Standards and Curriculum: A Few Links

Over at KTM, commenters discuss whether standards are all that important for student learning.  That is, even if CCSSI standards are protected from special interest group capture (see Jay P. Greene on that here and here) and set high standards for academic achievement, does that make any difference for the students?  Erin Johnson offers this assessment:

So we have this mistaken notion that somehow the content of the standards will somehow improve our schools. We put all our efforts into making sure that the standards are of high quality and yet there are *no* mechanisms or techniques to develop and test better curricula and instructional techniques.

States with weak standards have not always experienced a decline in student learning. (Perhaps because standards really are ignored by all involved?) For example the FL standards are rated very poorly and the MA standards are considered very good. And yet over the past 10 years the percent improvement of the 2 states (NAEP) has been about the same; minor small improvements. So if poor standards caused a degrading of student learning, wouldn’t we have seen this in FL?

So why are we wasting so much time, money and angst over the content of the standards when even the best of the standards have yet to show any effect on improving student learning?

I would also note, that there is little in the way of accountability mechanisms to ensure that school districts adopt better curricula and instructional techniques.

Speaking of better curricula, Matthew Ladner at Jay P. Greene’s Blog notes that curriculum choices make larger differences than state standards in student achievement.

And more curriculum talk over at 11D, on schools preparing students for a global workforce.