Revving up the quality of curricular standards doesn’t necessarily increase overall student achievement, but it may give a boost to struggling middle school students, according to a.
The working paper of the Program on Education Policy and Governance Series at Harvard University analyzes changes in student achievement from 1994 to 2011 in connection with the quality of state curricular standards, as gauged by multiple ratings from the American Federation of Teachers and the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, both in Washington.
It found little evidence that raising the quality of a state’s standards led to increased achievement for students in 4th or 8th grade mathematics or language arts—either immediately or three years later, when the state presumably had time to transform the standards into curriculum and instruction.
But the study found that improved standards did make a difference for 8th graders in low-performing states, particularly low-achieving students.
A version of this article appeared in the August 29, 2012 edition of Education Week as Standards