Key Questions

1. What were teachers’ and administrators’ experiences preparing for new standards in English and Language Arts (ELA) and in math?


As schools across the country begin implementing the Common Core State Standards (CCSS), this study shows that teachers in Chicago Public Schools (CPS) with high levels of organizational capacity, such as teacher collaboration, instructional leadership, and teacher influence, are more likely to report feeling prepared to teach the new standards. Elementary teachers also feel more prepared than high school teachers. In 2015, 56 percent of elementary school teachers and 41 percent of high school teachers in CPS reported feeling "very" prepared to teach the new standards. Only 1 percent of elementary and 5 percent of high school teachers reported feeling "not at all" prepared to teach the new standards. CPS began implementing the CCSS in K-12 classrooms in 2013-14 for ELA and 2014-15 for math. 

This study uses teacher and administrator responses to the annual 5Essentials survey from the spring of 2014 and the spring of 2015 to explore teacher and administrator experiences preparing for the CCSS and their perceptions of the extent to which the new standards would affect teaching and learning. The two years of data included in this study occurred during the implementation of CPS’ multi-year professional development strategy to prepare teachers and administrators to implement the new standards. The CCSS represent a considerable change in the expectations for teaching and learning across all grades.                                              

Key Findings:

  • In 2015, more than two-thirds of elementary school teachers felt that the CCSS would have a great deal of impact on what they would teach and on how they would teach it. Less than half of high school teachers felt this way.
  • Some teachers reported receiving much more CCSS-related professional development than others.
  • Many teachers met regularly outside of formal professional development to talk with their colleagues about the CCSS.
  • Administrators did not report feeling as prepared as teachers in their ability to support implementation of the new standards, particularly in their ability to evaluate teachers’ implementation of the CCSS.
  • Teachers in schools with high levels of organizational capacity reported receiving more extensive CCSS professional development.