Common Core State Standards in Context

CCSS in Context
Can It Work for Children with
Learning Disabilities?
Looking Back
Prior State Standards
• –Provide a map…a goal as well as a direction
or route for reaching that goal
• –Variability in how standards were developed
• –Variability in specification of content
• –Variability in rigor across states
• –Standards that were a “mile wide and an inch
CCSS: Core Components
– Provide a coherent and cohesive map of the
critical knowledge and skills needed by young
people as they exit the K-12 system
– Development process was consistent across
standards and referenced to international
standards as well as other evidence
– Focus is on depth and mastery...not coverage
– Require every state to “raise its game”
• In a sense it’s what we have asked for time and again!
• Parents when they understand it will love it!
• Preamble: define the rigorous skills and knowledge in
English Language Arts and Mathematics that need to
be effectively taught and learned for students to be
ready to succeed academically in credit-bearing,
college-entry courses and/or in workforce training
programs. These standards have been developed to be:
1. Fewer, clearer, and higher, to best drive effective
policy and practice
2. Aligned with college and work expectations, so that
all students are prepared for success upon graduating
from high school. Is average good enough?
3. Inclusive of rigorous content and applications of
knowledge through higher-order skills, so that all
students are prepared for the 21st century
4. Internationally benchmarked, so that all students are
prepared for succeeding in our global economy and
society; and
5. Research and evidence-based.
So, What’s New in Math?
• The standards stress not only procedural skill but
also conceptual understanding, students can do
hands on learning in geometry, algebra and
probability and statistics.
• Standards focus on specific constructs that are
central to mathematical thinking, depth of
understanding and ability to apply mathematics
to novel situations, as college students and
employees regularly do.
So, What’s New in English Language
• The reading standards establish a “staircase”
of increasing complexity in what students
must be able to read and mandate certain
critical types of content for all students.
• •The cornerstone of the writing standards is
ability to write logical arguments based on
substantive claims, sound reasoning, and
relevant evidence.
The Standards
• A focus on results rather than means
• By emphasizing required achievements, the
Standards leave room for teachers, curriculum
developers, and states to determine how
those goals should be reached and what
additional topics should be addressed.
The Standards
• The Standards do not mandate such things as a
particular writing process or the full range of
metacognitive strategies that students may need
to monitor and direct their thinking and learning.
• Teachers are thus free to provide students with
whatever tools and knowledge their professional
judgment and experience identify as most helpful
for meeting the goals set out in the Standards.
THE CCSS: What They Don’t DoThe Call to Action
The standards do NOT define:
• How teachers should teach.
• All that can or should be taught.
• The nature of advanced work beyond the core.
• The interventions needed for students well below grade level.
• The full range of support for English Language Learners and
students with special needs.
• Everything needed for students to be college and career ready.
This is very Fertile Ground for collaborative professional learning
A Perfect Set of CCSS? Of Course Not!
• Are they complete? No.
• Do we have ready texts and lesson plans for
implementing them? We are farther and farther along
in some states and districts.
• Is it true they are not as good as some of the standards
of the individual states? For some states, in some ways,
yes, that is true. However by raising the bar, the CCSS
force us to re-examine expectations and lessons to
which we have become accustomed. They force us to
ask what else we can do to better assist our
students.(Adams, 2012)
The CCSS Challenge: Kids are not really
“Carved” that way!
“Students with disabilities are a heterogeneous
group with one common characteristic: the
presence of disabling conditions that
significantly hinder their abilities to benefit
from general education (IDEA 34 CFR §300.39,
2004). Therefore, how these high standards
are taught and assessed is of the utmost
importance in reaching this diverse group of
The CCSS Challenge: Kids are not really
“Carved” that way!
Strengths abound as well as areas of
considerable need.
Students with Disabilities deserve to meet the
same standards
“Promoting a culture of high expectations for
ALL students is a fundamental goal of the
Common Core State Standards.”
For CCSS to Be Successful
• “Prepare the child for the situation and the
situation for the child”
• “Prepare the teacher for the situation and the
situation for the teacher”
• “Prepare the school for the situation and the
situation for the school”
Implications of CCSS for Students with Learning
(and other) Disabilities
• The CCSS specifies the destinations…but there
can be multiple ways to get there
Our previous research into how teachers interpret
and deliver standards is still relevant:
• Must begin with a shared understanding of where
you are going…requires communication, shared
focused Professional Learning, and collaborative
learning communities.
Implications of CCSS for Students with
Learning (and other) Disabilities
• Must have a full and complete understanding of a
student’s present level of knowledge ... including
strengths and gaps.
• Must have a deep understanding of learning and
skill acquisition in key areas such as mathematics,
reading, spelling, writing, etc. (what is
“foundational”, what can be “triaged”)
• Must have a rich and varied toolkit of
interventions…and know how/when to apply
• Parents must be an integral part of this effort
Cautionary Tales and Concerns
Prepare more students for college-level reading and
• Curriculum and instructional design, however, is in the
hands of publishers, professional interpreters and state
department officials. The door is wide open for
interpretations that are not optimal for students with
learning difficulties. (Moats, 2012)
• The Kansas Department of Ed offers “a cautionary note
about unpacking, unwrapping, and/or deconstructing
the Kansas CCSS” as it may result in a checklist of
discreet skills…not holistic integrated learning.
The Dilemma the CCSS Face
“ALL means ALL”
34% of the fourth graders in the U.S. are “below
basic” on the National Assessment of Educational
progress in reading and are at risk for academic
difficulties. Many of these students have the
characteristics of dyslexia even if they are not
labeled as such, and certainly are “poor readers”
or “struggling readers” who are likely to
demonstrate a mix of decoding and
comprehension problems. (Moats, 2012)
The Standards Themselves
Fewer, clearer, higher
It is critical that any standards
document be translatable to
and teachable in the classroom
for ALL students.
K-12 and Beyond…
• Post secondary providers in higher education
should really be deeply invested in the success
of CCSS K-12 and an increasing number are.
• Think about it! They were part of the motive
to create the CCSS. Kids are arriving on college
campuses ill prepared for rigors of
undergraduate work.
Is Policy in Synch with Practice?
• There is concern that Policy associated with the
CCSS may be way out ahead of the actual practice
in place in our schools.
• Many states and school districts appear to be
frenetically attempting to put CCSS in place
before the practice, experience and knowledge
base of how to align curriculum and integrate it is
firmly in place. The tweaking that is necessary in
any new reform effort may be too short in a rush
to comply.
AFT Wades In
• The CCSS are a sharp departure from the too
common superficial sprint through huge volumes
of material, asking students and teachers instead
to focus on in-depth explorations of essential
skills and knowledge.
• If implemented properly-namely, by ensuring
frontline educators are prepared to teach these
rigorous new standards- we can provide all
children with the skills they need to compete in
today’s changing world
AFT Wades In
• This is a very BIG “IF”!
• CCSS will either transform the very DNA of
teaching and learning or end up in the dustbin of
abandoned reforms.
• The CCSS sets rigorous standards for all children,
whether from Bed-Stuy or Beverly Hills, but high
expectations must be matched with high levels of
support, particularly for high-needs students and
students living in poverty.
AFT Wades In
Proper implementation of the CCSS- and equal
opportunities for all children to succeed-can
help reverse the troubling trend toward low
skills and high inequality that for too long has
done a disservice to our students and our
• Moratorium, not on the standards but on High
Stakes attached to all associated with CCSS.
(Weingarten, 2013)
Political Pushback: It is just beginning
• U.S. Rep. Martha Roby, a Republican from
Alabama, has introduced a bill that would
prohibit the U.S. Department of Education and
the education secretary from using federal grant
money or waivers to encourage states to adopt
common standards or tests. This standalone bill—
which is similar to language contained in the
2012 House version of the Elementary and
Secondary Education Act—comes as some states
are embroiled in heated debates over their
participation in the Common Core State
Political Pushback
• A handful of states (including Indiana, Alabama, South
Dakota and Georgia) are either pulling back or
considering it, and core supporters fear more states
will too.
• A growing number of educators are complaining that
states have done a poor job implementing the
standards and are pushing core-aligned tests on
students too early. And parents have started a
campaign to “opt” their children out of the Common
Core-aligned high-stakes standardized tests.
• This may become the true CCSS battleground.
• In order for students with disabilities to meet
high academic standards and to fully
demonstrate their conceptual and procedural
knowledge and skills in mathematics, reading,
writing, speaking and listening (English
language arts), their instruction must
incorporate supports and accommodations
Complementary Mandates
• Supports and related services designed to meet the unique
needs of these students and to enable their access to the
general education curriculum (IDEA 34 CFR §300.34, 2004).
• An Individualized Education Program (IEP) which includes
annual goals aligned with and chosen to facilitate their
attainment of grade-level academic standards (CCSS).
• Teachers and specialized instructional support personnel
who are prepared and qualified to deliver high-quality,
evidence-based, individualized instruction and support
In a perfect world there would be convergence of RTI,
IDEA and UDL, all mapping to CCSS.
• Standards. In order to participate with success in
the general curriculum, students with disabilities,
as appropriate, may be provided additional
supports and services, such as:
– Instructional supports for learning― based on the
principles of Universal Design for Learning (UDL)
– Instructional accommodations changes in materials or
procedures― which do not change the standards
– Assistive technology devices and services to ensure
access to the general education curriculum and the
Common Core State Standards.
(More to come from Barbara)
A connection between what students ought to be able to
know and do in order to be college and career ready- CCSS
• RTI is the how states, in their schools, go about providing
the additional support that students need in order to close
learning gaps. RTI is, well, Response to Intervention.
• For these two initiatives to work really well together,
teachers need to know:
– the Common Core State Standards to which they teach
– their students really well( characteristics, strengths and needs)
– How to effectively teach using the research based methods for
instruction and support (SEL).
Principle I: Provide Multiple Means of Representation (the “what” of
• There is not one means of representation that will be optimal for all
learners; providing options for representation is essential.
Principle II: Provide Multiple Means of Action and Expression (the “how” of
• There is not one means of action and expression that will be optimal for
all learners; providing options for action and expression is essential.
Principle III: Provide Multiple Means of Engagement (the “why” of learning)
• Affect represents a crucial element to learning.
• There is not one means of engagement that will be optimal for all learners
in all contexts; providing multiple options for engagement is essential.
CCSS and the Realities of Students with Learning
• The ambitious goals of the CCSS and the realities of
students with learning disabilities as we understand
them from research may not be easily reconciled.
• Raising standards and expectations without sufficient
attention to the known causes and remedies for
reading, writing math and other academic failure, and
without an effective deployment of existing or
additional resources to educate and support teachers,
is not likely to benefit students with mild, moderate or
severe learning difficulties.
It is All About Principal’s Leadership
• The principal must be the instructional leader!
• The principal’s most significant challenge is in
preparing and further developing the
knowledge and skills of not only special
educators, but all teachers and related service
personnel who are sharing the instructional
responsibilities for students with disabilities.
Access for All: 6 Principles for Principals to Consider in
Implementing CCSS for Students with Disabilities
(McLaughlin, 2012)
1. Recognize that students with disabilities are a
heterogeneous group and require individualized
educational planning.
2. Distinguish between accommodations and
3. Support an environment and set expectations that
teachers will understand, and use evidence-based
practices. Principals are central to enabling teachers to
understand how to better address the learning needs
of students.
Access for All: 6 Principles for Principals to Consider in
Implementing CCSS for Students with Disabilities
(McLaughlin, 2012)
• 4. Augment end-of -year state assessments with a
schoolwide assessment program that can measure progress
and growth. Assessing the progress of students in the CCSS
will be essential.
• 5. Understand and support the alignment of IEPs with the
• 6. Hire and support the best special educators.
Concerns and Hopes
Will kids with learning disabilities get the
interventions and directed instruction they need
to access the general curriculum in a meaningful
and successful way and meet the CCSS?
• Will they be “fully” counted in the assessment
and measure of whether CCSS works for them
and they can materially achieve the CCSS?
• Will teachers have the opportunity for good
professional learning using the tenets of UDL and
mapping those to CCSS?
Concerns and Hopes
• A focus on results rather than means. Ownership of the
• Use of processes like the six principles for principals
• We know more than we do
• Rampant misconceptions about the learning potential
of students with disabilities. “Specially designed
instruction does not mean working at a lower level or
weakening the curriculum.”
• Fewer, clearer, higher: One of the goals of this process
was to produce a set of fewer, clearer and higher
standards. It is critical that any standards document be
translatable to and teachable in the classroom.
What needs to happen to make CCSS successful
for kids with learning disabilities
To provide instruction of sufficient quality to prepare students with LD to master
the knowledge, skills, and abilities needed to meet the demands of the CCSS,
teachers will need the following:
Deep understanding of underlying and prerequisite skills and interconnections
across thinking, speaking, listening, reading, and written expression.
Use of data (formative assessment) to inform and adjust instruction to meet the
needs of individual students with LD.
Infusion of principles of Universal Design for Learning (UDL)
Differentiated instruction that gives students with LD equal access to
learning and the means for demonstrating their knowledge, skills, and abilities on
assessments wihtout compromising the standards.
Use of evidence-based instruction demonstrated as effective with students with
Application of these instructional approaches to the content specific
language and literacy skills needed for mastery of Math, Social Studies, History,
Science, and Technical Subjects standards. (White, 2011)
Looking Forward
More Questions Than
Answers…A Long way to GO
But We are Off to a Good

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