What do "Coherent Standards" mean?
State academic standards must be coherent because they are public documents consulted by teachers, parents and the general public when they want to understand content-matter expectations.
Coherent state standards are clearly articulated and easy to navigate. They must contain enough specific details to be understandable to all stakeholders. They must provide examples and explanations of the standard's intent.
Most State's Math Standards are not written in a coherent, user-friendly, easily understandable format.
Content standards should exist for every single grade through high school and even in specific high school math courses such as Algebra 1 and 2, Geometry, etc.. States with Reform Standards do not have this; states with world class math standards do.
The American Federation of Teachers in their report, Sizing Up State Standards 2008 (http://www.aft.org/pubs-reports/downloads/teachers/standards2008.pdf ) discuss coherent standards. We list a few highlights from their report below.
Coherent, grade-by-grade standards:
• Allow teachers and parents to get a good sense of what students are expected to
know and be able to do at any specific grade level.
• Help teachers identify which students are having difficulty and need extra help.
• Allow teachers to develop, share and refine best practices with their colleagues, and
ensure that professional development is based on what teachers actually teach, not
• Ensure that transient students won’t suffer from a new curriculum every time they
• Guarantee that all students are exposed systematically to the knowledge and skills
they need, without risking unproductive repetition or lack of exposure to key topics.
• Enable teachers to prepare their students for state assessments without drill and kill.