Common Core State Standards in 2014: Districts’ Perceptions, Progress, and Challenges

This report is part of a three-part series, Common Core State Standards in 2014, conducted and published by the Center on Education Policy. The series provides an in-depth look at Common Core State Standards (CCSS) implementation. The data reported from the series comes from a survey of a nationally representative sample of school districts located in Common Core–adopting states that are also members of the PARCC or Smarter Balanced testing consortia. This report discusses several general topics related to district implementation of the Common Core, including “district leaders’ views on the rigor of the CCSS and their impact on learning and instruction, progress on and challenges in implementing the standards, outreach efforts to inform various stakeholders about the CCSS, district collaboration with other entities on various implementation activities, and the types and helpfulness of CCSS-related assistance from the state education agency” (from the abstract). Additional findings from the survey are found in the Center on Education Policy’s two related reports: curriculum and professional develop at the district level, and district implementation of consortia-developed assessments.

Content Comments 

As this study notes, "...districts implementing the Common Core are facing increasing opposition to the standards while trying to reconcile misinformation and misunderstanding about their intent and impact. Districts are also managing other challenges and uncertainties related to curriculum, instruction, professional development, and assessment. Yet despite these challenges and concerns, district leaders continue to validate the increased rigor of the standards and their potential to raise the level of student skills." The survey suggests that states and districts need to consider issues and practices as they continue to support implementation of CCSS due to both the growing negative views of Common Core and ongoing challenges related to necessary revisions in curricula, instruction, and assessments.