Graduation Standards -
The Standards Movement in U. S.
The Standards Movement grew out of criticism of public education institutions’ inconsistency in responding satisfactorily to questions from the public about system accountability and individual student performance. Many districts have a well-articulated curriculum, but do not know the relationship between the written curriculum and what is really taught when teachers close their doors. Problems also exist in giving feedback about how well an individual student is doing on the curriculum. The typical measures have been grades and standardized tests. Since grades are determined by individual teachers, based on what that teacher believes is important (for example, including factors such as attendance, cooperation, effort, content knowledge, participation, etc.), grades are not able to be generalized between classrooms or beyond. Standardized tests have a "standard error" which means even with a good test there is a range of accuracy for each individual's score. Given these realities, states have moved to implement standards to closely monitor districts on agreed upon content and reporting of results in a way that reflects what students know and can do.
Attention to standards-based education across the country has resulted in a collective effort to ensure consistent learning measures across all states. The Common Core State Standards Initiative is a state-led effort to establish a shared set of clear educational standards for English, language arts and mathematics that states can voluntarily adopt. The standards have been informed by the best available evidence and the highest state standards across the country and globe, and designed by a diverse group of teachers, experts, parents, and school administrators, so they reflect both our aspirations for our children and the realities of the classroom. These standards are designed to ensure that students graduating from high school are prepared to go to college or enter the workforce and that parents, teachers, and students have a clear understanding of what is expected of them. The standards are benchmarked to international standards to guarantee that students are competitive in the emerging global marketplace.
Graduation Standards in Minnesota
In 1989, the Department of Education, under direction from the State Board, began developing graduation requirements that focused on results. In 1993, the Minnesota Legislature passed a law requiring a Graduation Rule based on results. The movement began with a focus on individual student accountability and expanded to incorporate district accountability. Educators, employers, and parents from throughout Minnesota helped develop the Graduation Standards. Public hearings began in 1994 on Basic Standards testing, which was implemented in 1998-99. The Profile of Learning rule was approved in May 1998. Graduates graduated with 20 high school standards. In 2007, the state sunsetted the Profile of Learning and created the Minnesota Academic Standards Graduation requirements. The state standards identify the knowledge and skills that are to be mastered by all students by the end of a grade level or grade band; help define the requirements for course credit and graduation from high school; and guide educators in the adoption and design of curricula. Student mastery of the standards is measured through state and local assessments.
Minnesota Academic Standards requirements for students graduating in 2008 and beyond.
Standards-Based Education in Osseo Area Schools
There are two district committees charged with oversight of the Minnesota Academic Standards. The Graduation Standards Steering Committee closely monitors changes at the state level, considers implications for Osseo Area Schools and recommends revisions to the assistant superintendents. The District Parent Advisory Committee (DPAC) has been involved when parental input was needed to move forward with decisions or when making recommendations to the Board of Education for enhancements or changes to curriculum design and delivery.
In addition to information on graduation requirements and academic standards, Osseo Area Schools is also implementing Standards-Based Grading and Reporting to more clearly communicate student attainment of standards.
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