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Some Things I've Learned About the Common Core
by Craig Williams

In the past two months I have been getting a crash course on the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). First, I was invited to a kickoff meeting at my district about them. Next, I participated in a Webinar about the Common Core. Last weekend, I completed an assessment of my district’s technology for the CCSS. Finally, just today I started a process to align my district’s instructional technology master planning to the Common Core, working with a committee of curriculum coordinators, teachers and principals.

As a result of these experiences, here are 4 things I have learned about the Common Core.

1. The CCSS bodies – are just now finalizing their plans for the technology requirements for the online assessments. They are collecting some of the most comprehensive information to date about technology in schools, but requirements are still being set.

2. It appears that the only requirement that could restrict Bring Your Own Device initiatives is the requirement for a 10-inch screen. This will only prevent smart phone devices from being used for testing. The other requirements do not appear to be very restrictive.

3. Internet bandwidth requirements may greatly increase due to online testing. The State Educational Technology Director’s Association, recommends 100 mbps of Internet bandwidth for every 1,000 students. For my 40,000-student, that would mean 4 gbps of bandwidth. We are currently far from that. It just confirms that our bandwidth needs to grow.

4. The two CCSS bodies have contracted to develop the Tech Readiness Tool ( to help district determine how prepared technology is for the CCSS. Last week, members of my department and I completed updating my district’s information on this Web site. Once device requirements are finalized, I look forward to the analysis that this tool can provide.

The Common Core State Standards seem to be affecting many of our district decisions. I believe that this attention will only increase in the days leading up to the target of August 2014 for online assessments. We all need keep sharing our research and progress as we get ready for these standards to be launched.


Craig Williams is Director of Information Services for School District U-46 in Elgin, IL. Read his leadership profile on the DLE Leadership page.