Annotated Bibliography of Resources for Educational Reform, Coherent Teaching Practice, and Improved Student Learning

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  • Barrett, M. (1996). The standards primer: A resource for accelerating the pace of reform. Washington, DC: Educational Leaders Council.

The standards movement has its roots in the perceived failure of American schools to achieve their academic mission. This publication presents a case for developing high academic standards to improve schools, not as the one answer to all problems in American education, but as a guidepost for school improvement efforts. The author discusses approaches to school reform, which have changed from a focus on inputs to a focus on results. He notes that it is critical to determine what we want our children to learn and be able to do, and yet this question has only recently come to the forefront. Standards can be a way to determine the effectiveness of various teaching strategies and curricula, and have become the focal point for systemic reform. After establishing the need for high academic standards, the author examines the progress of states in setting standards. He reports that the effort is going slower than might be expected. Vignettes of seven states are used to portray standards-setting efforts as disheartening, promising, wait and see, or succeeding. For each vignette, a "lessons learned" section is included. Model resources for creating standards are described and a list of contacts is provided.

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