TABLE 4-1 Examples of Evaluation Criteria Related to Standards Content

Achieve, Inc.

Important subject matter—require use and application of agreed-on core subject matter.

American Federation of Teachers

Should include the following particular content:

  • In reading should cover reading basics (e.g., word attack, skills, vocabulary) and reading comprehension (e.g., exposure to a variety of literary genres).

  • In mathematics should cover number sense and operations, measurement, geometry, data analysis and probability, and algebra and functions.

Should give attention to both content and skills.

Education Week

Should cover the core subjects of English, mathematics, science, and history/social studies.

Fordham Foundation

  • Inclusion of particular content.

  • Avoiding influence of 1990s-era national standards.

  • Rigor of content.

  • Adequate attention to content knowledge versus skills.

SOURCE: Committee compilation of criteria used in reports by the organizations listed.

seem to identify the same criteria, they do not necessarily use the terms in the same way.

Looking just at content, for example, Wixson demonstrated the range of perspectives. Table 4-1 shows the language related to content used by each group. Although each group’s text is best understood in the context of its overall presentation of its evaluation criteria, important differences are evident.

Wixson also noted that a critical element was missing from the criteria described by all the groups: the perspectives of experts from the academic disciplines. Discipline experts are often involved when standards are developed, and many such groups have produced cogent descriptions of the ways learning develops within academic disciplines, as well as of the key concepts in each discipline that students need to master as they progress.1 Drawing on research on learning and cognition as well as on content expertise, these descriptions emphasize the integration of learning and understanding and the ways that factual learning, conceptual


Research in mathematics and science education, in particular, has yielded advances in the understanding of how students learn complex content and of the corresponding “content pedagogy”—that is, understanding of complex content integrated with understanding of how best to teach it—that teachers need (see National Research Council, 2001, 2006).

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