Recent federal initiatives, including Good Start Grow Smart, and the Child Care and Development Grant (CCDF), call for states to develop early learning standards for children ages 3–5 in language, literacy and mathematics. To date, 43 states have such standards, with the remaining seven in progress. In this article, we argue that coherent, quality standards and their benchmarks (indicators) must be solidly grounded in research, and reflect age-appropriate outcomes for young children. We first review what is known about the key predictors of early literacy and mathematics achievement, and summarize recommendations from organizations that have examined the quality of state K-12 standards. We then take a look at how states are organizing their standards and benchmarks in these content domains in early learning. We end by highlighting benchmarks based on this summary of research that reflect clear, rigorous, and developmentally appropriate expectations for young learners. Finally, we urge states to review their standards in these and other areas to ensure that standards-based reform in early childhood serves to benefit children''s learning and development.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/kathleen_roskos/32/