Sixty-eight percent of teachers—an increase of 9 percentage points since last summer—had a favorable impression of the common core state standards (CCSS), according to findings from a new national poll released by Achieve on June 29. As shown in the graph to the right, only 21 percent of the teachers had an unfavorable opinion of the CCSS, while 7 percent believed they would have no impact.
“The more teachers know about the common core state standards, the more supportive they are of implementing the standards, including new assessments,” said Sandy Boyd, Achieve’s senior vice president of strategic initiatives. “These findings demonstrate the importance of communicating with educators, especially as the task at hand moves from broad awareness of the standards to the deep understanding necessary for the CCSS to be taught in every classroom. Ongoing professional learning opportunities and support will be key.”
Adopted by forty-six states and the District of Columbia, the CCSS represent the first common expectations for what all students should know and be able to do in mathematics and English language arts at each grade level from kindergarten through twelfth grade in order to be prepared for college and a career.
Support for the CCSS is also growing among the general public, the poll findings show. Of those who have seen, read, or heard about the CCSS, 42 percent had a favorable opinion, an increase of 5 percentage points since last summer. During the same time frame, the percentage with an unfavorable opinion fell from 34 percent to 28 percent, as shown in the graph to the right.
Findings from the poll, Growing Awareness, Growing Support: Teacher and Voter Understanding of the Common Core State Standards & Assessments, show that teacher awareness of the CCSS has grown tremendously—from 68 percent to 87 percent—since last summer, with 87 percent saying that they have seen, read, or heard about the standards. The general public’s awareness, however, stayed largely the same, with 60 percent—the same as last summer—saying they had heard “nothing at all” about the CCSS.
When given a brief description of the CCSS, support grew among both groups, with 77 percent of the public and 72 percent of teachers favoring implementation of the new standards. “Voters support the implementation of the CCSS, but they too will need more information about the CCSS and what it means as the standards move from being an idea to a reality in schools,” said Boyd.
When broken out across the major subgroups, the poll’s findings indicate broad and deep support, as shown in the table to the right. Among political parties, 82 percent of democrats, 75 percent of republicans, and 75 percent of independents supported the standards. The poll’s findings also show support from 81 percent of African Americans, compared to 76 percent of whites.
The poll also tracked attitudes toward the new assessments being developed in conjunction with the new standards, finding significant majorities of both teachers and the general public in favor of implementing the new tests. Among teachers, 64 percent favored the tests, while only 28 percent opposed them. The general public was even more supportive: 74 percent supported the new tests, while only 17 percent opposed them.
When breaking down the results by various subgroups, the poll’s findings show strong support across all the major subgroups for common assessments. As shown in the table to the right, republicans, at 80 percent, were the biggest supporters of the new tests.
When asked to rate fourteen different characteristics of the assessments, the general public and teachers offered similar responses. Both groups selected “results will be available within one to two weeks” as their top choice and rated “tests would be the same across states” in their top four. Overall, findings from the poll show that voters are more supportive of the various elements of the CCSS assessments, as compared to teachers; the majority of voters rated ten or more of the fourteen characteristics as a “good idea,” compared to just one-third of teachers.
The poll’s findings are based on a national survey of 1,000 registered voters and 500 kindergarten-through-twelfth-grade teachers that was conducted from May 6 to May 10, 2012. The findings also reflect a series of eight focus groups—four among parents and four among teachers—that were conducted in November and December 2011 to explore perceptions of and reactions to information related to the CCSS and assessments.
The complete findings from the poll are available at http://www.achieve.org/growingawarenessCCSS.