Reforms in the 1990s

Most states and districts in the 1990s adopted Outcomes Based Education in some form or another. The process usually was an umbrella for other disputed methods, such as constructivist mathematics and whole language. A state would create a committee to adopt standards, and a performance based assessment to assess "learning outcomes" which might look somewhat like a content based test, or something that parents might violently reject with very little recognizably academic content. A "Certificate of Mastery" would replace the diploma. At the start of the 1990s, "outcomes" tended to be nonacademic, but towards the 2000s, the term "high standards" instead was adopted, often resulting in very difficult tests. In the 2000s, many states are slated to require passing these tests to get a diploma, compared to the earlier tradition that any student who got a D average and attended for 4 years would graduate with one. States would spend millions to implement these reform programs. Other reform movements were School To Work, which would require all students to spend substantial class time on a job site.

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