By Brad Ruff, Program Coordinator, AVID Region 8, Kern County and Phil Britton, Regional Director, Region 8
This is the second of two blogs focused on AVID’s alignment with Common Core Standards. The first blog looked at the alignment and this entry will focus on the implementation.
The implementation of Common Core State Standards depends on development of key cognitive strategies. In AVID elective classes across the country, the focus has been helping students use these strategies to broaden their ability and confidence to solve problems in all subjects, and certainly in mathematics. Our laboratory is the AVID tutorial: 40% of elective instruction time includes Socratic collaborative endeavor to get students through their "point of confusion" to higher academic ground so they begin the pathway to succeeding in math at higher levels. Common Core Mathematics Standards change the way math is presented. Geometry and Algebra are now concepts rather than individual courses. These concepts are now conveyed to students by means of domains contained in clusters of standards belonging to big ideas, now repurposed as concepts. The real intersection of AVID and Common Core math is the added feature of a separate range of Standards for Mathematical Practice. Here we see the "varieties of expertise that mathematics educators at all levels should seek to develop in their students" (Conley 18). This level of mastery and academic ambition is what we want to see for AVID and all students:
How students build the expertise to tackle cognitively complex tasks will set the stage for increased college and career readiness. David Conley notes, "As learners progress through the steps from novice to expert, they become less dependent on following rules literally and more able to make decisions within a larger framework" (Conley 19). The work in math is daunting, but not impossible. The roadmap becomes clearer with Common Core thinking.
As full implementation of the Common Core State Standards approaches, educators must begin to prepare themselves to address the new model. In the AVID world, teachers and administrators have been preparing students to meet the challenges of standards such as the CCSS for quite some time. The five tenets of AVID instruction, WICOR, along with Socratic tutorials during which students must tap into their expertise in all five of these cognitive domains, reflect the strategies and activities that students must master in order to meet the challenges of academic rigor in all classes, and teachers who are trained in AVID strategies will find the transition to the new standards a smooth one. Lauren Davis, senior editor of Eye on Education, seems to echo the sentiments of AVID in a recent article: The Common Core State Standards highlight five shifts that should be happening in every classroom. Teachers should:
- Lead High-Level, Text-Based Discussions
- Focus on Process, Not Just Content
- Create Assignments for Real Audiences and with Real Purpose
- Teach Argument, Not Persuasion
- Increase Text Complexity (Davis 1)
The aforementioned shifts, along with Conley’s observations, align quite well with the rigor and support that AVID teachers and administrators provide for their students. AVID has been preparing students to meet the challenges of the Common Core State Standards and will continue to do so as the standards become fully implemented across the nation.
Conley, David T. “Common Core.” Educational Leadership. March 2011: 17-20. Print.
Davis, Lauren. “5 Things Every Teacher Should be Doing to Meet the Common Core State Standards.” Eye on Education. 2012. Online. 24 Feb. 2012.