Reports Show How States Are Implementing Readiness Standards
Next phases move forward, toward goal of higher student achievement

News release

Atlanta, GA — States have accomplished an enormous amount of work to implement their college- and career-readiness standards, according to new Southern Regional Education Board reports that document progress in 14 states.

State departments of education have collaborated in unprecedented ways to share resources and resolve problems, the reports say. Moving into the next phases of implementing standards and related reforms, many educators face uncertainty as their standards and assessments undergo reviews and changes.

“This complex work by teachers, principals and education agencies lays the groundwork toward the goal of higher attainment for more students,” said SREB President Dave Spence. “We look forward to seeing the results reflected in student achievement scores over the next few years, as states settle into annual assessments tied specifically to the more rigorous standards.”

Benchmarking State Implementation of College-and Career-Readiness Standards, Aligned Assessments and Related Reforms documents strides in each state and trends across the states. The reports identify leading states to learn from as states continue their efforts. The study examined state department of education efforts in recent years to:

  • Create classroom materials that align to the readiness standards
  • Help teachers learn to create and choose their own curriculum materials aligned to the standards
  • Train teachers in practices that will help their students reach the standards — and train principals and superintendents to supervise and lead in the readiness environment
  • Put in place annual assessments aligned to the new standards to give parents, schools and communities information about progress
  • Integrate the standards with evaluation systems for teachers and leaders

SREB researchers conducted extensive reviews of the efforts of the 14 state departments of education to implement standards and launch related reforms. The study included interviews with state department of education leaders, teachers, principals, superintendents, board members, legislators, and business, union and community leaders.

State department of education staff reported that they collaborated more than ever before with educators in their own states — at the regional, state and school level — so they could meet increased demands for support. They expanded partnerships with higher education and shared resources with colleagues in other states.

Challenges and recommendations

Many states are now grappling with how to sustain the momentum of their efforts over the long term. In some areas, upgrading technology for computer-based assessments is a concern. In addition, educators and the public still need to better understand the new standards and their promise.

The SREB reports recommend that states press forward with professional learning so that it reaches all teachers in every part of the state. Sample classroom materials should represent all standards, subjects and grades. State policies should support the efforts over the long term. And agencies, districts and schools must use data more effectively to identify what works and what doesn’t.

“Several years in, the sheer size of the effort is impressive, especially since state departments of education have undertaken it with small staffs and tight budgets,” said SREB’s Kim Anderson, the project’s director. “But this is a sea change in public education, and in that sense the work has just begun.”

Cross-State Findings

Trends across the states, recommendations, and summaries of results from five more-detailed reports. 

Leading states by report area

In-depth reports profile each state’s work and identify leading and strong states in specific areas.

Timeline and Approach to Standards and Assessments

Leading states: Kentucky and New York. Other strong states are Alabama, Colorado, Delaware, Georgia, Louisiana, Maryland and North Carolina.

Aligned Teaching Resources

Leading states: Colorado, Georgia, Maryland and New York. Other strong states are Alabama, Florida, Kentucky, Louisiana, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Tennessee.

Professional Development

Leading states: Delaware, Kentucky, Maryland and Tennessee. Other strong states are Alabama, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, New York and North Carolina.

Evaluation of Teachers and Leaders 

Leading states:  Colorado, Louisiana and Tennessee. Other strong states are Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Maryland, New York, North Carolina, South Carolina and West Virginia.  

Accountability

Leading states: Georgia, Kentucky and North Carolina. Other strong states are Alabama, Colorado, Florida, Louisiana, Maryland and Pennsylvania.

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The Southern Regional Education Board works with states to improve public education at every level, from early childhood through doctoral education. A nonprofit, nonpartisan organization based in Atlanta, SREB was created in 1948 by Southern governors and legislatures to advance education and improve the social and economic life of the region. SREB member states are Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and West Virginia.