ERIC Number: ED483412
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2004-Dec
Aligning Curriculum, Standards, and Assessments: Fulfilling the Promise of School Reform. CSE Report 645
Baker, Eva L.
Center for Research on Evaluation Standards and Student Testing CRESST
Throughout the last 40 years, educational policymakers have designed educational interventions for the purpose of improving the learning of disadvantaged students and of children with special needs, beginning with the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA). More than 20 years ago, with the publication of "A Nation at Risk" (National Commission on Excellence in Education, 1983), American educational policy widened its focus to include the learning and achievement of all children, in part as a reaction to U.S. students' mediocre performance rank in international achievement comparisons. In the current climate, educational improvement is no less important an end. The most recent and expansive legislation, the renewal of the ESEA, articulated in the language and policies supporting the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB, 2002), emphasizes the importance of the measured achievement of all students. In a framework that emphasizes accountability as the path to growth, NCLB archetypically demands a system where responsibility for outcomes is located and sanctions (or rewards) are assigned. This article refers to this amalgamated set of strategies Results-Based Reform (RBR). The focus of this piece is alignment. Alignment is the ether in which float the component parts of RBR. The logic of actions, the accuracy of inferences, and at the core, any reason at all to believe that systematic action will achieve positive results in an RBR framework depend on alignment. The article concludes alignment should be treated as a goal rather than as a bureaucratic requirement to be checked off. In addition, more powerful conceptual analyses and tools to achieve reform ends are needed. Finding the centripetal elements that hold systems together--cognitive demands that can be taught, learned, measured, and transferred--and the social capital that motivates and energizes effort--or identifiable shared experience is important. Only a system that is held together from the inside can stimulate the deep and useful learning of all children.
Descriptors: Educational Change, Educational Improvement, Elementary Secondary Education, Educational Policy, Disadvantaged, Academic Achievement, Student Evaluation, Curriculum Design
Center for the Study of Evaluation (CSE)/National Center for Research on Evaluation, Standards, and Student Testing (CRESST), 300 Charles E. Young Drive North, GSE&IS Bldg., 3rd Flr./Mailbox 951522, Los Angeles, CA 90095-1522. Tel: 310-206-1532.
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Institute of Education Sciences (ED), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: California Univ., Los Angeles. Center for the Study of Evaluation.