Asked Questions About AERO
What is Project AERO?
American Education Reaches Out (AERO), began as
a project to adapt the U. S. national standards in Mathematics,
Science, Language Arts and Social Studies to serve the needs
of multi-national student bodies. Over the years, standards have
also been developed in Music, Visual Arts and World Languages.
In addition, three other components have been added: AERO:SAW,
which provides a focus on standards-based assessment, AERO:SBC,
which is a collection of week-long summer institutes on curriculum
design, and OSAC-funded AERO mini-workshops, which are one to
two-day introductions to the principles taught more deeply in
the summer institutes.
was conceived and overseen by the Near East South Asia Council
of Overseas Schools (NESA) and conducted
by the former Council
for Basic Education (CBE), a non-profit group with extensive
experience in developing standards at the local, state and
national level. Funding for the project came from the Overseas
Schools Advisory Council (OSAC) and the U.S. State Department’s
Office of Overseas Schools. The AERO standards and benchmarks
for mathematics and science were made public in Spring 2001;
language arts standards were released a year later, and social
studies standards were released in 2003. The later standards
in Music, Visual Arts and World Languages were completed
in January 2007. By developing these standards and benchmarks,
Project AERO hoped to provide a framework for curriculum
in overseas schools with high teacher turnover and ensure
that challenging curricula and meaningful assessments would
the norm for American students overseas.
the direction of CBE, representatives of twelve international
their expertise to the project, working together
as a team twice a year, and extensively at the school sites
to discuss and refine the standards and benchmarks to ensure
they were appropriate for the international school community.
The twelve schools were: American Community School, Amman;
American Cooperative School, Tunis; American International
American International School, Johannesburg; International
School of Luxembourg; American International School, Riyadh;
International School, Tel Aviv; American School Foundation,
Monterrey, Mexico; International School of Islamabad; International
Schools Group, Dhahran; Nido de Aguilas International School,
and Singapore American School.
the completion of the first sets of standards and benchmarks,
three other elements have been
added to Project AERO. The first
was AERO:SAW, developed out of CBE’s Schools Around the
World Project. Twelve schools initially piloted AERO:SAW, using
the AERO Standards as the basis for designing and evaluating
assessments of student learning. Since then, numerous schools
and individual teachers have participated in AERO:SAW training
and have implemented the process in their home schools.
element added to Project AERO was AERO: SBC, or Standards-Based
Curriculum. AERO:SBC has been delivered in week-long summer
institutes in the Washington, D.C. area. The AERO faculty leads
and administrator participants from overseas schools through
an intensive introduction to the principles of backward unit
design, including the development of assessments, rubrics and
instructional plans that are standards-based and student-centered.
Participants gain greater knowledge of the subject-specific
standards and benchmarks and become familiar with the backward
of curriculum writing.
The third element added to Project AERO
was the development of other support courses which are also
offered during the annual
summer institute. The first is Curriculum Mapping which addresses
the needs of a school to review its existing curriculum and
determine its correlation to the standards. This process helps
systematically plan for curriculum improvement. The second
course, Academic Leaders, is designed for those staff who serve
in a curriculum capacity. The content addresses the issues
related to institutional change and provides steps for action
to achieve that change. A third course, Using MAP, Additional
Data Sources and Instructional Strategies to Improve Learning
has been added as well. (MAP is the Measures of Academic Progress
developed by NWEA and used in many international schools.)
This course provides instruction and support for interpreting
and applying the results of that analysis to classroom instruction
to improve student learning.
How does a school obtain the AERO Standards?
The AERO Standards and Frameworks are available
for any school interested in adopting or adapting them for use.
They can be downloaded from the AERO Web site.
How can the AERO Standards be used in an IB School?
Schools with IB programs use the AERO Standards
in various ways. Some expect students to meet the standards by
the end of grade 10 and then use the IB as the basis for the
curriculum for the last two years of high school. Another choice
is to maintain the AERO Standards through grade 12 for students
not enrolled in the full IB program.
In schools that follow the Primary Years Program and/or Middle
Years Program, AERO provides a clear, measurable set of expectations
for content knowledge and skills that integrate with the curriculum
design criteria for PYP and MYP.
Who is using the AERO Standards?
Because the standards can be obtained from the
Web site, it is impossible to determine how many schools are
using the standards as a basis for the curriculum. However, so
far over 1800 faculty from over 400 international schools have
participated in AERO training. Ninety-eight schools around the
world are implementing standards that are AERO-based.
What is the Common Core?
The Common Core project is an initiative in the United States that originated
because each of the fifty states had its own set of academic
standards. The result was that public education students at the
same grade level in different states were expected to achieve
at different levels. The States’ Chief School Officers and the
State Governors initiated a project to develop common standards
in Mathematics and English/Language Arts. Among the criteria
for developing the new standards were:
Forty eight states signed on to support the
development of the standards. The process brought together subject
experts, practitioners, representatives from the subject professional
organizations, and others. Drafts were shared with the states
and feedback was encouraged. Final copies were then shared with
the states. To date, 46 states, the District of Columbia, and
the U.S. Virgin Islands have agreed to replace their original
standards with the Common Core standards. Those states that have
adopted the Common Core are now working on implementation strategies
and assessment tools.
What is AERO’s Relationship to the Common
AERO’s mission is to provide the best standards
for schools abroad with American curriculums. To that end, we
have carefully monitored the work of the Common Core initiative.
Coincidentally, while the Common Core standards were being developed,
we were conducting our own review of the original AERO Math and
English standards. This enabled us to align our work with the
national effort. Once we completed the revised AERO Mathematics
Framework, we conducted a “crosswalk” with the Common Core standards’
document to be sure that the two documents complement and support
each other. In a similar fashion, the work to complete the revised
AERO English Framework has paralleled the development of the
Common Core English/Language Arts standards. We are confident
that the AERO Frameworks in Mathematics and English/Language
Arts stand on their own merit and work concurrently with the
Common Core documents.
Why Should a School Choose AERO over the Common
Do we have to use the AERO Standards if we participate in AERO
No, schools are not required to implement the standards to participate.
How do schools or individuals participate in AERO training?
training is presented in various ways. First of all, our
faculty present at the regional conferences held
in various locations around the world. These training sessions
are open to anyone attending the conferences. Secondly, AERO
offers a Summer Institute each year in the Washington, D.C.
area. Information and application materials are sent to schools
January of each year. Applications are forwarded to the AERO
office by March for review. Selection is based on several
criteria, including the school’s relationship with American Overseas
Schools. Thirdly, AERO faculty members conduct some on-site
training for school staffs. This training is done on a limited
most of our faculty are on school staffs themselves and unable
to travel extensively.