Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Standards Alignment

We are talking with many states right now and one of the big questions we get concerns teaching standards. Do the ABCTE preparation and testing standards align with the state standards? So, we hire an independent firm to go line by line between our standards and the state standards to ensure that they are properly aligned.

But the greater question that should be asked concerns the actual alignment of the total educational system. Are the student standardized tests aligned to the student curriculum in the state and are the teacher standards aligned to that student curriculum and, ultimately is the student curriculum aligned with the university requirements and/or job requirements. In a perfect world, if students needed to know quadratic equations to succeed in life, that requirement would be in the student curriculum, they would be tested at the grade level required and the teacher for that grade level would be expected to have a thorough knowledge of the subject and how to teach that subject.

I am not making the case for national standards as I firmly believe that it would take way too long and cost way too much money. But I do believe that part of any NCLB legislation should include rewards (not punishment) for states that demonstrate true alignment between their university/job skill requirements, teaching standards, student curriculum and annualized testing standards. No small task – but would certainly create a more focused and functional educational system.

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