educational terrain relevant to the standards; (2) providing a conceptual tool for analyzing claims and inferences made by these studies; and (3) generating questions and hypotheses to be explored by future studies.

Situating Current Studies

The Framework can assist researchers in locating their work within a particular frame of reference and may highlight possible connections or lack of connections to other parts of the education system. Sponsors, investigators, and consumers of research findings should keep in mind aspects of the education territory that may and may not be addressed by particular studies or programs of investigation. Consider this study of standards implementation in a large urban district:

Standards, Assessments, and What Else? The Essential Elements of Standards-Based School Improvement (Briars and Resnick, 2000). The Pittsburgh Public Schools developed a core curriculum framework based on the NCTM Standards, adopted a standards-based assessment system (New Standards Mathematics Reference Examination) to be used in conjunction with the Iowa Test of Basic Skills, and adopted the National Science Foundation (NSF)-funded Everyday Mathematics program for grades K-5. An NSF Local Systemic Change grant provided funding for extensive professional development to prepare teachers to teach that curriculum. A study was conducted to evaluate the effects of this “nearly complete standards-based system” in mathematics, looking at student achievement on both the standards-based and traditional assessments. Recognizing that teachers varied in the extent to which they were implementing the curriculum as intended by the developers, the researchers also compared the performance of students in strong and weak implementing classrooms, disaggregating the data to see if differential results were obtained for groups defined by race/ethnicity.

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