Last week yet another report was released about moving away from granting credit based on seat time and towards some form of competency based system. This report, entitled State Strategies for Awarding Credit to Support Student Learning, was released by the National Governors Association (see press release here).
As I’ve indicated in the past, I’m not necessarily against this kind of measure, I just need to see some data for why it would be a valid thing to do – beyond the normal rhetoric and calls for educational reform (almost all of which are ideologically motivated). For example, this new report begins:
Research has called into question the ability of America’s education system to produce the highly skilled workforce demanded by a 21st century economy. Reforms to increase student readiness for college and careers are hampered, in part, by an underlying education system that dictates inputs such as the amount of time students are required to complete a course (commonly known as “seat time”). States may not be able to realize the full potential of education reform until the system’s focus shifts from time-based inputs to student learning outputs tied to the mastery of content and skills. (p. 1)
What is interesting – or at this stage predictably – is that the report cites no research to support that “the ability of America’s education system to produce the highly skilled workforce demanded by a 21st century economy” has been called into question. It also cites no research that the current efforts towards educational reform will have any meaningful impact on that problem. Finally, it provides no empirical justification for why seat time is preventing these reforms – that we have no evidence will actually work – from occurring. In fact, this report cites no independent or peer reviewed research at all!
And folks wonder why educated, informed people question their leaders?
This was posted to one of the iNACOL forums earlier this week. I asked about this issue a few weeks back (see Affects On Virtual Schooling?) – appears now we are getting closer to it being a reality. Feel free to comment on the standards in the manner outlined below.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 21, 2009
COMMON CORE STATE STANDARDS AVAILABLE FOR COMMENT
NGA Center, CCSSO Release First Official Public Draft of the College- and Career-Readiness Standards
WASHINGTON—The National Governors Association Center for Best Practices (NGA Center) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) today released the first official public draft of the college- and career-readiness standards in English-language arts and mathematics as part of the Common Core State Standards Initiative, a process being led by governors and chief state school officers in 51 states and territories. These standards define the knowledge and skills students should have to succeed in entry-level, credit-bearing, academic college courses and in workforce training programs.
One of the issues that is often raised in K-12 online learning is the fact that everyone creates their own courses – I believe the question usually goes, “How many versions of Algebra I and II do we really need?” I know in the past some have argued that this was needed because of the differences in state standards and expectations. I wonder if this movement, should it be successful, will change that? Will this cause some sharing of curricular resources and online course content between program providers?
46 States, D.C. Plan to Draft Common Education Standards
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, June 1, 2009
Forty-six states and the District of Columbia today will announce an effort to craft a single vision for what children should learn each year from kindergarten through high school graduation, an unprecedented step toward a uniform definition of success in American schools.
The push for common reading and math standards marks a turning point in a movement to judge U.S. children using one yardstick that reflects expectations set for students in countries around the world at a time of global competition. Today, each state decides what to teach in third-grade reading, fifth-grade math and every other class. Critics think some set a bar so that students can pass tests but, ultimately, are ill-prepared.
Another item that I found posted on this movement, with a slightly different message, was from the iNACOL forums.
49 States & Territories Join Common Core State, Standards Initiative
FORTY-NINE STATES AND TERRITORIES JOIN COMMON CORE STATE STANDARDS INITIATIVE
NGA Center, CCSSO Convene State-led Process to Develop Common
English-language arts and Mathematics Standards
WASHINGTON— The National Governors Association Center for Best Practices (NGA Center) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) today released the names of the states and territories that have joined the Common Core State Standards Initiative: Alabama; Arizona; Arkansas; California; Colorado; Connecticut; Delaware; District of Columbia; Florida; Georgia; Hawaii; Idaho; Illinois; Indiana; Iowa; Kansas; Kentucky; Louisiana; Maine; Maryland; Massachusetts; Michigan; Minnesota; Mississippi; Montana; Nebraska; Nevada; New Hampshire; New Jersey; New Mexico; New York; North Carolina; North Dakota; Ohio; Oklahoma; Oregon; Pennsylvania; Puerto Rico; Rhode Island; South Dakota; Tennessee; Utah; Vermont; Virgin Islands; Virginia; Washington; West Virginia; Wisconsin; and Wyoming.