Lipscomb University’s College of Education Dean Candice McQueen was one of a handful of people selected to testify before the Tennessee Senate Education Committee in September on the Common Core State Standards.
The Common Core State Standards, now adopted by 45 states including Tennessee, are a set of academic standards developed by state leaders and endorsed by the federal government to ensure that all students graduate high school prepared for college or the workforce, regardless of the state in which they live.
“The Common Core State Standards seek to shift instruction away from superficial coverage of material and toward an approach that encourages deeper, conceptual understanding and critical thinking. These standards are going to change the way everything is done in the classroom, from instructional tasks to testing,” said McQueen.
As with any major reform, the standards have not come without controversy, and in September the state senate held hearings on the Common Core Standards to address concerns raised by some parent, teacher and political groups.
McQueen was called to testify on the role of higher education and the topic of assessment (or testing) under the Common Core Standards due to her extensive experience with implementing the standards statewide and developing the assessments. She was one of the proponents asked to testify.
McQueen currently serves in Tennessee’s Educator Leader Cadre for the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) Consortium, a 23-state group working to develop national tests for students, based on Common Core. The PARCC tests will be completely online, which is bringing major changes to many school systems throughout the state.
She also serves as the liaison for higher education for the State Department of Education’s Common Core State Standards Leadership Council for K-12 and on the Common Core advisory board for the Tennessee Higher Education Commission’s Institutes of Higher Education.
Through the College of Education’s Ayers Institute for Teacher Learning and Innovation, McQueen was involved this past year with in-person and web-based Common Core training for teacher preparation faculty at 48 different universities and colleges statewide. The Ayers Institute is also providing on-site professional development of teachers in Henderson County to incorporate Common Core standards in their curriculum.
In addition the College of Education holds or participates in numerous workshops for Middle Tennessee teachers throughout the year that include methods for incorporating the Common Core Standards in engineering, math, chemistry and technology among other subjects.