Meaning of standards based education

Start date: 12 oktober 2009

Mechteld van Kuijk

long term/indirect policy relevant



Summary of the project

Standards-based education is deployed in several countries, in order to increase pupil achievement (OECD, 1995). Due to the fact that standards-based education combines an educational quality component (i.e., a focus on improved teaching and learning) with an educational policy component (i.e., a focus on improved school efficiency and governments ‘getting value for money’) (Lauer et al., 2005), standards-based education has become a ‘messy’ construct which has various definitions and meanings in the field (Ravitch, 1995; also in National Research Council, 2002). In order to study the effects of standards-based education (also known as standards-based reform) on pupil achievement, a theory of action must identify the relevant steps within the hypothesized causal chain (Nave, Miech, & Mosteller, 2000). A first analysis of relevant literature has resulted in the construction of such a theoretical model. The model itself is an adaption of the models provided by Lauer and colleagues (2005) and of the National Research Council (National Research Council, 2002) and is presented in the attached working paper. A report on relevant discussions in the field is provided as well.

A systematic review will be conducted to investigate the research question, for which the proposed theoretical model will help interpret empirical findings. Both a key-word database search as well as a snowball-approach will be used. The key word database search has already been conducted and a coding scheme is currently under development.

Current status of the project:

A first analysis of relevant literature has resulted in the construction of a theoretical model, which specifies the theory of action underlying ‘standards-based education’. In addition, an overview of the debate on standards and its hypothesized effects on pupils and teachers could be created on the basis of this first analysis as well. Both the model and the overview of the debate on standards are addressed in the attached working paper. A key word search in educational databases has already been conducted, and has resulted in an extensive database of articles. A coding scheme has been developed.






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