Skip to content

Brief Four: Conditions for Scale and Sustainability

The transition to the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) represents an unprecedented opportunity to transform educational practice. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has invested in the development and dissemination of high quality instructional and formative assessment tools to support teachers’ incorporation of the CCSS into their classroom instruction. Literacy experts developed a framework and a set of templates that teachers can use to develop content area modules focused on rigorous writing tasks closely tied to subject area texts. Math experts developed Formative Assessment Lessons that teachers can incorporate throughout the year’s curriculum. Both tools target the ‘instructional core.’ This initiative builds upon research of the past two decades that stresses teachers’ attention to high quality instructional tasks use of formative assessments embedded in those tasks and professional learning opportunities that attend to both content knowledge and instruction.This brief focuses on efforts to scale up and sustain broader use of the tools. It begins with an introduction in which ‘scale-up and sustainability’ is defined, providing the framework for this brief. The introduction also provides detail on the extent to which use of the tools has grown within study sites. In addition, we provide a review of the theory of action driving the LDC/MDC Initiative, highlighting the underlying conditions necessary for robust implementation to occur. The second section of the brief presents findings on the extent to which the supporting conditions necessary for robust LDC/MDC tool implementation – alignment, leadership and professional learning opportunities – are in evidence at the various study sites. The final section of the brief offers suggestions for supporting enhanced and expanded LDC/MDC tool implementation.