Overview of Standards Projects
In the past few years, several separate projects have emerged to set standards for the teaching of the English language arts. While many of their goals are complementary, each project has a different focus and a different purpose. This appendix explains these projects.
This book, Standards for the English Language Arts, sets forth content standards for the English language arts. Content standards describe what students should know and be able to do in the field of English language arts. The goals of the project have been threefold: to create standards that assure all students the opportunity to develop their unique verbal abilities and to become fully literate citizens in a democratic society; to guarantee access to the most creative and effective English curricula available; and to define a common core of what we value in the teaching and learning of language, emphasizing local involvement in the development of standards.
Articulation of the content standards is a joint project of the International Reading Association and the National Council of Teachers of English (see Appendix B for a more detailed history of the project).
Standards for the English Language Arts is not formally linked to New Standards, the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, or the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education.
Assessment Standards and New Assessments
IRA/NCTE Joint Task Force on Assessment
In 1991, IRA and NCTE collaborated to describe standards for assessment. Their findings were published in 1994 in Standards for the Assessment of Reading and Writing. The work of the IRA/NCTE Joint Task Force on Assessment was jointly funded by IRA and NCTE, with additional assistance from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.
New Standards Assessments
New Standards is developing a new system of assessments (performance tasks, projects, and portfolios) in English language arts, mathematics, science, and applied learning. These assessments are designed to improve the performance of all students and to gauge student progress toward high national education standards. States, districts, and schools will have flexibility to set their own curricula within a common system of student performance standards proposed by New Standards. These performance standards, which are derived from the content standards developed by professional organizations, attempt to specify “how good is good enough.” The judges in this process are classroom teachers.
New Standards is a joint program of the Learning Research and Development Center at the University of Pittsburgh and the National Center on Education and the Economy in Rochester, New York. Twenty-one states and school districts are Project Partners; together they enroll about half of the schoolchildren in the United States. The Literacy Unit of New Standards is housed at the National Council of Teachers of English, which holds a subcontract from New Standards. The primary assignment of the Literacy Unit at NCTE is to develop and pilot various models of a portfolio assessment system. Officers of IRA and NCTE have served on the Advisory Board of the New Standards Literacy Unit, reviewing the development of portfolio models.
Professional Teaching Standards
National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education
IRA and NCTE are active members of the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE), which is the national organization for accrediting teacher education programs.
NCATE has approved the guidelines prepared by sixteen specialty organizations as the NCATE standards for teacher preparation in those fields. The NCTE/NCATE teacher education guidelines are those criteria used to evaluate English language arts teacher education programs across the United States. NCATE delegates to NCTE the construction of these guidelines and the actual evaluation of each teacher education program in English language arts which comes under NCATE review. NCTE reviews only the program for initial certification of English language arts teachers, grades 7–12. The review process allows an institution to have its English language arts teacher education program evaluated by a trained team of English language arts educators from across the country.
The National Board for Professional Teaching Standards
The National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) establishes high professional teaching standards and operates a voluntary certification and assessment system. Professional teaching standards specify what accomplished elementary and secondary teachers, including English language arts teachers, should know and be able to do.
NBPTS is a nonprofit organization founded in 1987. The NBPTS Board of Directors is composed of classroom teachers, teaching professionals, other educators, and members of the public. A majority of the members are practicing elementary, middle, and secondary school teachers, and fourteen of sixty-three seats are set aside for leaders of disciplinary organizations.
Course and Class Content
The development of standards or curriculum content can take the form of an overall framework, which is the purpose of this document, or can take the form of a course syllabus or a description of one unit or segment of class content. An example of a course syllabus is the Pacesetter course, a challenging capstone English course for high school seniors, developed by NCTE and the College Board and marketed by the College Board.
Overview of Standards Projects.
In Standards for the English Language Arts (pp. 86-87). , : International Reading Association and National Council of Teachers of English.