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[IWS] CRS: COMMON CORE STATE STANDARDS AND ASSESSMENTS: BACKGROUND AND ISSUES [2 September 2014]

IWS Documented News Service

_______________________________

Institute for Workplace Studies-----------------Professor Samuel B. Bacharach

School of Industrial & Labor Relations-------- Director, Institute for Workplace Studies

Cornell University

16 East 34th Street, 4th floor--------------------Stuart Basefsky

New York, NY 10016 -------------------------------Director, IWS News Bureau

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This service is supported, in part, by donations. Please consider making a donation by following the instructions at http://www.ilr.cornell.edu/iws/news-bureau/support.html

 

Congressional Research Service (CRS)

 

Common Core State Standards and Assessments: Background and Issues

Rebecca R. Skinner, Specialist in Education Policy

Jody Feder,  Legislative Attorney

September 2, 2014 

http://fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/R43711.pdf

[full-text, 43 pages]

 

Summary

Over the last two decades, there has been interest in developing federal policies that focus on

student outcomes in elementary and secondary education. Perhaps most prominently, the

enactment of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB; P.L. 107-110), which amended and

reauthorized the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), marked a dramatic expansion

of the federal government’s role in supporting standards-based instruction and test-based

accountability, thereby increasing the federal government’s involvement in decisions that directly

affect teaching and learning.

 

Under the ESEA, states are required to have standards in reading and mathematics for specified

grade levels in order to receive funding under Title I-A of the ESEA. In response to this

requirement, all 50 states and the District of Columbia have adopted and implemented standards

that meet the requirements of the ESEA. Since the ESEA was last comprehensively reauthorized

by NCLB, three major changes have taken place that have possibly played a role in the selection

of reading and mathematics standards by states: (1) the development and release of the Common

Core State Standards; (2) the Race to the Top (RTT) State Grant competition and RTT Assessment

Grants competition; and (3) the ESEA flexibility package provided by ED to states with approved

applications. As of August 2014, 43 states, the District of Columbia, 4 outlying areas, and the

Department of Defense Education Activity (DODEA) had at some point adopted the Common

Core State Standards. Indiana and Oklahoma recently became the first states to adopt and

subsequently discontinue use of the Common Core State Standards. South Carolina has indicated

that the Common Core State Standards will be fully implemented for the 2014-2015 school year

but will be replaced by new standards in the 2015-2016 school year.

 

This report examines each of the aforementioned changes and discusses how they are interrelated.

More specifically, it provides (1) background information on current law, (2) a discussion of the

development of the Common Core State Standards and state adoption of the standards, (3) an

analysis of the RTT State Grant competition and how the structure of the grant application

process may have incentivized state adoption of the Common Core State Standards, (4) an

examination of the RTT Assessment Grants competition and the federal funds provided to support

the development of assessments aligned with the Common Core State Standards, and (5) an

analysis of the ESEA flexibility package and how the conditions that states had to meet to receive

waivers of ESEA accountability provisions may have incentivized state implementation of the

Common Core State Standards. This report also examines prohibitions in the ESEA and the

General Education Provisions Act related to standards, assessments, and curriculum. Additionally,

it includes a brief discussion of the relationship between teacher and school leader evaluation

systems that are being developed by states and the Common Core State Standards.

Finally, the report examines issues that have arisen in relation to the Common Core State

Standards, including the following:

 

• whether states were incentivized by the Administration to adopt and implement

the Common Core State Standards;

• whether state adoption and implementation of the Common Core State Standards

could result in a national assessment and national standards;

• whether state adoption and implementation of the Common Core State Standards

could lead to the development of a national curriculum;

• possible issues that may need to be addressed if a state chooses to discontinue its

use of the Common Core State Standards;

• possible issues related to teacher evaluation and the Common Core State

Standards;

• possible technology issues related to implementation of the Common Core State

Standards; and

• possible issues related to the long-term maintenance of the Common Core State

Standards.

 

Contents

Introduction ...................................................................................................................................... 1

Current Law Requirements for Standards and Assessments ............................................................ 2

Standards Under Current Law ................................................................................................... 2

Content Standards ............................................................................................................... 3

Performance Standards ........................................................................................................ 4

Standards Versus Curriculum .................................................................................................... 6

Prohibitions Against Federal Mandates, Direction, or Control ........................................................ 6

ESEA Provisions ....................................................................................................................... 6

GEPA Provisions ....................................................................................................................... 8

Common Core State Standards Initiative ......................................................................................... 8

Race to the Top and Common Core State Standards and Assessments ......................................... 11

RTT State Grants ..................................................................................................................... 11

RTT Assessment Grants ........................................................................................................... 14

ESEA Flexibility Package and Common Core State Standards and Assessments ......................... 16

College- and Career-Ready Expectations for All Students ...................................................... 17

College- and Career-Ready Standards ............................................................................... 18

High-Quality Assessments ................................................................................................ 19

Common Core State Standards and Teacher Evaluation ................................................................ 20

Race to the Top ........................................................................................................................ 20

ESEA Flexibility Package ....................................................................................................... 21

Issues Related to the Implementation of Common Core State Standards and Aligned

Assessments ................................................................................................................................ 22

States’ Voluntary Adoption and Implementation of the Common Core State Standards ......... 22

National Standards and National Assessments ........................................................................ 23

National Standards Versus National Curriculum ..................................................................... 23

States that Initially Agree to Use the Common Core State Standards and Subsequently

Drop Them ........................................................................................................................... 23

Teacher Evaluation and Implementation Timeline .................................................................. 27

Technology-Based Assessment ................................................................................................ 29

Long-Term Maintenance of the Common Core State Standards and Aligned

Assessments ......................................................................................................................... 30

ESEA Reauthorization and the Common Core State Standards and Assessments .................. 30

 

Tables

Table A-1. State Applications and Awards Under the Race to the Top (RTT) State Grant

Competition, Adoption of the Common Core State Standards, and Application and

Approval for the ESEA Flexibility Package ............................................................................... 33

 

Appendixes

Appendix A. State Participation in Race to the Top, Common Core State Standards, and

ESEA Flexibility Package........................................................................................................... 32

Appendix B. Selected Acronyms Used in This Report .................................................................. 37

Contacts

Author Contact Information........................................................................................................... 38

Approval for the ESEA Flexibility Package ............................................................................... 33

 

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This information is provided to subscribers, friends, faculty, students and alumni of the School of Industrial & Labor Relations (ILR). It is a service of the Institute for Workplace Studies (IWS) in New York City. Stuart Basefsky is responsible for the selection of the contents which is intended to keep researchers, companies, workers, and governments aware of the latest information related to ILR disciplines as it becomes available for the purposes of research, understanding and debate. The content does not reflect the opinions or positions of Cornell University, the School of Industrial & Labor Relations, or that of Mr. Basefsky and should not be construed as such. The service is unique in that it provides the original source documentation, via links, behind the news and research of the day. Use of the information provided is unrestricted. However, it is requested that users acknowledge that the information was found via the IWS Documented News Service.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 




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