Welcome to StandardsWork!

Our Mission

Since 1992, StandardsWork, a nonprofit education consultancy has been working hand-in-hand with school districts, state agencies and civic groups around the country to improve student achievement. We are a mission-driven organization that helps communities, organizations and the schools and education programs, they support transform a vision of academic success into a better standard of education for all students. StandardsWork is known for designing breakthrough solutions, advancing best practices, and facilitating change with stakeholders inside and outside schools.

Our Vision
To create communities across the country in which educators, parents, business and civic leaders collaborate to achieve systemic lasting change, higher education standards and improved results for kids and adults.


Crash-Landing on Mars Results in Fun and Learning in STEM

April 2, 2015: In an effort to advance student learning, promote careers, and reduce drop-out rates across the country, StandardsWork has partnered with Lockheed Martin's Mission Systems & Training Group to develop a video game that is revolutionizing the way 9th and 10th graders are learning STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics).

Funded by the U.S. Department of Defense's Advanced Distributed Learning Co-Lab, this immersive educational tool – known as “The MARS GAME” – is creating an 'aha' moment for students, where they can begin to draw connections between what they're taught in school and how it can be applied to what they want to do and who they want to be once they graduate.

The MARS GAME transports students to the inhospitable planet Mars with a crash-landing. In order to stay alive and save their peers, players must work through a series of programming and mathematical problem-solving challenges. The mathematical learning objectives are derived from the Common Core State Mathematics Standards.

Led by Dr. Barbara Freeman, StandardsWork's team of learning scientists and instructional subject-matter experts used a rigorous evaluation methodology to ensure The MARS GAME content is as fun as it is effective in teaching STEM.

In addition to the quality of its content, the success of the game is also dependent upon the user experience. Lockheed Martin assembled an interdisciplinary team of engineers, programmers, game designers, graphic artists, audio engineers, and cognitive psychologists to ensure the game had the look and feel of a video game that students would actually want to play.

StandardsWork has conducted two studies on The MARS GAME prototype: a usability study, which was reported in EdTechDigest, and a randomized control trial on learning and engagement.

Not only did students who played The MARS GAME significantly outperform those students who used a supplemental web-based instruction, students using The MARS GAME repeatedly told us that they wanted to keep playing the game even after the game ended. Many students didn't even realize they were learning while they played. Among other interesting findings, boys and girls learned equally.

We presented these findings and demonstrated The MARS GAME at the US Ignite Conference hosted by NSF and George Washington University in March. A portion of the demo featuring members of our Lockheed Martin team is now on YouTube.

For the first time, The MARS GAME is featured in a student competition hosted at NASA's Goddard Space Center. 6-8th grade participants (members of the Patriots Technology Center STEM afterschool program) presented storyboards based on their research of Mars and gave oral reports, then played The MARS GAME. The overall winning team of three students was awarded a one week all expenses paid trip to Space Camp in Huntsville, AL this summer.

  • October 15, 2015: The MARS Game is a finalist in the 2015 Serious Game Competition at I/ITSEC!: The Interservice/Industry Training, Simulation and Education Conference (I/ITSEC) is the world's largest modeling, simulation, and training conference.

    July 02, 2015: NSF Features The MARS Game: The National Science Foundation features The MARS Game on their website this month. The MARS Rover game introduces education content in a fun and rewarding 3-D gaming experience.

    March 30, 2015: States Preparing to Implement College and Career Standards: In its second year, StandardsWork's College and Career Readiness (CCR) Standards-in-Action project for OCTAE is providing training and ongoing technical assistance (March 2015 through September 2016) to 12 state teams working to implement CCR standards statewide. The participating teams are immersed in the key advances in English language arts (ELA)/literacy and math through face-to-face training, direct experience with implementation tools, and individualized coaching and technical assistance targeted at supporting the state's standards-based reform efforts. Here's a Department of Education blog post on the first face-to-face training that was held in the Washington, DC area March 17-19, 2015. A second face-to-face training will held in September 2015.

  • November 7, 2013: Gains and Gaps in NAEP results: The District of Columbia was one of only three jurisdictions to produce NAEP gains in both subjects at both grade levels in the newly released NAEP report. StandardsWork led the DC standards development work (2004-07); those standards were graded by the Fordham Foundation in 2010. DC received an "A" for both the English Language Arts and Math standards. (See the full report here)
    U.S. Math, Reading Achievement Edges Up, But Gaps Remain

  • AUGUST 1, 2013: During its last meeting, The National Assessment Governing Board (NAGB) unanimously voted to elect Susan Pimentel to serve as the Board's Vice Chair for the term of October 1, 2013 through September 30, 2014. While the Governing Board's Chair is appointed by the U.S. Secretary of Education, the Vice Chair is elected annually by the Governing Board from among its current members. This is Pimentel's second term in the Vice Chair role. In addition to being StandardsWork's Co-founder, she is Lead Writer for the English Language Arts & Literacy Standards, for the Common Core State Standards Initiative; and Co-founder, Student Achievement Partners.

  • JULY 3, 2013: The American Board, a teacher certification nonprofit, was recently accepted as a post-9/11 G.I. Bill benefit for veterans, their spouses, and beneficiaries to make a difference in local classrooms as educators. - See more here.
    StandardsWork led the development of ABCTE teacher standards a decade ago.


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