Learning standards are composed of statements that express what a student should know and should be able to do at certain points in their learning career.
Before school boards established universal learning standards, individual publishers, through textbooks, would suggest specific knowledge to be taught to people at specific ages. In 1892 the National Education Association formed a committee of ten who codified the first learning standards for national high schools.¹
In 1893 a committee of fifteen formed to decide the standard number of years for elementary education and established the content to be taught.¹ At present, learning standards have become very important and are tied to rubrics and assessments in many schools. Standardized tests are often used for evaluation within states, and standardized exams are used nationally for college admission.
State learning standards are developed by state boards of education and enforced by state education agencies. Learning standards are further developed by individual school districts where they take the form of guidelines by grade of what a student should be able to do for their grade.¹
An example of a detailed learning standard would be the expectation of grade 8 students in English in the province of Ontario, Canada. By the end of grade 8, each student should be able to read and critically respond to a variety of texts using proper English grammar and spelling techniques.¹
Additionally, each student should be able to engage in classroom discussions about texts and respond to teacher-led discussions of the texts. Finally, each student should be able to write, edit, and deliver a three-minute speech about a topic that they find interesting.
Further, each of the expectations will have an explanation as to why it is important for the student in order to justify to teachers, parents, and the student why they are learning what they are learning.¹
1. Feldmmann, Doug (2005). Twenty-Five Years of erosion in the Curriculum: The Committee of Ten to the Cardinal Principles, 1893-1918. Research for Education Reform 10 (2): 41-50.
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