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ERIC Number: EJ842865
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008-Dec
Pages: 14
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 65
ISSN: ISSN-1881-4832
The Origins of the Standards Movement in the United States: Adoption of the Written Test and Its Influence on Class Work
Miyamoto, Kenichiro
Educational Studies in Japan: International Yearbook, n3 p27-40 Dec 2008
Every state in the United States, under the NCLB act, has set state standards and is testing all students in grades 3-8. Students are given printed questions to which they write answers with a pencil on an answer sheet. These written tests are usually given to determine the academic achievements of students. This paper traces the early history of the written examination and the change in the meaning of "standards" from the middle of the 19th century to the early 20th century. Although the meaning of standards was ambiguous a century ago, by focusing on the written examination for promotion, we can investigate the meaning of standards at different points in time, i.e. what educators expected pupils to achieve at primary school. It has been stated that (1) the written examination for promotion has forced teachers to accept external standards given by educational administrators; (2) it has also widened the distance between examinations and regular class work, and (3) "standard" had approximately the same meaning as "norm" in the educational measurement movement in the early 20th century. However, we need to examine the works of educators such as Emerson E. White and Joseph Baldwin, who, in the late 19th and early 20th century, were opposed to written examinations for promotion, and tried connecting written examinations and regular class work. Frank McMurry insisted at the time that standards should be the means for improving the curriculum and instruction at schools. Educational measurement did not continue for a long time afterward, and was criticized by many educators, especially progressives. The standards movement arose in the 1980s, in the midst of heated controversy surrounding exam-based testing that has lasted from the middle of the 20th century. Yet supporters of the standards movement are still struggling to solve the same problems that White, Baldwin, and McMurry tackled a century ago, most notably, how best to connect instruction and examination. The answer to this problem lies in unification of the two. Educators now possess various methods and media for connecting examination and instruction. However, the early history of the standards movement implies that educators do not necessarily re-establish interaction and co-operation in class between themselves and pupils as long as academic achievements of children are compared with standards external to teachers. Instruction does not occur without participation of teachers in setting standards and aims of instruction.
Japanese Educational Research Association. UK's Building 3F, 2-29-3 Hongo, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 113-0033 Japan. Tel: +81-3-3818-2505; Fax: +81-3-3816-6898; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: United States
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: No Child Left Behind Act 2001