The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching has released the results of its two-year study of the influential, longstanding Carnegie Unit and its impact on education reform in K-12 and higher education. The Carnegie Unit: A Century-Old Standard in a Changing Education Landscape, authored by Carnegie’s Elena Silva, Thomas Toch, and Taylor White, describes how the Carnegie Unit’s time-based standard of student progress came to define the design and delivery of American education and its current usage across the country.
The report draws on historical research, interviews with dozens of experts in K-12 and higher education, and extensive study of emerging alternatives to the Carnegie Unit in the United States and abroad. The study finds that the Carnegie Unit continues to play a valuable role in education as an administrative currency and opportunity-to-learn standard, but it is miscast as a measure of student learning. The U.S. education system needs more informative measures of student performance in order to reach its goal of increasing transparency and flexibility in education.
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