Educational Issue Paper: Standards Based Curriculum Essay

There are many concerns that of the education system of the U.

S. are faced with. One of these concerns is that the education system does not and can not adequately prepare the students for the 21st century life and work. Because of this, numerous educational professionals across the county have been trying new ways in changing the U. S. educational system. Different educational reforms have been tried and tested in different states.

In several states, policy makers are changing the educational system in such a way that the measurement of the effectiveness of teaching and education is being based on results or outcomes instead of traditional inputs such as hours spent in class and in course credits earned.

Policy makers have termed this educational reform as the standards-based curriculum or the outcome-based curriculum.

The position of the author of this paper is for the standards-based curriculum to be implemented and to continue to be implemented in all states of the U. S. The author believes that the standards-based curriculum in the U. S. educational system will help improve student learning by the effective restructuring of the teaching and learning process guided by the standards which are set by policy makers and educational experts. The author will therefore aim to provide justifications on siding for the standards-based curriculum in this paper. This paper will further aim to give the strong points as well as the weak points of standards-based curriculum.

Standards-based curriculum as an education reform is based on the analogy of education to the business and manufacturing sector where total quality movement is being implemented. Total quality movement in the business sector is a belief that the best way for business organizations to reach their ideal goals is to first determine where they are now and where they want to be in and then plan backwards to determine the best possible way for them to get from where they are now to where they want to be. The main idea behind the standards-based curriculum is standards.

A standard is a level of quality or achievement which is thought to be at a level of being acceptable. A standard is also used to measure or to estimate the degree or quality of an object. When used in the educational system, standards would comprise of a cumulative body of knowledge and set of competencies which will be the basis for the quality of education. Standards would express what all students should know and should be able to do after attending school. Standards however, do not include how these students would be able to learn things (Judy Steiner, n. . ).

Setting standards in a national level through the standards-based curriculum would give all students equal opportunity because all students would be compared to the same set of standards which would be set nationally. There is a need for these standards to be at a national level in order to have a degree of uniformity in every school. If these standards would not be uniform then each teacher or each school would set his or their own standards for students. The demands on students would then be different from teacher to teacher or from school to school.

If this happens then there would be inconsistency in both instruction and in assessment. Thus, it is important that national standards should be set in the standards-based curriculum. Another advantage of having a standards-based curriculum is that it provides students with clear understanding on what they need to know at different levels of their education. Exams and assessment on student learning are given on a national level to determine the progress of students in achieving the set standards.

These assessment procedures would also indicate students who are not achieving the standards earlier in order to give them effective remedial assistance (Judy Steiner, n. d. ). Having set standards through the standards-based curriculum would create effective learning because the curriculum would provide all students the expectations that the state has for them. Having set standards would also be beneficial to the different stakeholders in education.

Standards-based curriculum would provide the state with a common reference tool which can be used to define the framework for national testing. Standards-based curriculum would also provide schools and districts with a clear focus on how to develop and organize their instructions and assessment programs as well as the content that they will include in their curriculum. Standards-based curriculum would also help teachers to design and restructure their way of teaching and assessment and would help them create more meaningful lessons.

Teachers would also be asked to make their students understand clearly the expectations which would improve student learning. For the students, standards-based curriculum would give them a set of performance expectations that would be clear and would help them understand what they need to do to meet the set standards. Standards-based education would also allow the parents to determine how their children are coping up in their education through the communication of the set standards for learning.

Once parents know the expectations on their children, then they will know if their children are attaining the standards or not (Judy Steiner, n. d. ). One advantage of standards-based curriculum is that the performance expectations are the ones that are identified. Standards-based curriculum does not indicate how the students should come to attain these set standards. This can be an advantage because teachers, schools and districts would be given the opportunity in coming up with new learning ideas that would enable their students to attain these set standards.

Since there are many ways to arrive at the same result, teachers, schools and districts would come up with different approaches in teaching and eventually, through experimentation, would come up with a teaching approach that can be implemented at a national level. However, this can also be seen as a weakness in the standards-based curriculum because it would lead to the question of who will be held accountable in determining what standards to be set and how the schools and districts would reach the set standards (Judy Steiner, n. d. ).

There are also other concerns about the weakness of a standards-based curriculum that it would lead to a centralized education in the U. S. Opponents of the standards-based curriculum argue that this educational reform would undermine innovation at the local level. Schools and districts would not be given the opportunity of improving their education system within themselves. Opponents to the standards-based curriculum also argue that setting national standards would limit what students should learn and would not allow for diversity among students and the specific needs of the different populations.

Some learning expectations that are demanded from students may be applicable to some states but may not be applicable to other states or population within the U. S. (Judy Steiner, n. d. ). Although there are many concerns regarding standards-based curriculum, the author still maintains his position in favor for the standards-based curriculum because the author believes that this type of educational reform has more positive effects than it has negative.

Another positive effect this type of curriculum has is on the assessment of students. Traditional curriculum would rely on students’ memorization and mastery of the subject matter in order to get good grades or marks during examinations. This type of assessment has the purpose of determining if students have learned specific knowledge that is part of the curriculum. In the standards-based curriculum, assessment is intertwined with standards and has become an integral part of both the curriculum and the instruction program.

Assessment through the standards-based curriculum no longer tests students in terms of the accumulation of facts and information but would rather emphasize on the students use and application of such knowledge. Standards-based curriculum would then assess students on their ability to think critically in terms of knowledge application. Standards-based curriculum would focus on testing students’ higher order thinking skills rather than just their ability to master lessons or memorization.

Assessment in a standards-based curriculum becomes a continuous process which would provide teachers the performance data of students to be set as a benchmark as students move on to the next level in education. Assessment in a standards-based curriculum creates an environment where students would become successful since assessment is not as rigid as those of the traditional curriculum. Students can attain a standard at different acceptable levels. All in all, standards-based curriculum has more positive effects than it has negative effects in education.

Standards should be well thought of and should be applicable to all populations of the country. However, standards in and of themselves are meaningless. The author believes that the important thing to consider in the standards-based curriculum is how teachers, educators, schools, districts and other policy makers in education help the students in attaining these set standards. There should be a very good monitoring system in ensuring that teachers are doing everything possible in making sure that students attain and achieve the performance expectations that are asked from them.

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