ERIC Number: ED422399
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1997
Reference Count: N/A
Stones in the Road: The Impact of Standards-Based Reform on Local Policy, Programs, and Practice.
Noble, Audrey J.; LeMahieu, Paul G.
This research sought to determine and describe the impact of standards-based reform as a policy instrument by studying the ways in which state adoption of content standards affects local policy, programs, and practice. In 1992, the state of Delaware embarked on a plan to improve its public schools. While the state worked at determining what students should know and be able to do and how to tell when they have accomplished this task, local districts and teachers were left to determine the best ways to enhance student learning. The focus of this research was to provide insight into the ways in which Delaware school districts are responding to state content standards and how the standards have influenced policy and practice in curriculum, instruction, assessment, and professional development. Eight of the state's 19 school districts served as sites for this study. Data came from interviews and document reviews. The initial analysis generated case data specific to each of the identified orienting variables, and then variable-ordered descriptive matrices were developed to examine the data derived from each individual site by the focusing variable (such as role of learning theory or equity). Five major themes were synthesized from the analysis of data: (1) a lack of understanding of the conceptual orientation of the standards; (2) the place of a theory of knowledge and learning; (3) equity and the expectation that Delaware's standards apply to all students; (4) appropriate and effective professional development; and (5) interrelationships among curriculum, instruction, and assessment. A look at these school districts indicates that the districts with the greatest personnel resources are most likely to be involved in district-level efforts that consider and appreciate the complexities of school reform, but those districts that are most challenged by the state's standards-based reform are the very districts where leadership personnel are overburdened and overextended. The state's decision to remain neutral on the issue of learning theory, which was politically expedient in that it derailed much opposition, has given the districts extra problems to resolve. (SLD)
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Delaware