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Standards: Setting The Standards From State To State

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Alabama

For years, the state has had courses of study in the major subjects, such as language arts, mathematics, science, social studies, and driver's education. Each course of study, which describes what students should know and be able to do, is reviewed on a periodic cycle every four or five years.

Name of Standards

Standards are called "courses of study."

Time Line

The most recent review of a course of study--science--was presented to the state board of education in March.

Benchmark Grades

Historically, the course of study was specified for each grade. More recently, however, the state has moved to grade groupings. The course of study in science, for example, uses the grade groupings: K-2, 3-5, 6-8, and 9-12.

Voluntary or Mandatory

The courses of study are mandatory and tied to statewide assessments. The state looks for available norm-referenced tests that most nearly coincide with its courses of study.

Contact

Charlie Williams, assistant state superintendent for instructional services, Alabama Department of Education, (334) 242-8154.


Alaska

Standards in English/language arts, mathematics, and science have been completed and signed into regulation. The state board of education has approved standards in geography, government and citizenship, history, and skills for a healthy life, which are awaiting the lieutenant governor's signature. The state is now working on content standards in the arts, technology, and world languages and has plans to develop standards in economics.

Name of Standards

Standards are called "student performance standards." Future standards specifying how well students will have to demonstrate their knowledge and skills in each subject will be called "performance expectations."

Time Line

The standards project began in 1992 under the direction of the state board of education. The state hopes to finish work on content standards by the summer.

Benchmark Grades

Standards are not grade-specific. The state is in the process of developing curriculum frameworks that will include sample benchmarks at each of three age ranges, roughly: 8-10, 12-14, and 16-18. Although the standards are regulated, the benchmarks will serve only as samples.

Voluntary or Mandatory

The standards are voluntary, even though the state does adopt them into regulation. Alaska is designing a standards-based assessment system. The standards are not tied to graduation requirements.

Contact

Robert Silverman, administrator, office of standards and assessment, Alaska Department of Education, (907) 465-8680.


Arizona

The state has developed content standards in comprehensive health (including physical education), dance, foreign languages, language arts, mathematics, performing arts, science, social studies, and visual arts. It does not plan to develop standards in any additional areas.

Name of Standards

Standards are called "essential skills."

Timeline

The first content standards, in language arts, were developed in 1987. The state plans to review standards in each subject on a five-year cycle. The math and social-studies standards are under review now. Math standards should be revised by June; social studies, by July.

Benchmark Grades

Essential skills describe student learning for grades K-3, 4-8, and 9-12.

Voluntary or Mandatory

The essential skills are mandatory if the subject is mandatory. For example, physical education is not required in all grades, so districts would decide how, or if, they wanted to use the essential skills for that subject. Districts also set their own proficiency levels through their own assessment programs, but they must tell the state what assessment methods and benchmarks they plan to use. The statewide performance assessment, which is also based on the essential skills, has been suspended for a year due to technical problems. Beginning with the graduating class of 2000, students must demonstrate proficiency in the essential skills to graduate from high school.

Contact

Brenda Henderson, division director, student achievement and assessment, Arizona Department of Education, (602) 542-3824.


Arkansas

The state has developed or is developing content standards in 10 areas: art, English/language arts, foreign languages, health, mathematics, music, physical education, reading, science, and social studies. English/language arts and math are now being used in the classroom. Foreign languages, reading, and science are in draft form and will be introduced next year. Art, music, and social studies are also in draft form and will be introduced at a later date. Draft standards are being developed for health and physical education.

Name of Standards

Standards are called "curriculum frameworks."

Timeline

The standards project began in 1991 as part of the state's America 2000 effort.

Benchmark Grades

Frameworks describe student learning for grades K-4, 5-8, and 9-12.

Voluntary or Mandatory

The frameworks are voluntary. But the state will be building its new assessments around them and will also be introducing an exit examination tied to the standards.

Contact

Gale Potter, lead planner for the curriculum and design team, Arkansas Department of Education, (501) 682-4558.


California

The California curriculum frameworks describe, in general terms, what students should know and be able to do in English/language arts, foreign languages, health, history/social science, mathematics, physical education, science, and the visual and performing arts.

Name of Standards

Standards are called "curriculum frameworks."

Timeline

California began developing curriculum frameworks in 1985, under the leadership of the state superintendent of public instruction. The state curriculum commission developed the frameworks, which the state board of education approves. Committees of subject-matter experts, most of whom are current classroom teachers, advise the commission. The state reviews the frameworks for each subject on a periodic basis.

Benchmark Grades

All of the frameworks describe student learning at specific grade levels, typically K-4, 5-8, and 9-12.

Voluntary or Mandatory

The frameworks are voluntary. But they are tied to the statewide assessment system, textbook adoption, and professional development. Graduation requirements are set locally.

Contact

Fred Tempes, associate superintendent and director of curriculum instruction and assessment division, California Department of Education, (916) 657-3351.


Colorado

Draft standards are completed in geography, history, mathematics, reading, science, and writing. The state is now developing standards in art, civics, foreign languages, music, and physical education.

Name of Standards

Standards are called "content standards."

Timeline

In 1991, the legislature established the Colorado Commission on Achievement in Education. The commission set up a task force on standards and assessments, which drafted a bill that the legislature enacted in 1993. As required by law, the governor appointed a nine-member council for the development and implementation of standards and assessments in August 1993. The council is responsible for drafting model state content standards. The state board of education has until June 1 to adopt standards in geography, history, math, reading, science, and writing. Standards in the remaining areas must be completed by late 1996.

Benchmark Grades

Standards describe student learning for grades K-4, 5-8, and 9-12.

Voluntary or Mandatory

As a "local control" state, Colorado vests the authority to grant diplomas, set graduation requirements, determine course offerings, and establish curriculum in its local school boards. Each district can either adopt the model state content standards or develop its own standards that meet or exceed the state standards. To finance the work of the standards council, the Colorado Student Assessment Program was canceled for the 1993-94 and 1994-95 school years. A new student assessment program is scheduled to begin during the 1996-97 school year. Based on statewide samples of students in grades 4, 8, and 10, the state program will measure Colorado's progress in achieving the model content standards. Districts must also test at least in those grades, and the state assessment results will be used to corroborate district assessment results.

Contact

Wayne Martin, assessment director, Colorado Department of Education, (303) 866-6853.


Connecticut

The state is drafting guides to curriculum development in the arts, comprehensive health education, foreign languages, language arts, mathematics, physical education, science, and social studies (including geography, economics, civics, and history).

Name of Standards

Standards are called "guides to curriculum development."

Timeline

Connecticut has produced curriculum guidelines for years. But work on the state's revised guides to curriculum development began in 1993, at the initiative of the state department of education. The goal is to complete the standards by the summer of 1996, with a first draft in each subject by this summer. The state is also revising its Common Core of Learning, which specifies more general goals for student performance, at the same time.

Benchmark Grades

In general, the standards describe student learning for grades K-4, 5-8, and 9-12. In some cases, they may differentiate between grades K-2 and 3-5.

Voluntary or Mandatory

Both the common core and the guides to curriculum development are voluntary. Districts must provide programs in 11 content areas, but they are free to determine curriculum offerings and course content. The standards will be tied to a statewide assessment system in grades 4, 6, 8, and 10. Students who meet the goals standards on the 10th-grade assessment in four different areas--language arts, math, science, and integrated academics--receive a special designation on their high school transcript.

Contact

Mitchell Chester, chief of the bureau of curriculum and instructional programs, Connecticut Department of Education, (203) 566-5871.


Delaware

The state's curriculum-framework commissions have developed content and student-performance standards in English/language arts, social studies (including history, geography, economics, and civics), mathematics, and science. The commissions will present the standards to the state board of education in final draft form in May, for approval in June. The state will also be developing content and student-performance standards in other areas, including the visual and performing arts, foreign languages, and vocational education.

Name of Standards

Standards are called "content standards." Each includes a set of performance indicators that more clearly articulates the expectations for student performance.

Timeline

The state department of education initiated the standards project in July 1992 as part of "New Directions for Education in Delaware," a comprehensive reform initiative funded through fiscal year 1997.

Benchmark Grades

Content and performance standards describe student learning at different grade levels (e.g., K-3, 4-5, 6-8, and 9-10).

Voluntary or Mandatory

Ultimately, the standards will be mandatory in that they will be aligned with a comprehensive, performance-based statewide assessment system for grades 3, 5, 8, and 10. A performance-based interim assessment program is now administered annually in the spring for mathematics, reading, and writing at grades 3, 5, 8, and 10. The state has not decided whether the standards will be tied to graduation requirements.

Contact

Douglas Grudzina, co-chairman of the curriculum-framework commission for English/language arts, Delaware Department of Public Instruction, (302) 739-4601.


Florida

Florida is developing curriculum frameworks in computer literacy, fine arts, foreign languages, health/physical education, language arts, mathematics, science, and social studies.

Name of Standards

Standards are called "curriculum frameworks." In addition to sample benchmarks, they include suggestions for professional development, teacher and student activities, and assessment.

Timeline

Since 1985, Florida has had curriculum guides that identify the course content and intended outcomes for all courses in grades 6-12. Districts must adopt student-performance standards for each course based on the guidelines. In 1991, the legislature established a commission on student-performance standards, which identified 10 performance standards based on the competencies identified by the U.S. Secretary of Labor's Commission on Achieving Necessary Skills. Approved by the state board of education in 1992, these standards are not content-specific. In 1993, the state began developing pre-K-12 curriculum frameworks that will identify the essential content in each subject and give sample benchmark outcomes. They will not include state-mandated performance standards. The science framework has been completed; others are in draft form and are scheduled for statewide review this spring, with completion by June.

Benchmark Grades

Sample benchmarks are organized by "age bands": pre-K, primary (K-2), intermediate (3-5), middle (6-8), and high (9-12) school.

Voluntary or Mandatory

Students will have to demonstrate that they can meet the 10 performance standards to receive a high school diploma. The curriculum frameworks are voluntary. They will, however, be tied to a new statewide assessment system when it is developed. A major initiative is under way to develop authentic assessments for the performance standards.

Contact

Susanne Taranto, program specialist for curriculum frameworks, Florida Department of Education, (904) 487-4489.


Georgia

Georgia's "quality core curriculum," which has been in place since 1987, covers all content areas in grades K-12. No new standards, by any name, are currently under development.

Name of Standards

Standards are called the "quality core curriculum."

Timeline

No timeline exists for standards development.

Benchmark Grades

The state currently groups schools and their organizational structures in three grade-based configurations: K-5, 6-8, and 9-12. Any new standards would likely relate to these groupings.

Voluntary or Mandatory

Use of the quality core curriculum is now voluntary. Any new or revised standards would likely be voluntary as well. The current standards relate to achievement on statewide assessments. The state education department is experimenting with performance standards, but it has not yet committed to them. The state graduation test, which students take in the 11th grade, assesses cumulative learning in math and language arts.

Contact

Franklin Shumake, deputy superintendent, Georgia Department of Education, (404) 656-2804.


Hawaii

The state has both content and performance standards in finance, fine arts, health and fitness, home and work skills (which includes consumerism, interpersonal and intrapersonal skills, and customer service), language arts, mathematics, science, social studies, and world languages. The current school year is the first year these content standards are being used.

Name of Standards

Standards are called "content standards" and "performance standards."

Timeline

In 1991, the governor appointed the Hawaii Commission on Performance Standards. Once the group of parents, students, business leaders, state education officials, and teachers had created draft standards, members traveled to every island and held community forums. In November 1993, the commission created a second draft and held hearings throughout the state before issuing its final report to the legislature, the governor, and the state board of education in June 1994. The state board of education adopted the standards in October 1994.

Benchmark Grades

Standards describe student learning for grades K-3, 4-6, 7-8, and 9-12.

Voluntary or Mandatory

Hawaii is a one-district state, and the standards are mandatory across the state. The commission that developed the standards did not create an assessment system based on the standards, but the state department of education is beginning to address that issue. The standards are not tied to graduation requirements.

Contact

Patricia Sasaki, director of the planning and evaluation branch, Hawaii Department of Education,(808) 586-3283; and Robert Goodwin, department chairman for secondary education at Brigham Young University-Hawaii campus and vice chairman of the standards commission, (808) 293-3887.


Idaho

The state has developed draft standards in 10 subjects: health education, fine arts, foreign languages, humanities, language arts, mathematics, physical education, science, social studies, and vocational and technical education.

Name of Standards

Standards will be called "curriculum frameworks." In addition, Idaho's "course of study content standards," which have been around for about 15 years, spell out more explicitly what students should learn in particular subjects. These have been revised periodically over the years.

Timeline

The draft frameworks have been developed over the past three years by the Idaho Goals and Testing Commission, which was funded by the legislature. The commission includes business leaders, educators, administrators, legislators, and others. There is no specific time frame for completion. The newly elected state superintendent of public instruction, who has said the public is concerned about the philosophical shift in the introduction of standards and their lack of substance, is actively soliciting public suggestions to create standards that are clear, measurable, and concrete.

Benchmark Grades

Frameworks describe student learning for grades K-4, 5-8, and 9-12.

Voluntary or Mandatory

The frameworks will be voluntary. The state has not decided whether the frameworks will be tied to specific statewide assessments.

Contact

Jerry Pelton, chief of the bureau of instructional services, Idaho Department of Education, (208) 334-2165.


Illinois

The Illinois Academic Standards Project will help the state develop academic standards in the fine arts, foreign languages, language arts, mathematics, physical development and health, science, and social sciences. The project will also identify connections across subjects and incorporate the basic skills needed for employment and citizenship.

Name of Standards

Standards are called "Illinois academic standards." They will include content standards and performance benchmarks. (These are working titles, with the terminology still under development.)

Timeline

The state launched the Illinois Academic Standards Project in January. The project involves broad representation from students, teachers, school-improvement teams, administrators, citizens, parents, business leaders, and other decisionmakers, including the state board of education and the legislature. It expects to have draft standards ready for review in September, with completion in August 1996.

Benchmark Grades

Standards describe student learning for grades K-3, 3-5, 5-8, 8-10, and 10-12. The standards will include performance benchmarks at grades 3,5, 8, 10, and 12.

Voluntary or Mandatory

The standards will be fully correlated with performance standards for the state assessment system. They will serve as the foundation for performance measures, accountability, and capacity-building initiatives within the entire education system. The state is investigating a move to a Certificate of Initial Mastery system, which would be built on the standards under development.

Contact

Lynne Haeffele, director, Illinois Academic Standards Project, Illinois State Board of Education, (217) 782-5596.


Indiana

The Indiana Department of Education has developed content standards in fine arts, foreign languages, health, language arts, mathematics, physical education, science, social studies, and vocational education. A state-standards task force, set up by the legislature, has drafted revised standards for math and language arts, which were approved by the state board of education and presented to the general assembly for funding.

Name of Standards

Standards are called "content standards" and "performance standards."

Timeline

The department of education began developing content standards in 1987. The state-standards task force, composed of leaders in business, labor, and education, was involved in refining the content standards in math and language arts, with the help of advisory committees for each academic area. The content standards are to be re-evaluated every six years.

Benchmark Grades

Content standards in math are specified for every grade. Grades are not grouped consistently across other subjects. But typically, the standards describe student learning in such grade clusters as K-2, 3-5, 6-8, and 9-12.

Voluntary or Mandatory

For the most part, the standards are voluntary. Local school boards determine the curriculum and develop local testing programs. However, the standards are used as guides to establish benchmark expectations for the schools and are tied to the statewide testing system. The state-standards task force must now recommend performance standards to the state board of education. The performance standards for grade 10 will establish the level required for graduation.

Contact

Bob Fallon, director, program development, Indiana Department of Education, (317) 232-9102.


Iowa

Iowa is not yet developing a set of content standards. But the state planned to have set up a standards panel and selected its members by the end of March. There appears to be some support for a single set of standards, but the state likely will endorse a group of interdisciplinary standards rather than subject-specific standards.

Name of Standards

No state curriculum or standards framework exists to date. Local districts are required to develop their own "student achievement goals" and assessment systems.

Timeline

The state has not yet determined a standards time frame; it was scheduled to name a standards panel by late March.

Benchmark Grades

No benchmark grades have been set.

Voluntary or Mandatory

The state will probably use model standards, but officials are looking at national and state models. Iowa is a strong "local control" state, where education is "community-owned." If developed, the standards would be voluntary for local districts, which could incorporate them into modified local student-achievement goals. Districts determine the curriculum and course offerings, set graduation requirements, and select tests and textbooks.

Contact

Ted Stilwill, division administrator, Iowa Department of Education, (515) 281-3333.


Kansas

Content standards are in place in communications (including reading, writing, speaking, and listening), mathematics, science, and social studies.

Name of Standards

Standards are called "curriculum standards."

Timeline

In 1991, the legislature mandated state assessments based on what students should know and be able to do. The first draft of the math standards was completed in 1990 and has been revised several times since then; standards in other subjects were completed initially in 1993 and are now being revised.

Benchmark Grades

Each subject has a different grade grouping. For example, the math standards describe student learning for grades K-4,5-8, and 9-12.

Voluntary or Mandatory

Districts are not required to adopt the curriculum standards. Graduation requirements are not based on them. However, the standards form the basis for the state's testing system, which is one factor the state uses in accrediting schools. In recent action, the Kansas House voted to repeal the controversial accreditation program. Final legislative action is expected this spring.

Contact

Craig Shove, outcomes-education team leader, Kansas State Department of Education, (913) 296-1978.


Kentucky

The state has academic expectations that reflect the discipline areas and are tied to the state's six broad learning goals for students. The academic expectations are set for the arts and humanities, language arts/communications, mathematics, practical living, science, social studies, and vocational studies. The state has also developed a curriculum framework organized to reflect each of the learning goals. Four of the learning goals have an interdisciplinary focus: such as the ability to "think and solve problems in school situations and in a variety of situations they will encounter in life."

Name of Standards

Standards are called "academic expectations."

Timeline

In February 1989, the governor created a 12-member Council on School Performance Standards to determine what Kentucky students should know and be able to do and how learning should be assessed. As part of the Kentucky Education Reform Act, passed in 1990, the state adopted six broad learning goals. The legislation authorized that the goals be framed in measurable terms. The resulting academic expectations, developed in 1990, were revised in 1994 and passed as regulation by the state board for elementary and secondary education.

Benchmark Grades

Kentucky gives a statewide assessment each year at grades 4, 8, and 11. These assessments are based on the academic expectations. But the academic expectations, themselves, and the curriculum frameworks are not organized by grade levels.

Voluntary or Mandatory

The academic expectations are mandatory. A statewide assessment system--which includes open-response questions, performance events, and portfolios--is based on the academic expectations. Results of the assessments, along with such indicators as student attendance and retention rates, are used to provide rewards and sanctions for schools and districts, including teacher bonuses.

Contact

Jim Parks, spokesman, Kentucky Department of Education, (502) 564-3421.


Louisiana

The state has established content standards for English, health education, mathematics, physical education, science, social studies, and electives. Electives include the arts, foreign languages, and vocational education. Students are required to complete eight credits in elective courses before graduating from high school.

Name of Standards

Standards are called "state curriculum guides."

Timeline

The legislature passed a mandate to develop content standards during its 1979-80 session. Committees of school administrators and teachers in each field drafted standards for different subjects, which then went to the state board of education for approval. Each subject was completed at different times, the latest being 1981. The standards are revised periodically to meet the changing needs of students, teachers, and administrators. Through the Louisiana Systemic Initiatives Program, funded by the National Science Foundation, the state is developing revised math and science frameworks that reflect the emerging national standards.

Benchmark Grades

Over all, the standards apply to grades K-12, but the grade groupings vary with subject. Most standards are organized into elementary, secondary, and high school levels.

Voluntary or Mandatory

The state curriculum guides are mandatory. The state's testing system is geared toward the curriculum guides, and students in grades 3, 5, and 7 take criterion-referenced tests that incorporate standards-based materials. In high school, students in grades 10-12 take exit exams. Students in 10th grade take exams in math, language arts, and writing; in 11th grade, they take exams in science and social studies. All material in the exams comes from the state curriculum guides. Students who do not pass particular tests can retake them in the 12th grade, but they must pass all exit exams to graduate from high school.

Contact

Marlene Ritter, director of secondary education, Louisiana Department of Education, (504) 342-3404.


Maine

The state is developing standards that will apply within and across disciplines. The standards will use the arts (including the fine and performing arts), English/language arts, foreign languages, health, mathematics, science, and social studies as their foundation.

Name of Standards

The standards are called "learning results." They will identify what all Maine students must know and be able to do by the time they leave school and will build on the state's broad, interdisciplinary goals for students. The learning results will include both content and performance standards.

Timeline

In 1989, the governor and the state commissioner of education formed a 45-member panel of citizens and educators to set a vision for schooling in the state. In July 1990, the panel completed the Maine Common Core of Learning, which established 151 goals for student learning and has served as a guide for the development of local voluntary standards. In 1993, the legislature made the state board of education responsible for setting the state's education goals and established a task force to identify what all Maine graduates should know and be able to do. Between December 1994 and June 1995, thousands of educators and community members will help develop the standards. The task force must develop the learning results and present them to the state board of education by December. The task force and the state board must make any recommended changes in legislation to the general assembly by March 1996.

Benchmark Grades

The learning results will focus on what is expected of students when they graduate from high school. There may also be sample or target benchmarks at grades 4 and 8 to give people guidance about how well students should be progressing through the school system. However, the state would only hold schools and students accountable for achieving the expectations at the high school level.

Voluntary or Mandatory

The state has not decided whether the learning results will be mandatory or voluntary. But the standards will form the basis of any statewide assessments.

Contact

Robert Kautz, director of the division of instruction, Maine Department of Education, (207) 287-5928.


Maryland

Maryland has established content standards in mathematics, reading, science, social studies, and writing/language usage.

Name of Standards

Standards are called "Maryland learning outcomes." Performance standards for the state assessment system specify how well students are expected to perform to reach the goals at grades 3, 5, 8, and high school.

Timeline

In 1989, the state board of education established 10 goals for public education and launched a performance-based accountability system called the Maryland School-Performance Program. To assess the goals that were already in the state's existing frameworks,the state board called on the department of education to develop criterion-referenced assessments in math, reading, science, social studies, and writing/language usage in grades 3, 5, and 8. In August 1990, the board adopted the learning outcomes and a set of performance standards for schools. In November 1993, the board codified the state's education goals and standards by passing the Public School Standards regulation. The state is now developing content standards for high school. A high school assessment task force is working on core learning goals in English, math, science, and social studies. They will be presented to the state board in July. The goal is to pilot high school assessments in 1997.

Benchmark Grades

Learning outcomes describe student learning for grades 3, 5, 8, and high school.

Voluntary or Mandatory

The learning outcomes are mandatory. They are tied to the state assessments, which are part of a statewide accountability system for schools and school districts. Starting in 1994, schools that do not make adequate progress toward meeting the performance standards are eligible for possible reconstitution. The standards ultimately may be tied to high school graduation requirements.

Contact

Joan Palmer, deputy superintendent for school improvement, Maryland Department of Education, (410) 767-0229.


Massachusetts

The state is working on content standards in seven subjects: the arts, English/language arts, health, history/social studies, mathematics, science/technology, and world languages.

Name of Standards

Standards are called "curriculum frameworks." They will include content standards, learning standards, and concrete examples of student activity, including interdisciplinary lessons.

Timeline

The state board of education appointed the Commission on the Common Core of Learning in September 1993. In early 1994, the commission proposed a common core of learning for students, which the state board adopted in July 1994. The core is a broadly written list of educational goals for the state, with three major areas: thinking and communicating, working and contributing, and gaining and applying knowledge. The curriculum frameworks, which reflect both the common core and the traditional disciplines, are in draft form. The state education department is soliciting public comment. The frameworks are scheduled for June adoption by the state board.

Benchmark Grades

Frameworks describe student learning for grades pre-K-4, 5-8, 9-10, and 11-12.

Voluntary or Mandatory

Officially, the curriculum frameworks will be voluntary for districts. But forthcoming mandatory statewide assessments of students will be based on the content standards in the curriculum frameworks. Passing the assessments will be required for graduation.

Contact

Alan Safran, administrator, Massachusetts Department of Education, (617) 388-3300, ext. 116.


Michigan

Michigan has completed draft content standards in the core curriculum areas of English/language arts, mathematics, science, and social studies. It has also developed "model" content standards in arts education, career and employability skills, health education, life-management education, physical education, technology, and world languages.

Name of Standards

Standards are called "content standards."

Timeline

In December 1993, the legislature passed a law that required standards to be developed in four core subjects. The state board of education and the joint administrative rules committee of the legislature must approve the standards, which must be presented to the committee by Jan. 1, 1996. If the legislative committee does not find the standards acceptable, it will send them back to the department for further review and revision. The goal is to have districts implement the standards during the 1997-98 school year.

Benchmark Grades

The standards include benchmarks that specify what students should know and be able to do at the end of elementary, middle, and high school; or, in a few content areas, early elementary, upper elementary, middle, and high school.

Voluntary or Mandatory

Districts must introduce the standards in the four core content areas, but the benchmarks and the standards in the other subjects are optional. The standards in the core content areas will be aligned with statewide assessments and with the accreditation process for schools.

Contact

Barbara Atkins, supervisor of the curriculum development program, Michigan Department of Education, (517) 373-7248.


Minnesota

The state now has draft graduation standards. To graduate, all students will have to demonstrate basic competency in seven subjects: geography, government, mathematics, physical health and safety, reading, science, and writing. These are known as the state's "basic requirements." A "required profile of learning" includes 60 content standards. It spells out the more advanced skills and knowledge expected of all high school graduates in the following areas: artistic expression, complex reading skills, writing skills, speaking and listening, advanced mathematics, social studies/history, advanced science, problem-solving, inquiry, and use of resources (including economics). There is an optional set of standards for languages other than English.

Name of Standards

Standards are called "basic requirements" and the "required profile of learning."

Timeline

More than five years ago, the state education department and the state board of education began work on a performance-based system for high school graduation. In 1991, the legislature passed a law calling for a "results oriented" graduation system. The content standards are in draft form. The goal is for the state board of education to have approved the standards by this summer. Beginning with the graduating class of 2000, all Minnesota public schools will phase in statewide standards for earning a high school diploma. Nine pilot sites will begin phasing in the basic requirements in the fall.

Benchmark Grades

The state has geared its standards toward high school graduation. But the state is also providing benchmarks to describe student learning at grades 3, 5, and 8 to see if students are "on track" to meet the standards.

Voluntary or Mandatory

The standards are mandatory. Students who do not meet them will not graduate. To receive a diploma, students will have to pass basic-requirement tests being developed through a collaboration between the state department of education and local districts. Students also must successfully complete work in a number of "content standards," by applying their knowledge to a variety of simulated and real-life situations. Their performance will be measured and recorded in relation to high standards. A package of assessments that could be used for such purposes is under development.

Contact

Amber Brennan, spokeswoman, office of graduation standards, Minnesota Department of Education, (612) 282-5438.


Mississippi

Mississippi has had a statewide curriculum framework since 1986 in: English/language arts, mathematics, reading, science, and social studies. The framework is reviewed on a periodic basis. The state may also develop guidelines in the fine arts.

Name of Standards

Standards are called the "Mississippi curriculum structure."

Timeline

The Education Reform Act of 1982 required the development of a statewide curriculum framework.

Benchmark Grades

The framework is a combination of a grade-specific and subject-specific structure.

Voluntary or Mandatory

The standards are voluntary. But a statewide assessment system tied to the curriculum frameworks is mandatory. The standards are not tied to graduation requirements. However, a functional literacy test, given in 11th grade, is mandatory.

Contact

Suzanne Ulmer, director of innovative support, Mississippi Department of Education, (601) 359-3486.


Missouri

Missouri is developing content standards for communications skills, the fine arts, health and physical education, mathematics, science, and social studies.

Name of Standards

Standards are called "curriculum frameworks."

Timeline

As part of the Outstanding Schools Act, the legislature required the development of curriculum frameworks. The department of education began the initiative in the fall of 1994. The standards are in their third draft and will probably be revised at least twice more. The goal is to have them completed by late this year or early 1996.

Benchmark Grades

Frameworks describe student learning for grades K-4, 5-8, and 9-12.

Voluntary or Mandatory

The frameworks will be voluntary. But all schools are required to have a written curriculum as part of the Outstanding Schools Act, so they will be encouraged to adopt the state frameworks. Eventually, the frameworks will be tied to the state assessment system.

Contact

Grace McReynolds, coordinator of curriculum services, Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, (314) 751-4234.


Montana

Montana has program-area standards for communications arts, fine arts, guidance, health enhancement, library/media, mathematics, science, social studies, and vocational/practical arts. The accreditation standards require local districts to develop learner outcomes for the nine program areas.

Name of Standards

The program-area standards are included in the "Montana School Accreditation Standards and Procedures Manual." Appendix A contains model learner goals that districts may use to develop local ones.

Timeline

In 1989, the state board of education adopted accreditation standards. Although standards are currently in place, the state is participating in the Goals 2000: Educate America Act. A panel, appointed jointly by the governor and the state superintendent, has begun to examine the existing standards and will probably revise them. The process is expected to be completed in December.

Benchmark Grades

Program-area standards do not currently contain grade groupings; the standards apply to K-12 programs. The model learner goals contain goals for the primary level, intermediate level, and upon graduation.

Voluntary or Mandatory

The program-area standards are mandatory for districts. The norm-referenced assessment required in the accreditation standards is not tied to performance levels. It is expected this will change with the recommendations of the Goals 2000 education-improvement panel. The standards are not tied to graduation requirements.

Contact

Nancy Coopersmith, administrator, department of accreditation and curriculum services, Montana Office of Public Instruction, (406) 444-5541.


Nebraska

Content standards have been completed in agricultural education, business education, mathematics, and science. Standards are in draft form or being written in family and consumer science, foreign languages, industrial technology, social studies, and the visual and performing arts. Standards in language arts and marketing will be developed when funding is available.

Name of Standards

Standards are called "curriculum frameworks."

Timeline

The state department of education began developing the frameworks in the fall of 1994. The goal is to have all currently funded frameworks completed by fall 1996.

Benchmark Grades

Frameworks describe student learning for grades pre-K-5, 6-8, and 9-12.

Voluntary or Mandatory

Nebraska is a strong "local control" state. The frameworks are voluntary. There are no state assessments.

Contact

Ann Masters, administrator, curriculum and instruction, Nebraska Department of Education, (402) 471-2295.


Nevada

Nevada has courses of study, in state regulations, that prescribe broad goals at benchmark grade levels. The courses of study cover all the subject areas at the elementary and secondary levels. At the elementary level, for example, the standards put forth goals for art, language arts, mathematics, music, physical education, science, and social studies.

Name of Standards

Standards are called "courses of study."

Timeline

The current courses of study were adopted in 1984 for elementary schools and in 1987 for secondary schools. The state is revising its English/language arts course of study now. It expects to have a draft of content standards in English during the 1995-96 school year. The goal is to revise the courses of study in mathematics and science in the near future.

Benchmark Grades

The courses of study describe student learning at grades K, 3, 6, 8, 9, 10, 11, and 12.

Voluntary or Mandatory

The courses of study are mandatory. Although local districts can tailor the standards within the general framework, they are responsible for following them. The state has a performance-based writing assessment and norm-referenced tests in other subjects. A proficiency exam in reading, writing, and math is required for high school graduation. The plan is to align the proficiency test with the revised standards.

Contact

Mary L. Peterson, superintendent of public instruction, Nevada Department of Education, (702) 687-3100.


New Hampshire

The state is developing standards in language arts, mathematics, science, and social studies.

Name of Standards

Standards are called "curriculum frameworks."

Timeline

In 1993, the legislature passed the New Hampshire Educational Improvement and Assessment Act. The law required the state to define what students should know and be able to do in language arts and mathematics in elementary school, and in language arts, math, science, and social studies in middle and high schools. Committees of teachers, administrators, parents, policymakers, and business and community leaders drafted and circulated the frameworks. Both the state board of education and the legislative oversight committee on assessment must review and endorse the revised documents. The math and science frameworks are completed. The language-arts and social-studies frameworks are being revised for tentative publication in May.

Benchmark Grades

Proficiency standards are set at the end of grade 3 in language arts and math; and at the end of grades 6 and 10 in language arts, math, science, and social studies.

Voluntary or Mandatory

The frameworks are voluntary. The state encourages districts to use the standards to develop curriculum and also urges individual schools to use them to devise their own education-improvement plans.The standards are the basis for developing a statewide assessment system in grades 3, 6, and 10. The 3rd-grade assessment was administered statewide in May 1994. Assessments for grades 6 and 10 will be piloted in May, with statewide administration beginning in May 1996. The department of education uses both the curriculum frameworks and the assessment results as a basis for providing technical assistance and staff development to local districts.

Contact

William B. Ewert, director for the educational improvement and assessment program, New Hampshire Department of Education, (603) 271-2298.


New Jersey

The state has completed draft standards in eight areas: the arts, career education, health/physical education, language arts/literacy, mathematics, science, social studies, and world languages.

Name of Standards

At this point, the standards are called "core curriculum standards."

Timeline

The state began developing standards in 1993. During the first phase, panels of educators, parents, students, and representatives from business, industry, and higher education drafted content standards in eight areas. During the second phase, working groups, under the co-direction of an educator and a business leader, will revise the standards. The second phase will also include broad public involvement. State officials hope to present a final version of the standards to the state board of education by December of this year or January 1996. In February, the governor announced a process to re-examine school finance in the state based on what students should know and be able to do. The state's education commissioner said the state would consider the standards, figure out how much it would cost to meet them, and devise a finance formula accordingly.

Benchmark Grades

Outcome indicators for each content standard describe student learning at grades 4, 8, and 11.

Voluntary or Mandatory

The state board will determine whether the standards are voluntary or mandatory. The state currently has statewide assessments at grades 8 and 11. In March, the governor called for adding an assessment at grade 4, which won't go into effect for several years. Future state assessments will be based on the standards. The current 11th-grade assessment, the High School Proficiency Test, is now a graduation requirement.

Contact

Gary T. Reece, assistant commissioner, office of standards and assessment, New Jersey Department of Education, (609) 633-9641.


New Mexico

New Mexico has developed standards in art, health, employability/life skills, interscholastic education/activities, language arts, mathematics, modern and classical languages, music, physical education, science, and social studies.

Name of Standards

Standards are called "competency frameworks."

Timeline

In September 1992, the state board of education adopted competency frameworks that spell out, in broad terms, what students should know and be able to do in key subjects at the end of 12th grade. In November 1992, the state board also adopted "standards for excellence" that broadly define the literacies, attitudes, and attributes students should know and be able to do upon graduation. These broad, interdisciplinary standards more closely resemble a common core of learning than a set of content standards.

Benchmark Grades

The competency frameworks apply to grades K-12; they do not describe student learning at specific grades. The state is currently developing benchmarks for grades 4 and 8. The standards for excellence describe student learning at grade 12.

Voluntary or Mandatory

Both the competency frameworks and standards for excellence are mandatory and are part of state board of education regulations. Any new benchmarks and standards will most likely be mandatory as well. The standards are not tied to state assessments. Preliminary work has begun to align the High School Proficiency Exam, required in grade 10, with the competency frameworks. As part of Goals 2000, the state has also vowed to build alternative assessments tied to the standards.

Contact

Albert A. Zamora, associate superintendent for learning services, New Mexico Department of Education, (505) 827-6508.


New York

Standards are completed in draft form in the arts; English/language arts; languages other than English; and mathematics, science, and technology. The state is working on standards for health and physical education, occupational and technical studies, and social studies.

Name of Standards

Standards are called "curriculum frameworks." They include both content and performance standards.

Timeline

In September 1991, the state's board of regents and commissioner of education appointed a state curriculum and assessment council to oversee the work of seven subject-matter committees. By the end of the current school year, all of the committees will have produced draft frameworks for distribution and discussion. The council has published a report setting out major principles for curriculum and assessment. Pilot assessment projects are under way. The board of regents must approve final versions of the frameworks, which may come in time for the 1995-96 school year.

Benchmark Grades

Frameworks describe student learning at the elementary, middle, and commencement or graduation levels.

Voluntary or Mandatory

The board of regents has yet to decide whether the frameworks will be mandatory or voluntary. However, they will be tied to a new statewide assessment system and graduation requirements. The state already has in place a set of regents' goals and course guides that are tied to an existing assessment system. Its frameworks are a new piece in that scheme of curriculum guidance; they are more detailed than the goals but less detailed than course guidelines.

Contact

Edward T. Lalor, assistant commissioner for curriculum and assessment, New York Education Department, (518) 473-7880.


North Carolina

Since 1990, the state has had curriculum frameworks in computer skills, English/language arts, healthful living, information skills, mathematics, science, social studies, and vocational education.

Name of Standards

The standards are called the "standard course of study." There are achievement levels, correlated to the standards, in computer skills, language arts, math, science, and social studies.

Timeline

The state began to develop its frameworks in 1990, with the science frameworks completed in 1994. The next step will be to make the standards more interdisciplinary. Several frameworks, such as those in language arts, social studies, and information skills, already reference the goals and objectives in other subject areas.

Benchmark Grades

Standards are grade-specific for grades K-12. They also form the basis for end-of-grade assessments in math, language arts, science, and social studies for grades 3-8 and for various end-of-course assessments for grades 9-12.

Voluntary or Mandatory

The standards are mandatory. A commission on standards and accountability is re-examining graduation standards and proposes to have new ones in place for the class of 2000.

Contact

Suzanne Triplett, assistant superintendent for accountability services, North Carolina Department of Public Instruction, (919) 715-1173.


North Dakota

In 1993, North Dakota drafted curriculum frameworks in 10 areas: arts education, business education, English/language arts, foreign languages, health, library media, mathematics, physical education, science, and social studies. The English/language arts standards were revised in 1994.

Name of Standards

Standards are called "curriculum frameworks" and include content but not performance standards.

Timeline

The department of public instruction began the initiative in September 1992. K-12 teachers wrote the frameworks, which were completed in July 1993.

Benchmark Grades

Frameworks describe student learning at grades 4, 8, and 12.

Voluntary or Mandatory

The frameworks are voluntary. They are not tied to a statewide assessment system or to graduation requirements.

Contact

Clarence Bina, director of special projects, North Dakota Department of Public Instruction, (701) 328-2098.


Ohio

Ohio has developed standards for mathematics, reading, science, social studies, and writing. Standards in comprehensive health and physical education, fine arts, and second languages are under development.

Name of Standards

Standards are called "curriculum frameworks."

Timeline

In 1989, the legislature required the state board of education to establish a model competency-based education program for grades 1-12 in math, reading, and writing. Science and social studies were added later. The law permitted the state board to develop standards for other subjects. The board approved the first set of frameworks, in math, in 1990.

Benchmark Grades

Frameworks describe student learning at the elementary, middle, and high school levels.

Voluntary or Mandatory

In 1993, the legislature changed the frameworks from mandatory to voluntary for districts, after an uproar over proposed state outcomes for students. The frameworks are tied to a new statewide testing system for grades 4, 6, and 12 that is being phased in beginning this spring. The state also has a 9th-grade proficiency test tied to the frameworks, which students must pass to graduate from high school.

Contact

John Goff, deputy superintendent, Ohio Department of Education, (614) 466-3708.


Oklahoma

Content standards are in place for six core areas: the arts (visual arts and general music), language arts (reading, writing, listening, speaking, literature), languages (foreign, Native American, and American Sign Language), mathematics, science, and social studies. There are also content standards in four other areas: instructional technology; technical education; health, safety, and physical education; and hands-on career exploration and information skills.

Name of Standards

Oklahoma's core curriculum, which is called "priority academic student skills," is a curriculum framework.

Timeline

The Education Reform and Funding Act, passed in April 1990, called for the development of a core curriculum in the target subjects. Educators and parents put together learner outcomes, which are the foundation for the state standards. The state board of education approved the standards in the fall of 1990, and legislative language calls for their review and revision every three years. In the fall of 1993, the state did an extensive revision of the standards in all areas. More than 800 educators, administrators, parents, and other community members were directly involved in writing the standards. More than 1,000 citizens attended public sessions. As a result, the standards committees included glossaries and more teaching examples for many of the subject areas. The groups also added an assessment section and developed criterion-referenced tests that mirror the state standards.

Benchmark Grades

Each subject is organized differently, but all include standards for grades K-12. Language arts, for example, groups its standards at grades K-5, 6-8, and 9-12.

Voluntary or Mandatory

Schools are required to include the state's core curriculum in their local curriculum, but districts can choose how to implement the standards. Criterion-referenced tests are under development to assess mastery of the standards in grades 5, 8, and 11. The state has included opportunities for remediation, so if students do not pass the tests, they can receive remedial help and retake the tests the next year. In 1990, the governor signed an executive order that students must pass the 8th-grade tests in math, science, reading, and writing to graduate from high school. Students who do not pass the tests can go on to high school but won't receive any high school credit until the tests are passed. Before the law was passed, a 12th-grade graduation test was required.

Contact

Clairita Goodwin, assistant superintendent for school improvement, Oklahoma Department of Education, (405) 521-4514; and Jon Dahlander, executive director of communications, (405) 521-6075.


Oregon

The Oregon Educational Act for the 21st Century identified 36 content goals. The state now is developing curriculum frameworks based on those goals. In grades K-3, the standards will be interdisciplinary. In grades 4-12, they will be by subject area: the arts, civics and government, economics, English/language arts, geography, health and physical education, history, mathematics, science, second languages, and technology. The state is also developing performance standards for 11 outcomes that students must meet to earn a Certificate of Initial Mastery. These require students to apply what they've learned and are more interdisciplinary.

Name of Standards

Standards are called "content standards."

Timeline

Lawmakers passed the Oregon Educational Act for the 21st Century in 1991. It established a Certificate of Initial Mastery and required the development of common curriculum goals that would identify the knowledge and skills needed to obtain the certificate. The state board adopted the C.I.M. standards in January. Prompted by public criticism, the legislature is now considering a bill that would revise the act, specifically the C.I.M. component. Work on the content standards began in December 1994. It's anticipated that a review draft of the standards in K-3, civics, geography, history, language arts, the arts, and foreign languages will be completed by May.

Benchmark Grades

The Certificate of Initial Mastery standards describe student learning at grades 3, 5, 8, and 10.Upon completion, they will most likely also include grade 12.

Voluntary or Mandatory

The C.I.M. standards are mandatory. The state board will decide whether the content standards are mandatory or voluntary for districts. Oregon now has a statewide assessment in reading, writing, and math. Over time, the content standards will guide those assessments, and assessments in other areas may be added. The standards are not now tied to graduation from high school.

Contact

Wayne Neuburger, assistant superintendent for assessment and technology, Oregon Department of Education, (503) 378-8004; and Mary Jean Katz, curriculum specialist, (503) 378-8004.


Pennsylvania

The state has 53 outcomes in nine academic areas: arts and humanities, career education, citizenship, communications (reading and writing), environmental studies, home economics, mathematics, science and technology, and wellness and fitness. These have been in place since July 1993 and are broad definitions of what students must know and be able to do to graduate from hig

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