Debating the Future of American Education: Do We Need National Standards and Assessments? : Report of a Conference Sponsored by the Brown Center on Education Policy at the Brookings Institution (Google eBook)

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Diane Ravitch, Brookings Institution. Brown Center on Education Policy
Brookings Institution Press - Education - 182 pages
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What is the outlook for educational reform in the United States? One of the most striking proposals has been to establish a system of national standards, which has raised many complex questions: Is it possible for the United States, with its history of extreme decentralization, to establish and enforce national standards for what students should know? Who will create these standards? What would be the role of the federal, state, and local governments? While the idea of national standards has been widely supported, many respected educators doubt their value from fear that such standards will institutionalize the lowest common denominator. Others cite the poor performance of U.S. students on international tests and insist that the U.S. will suffer because of this poor performance. The debate becomes even more intense when the question of assessment is posed. Is it possible to develop a national examination system tied to new standards? Should such tests be used to influence entry to colleges and jobs? Would the motivation of students to learn be increased if they knew that their performance would be reviewed by colleges and employers? Is it fair to set standards for students without setting standards for schools? To address these and other questions, this book, the result of a Brookings conference, brings together representatives of various viewpoints on the utility and equity of increasing the use of tests for students, teachers, and schools. The contributors are Chester Finn, Jr., the Edison Project; Daniel Koretz, RAND; Andrew Porter, Wisconsin Center for Education Research; Lauren Resnick, University of Pittsburgh; Roy Romer, Governor of Colorado; Albert Shanker, American Federationof Teachers; Theodore R. Sizer, Brown University; Marshall C. Smith, U.S. Department of Education; and Donald M. Stewart, The College Board. Brookings Dialogues on Public Policy
  

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Contents

Introduction
1
The Clinton Agenda
9
Will National Standards and Assessments Make a Difference?
33
The Uses and Misuses of OpportunitytoLearn Standards
40
Explaining Standards to the Public
66
General Discussion
73
Holding onto Norms in a Sea of Criteria
83
Standards for Education
94
Whos Afraid of the Big Bad Test?
120
The Case for High Stakes and Real Consequences
145
Sometimes a Cigar isOnly a Cigar and Often a Test Is Only a Test
154
General Discussion
167
Conference Participants
179
Copyright

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Page 2 - By the year 2000, the high school graduation rate will increase to at least 90 percent; 3. By the year 2000, American students will leave grades four, eight, and twelve having demonstrated competency in challenging subject matter, including English, mathematics, science, history, and geography...
Page 2 - US students will be first in the world in science and mathematics achievement. 5. Every adult American will be literate and will possess the knowledge and skills necessary to compete in a global economy and exercise the rights and responsibilities of citizenship.
Page 2 - English, mathematics, science, history and geography, .and every school in America will ensure that all students learn to use their minds well, so they may be prepared for responsible citizenship, further learning and productive employment in our modern economy.
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