Tuesday, February 22, 2011

New York gets an A- in history standards!

Unfortunately, most other states did not fare as well.
[T]he Thomas B. Fordham Institute’s first review of the quality of state U.S. history standards since 2003. Key findings include:
  • A majority of states’ standards are mediocre-to-awful. The average grade across all states is barely a D. In twenty-eight jurisdictions — a majority of states — the history standards earn Ds or below.  Eighteen earn Fs.
  • Just one state — South Carolina — has standards strong enough to earn a straight A.
  • Six other states — Alabama, California, Indiana, Massachusetts, New York, and the District of Columbia — earn A-minuses, and three more received grades in the B range. Still, this means just ten states — or about one in five — get honors marks.
The study also reviewed the framework for the National Assessment of Educational Progress’s (NAEP) U.S. history examination and found it deserving of an A-minus. Thus, there are several national models — from the strongest state standards to the NAEP — that lagging states could and should emulate going forward.

New York gets an A-
New York’s U.S. history standards are among the most substantively comprehensive and
sophisticated in the country. Despite occasional departures from chronology and gaps or
shortcomings in content, the overall package could serve as a model for many other states.
I would agree that thematic organization sometimes trumps chronological presentation, especially in the elementary grades.  The "suggested classroom exercises" for grades K-8 are another area where I would probably wish for something different, since these exercises seem not to include sufficient writing.  According to the Fordham report, high school standards only cover American history.  I thought world history was included in high school, but apparently not.

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