K-12 education in the United States is regulated by each of the 50 states. Although each state can develop its own structure, all fifty states require essentially the same curriculum and assessment. This has been validated by the recent development of “Curriculum Content Standards”. These standards were developed by a committee of professional, subject matter experts who were appointed by the chief education officer of each state. The purpose of the “Curriculum Content Standards” is to assure that students in every state are being taught the same basic curriculum and that the student assessments will validate whether or not the students have achieved mastery in each curriculum content area. Further, textbook and ancillary materials must be aimed at addressing the content standards.
In the development of the content standards, the curriculum has been designed with a specific scope and sequence. The scope is the expectation of the total coverage of each content area. Essentially, the scope indicates what every student should be able to do, show, know, etc. at the conclusion of receiving the high school diploma.
The sequence then is a description of what should happen at each grade levelreach the total scope of the content. The sequence is further delineated into benchmark levelsthe benchmarks are at grades 3, 5, 8, 10 and 12. The benchmarks are necessary to assure that the “chunk” of learning is reached at each levelthe students move on to the next benchmark level. This assures that students show skills and knowledge at these benchmarks before being moved on to the next level.
The American system of education is based on solid research in learning. It will be very helpful as the American system is offered in other countries in the world. It demonstrates mastery of learning that can be assessed and standardized.