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Listening to and Learning from Teachers: A Summary of Focus Groups on the Common Core and Assessments

Author(s): Diane Stark Rentner, Nancy Kober, Mathew Frizzell, and Maria Ferguson
Published: October 12, 2016

This report summarizes discussions from five elementary teacher focus groups conducted in Delaware, Illinois, Utah, and Wisconsin in spring and summer of 2016. Topics addressed include the Common Core State Standards, curricula, instructional materials, CCSS-aligned state assessments, student achievement data from those assessments, and accountability.  Where possible, the teachers’ comments are compared to the findings from CEP’s 2015 teacher survey.

The Center on Education Policy (CEP) conducted a webinar that highlighted findings from CEP's newest report, Listening to and Learning from Teachers You can view and download materials from the webinar here.

Download files:

Report (PDF format, 893 KB)

Summary (PDF format, 216 KB)

Appendix (PDF format, 721 KB)

Press Release (PDF format, 70.7 KB)

Table 1. Curricular resources for teaching state math and ELA standards in 2015-16 (PDF format, 124 KB)

Figure 1. Elementary school teachers’ autonomy under current state standards compared with previous standards (PDF format, 152 KB)

Figure 2. Resources being used by elementary school teachers to understand student assessment data (PDF format, 195 KB)

Figure 3. How elementary school teachers used spring 2015 state test data to modify their practice (PDF format, 133 KB)

Figure 4. Elementary school teacher-estimated time per year spent preparing students for mandated tests (PDF format, 132 KB)

Figure 5. Elementary school teacher-estimated time per year that students spend taking mandated tests (PDF format, 128 KB)

Figure 6. Elementary school teachers’ views on whether the time students spend taking mandated tests is appropriate (PDF format, 91.0 KB)

Figure 7. Elementary school teachers’ views about which tests to keep, reduce, or eliminate (PDF format, 136 KB)


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