The wide adoption of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) represents an unprecedented opportunity in public education across the country. For the first time in history states will share a common platform on which they can collaborate and compare achievement, and students from coast to coast will be held to standards designed to prepare them for the 21st century demands of college and careers.
But mere adoption of these new standards will be insufficient. Success in each state will hinge on implementation: the strategies used to improve instruction in every classroom, the tiered supports provided to all students, policy changes to promote coherence and alignment and a commitment to building and maintaining widespread understanding of and support for the new standards.
To assist states in gauging the strength of their implementation plans and to illustrate how to improve them, Education First  and Achieve  have partnered on the development of a new “Common Core State Standards Implementation Rubric and Self-Assessment Tool .” This is no easy task, and will require states to assume a far stronger leadership role than most have in the past. This tool sets a high quality standard for a strong state role, provides some concrete details and examples to help state leaders get there and profiles some promising state approaches. Recognizing differences in state tradition, restrictions and authority for education as well as the central role of districts and other partners in implementation, the rubric identifies a strong state role that attends to three essential outcomes:
Achieve was pleased to partner with Education First on the development of this important tool, which will be used by state teams during this week’s third PARCC Transition and Implementation Institute. As such, a handful of leading PARCC states that exemplify key features of strong plans were profiled. These vignettes together demonstrate how different approaches in the areas of teacher professional development (Kentucky, New Jersey and New Mexico) and curricular resources and instructional materials (Colorado, Florida and Indiana) can be effectively employed to support implementation.
The tool was designed to be useful for all states implementing the Common Core State Standards – whether they are members of PARCC, the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium or both.
In addition, the tool is intended to complement a workbook that Achieve and the Education Delivery Institute (EDI) released, Implementing the Common Core State Standards: A Workbook for State and Local Leaders . The Achieve-EDI workbook is mainly about “the how” – what it takes to organize and manage the complex implementation plan required for success. This new tool focuses more directly on the “what.”
We hope many state leaders will find the Common Core State Standards Implementation Rubric and Self-Assessment Tool to be a helpful means for internal assessment and on-going efforts to strengthen their plans. For more information, please contact Alissa Peltzman at email@example.com  or 202-419-1573.