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Defining (and realising) common core standards in education

July 30, 2012

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National Education Association (NEA) has recently developed An Educator’s Guide to the “Four Cs” to address the challenges of preparing 21st century students for a global society. Yet according to a study by Harvard Kennedy School on the benefits of standards-setting, clarifying what students should be learning does not necessarily translate into higher achievement in the classroom.

Still, it is premature to decry the practice of standardisation of learning. Alignment is important in order to develop academic content that is relevant and sensitive across our increasing converging communities and cultures. A more or less internationalised pedagogy also brings benefits of economies of scale so that educational content, tools and services may expand exponentially with greater cost savings.

To help students attain the learning goals that we identify and set out for them, there needs to be deeper reflection by researchers, policymakers and educators on the role that standards play in influencing student achievement. In his working paper titled Gold Standards?: State Standards Reform and Student Achievement (July 26, 2012), Joshua Goodman proposes some ways to realise the equation between learning standards and student performance.

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