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Standards Gaps: Unintended Consequences of Local Standards-Based Reform


by Judith Haymore Sandholtz, Rodney T. Ogawa & Samantha Paredes Scribner — 2004

In response to the establishment of standards by states and professional organizations, many local school districts have adopted a standards-based curriculum. The expressed purpose of standards is to improve student academic performance by providing teachers with a common sequence of targets at which to aim instruction. In this study, we examine unintended consequences of a school district's standards-based reform effort. Though the district intended to enhance student achievement and equalize educational opportunities for students, it instead caused the evolution of what can be called standards gaps, which resulted in differentiated curriculum and instruction along lines of students' academic ability.


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Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record Volume 106 Number 6, 2004, p. 1177-1202
http://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 11570, Date Accessed: 10/24/2017 12:17:40 AM

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About the Author
  • Judith Sandholtz
    University of California, Riverside
    E-mail Author
    JUDITH HAYMORE SANDHOLTZ is an associate professor in the Graduate School of Education at the University of California, Riverside where she formerly directed the Comprehensive Teacher Education Institute. Her research focuses on teacher professional development, teacher education, school/university partnerships, and technology in education. Recent publications include ‘‘Inservice Training or Professional Development: Contrasting Opportunities in a School/University Partnership’’ in Teaching and Teacher Education and ‘‘The Substantive and Symbolic Consequences of a District’s Standards-Based Curriculum’’ in the American Educational Research Journal.
  • Rodney Ogawa
    University of California, Santa Cruz
    E-mail Author
    RODNEY T. OGAWA is Professor and Chair of the Education Department, University of California, Santa Cruz. His research focuses on school organization, leadership, and educational reform. His recent publications include ‘‘The Substantive and Symbolic Consequences of a District’s Standards-Based Curriculum’’ in the American Educational Research Journal and ‘‘Embracing Uncertainty: Organizing and Leading to Enhance the Knowledgeability and Capability of Teachers’’ in Rethinking Educational Leadership.
  • Samantha Scribner
    University of California, Riverside
    E-mail Author
    SAMANTHA PAREDES SCRIBNER is a Ph.D. candidate in the Graduate School of Education, University of California, Riverside. Her areas of specialization are school culture, school organization, and leadership. Her recent publications include ‘‘Leadership: Spanning the Technical and Institutional Dimensions of Organizations’’ in the Journal of Educational Administration.
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