Superintedents’ Readiness for Common Core State Standards

The American Association of School Administrators (AASA), the professional organization that represents most district superintendents in the U.S., just released the results of a survey of 525 superintendents from 48 states regarding readiness for implementation of the of Common Core State Standards (CCSS), other rigorous state standards and new assessments.

This is one of the few data-based analyses published on this question and there are a lot of good data here that make it worth reading. One of the things unique about this report is that it compares CCSS-adopting districts to non-CCSS-adopting districts. This is a very informative comparison. Both groups report that their states are implementing more rigorous standards. The non-CCSS states report higher levels of concern regarding funding and teacher preparation. Both groups report that the political debate has gotten in the way of their state’s implementation of higher standards. There is also strong commitment from both groups to stay the course of their particular state’s efforts.

The data set is also evenly split between districts using Smarter Balanced Assessment and Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Career. Even though almost half of the respondents report their districts as using assessment data in employee evaluations, this area is identified as the most problematic for the superintendents and concerns are identified regarding appropriate use, time for teachers to adjust instruction based on the new standards, and the appropriate procedures for incorporating these data into their evaluation processes.

Data are reported on the status of:

  • Adoption
  • Implementation
  • Assessments
  • State Support
  • Community Support

The study, in general, shows agreement among district superintendents that the standards are more rigorous and better aligned for college and career readiness. Most districts are moving ahead with implementation of either CCSS or some other form of more rigorous standards. They see both the opportunity and the challenge for implementation of more rigorous standards in high poverty districts, supporting the need for high standards to address equity issues, but also the need for the financial support for the instructional programs and services to accomplish this. The superintendents are also concerned about the lack of adequate funding for sustained professional development. They join several other national organizations suggesting that the standards be in place for several years before attaching high stakes decisions based on student performance. They suggest that school districts need additional time to fully implement them, especially more time for necessary professional development of staff.

Your comments are always welcome.

Pat Burk, Ph.D.
Department of Educational Leadership and Policy


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