Washington Group To Analyze Rigor of Academic Standards

By Millicent Lawton — August 06, 1997 1 min read

To help fill a sizable void in what policymaker’s know about the quality of the academic standards that states are setting, the Council for Basic Education plans to judge the rigor of those standards and issue the results in January.

So far, virtually no one has tried to gauge the difficulty of what states are expecting students to know and be able to do. But the council’s independence allows it “to basically lay it out and not be concerned with whether some people look good or bad,” said Christopher T. Cross, the council’s president.

In a report expected to be released this week, the Thomas B. Fordham Foundation took on assessing the quality of English-language-arts and reading standards in 28 states. (See related story, this page.)

The CBE’S analysis and benchmarking are to be published as part of Quality Counts II. the second annual report by Education Week on the condition of education in the 50 states.

The effort by the Washington-based council, which advocates a strong liberal arts education for elementary and secondary students, is being subsidized initially with a $25,000 grant from the Circuit City Foundation in Richmond, Va. The council is seeking additional money to round out the project’s $75,000 budget.

Mr. Cross said that the council would review the standards in English-language arts and mathematics from the 49 states that have them--all but Iowa--and the District of Columbia.

The council hopes to expand the analysis of state standards a year from now to cover science, history, and the arts, Mr. Cross said.

A version of this article appeared in the August 06, 1997 edition of Education Week