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December 1, 2012
Vol. 70
No. 4

How ASCD Supports the Common Core

ASCD is working with states and school districts to help move implementation forward.

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As the Common Core State Standards Initiative moved from the development and adoption of the standards to their implementation, ASCD embarked on a multifaceted program to help educators understand and implement the new standards. With support from a $3 million grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, ASCD has enacted a three-pronged approach to partner with four states to help with implementation and to share lessons learned nationally.

Statewide Summits

In late 2011 and early 2012, ASCD hosted statewide summits in Arkansas, Colorado, North Carolina, and Utah to gauge and promote educators' knowledge of the standards and to learn about educators' needs.
The four states are diverse in terms of their geographic region, population demographics, affiliation with the Common Core assessment consortia, and receipt of Race to the Top funds. Although all four states adopted the Common Core State Standards within a four-month span in 2010, each is implementing the standards at a different pace. North Carolina plans to have the standards fully implemented by the 2012–13 school year, Arkansas and Colorado by 2013–14, and Utah by 2014–15.
Despite states' individual circumstances and various stages of implementation, educators' concerns were similar across states. The summits confirmed that educators' knowledge and awareness of the new standards were growing exponentially, but they still lacked the deeper learning necessary to achieve the standards. The new assessments and the technology needed to deploy them were major concerns. Educators expressed widespread initiative fatigue as they simultaneously tried to implement the Common Core standards, new teacher evaluation mandates, and other major initiatives.
Outlined in the recently released report from ASCD, Fulfilling the Promise of the Common Core State Standards: Moving from Adoption to Implementation to Sustainability, information gathered in preparation for, during, and after the state summits suggests that states, districts, and schools should concentrate on the following essential goals to successfully implement the Common Core State Standards:
  • Make sure educators deeply understand the standards and the key instructional shifts they require.
  • Vet instructional resources for quality and alignment with the standards.
  • Transform principals and school leaders into instructional leaders.
  • Listen to educators about their professional learning needs.
  • Maximize opportunities for collaboration and capacity building through professional learning.
  • Engage higher education partners.
  • Understand and plan for the coming common assessments.
  • Adopt technology with a priority on teaching and learning that can also facilitate the new assessments.
  • Align initiatives into comprehensive reforms.


ASCD created the EduCore digital tool as a repository of evidence-based strategies, videos, and supporting documents to help educators transition to the Common Core State Standards in both mathematics and English language arts and literacy for the secondary grades. EduCore is free and available to all educators.
To support implementation of the Common Core standards for mathematics, the EduCore tool features many resources such as videos, PowerPoint presentations, CCSS-math materials and formative assessment lessons. The formative assessment lesson plans, titled "Classroom Challenges" and designed for grades 6–12, were developed by Mathematics Assessment Resource Services (MARS); the lessons feature problem-solving and content development formative assessments on many subjects (such as solving linear equations in two variables and applying angle theorems).
To support implementation of the Common Core English language arts and literacy standards, EduCore contains materials developed by the Literacy Design Collaborative, including three templates for teaching argumentation, informational writing and text, and narrative writing for middle and high school educators in all disciplines. Related resources include templates teachers can use to develop their own instructional modules and videos on how to create such templates.

Technical Assistance

ASCD continues to partner with the state education agencies and ASCD affiliates in each of the summit states to develop and provide technical assistance resources to achieve the recommendations that came out of the summits.
To inform its members and other educators about emerging issues and topics, ASCD has created a biweekly e-newsletter, Core Connection that highlights the progress of Common Core State Standards implementation and resources.
ASCD will also continue to provide leadership at the federal level to advocate for policies on behalf of our members and educators nationally.

Going Forward

The 2012–13 school year is a pivotal time for implementing the Common Core State Standards as a critical mass of teachers begin to integrate the standards in their classrooms. Because the standards are relatively new to most, we have unprecedented opportunities for professional learning and collaboration.
As ASCD moves further into the second year and on to the third year of its project to continue to support the implementation of the Common Core State Standards, the organization has evolved the focus of its professional development and resources from awareness and understanding of the Common Core standards to implementation and sustainability of them. Many of the resources ASCD has developed as a part of its technical assistance and professional development efforts with this project—in addition to the lessons learned from implementing the Common Core standards—have been and will continue to be shared with educators everywhere.

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