High School English standards | Teen Ink

High School English standards

April 2, 2009
By Anonymous

As the saying goes, knowledge is power. As young people we get our knowledge from school. Everything has been built on itself throughout our grade-levels. There are lenient standards so schools and teachers know what to teach. English is a great example of this; we have been learning to read write and communicate since kindergarten and now in high school we continue to build our skills in these three areas. In elementary school and middle school it didn’t matter how our teachers taught us using what lesson plans because we got the basic idea. But now we are in high school, it matters! Colleges, parents, and we as students need to know exactly what we are learning just as teachers need to be sure of what they are teaching. The English curriculum standards don’t do a great job in helping out with that.
In fact, the standards for English grades 9-12 are all together, while grades k-8 have individual standards. These so-called standards basically say something like ‘students enhance reading comprehension skills’ or ‘students participate in group discussions.’ That doesn’t tell my mom that I am reading one of Shakespeare’s plays. I believe that there should be stricter curriculum standards if not state wide, then by school district. There should be a place where everyone can look to see grade-by-grade, unit-by-unit curriculum for each grade individually for high school English classes.
If high school English classes had stricter curriculum standards colleges would be able to know that a student studied grammar in depth or that they read one of Dickens’s novels. Parents would be able to look to see what his or her son or daughter is learning and why it is important. Home-schooled students could stay on track with those students who are in a public school.
Those are all beneficial reasons for people outside of our direct classroom, but this isn’t all about the people that are curios about what takes place in English. Stricter English standards in high school would also benefit the students. In this day and age of texting and myspace, students ask friends for homework help before they ask their teachers; which make the lives of both parties easier. However if the two friends asking each other for help aren’t learning the same thing there is no way for this to even work.
Teachers may say that standardizing English classes would be difficult, and the initial change probably would be. But after the first year of teaching the same material, I believe this would actually make lesson plans easier for teachers to create. They could spend less time looking for good material to use in class because more than one teacher is doing the looking.
Creating stricter English standards would be a great way to inform those who want to be informed. Our educators will always be able to put their own spin on the material they are teaching us. But why not make our English classes more organized and on topic with other English classes.

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This article has 1 comment.

on Apr. 20 2009 at 10:34 pm
Springcactus GOLD, Camillus, New York
10 articles 0 photos 12 comments
I disagree. The vague terms of the state requirements mean that my English teacher can work at a pace that's right for our classes, without worrying if we're going to 'cover' everything. My teacher is an excellent educator. She teaches us basic skills for high school, college prep, and daily life--and I'm in eighth grade!

The laid-back way our government approaches the learning standards for English means that students can be put in an English class that's right for them. My teacher is one of the more off-beat teachers. We learn about paragraphing and the proper way to write to a government official in between expressing ourselves with poetry and short storie, combined with practicing speaches in front of the class and using proper diction. If the state of New York didn't let my teacher practice such methods of teaching, well. It would just be a boring class!

We get the stuff we need, but each teacher presents it in a different, unique way. And as for parents keeping up on the curriculum? Well, that's what PT conferences and open houses are for.