Reform of TEKS High School Chemistry Standards for Better College and Career Preparation
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During the 1980’s, the concept of standards-based education was conceived after norm-referenced ranking in education was widely recognized as a flawed system to measure student success in the class room. Standards in primary and secondary education began to be implemented in some American states to hold school systems accountable for curricula and student performance. While establishing standards in secondary education is more controversial, it is necessary to ensure that high school diplomas are meaningful and represent a thorough knowledge and understanding of Mathematics, Science, Social Studies, and Language Arts that meets the needs of the modern work force. Standards in high school chemistry are no exception; these standards should include concepts and objectives that will prepare students for chemistry in college as well as careers or occupations that require a fundamental knowledge of chemistry. The Texas State Board of Education recently passed revised chemistry standards in March of 2009 which will replace the current Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) high school chemistry standards in the Fall of 2010. This study compares the revised and recently passed TEKS chemistry standards to the current TEKS chemistry standards that were adopted in 1998. Based on alignment, the revised TEKS chemistry standards more reflect the College and Career Readiness Standards, as well as the chemistry standards of other states renowned for exemplary education including New York, California, North Carolina, and Massachusetts.