The logic implicit in the Framework can be summarized through a group of interrelated propositions:

  1. Nationally developed standards in mathematics, science, and technology represent a set of fundamental changes in the way these subjects have traditionally been taught, placing new demands on teachers and students. The changes needed to move from established modes of teaching and learning to those advocated by the standards imply considerable new learning for both teachers and students. Standards-based practice presumes that teachers understand and have internalized much of what is asserted by national standards documents (e.g., that a core set of important ideas and skills in each content area can be identified and that all students can master those fundamental expectations).

  2. The expected influence of nationally developed standards on teaching practice and student learning is likely to be (a) indirect, taking place through proximate effects on other parts of the education system; (b) entangled (and sometimes confused) with other influential forces and conditions, such as broader state standards-based reforms; and (c) slowly realized and long term. In other words, within the nation’s decentralized system of education, notions of teaching and learning embedded in nationally developed standards do not have immediate pathways into classrooms. Rather, as these ideas move through channels that cross multiple levels of governance, various forces can alter how the standards are understood and acted upon. State-level standards-based reform movements, for example, have introduced numerous interpretations of “standards” and “assessments,” some of which may not be in accord with ideas conveyed in the National Research Council (NRC), the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM), and the International Technology Education Standards (ITEA) standards documents. Given the amount of new learning implied and the complexity of the education system, it would take a long time, if ever, before the visions conveyed by national standards documents would be fully realized. Also,



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