ERIC Number: ED385896
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1995-Mar
Where Are the Children? Spheres of Power, Authority and Responsibility and the Reform of Elementary Education.
Engel, Brenda S.
Most plans for school reform depend on agencies of the federal government, states, and districts for codifying, assessing, and communicating standards. This paper outlines the appropriate responsibilities and associated language for the major educational agencies involved in standards and assessment. It proposes that educational assessment should be based on a concentric-circle model, rather than on a hierarchical model. School reform's purpose is to support and guide education while protecting classrooms from intrusions that undermine the autonomy of teachers and children. Action from the outside toward the center guides and provides for learning; action from center outward reports educational processes and outcomes. The paper argues, first, that the twin agents of reform--standards and assessment--should be grounded in practice and worked out in schools and classrooms. Second, the nearer to the classroom, the more concrete the language describing standards and assessment should be. Assessment practices themselves must be guided by two main criteria: (1) they must not undermine good educational practice at the classroom level, and (2) they should provide useful information for equity decisions and policy formation. The energy and resources of the reform movement need to focus more directly on the classroom. Standards, in dynamic interaction with assessment, can emerge in the context of children's work. The surrounding structures provide resources and encourage reform. In short, reform should flow from the center out. (LMI)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (San Francisco, CA, April 18-22, 1995).