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Document Number: 6317

Standards Deviation: How Schools Misunderstand Education Policy - Instructional policy reforms that focus on standards and assessments have gained popularity in the past two decades. This policy brief summarizes the findings of a book by the author that examines state and local government relations as standards move from the statehouse to the district policymakers and teachers who attempt to make sense of them. The study is based on data collected from a four-year examination of approaches to the use of standards in nine Michigan districts between 1992 and 1996. This overview: (1) frames the subject of a standards-based reform; (2) discusses the Michigan science and math standards; (3) explores variations in the progress of standards among districts; and (4) discusses implications of the study for policy outcomes, analysis and design. (Jim Spillane, Graduate School of Education, University of Pennsylvania, June 2005)...

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