In the following interview, Marc S. Tucker,
1 an educational theorist and standards advocate, answers questions about standards. In some places, his opinion may differ from those expressed by Ruth Mitchell, the author of this workshop. We hope that these differences will stimulate creative and productive debate about these important issues.
. Concept to Classroom: Why do you think (new) standards are needed in the United States? What got you started developing them?
Concept to Classroom: How are your "New Standards" different from other, previous standards? Why do you use Performance Standards rather than Content Standards?
. Concept to Classroom: What do you say to those who believe using standards just makes teachers "teach to the test," and doesn't allow students to learn creatively?
. Concept to Classroom: What is your response to those who oppose national standards as federal meddling in decisions that should be made locally?
. Concept to Classroom: How can teachers best implement standards in their classrooms?
. Concept to Classroom: Some of the discussion of standards concerns American students' poor showing, compared to their counterparts in other countries, on tests, especially of math and science skills and knowledge. This is often used as an argument for standards or for raising existing standards higher. Do you think establishing or raising standards would help in this regard? Should we even be comparing our students to other countries' students based on test scores, or is that not a useful exercise?
. Concept to Classroom: How do you decide whether an assignment helps students meet standards?
. Concept to Classroom: How do teachers find time to meet and do the extra work that comes with implementing standards?
. Concept to Classroom: How do you assess whether students have met the standards?
. Concept to Classroom: How do you ensure that standardized tests are not biased?
to Classroom: Some have argued that in setting high standards for everyone, we cheat the poor or socially deprived because they often come to school less prepared. How can you take economic/social status into account without setting lower standards for poor kids?
to Classroom: How do you know when a standard is genuinely too high?
to Classroom: When large numbers of children fail after their first encounter with a standards-based test, how can teachers deal with the demoralization that might take place?
to Classroom: What can teachers help parents do to help their kids meet standards?
to Classroom: What has most surprised you in your work implementing standards?
to Classroom: What is the implementation process like in most schools, and what challenges are hardest to overcome?