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A means of defining the quality—of work or of performance—which must be attained. In education there are two main levels at which standards are set and monitored: the national and the institutional. National standards are used to regulate both the quality of the educational and training process, and the levels of attainment required in nationally recognized testing or qualifications. Thus, for example, the national curriculum and its associated testing or assessment regime sets national, key stage‐specific standards for pupil achievement; and there are professional standards in place which define the training and performance requirements for teachers in schools, and which are applied nationally. On an institutional level there are standards set by individual schools and colleges in relation to, for example, student behaviour or attainment targets. The monitoring of national standards in English schools is part of the remit of the Standards and Effectiveness Unit (SEU), which looks at pupil standards of attainment, and at overall school performance. The SEU is empowered to intervene where necessary in the interests of maintaining the required standards of performance. The monitoring of standards may also be carried out at an institutional level through a process of verification, which is designed to ensure standardization across centres of delivery and assessment. ‘Ensuring standards’ and ‘raising standards’ have become key phrases in educational policy since the 1980s. See also Standards Unit.

Subjects: Education.

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