Harvard Educational Review
  1. Spring 1994 Issue »

    Learning to Work

    The Impact of Curriculum and Assessment Standards on Educational Opportunity

    Diana C. Pullin
    The increased involvement of business in fostering school reform, and the subsequent focus on setting standards for curriculum and assessment, raise a number of questions rooted in public policy and law. In this article, Diana Pullin provides a valuable analysis of the legal issues in current education reform proposals--the Secretary's Commission on Achieving Necessary Skills (SCANS), Goals 2000, and the report of the National Council on Education Standards and Testing (NCEST)--that attempt to link education and employment through assessment and curriculum. She also offers important insights into the complexities that we must consider if these proposals are truly to advance our commitment to equity. The author dissects the issues in governance, contrasting the national assessment programs called for in both SCANS and NCEST with federal approaches, and, given the inherent "high-stakes" nature of these assessments, foresees problems with validity, reliability, and fairness. She explores the grounds for due process and equal protection challenges, and details the legal protections against discrimination in employment that might be applied in cases of employment-related curriculum and assessment. In the end, Pullin asserts that those who have historically been denied equal educational opportunity are most likely to bring legal challenges to reforms that use assessment to link schools and work, and concludes that only those reforms that are fair and equitable will be legally defensible.

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    Spring 1994 Issue

    Abstracts

    Performance-Based Assessment and Educational Equity
    Linda Darling-Hammond
    Learning to Work
    The Impact of Curriculum and Assessment Standards on Educational Opportunity
    Diana C. Pullin
    Is It Real for All Kids?
    A Framework for Equitable Assessment Policies for English Language Learners
    Mark W. LaCelle-Peterson andCharlene Rivera
    A Technological and Historical Consideration of Equity Issues Associated with Proposals to Change the Nation's Testing Policy
    George F. Madaus
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