Gearing Up to Teach the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics in Rural Northeast Region Schools
Educators in the rural Northeast Region report challenges in implementing the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics (CCSSM). Using administrator interviews and teacher survey data from selected rural districts in Maine, New Hampshire, New York, and Vermont, this report offers insight into how state, district, and school administrators can help teachers prepare students to meet these new, more demanding standards (from the summary, p. i). Findings include what states and districts are doing as well as several types of supports that administrators and teachers identified as necessary for implementing the CCSSM well. (A brief of the study can be found here.)
This report effectively states its research questions:
What are selected Northeast Region states and districts doing to help teachers in rural schools prepare to teach the CCSSM?
What challenges and needs do educators in selected rural Northeast Region districts face as they prepare to implement the CCSSM?
However, one might ask if such a major study was necessary in order to ask such fairly straightforward questions, and whether or not being a rural school or in the Northeast Region would be significantly different from non-rural schools or other parts of the country? The findings are not surprising. While states have made resources and professional development available, ongoing needs include more “time, support, instructional materials, and opportunities for collaboration.” Organization and methods in the report are generally strong; however, the researchers did not include any non-rural schools or districts in its study, which would have provided a much deeper understanding of differences between rural and non-rural schools, presuming they exist. Unfortunately the teacher instrument did not include opportunities for open ended responses from teachers, which might have provided deeper insight into success stories and needs. Communications quality is excellent, and utility may be moderate, depending the needs and interests of potential users.