The Show-Me Standards was approved and implemented in the state of Missouri as authorized by the Board of Education in 1996. The guidelines embodied in the Show-Me Standards were developed in order to improve the quality of education in public schools in Missouri, because of their aims to produce highly competent and knowledgeable students who would be successful in their further quest for education and a position in the workplace. (Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, 1996)
The draft or the proposal of the Show-Me Standards was designed by the stakeholders, representing all members of society, such as professional teachers, the parents, and policy-makers alike. Within their draft was written the proposed standards of academic learning and education in the state of Missouri. (Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, 1996) The standards were based on a needs-assessment scale wherein the primary needs of the students were taken into consideration such as the body of knowledge, learned skills and talents that they need to learn and experience within the educational institution.
Significant learning objectives and learning outcomes were incorporated into the Show-Me Standards. Based on its four goals, the Show-Me standards is targeting on the knowledge and skills that students will be able to apply in their daily lives even outside the premises of the educational institution. These skills includes the art of questioning and data gathering, communicating in a clear and precise manner, problem solving, decision making, and being responsible in all aspects of life, especially in terms of being responsible towards other people and the environment. Moreover, these skills are applied in several subject areas such as Communication and Fine Arts, Health and Physical Education, Mathematics, Science and Social Studies. (Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, 1996)
The skills aforementioned are all practical skills and abilities that people do need in order to survive in the real world. For instance, being inquisitive and adept in conducting research and gathering data is instrumental in being well updated about new knowledge and current events. Handling new, thus unfamiliar, technological devices in the workplace for examples requires one’s ability to do inquiries and gather relevant information about the device in order to learn what it does and how to operate it. Communication is also important in the work place and even in day-to-day experiences and encounters with other people.
Relaying information over the internet, through phone, or in business presentations require communication skills. Studying in an educational institution, which supports technical language learning, actual interview and language sessions with other people in the classroom, artistic presentations and performances, and learning communication techniques, are all essentials in acquiring good communication skills and preparing students in facing challenges after finishing their studies. These are just some of the real life situations that prove how important the Show-Me Standards is in a student’s life.
All standards or guidelines that educational institutions and students follow must also undergo assessment or evaluation in order to determine whether it is successful in meeting its goals and objectives and affecting desirable outcomes on the behavior of students. Because of this, the state of Missouri has also developed an assessment plan (Missouri Assessment Plan, MAP) that observes, measures, and assesses students based on their performance within the school, with regards to the goals and objectives embodied in the Missouri Show-Me Standards. However, MAP only covers four subject areas, such as communication arts, mathematics, science, and social studies. The last two subject areas are only administered if students volunteer to take the test.
Perhaps, this is where the weakness of the MAP lies. The limited number of subject areas where tests are to be administered was due to the lack in budget of the state to support the development, production, and the actual administration of the exam, especially because of the large population of students that they need to assess. Therefore, the MAP has been shaped to focus only on the difficult subject areas that badly need evaluation.
However, it would be better if all subject areas were tested in order to fulfill the objective of producing knowledgeable, highly skilled and well-rounded students. In addition, students have differing skills and levels of knowledge. Most students would achieve high marks on communication arts test while some may not. However, those who failed the communication arts test might be knowledgeable and highly skilled in other subject areas, such as health and physical education. On this premise, the limitations of the MAP lie. (Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, 2004)
The strength of the MAP lies in its ability to test students with disabilities and also to adhere to the No Child Left Behind Act implemented in 2001. The objective of the NCLB is to evaluate the students’ competencies in reading, speaking, and in mathematics.
This test is done annually, therefore, this pushes educational institutions to develop and enhance their existing tests to conform to the standards and guidelines of the NCLB. Students will disabilities are also included in the MAP through the authority of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). The MAP for the disabled is called MAP-A wherein the progress in performance of the students are evaluated through the information that is recorded in their Individual Education Plan (IEP). (Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, 2004)
The Missouri Show-Me Standards and the MAP are very significant for future teachers to learn in order for them to gain insight about other approaches or techniques in teaching. This is instrumental in their teaching of skills and abilities that are relevant and needed by the students.
Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. (1996). The Show-Me Standards.
Retrieved March 24, 2008, from Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. Website: http://dese.mo.gov/standards/process.html
Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. (2004). The Missouri Assessment
Plan. Retrieved March 24, 2008, from Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. Website: http://dese.mo.gov/divimprove/MAP%20-%20Update%202004.pdf