ERIC Identifier: ED383693
Publication Date: 1995-06-00
Author: Abdal-Haqq, Ismat
Source: ERIC Clearinghouse on
Teaching and Teacher Education Washington DC.
Professional Standards Development: Teacher Involvement. ERIC
During the last decade, the U.S. education community witnessed a
proliferation of standards-driven reform efforts. The primary objectives of
these efforts have been (1) to increase student achievement to a level that is
competitive with that of other industrialized nations (Shanker, 1994); (2) to
restore public confidence in education (Edmundson, 1993); and (3) to provides a
brief overview of the work of several influential standards-setting bodies and
summarizes the primary ways in which classroom teachers are involved.
NATIONAL STANDARDS-SETTING EFFORTS
The federal government
has been a prominent player in the standards-driven reform movement. In March
1994, President Clinton signed the "Goals 2000: Educate America Act." This
legislation creates a framework that states can adopt to construct reform
strategies, which incorporate three Goals principles: rigorous academic
standards; alignment of curriculum, textbooks, and teacher education; and clear
incentives to encourage students to strive to meet high standards (School
Reform, 1994) .
The U.S. Department of Education (ED) has made grants to 23 states to develop
standards and curriculum frameworks in certain critical subjects (Federal
In addition, ED has supported or is currently supporting seven projects, led
by professional associations, to develop model standards in seven "challenging"
subject areas: science, history, the arts, civics and government, geography,
English language arts, and foreign languages (Standards for All, 1993). It is
expected that model standards will emerge from these projects by the end of 1995
(Federal Initiatives, 1994). Model standards in the arts and geography were
published in 1994, and drafts of documents in history, foreign languages, and
science have been circulated (Making Use of National Standards, 1994). The
National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) led the way in the
development of content and performance standards with the publication of
Curriculum and Evaluation Standards in 1989 and Professional Standards for
Teaching Mathematics in 1991 (Ball, 1992).
In 1987, the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) was
formed to articulate standards of excellence, related to what teachers should
know and be able to do (Baratz-Snowden, 1993). NBPTS has developed an assessment
system that is used to determine eligibility for National Board certification.
The first of these assessments will be available nationwide during 1994-1995
(State Legislatures, 1994). Although National Board certification is voluntary,
a number of states have incorporated NBPTS standards into their school
The Council of Chief State School Officers established the Interstate New
Teacher Assessment and Support Consortium (INTASC) to produce model standards
for initial teacher licensure. INTASC standards are based on NBPTS standards
The National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) began
to use revised accreditation standards for teacher education institutions in
1987. The latest NCATE standards (NCATE Announces, 1994) also reflect NBPTS
standards (Baratz-Snowden, 1994) and call for higher admissions, performance,
and graduation standards (Wise, 1994). NCATE also encourages teacher preparation
institutions to link their programs to content standards that have emerged from
projects such as the NCTM's (Wise, 1994).
There are three types of national standards that are receiving attention:
content standards, which focus on curriculum; performance standards, which focus
on student work and assessment; and school delivery standards, which focus on
resources and support for schools, teachers, and children (O'Neil, 1993). A
major concern of those involved in developing standards, as well as of
administrators and practitioners, is how to mesh, in a relatively seamless
fashion, the multitude of content, performance, and school delivery standards
that are emerging (Changing the System, 1992). NCATE recently received a grant
from the Carnegie Corporation to launch the New Professional Teacher Project to
link K-12 subject-matter standards to teacher preparation standards and to
establish performance standards for teacher preparation and licensure (NCATE
Consensus-building figures prominently
in the current standards-setting movement (Ball, 1992; Standards for All, 1993).
Kendall and Marzano (1994) suggest that, in the past, schools and teachers have
had de facto standards for content areas set for them by textbook manufacturers
and performance standards set by testing companies. In contrast, most of the
major standards development projects in recent years have attempted to acquire a
broad base of support for their work by involving representatives of the major
stakeholders in U.S. education (Standards for All, 1993 ; Sykes & Plastrik,
1993): subject-matter experts, policymakers, teacher educators, parents, and
teachers. Teacher involvement in professional standards development can be seen
in several areas.
*Teachers are functioning as authors of standards. A majority of the members
of the NBPTS standards committees are highly accomplished teachers
(Baratz-Snowden, 1992; Baratz-Snowden, 1993). Eleven states have established
autonomous professional standards boards, responsible for setting standards and
licensing teachers and administrators; typically, at least half of the boards'
members are teachers (Suarez, Polen, & Gottovi, 1994). Classroom teachers
are members of NCATE's boards and Standards Committee and serve on teams that
evaluate teacher preparation programs (Wise, 1994). The New Standards Project,
which is working to develop assessment standards and instruments for a voluntary
national system of student examination, heavily engages teachers in developing
tasks (test items), developing and refining content standards, and scoring and
interpreting student responses (Brosnan & Hartog, 1993; O'Neil, 1993).
*Teachers are serving as subjects in field tests of new standards. Five
hundred-thirty-nine teachers participated in NBPTS field tests (Update on Field
Test, 1994). INTASC assessments are also being piloted with teachers.
*Teachers are instrumental in translating content standards into teachable
classroom lessons. Working with scholars, teachers build content standards into
state curriculum frameworks and devise lesson plans to operationalize the
standards (Gagnon, 1994; Richardson, 1994).
*Through their bargaining units and professional associations, teachers are
initiating standards-setting projects. For example, Standards for Teacher
Competence in Educational Assessment of Students was concurrently developed by
the American Federation of Teachers, the National Education Association, and the
National Council on Measurement in Education (Brosnan & Hartog, 1993).
*Teachers have oversight functions and serve as critics of national
standards-setting efforts. The seven model standards development projects
supported by ED circulate drafts of their standards documents and solicit
comment from teachers, as well as from parents and others. Teachers also sit on
panels that oversee the projects' work (Standards for All, 1993).
References identified with an EJ or ED number
have been abstracted and are in the ERIC database. Journal articles (EJ) should
be available at most research libraries; most documents (ED) are available in
microfiche collections at more than 900 locations. Documents can also be ordered
through the ERIC Document Reproduction Service: (800) 443-ERIC.
Ball, D. L. (1992). Implementing NCTM standards: Hopes and hurdles. Issue
East Lansing, MI: National Center for Research on Teacher Learning. ED 352
Baratz-Snowden, J. (1992). National Board for Professional Teaching
Standards--Update. ERIC Digest 92-4. Washington, DC: ERIC Clearinghouse on
Teacher Education. ED 351 336
Baratz-Snowden, J. (1993). Assessment of teachers: A view from the National
Board for Professional Teaching Standards. Theory into Practice 42(2), 82-85. EJ
Baratz-Snowden, J. (1994, Summer). NBPTS and teacher professional
development: The policy context. Portfolio, p. 4-5.
Brosnan, P. A., & Hartog, M. D. (1993). Approaching standards for
mathematics assessment. ERIC/CSMEE Digest. Columbus, OH: ERIC Clearinghouse for
Science, Mathematics, and Environmental Education. ED 359 069
Changing the system. (1992). Teacher Magazine, 3(8), 42-44. EJ 447 933
Edmundson, P. (1993). Renewal agendas and accreditation requirements:
Contrasts and correspondence. Journal of Teacher Education, 44(3), 170-175. EJ
Federal initiatives to support systemic reform. (1994). The ERIC Review,
Gagnon, P. (1994). And bringing them to the classroom. American Educator,
18(3), 15, 28-32.
Kendall, J. S., & Marzano, R. J. (1994). The systematic identification
and articulation of content standards and benchmarks. Update. Aurora, CO:
Mid-Continent Regional Educational Research and Improvement. ED 368 769
Making use of national standards. (1994, November). ASCD Update, pp. 1, 6.
NCATE announces teacher preparation reform project. (1994, November 28).
AACTE Briefs, p. 8.
O'Neil, J. (1993). On the New Standards Project: A conversation with Lauren
Resnick and Warren Simmons. Educational Leadership, 50(5), 17-21. EJ 457 355
Richardson, V. (1994). Standards and assessments: What is their educative
potential? In M. E. Diez, V. Richardson, & P. D. Pearson, Setting standards
and educating teachers: A national conversation (pp. 15-36). Washington, DC:
American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education.
School reform: Getting it right. (1994). American Educator, 18(3), 12-13.
Shanker, A. (1994). Making standards count. American Educator, 18(3), 14,
Standards for all: A vision for education in the 21st century. High standards
for all students. Goals 2000: Educate America. (1993). Washington, DC: U.S.
Department of Education. ED 367 665.
State legislatures group cites NBPTS goals, supports efforts. (1994, Summer).
Portfolio, p. 1, 3.
Suarez, T., Polen, D. A., & Gottovi, N. C. (1994). Autonomous teacher
professional standards boards. Policy brief. Chapel Hill, NC: North Carolina
Educational Policy Research Center. ED 372 069
Sykes, G., & Plastrik, P. (1993). Standard setting as educational reform.
(Trends and Issues Paper no. 8). Washington, DC: ERIC Clearinghouse on Teacher
Education and American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education. ED 358 068
Update on field test of National Board Certification. (1994, Summer).
Portfolio, p. 6.
What Goals 2000 means for you. (1994). The ERIC Review, 3(2), 10-11.
Wise, A. E. (1994). Teacher professionalism: The movement has begun. The ERIC
Review, 3(3), 12-13.