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STANDARDS

What Are Educational Standards?

From Promises To Keep: Creating High Standards for American Students, Report on the Review of Education Standards from the Goals 3 and 4 Technical Planning Group, to the National Education Goals Panel, November 1993.

1. World Class -- at least as challenging as current standards in other leading industrial countries, though not necessarily the same.

2. Important and focused, parsimonious while including those elements that represent the most important knowledge and skills within a discipline.

3. Useful, developing what is needed for citizenship, employment, and life-long learning. Content Standards specify what students should know and be able to do. ...(T)hey involve the knowledge and skills essential to a discipline that students are expected to learn. Those "skills" include the ways of thinking, working, communicating, reasoning, and investigating that characterize each discipline. That "knowledge" includes the most important and enduring ideas, concepts, issues, dilemmas, and information of the discipline. Content standards are not merely lists of facts. (p. 9)

4. Balanced -- Standards should represent a reasoned and acceptable balance on a set of enduring tensions or polarities. Depth vs. breadth. Being definite, specific, or precise (about the uniform core that all students should know and be able to do) ... and ... being permissive of alternatives (so teachers have the flexibility to adjust to the needs and heritages of their students and the learning environments in which they teach). Learning the theory or underlying principles of a domain ... and ... covering its factual knowledge. Formal knowledge of theory or principles and facts ... and ... activities, performances, and applications of knowledge. The best new thinking about the domain ... and ... the best of traditional practices and conceptions of the domain. (pp. 13-14)

5. Accurate and Sound -- Standards should accurately reflect sound scholarship within the discipline. Documentation should show whether scholars and scholarly associations have commented on and concurred with the standards’ technical merit. (p. 14)

6. Developmentally Appropriate -- Standards should support and challenge students achieving at all performance levels. While they should not represent minimum expectations, the standards should be suitable to and within the capabilities of students to learn. ...They should build appropriately on students’ developed capabilities at the elementary, middle, and high school levels of schooling. Any student who works hard in a good program should be able to meet the standards, and any student who meets the standards should be well prepared for his or her future. (pp. 15-16)

Voluntary National Content Standards in Economics, National Council on Economic Education, New York, NY, 1997. 

WRITING COMMITTEE

John Siegfried (Vanderbilt University, chair), Bonnie Meszaros (University of Delaware, project director), James Charkins (California State University - San Bernardino), Nancy Hanlon (Willow School, Homewood, Illinois), Robert Highsmith (Pace University), Donna McCreadie (Temple City High School, Temple City, California), Robert Smith (Texas Council on Economic Education), Mary Suiter (University of Missouri-St. Louis), Gary Walton (University of California - Davis and the Foundation for Teaching Economics), Michael Watts (Purdue University), and Donald Wentworth (Pacific Lutheran University).

Content Standard 1

Students will understand that:

Productive resources are limited. Therefore, people cannot have all the goods and services they want; as a result, they must choose some things and give up others.

Students will be able to use this knowledge to:

Identify what they gain and what they give up when they make choices.

Content Standard 2

Students will understand that:

Effective decision making requires comparing the additional costs of alternatives with the additional benefits. Most choices involve doing a little more or a little less of something; few choices are all-or-nothing decisions.

Students will be able to use this knowledge to:

Make effective decisions as consumers, producers, savers, investors, and citizens.

Content Standard 3

Students will understand that:

Different methods can be used to allocate goods and services. People, acting individually or collectively through government, must choose which methods to use to allocate different kinds of goods and services.

Students will be able to use this knowledge to:

Evaluate different methods of allocating goods and services by comparing the benefits and costs of each method.

Content Standard 4

Students will understand that:

People respond predictably to positive and negative incentives.

Students will be able to use this knowledge to:

Identify incentives that affect people’s behavior and explain how incentives affect their own behavior.

Content Standard 5

Students will understand that:

Voluntary exchange occurs only when all participating parties expect to gain. This is true for trade among individuals or organizations within a nation, and among individuals or organizations in different nations.

Students will be able to use this knowledge to:

Negotiate exchanges and identify the gains to themselves and others. Compare the benefits and costs of policies that alter trade barriers between nations, such as tariffs and quotas.

Content Standard 6

Students will understand that:

When individuals, regions, and nations specialize in what they can produce at the lowest cost and then trade with others, both production and consumption increase.

Students will be able to use this knowledge to:

Explain how they can benefit themselves and others by developing special skills and strengths.

 

Content Standard 7

Students will understand that:

Markets exist when buyers and sellers interact. This interaction determines market prices and thereby allocates scarce goods and services.

Students will be able to use this knowledge to:

Identify markets in which they have participated as a buyer and a seller and describe how the interaction of all buyers and sellers influences prices. Also, predict how prices change when there is either a shortage or surplus of the product available.

Content Standard 8

Students will understand that:

Prices send signals and provide incentives to buyers and sellers. When supply or demand changes, market prices adjust, affecting incentives.

Students will be able to use this knowledge to:

Predict how prices change when the number of buyers or sellers in a market changes, and explain how the incentives facing individual buyers and sellers are affected.

Content Standard 9

Students will understand that:

Competition among sellers lowers costs and prices, and encourages producers to produce more of what consumers are willing and able to buy. Competition among buyers increases prices and allocates goods and services to those people who are willing and able to pay the most for them.

Students will be able to use this knowledge to:

Explain how changes in the level of competition in different markets can affect price and output levels.

Content Standard 10

Students will understand that:

Institutions evolve in market economies to help individuals and groups accomplish their goals. Banks, labor unions, corporations, legal systems, and not-for-profit organizations are examples of important institutions. A different kind of institution, clearly defined and well enforced property rights, is essential to a market economy.

Students will be able to use this knowledge to:

Describe the roles of various economic institutions.

Content Standard 11

Students will understand that:

Money makes it easier to trade, borrow, save, invest, and compare the value of goods and services.

Students will be able to use this knowledge to:

Explain how their lives would be more difficult in a world with no money or in a world where money sharply lost its value.

Content Standard 12

Students will understand that:

Interest rates, adjusted for inflation, rise and fall to balance the amount saved with the amount borrowed, thus affecting the allocation of scarce resources between present and future uses.

Students will be able to use this knowledge to:

Explain situations in which they pay or receive interest, and explain how they would react to changes in interest rates if they were making or receiving interest payments.

Content Standard 13

Students will understand that:

Income for most people is determined by the market value of the productive resources they sell. What workers earn depends, primarily, on the market value of what they produce and how productive they are.

Students will be able to use this knowledge to:

Predict future earnings based on their current plans for education, training, and career options.

Content Standard 14

Students will understand that:

Entrepreneurs are people who take the risks of organizing productive resources to make goods and services. Profit is an important incentive that leads entrepreneurs to accept the risks of business failure.

Students will be able to use this knowledge to:

Identify the risks, returns, and other characteristics of entrepreneurship that bear on its attractiveness as a career.

Content Standard 15

Students will understand that:

Investment in factories, machinery, new technology, and the health, education, and training of people can raise future standards of living.

Students will be able to use this knowledge to:

Predict the consequences of investment decisions made by individuals, businesses, and governments.

Content Standard 16

Students will understand that:

There is an economic role for government to play in a market economy whenever the benefits of a government policy outweigh its costs. Governments often provide for national defense, address environmental concerns, define and protect property rights, and attempt to make markets more competitive. Most government policies also redistribute income.

Students will be able to use this knowledge to:

Identify and evaluate the benefits and costs of alternative public policies, and assess who enjoys the benefits and who bears the costs.

Content Standard 17

Students will understand that:

Costs of government policy sometimes exceed benefits. This may occur because of incentives facing voters, government officials, and government employees, because of actions by special interest groups that can impose costs on the general public, or because social goals other than economic efficiency are being pursued.

Students will be able to use this knowledge to:

Identify some public policies that may cost more than the benefits they generate, and assess who enjoys the benefits and who bears the costs. Explain why the policies exist.

Content Standard 18

Students will understand that:

A nation’s overall levels of income, employment, and prices are determined by the interaction of spending and production decisions made by all households, firms, government agencies, and others in the economy.

Students will be able to use this knowledge to:

Interpret media reports about current economic conditions and explain how these conditions can influence decisions made by consumers, producers, and government policymakers.

Content Standard 19

Students will understand that:

Unemployment imposes costs on individuals and nations. Unexpected inflation imposes costs on many people and benefits some others because it arbitrarily redistributes purchasing power. Inflation can reduce the rate of growth of national living standards, because individuals and organizations use resources to protect themselves against the uncertainty of future prices.

Students will be able to use this knowledge to:

Make informed decisions by anticipating the consequences of inflation and unemployment.

Content Standard 20

Students will understand that:

Federal government budgetary policy and the Federal Reserve System’s monetary policy influence the overall levels of employment, output, and prices.

Students will be able to use this knowledge to:

Anticipate the impact of the federal government’s and the Federal Reserve System’s macroeconomic policy decisions on themselves and others.