Every superintendent and principal in California, along with 7,000 teachers statewide, received an extensive questionnaire this week asking for their perspectives on how well the rollout of the Common Core State Standards has been handled.
The nonprofit research agency WestEd is conducting the survey with the blessing of State Board of Education President Michael Kirst and state Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson. Results will be tabulated in summary form and won’t be identifiable by school, district or county office of education.
“Our goal is to have a better view about implementation from the perspective of teachers, principals and superintendents,” Kirst said. “These results will help inform decision-making, especially about professional development and additional support needed.”
The survey, the most comprehensive to date, will parallel similar questionnaires in other states, including Florida, Massachusetts and New York, providing cross-state comparisons.
The 17-page questionnaire to teachers, estimated to take 15 minutes to fill out, asks teachers to identify and rate the forms in which they’ve received support in the Common Core – including online materials, training, textbooks, and Smarter Balanced library resources – and to rate the quality and extent of that support from their school, district and county.
Among the other questions, the survey asks teachers to identify:
- Whether specific Common Core topics in math and English language arts, such as teaching complex texts using close-reading analysis and building academic vocabulary, are being offered in teaching training;
- What kinds of data, including interim assessments, their districts have used to measure standards implementation;
- How well prepared their districts and schools are to teach the standards;
- Whether there have been shifts in practice resulting from their training;
- Whether technology-related topics are used in professional development;
- Which barriers (funding, time, etc.) are hindering professional development;
- To what degree training has helped with the new standards;
- Whether, and from whom and in what form, they received training.
Responses will remain confidential. Participants are encouraged to complete the survey by early to mid-November. If they do, teachers and principals will receive a $10 gift card, courtesy of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which is underwriting the survey.* Joan Talbert, a senior research scholar emerita at Stanford University, helped develop the questions.
*EdSource Today’s coverage of the Common Core is supported by the Gates Foundation and other foundations. EdSource maintains sole editorial control over the content of its coverage.