New Report: Faith in Common Standards Not Enough

Posted on November 16, 2009

The elusive relationship between standards and achievement

In response to surprise over a Brown Center Letter on Education that posited weak association between the quality of state content standards (among other popular reforms) and student academic achievement, the Brookings Institution’s Up Front blog lays out in plain terms how the authors found no relationship between state scores on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) and quality ratings of state standards. The authors do not state there is no correlation between high-quality standards and student achievement; only that facets of standards and accountability play out through a set of conditional relationships and interactions, which can’t be neatly pinned down. “Thus, high-quality common standards may affect student achievement only in a system in which there are also aligned assessments, and aligned curriculum, and accountability for educators, and accountability for students, and aligned professional development, and managerial autonomy for school leaders, and teachers who drawn from the best and brightest, and so on.” Despite this, the Secretary of Education has characterized common standards as “absolutely a national challenge, which we must meet together or will compromise our future.” Analysis suggests otherwise.

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