Since the late 1980s, standards-based reform has been the de facto national education policy in the United States. Every state has set standards for student performance and holds schools accountable for meeting those standards. The goal of this strategy is to raise performance for all students and close achievement gaps by setting clear expectations for what all students, regardless of background, should know and be able to do. This entry looks at the development and implementation of academic standards and the record of achieving their aims.

National Standards

U.S. schools have long had “standards,” or expectations for what students should accomplish before graduating from high school. Nearly all states, for example, have spelled out graduation requirements, which usually state the number of courses in each subject ...

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