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Study Finds Teachers Enthusiastic About Common Core

Nearly every teacher in the U.S. now knows about the Common Core State Standards, and 73 percent of math, English, science, and social studies teachers in states that have adopted them say they are enthusiastic about their implementation, according to a new survey.

Scholastic and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, joint sponsors of the study, have released only a preview of the findings from "Primary Sources: America's Teachers on Teaching in an Era of Change." The full report is based on a national online survey of 20,000 pre-K-12th grade public school teachers conducted in July. (Education Week receives support from the Gates  Foundation for coverage of business and innovation topics.)

Some notable findings highlighted by the preview include:

• 97 percent of all teachers and 100 percent of teachers in states implementing the common core are aware of the standards.

• 57 percent of teachers in common-core states said the standards will be positive for students, 35 percent said they will make "not much of a difference for most students," and 8 percent said they will be negative for students.

• 77 percent of math and/or English language arts teachers in common-core states said the standards will have a "positive" or "very positive" impact on students' critical thinking and reasoning skills. 12 percent said the impact would be "neither positive or negative," 10 percent "don't know enough to say," and 1 percent said the impact would be negative.

• Half of math and English language arts teachers in common-core states said implementation "is fully complete or mostly complete in at least one of these areas." Forty-two percent said implementation is "in its early stages." Six percent said it has not yet begun.

• In schools where implementation has begun, just 62 percent of core-subject teachers said it is "going well."

• While nearly three-quarters of core-subject teachers in common-core states say they're enthusiastic about the standards' implementation, elementary teachers are most likely to feel this way (81 percent) and high school teachers are least likely (57 percent).

• 73 percent of math, English, science, and social studies teachers agree "strongly" or "somewhat" that implementation of the standards "is or will be challenging." Seven percent "don't know enough to say."

• Nearly three-quarters of teachers in common-core states say the new standards will require them to change their teaching practices. Eight percent were not sure and 18 percent said they would not require changes.

According to Anne Sparkman, spokesperson for Scholastic, the common-core-related data released in the preview "is reflective of the attitude we are seeing in the full set of data of the representative sample of 20,000 teachers. On each point, we see an encouraging positive outlook but, as the preview pointed out, an awareness of the challenges and a need for resources." 

The survey also asked teachers about their job satisfaction. According to the preview, 38 percent of teachers said they are "very satisfied" and 51 percent said they are "satisfied" with their jobs. This is in line with the results from the most recent MetLife Survey of the American Teacher, which found that 39 percent of teachers were "very satisfied" and 43 percent "somewhat satisfied."

Sparkman said Scholastic and the Gates Foundation are aiming to publish the full report, which will include a more detailed analysis of the common-core findings, "before the end of the year."

 

Gates.Scholastic survey.JPG(Primary Sources 2013: A project of Scholastic and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation)

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