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ERIC Number: EJ761614
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2005-Apr
Pages: 21
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 37
ISSN: ISSN-0007-8204
Raising the Standards for Standards: A Call for Definitions
Ericsson, Patricia Freitag
English Education, v37 n3 p223-243 Apr 2005
The educational enterprise is awash in standards, but little attention is paid to what the term really means. Without carefully crafted, widely accepted definitions of standards, standards projects are rife with problems and frequently fail. The absence of careful definitions typically leads to confusion, rejection of standards, and can actually work to undermine the education system. In this essay, the author argues for higher standards for standards. Her argument calls for careful consideration of the many definitions and subdivisions of standards. She argues that every conversation about standards should begin and end with definitions. She also argues that careful attention to definitions is a step toward reforming the standards movement from one that has handcuffed teachers and hobbled students, to a movement that can work to actually improve the quality of education for all stakeholders. To provide a historical framework, she begins with the "Nation at Risk" report, moves to definitions of the term "standards," and then traces the use of the term through the establishment of national standards, focusing on the National Council of Teachers of English/International Reading Association Standards for the English Language Arts project which was plagued by problems with standards. To provide more recent support for her argument, she considers the ongoing problems that the lack of attention to definitions cause in the 2003 "Standards for Success" report. With this essay, the author hopes to revive the discussion and even the controversy over definitions that once characterized the standards movement. Because their field continues to be negatively impacted by the performance/assessment-driven/standardized testing regime, English Language Arts teachers are key to this revival, well-suited to initiate it, and have much to gain from a redefinition of standards. (Contains 4 notes.)
National Council of Teachers of English. 1111 West Kenyon Road, Urbana, IL 61801-1096. Tel: 877-369-6283; Tel: 217-328-3870; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: United Kingdom (Reading)