Answering the question asked. . .

Yesterday, my school had a day-long workshop on Common Core State Standards. Common Core-for those of you blissfully unaware-is a complete overhaul of the education system focused on having similar academic goals standards across the United States as well as providing an excellent education which will adequately prepare our students for college and/or career.

When we entered the room, the board looked like this:

How comfortable are you with CCSS:

  • Very uncomfortable
  • Uncomfortable
  • Slightly comfortable
  • Pretty
  • comfortable
  • Very comfortable

I don’t know everything about CCSS, but I have done quite a bit of research, and I have attended several workshops about the shift. Again, I don’t KNOW everything, BUT, I am very comfortable, in fact I eagerly anticipate the changes.  We each had an “anonymous sticky note” we were to place in the appropriate column. Being honest, I placed my sticky in the “Very comfortable” column.

Out of our staff though, including those presenting, each teacher chose one of the other columns, with the bulk being in the middle options. I was the only one in the “very comfortable” spot. I felt like a know-it-all heel. I had truthfully answered the question asked, but I wondered if I should have tempered my enthusiasm and said I was “pretty comfortable” in order to make the others feel better about themselves.

I have always been an outlier, but this chart underscored this fact. I have speculated on the cause, and I suspect one of two possible etiologies for the results of this informal survey.

--First, participants may have been reluctant to identify with the “show off” stance, so they under-reported their level of comfort in order to conform to social norms.

--Second, participants may have answered the question IMPLIED as opposed to the question asked. If the question had been, “How much do you know about CCSS,” I would have been much closer to center.

Or, maybe I am just really comfortable with ambiguity.