because national standards in the three subject areas have had different timelines, varying degrees and types of influence across subject areas are to be expected at any one time.
Three core channels exist within the education system through which nationally developed standards can influence teaching and learning. These channels of influence are (a) curriculum; (b) teacher development; and (c) assessment and accountability.
The channels of influence are complex and interactive, and differ across subject-matter communities. In other words, the channels operate differently within mathematics, science, and technology, creating different opportunities for—or barriers to—influence by the standards. Jointly or separately, the channels may alter the way standards are understood and realized. Public, political, and professional reactions can also affect these channels and shape the way standards reach and influence teaching and learning.
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. Consequently, educational effects of national standards are unlikely to be monolithic. Instead, there may be effects that are constructive and others that are counterproductive, some weak, and others strong.
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. That is, the task is to provide evidence-based descriptions of the channels and mechanisms through which those effects take place and determine what conditions may be associated with particular effects.
The ultimate focus is on the changes in students’ knowledge and abilities that have occurred since standards have entered the system and that can be reasonably attributed to the influence of the standards. As part of this, it is essential to consider how standards have affected the achievement of all students, including those who were previously underrepresented in mathematics, science, and technology.
Eventually, nationally developed standards will be judged