Institute on Education and the Economy

Skill Standards

IEE research on skill standards began in the early 1990s with an investigation of the 22 industry-based skill standards pilot projects funded by the U.S. Departments of Education and Labor. Findings from this study were included in a 1995 NCRVE report, Making Sense of Industry-Based Skill Standards, that focused on the governance structures for developing and implementing skill standards and the integration of acadmic, technical, and employability skills. Interest in this report led to a 1996 workshop, Integrating Academic and Technical Skill Standards, that brought together educators working on the national standards in five academic disciplines, employers involved with standard development in seven of the nationally funded pilot projects, teachers, and policy makers. The workshop resulted in the 1997 NCRVE report, Integrating Academic and Industry Skill Standards, and a call for a follow-up workshop to take a more in-depth look at integrated standards. In response to participant requests, in 1997 IEE (under the auspices of NCRVE) sponsored Beyond Eighth Grade: A Workshop on Mathematical and Occupational Skill Standards to accomplish three main goals:

  • to strengthen the case for both rigorous academic standards in vocational education and authentic workplace applications in traditional academic programs,
  • to dispel minimalist views about mathematics embedded in everyday tasks required for tomorrow's workplace, and
  • to help the mathematical and vocational education communities understand each other's standards so they can begin to work together on strategies to improve teaching and learning.

The outcomes of this workshop were available in a report released Summer 1998.


The Standards-Setting Process in Accounting: Lessons for Education and Workplace Reform
Donna Merritt & Thomas Bailey – July 1998
Available from NCRVE

Integrating Academic and Industry Skill Standards
Thomas Bailey – January 1998
Download PDF

Industry Skill Standards and Education Reform
Thomas Bailey & Donna Merritt – American Journal of Education, 105

Integrating Academic and Industry Skill Standards
Thomas Bailey – November 1997
Available from NCRVE

A Conceptual Framework for Industry-Based Skill Standards
Donna Merritt – September 1996
Download PDF

Making Sense of Industry Based Skill Standards
Thomas Bailey & Donna Merritt – December 1995
Available from NCRVE


Thomas Bailey



Institute on Education and the Economy, Teachers College, Columbia University
525 West 120th Street, Box 174, New York, NY 10027
Phone: (212) 678-3091 | Fax: (212) 678-3699 | iee@columbia.edu