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Academic Standards in Your State Essay

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Autor:   •  September 7, 2017  •  Essay  •  1,104 Words (5 Pages)  •  54 Views

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Academic Standards in Your State Essay

Carl L. Scheafer

Grand Canyon University: SEC - 501


Academic Standards in Your State Essay

To solidify the educational community in Arizona, in 1996 the state Board of Education initiated the development for the Arizona academic standards for all content areas in Arizona schools. The challenge presented to the Board of Education was to define what Arizona students need to know and whether or not they are competent in these areas by the end of the twelfth grade. I have personally chosen to review the standards established by the Arizona Board of Education for Social Studies, for this is the content area that I am AEPA certified to instruct Geography and US Government.

Social Studies Standards of Arizona

Social Studies, also referred to as Humanities, is an essential content area to understanding who we are. To do so, those of us in the education system must instill the knowledge and comprehension of its students. It is essential in our society to establish standards for our nation’s youth for it is “critical to the preservation and improvement of America’s republican form of government is the study of our founding principles, namely those detailed in the United States Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, and The Federalist Papers.” (ADE, Arizona Academic Content Standards, 2005) It is the goal from these established standards, to produce well-developed citizens by using diverse contributions from our nation as well as historical documents and events that have helped mold the American civilization. Furthermore, the intent is to have the student fully understand our geographic, cultural, economic, and political structure and how it varies from the rest of the modern world as well as our past.

Background, Development, and Rationale

In 1996, the state Board of Education initiated the development process for the establishment of academic standards to define what Arizona students needed to know and be capable of comprehending by the end of twelfth grade. These Social Studies Standards were adopted in the year 2000 and were partially revised in 2003 after the adoption of AIMS testing. According to the Arizona Department of Education website, The Social Studies Standards were fully revised in 2005 and the standards have been once more updated in 2006. Further changes to the states standards has only been the mandatory Civics test which was implemented in 2015 and became mandatory for all twelfth-grade students in 2017. This test was to accompany the AZ-Merit standardized exams for Arizona students.

The development of standards is derived from committees of select subject matter experts, local educators and community leaders, and other various individuals. In accordance to the Arizona Department of Education standards development timeline, “timeframes must take into consideration 1) the time needed to complete the development/revision cycle, 2) the timeframe between State Board adoption and the start of the next school year, and 3) the timeframe needed to transition and begin implementation of the new/revised standard prior to full implementation.” (ABE, Arizona’s Academic Standards - Development Outline, 2014) Within practical means, the timeframes are flexible in length dependent on the scope of the task and other statewide education initiatives. 

The standards were initially developed within the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB). This means that the standards were modelled to the common core ideologies which are to include mathematics, reading, writing, and science.

Scope

There are five strands within the Social Studies Standard: American History, World History, Civics/Government, Geography, and Economics. The goal of the strands is that they are to be intertwined within each other to allow for classroom lessons to give full spectrum of both past, present, and relativity to the student. The content area and skills that are to be taught at the K-8 grade levels are to be course specific, allowing for full understanding of each individual strand for the student. However, at the high school level, content is delivered to the student on course by course basis allowing for more specialization in the content area. Most importantly, the strands within the standards are not linear meaning they must be taught in specific order according to grade. These are that concepts are to be taught and built upon, and in certain circumstances, revisited year by year to allow for content mastery. Furthermore, this allows for scaffolding or the idea that an objective is to be repeated and built upon with furthered complexity, depth, and difficultly level that what was learned in the previous years. The scope of the Social Studies Standards includes K-12 instruction in research skills and critical thinking. At the lower grades, application of those skills in understanding current events and the world around them is essential for building a higher competency at the higher grades. If done correctly, the building blocks for the high school student should complete the courses of study in each of the content areas listed above.

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