Dr. Erica Walker - Putting Standards to the TestPublished in TC Today - Volume 37, No. 2
SINCE 1892, WHEN THE National Education Association appointed the "Committee of Ten" to rethink high school education, the United States has wrestled with whether and how to set standards for what American students should learn. And since 1904, when TC's E.L. Thorndike published An Introduction to the Theory of Mental and Social Measurements, educators have sought ways to assess whether students are hitting the mark.
Since the late 1980s, a new standards movement has sought to bring greater coherence to state education systems and again has triggered parallel developments in assessment. Forty-five states have recently adopted the Common Core State Standards -- a new set of learning and performance standards in math and English for grades 1-12 that was developed by the Council of Chief State School Officers and the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices. Assessments geared to the Common Core are due to be released in 2014.
What has the state standards movement accomplished, and where is it headed?
What was the genesis of the state standards movement?
JEFFREY HENIG: The idea of standards emerged out of a realistic and appropriate assessment that American education was so fragmented and diverse and localized that a fair amount of mediocre or even indifferent teaching was occurring unobserved in areas with low-income and minority students. Standards were meant to be a kick in the butt, particularly to districts, schools, principals and teachers who were content with "moving kids through."
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