Topic 1: Standards Based Instruction


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Academic Standards
The current "standards movement" in American Education is based on the concept of high academic standards for all students in order to help provide educational equity and bridge the achievement gap.

Before the Standards Movement
In 1983 the National Commission on Excellence in Education published a federal report titled, A Nation at Risk. This report stated that at that time, our educational institutions failed to teach the right subjects, and that our students failed to study hard enough, and learn enough. It argued that the standards in public schools were slack and uneven and many teachers were not adequately prepared. This report was the beginning of the reform movement in American education. In 1992, the U. S. Department of Labor established a commission to determine the skills necessary for the new "global workforce." The SCANS (Secretaries Commission for Achieving Necessary Skills) Report created standards for the skills our young people need to succeed in the world of work. It challenged eduators to re-invent k-12 education to create a workforce for the emerging technology-based economy.

According to Challenging the Status Quo: The Education Record,1993-2000, our educational system was not graduating students with the skills necessary to be part of the growing knowledge-based economy. Consequently, the U.S. Department of Education initiated a series of school reforms to improve education through benchmarks for measuring student progress and teacher quality. It was believed that our education system had for too long condoned low expectations and low standards for disadvantaged children, and that Federal programs often reflected those expectations.

In 1994, the Improving America's Schools Act re-authorized the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA), and the Goals 2000: Educate America Act, to support state and local school reform efforts to create challenging academic standards and assessments linked to standards.

The Educational Excellence for All Children Act of 1999 re-authorized the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA). encouraging the federal government, individual schools, school districts, and states to promote educational excellence for all children.

State Reform Movements
Since the U.S. Constitution does not mention education, education is the job of state and local governments. In California, task forces were created to suggest reforms. From 1987 to 1992, these task forces published several documents including: "Itís Elementary,""Caught in the Middle," and "Second to None.î The state developed and revised frameworks for all content areas based on its seven-year textbook adoption cycle.

The Standards Movement
In the mid 1990s, the U.S. Department of Education developed the National Education Standards based on Goals 2000. Following this, individual states began to develop their own content standards. California's Public Schools Accountability Act of 1999 is attempting to improve education in California by providing rewards and interventions for improving student performance. bThese standards can be found as pdf files (requiring Adobe Acrobat Reader to download on the California Department of Education Web Site. They can also be found in each of the content areas on the SCORE (Schools of California Online Resources for Educators) Web Site.

Technology StandardsAt the same time, technology standards have been developed. In 1999, ISTE published the National Education Technology Standards, and California has published its technology standards (#16) for teacher credentialling ISTE has published National Technology Standards for both students and teachers. These can be found at