Serve Center | The University of North Carolina at Greensboro Weekly PowerNote June 29, 2010
Thinking Strategically Across ARRA Funds: Standards and Assessments
Kim Anderson
State Liaison

In the 27 years since the release of A Nation at Risk, states have made great strides in increasing the academic rigor of education standards. Yet, America’s children still remain behind other nations in terms of academic achievement and preparedness to succeed. Currently, academic standards differ across states in the U.S. in terms of the incremental content and skills expected of students. Many states have standards that are so numerous as to make it difficult to cover them and so vague as to make it difficult to know exactly how to assess their mastery with validity. The lack of a mandate for common standards has led to considerable variation in the content, quality, proficiency, and college readiness levels of standards.i The Common Core State Standards Initiativeii presents a significant opportunity to accelerate education reform toward ensuring that all students in all states work towards the same academically rigorous goals and that they graduate from high school ready for college, work, and success in the global economy and society.

The Council of Chief State School Officers and the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices are coordinating this state-led initiative. The Common Core Standards will prepare students to compete with not only their American peers in other states but with students from around the world. The standards will be:
  • Fewer, clearer, and higher;
  • Aligned with college and work expectations; 
  • Inclusive of rigorous content and application of knowledge through higher-order skills; 
  • Internationally benchmarked; 
  • Based on research and evidence from leading national organizations and high-performing states and countries; and 
  • Ready for states to adopt.
Common standards are economically efficient and support higher expectations for all students.i And, not only can these changes help students better prepare for college and the workplace, these changes can also help the United States remain competitive in the current global economy that increasingly requires a high level of skills and education.iii

On March 30, 2010, the Regional Educational Laboratory – Southeast jointly hosted the Thinking Strategically Across ARRA Funds Forum with the Regional Educational Laboratories for the Appalachia and Mid-Atlantic regions and the Appalachia, Florida, Mid-Atlantic, and Southeast Regional Comprehensive Centers. There was a Standards and Assessment panel that included: Carlos Martinez, Office of Elementary & Secondary Education, US Department of Education; Rolf Blank, CCSSO; and Linda Wallinger, Assistant Superintendent of Instruction, Virginia Department of Education. Although the event is over, we are pleased to make available video access of the event and PowerPoint’s at


Rothman, B. (2009). Common standards: The time is now. Washington D.C.: Alliance for Excellent Education.  


Common Core State Standards Initiative  


Dougherty, C., Mellor, L., & Smith, N. (2006). Identifying appropriate college readiness standards for all students. (Issue Brief #2). Austin, Texas: National Center for Educational Achievement.   Rothman, B. (2009). Common standards: The time is now. Washington D.C.: Alliance for Excellent Education.  

For more information see:  

Anderson, K. (2009). Informational brief on the CCSSO/NGA Common Core State Standards Initiative. (Evidence-Based Education Request Desk Rep. No. 504). University of North Carolina at Greensboro, SERVE Center.  

Hall, A., Howard, E., & Wynn, L. (2010). A literature review of the 4 ARRA assurances. (Evidence-Based Education Request Desk Rep. No. 591). University of North Carolina at Greensboro, SERVE Center.
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