Standards

Business Group Urges Sticking With Standards

By David J. Hoff — February 28, 2001 3 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

States should stay the course in the standards and accountability movement, a leading business group recommends, because the effort is starting to show results after more than a decade of work.

For More Information

The report, “Measuring What Matters,” is available from the Committee for Economic Development. (Requires Adobe’s Acrobat Reader.)

While not all the pieces of the puzzle are perfectly in place, the Committee for Economic Development says in a report released last week, the early returns from new testing systems are spurring changes that lead to improved student learning.

“Just the information alone is having a tremendous effect about the way we think about education in this country,” Janet S. Hansen, the Washington-based business group’s vice president for education policy, said at a news conference held here to release the report. “It gives us the basis for conversation, more than just sort of an ad hoc, nongeneralizable, personal feeling about whether [the quality of] education is good or bad.”

The next step will be in honing the systems so that they are fair ways to reward high-performing schools and teachers, and properly identifying students who need help, according to the CED’s “Measuring What Matters: Using Assessment and Accountability To Improve Student Learning.”

“Our central recommendation is that tests should be used and improved now—rather than resisted until they are perfect—because they provide the best means of charting our progress toward the goal of improved academic achievement,” the report contends.

Hot Issue

The committee, whose members include Fortune 500 executives, academic leaders, and high-technology entrepreneurs, enters the standards and accountability arena as the issue is rising in prominence on Capitol Hill.

President Bush has proposed that states participating in federal education programs be required to assess student learning every year in grades 3-8 as a way of measuring school effectiveness. Some Democrats, led by Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman of Connecticut, have responded with their own accountability measures, ensuring that the topic will be at the center of debate this year.

“There’s a lot of congruence between what they’re recommending and what we’re talking about,” Charles E.M. Kolb, the CED’s president and a former domestic-policy adviser in the first Bush administration, said of the White House and Democratic proposals.

As the debate takes place, the CED’s statement sends an important signal to lawmakers that the business community is fully behind accountability measures, according to Matthew Gandal, the vice president of Achieve, a Cambridge, Mass.-based nonprofit group led by business executives and governors that promotes standards-based initiatives.

“This shows the business community is committed long-term to getting this right,” Mr. Gandal said. “They’re trying to get into more depth as to why assessment is so crucial in education reform.”

Perfecting Assessments

In the next stage of the accountability movement, the CED says, states need to take a variety of steps, mostly to improve the tests themselves.

The assessments need to be reviewed to ensure that they are aligned with states’ academic standards, the report says, while teachers need to be taught how to review test data to help them improve their teaching.

In addition, the report argues that accountability systems be based on the results of several assessments and emphasize schools’ growth across several years, rather than comparing schools’ performance with one another’s.

The report also urges business leaders to insist that high school transcripts include a student’s test scores. And it suggests that states carefully experiment with teacher pay-for-performance plans.

Essentially, the CED report reaffirms what representatives of the business community said at a 1999 summit of governors, business executives, and education leaders. Attendees at the two-day meeting—held to mark the 10th anniversary of the national education summit in Charlottesville, Va., out of which the current standards movement grew—issued a statement urging policymakers to review their standards and assessments carefully and expand standards-based initiatives to include pay- for-performance plans for teachers. (“Teaching Tops Agenda at Summit,” Oct. 6, 1999.)

CED officials acknowledged that their proposals to improve tests in order to stimulate significant improvements in student achievement would require an infusion of money to be successful.

“One of the things that has held [such improvements] back,” Ms. Hansen said, “is financial.”

A version of this article appeared in the February 28, 2001 edition of Education Week as Business Group Urges Sticking With Standards

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
School Climate & Safety Webinar
Praise for Improvement: Supporting Student Behavior through Positive Feedback and Interventions
Discover how PBIS teams and educators use evidence-based practices for student success.
Content provided by Panorama Education
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
IT Management Webinar
Build a Digitally Responsive Educational Organization for Effective Digital-Age Learning
Chart a guided pathway to digital agility and build support for your organization’s mission and vision through dialogue and collaboration.
Content provided by Bluum
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Data Webinar
Drive Instruction With Mastery-Based Assessment
Deliver the right data at the right time—in the right format—and empower better decisions.
Content provided by Instructure

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Standards Social Studies Standards Spark Fierce Debate in N.C.
Advocates say the new standards are more inclusive because they give more attention to the perspectives of historically marginalized groups.
T. Keung Hui, The News & Observer (Raleigh, N.C.)
6 min read
Illustration.
Kubkoo/iStock/Getty
Standards Opinion How the Failure of the Common Core Looked From the Ground
Steve Peha shares insights from his on-site professional-development work about why the common core failed, in a guest letter to Rick Hess.
4 min read
Image shows a multi-tailed arrow hitting the bullseye of a target.
DigitalVision Vectors/Getty
Standards Opinion Common Core Is a Meal Kit, Not a Nothingburger
Caroline Damon argues Rick Hess and Tom Loveless sold the common core short, claiming the issue was a matter of high-quality implementation.
5 min read
Image shows a multi-tailed arrow hitting the bullseye of a target.
DigitalVision Vectors/Getty
Standards How New Common Core Research Connects to Biden's Plans for Children and Families
A study of national test scores indicate the early phase of the Common Core State Standards did not help disadvantaged students.
5 min read
results 925693186 02
iStock/Getty