State- and local-level mandates are currently being implemented to ensure strict compliance to the new national Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts (CCSS for ELA) and related assessments. These standards provide many potential opportunities to improve literacy education nationally and locally. However, the CCSS for ELA will likely face several implementation problems. Their content does not always comport with what research reveals about grade level progressions, text complexity, close reading, writing, and new media literacies. Such issues can result in gaps between research-based instructional practices and what teachers actually do in the classroom. Moreover, there are serious concerns about linking CCSS for ELA assessments with high-stakes testing because this may result in teaching that reflects narrow understandings of reading and writing. The CCSS for ELA also might limit the scope for educators to exercise professional judgment, which is critical for strong implementation in the classroom. To better inform policies related to the CCSS for ELA, particularly in Illinois, we conducted a comprehensive review of research, policies, and practices, and created recommendations for enhancing literacy education across K-12 schooling in light of the CCSS. This brief delineates recommendations for state and local policy makers to promote the use of research-based professional discretion by teachers and administrators to improve instruction in the implementation of the CCSS for ELA, and outlines the development of an Illinois Literacy Research Agenda. The findings indicate needed policy actions in five areas: curriculum and instruction, teacher education and professional development, program/school leadership, assessment, and research.
Woodard, Rebecca and Kline, Sonia
"Moving Beyond Compliance: Promoting Research-based Professional Discretion in the Implementation of the Common Core State Standards in English Language Arts,"
Mid-Western Educational Researcher: Vol. 27:
3, Article 4.
Available at: https://scholarworks.bgsu.edu/mwer/vol27/iss3/4