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New Resource: Checklists for Assessing Effective Standards Implementation

Dear Colleagues,

I am pleased to announce a new Supplement to the Handbook for Sustaining Standards-Based Education in Adult Education: Checklists for Assessing Effective Implementation.

This new technical assistance resource is designed for state- and local-program leaders looking to support the effective implementation of state academic content standards. It is posted online at

During a concurrent session at OCTAE’s 2017 State Directors Meeting, we received requests for a resource that state leaders could use to help assess and guide the implementation of high-quality standards at the local and regional levels. This supplement is that resource. It was created by Susan Pimentel, long-time lead on OCTAE’s standards-based reform initiatives and author of the Handbook.

At the heart of this resource are two checklists:

  • One is a State Leadership Checklist. It is designed for state leaders to use as a self-assessment to gauge the effectiveness of their state’s implementation of and support for standards grounded in research.
  • The second checklist is a Program Leadership Checklist. It is designed for use by state- and local-program leaders to help guide standards implementation at local levels. It includes six Sustainability Steps that programs need to take. This second checklist is a tool some state leaders may wish to integrate into their state’s monitoring of local providers.

I hope you and your colleagues find this to be most helpful in supporting and sustaining effective standards implementation.  Please share this information broadly. If you have any questions, please contact me at or 202-245-7755 -- or post your questions and comments to this discussion list.



Ronna G. Spacone

Education Program Specialist
U.S. Department of Education
Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education




Kathy_Tracey's picture

Hi Ronna,

Thank you for sharing this tool. I am curious iif you have recommendations or samples of artifacts that programs use to address the core areas. What are the areas, if any, that states or programs struggle with the most? And if a state or program stuggles with a specific area, where can they find resources to help? 


RSpacone's picture

Hi Kathy,

Thank you for your questions. With regard to sample artifacts that address the core areas:

There are two good examples of artifacts that address Core Component 2: Create a strategic implementation plan, in specific and quantifiable terms, to articulate the scope and roll-out of the standards initiative. I suggest studying the Montana Sustainability Plan and the Kentucky Sustainability Plan. Both plans address this Core Component’s five indicators. We can’t emphasize enough how important it is for states and their implementation teams to put together a long-range plan from the very start.    

Core Component 3 addresses the important role of the implementation team and the training activities that its members need in order to be prepared to train others. Research shows that organized and effective implementation teams make a huge difference in achieving success. Once a team is formed, it’s important to offer training about the key instructional advances of standards for mathematics and English language arts and literacy.  The CCR Standards-in-Action (SIA) Foundational Units are examples of training that addresses the key instructional advances that must be enacted in classrooms. States should also offer training on other critical aspects of standards implementation, such as quality of materials, assessments, and instructional practice. The CCR SIA Advanced Units address these important areas.

The CCR SIA Foundational- and Advanced-level Units also address Core Component 5: Deliver CCR SIA training (or their equivalent) statewide according to the schedule set out in the strategic implementation plan. Instructors need and deserve training to understand and implement new academic standards.  It’s important to remember that it takes a couple of years to get everyone trained on just the fundamentals. Attending to curriculum, assignments and student work, and observations (the advanced units) also take time to get enough people trained and on board.

I’ll share more ideas tomorrow.  Would some other people like to chime in with their thoughts and experiences? 



Ronna Spacone

RSpacone's picture


Hi Kathy,  

I’m writing in response to your question, “And if a state or program struggles with a specific area, where can they find resources to help?”  

In an overarching way I recommend the CCR Standards-in-Action (SIA) Professional Development Units for English Language Arts/Literacy and Mathematics. These trainings are designed to help folks avoid problem areas. You can request CCR SIA trainings (and train-the-trainer opportunities) by contacting the LINCS Professional Development Center at:

Now to hone in on a more specific area: For some programs, time constraints are an impediment to full implementation of standards, especially when it comes to managing the higher-level math standards. We (OCTAE) learned this from the practitioners who were participating in the CCR SIA project. To address their time constraints and other potential impediments, a team of content experts from StandardsWork created the Guide to Effectively Managing Higher-Level Content Standards in Mathematics.

The guide is designed to work specifically with states’ CCR content standards for adult education. In creating it, StandardsWork envisioned educators using it in conjunction with existing math curriculum to organize content topics and balance the time spent on each.

The guide proposes which math content deserves the most attention and which can play a supporting role at each of the three highest levels; the guide organizes that content coherently within and across the three levels so that mathematical ideas build logically and connect naturally to one another; the guide also prioritizes content so that students will have opportunities to learn the most critical concepts and hone their mathematical skills through solving well-crafted problems.

For best results using the guide, we recommend the Professional Development Units for CCR Standards for Mathematics. The guide’s developers recommend experiencing Foundational Units 1 - 4 as well as Advanced Units 1 - 3.  These professional development units are critical if programs find themselves struggling to implement their states’ math standards.

Again, CCR SIA math trainers are available to help. To request CCR SIA math trainings, please contact the LINCS Professional Development Center at: