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What are academic standards?
What's different about academic standards?
What do standards have to do with my classroom?
How have standards developed since they began in the early 1990s?
Another perspective
What are the benefits of academic standards?
How can standards help students to learn better?
What do critics of standards have to say?

What are the benefits of academic standards?

Standards provide a focus for reform efforts -- all students must reach them. And teachers can see how well they are doing by looking at their progress towards standards.

Focus is one of the greatest benefits of standards; publication is another. Everyone can see what the schools are aiming to teach and what students must learn. What must be learned isn't a secret, kept for a small portion of the student population and hidden from the rest. Done well, standards can be an important tool for equity: if all kids are required to meet the standards, all schools must work to make children reach them, not just schools which have a majority of middle class, college-bound students.

Because standards provide a focus, they provide a yardstick for evaluating all aspects of schooling. Is this a good textbook? It is if it provides opportunities to meet the standards. Is this a worthwhile staff development workshop? It is if teachers learn techniques for getting students to standards. And so on. All resources, materials, schedules, personnel assignments, should be judged by this criterion: if we do this, will our students achieve the standards?


Workshop: Teaching to Academic Standards
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