Publications & Resources

Standards, Assessments—and What Else? The Essential Elements of Standards-Based School Improvement

Aug 2000

Diane J. Briars and Lauren B. Resnick

In this report, the researchers use data on elementary school mathematics assessments over a three-year period (school years 1995-1996, 1996-1997, 1997-1998) to explore the effects of the Pittsburgh Public Schools’ (PPS) implementation of elements of a standards-based system. In 1992, PPS adopted a strategic plan that called for the district to become a fully standards-based system. The plan called for district policies and practices in support of the core elements of a standards-based system: standards, assessments, accountability, curriculum, and professional development. Between 1992 and 1998, most of the elements of the system were put into place, one by one. The process is incomplete, but enough has been done at this time that the effects can be evaluated of a nearly complete standards-based system in at least one subject matter — mathematics — in which the Pittsburgh school system has acted energetically. The authors also consider how the district’s very incomplete accountability system influenced the extent to which the other elements of a standards-based system were implemented.

Briars, D. J., & Resnick, L. B. (2000). Standards, assessments—and what else? The essential elements of standards-based school improvement (CSE Report 528). Los Angeles: University of California, Los Angeles, National Center for Research on Evaluation, Standards, and Student Testing (CRESST).