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Open Access Publications from the University of California

What Educational Resources Do Students Need to Meet California's Educational Content Standards?


Koski and Weiss examine California’s educational content standards and related high-stakes accountability measures. They pose the following questions 1) Are higher content standards and stiffer accountability enough to ensure that all children achieve at high levels? 2) Can we be sure that all California students and schools—particularly those in low-income minority communities—enjoy the necessary support, conditions, and resources to succeed? Koski and Weiss answer these questions with an in-depth analysis of California’s K-12 standards and other related state policies, looking specifically at the minimum level of resources and conditions required for students to meet the state’s standards. Their analysis makes clear that California’s standards-based reform strategy and accountability scheme require the provision of basic educational tools, including teachers with particular knowledge and skills and appropriate instructional materials and facilities. However, the state’s policies do not address these requirements explicitly. No standards or accountability mechanisms currently exist to ensure that all children in California have the educational conditions and resources necessary to achieve at the high levels prescribed by the state. Koski and Weiss conclude that the state must analyze its curriculum frameworks and content standards systematically to create parallel standards that delineate the minimum educational resources and conditions required at each grade level for all students to have an adequate opportunity to learn the state’s standards.

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