Standards First, Inc. founded in 2016: Margaret Kilgo founded Standards First, Inc. to place an important focus on the national standards, the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and the Texas Curriculum Standards, Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS/SEs), in Reading, Writing, Mathematics, and Science.

The purposes of Standards First, Inc. are to

  • promote equity of educational opportunity for all students,
  • communicate accurate information about national and state standards and standardized assessments,
  • document the relationship between students’ academic journey toward college readiness and a standards-based instructional program, grades 1-12,
  • provide accurate and transparent reports to parents and educators identifying the “gaps” in a student’s or group of students’ academic journey toward college readiness based on standardized assessment results and provide standards-based intervention strategies,
  • provide in-depth, research-based workshops for teacher and administrator training on the meaning and intent of national (CCSS) and Texas standards (TEKS/SEs),
  • provide K-12 educators with processes, strategies, and tools facilitating the effective implementation of the national or state standards, including:
    • a copyrighted process for using analytics and data-driven decisions for making six key decisions to implement and maintain a standards-based instructional program with a college readiness focus,
    • curriculum planning pacing charts with recommendations for the order and timeline for teaching the standards with flexibility for customizing these charts based on local district student performance data,
    • a collaborative teacher team process for standards-based lesson planning focused on Treasure Hunts to locate the best lessons for standards alignment, and
    • a copyrighted assessment process for developing standards-aligned assessment questions without multiple-choice to create a test bank of questions to be used for common teacher-made tests for equity and continuity.
    • recognize school districts and campuses meeting the criteria of a "Standards First" district and/or campus.

The college entrance exams, including the new, revised 2016 SAT and 2014 ACT are 100% aligned with the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and the international assessments in Reading, Writing, and Mathematics.  The 2009 English Language Arts/Reading Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS/SEs) are about 80% aligned in Reading and Writing. The 2012 Mathematics TEKS/SEs are 100% aligned with the college entrance exams.

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Multiple-choice practice is “testing students, not teaching students.” The United States is the “scan-tron nation” using multiple-choice. In most countries of the world students must “show their work” on standardized assessments and are not given the answers and required to select an answer from multiple-choice options.

In order to significantly improve student achievement for all students, state legislatures should allocate funds for national and state standardized assessments with constructive response questions that require students to “show their work” instead of using selective (multiple-choice) response questions. Constructive response questions in which students must “show their work” to have a correct response on standardized assessments would significantly improve student achievement in the United States and dramatically improve USA students’ rank on international assessments.