Expectations: Learning standards also establish academic expectations for schools, teachers, and students in terms both content what gets taught and depth the level or degree to which it is taught. If learning standards are made more challenging, exacting, or demanding, the reasoning goes, more complex topics and more sophisticated skills will be taught by schools and learned by students.
The basic rationale is that if schools apply the same high expectations to every student, then more students will achieve those higher expectations, or at least get closer to achieving those expectations, than if the expectations were lower.
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Because standards are carefully mapped out and sequenced, they can help schools and teachers avoid redundancy or unnecessary repetition, while also creating a progression of instruction in which each lesson builds on previous lessons, moving students from simpler concepts to more complex and challenging concepts, from lower-level thinking to higher-level thinking, or from less-sophisticated skills to more-sophisticated skills as they progress through their education.
For a related discussion, see coherent curriculum. Teaching: Depending on how they are written, learning standards can influence the ways in which schools and educators teach students. If standards are written to emphasize factual content and memorization, for example, rather than deeper comprehension and the application of knowledge, that emphasis will likely be reflected in the teaching materials and methods used by educators. In the first case, for example, worksheets, textbooks, lectures, videos, and tests may be seen as effective ways to teach factual content and determine whether students can recall historical dates, execute a mathematical formula, or write a grammatical sentence.
In the second case, teachers may need to use alternative methods to teach students how to use the knowledge and skills they have acquired to solve complex problems, evaluate ambiguous issues, complete challenging tasks, or produce sophisticated work products. Equity: Learning standards are also seen as a way to increase equity and fairness within an educational system.
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For example, there is strong evidence that students of color and students from lower-income households are held to lower academic expectations, or enrolled in lower-level classes, more frequently and consistently than their white and wealthier peers. Learning standards—because they are applied to all students in an education system—are seen by many educators as a way to ensure that minority and disadvantaged students are held to the same expectations, and given the same quality of education, as other students.
For related discussions, see achievement gap , high expectations , opportunity gap , multicultural education , and stereotype threat. In the case of textbooks and other learning resources, it may be possible for states or schools to share educational resources or save money when purchasing resources. For example, before many states adopted the Common Core State Standards, textbook publishers had to create different English or math textbooks for each state. In addition, common learning standards allow teachers to share educational materials—such as instructional plans, reading lists, projects, and assignments—and several online resource-sharing websites have recently been created to facilitate the exchange of standards-based educational materials among teachers.
Debate Learning standards are a major source of debate in the United States—and even more so since the No Child Left Behind Act connected high-stakes testing to learning standards and most states replaced preexisting standards with the Common Core State Standards. The following, however, will serve to illustrate a few of the major debates about learning standards: Should states or the federal government determine what students learn in public school?
Or should local communities, parents, and students make these decisions? Some argue that—to maintain educational quality and ensure that students are prepared to be productive adults, workers, and citizens—educational experts, elected officials, and government agencies need to play a role in setting educational standards and learning expectations. Without such guidelines and requirements, there is no way to ensure a minimum level of educational quality in public schools, or ensure that students are taught the most critically important knowledge and skills.
Others argue, however, that learning standards are a form of governmental overreach, and that decisions about what gets taught in schools should remain local—or, in the view of some, familial and individual.
Are learning standards forcing schools and educators to use a mandated curriculum? There is a great deal of confusion about the distinction between learning standards and curriculum , and whether they are qualitatively and substantively different or effectively the same. Some argue that standards only describe broad learning expectations and content categories, and that they do not tell teachers how to teach or even to a great extent what to teach.
Others believe, or express concern, that learning standards are a form of forced curriculum that will limit what teachers can teach, while also deprioritizing or neglecting certain subjects. Some critics even contend that parents should be able be able to control what gets taught to their children in school. Are learning standards useful, effective guidelines for schools and educators? Or are they burdensome regulatory requirements that take up valuable resources and time without adding much educational value?
As some educational experts have pointed out, learning standards can become overbuilt if they are either too prescriptive or so numerous and comprehensive that there is simply not enough time to ensure that students learn and master every standard. In the second case, educators and others may debate whether teaching a specific set of learning standards is even feasible, given the amount of time and the average number of years that students typically attend public school.
And depending on how states structure their learning standards and related compliance requirements, there could be a wide variety of potential debates and criticism related to compliance obligations, including whether schools have sufficient time and funding to meet the requirements, or whether teachers have been given the training they need to modify their lessons and bring them into alignment with standards.
Do learning standards address the most important and appropriate knowledge and skills? In the education community, there is often debate about whether a specific set of standards addresses the right content or establishes appropriate learning expectations. Given the enormous breadth, depth, and multiplicity of knowledge and skills that could potentially be addressed in learning standards, it is perhaps unsurprising that educators would hold divergent views about educational priorities for students. Both within and outside of the education community, debates about the content of learning standards also intersect with broader political, ideological, and religious differences and debates in the United States.
Are learning standards too prescriptive or are they not prescriptive enough? In this case, standards may be perceived as a burdensome checklist that teachers need to work through. Other educators, however, believe that the very fact that standards are prescriptive or required is what makes them effective. In this example, learning standards may be seen as way to improve educational consistency and quality across a complex system that includes both more-effective and less-effective teachers, or as a way to protect students from the long-term personal and societal harm that may result from low educational expectations and low-quality teaching.
Do standards represent authentic learning progressions, or are they merely content progressions or teaching progressions? This somewhat technical debate occurs mostly among educators, researchers, and education experts.
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The basic idea is that standards, by necessity, are created by adults with only a limited understanding of how students actually learn and develop cognitively at specific ages. Consequently, they may not facilitate learning in the most effective ways, or they may inadvertently promote and reinforce less-effective teaching strategies. Engaging young readers: Promoting achievement and motivation. New York: Guilford Press. Barnes, W.
Word sorting: The cultivation of rules for spelling in English. Reading Psychology, 10, Bear, D. Using children's spellings to group for word study and directed reading in the primary classroom. Words their way: Word study for phonics, vocabulary, and spelling. Henderson, E. The interface of lexical competence and knowledge of written words. Bear Eds. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum. Learning to read and spell: The child's knowledge of words.
Templeton, S. Teaching and learning the English spelling system: Reconceptualizing method and purpose. Elementary School Journal, 92, Questions teachers ask about spelling. Reading Research Quarterly, 34, Zutell, J. Word sorting: A developmental spelling approach to word study for delayed readers.
An integrated view of word knowledge: Correlational studies of the relationships among spelling, reading, and conceptual development. Adapted and excerpted from: Leipzig, D. Actions teach louder with words: How and what experienced teachers learn about embedded word study from classroom practice and an inquiry group. Unpublished doctoral dissertation. I taught it like it was the gospel. Many years later, I took the course they offered through UVA. I thought it was the best thing known to God and man.
Taught all my special ed I discovered that they are right to structure and provide systematic phonics in their program. There are flaws in it, though. One: Not enough repetition for dyslexic kids in terms of controlled vocabulary and cumulative skill development. Two: A kid can get stuck in a stage for many years Ask my 9th grader who yells that she can't spell and did so all through school to this point thanks to Words Their Way keeping her in the Within Word Stage through her elementary years. Three: Who says these kids cannot handle a dang ending to a word?!?
It isn't going to kill a child to have a lesson in "ing" or "ly" well before it is suggested by this program.
Science Dictionary for Kids: The Essential Guide to Science Terms, Concepts, and Strategies
Even severe dyslexics can do it. Four: Having taught several Orton-Gillingham programs since my realization that Words Their Way is not the end all be all, I learned that in early lessons, we can explain open and closed syllables to young readers and spellers. Again, the dyslexics handle this. They spell. They read. They do it correctly. We don't wait until years down the road for this. Five: If your child is in Words Their Way, they can be placed in a stage for years.
It is normal for kids to fall into any stage, and we can see a many year span for this to be "normal. The teacher at the next grade says, "Oh, she is in Within Word. Orton-Gillingham people will understand. But, this sort of repetition is not the repetition a kid needs if they are going to grow. From one year to the next, a list of what has been mastered needs to pass along with the child, so the child's time is not being absolutely wasted.
Do I use Words Their Way? Sometimes and correctly.
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