Under Construction: Benchmark Assessments and Common Core Math Implementation in Grades K-8

by Alberto Heredia; Becca Klarin; John Flaherty, Jr.; Min Chen-Gaddini; Neal Finkelstein; Sandy Sobolew-Shubin

Sep 26, 2014

Math in Common is a five-year initiative funded by the S. D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation that supports a formal network of 10 California school districts as they are implementing the Common Core State Standards in mathematics (CCSS-M) across grades K-8. Math in Common grants have been awarded to the school districts of Dinuba, Elk Grove, Garden Grove, Long Beach, Oakland, Oceanside, Sacramento City, San Francisco, Sanger, and Santa Ana. In support of the network, California Education Partners provides technical assistance in support of the Math in Common Community of Practice. WestEd is providing developmental evaluation services over the course of the initiative. The evaluation plan is designed principally to provide relevant and timely information to help each of the Math in Common districts meet their implementation objectives.

The overall evaluation centers around four central themes, which attempt to capture the major areas of work and focus in the districts as well as the primary indicators of change and growth. These themes are:

- Shifts in teachers' instructional approaches, and the corresponding teaching quality related to CCSS-M in grades K-8

- Changes in students' proficiency in mathematics, measured against the CCSS-M.

- Change management processes at the school district level, including district leadership, organizational design, and management systems that specifically support and/or maintain investments in CCSS-M implementation.

- The development and sustainability of the Math in Common Community of Practice.

Districts participating in the Math in Common initiative are diverse, ranging from small rural to large urban districts. Each district's unique context and history play a role in the path district educators will take in responding to the new instructional demands of the CCSS-M and determining district-specific priorities regarding teacher professional development, aligned instructional materials, and assessment of student learning of the standards. However, participation of these diverse districts in this Math in Common Community of Practice also enables them to learn from each other through sharing their progress and successes, as well as their challenges and lessons learned. WestEd's evaluation activities will draw on the variation of the district contexts to highlight how the districts, funder, and broader community can learn from the efforts of these 10 districts to implement the CCSS-M.