Educational reform has taken many forms throughout history. But all reform efforts are based on the premise that improvements made to the educational system will have large returns to society. In particular, in the form of increased well-being and decreases in long-term societal costs.
In the 1980s, a marked change took place in the approach towards educational reform. Prior to this time, efforts to improve education were focused on improving the inputs to school systems. However, a shift began in the eighties—from inputs (curriculum and instruction) to outputs (learning).
The root of this movement was the articulation of academic standards. Standards were intended to provide focus and parameters around what students should know and be able to do in different content areas and grade levels. Yet, articulating the standards was only the first step in the standards movement.
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