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OVAE: Office of Vocational and Adult Education
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Standards-Based Education

Research and Evaluation | Noteworthy Practices | Additional Links

Standards that spell out what students should know and be able to do in core subject areas set the expectations for student learning and guide programs and teachers in creating a clear sequence of instruction. Transitioning to standards-based education requires change on a system-wide level. State agencies need to plan how they can move forward with the initiative and make standards-based education an integral part of the adult education system. A systemic approach to continuous improvement through standards-based education is built on key components: 1) establishing a foundation for standards-based education; explore sources of influence that affect the initiative; 2) adopting standards that help instructors ensure their students have the skills and knowledge they need to be successful in college and careers; 3) aligning curriculum, instruction, and assessment with content standards; 4) providing professional development at all program levels; 5) ensuring necessary mechanisms are in place to sustain the initiative; and 6) monitoring local implementation of standards-based education and evaluating the changes resulting from the initiative.

Research and Evaluation

  • The monograph Implementation Research: A Synthesis of the Literature defines implementation as a specified set of activities designed to put into practice an activity or program of known dimensions—the implementation of standards-based innovations, for example. The goal of this literature review is to synthesize implementation research as well as to determine what is known about relevant components and conditions of implementation.

  • The report International Lessons about National Standards looks beyond America’s borders for guidance on how we might best make a transition to an acceptable, workable form of national standards and tests.

  • The National Reporting System (NRS), mandated by the Workforce Investment Act, is the accountability system for the federally funded adult education program. The NRS provides measures to describe adult education students and program participation. The NRS also describes how programs can assess the impact of adult education instruction; methodologies for collecting outcome data; reporting forms and procedures; and training and technical assistance activities designed to assist states implement the NRS requirements.

  • Noteworthy Perspectives: Keeping the Focus on Learning offers guidance to help administrators and teachers better understand some of the key issues that must be dealt with at the district, school, and classroom levels in a standards-based system.

  • [downloadable files]Information for Noteworthy Perspectives on Implementing Standards-Based Education was selected from interviews with beginning and veteran teachers who are engaged in standards-based reform efforts across the United States.

  • The policy report [downloadable files]National Education Standards: Getting Beneath the Surface explains the history, facts, choices, risks and possibilities that are relevant in coming to a decision about establishing national standards.

  • Quality Counts 2010: Fresh Course, Swift Current the 14th edition of Education Week’s annual report card on public education, focuses on the latest iteration of the national debate over common academic standards and the Common Core State Standards initiative.

  • In the Fordham Institute's latest report ‒ Stars By Which to Navigate? Scanning National and International Educational Standards in 2009 ‒ expert reviewers appraised the Common Core draft standards that outline college- and career-readiness in reading, writing, speaking, and listening, and in math.

Noteworthy Practices

  • The Adult Education Content Standards Warehouse is designed to support states and local programs in their efforts to develop and implement rigorous academic standards for adult learning and achievement. The Warehouse is organized into four areas:

    • Find standards. Adult education standards in reading, mathematics, and English language acquisition developed by states and national organizations.

    • A Process Guide for Establishing State Adult Education Content Standards outlines processes for moving toward standards-based education and program improvement.

    • The Standards-in-Action Innovations New professional development methods and materials that give administrators and teachers at all levels the support and guidance they need to implementation content standards in adult education programs.

    • Field Resources: Additional national and international educational standards and the professional development materials created for the State Standards Consortia, 2004-2005.

  • OVAE funds The National Diffusion of the Standards-n-Action (SIA) Innovations Project [downloadable files]MS Word (142KB) | PDF (117KB) to support states and local programs in their efforts to institutionalize standards-based education. Seven states — AK, GA, KS, KY, MT, NV, and VT — are participating in this project to learn how to implement the innovations. They receive assistance to develop and carry out implementation plans, and to learn how to scale up and sustain use of the SIA innovations.

  • The Common Core State Standards Initiative has produced standards that define the knowledge and skills students should have within their K-12 education careers so that they will graduate high school able to succeed in entry-level, credit-bearing academic college courses and in workforce training programs.

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Last Modified: 12/23/2010