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A Formula for Maintaining High Acacemic Standards

            A Formula for Achieving High Academic Success .
             Parents, school staff, state, and national leaders are calling for school reform. They point to a succession of statistics that indicate that a majority of American students are failing to reach their potential as learners. Business leaders and state legislators are demanding that schools find ways to improve achievement at all levels. More assessment, different forms of assessment, and accountability programs that stress the establishment of standards for student performance are some of the many methods currently being explored or implemented by school districts around the country. What is the formula for achieving high academic standards and will those standards improve a student's achievement? This is a major issue facing schools today and will continue to plague administrators in the years to come. .
             The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) issued several reports during the 1970's and 1980's revealing that a majority of students were not developing intellectual capacities necessary for democratic citizenship, lifelong learning, and productive employment in the economic system. The studies compiled by Mullis, Owen, and Phillips, indicated that most students seem to develop basic skills, which involve low-level cognition. However, few students, only five to eight percent of 17 year olds, demonstrated an ability to solve multiple-step problems, synthesize data, read analytically and think critically. In addition, the study indicated a decline in performance on tasks requiring high-level cognition (Patrick 2). .
             John J. Patrick, author of "Student Achievement in Core Subjects of the School Curriculum,"" summarizes findings from twenty years of NAEP by stating, "Only small proportions of students appear to develop specialized knowledge needed to address science-based problems, and the pattern of falling behind begins in elementary school.

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