Advancing Common Core Standards, Educator Effectiveness, and College Readiness in SREB States. 12th-Grade Transitional Courses

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1 Advancing Common Core Standards, Educator Effectiveness, and College Readiness in SREB States 12th-Grade Transitional Courses In the near term, as states apply the new, more rigorous Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and planned associated assessments, a much higher percentage of students will initially graduate from high school having not met their state s college-readiness performance level forcing them to take developmental education courses prior to pursuing a postsecondary credential. Implementing collegeready curriculum and interventions statewide in the junior or senior year of high school will mitigate this effect by preemptively tackling the problem. SREB is building on its existing efforts to develop and implement 12th-grade courses in expository reading,writing and mathematics. The modular courses will be grounded in the CCSS, employ hybrid in-class and online approaches and include Literacy Design Collaborative (LDC) and Math Design Collaborative (MDC) tools to help a significantly higher number of students become college-ready or prepared to succeed in a number of postsecondary pursuits. This effort expands on work initiated in 2008 with support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for an SREB multi-year project, Strengthening Statewide College- and Career-Readiness Initiative (SSCRI). Under the new grant from the Gates Foundation, SREB is building on the initial efforts of developing college-ready curriculum through a regional partnership of states. Teams of state and local educators and policy makers from Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, North Carolina and Tennessee are assisting SREB with this work. The group is developing model courses in math and disciplinary literacy collaboratively across the region and will later be tailored to individual state needs. This initiative includes the writing of professional development guidelines to prepare teachers in teaching these courses. SREB will work with states to ensure that there is a process for measuring the extent to which students emerge from these courses college-ready. In each state, postsecondary education will be engaged in the development and application of these courses. SREB is: establishing the model courses and field testing them in states that have not begun this work; working with policy-makers to ensure policies that support the statewide implementation of these courses; assisting states where this work already is under way in updating the courses to reflect the model course characteristics and encourage full statewide implementation; and, planning to develop online course modules and online teacher training courses for use in all participating states based on the model course outlines and content. For additional information, visit or contact Megan Root, Senior Policy and Project Associate, SREB, at To: ACHIEVE September 25,

2 SREB College Readiness Transitional Course Project Summary of Need and Curriculum Development Process July 2012 SREB, with a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, is building on its existing efforts to develop and implement 12th-grade courses in disciplinary literacy (expository reading and writing) and mathematics. The modular courses will be grounded in the Common Core State Standards (CCSS), employ hybrid in-class and online approaches and include tools to help a significantly higher number of students become college-ready or prepared to succeed in a number of postsecondary pursuits. This effort expands on work initiated in 2008 with support from the Gates Foundation for an SREB multi-year project, Strengthening Statewide College- and Career-Readiness Initiative (SSCRI). SREB is currently developing college-ready curriculum through a regional partnership of states. Teams of state and local educators and policy makers from Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, North Carolina, Oklahoma and Tennessee are assisting SREB with this work. The group is developing model transitional courses in math and disciplinary literacy collaboratively across the region and will later be tailored to individual state needs. This initiative includes the writing of professional development guidelines to prepare teachers in teaching these courses. SREB will work with states to ensure that there is a process for measuring the extent to which students emerge from these courses college-ready. In each state, postsecondary education will be engaged in the development and application of these courses. Why are Transitional Courses Needed? SREB believes that states have historically underestimated the enormous remedial education issue in our nation. And with the implementation of the more rigorous CCSS, states will see student achievement gaps and college remediation rates raise even further in the near term. This emphasizes the urgent and powerful need for preparing more students for college-level work before they begin their freshman year of college. Implementing specific college-ready curriculum and interventions statewide in the senior year of high school, or earlier, will mitigate this effect by preemptively tackling the problem. One solution is designing 12th-grade transitional courses in math and disciplinary literacy that focus specifically on the CCSS for college readiness, and are developed collaboratively across the region. SREB believes that a college-ready centered curriculum in the junior or senior year, for students who are assessed as underprepared for entry-level, credit-bearing college courses can dissipate the readiness gap, and prevent students from needing remediation in college. The courses are modular, employ hybrid in-class and online approaches, focus on the CCSS and include LDC/MDC tools, and serve the purpose of helping significantly more students become college-ready and prepared to succeed in postsecondary pursuits. A major part of this effort will be the regional development of online modules for the transitional courses that states can use as part of their curriculum materials. SREB also will help states tailor these model courses and online modules to state contexts. This initiative will include the building of professional development modules and guidelines to prepare teachers in teaching these courses. In each state, postsecondary education is partnering in the development and application of these courses. Finally, SREB is working with states to ensure that there is a process for measuring the extent to which students emerge from these courses college-ready. The model transitional courses currently being developed will be available for any state to use in late 2013 and will provide the opportunity to help many more students successfully transition into postsecondary education. Course Intent and Description SREB s model transitional courses in disciplinary literacy and math are both courses that are intended to assist a band of students, assessed as scoring below the college readiness level on state and/or national tests before or during the junior year. These courses, typically offered in the junior or senior 2

3 year, are designed to help students in the mid-range, not the lowest scoring students. The purpose is to give this mid-range band of students an opportunity to be taught the reading, writing and math skills needed in college in a new, engaging way. Both are modular in design, based around the CCSS for college readiness, and both offered in a hybrid context, employing the best in-class and online strategies. The disciplinary literacy course consists of six modules, two in social science, two in English and two in science. The content of the discipline is at the forefront of the curriculum, while the disciplinary literacy skills are emphasized with reading and writing assignments based on the content, and focused on truly understanding how to read and interpret the text of the discipline. The math course consists of seven mandatory modules including exponentials, quadratics, equations, measurements, number operations, systems, linear functions, and one optional module in statistics. While this course covers the basics in math practices, and certainly reviews the procedural steps needed to be successful in math, the course is designed to be taught in a new, engaging way, based heavily on conceptual teaching and learning. The course is designed to prepare high school students for college algebra or statistics. Course Development Process Each of the courses are being developed by a team of state representatives from our six partner states Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, North Carolina, Oklahoma and Tennessee. These teams were appointed by state education leaders and represent state agencies, K-12 teachers, community college, technical college and university faculty in each of the subject disciplines, in all six states. The diverse teams have come together to develop the modules and build consensus around how to prepare students for postsecondary work. Each team member has been assigned to a subgroup to work on writing a module in disciplinary literacy or math depending on their expertise, and all team members are reviewing the final modules in literacy or math. The final courses will be made available to all states, as well as teacher guidelines and training materials, by fall In addition, SREB is developing policy guidelines to states that need assistance in setting the proper state or board policy to allow for full, required, statewide implementation of these courses. These materials will be available before the end of SREB s Transitional Course Project has a large focus on the state policy aspect. It embodies more than just the necessary policy to require statewide implementation; SREB s position is one of encouraging a state policy, whether through legislation or board policy, that is comprehensive, encompassing a robust college and career readiness agenda. This agenda includes the adoption and implementation of rigorous readiness standards, assessments that strongly predict college readiness, statewide implementation of high school transitional courses for underprepared students, postsecondary recognition of the standards and assessments as well as participation in curriculum development, teacher professional development for the transitional curriculum, and school and college accountability that focuses on increasing the numbers of students who are identified as ready for postsecondary achievement. These six elements are crucial to the mission of better preparing our youth for success in life after high school and all the elements are necessary in order for a state to see fewer numbers of high school graduates needing developmental education in college. 3

4 Transitional Course Project Goals and Timeline General Timeline Going Forward: June 2012 May 31-June 1 Meeting of all teams in Atlanta, GA. Monthly webinar for each team in late June. Math- Lead writers and their teams to prepare final drafts of modules based off the skeletal module reviews and feedback from in-person meeting. Literacy- Draft daily curriculum based off of weekly frameworks. Text selections and supplemental material lists to be finalized. July 2012 Literacy- Teams continue to draft daily curriculum for all modules with regular feedback from consultants. Math- Final drafts from leader writers due on July 16. Begin second module review by all state team members. August 2012 Math- Combined individual reviews from each team member, compiled by state facilitator, due on August 10. Consultants to analyze the reviews and consult with the lead writers in mid-august. Monthly webinar to focus on module assessments. Literacy- Teams to finalize daily curriculum for all modules and compile final drafts. SREB to conduct individual policy conference calls with each state s leadership team to discuss the policy and implementation procedures for the state, including addressing specific state challenges and differences. September-October 2012 Literacy- Conduct module reviews by all team members of the final drafts. Consultants to review and provide feedback to writing teams. Team members to develop final teacher guidelines for all modules. Math- Consultants to work on writing original problem sets for all modules to be built as the initial online component. SREB to contract with EDC to build online platform for problem sets. Team members to develop final teacher guidelines for all modules. Additional individual policy calls or in-person meetings as needed with each state.?????? Possible Partner meeting with SREB/Achieve/PARCC, current and new state reps in September (Meeting Proposal will be sent if New Partners sign on)???????? November-December 2012 Finalize development of Evaluation Criteria for all modules/full courses. All modules (six literacy, eight math), teacher guideline documents and evaluation questions for each course sent to SREB by December 1. SREB to conduct copyright review of all module materials. SREB to publish all Transitional Course documents for math and disciplinary literacy, along with SREB implementation guidelines. Additional individual policy calls or in-person meetings as needed with each state. 4

5 Project Goals from June December 2012: All modules will be completed and vetted by team members in all six states. Teacher Guidelines will be completed and vetted for all modules. Evaluation criteria for both the Literacy and Math courses will be completed and vetted. Policy and implementation recommendations will be completed. States will receive individual technical assistance for policy and implementation. Online module development is tentatively scheduled to begin. SREB still in discussions with the Gates Foundation regarding additional funding. SREB will provide technical assistance to states to enact policy and implementation rules, as well as assist with the field-testing and statewide implementation of the transitional courses in schools/districts. Project Goals for January June 2014: Transitional Course Curriculum Documents for disciplinary literacy and math will be published and disseminated to all states, including Implementation Guidelines. Pending additional funding, online modules will be built for the six disciplinary literacy and eight math modules, as well as a teacher training module for both the disciplinary literacy course and the math course. Materials will be available online to any state who wishes to use them no later than August Each state will enter into a phase of voluntary field-testing with selected high schools within districts in the state of the Math and Literacy Transitional Courses. Participating high schools will offer the courses as recommended by the state department of education, and will receive all course curriculum, teacher development, evaluation criteria and online materials developed by the SREB Transitional Course team. Each state will develop pilot-testing guidelines and data collection to support the policies planned for full statewide implementation. Field-testing should take place from January 2013 through May/June SREB will provide technical assistance to each state. Each state will complete a review of the pilot-testing phase and determine any changes to curriculum, teacher development, or evaluation criteria necessary for successful statewide implementation. Each state will enter into full, statewide implementation phase of the Math and Literacy Transitional Courses as determined by the state s implementation policy/rule. Statewide implementation will begin in the academic school year. SREB will provide technical assistance to each state until the grant end date of June 30,

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