Date October 5, 2016
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Researchers receive $4.9 million to examine Common Core State Standards Initiative

A three-year study will look at how the standards, adopted by all but eight states, affect classroom instruction and disparities in academic achievement.

ClassroomPROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] —A team of researchers from Brown University, the University of Michigan and Stanford University has received nearly $5 million in grant funding to study the impact of the Common Core State Standards Initiative, (CCSS) a much-debated set of K-12 academic standards that aims to address educational inequality in the United States.

The project, “Under Construction: The Rise, Spread and Consequences of the Common Core State Standards Initiative in the U.S. Educational Sector,” will look at how governmental and non-governmental stakeholders are responding to the Common Core.

The development and use of the Common Core State Standards offer a unique and important opportunity to examine potential transformations underway in the organization and delivery of instruction in the unequal terrain of American schooling,” said Susan L. Moffitt, associate professor of political science and international and public affairs at Brown University's Watson Institute.

Susan Moffitt will study the impact of the standards on those who have adopted them: 42 states, four territories, the District of Columbia and and the Department of Defense Education Activity.

The study is based at the University of Michigan, and Moffitt is working with colleagues at both Michigan and Stanford. The study will use a collection of video records of classroom teaching from roughly 240 teachers in six urban school districts that participated in the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Measures of Effective Teaching project. It will also draw on a database archived at Stanford that allows researchers to track student achievement trends in all 50 states longitudinally. Other parts of the study, Moffitt said, will do deep dives into particular states and districts to examine the development and use of CCSS ideas in practice.

Rhode Island has adopted the Common Core State Standards for English language arts and for mathematics, Moffitt noted.

We expect that our research will illuminate how the CCSS initiative affects educational inequality and inform future efforts to reduce that inequality by shedding light on how organizational networks and capacities might be leveraged to do so,” she said.

The Spencer Foundation is contributing nearly $4.4 million to the research with the remainder coming from the William T. Grant Foundation.