Administrator Magazine
Scholastic Administrator is a must-read resource for 240,000 of today's results-driven school leaders. Every issue features leadership for education executives, insight and analysis into what's next in education, and reporting on cutting-edge technologies in real life applications.

One Nation, One Test

When President George Bush’s State of the Union speech and proposed budget for next year were rolled out in January and early February, national standards and tests went unmentioned. But that hasn’t stopped proponents from pushing the issue harder—and more successfully—than any time in the past 10 years.

A series of reports and studies has shown that state testing standards vary widely from state to state. A report from recently shed light on states with NCLB pass rates, based on state tests, that varied from 38 percent (South Carolina) to 92 percent (Maine, North Dakota). Most of these state tests are set much lower than the National Education Assessment Program, the nation’s report card.

A bipartisan group of education organizations, along with Senator Chris Dodd (D-CT) and Representative Vern Ehlers (R-MI), kicked off the new Congress by introducing legislation that would fund the creation of new standards and pave the way for national tests. “The country is on an inexorable march toward national education standards,” said Michael Dannenberg of the New America Foundation, one of the key proponents of the change.

What remains unclear, however, is whether the nation can finally double-time its way past the practical and ideological roadblocks that have halted it or if it will return to the slow, intermittent march of the past 20 years.

Ten years ago, President Bill Clinton proposed the creation of voluntary national tests in reading and math, but congressional Republicans who worried about federal involvement in local decisions, and others who were apprehensive about its impact on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), stopped the initiative.

This latest proposal, touted by the conservative Thomas B. Fordham Foundation and the centrist New America Foundation, does its best to avoid as many past pitfalls as possible. It focuses on science and math standards, leaving out the controversies of English and language arts. It calls for creating voluntary national standards—as opposed to tests—and gives states grants for adopting them. Several obstacles remain, according to Kevin Kosar, author of a book about the national standards movement. These include lack of sufficient funding to encourage states to adopt the new standards and renewed controversies surrounding evolution and creationism in science.

Others have pointed out that the U.S. already has national standards in the content areas, so creating new ones would not accomplish much. Standards and testing have also taken a beating during the past few years, through NCLB and various testing snafus.  Meanwhile, a consortium of states is working together to develop common standards and tests that might be the nucleus of grassroots national standards.

In the meantime, Education Secretary Margaret Spellings said she “might be willing” to look at a national standards proposal. The House and Senate proposals have begun to pick up cosponsors.

In the end, however, the main obstacles may be the oldest ones. “Republicans don’t like the word national,” Checker Finn of the Fordham Foundation (which is now fighting to get them adopted) quipped back in 1997, “and Democrats don’t like the word test.”

  • Teacher Store
  • The Teacher Store  
    State Standards Collections Brochure

    State Standards Collections Brochure

    State Standards Collections Brochure

    Sales Materials | Grades PreK-12
    Add To Cart
    Educators Only
    State Standards Collections Brochure
    Grades PreK-12 $
    Add To Cart
  • Teacher Store
  • The Teacher Store  
    Common Core State Standards Pack Grade 3

    Common Core State Standards Pack Grade 3

    Support the national framework in education with high-quality children's literature and activities.

    Connect independent reading to the
    Common Core State Standards for ELA (K–8) with rich selections of fiction and nonfiction. Includes: 80 books (60 titles; 1 copy each; 4 titles; 5 copies each), Teaching Guide, bins, title list correlated to standards, and two audio books (CDs) for K–5 collections.

    See below for complete list of titles. Appropriate titles of equal value may be substituted if any of the listed titles are unavailable at shipping time.

    Title list:
    • Core State Standard Collection Guide
    • Aesop's Fables
    • African Acrostics
    • The Amazing Book of Mammal Records
    • Bad Kitty Gets a Bath
    • Ben Franklin
    • Boy, Were We Wrong About Dinosaurs!
    • The Camping Trip That Changed America
    • Encyclopedia Brown and the Case of the Midnight Visitor
    • Encyclopedia Brown Sets the Pace
    • The Escape of Oney Judge
    • Extreme Weather
    • Flat Stanley: Great Egyptian Grave Robbery
    • Fudge-a-Mania
    • Girl Wonder
    • Granddaddy's Gift
    • The Great Kapok Tree
    • Hewitt Anderson's Great Big Life
    • The Hidden Stairs and the Magic Carpet
    • How Things Work
    • Journey to the Volcano Palace
    • Justin and the Best Biscuits in the World
    • Lincoln and Grace, Why Abraham Lincoln Grew a Beard
    • Lion vs. Tiger
    • Louis Braille
    • Lucky Beans
    • The Magic School Bus®: Amazing Magnetism
    • Mailing May
    • A Medieval Feast
    • Mexico
    • Molly's Pilgrim
    • The Moon
    • Moonshot
    • More Than Anything Else
    • Mr. Lincoln's Way
    • Mufaro's Beautiful Daughters
    • Mufaro's Beautiful Daughters (Audio CD)
    • Mummies, Pyramids, and Pharaohs
    • The Mystery of the U.F.O.
    • A Nest for Celeste
    • Nothing Ever Happens on 90th Street
    • Perimeter, Area, and Volume
    • Polar Bear Puzzle
    • Polar Bear vs. Grizzly Bear
    • Punished!
    • Ramona the Pest
    • Rich
    • Richard Wright and the Library Card
    • Roberto Clemente
    • The Rough-Face Girl
    • Ruby's Wish
    • Ruth and the Green Book
    • Samuel Eaton's Day
    • Shipwreck Saturday
    • Snap!
    • So You Want to Be President?
    • So You Want to Be President? (Audio CD)
    • Stink the Incredible Shrinking Kid
    • Superfudge
    • The Talented Clementine
    • There's a Frog in My Throat!
    • The Trail of Tears
    • Tsunami!
    • Tsunamis and Other Natural Disasters
    • We'll Never Forget You, Roberto Clemente
    • When Marian Sang
    • Wilma Unlimited

    $359.00 You save: 32%
    Paperback Book Collection | Grade 3
    Add To Cart
    Educators Only
    Common Core State Standards Pack Grade 3
    Grade 3 $359.00
    Add To Cart
Help | Privacy Policy




(Separate multiple email addresses with commas)

Check this box to send yourself a copy of the email.


Scholastic respects your privacy. We do not retain or distribute lists of email addresses.