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Is There a De Facto National Curriculum? Evidence from State Content Standards. Andrew Porter and Morgan Polikoff, University of Pennsylvania John Smithson, University of Wisconsin-Madison. Background. Success of standards based reform depends on alignment

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is there a de facto national curriculum evidence from state content standards

Is There a De Facto National Curriculum? Evidence from State Content Standards

Andrew Porter and Morgan Polikoff, University of Pennsylvania

John Smithson,

University of Wisconsin-Madison

background
Background
  • Success of standards based reform depends on alignment
  • National vs. state content standards
  • Policy attributes theory
questions
Questions
  • To what extent does there exist a de facto national curriculum, as represented by state content standards?
  • How focused are state content standards?
  • How demarcated is content across grade levels?
  • To what extent are state content standards aligned with national professional standards?
procedures
Procedures
  • Surveys of Enacted Curriculum
    • Two-dimensional (content & cognitive demand)
    • ELAR, science, mathematics
    • Coarse- and fine-grained analysis
  • Alignment
    • Scale from 0 to 1 with 1=perfect alignment
    • Calculated at the fine grain
slide5
Data
  • Completed since 2003
  • Grades 4 & 8
    • 14 states in mathematics, ELAR; 13 states in science; NSE & NCTM
  • Grades K-8 or 1-8
    • 10 states in math, 7 in ELAR, 4 in science; NSE & NCTM
results
Results

Average alignment, maximums, and minimums among

state content standards and national professional standards

coarse grained content maps for the two most aligned states elar grade 4
Coarse-grained content maps for the two most aligned states, ELAR grade 4

Alignment = .48

coarse grained content maps for the two least aligned states elar grade 8
Coarse-grained content maps for the two least aligned states, ELAR grade 8

Alignment = .07

coarse grained content maps for the most aligned state science grades 4 and 8
Coarse-grained content maps for the most aligned state, Science grades 4 and 8

Alignment = .52

coarse grained content maps for the least aligned state science grades 4 and 8
Coarse-grained content maps for the least aligned state, Science grades 4 and 8

Alignment = .12

coarse grained content maps for the two most aligned states mathematics grades 1 8
Coarse-grained content maps for the two most aligned states, Mathematics grades 1-8

Alignment = .62

coarse grained content maps for the two least aligned states mathematics grades 1 8
Coarse-grained content maps for the two least aligned states, Mathematics grades 1-8

Alignment = .36

coarse grained content maps for the most aligned state to nse standards science grades 1 8
Coarse grained content maps for the most aligned state to NSE Standards, Science grades 1-8

Alignment = .50

coarse grained content maps for the least aligned state to nctm standards mathematics grades 1 8
Coarse grained content maps for the least aligned state to NCTM Standards, Mathematics grades 1-8

Alignment = .35

conclusions
Conclusions
  • No evidence of a de facto national curriculum
    • Alignments moderate when aggregated across grades, low for individual grades
  • Some evidence of small core curriculum
    • 8-13 cells per subject with emphasis > .01
    • Capture 10-36% of content depending on state/subject
fine grained content maps for writing components for the two most aligned states elar grade 4
Fine-grained content maps for Writing Components for the two most aligned states, ELAR grade 4
fine grained content maps for writing components for the two least aligned states elar grade 8
Fine-grained content maps for Writing Components for the two least aligned states, ELAR grade 8
fine grained content maps for earth systems for the most aligned state science grades 4 and 8
Fine-grained content maps for Earth Systems for the most aligned state, Science grades 4 and 8
fine grained content maps for earth systems for the least aligned state science grades 4 and 8
Fine-grained content maps for Earth Systems for the least aligned state, Science grades 4 and 8
fine grained content maps for basic algebra for the two most aligned states mathematics grades 1 8
Fine-grained content maps for Basic Algebra for the two most aligned states, Mathematics grades 1-8
fine grained content maps for number sense for the two least aligned states mathematics grades 1 8
Fine-grained content maps for Number Sense for the two least aligned states, Mathematics grades 1-8
fine grained content maps for basic algebra for the two least aligned states mathematics grades 1 8
Fine-grained content maps for Basic Algebra for the two least aligned states, Mathematics grades 1-8
slide31
Fine grained content maps for Earth Systems for the most aligned state to NSE Standards, Science grades 1-8
slide32
Fine grained content maps for Ecology for the most aligned state to NSE Standards, Science grades 1-8
slide33
Fine grained content maps for Number Sense for the least aligned state to NCTM Standards, Mathematics grades 1-8
slide34
Fine grained content maps for Basic Algebra for the least aligned state to NCTM Standards, Mathematics grades 1-8
conclusions continued
Conclusions, continued
  • Within-state 4-8 alignment as high or higher than between-state alignment
  • State alignment with national professional standards no greater than among states
  • Considerable variation across states in level of focus
    • States use between 2%-14% of the cells to capture 80% of the total curriculum
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