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Is There a de Facto National Curriculum?: Evidence from State Standards


Systemic reform followed by standards based reform in K-12 education begins with state content standards. Based at least in part on policy research in education, the pair of reforms make the assumption that what is taught is a strong predictor of what students will learn. Thus, being clear about what it is that we want students to know and be able to do and expressing that message in content standards is the first step in standards based reform. Being clear as to the desired outputs of schooling, however, is hypothesized to be insufficient. To give weight to content standards the reforms call for student achievement testing aligned to the standards. The results of student achievement testing can be used in accountability in a variety of ways and to the extent the student achievement tests are aligned to the content standards, accountability should add to the influence of the contents standards on teachers' instructional practices and, ultimately student achievement.

See: Common Core State Standards, 2010.