforts to educate teachers—including what the implementation plan is and what teachers can expect. Focus groups with teachers reinforce the importance of good professional development, aligned materials,and their desire to collaborate with colleagues.

  • Voters also need to become increasingly aware of the CCSS and what it means for students and parents. What will be different? How will the expectations change? What kind of support will be available? Voters, like teachers, also need to understand how these changes fit into the broader reform agenda, why it’s important, and the value of the new standards to our education system and economy.


June 2012

  • Achieve is a bipartisan, non-profit organization that helps states raise academic standards, improve assessments, and strengthen accountability to prepare all young people for college, careers and life.

  • For more information, see www.achieve.org/


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