Report Reviews Southern States’ Common Core Implementation

The Southern Regional Education Board recently released a Summary Report on the State Implementation of Common Core State Standards. This report provides a high level assessment of implementation of common core in 15 states, including Maryland.  The Summary Report includes:

  • Descriptions of trends across the 15 states in Common Core implementation activities
  • Highlights from states with leading efforts
  • Successes and challenges states are encountering, next steps they anticipate, and support they need to move the work forward
  • Perspectives from the field, gathered through interviews with key leaders and educators

In one section, the report describes technology readiness of the states to implement common core and its accompanying student assessments, finding that,

Assessment technology is a major challenge for some states as they prepare to implement the new assessments. PARCC, Smarter Balanced and other assessment developers are designing their assessments to be administered online. All 15 of the state departments of education are working with districts to assess their readiness for online testing and to address their needs. Many states recognize that not all of their districts will have the necessary assessment technology infrastructure in place by 2014-15. Some states are better prepared than others, as they have been using or phasing in online testing already. These states include Delaware, Florida, Georgia and Kentucky. . .

Tennessee and West Virginia took noteworthy approaches to supporting districts as they prepare: In 2013 the Tennessee legislature provided extra state funds to help districts augment their technology infrastructure. In West Virginia, through collaboration between the department, the state board of education and the legislature, a two-year moratorium was established on spending state funding for new textbooks and materials. In 2011-12 and 2012-13, districts could use those funds instead to upgrade their technology systems and digital resources. As 2014-15 approaches, the pressure increases for all states and districts to work together to enhance assessment technology infrastructures.

Following estimates of $100 million in technology needs to adopt the new online PARCC assessments, the Maryland legislature passed State Department of Education – Assessment Report for Broadband Capabilities in Public Schools, HB 1388/SB988, requiring the Maryland State Department of Education to report on existing broadband speeds and connections in all public schools in the State by December 1, 2014. The request for additional information will help determine the preparedness of our schools to implement the PARCC assessments within the next couple of years.  MACo supported the legislation with an amendment asking that the report include recommendations of appropriate State and private resources to fund the required improvements.

For more information, see the full report and our previous post, Estimated $100M Needed for MD Schools to Administer New Assessments.