Standards, Testing, & Accountability

Minnesota was the first state to embrace many important education reforms, from statewide open enrollment to charter schools to tax credits for parents paying certain education expenses. This report, written by Dr. Mitchell Pearlstein, President of the Minneapolis-based Center of the American Experiment, tells the stories behind Minnesota's unique policy experiences.? What lay behind Minnesota's worthy innovations? Who was responsible for the bad ideas? Mitch's short answer: governors were behind most of the proposals that expanded education choice, while the flawed policies emerged from the state's education bureaucracy.

This report takes a close look at the implementation of standards-based reform in one state, Washington, and asks why it was successful in some places but not others

Cizek provides a helpful primer on standardized testing. He identifies key terms, clarifies important distinctions between types of tests, and explains how to interpret (and not to interpret) their scores.

Three Fordham staff members analyze trends spotted in academic standards across the disciplines. They found that too many state standards are vague, anti-knowledge, entranced with "relevance," and focused on teaching rather than learning.

In this review of state math standards, authors Raimi and Braden found a disturbing lack of "mathematical reasoning" in most of the 47 state standards they examined; only three states earned "A's" while 16 states flunked.

This review of state science standards is the final in our series of reports analyzing state standards in the five core content areas. For this review, author Lawrence S. Lerner analyzed the science standards of 36 states and found that state science standards are the strongest of the five disciplines we studied. Based on his analysis, six states earned 'A' grades, seven earned 'B's,' and only nine flunked.

This is the third in a series of reports on state standards published by the Fordham Foundation and is our first-ever look at state standards for geography. Authors Susan Munroe and Terry Smith found reason for hope in a few of the excellent standards they found (like Colorado's), but most of the documents they analyzed were extremely weak; only six states earned "A's" or "B's," while 18 states failed.

The second in a series of evaluations of state standards, this is our first review of state history standards. In his analysis, author David W. Saxe offers a scathing indictment of state history standards, which he judged to be little better than the oft-ridiculed National History Standards; four earned 'A's' or 'B's,' while 19 states flunked.

Dr. Sandra Stotsky, the eminent authority on English language education, led off a Fordham series of standards reviews with a detailed critique of the English/Language Arts standards of 28 states. Massachusetts' were found to be the strongest, a beacon for other states to emulate.

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