NAS Standards Curriculum
How does the NAS define and depict the importance of content and performance standards in the curriculum?
The Comprehensive school reform program aims to support student achievement at al levels through the alignment of 5 concepts namely: (1) leadership, management, and governance; (2) resource allocation; (3) professional development; (4) evaluation and accountability; and (5) educator, family, and community engagement. Standards are statements of what skills and abilities that students, at a certain level, should be able to know and do. Content standards cover what students are to learn in various subject areas, such as mathematics and science whereas performance standards specify what levels of learning are expected.
Standards in the field of education is very important as they (1) help us judge the quality of the educational programs children receive, (2) help us judge the quality of what children know and are able to do, (3) help us judge the quality of teaching, and lastly, (4) help us judge the quality of the system that supports teaching and learning.
2. What changes in traditional forms of assessment are proposed by the NAS?
Those who have been proponents of NAS have found out hat the single school approach entails work that is too demanding difficult as well as the fact that it includes several areas that are quite unrelated such as curriculum, organization and classroom management. Furthermore, it requires schools to continuously exert effort for improvement and development that could cause exhaustion on the part of educators. NAS, on the other hand, promotes school charter growth so that this trend will be minimized. The initiative of NAS builds upon previous reform movements and ideas, but desires to coordinate its efforts with other, larger organizational elements as well.
School educators are encouraged to modify their leadership style through continuous research and professional development so that students, will also be able to achieve academic success. The instruction style of teachers are also sought to be modified by this reform as well as for educators to constantly pursue further studies and conduct the necessary research so that they would become effective instructors.
NAS was determined to be revolutionary in its approach to educational reform, hoping to avoid the failed experiments of the past by using a venture capital model to support unconventional school designs and programs. Furthermore, NAS continues to receive funding from the private sector in order to maintain its freedom, and unlike previous business-led reform efforts, which were primarily local in their scope, the scope of NAS has always been national.
3. How does the NAS propose to make the link between standards, assessment, and student achievement?
To accomplish the goal of improving performance, each design team that NAS creates has a “theory of action.” This establishes the link between the design element and the how well the students performed. These designs may range from the school organization, reliable materials for professional development down to the vision and process for the restructure of the school.
The Middle Grades Committee of the Association of California School Administrator (ACSA) is of the opinion that “standards-based education system will improve student performance and learning.” (Zon et.al 1998). In addition, through the use of standards, proper expectations are set regarding the curriculum and performance entailed from the students and in turn, this will be communicated to them in a regular manner. Under standards-based education, the students take responsibility for their own learning.
Accordingly, in order for the efforts to be synchronous, it is important that the curriculum, instruction as well as the assessment must complement or correspond to the standards set. A misconception here is that standards may standardize the teaching but rather, it creates a certain boundary that at the same time, does not limit any creativity on the part of students and educators alike.
Assessment can be described as something that turns standards into a measuring tool of the achievements of a student and it also serves as a vehicle for putting those standards into practical strategies for designing and learning to do quality work. Assessment is essential towards determining if students are meeting the goals that were specified in the curriculum. Furthermore, in linking standards to the other components such as instruction and curriculum, assessment can be used for diagnosis, instruction, and improving student performance.
Zon, C. et. al. (1998). Standards For Improvement. Thrust for Educational Leadership, 28, 14-18.