With Common Core (CCSS) in various stages of implementation in 46 states, one might expect the majority of teachers to be making changes that align with the standards, even if testing for CCSS will not start until next year.
A new report from the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, which supports Common Core, considers this expectation. Ironically, the results of their survey of 1,154 public-school teachers of English Language Arts or reading in the 46 states that are or will be implementing CCSS suggest that even though teachers feel knowledgeable about CCSS and support its implementation, they are not yet instituting the changes in reading levels demanded by Common Core.
The survey looked at 300 elementary teachers (fourth and fifth grade), 370 middle-school teachers (sixth, seventh, and eighth grade), and 484 high-school teachers (ninth and tenth grade). In addition to questions about how they choose to assign texts, teachers were given lists of books, both those on CCSS reading lists and those not, and asked to indicate those that they assign. According to the results of the survey, based on the lexile demands of Common Core, many of the books that teachers commonly assign do not meet the reading level demands that will be implemented next year.
Lexile scores are measures of the difficulty of texts that are based on vocabulary and sentence length, not on themes or concepts. The higher the score, the higher the level of difficulty.
Eleanor Barkhorn of The Atlantic provides a handy summary of the results of the Fordham Institute’s survey for elementary, middle, and high school:
According to the Common Core standards, fourth- and fifth-graders should be reading texts with a lexile range of 740 to 1100; four of the 10 most popular books for this age range aren’t challenging enough.
Middle-schoolers should be reading texts in the 950 to 1185 range; seven of the 10 most popular books for this age group aren’t challenging enough.
According to the Common Core standards, ninth- and tenth-graders should be reading texts with a lexile range of 1050 to 1335: Five of the 10 most popular books don’t meet that level of difficulty.
The results clearly suggest that teachers will need to make some significant changes next year to meet the demands of Common Core, and this will likely result in new challenges for students, and probably lower test scores. Only time will tell if the new demands will increase student proficiency or if they demand more than students are prepared to handle.
For more information, please visit: http://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2013/10/teachers-are-supposed-to-assign-harder-books-but-they-arent-doing-it-yet/280760/