University of Arkansas Office for Education Policy

Arkansas Teachers on Common Core: Should It Stay or Should It Go?

In The View from the OEP on April 29, 2015 at 12:10 pm

teacher

Listen to your Teacher!

Arkansas teachers share their knowledge and expertise daily with students throughout the state – and this week we at the OEP are pleased to share their opinions about Common Core State Standards with you!

OEP fielded a survey over the past two months asking Arkansas teachers to share their opinions about the impact of Common Core State Standards (CCSS) on student learning and on their attitudes toward their work. In addition, teachers were asked questions regarding the implementation of CCSS and the associated assessment. Over 975 teachers from 60 randomly selected Arkansas districts have shared their thoughts. 

The Governor’s Council on Common Core Review has begun considering recommendations it will make regarding the future of CCSS in Arkansas, and we feel it is critical that teacher voices are included in the conversation. Last week we had the opportunity to share preliminary results of this survey with the Council and are excited to share the results with you.

Findings from the Teacher Survey on Common Core State Standards

Today’s policy brief examines the results more thoroughly, but we present the highlights here:

Student Learning:  The majority of teachers responded positively regarding the Common Core Standards. Teachers reported that:

  • CCSS are more rigorous than the previous standards (92%)
  • CCSS are more helpful than previous standards in preparing students academically (62%)
  • Given the choice, teachers would keep the CCSS in their school curriculum (61%)

Teachers reported that they feel CCSS will lead to improved student learning for the majority of their students, although they are concerned that students who are working below grade level, are special education and/or English language learners will not benefit from CCSS.

Teacher Attitudes:  Teachers indicated that the work they had done to implement CCSS had made them better teachers (63%), but they report that teaching is more stressful than in prior years (74%).

Implementation: Teachers reported that they have read the Common Core standards for their grade level/ content area (99%), have attended professional development about CCSS (95%), and felt that CCSS was implemented well at their school (72%).

Assessment: Teachers reported disliking the assessment associated with CCS implementation (87%) but were not unified in their perceptions regarding what type of assessment, if any, they would recommend.

Some teachers were less supportive of CCSS than others. Do you think more experienced teachers were more or less supportive of Common Core? Were teachers from larger districts more or less supportive than teachers from smaller districts? Read the brief to find out!

Although the preliminary results indicate the majority of teachers support CCSS, this is a controversial topic. It is critically important that policy makers listen to the opinions of teachers in the classrooms throughout our state. We hope this Teacher Survey on Common Core has allowed their voices to be heard and that they will continue to be involved in this important conversation.

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About the Survey

Beginning on February 26, 2015, the Office for Education Policy sent an electronic survey invitation to Arkansas teachers to gather information on their perceptions about the Common Core Standards. The survey consisted of 40 questions addressing the impact of CCSS on student learning and teacher attitudes toward their work, as well as CCSS implementation and the associated testing.

The sample of 2,795 teachers selected to receive the survey invitation teach English language arts and/or mathematics in grade three through high school in one of 60 selected public school districts in Arkansas. Districts were identified through a stratified, random sampling procedure. Stratification was based on 2013-14 assessment results and district size. Each region of the state was represented in the sample roughly in proportion to its student enrollment. Details about the respondents can be found in the policy brief.

Teachers were contacted directly through an email that included a link to the survey. Teachers could enter to win one of three $100 gift cards upon completion of the survey. As of April 28, 2015, 975 teachers had responded to the survey resulting in a response rate of 34.9%.

While we would prefer a higher response rate from teachers so we could ensure that the opinions are representative of Arkansas teachers, 35% is higher than other published teacher surveys on Common Core.

 

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