David Kierski a OnHand Schools senior level consultant is writing a blog series about developing for your district a transition road map to the common core standards.
It's coming. You might not be ready for it, but it's coming. No matter how much it scares you, no matter how much it keeps you awake at night, know this: no one will be able to escape.
What the heck am I talking about? The end of the world? Some kind of natural disaster? Zombies?
No, something even scarier: the Common Core.
Right now educators across the U.S. are working hard to implement their states' version of the Common Core curriculum and standards, with mixed results. Some are finding the transition a breeze, while others are just barely treading water. How your school district is handling the transition is the result of a mix of complex factors , but we can all agree on one thing: change isn't easy.
For many quality teachers, it's just one more thing to think about and plan for in their already hectic workday. There are so many questions: will I have to redo all my lesson plans? Exactly how much training in the new standards will I get? How are my students going to handle the change? How will I assess their progress? Will I still be sane when this is all over?
To help with the transition, many states and organizations have created "crosswalks." A crosswalk is a Common Core standards map that matches the old state standards with the new Common Core standards. They vary state-to-state: some crosswalks tell you how closely the standards match, and go as far as matching up the eligible content anchors, while others stick with just the standards.
But is a simple document matching the old with the new enough? Will busy educators be able to smoothly make the transition armed with just the crosswalks, or is there more teachers and districts can do to arm themselves with the best tools?
One area where educators might feel caught off-guard is the area of K-12 assessments. States are working feverishly to develop their year-end K-12 standard assessments, but when it comes time for teachers to measure their students' progress with skills tests, or when districts need to give their students benchmark assessments, will they be prepared? Or will they be scrambling to find tools to see how their students are doing with the new standards?
The answer to these questions is not all bad news. It's actually quite good news, if you're a lemons-into-lemonade type of person like us. We here at OnHand Schools believe in the benefits of using teacher-and-district-created assessments in the classroom. Over the next few blog posts, I will discuss how to build your own assessments to measure your students' progress with the new Common Core standards.
My plan is to give you a road-map to navigate the change. First I'll tell you why you should be making your own assessments, and then show you how, from crosswalk to classroom. I'll give you the tools you need so you can make your own test.
You're on your own with the zombies, though.