22 Jul 2022


Standards-Based Curriculum: What It Is and How to Implement It

Format: APA

Academic level: Master’s

Paper type: Research Paper

Words: 1369

Pages: 5

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In the field of education, the term standards-based can be used to describe a set of instructions, grading, and academic reporting that are shown by the students understanding and demonstration of skills and knowledge that they have acquired in the course of their learning. In America, most standards-based approaches used in teaching students use learning standards set by the state to find out what is expected from the students. The primary objective of standards-based education is to make sure that students are getting the right knowledge and skills that are applicable in future. If students are unable to meet the standards set then, they are offered special attention to make sure that they get sufficient knowledge that will most definitely affect them in future or their adult life. This type of learning was most common in elementary schools in America, but it is widely spreading to middle and secondary schools ("Un-standardizing curriculum: multicultural teaching in the standards-based classroom", 2006) . The k-8 school curriculum is a good example of a type of learning that uses these standards. It is mostly administered online, and this paper will deliberate on it and how it can be developed and implemented to assist students. The reasons for using this type of standards is important because firstly educational institutions just like any other organizations have the responsibility to pay attention to what they produce and that it graduates. Schools have the responsibility to provide well-learned individuals who have the skills and knowledge to make it in life. 

The social cognitive theory of learning led to the choosing of this curriculum. The theory suggests that human beings can learn through observation. It is based on some assumptions for instance that people can learn through observing what the rest are doing for example during a music lesson one has to watch how the dancers are moving to be able to move like them (Fong & Ahmad Aldalalah, 2010) . The other assumption is that learning can be described as an internal process and may or may not result in behavior. Learning is not a process that occurs overnight, and this is because one can observe others doing something and cannot immediately do the same. It takes some time for the learner to grasp and master what is being offered and in some cases; the student never gets it right. The other assumption is the goal-oriented behavior. Social cognitive theorists suggest that individuals set their goals and direct their behavior accordingly. This means that they are motivated to accomplish the set goals. In learning institutions, students are driven by their goals, which range from getting high scores to being the class clown or popularity among the learning population. Another assumption is that education eventually becomes self-regulated meaning that learners regulate their learning and behavior. For instance, during dancing lessons, social cognitive theorists suggest that one should observe the dancer, perfect his/her moves and after feeling that they have fully mastered the art compare them with the main subject. They also believe that once an individual has observed the others they form a habit of teaching themselves to perfect the art. The final assumption concentrates on punishment and reinforcement. Theorists suggest that effective learning depends on the reinforcement and punishment that is offered or administered to an individual ("Social learning mechanisms: Implications for a cognitive theory of imitation", 2011) . They continue to argue that knowledge depends on the consequences that people’s actions have and that by observing the consequences other people can learn from that. 

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The k-8 curriculum is mostly offered online, and it contains around 75 online courses in seven subjects that are math, science, history, language arts/English, art, music and other international languages. According to the social cognitive theory, the k-8 learning curriculum can be used to low-performing students who have to take their work home. It can also be used for schools and students from low-economic areas all over America. This is based on the fact that students can take their work home and on days when they cannot make it to class they can learn from the comfort of their homes. Students can also use it have to travel for long distances to get to school. When the students cannot make it to school or miss lessons due to issues related to transport and distance, they can cover what they missed online. In this type of program, lessons are followed by assessments, which are vital to understanding whether students have mastered a particular topic. The purpose of education is learning, and the best way to test learning is through the administration of assessment tests, which act as proof that students have understood a covered area. One of the assumptions of the cognitive theory is that students can learn through observation and k-8 allows for this. Students can learn by observing online what is expected of them and practicing on their own. A good example where this can be effective is in during music and dancing lessons. For one to be able to sing, they have to listen to the song first and practice how to sing it effectively, and the same applies to instruments. Students cannot learn by reading theories about an individual device and be able to play it. They first have to observe how it is played and then proceed to train themselves. 

The assumption that learning eventually becomes self-regulatory, and this suits to be used in the k-8 program as the program genuinely depends on in this assumption. After a period of time students will adapt the program and be able to fit in accordingly while gaining knowledge. People will get used to the program and be able effectively to regulate their behavior and routine in learning. Some critics have argued that the k-8 education program cannot be introduced in schools because as they claim it encourages laziness. On the contrary, the system can be effective in improving the grades of the low performing students this is because even if they fail to attend school (attending school is not optional in this case but if they fail to attend) they can get access to their schoolwork at home. It is also advisable to adapt this system to schools because it will make work easier for the teachers as well. Teachers can easily monitor the work and progress of the students online without the interference of third parties (Martin Choppin, 2009) . 

Students that come from low-income areas or students who come from poverty need to be motivated to continue with their learning and as the cognitive theory suggests setting goals is the best form of motivation. The setting of targets can be best used for this type of students because without the necessary motivation most of them are likely to drop out of school at an early age. The k-8 curriculum can be used to monitor how the students are continuing with their studies and setting goals to motivating them to continue learning (Fenwick, 2012) . Young students who come from poverty have a lot to think about for instance what they are going to eat, and they face difficulties at early ages. The best way to ensure that they do not give up on education is to motivate them consistently. The other best way as earlier discussed is to set goals for them and upon completion of every goal offer a reward. 

Cognitive theorists also insist on the importance of punishment, which can also be offered in the k-8 program. Students who opt to skip classes can easily be identified, and the best way to prove to the others on the seriousness of education is to punish them. Punishment does not mean corporal punishment as it can be administered in several ways, for example, deducting the marks of students who do not attend classes or suspending those who never attend classes. It is the goal of every student to get high grades and deducting their marks will act as prove to others that there are consequences for those who miss classes. Learning is not a process that happens overnight even through the observation method. The learning process needs time for the individuals to observe and regulate his/her behavior and work towards the goals they have set. The k-8 program offers students especially from low-economic areas a platform where they can learn comfortably and work towards their goals. These students should be offered this type of program since it gives them the opportunity to study at home and this is effective towards ensuring that their parents closely monitor them. The program offers students with the opportunity of going on with their learning activities at home with close supervision by their parents and teachers. 


Fenwick, L. (2012). Limiting Opportunities to Learn in Upper ‐ Secondary Schooling: 

Differentiation and Performance Assessment in the Context of Standards ‐ Based 

Curriculum Reform. Curriculum Inquiry , 42 (5), 629-651. 

Fong, S. & Ahmad Aldalalah, O. (2010). Internals Out-performing Externals in Music Theory 

Learning: A Cognitive Processing Capacity Perspective. Asian Social Science , 6 (7). 

Martin Choppin, J. (2009). Curriculum-Context Knowledge: Teacher Learning From Successive 

Enactments of a Standards-Based Mathematics Curriculum. Curriculum Inquiry , 39 (2), 


Social learning mechanisms: Implications for a cognitive theory of imitation. (2011). Interaction 

Studies , 12 (2), 233-261. 

Un-standardizing curriculum: multicultural teaching in the standards-based classroom. (2006). 

Choice Reviews Online , 43 (09), 43-5413-43-5413. 

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