Since its beginning in 1943, ASCD has been a strong voice in the debate about educational issues that affect learning and teaching. As a nonpartisan education association, ASCD continues to advocate for policies and practices that ensure each child has access to educational excellence and equity.
Learn about our current positions.
Browse a full listing of all ASCD positions.
Read about our position development process.
Standards Development and Implementation
ASCD supports high standards for student learning and achievement that are the result of a development process that is state-led, transparent, and implemented under the following principles:
- Educates the whole child through a broad and rich curriculum;
- Contains global competencies that develop the skills, knowledge, and attitudes to work effectively in an increasingly interdependent world;
- Provides equity in learning conditions for all students;
- Ensures effective instruction that results in increased learning for all students;
- Expands assessment options in measuring progress toward attaining the standards while maintaining accountability for results;
- Relies on multiple indicators for assessing student performance and achievement;
- Develops coherent policies that support and align teacher preparation, licensure, and ongoing professional development requirements and activities;
- Includes representation of educators at all levels and incorporates their input throughout the development, implementation, and evaluation process; and
- Maintains ongoing support among policymakers, educators, parents, and communities to secure necessary resources for the standards and their successful implementation.
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Educating Students in a Changing World
As educators in the 21st century, we are charged with educating students to be successful in a complex, interconnected world. This responsibility requires schools to prepare students for technological, cultural, economic, informational, and demographic changes.
ASCD supports changes in teaching, learning, and leadership that adequately prepare students for the 21st century and graduate students who:
- Acquire and apply core knowledge and critical-thinking skill sets that are essential in an information age;
- Demonstrate creativity, innovation, and flexibility when partnering with business and community members to advance common goals;
- Make decisions and solve problems ethically and collaboratively;
- Utilize technology to gather, analyze, and synthesize information for application in a global economy;
- Exhibit positive interpersonal relationships that value multiple languages, cultures, and all persons; and
- Display leadership skills that inspire others to achieve, serve, and work together.
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The Whole Child
The current direction in educational practice and policy focuses overwhelmingly on academic achievement. However, academic achievement is but one element of student learning and development and only a part of any complete system of educational accountability. ASCD believes a comprehensive approach to learning recognizes that successful young people are knowledgeable, emotionally and physically healthy, motivated, civically inspired, engaged in the arts, prepared for work and economic self-sufficiency, and ready for the world beyond their own borders.
Together, these elements support the development of a child who is healthy, knowledgeable, motivated, and engaged. To develop a whole child requires the following contributions:
- A safe environment in which students can learn.
- Family support and involvement.
- Government, civic, and business support and resources.
- Volunteers and advocates.
- Support for their districts' coordinated school health councils or other collaborative structures.
- Access to challenging and engaging curriculum for all students.
- High-quality professional development with collaborative planning time embedded within the school day.
- A safe, healthy, orderly, and trusting environment.
- High-quality teachers and administrators.
- A climate that supports strong relationships between adults and students.
- Support for coordinated school health councils or other collaborative structures that are active in the school.
- Evidence-based assessment and instructional practices.
- Rich content and an engaging learning climate.
- Student and family connectedness.
- Effective classroom management.
- Modeling of healthy behaviors.
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Health and Learning
Successful learners are not only knowledgeable and productive but also emotionally and physically healthy, motivated, civically engaged, prepared for work and economic self-sufficiency, and ready for the world beyond their own borders.
Because emotional and physical health are critical to the development of the whole child, ASCD believes that health should be fully embedded into the educational environment for all students. Health and learning
- Is a multifaceted concept that includes the intellectual, physical, civic, and mental health of students.
- Provides coordinated and comprehensive health efforts that give students and staff effective teacher, school, family, community, and policy resources.
- Supports the development of a child who is healthy, knowledgeable, motivated, engaged, and connected.
- Is the reciprocal responsibility of communities, families, schools, teachers, and policymakers.
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Closing the Achievement Gap
For all students to excel academically and thrive as individuals, we must raise the bar and provide them with the access to high-quality learning, curriculum, and instruction. Educators, policymakers, and the public must understand the grave consequences of persistent gaps in student achievement and demand that addressing these gaps becomes a policy and funding priority. ASCD believes that to close the achievement gap, all underserved populations—high-poverty students, students with special learning needs, students of different cultural backgrounds, nonnative speakers, and urban and rural students—must have access to
- Innovative, engaging, and challenging coursework (with academic support) that builds on the strengths of each learner and enables students to develop to their full potential;
- High-quality teachers supported by ongoing professional development; and
- Additional resources for strengthening schools, families, and communities.
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Multiple Measures of Assessment
Decision makers in education—students, parents, educators, community members, and policymakers—all need timely access to information from many sources if they are to make informed judgments about student learning and the success of education programs. Using a single achievement test as the sole measure of learning is inappropriate.
Determining success of students, schools, districts, states/provinces, or nations should be based on multiple assessments of and for learning. ASCD supports the use of multiple measures in assessment systems that are
- Fair, balanced, and grounded in the art and science of learning and teaching;
- Reflective of curricular and developmental goals and representative of content that students have had an opportunity to learn;
- Used to inform and improve instruction;
- Designed to accommodate nonnative speakers and special-needs students; and
- Valid, reliable, and supported by professional, scientific, and ethical standards designed to fairly assess the unique and diverse abilities and knowledge base of all students.
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Position Development Process
Professional educators need to provide leadership in creating the conditions necessary for all children to have access to high-quality education and to find their places in an increasingly complex world. Educators must promote the creation of education policy that supports best practice, as well as a modern accountability system that uses a variety of methods when making judgments about student achievement and learning.
ASCD's position adoption process is one example of how the association fosters public and policy support for its beliefs, values, goals, and immediate policy concerns.
In March 2012, the ASCD Board of Directors approved a new process for considering potential positions of the association:
- A member-led Position Advisory Committee identifies issues of interest to the education community through surveys, staff resources, and other policy-scanning information.
- The Position Advisory Committee submits relevant topics for consideration to the ASCD Board of Directors.
- The ASCD Board of Directors considers the topic submissions and determines whether to convene an ASCD Forum, as well as what topic(s) the forum will discuss.
- The ASCD Forum is convened when the ASCD Board of Directors considers a topic worthy of discussion among the education community.
- The ASCD Forum consists of online discussion over several weeks on the topic determined by the Board of Directors. The forum includes a face-to-face meeting (for 2013, at the ASCD Annual Conference), with the opportunity for online participants to engage virtually as well.
- The ASCD Forum discussion is taken into consideration by the ASCD Board of Directors when determining the adoption of a new position.
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