Why do we have performance standards and what are they all about?
As required by the Quality Basic Education Act of 1985, Georgia must maintain a curriculum that specifies what students are expected to know in each subject and grade. Additionally, the state’s standardized tests, the Criterion Referenced Competency Test (CRCT) for grades 1-8 and the Georgia High School Graduation Test (GHSGT) for Grade 11, must be aligned with curriculum.
The state’s curriculum is a guideline for instruction that helps teachers, students, and parents know what topics must be covered and mastered for a particular course. The curriculum establishes the minimum standards, and does not prohibit systems, schools, or teachers from adding material to it. Some systems may have curricula of their own, but they must include everything that the state requires.
Performance standards go into much greater depth than the content standards used in the previous curriculum. The performance standard tells the teacher what a student is expected to know (i.e., what concepts he or she is expected to master), and expands upon it by providing three additional items: suggested tasks, sample student work, and teacher commentary on that work.
Performance standards provide clear expectations for assessment, instruction, and student work. The performance standards isolate and identify the skills needed to use the knowledge and skills to problem-solve, reason, communicate, and make connections with other information.