What Supports Do Teachers Need to Help Students Meet Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts and Literacy? Findings from the American Teacher and American School Leader Panels

This report provides educators' perspectives on their readiness and needs regarding helping students meet new state standards. Findings are drawn from surveys of the American Teacher and School Leader panels, which represent samples of K–12 teachers and school leaders across the nation. The survey questions reported in this document include teachers' preparedness to help their students meet the standards, the focus of their current professional development, and additional teacher professional development needs related to state ELA/literacy standards. Key findings reveal that at least 75% of K–12 teachers are expected to address state ELA/literacy standards, but the majority of non-ELA teachers felt not at all or slightly prepared to address ELA/literacy standards. Additionally, teachers reported the highest needs in professional development include writing instruction and differentiation of instruction for students at different achievement levels. Recommendations based on key findings are included in this report.

Content Comments 

As a reflection of the composition of new state ELA/literacy standards, one of the most interesting findings in this report is that non-ELA K–12 teachers state that they are expected to address ELA/literacy standards in their classroom instruction. However, as the report also shows, non-ELA teachers felt less confident about being prepared to help their students meet the standards compared to their ELA teaching peers. Additionally, the percentages of non-ELA teachers in Common Core states expressing moderate or high need for professional development were significantly higher than those of non-ELA teachers in states that had not adopted Common Core. These results show how new ELA/literacy state standards have changed teaching practices for secondary teachers in subjects such as math, science, and social studies, especially for those teachers in Common Core states. The report is an easy read with good descriptions of the survey results and graphical displays of the findings. The findings presented in this report are useful to states and districts in providing targeted ELA professional development to teachers in all levels and subjects.