PRIMARY SOURCES Third Edition

America’s Teachers on Teaching in an Era of Change

A project of Scholastic and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

National Data

“I think the Common Core State Standards are definitely a step in the right direction for our children. All students need the same experiences and opportunities in learning.”

— ELEMENTARY SCHOOL TEACHER

Teachers Are Enthusiastic About the Implementation of the Common Core, Even as They Acknowledge Challenges Ahead

Awareness of THE Common Core State Standards is Near Universal, and Implementation is Well Underway

Ninety-seven percent (97%) of teachers are aware of the Common Core State Standards, with that number increasing to a full 100% in states that have adopted the standards.

Teachers’ Awareness of Common Core State Standards

Base: Total Respondents. Details: page 33 in the full report. State data here.

More than nine in 10 (93%) teachers in Common Core states report that implementation of the standards has begun in math and/or ELA. More information regarding stages of implementation—including subgroup analysis by subject taught and grade level—is available in the full report.

Among the teachers who report implementation has started in their school, six in 10 (62%) teachers agree that implementation is going well.

The percentage of teachers who agree with this statement is highest among those:

Twenty percent (20%) of teachers do not agree that implementation is going well, and 18% “do not know enough” to comment. This subset of teachers is more likely to teach in schools where implementation is in the early stages, is less likely to have had experiences designed to prepare them to teach the Common Core, and is more likely to feel unprepared to teach the standards.

A spotlight on teachers who feel implementation of the Common Core is going well can be found in the full report.

A Majority of Teachers Say the Common Core Will BE POSITIVE FOR MOST STUDENTS

More than half of teachers (57%) in Common Core States say that the Common Core will be positive for most students; this positive view outweighs the negative seven-to-one, with only 8% of teachers reporting that the CCSS will have a negative impact. Thirty-five percent (35%) of teachers say that the standards will not make much of a difference.

Teachers’ Views on Whether Common Core State Standards Will Be Positive, Negative or Will Not Make Much of a Difference for Most Students

Base: Teach in a CCSS Adoption State. Details: page 36 in the full report. State data here.

When asked to comment on the impact the Common Core will have on more specific topics related to student work and learning, seven in 10 teachers who teach math, ELA, science and/or social studies in CCSS states think the standards will have a positive or very positive impact on students’ ability to think critically and use reasoning skills (74%), students’ ability to present ideas based on evidence (71%) and students’ ability to read and comprehend informational texts (68%).

Teachers’ Views on Impact Common Core State Standards Will Have on Select Student Skills and Abilities

Base: Teach in a CCSS Adoption State and Teach ELA, Math, Science and/or Social Studies. Details: page 40 in the full report. State data here.

Additional information on teachers’ views on the impact of the CCSS—including views on overall goals of the standards, subject-specific experiences and further subgroup analysis by subject taught, grade level and stage of implementation—can be found in the full report.

Teachers are enthusiastic about the implementation of the Common Core, despite saying it will be a challenge

Seventy-three percent (73%) of teachers who teach math, ELA, science and/or social studies say the implementation of the Common Core is or will be challenging, but teachers are embracing that challenge—the same percentage (73%) reports that they are enthusiastic about the changes coming to their classroom under the new standards.

Agreement With Statements About Common Core State Standards

Base: Teach in a CCSS Adoption State and Teach ELA, Math, Science and/or Social Studies. Details: page 43 in the full report. State data here.

Additional information on teachers’ agreement with these statements—including subgroup analysis by stage of implementation, grades and subjects taught—is available in the full report.

Teachers Expect That the Common Core Will Require Changes to Their Teaching Practice

Three in four (74%) teachers say that the Common Core has required or will require them to make changes to their teaching practice, with elementary school teachers more likely to say this (81%) than middle school (71%) or high school (61%) teachers.

Teachers’ Views on Whether Implementation of Common Core State Standards Has Required or Will Require Changes to Teaching Practice, in Total and by Grade(s) Taught

Base: Teach in a CCSS Adoption State. Details: page 49 in the full report. State data here.

Additional information regarding teachers’ views on changing their teaching practice—including subgroup analysis by stage of implementation—is available in the full report.

Teachers Are Seeking Out Information on the Common Core and Are Working to Become More Prepared to Teach the Standards

Nine in 10 teachers who teach math, ELA, science and/or social studies in Common Core adoption states have independently researched the CCSS (92%) and/or discussed the CCSS with teachers at their school.

Experiences Teaches Have Had in Relation to the Common Core State Standards

Base: Teach in a CCSS Adoption State and Teach ELA, Math, Science and/or Social Studies. Details: page 51 in the full report. State data here.

Among these activities, teachers find discussing the Common Core with colleagues and using aligned materials in the classroom to be the most helpful activities in strengthening their preparedness to teach the standards.

Teachers’ Views on Helpfulness of Experiences in Preparing to Teach Common Core State Standards

Base: Teach in a CCSS Adoption State and Teach ELA, Math, Science and/or Social Studies. Base varies according to whether teacher experienced each.
Details: page 53 in the full report. State data here.

Additional data regarding sources of information about the standards and teachers’ preparedness overall—including subgroup analysis by year of survey and stage of implementation—can be found in the full report.

Teachers report a wide range of resources needed to properly implement the Common Core STATE STANDARDS

Outside of teachers’ views on preparedness for the Common Core, teachers report a wide range of resources needed in order to implement the standards. Three-quarters (76%) of teachers require additional planning time, with a similar number pointing to a need for quality CCSS-based professional development (71%). Two in three (67%) teachers need guidance and ideas for teaching in an inquiry-based way, and about six in 10 (63%) need CCSS-aligned curricula and more information on the content of the CCSS-aligned assessments that are being developed (59%).

Tools and Resources Teachers Say They Need in Order to Successfully Implement the Common Core State Standards

Base: Teach in a CCSS Adoption State and Teach ELA, Math, Science and/or Social Studies. Details: page 55 in the full report. State data here.

Additional information on resources teachers need to successfully implement the Common Core—including similarities and differences by subject level—is available in the full report.

TEACHERS ARE CONCERNED ABOUT THE SUCCESS OF THOSE STUDENTS WHO STRUGGLE THE MOST

When asked to identify the students they are most concerned about when it comes to meeting the goals of the Common Core, across grades taught, teachers report the most concern for those students who are currently working two or more grades below grade level. One-quarter of teachers are most concerned about their special education students. 

Student Populations Teachers Are Most Concerned About in Regards to Meeting the Requirements of Common Core State Standards, in Total and by Grade(s) Taught

Base: Teach in a CCSS Adoption State. Details: page 56 in the full report. State data here.

In general, teachers feel that instructional materials that are age-appropriate, leveled and high-interest are the most important resources required to ensure that their students meet the new state standards. After materials, teachers point to their colleagues—both teachers and administrators—and then to time for collaboration and professional development, followed by technology.

Top Resources Teachers Would Make a Priority to Help Better Ensure the Student Population They Are Most Concerned About Successfully Meets Common Core State Standards

Base: Teach in a CCSS Adoption State and Are Concerned About a Student Population. Details: page 58 in the full report. State data here.

When asked to prioritize resources for the student populations about which they are most concerned, teachers’ responses vary. Teachers’ views on resources for the specific student populations for which they express the most concern can be found in the full report.