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Standards as Reform Paper - Essay Example

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Education reform is one of the major concerns in the society today. There are many educators and advisory groups are emphasizing the need to introduce to standards to improve the quality of education for all students. It was contended that "Something is fundamentally wrong with America's system of education, too few children develop the academic skills they need to develop, and too many children leave school without having developed the skills, attitudes, and habits of mind that will equip them for life in the twenty-first century" (Schlechty 2001, p…
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Education reform is one of the major concerns in the society today. There are many educators and advisory groups are emphasizing the need to introduce to standards to improve the quality of education for all students. It was contended that "Something is fundamentally wrong with America's system of education, too few children develop the academic skills they need to develop, and too many children leave school without having developed the skills, attitudes, and habits of mind that will equip them for life in the twenty-first century" (Schlechty 2001, p. 2). The national commission on excellence in education had published a report A Nation at Risk in 1983 which initiated the first steps for education reforms and changes. This paper will focus on what was the field of education like before the implementation of standards; in what ways have standards changed curriculum, instruction, and assessment; the effectiveness of standards as a vehicle for education reform. The need to reform education was mainly instigated due to the rapidly falling levels of academic achievement. However, the field of education was education was undoubtedly more effective prior to the implementation of standards. It is true that many people educated up to the eighth standard in many school districts had a better education than those who have graduated from high school in recent years. Many of the nation’s great thinkers such as Abraham Lincoln, Newton have not received any formal education but have made the biggest inventions ever. Earlier the education system was based the theory that some students are smarter than the other and assessment was done on the basis of comparative analysis of one student to another. The main aim of this system was to present the knowledge and skills of the older generation to the new generation. In this system, the content subject matter used to vary with different group of students. There were no specific criteria to deploy the resources because of which students requiring the most received the least ( Mitchell,n.d ). Traditionally, the school curriculum provided an instruction plan which revealed only structured learning practices and outcome for students. However, the standards based system has broadened the scope of the curriculum. Also it believes that all students can get better through effort. The content subject matter is the same for all the students. Assessment is not merely on comparison but based on the standards and benchmarks set by the school authority. Today’s curriculum takes into consideration everything that effects what happens in the classroom and thereby affects student learning. It not only includes curriculum, instruction and assessment but professional development, parent and community involvement, instructional leadership and use of technology as well (Pattison, 2000). Standards help the students to learn in a better way because everybody is working towards the same goal. There are various views on the effectiveness of standards as a vehicle for education reform. Ravitch had stated “Standards can improve achievement by clearly defining what is to be taught and what kind of performance is expected” (p. 25). Standards can be used as a strong tool for maintaining consistency in the level of performance of the students because it defines what students will be learning each year. It will have a strong effect in school districts where teachers and administrators are more concerned about their living than caring what needs to be taught to the students. In such schools where motivation is lacking, standards will bring about important changes as it will improve the level of education and force teachers to provide better education to the students (Pattison, 2000). However we cannot say that standards are always the best vehicle for reform. Standards may force teachers to teach for the tests and education may become a form of rote learning rather than becoming creative. The world’s greatest scientists, thinkers, mathematicians came out of schools which had no standards. Standards will definitely ensure that every student is given the same preference but it may not necessarily give us great people. References list Mitchell Ruth (2004).Teaching to academic standards. Thirteen ed online.Retrieved from Read More
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