Pitt’s Institute for Learning Partners with Tennessee to Implement Common Core Standards

Issue Date: 
September 16, 2013

Tennessee is on its way toward becoming the fastest-improving state for student academic achievement on the new Common Core Standards, thanks to training and curriculum provided by the University of Pittsburgh’s Institute for Learning.

The institute, embedded within Pitt’s Learning Research and Development Center, has partnered with Tennessee’s Department of Education to support students and teachers as they transition into the Common Core State Standards—a national campaign aimed at increasing the quality of education in English literacy and mathematics as well as in history and science literacy. This partnership represents the institute’s first statewide curriculum offering.

“We’ve learned a great deal about large-scale education reform from this project,” said Anthony Petrosky, codirector of the institute. “The real beneficiaries, though, are the students and teachers. Their participation in this great national project to raise standards across the board in these subjects will set the bar high for others.”

Pitt’s Institute for Learning, founded by Distinguished University Professor Lauren Resnick in 1995 and now codirected by Resnick and Petrosky, has worked directly with more than 900 Tennessee literacy coaches in five core content areas being addressed by the Common Core Standards curriculum: mathematics, English language arts, science, history/social sciences, and career and technical education. The coaches, vetted and hired through a rigorous process, received their education on the Common Core State Standards from Pitt’s institute fellows with institute-developed materials.

Throughout summer 2013, the institute completed professional development for these coaches in all five content areas. The coaches then facilitated the institute’s professional learning modules with more than 30,000 teachers—impacting student learning across the state. The grade levels of trained teachers included grades 3-12 for English Language Arts, grades K-12 for Mathematics, and grades 6-12 for history, science, and career and technical education. 

To assess student progress on these new standards, Pitt’s institute collaborated with the Tennessee Department of Education and Measurement Incorporated®, an educational company providing achievement tests and scoring services, to develop comprehensive sets of performance assessments in all five subjects. These assessments will be implemented across the state in the 2013-2014 school year.

To further support the state’s teachers and students, the state purchased sets of lessons or curricular units in English literacy, mathematics, history, and science from the institute.

“These lessons or units—made available to all teachers in Tennessee—provide rigorous discipline learning while developing the literacy skills and practices demanded by the Common Core Standards,” said Colleen Briner, executive director of Pitt’s Institute for Learning. “We’re proud to be at the forefront of this state’s game-changing work with the Common Core.”

Visit http://ifl.lrdc.pitt.edu/ifl to learn more about Pitt’s Institute for Learning.

Visit http://tncore.org/home.aspx for more information about Tennessee’s implementation of the Common Core Standards.

Visit www.corestandards.org to learn about the nation’s Common Core Standards.