Educational standards serve as a frame of reference for measuring academic achievement. State standards are the criteria used by individual states for measuring the quality of an educational skill or product. This entry discusses the origins of the standards movement in the United States and distinguishes between content standards and performance standards.
The origin of the standards movement can be traced to A Nation at Risk, a 1983 report compiled by the National Commission on Excellence in Education. This report painted a bleak picture of public education in the United States, indicating steadily decreasing scores on a variety of standardized tests, dropping matriculation rates in college, increasing enrollments in remedial mathematics courses, and an alarming rate of functional illiteracy.
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