Faculty: Hyman Bass
Term: Spring 2014
This is a new course offering designed for master’s students across areas of specialization. Doctoral or advanced undergraduate students may also elect to enroll in the course.
The Common Core (State Standards Initiative) www.corestandards.org is the latest of several waves of proposed K-12 curriculum standards in the U. S.. The Common Core comprises two subject areas – mathematics and English language arts (ELA) and specifies a set of student learning goals in each subject area that would be common across states. Because constitutional authority for education is vested in states, this cross-state initiative represents an effort to break with typical U.S. practice. It is the subject of much public and professional discussion and debate.
This course will take up three basic questions related to the Common Core. First, we will investigate in detail the origins, content, and aims of the Common Core and compare it to past efforts to articulate standards and goals for student learning. We will also consider how these U.S. efforts compare with the specification of learning goals in other educational systems. Second, we will consider what “implementation” of the Common Core might mean and entail, including the professional training needed by teachers, the curriculum materials and tools as well as assessments that would manifest the goals inside of practice, and the political and societal challenges that would have to be managed. And third, the course will probe and analyze the political discourse and debates, investigating who is making what arguments and why, what the interactions are and why, and consider both the rhetoric and goals of the debates. Across all of these inquiries, we will examine similarities and differences between the mathematics and the ELA standards.
The unfolding of the Common Core is a complex process involving many agents, perspectives, domains of expertise, and domains of practice. Using diverse resources (research, records of teaching practice, public documents, etc.) students in the course will be asked to respond to various of the situations/predicaments presented in this process.
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Faculty: Edward St. John
Term: Spring/Summer 2014
During the past three decades, most states have taken steps to expand college access by raising standards for high school graduation and aligning them with college admission requirements. College support networks involving community-based organizations and university outreach to schools have also expanded across the United States. However, given limitations on tax revenues, most states are now confronted by challenges related to funding for implementation of high school reforms and supporting public colleges and students with financial need. These conditions have led to increased stratification of educational opportunities even as college access has improved in most states. This seminar uses the case method to examine patterns of change in 9-16 policy, trends in related student outcomes, and the role of research in developing policies. Students will write a brief policy stance on preparation, access and college, analyze three state cases during the workshop (dates), and complete as final assignment a case study, literature analysis, or research project. Students will have opportunities to develop skills related to:
- Critical analysis of political ideologies and policy rationales and their influence on policy development in 9-16 Education.
- Review of research evidence in relation to claims made by reformers in the policy and research communities.
- Analyze the effects of federal and state education and finance policies aimed at promoting college preparation, access and success.
- Use research to inform analysis of policy alternatives.
- Analysis of a policy or practice promoting college preparation, access, and/or retention.
During each workshop session, the entire class will engage in reviews and
critiques of current and proposed policies relative to research evidence.
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