Special Report

Common Core Conversation With Susan Patrick

By Katie Ash — January 07, 2011 2 min read

Susan D. Patrick, the president and chief executive officer of the International Association for K-12 Online Learning, recently talked to Education Week Staff Writer Katie Ash about the impact the common-core standards are likely to have on e-learning.

How will online students and teachers likely be affected by the common-core standards?

Susan D. Patrick

The common core of academic standards are a revolutionary change to helping both teachers and students access and understand clearer learning “objectives” that are internationally benchmarked and rigorous for college and career readiness. Online teachers and students—not just from the same state, but across states—can collaborate on the best ways of approaching personalized instruction through digital learning. It opens up a national conversation [among] teachers in various states to provide all students with access to the best content and curriculum anywhere in the country. This is a revolution in education that will begin to take place, and the common core provides a road map to begin answering the complex questions of how to personalize instruction and allow competency-based pathways along those learning progressions.

What do you think is the most pressing challenge to using common-core standards in online learning?

Curriculum development that is high-quality, adaptive, and embeds artificial intelligence, and recommendation engines—think of video games and the complex background coding to allow “leveling up.” The challenge is that this is expensive. The opportunity to address the challenge of the expense of high-quality digital content is that now it can be distributed across a multitude of states, instead of different academic curriculum one state at a time across 50 states. So, in the end, the common core will enable better economies of scale and we will likely, as a nation, spend more efficiently on very high-quality content that can be shared, accessed, and redistributed anywhere. It also opens up incredible opportunities for states to collaborate on open educational resources and bring high-quality content, professional development, instructional materials, and assessments that are open and can be shared across states, and accessed by any school or teacher, and encourage collaboration for continuous improvement within and across states.

Will common-core standards make online learning more affordable?

Yes, the economies of scale of having a common framework and the ability to share and collaborate is likely to make online learning better-quality and more affordable. The biggest expenses in online learning are people and human capital, but the economies of scale can be realized in the content, professional development, and assessments developed and aligned to the common core.

What would you like to see in the new assessments being created to evaluate student comprehension of common standards?

With the common core, I believe we can begin to have the conversations we should have been having for the last 30 years about assessments “for learning,” rather than the summative assessments “of learning” that only show one snapshot in time per year, per pupil. I hope policy will follow and focus on the assessment of student learning, in real time. This kind of assessment for learning can be embedded in online and blended learning. We need policy to focus on competency-based pathways with assessments for learning and reward those education institutions that do the most with students who need the most help, while allowing all students to move at their own pace and reach their potential.

A version of this article appeared in the January 12, 2011 edition of Education Week as Common Core Q&A


This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
School & District Management Webinar
How Schools Can Implement Safe In-Person Learning
In order for in-person schooling to resume, it will be necessary to instill a sense of confidence that it is safe to return. BD is hosting a virtual panel discussing the benefits of asymptomatic screening
Content provided by BD
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Student Well-Being Webinar
How Districts Are Centering Relationships and Systemic SEL for Back to School 21-22
As educators and leaders consider how SEL fits into their reopening and back-to-school plans, it must go beyond an SEL curriculum. SEL is part of who we are as educators and students, as well as
Content provided by Panorama Education
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Student Achievement Webinar
The Fall K-3 Classroom: What the data imply about composition, challenges and opportunities
The data tracking learning loss among the nation’s schoolchildren confirms that things are bad and getting worse. The data also tells another story — one with serious implications for the hoped for learning recovery initiatives
Content provided by Campaign for Grade-Level Reading

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Standards How to Assess English-Learners' Needs From a Distance? Here's Some Help
With schools unable to conduct in-person evaluations, schools must find new ways to determine if students need English-language-learner support services.
2 min read
Standards Fact Check: Trump Administration Didn't 'Get Rid' of Common Core
U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos implied at the Conservative Political Action Conference that President Donald Trump has fulfilled a pledge to "get rid of" the Common Core State Standards. That's not true.
2 min read
Standards People Keep on Saying They're Killing the Common Core. How Dead Is It?
Florida's governor declares a standards overhaul would "remove all vestiges" of the common core. But it remains unclear how much is really changing under the Florida Benchmarks for Excellent Student Thinking.
4 min read
Standards Mismatch Seen Between New Science Tests and State Requirements
Teachers in some states worry students may face questions on topics they haven't studied on new science tests rolling out across the country.
6 min read