impact on student learning and other aspects of the education system. However, no comprehensive map or conceptual overview has been available to guide the efforts of producers, interpreters, and consumers of that standards-focused research. This Framework is intended to address that need—that is, to provide guidance for the design, conduct, and interpretation of research focused on influences of nationally developed standards on student learning in mathematics, science, and technology.
The Framework describes key leverage points, identifies questions that need answers, and considers how evidence can be assembled to address those questions. However, the Framework offers no judgments about the standards themselves or their effects on the education system. That is, it does not consider whether the quality of current mathematics, science, or technology education has improved or declined due to nationally developed standards. It neither advocates nor criticizes the standards, and does not attempt to synthesize or interpret existing research concerning influences of standards. Rather, this Framework offers guidance and perspective both to the research community and to those who use the results of such research—policy makers, educators, administrators, scholars, and members of the public. The Framework is dedicated to helping this audience to formulate, conduct, and interpret research about influences on student learning—either positive or negative—of nationally developed standards in mathematics, science, and technology education, whether the standards are generally accepted or considered controversial.
As indicated by their publication dates, the standards for the three subject areas were created at different times. It is thus reasonable to expect that each field will be at a different place regarding dissemination and implementation of its standards. Each field also occupies a different position within the context of education. Historically, mathematics has been regarded as a basic skill in the school curriculum. Its prominence from elementary school onward has thus been assured—even though for a considerable