ASCD Conference on Educational Leadership Preview: Creating Effective Assessments


ASCD’s Conference on Educational Leadership is right around the corner, and we are here to provide you with a sneak peek into the conference schedule. The conference promises to give school leaders like you new ideas for your leadership knowledge base, help you focus on what matters most in leadership, and connect you with global educational leaders. Stay tuned here on Inservice each week for more insight on what is to come at the ASCD Conference on Educational Leadership.

Erik Powell on the Common Core State StandardsBy Erik Powell

The Common Core State Standards (CCSS) have occupied the thoughts of educators around the country for the past several years. Professional development, research, and hours of collaboration have been devoted to making sure schools are ready to implement the standards successfully. Teachers have redesigned lessons, units, and assessments to align with the CCSS, while critics have suggested the whole enterprise kills creativity in the classroom and smacks of a rigid national curriculum.

What is the most effective way to respond to the Common Core standards? Can educators align their curriculum with them and still create an engaging, worthwhile curriculum that will develop students’ thinking skills and prepare them for life beyond school?

I hope we can explore this topic in a candid, interactive way during my sessions on November 2 at ASCD’s Conference on Educational Leadership in Las Vegas. My hope is that we’ll be able to investigate several ways to capitalize on the Common Core in order to build great curriculum and assessments that not only develop proficiency for standardized exams but also, and more importantly, develop our students into more critical and creative thinkers. To do so, I plan to share real examples from real classrooms—both successes and failures (including my own)—and give participants the chance to share their experiences as well. By the end of each session, we should all walk away with new ideas for how to make the Common Core standards work better for our students.


  1. Hello –

    Like you, I have also recently been concerned on how to create engaging English Language Arts lessons aligned to the Common Core standards. Many of my students are below reading level, so working towards these standards adds increased difficulty to my task. I feel that I cannot focus on the basics my students need, such as being able to identify and discuss the setting of a story, and rather I need to skip over these discussions to ensure we reach the standards. I do believe, however, that the Common Core still allows creativity. If, for example, my students are discussing a text, there are also Common Core Standards regarding using technology. I can create a blog for my students or a classroom twitter through which they can respond to the text. They are meeting the standards because they are referring to the textual evidence and answering critical thinking questions, but they are also working with materials they are familiar with and enjoy.

  2. I feel the most effective way to respond to the Common Core Standards is with positive attitude. As we move into a global community of learners, it only makes sense if we share the same goals for our students. Our county has implemented a new curriculum. Although it is very difficult to learn a new curriculum (I feel like a first year teacher again), I am happy to have new material to work with. As effective educators, we were already using materials in creative ways, modifying lessons to meet the needs of our students, requiring our students to think, and preparing them for life beyond the classroom. That hasn’t changed and that is a good thing. Although I won’t be able to attend the conference in Las Vegas, I look forward to reading updated posts on this issue. Thanks!


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