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Core to College Evaluation: Sustaining Core Strength, How Core to College States Continue Alignment Efforts Between K-12 and Higher Education

March 1, 2016

The evaluation team collected general data on states' Common Core efforts by reviewing recent news articles, journals, online documents, and systems-change literature. Using this knowledge base, the team drafted driving research questions for this final report that focused on exploring how states' higher education systems are involved in standards efforts today, including aligning course sequences, updating placement policies, and supporting faculty awareness of college readiness standards. These research questions informed an interview protocol through which the team engaged several Core to College states in semi-structured conversations.The WestEd team spoke by phone with key Core to College contacts from seven of the Core to College states: Colorado, Hawai'i, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Oregon, and Washington. These individuals (many held the title of Alignment Director under the grant) had been part of the Core to College work and, for the most part, are still involved in work that has evolved from the initiative. The other four states involved in the initiative did not have applicable staff for the team to speak with.This report uses a case-study approach to describe how three of the Core to College states -- Washington, Hawai'i, and Louisiana -- continue their Core to College–initiated efforts of aligning K–12 and postsecondary education systems to better prepare students for college. The case studies include details about key components of each state's respective Core to College work, including the state's history with systemschange efforts in education; key staff and organizations that "championed" the Core to College efforts and promoted cross‑system collaboration; specific strategies used to align the state's K–12 and higher education systems; the state's approach to standardized assessments and course-placement policies; and key outcomes of the Core to Collegerelated efforts.

Many Pathways to Student Success in Mathematics: Middle and High School Math Course Sequences and Placement Decisions in the Math in Common Districts

January 1, 2016

The shift to Common Core State Standards presents a different way of thinking about the relationship between mathematics and course content and structure, requiring districts to reconsider the familiar mathematics course pathways students follow from middle school to high school.

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

September 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.

Core to College Evaluation: Statewide Networks -- Connecting Education Systems and Stakeholders to Support College Readiness

January 1, 2014

The Core to College initiative aims to facilitate greater coordination between K-12 and postsecondary education systems around implementation of the Common Core State Standards and aligned assessments.

Core to College Evaluation: Implementing the Common Core State Standards: Articulating Course Sequences Across K-12 and Higher Education Systems

January 1, 2013

The Core to College Initiative is designed to promote collaboration between the K-12 and higher education systems in implementing the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and aligned assessments. The frequent lack of alignment between the content and rigor of high school courses and college courses has contributed to many college students being placed into non-credit-bearing remedial courses, limiting their chances of success at the postsecondary level. To address this challenge and to support students' successful transition to postsecondary education, the Core to College Initiative aims to improve the alignment between K-12 and postsecondary education systems in the initiative's participating states.

Core to College Evaluation: Placing College Students in Courses for Credit

January 1, 2013

The Core to College Initiative, a three-year, multi-state initiative funded by the Lumina Foundation, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and the Carnegie Corporation of New York, is designed to promote collaboration between the K-12 and higher education systems in the implementation of the Common Core State Standards and aligned assessments.

Core to College Evaluation: Building Bridges through Stakeholder Outreach and Engagement

January 1, 2012

What can K-12 and higher education systems do to foster increased collaboration in order to better prepare students for college?