CCSS is a big topic around here. Indiana has begun implementing CCSS in the lower grades. I'm down with that. If we're going to switch standards, let's just do it. Today I was cruising through the Indiana DOE website looking for the implementation schedule for upper grades. There's a roadmap that has a year of Indiana standards, a year of transition standards, and then to CCSS.
Why, I wondered, don't we go straight to CCSS, if that's what we intend to to? After all, as a teacher, I'd just like to teach to the same standards every year instead of changing them a bit for three years straight.
I guess I may be the slowest person out there, because the answer became obvious after wading through several .pdf files: ISTEP. That's right, we can't just go to CCSS because our state standardized tests won't be ready for it. If we only teach CCSS, our students won't be ready for ISTEP.
This strikes me as a little, well, disingenuous. As teachers, we're told we shouldn't be teaching to the test. If we do a good job teaching the things we're supposed to be teaching, our students will do well on the standardized tests. Yet, if we just jump to the new, supposedly better, standards, our students will be unprepared.
So...in order for our students to be ready for the test, we have to teach specifically those standards which will appear on the ISTEP in the transitional year, which are a combination of both sets of standards. Some of the transitional standards may not appear in CCSS at all.
This isn't a huge deal in the grand scheme of things, but I find it annoying. As a taxpayer, I want to know why the testing companies didn't see this coming and write CCSS versions of their tests. We're spending oodles of money on testing. So, instead of making an entity that's earning tons of cash change their ways, every teacher in the state is being asked to pick up the slack. It's just one more thing to do in a long list.
p.s. If you decide to go to the DOE website, please excuse the typos. On the plus side, all the resource materials for implementing CCSS are now useful, which they didn't seem to be just a year ago.