What is the contextual significance of standards in the field of education?

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The major significance of standards in the field of education is that they are very important to ensure that all students are actually learning what they are supposed to learn.  Standards are also somewhat controversial in some respects.

For a long time, the US lacked any consistent standards in its educational system.  States were allowed to create their own standards and those standards could be as high or low as they liked.  In 2001, the Bush Administration passed the No Child Left Behind law that required states to meet certain standards.  By doing so, the administration was trying to ensure that all students would learn the sorts of things that they really need to learn.  This is important in education because without standards it is too easy for schools to pass students even if they do not know as much as they should.

These standards have become somewhat controversial for a number of reasons.  Many feel that too much emphasis has been put on these standards and on the standardized tests that measure them.

Standards, then, are important to ensure that students are learning as they should, but they can be controversial because people can disagree on what the standards should be and how they should be enforced.

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What is the contextual significance of standardized test in the field of education?

The idea behind standardized tests in education is to see if the student population has achieved a particular standard that must be met by all. In NY State, education is moving toward Core Curriculum Standards and those must be taught in all grades across the board. At grades 6 and 9 and 12, although a particular standard must be addressed let's say in science, it becomes more rigorous as the student's grade level progresses. Periodic assessments must be done to see what level the student is achieving and to re-teach anything that hasn't be successfully taught. This is called data analysis, another important idea that is being used currently in education. It is not simply enough to give an exam. Teachers are supposed to analyze which questions weren't successfully learned by students and re-teach those concepts using a wide variety of methods. Eventually, the hope is that whether you go to school in a city, rural community or suburb, students will learn the same curriculum and this will be demonstrated by the results of standardized testing.

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