OVERVIEW OF THE STANDARDS MOVEMENT

Study Guide Contents

Introduction

 

 

With the publication of A Nation at Risk in 1983 the modern education standards movement was underway in the United States and continues to the present. The report, prompted by the Secretary of Education, compared the urgency of addressing the condition of K-12 elementary education in the United States with that of a virtual state of war.

In the intervening twenty years, K-12 public education has been immersed in wave of efforts to address the concerns raised in A Nation at Risk, culminating in 2000 with the revision of the federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), re-christened the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act.


Education Week magazine’s web edition nicely summarizes the areas in which standards have been developed:

  • Academic standards describe what students should know and be able to do in the core academic subjects at each grade level.

  • Content standards describe basic agreement about the body of education knowledge that all students should know.

  • Performance standards describe what level of performance is good enough for students to be described as advanced, proficient, below basic, or by some other performance level.


States have worked throughout the past decade to put academic standards into place. As of 2001, 49 states and the District of Columbia-all but Iowa-have at least some academic standards. Forty-eight states and the District of Columbia have academic standards in all core subjects-mathematics, English/language arts, science, and social studies.

Education Week on the Web Updated: January 24, 2003
http://www.edweek.org/context/topics/issuespage.cfm?id=55

Goals

  • Students will be able to summarize the evolution of the modern education standards movement in the United States.

  • Students will be able to describe the major thrust of the federal No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act.

  • Students will explore and familiarize themselves with the California state academic content standards.

  • Students will explore and familiarize themselves with the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) goals for the educational uses of technology.

Go to Part 2- Evolution of the Standards Movement

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Part 2: Evolution of the Standards Movement


The educational standards movement evolved over the last 20 years.


 

The educational standards movement evolved over the last 20 years. Here is a timeline tracing the development of "Standards" as we know them today:

 

1983 A Nation at Risk
"If an unfriendly foreign power had attempted to impose on America the mediocre educational performance that exists today, we might well have viewed it as an act of war. As it stands, we have allowed this to happen to ourselves. We have even squandered the gains in student achievement made in the wake of the Sputnik challenge. Moreover, we have dismantled essential support systems which helped make those gains possible. We have, in effect, been committing an act of unthinking, unilateral educational disarmament."


A Nation at Risk developed a set of five major recommendations to address the issues raised in the report:

  • Content – Strengthen graduation requirements and curriculum content
  • Standards and Expectations – Adopt more rigorous and measurable standards and higher expectations
  • Time – Devote significantly more time to instruction including longer school day and school year
  • Teaching – Improve the preparation of teachers and make the profession more rewarding and respected
  • Leadership and Fiscal Support – Citizens hold educators and elected officials responsible for leadership to achieve the reforms and provide fiscal support and stability that is necessary

The full report can be viewed at:
A Nation at Risk
http://www.ed.gov/pubs/NatAtRisk/

 

1989 National Education Summit
President George H. Bush and the nation’s governors held a national Education Summit conference establishing six broad goals to address the issues raised in A Nation at Risk. Their report was titled The National Education Goals Report: Building a Nation of Learners and once again emphasized the development of standards for student performance.

 

1990 The SCANS Report
The Secretary of Labor issued the SCANS Report (Secretary’s Commission on Achieving Necessary Skills) recommending the skills young people need to succeed in the world of work. The SCANS report built upon and extended many of the concepts set forth in A Nation at Risk.


1993 National Council on Education Standards and Testing

The National Council on Education Standards and Testing (NCEST) was established at the urging of Secretary of Education Lamar Alexander to begin the development of bi-partisan national standards and testing for K-12 education. The effort to develop national consensus standards was ultimately unsuccessful.

 

1994 Goals 2000
President Clinton signed the Goals 2000: Educate America Act, creating a special council to certify national and state content and performance standards, opportunity-to-learn standards, and state assessments.

 

1996 National Education Summit
A National Education Summit is held bringing together the governors of more than 40 states as well as national business leaders to support efforts to establish clear academic standards and subject matter content at the state and local levels.

 

1999 National Education Summit
A National Education Summit including governors, educators, and business leaders identifies challenges facing U.S. schools in three areas; improving educator quality, helping all students reach high standards, and strengthening accountability. Agreement is reached to specify how each of their states will deal with the challenges.

 

2000 No Child Left Behind Act
The federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) is revised and signed into law by President George W. Bush. Re-christened the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act, the legislation call for extensive implementation of state educational standards addressing national criteria tied to federal funding.

 

A more detailed chronology can be viewed at:
Regional Education Laboratory Network Mid-Continent Research for Education and Learning (McREL)
http://www.mcrel.org/standards-benchmarks/docs/purpose.asp

Go to Part 3- Federal Legislation: No Child Left Behind Act

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Part 3: Federal Legislation - No Child Left Behind Act



...stronger accountability for results, increased flexibility and local control, expanded options for parents, and an emphasis on teaching methods that have been proven to work.


 

The No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) was passed by a bi-partisan congress after it was submitted by President George W. Bush. In the words of the NCLB website:


"On Jan. 8, 2002, President Bush signed into law the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB). This new law represents his education reform plan and contains the most sweeping changes to the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) since it was enacted in 1965. It changes the federal government's role in kindergarten-through-grade-12 education by asking America's schools to describe their success in terms of what each student accomplishes. The act contains the President's four basic education reform principles: stronger accountability for results, increased flexibility and local control, expanded options for parents, and an emphasis on teaching methods that have been proven to work."


View the following links for key aspects of NCLB:


Introduction to NCLB
http://www.nclb.gov/next/overview/index.html


Frequently Asked Questions and Answers for Families and Communities
http://www.nclb.gov/next/faqs/index.html


The Facts – Fact Sheets on Key Aspects of NCLB
http://www.nclb.gov/start/facts/index.html


The fifty states must submit state education standards for approval that address the mandates of NCLB. The requirements of NCLB are directly tied to funding and sanctions for schools that do not meet the standards of the law for "adequate yearly progress" for students.

Go to Part 4- State Standards: California Academic Content Standards

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Part 4: State Standards - California Academic Content Standards

 

 

 


The state content standards are major components of California’s program to address the requirements of the federal NCLB legislation.


 

The State of California has developed academic, content and performance standards in English-Language Arts, Mathematics, Science, History-Social Science and Visual and Performing Arts. The standards are closely tied to the state Standardized Testing and Reporting (STAR) system.

The state content standards and STAR testing system are major components of California’s program to address the requirements of the federal NCLB legislation.


The Content Standards for California Public Schools
http://www.cde.ca.gov/standards/


CSU Northridge Resources for Academic Content Standards and Curriculum Frameworks
http://www.csun.edu/~hcbio027/k12standards/


The Standardized Testing and Reporting (STAR)
http://www.cde.ca.gov/statetests/

 

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