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PREAL Working Paper No. 3: National Standards in Education: A “State of the Practice”

By Diane Ravitch
January 1, 1997

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This paper explores the promise of a nationwide system of standards and the problems surrounding their implementation. It highlights the U.S. experience and draws comparisons to other countries. This summary of Ms. Ravitch’s book, National Standards in American Education: A Citizen’s Guide, begins with a discussion of the idea of standards and explores different sorts of standards in education. It examines the main types of assessments used to gauge student performance. It summarizes the case for and against a national system of standards and assessments, as voiced in the context of the U.S. debate. It then describes that debate: why consensus for reform gathered, how momentum for change grew, and the backdrop against which the issue proceeded. English (above), Portuguese, and Spanish.