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ERIC Number: ED468064
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2002-Jun-10
Pages: 35
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
Standards and Student Outcomes: Lessons from the "First Wave" of Education Reform.
Dee, Thomas S.
This paper describes education reforms over the past 25 years, considering the consequences of earlier state-level standards. Most states introduced stricter, state-level standards for high school graduation in response to highly publicized concerns about student effort and public school quality. The key first wave of reforms consisted of a test-based performance standard, minimum competency testing (MCT), and a process standard, course graduation requirements (CGR) that mandated the amount of academic credits necessary in core academic areas. This paper describes these reforms and their implications for student outcomes, presenting new evidence on how they influenced such outcomes as educational attainment, labor market experiences, and high school curricula. Overall, the first wave of student-level standards have had positive and negative effects. For example, they led to reductions in educational attainments, particularly among black students. MCT led to reductions in curricular efforts. Higher CGR had pejorative effects on amounts of time spent doing homework and reading for pleasure. The standards also increased subsequent employment possibilities, and higher CGR were partly responsible for substantial academic upgrading of high school curricula. The paper recommends that ongoing public discussions about the desirability of centralized standards address how to value these reforms. (Contains 10 tables and 48 references.) (SM)
Program on Education Policy and Governance, Taubman 306, Kennedy School of Government, 79 J.F.K. Street, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA 02138. Tel: 617-495-7976; Tel: 617-495-8312; Fax: 617-496-4428; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: National Inst. on Educational Governance, Finance, Policymaking, and Management (ED/OERI), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: Harvard Univ., Cambridge, MA. Kennedy School of Government.