Staying the Course: The Development of Virginia's Standards of Learning and the Decision not to Adopt the Common Core State Standards
The research study investigated the history of the curriculum standards movement in the Commonwealth of Virginia in the context of the national standards movement in order to explain how and why the Commonwealth of Virginia arrived at the decision not to adopt the Common Core State Standards based on descriptive evidence. The study utilized a qualitative methodology with a two-phase data collection process. First, documents from the Virginia Board of Education and the Virginia Department of Education were collected and analyzed using the constant comparative method (Maykut and Morehouse, 1994). Second, data were collected from major figures in the history of Virginia public education over the last 20 years, including former Superintendents of Public Instruction, through in-person interviews. Data from the interviews were analyzed using the constant comparative method (Maykut and Morehouse, 1994). An interview protocol was developed, tested for content validity, and piloted prior to conducting the interviews.
Categories that emerged from the data analysis for both research questions were identified and descriptive evidence was presented related to both research questions. Three major conclusions from the study were identified and discussed that appeared to influence Virginia's decision not to participate in the Common Core State Standards: the Virginia Standards of Learning are an institutionalized system; the Virginia Standards of Learning had bipartisan political support; and confidence in the Standards of Learning outweighed confidence in the Common Core State Standards.