influential forces and conditions, such as broader state standards-based reforms; and (c) slowly realized and long term.

  • Three core channels exist within the education system through which nationally developed standards can influence teaching and learning; these channels of influence are complex, interactive, and differ across subject-matter communities.

  • Variability within the education system implies that students and teachers are likely to experience different influences, depending on locality, resources, participant background, and other factors.

  • The task for research—and hence for this Framework—is to help identify and document significant standards-based effects, as well as overall trends and patterns among those effects.

  • Nationally developed standards will eventually be judged effective if resources, requirements, and practices throughout the system align with the standards and if students in standards-based classrooms demonstrate high achievement in knowledge and skills deemed important.

The Framework offers four key questions to guide inquiry into the magnitude and direction of the influence of standards on various parts of the education system:

How are nationally developed standards being received and interpreted? The vision expressed in the standards for student learning, teaching practice, and system behavior is conveyed through broadly framed statements, and as a consequence may be interpreted differently by different people. In investigating the influence of standards, it is important to understand how these standards are viewed by particular stakeholders.

What actions have been taken? Standards can motivate changes in the system or they may simply be ignored. An important part of tracing the influence of standards is understanding what curriculum developers, teacher educators, assessment designers, and others have done in response to standards.

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