History of the Standards Project
The Standards Project for the English Language Arts (SPELA)—co-directed by IRA, NCTE, and the Center for the Study of Reading at the University of Illinois—began work to develop English language arts standards in the summer of 1992. In October 1992 SPELA received a grant from the U.S. Department of Education. Under direction from the SPELA Board, three task forces representing early school, middle school, and high school drafted a framework, standards, and vignettes. Between October 1992 and March 1994, several drafts were circulated to hundreds of review groups in the field for response (see Appendix A for a list of participants). In March 1994, federal funding ceased. Following this decision, the IRA and NCTE boards pledged to continue the work of SPELA, allocating $500,000 each to complete the project.
IRA and NCTE composed and circulated separate standards drafts in the fall of 1994. Joint IRA/NCTE drafts were circulated in the spring and summer of 1995. A final draft was disseminated for review to over 2,500 individuals and groups in October 1995. Throughout the process, IRA and NCTE hosted numerous regional and state meetings on standards and sponsored hundreds of standards-related sessions at their respective conventions. Both organizations worked closely with more than half the states in the development of state standards.
The following chronology highlights key dates in the standards project.
Chronology of the Standards Project
Advisory board and task forces meet; work progresses on standards toward development of Professional Collection 1, a “sampler” of the work of the project containing the first draft set of standards, a preamble and introduction, and vignettes.
Apple Computer, Inc., provides computers for the project.
Professional Collection 1 is distributed for review.
Advisory board meets.
Application for continuation of funding is submitted to the U.S. Department of Education (DOE).
Feedback from reviews is analyzed.
Jostens Learning Corporation provides computers for the project
A small group of task force members and staff from IRA, NCTE, and CSR meet to continue work
A preliminary face-to-face review with DOE officials is held at the University of Illinois
Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) expresses interest in becoming involved in the project.
DOE announces in the Federal Register that it intends to publish a request for proposals for the development of standards for English language arts.
IRA and NCTE develop separate drafts of standards documents and circulate them to reviewers.
IRA and NCTE members file objections to DOE's plans to assign English standards to other agencies.
DOE announces that it will not fund a project to develop standards in English language arts.
History of the Standards Project.
In Standards for the English Language Arts (pp. 84-85). , : International Reading Association and National Council of Teachers of English.