Alignment and Accountability in Policy Design and Implementation: The Common Core State Standards and Implementation Research

Cynthia E. Coburn*, Heather C. Hill, James P. Spillane

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

63 Scopus citations

Abstract

Both the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and recent efforts to hold schools and teachers accountable have been hotly debated among practitioners, policymakers, and the public at large. Much of the debate centers on the merits and demerits of these initiatives and the general approach they represent to reforming teaching and learning. In this article, we focus on a different issue, that is, the opportunity to advance research on policy implementation afforded by the intertwined nature of CCSS and accountability efforts. Arguing that it is essential for stakeholders, regardless of their stance on either reform, to understand whether and how both influence classroom teaching and learning, we outline elements of a research agenda to generate knowledge important to the design of future instructional policies. For this to happen, we argue that an implementation research agenda needs to build on (rather than reinvent) lessons learned from the past quarter century of implementation scholarship on instructional policy. To that end, we review theoretical and empirical insights from implementation research on standards-based reform and outline specific avenues for potential theory testing research on educational policy implementation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)243-251
Number of pages9
JournalEducational Researcher
Volume45
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - 2016

Keywords

  • Accountability
  • Educational policy
  • Policy analysis
  • Professional development

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education

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