1997. The analysis sought to determine the extent that state curriculum frameworks, standards, and other materials were consistent with NCTM Curriculum and Evaluation Standards for School Mathematics, NRC National Science Education Standards, and American Association for the Advancement of Science Benchmarks for Scientific Literacy. The analysis also considered differences in content found in state mathematics and science frameworks or standards documents and main ideas and categories found in corresponding national standards, noting omissions and additions. The analysis pointed out how state documents acted as a “bridge” between nationally developed standards and local efforts to improve teaching and learning in these subject areas.

In contrast to the more broad-based Briars and Resnick study, this investigation focused in depth on one Framework component: State Policy Decisions within the Curriculum channel. Thus, shading would highlight only that particular feature of the Framework.

Examining Claims and Inferences Reported in Current Studies

In addition to helping locate relevant areas of research, the Framework offers a conceptual tool for assessing claims made by researchers. By highlighting multiple influences on teaching and learning, the Framework can suggest plausible alternative explanations for research findings. Referring to the Framework, scholars and other consumers of research can decide whether investigators accounted for all the plausible channels of influence on teaching and learning within the settings under study.

Without reference to a conceptual map such as the Framework, weak inferences may arise about the influence of standards. Ultimately, strong claims about positive or negative effects of nationally developed standards depend on a chain of evidence and inference linking promulgation of standards (at the national level) to particular sites (in schools and classrooms) within which standards-based



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