Reading & Literacy

Stanford Scholar Talks Common Standards, College and Work Skills

By Sean Cavanagh — October 01, 2009 1 min read

Stanford University professor Mike Kirst lays out his concerns about the proposed common academic standards, in a new online essay. Kirst’s basic argument is that the draft document wrongly suggests that the skills that students need for colleges (two- and four-year) and very different jobs in the workplace are the same. The Stanford scholar made some of these points in our recent EdWeek story on the draft, but he goes into more detail here.

Kirst discusses his recent work on an expert panel that examined the feasibility of judging college and workforce preparation on the National Assessment of Educational Progress, or NAEP, scale. That panel, he notes, found that many occupations don’t have consistent training requirements; some require a lot geometry, for instance, while other demand more algebra, or number computation. It examined job training programs for certain “exemplar” occupations, he says. This seems like a more precise way of judging the skills need for workforce success than what the standards-writers are using.

Do you agree with Kirst’s point of view?

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A version of this news article first appeared in the Curriculum Matters blog.