Educational standards are necessary to create a curriculum that works to meet a common goal. There are standards at the National level and standards at the State level. The National standards are generally a broad basis of what a curriculum should try to accomplish. The state standards are usually more specific and often come with more detailed benchmarks on how the standard could be met.
I wanted to focus on the health education standards in the state of Massachusetts and the state of Nevada. My research led me down two very different paths. The Massachusetts standards encompassed all grades from Pre-K-12 and were more specific than the National standards. When comparing the two standards I looked at to the National standards, I found that the state standards were more specific to curriculum building, which would help make a health curriculum easier. The two standards, Family Life and Disease Prevention and Control, were specific to units that a health teacher would complete when teaching a course. Another person’s research on the Massachusetts health standards showed similar information on standards, such as Growth and Development and Physical Activity and Fitness.
The Nevada standards were very closely related to the National Standards. The state specifically uses the standard, but breaks down the standard into different benchmarks, based on the grade level. I am very interested in middle school health, so I chose to look at the first standard, Core Concepts, and the break down for grades 6-8. The two benchmarks that I chose to look at were for Personal Health and Substance Use and Abuse. Both of these benchmarks acted similarly to the Massachusetts’ standards by being more specific in order to create a curriculum.
I believe that the National Standards are a bit weaker than the standards created by each state because the state can focus on the current trends it wants to curb. The obesity trend in the United States may be more prominent in the south, so a curriculum would want to focus on physical activity more than other states. The National Standards are very strong at giving direction to the states on where their programs should be heading.
While each state has their own standards, there really is not anyone that can enforce them but the school system. Often, many of these standards may not be met and students will be receiving the best education out there. I feel that in order to use the standards more effectively, there should be a process created to enforce the standards.
Overall, the standards are a positive way to create a curriculum and could be used more effectively if they were enforced. Both the National and State level standards should be used when creating a curriculum because they each show a different view of the information that should be taught.