lished Science for All Americans (AAAS, 1989). Both publications supported further standards-based reform.

There are three generally accepted reasons for adopting educational standards: to ensure quality, to define goals, and to promote change (NCTM, 1989). Standards are also often considered to be statements of equity, that is, the expectations they express pertain to all students (e.g., NRC, 1996; Schoenfeld, 2002). This report focuses on content standards, though several other types of standards have been developed (Box 1-1).

BOX 1-1

Types of Educational Standards

Content Standards—a description of the knowledge and skills students are expected to have mastered by the end of their schooling. Content standards describe learning outcomes, but they are not instructional materials (i.e., lessons, classes, courses of study, or school programs).


Teaching Standards—a description of the educational experiences that should be provided by teachers, textbooks, and educational technology. Teaching standards relate to the quality of instruction and sometimes emphasize unique features, such as the use of integrated instructional sequences.


Teacher Professional Development Standards—a description of subject-specific and pedagogical knowledge and skills teachers are expected to attain through professional development experiences. These standards provide guidelines for all parties involved in teacher preparation, including schools of education and policy makers who determine requirements for teacher certification.


Program Standards—criteria for the quality of school education programs. Program standards are guidelines for designing programs, in keeping with content, teaching, and assessment standards, and descriptions of the conditions necessary to ensure that all students have appropriate learning experiences.


Assessment Standards—requirements for assessments used to measure student achievement and opportunities to learn. Assessment standards provide guidelines for teachers and state and federal agencies designing assessment tasks, practices, and policies.


Performance Standards—a description of the form and function of achievement that show what students have learned. Performance standards, usually described in relation to content standards, sometimes identify levels of achievement for content standards (e.g., basic, proficient, advanced).



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