Standards for Primary-Grade Reading:
An Analysis of State Frameworks

CIERA Report #3-001

Karen K. Wixson
Elizabeth Dutro
University of Michigan

CIERA Inquiry 3: Policy and Profession
How do state language arts standards influence the way teachers teach and, ultimately, what and how children learn? How does the content and structure of a state's standards influence those efforts?

To begin the task of evaluating the impact of state standards on American students, Wixson and Dutro compared the structure and information of state language arts standards. Their analysis focused on the 14 state documents that provided benchmarks or objectives by grade level for grades K-3. The other 28 states either provided a single set of standards for K-12 or separate sets of standards for different grade clusters (e.g., K-3, 4-6, etc.). The analysis of the state standards documents led to several recommendations.

Evaluations of state standards need to be based on defensible criteria and should reflect current research. The criteria used by Wixson and Dutro for this analysis should be useful to districts in evaluating their states' standards for early reading/language arts.

University of Michigan School of Education

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