Achievement Standards Network

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JES & Co.
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Organization's Mission Statement

A non-profit organization dedicated to 21st century education

Submission Information

Impact Essay

Microsoft Server 2003, Microsoft SQL Server 2005 and Microsoft .Net Framework have provided the basis for JES & Co.’s ( revolutionary work in tackling one of education’s most urgent and challenging issues.

The Achievement Standards Network (ASN) is changing the fundamental way in which publishers, educational content developers, educators and curriculum developers work with academic or achievement standards as data. By creating an authoritative standards database, Semantic Web encodings and tools to work with achievement standards as data, JES & Co. is providing a critical component in educational technology by making it possible to connect what teachers are tasked to teach with the learning materials they use and the assessments used to measure student achievement.

Prior to the ASN, collection holders and publishers wishing to correlate educational resources to achievement standards were faced with either developing very expensive, project specific collections of achievement standards (and then maintaining them when they changed) or acquiring those standards from commercial entities (at even greater expense). In either case, the systems so deployed are not interoperable outside the closed system environments in which they were deployed.

Using Microsoft products, the ASN brings interoperable, Semantic Web enabled, more affordable and more informed methods to address our nation’s challenge to equip students with a globally competitive education and prepare them to compete in a global economy.

For the first time publishers, teachers, administrators and other users of achievement standards have access to Semantic Web “friendly” data for their research, curriculum correlations and software applications. The ASN is available free of charge to all users through Creative Commons 3.0 Attribution licensing. The impact and implications of utilizing the ASN are enormous.

Achievement Standards are statements of what learners should know and be able to do. They may be promulgated by state departments of education, national content groups, professional organizations, labor or skill boards, and certification bodies, both in the public and private sectors. Many include specific granular statements of achievement levels or proficiencies in the form of benchmarks or rubrics.

The correlation or mapping of learning resources such as lesson plans, curriculum units, and learning objects to formally promulgated achievement standards is a growing imperative in the U.S. K-12 environment. We choose “achievement standards” as a generic term indicating all forms of statements formally promulgated by a jurisdiction, community or organization to help shape teaching and learning in schools.

Since achievement standards reflect the knowledge, skills and habits of mind that students are expected to attain in a particular content area and at a given grade level, clear articulation of achievement standards coupled with rigorous assessment are at the heart of the systemic school initiatives in the U.S. There should be a tight coupling among the achievement standards, what is being taught and the student learning assessed. Student learning cannot be accurately informed or measured if there is a misalignment between what is taught and what is assessed.

One of the major goals of the ASN is to support this tight coupling amongst achievement standards, instruction and assessment by providing a national repository of comprehensive machine-addressable achievement standards that can be used by applications serving the education community including search engines, metadata generation tools and other 3rd party services.

. The ASN has five distinct components, all of which rely on Microsoft technologies;

• A repository of academic standards each with its own globally

Unique Identifier (GUID) in the form of a Uniform Resource Identifier (URI).

• An input tool, enabling direct input of standards documents to the ASN repository

• Viewers and web services to access the standards data

• A resolution service that resolves the URI into machine and human readable text

• A network of organizations that share, use, develops tools and leverage the technical advantages of the ASN.

By leveraging Microsoft technology donations through TechSoup, the ASN provides services to enable developers and their applications access the collection of documents included in the ASN database, view the hierarchy of statements within a standards document, use web services to return the list of documents based on jurisdiction and subject, export the standards data in RDF/XML for use in a local application and resolve the ASN URI’s. The ASN provides a “level playing field” for achievement standards data so developers can concentrate on creating useful applications rather than struggled with the many variations in format presented by the multitude of standards promulgators.

Through initial funding by the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) and the National Science Digital Library, JES & Co. developed the ASN, created and maintains it as an authoritative collection of academic standards. The ASN collection currently contains data for all of the US in addition to select national standards. Through use of URI to represent discrete and unambiguous references to standards, content creators are able to describe the objective of learning and teaching resources they create in the terms required by each state that can be understood by machines and people globally.

JES & Co., a 501 c 3 nonprofit, has occupied a unique niche in the educational landscape since its establishment in the early 1990’s. JES & Co. has done extensive research into Semantic Web enabling of achievement standards data, learning resource discovery by academic standard and distribution of interoperable achievement standards data. In addition JES & Co., through its efforts in co-founding The Partnership for 21st Century Skills, brought together a vast array of participants from all facets of the educational enterprise, a dialogue that would become the vision of what a 21st century education and workforce needs to be.

This spring, the ASN came to the attention of the IMS Global Learning Consortium. IMS Global Learning is a worldwide, nonprofit member organization that strives to enable the growth and impact of learning technology in higher education, K-12, and corporate education. IMS GLC members are leading corporations, higher education institutions, school districts and government organizations who are enabling the future of education by developing interoperability and adoption practice standards for educational and learning technology. JES & Co. has been invited to join IMS GLC. JES & Co. will contribute ASN data and data methods as well as participate in the development of the solution to the challenge of packaging educational content and achievement standards correlations in a globally interoperable and reusable way.

Submission Category
Transformations to Maximize Impact