Taking Stock: What Have We Learned About Making Education Standards Internationally Competitive?: Summary of a Workshop

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In 1996, the Board on International Comparative Studies of the National Research Council sponsored a workshop to assess what has been learned about making education standards internationally competitive and to examine why criteria for international competitiveness have been so difficult to articulate. A summary of the issues raised at this workshop is presented. Approximately 80 persons, including representatives from national organizations with specific interest in education standards, university researchers, and education policy makers attended the gathering. Participants explored the concept and the support of high standards for education in the United States. Even with widespread support, differences in how standards should be reached and used became apparent. The text examines standards as a political process and advises that standards be worked out in a public political forum. An understanding of the content and performance standards that are in place for high-achieving students around the world could inform a local search for standards. This is applicable to the United States, which should adapt its own standards to its own circumstances and goals. Implementing standards and including teachers in such movements help teachers to select the curricular topics that are most important. Three appendices feature a list of workshop participants, workshop papers, and other information. (RJM)

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