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Unformatted text preview: Standards and Assessments: Where We Are and What We Need Linda Darling-Hammond Stanford University Main Article From one perspective, the standards-based reform movement in the United States has been extremely successful: At least 47 states have created standards for student learning; many have also adopted new curriculum frameworks to guide instruction and new assessments to test students' knowledge. Many school districts across the country have weighed in with their own versions of standards-based reform, including new curricula, testing systems, accountability schemes, and promotion or graduation requirements. Yet not all of these initiatives have accomplished the goals that early proponents of standards-based reforms envisioned. Advocates hoped that standards outlining what students should know and be able to do would spur other reforms that mobilize resources for student learning, including high quality curriculum frameworks, materials, and assessments tied to the standards; more widely available course offerings that reflect this high quality curriculum; more intensive teacher preparation and professional development guided by related standards for teaching; more equalized resources for schools; and more readily available safety nets for educationally needy students (ODay and Smith, 1993). This comprehensive approach has been followed in some states and districts, such as Connecticut, Kentucky, Maine, and North Carolina as well as New Yorks District #2, San Diego, and New Haven, California. In these cases, investments in improved schooling and teaching have improved student achievement while enhancing teaching and taking steps to equalize educational opportunity. However, this comprehensive approach to improving education has not been pursued everywhere. In a number of states, the notions of standards and `accountability' have become synonymous with mandates for student testing that are detached from policies that might address the quality of teaching, the allocation of resources, or the nature of schooling. In states where high stakes testing is the primary policy reform, disproportionate numbers of minority, low-income, and special needs students have failed tests for promotion and graduation, leading to grade retention, failure to graduate, and sanctions for schools, without efforts to ensure equal and adequate teaching, texts, curriculum, or other educational resources. A new generation of equity lawsuits has emerged where standards have been imposed without attention to educational inequalities. Adequacy litigation in Alabama, California, Florida, New York, South Carolina, and elsewhere has followed recently successful equity lawsuits in Kentucky and New Jersey....
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This note was uploaded on 06/29/2011 for the course TAL 647 taught by Professor Dr.williams during the Summer '11 term at University of Miami.
- Summer '11