What Is SCANS?

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All information in a computer system must be standardized and encoded.  That's what SCANS is all about.  It is the computer encoding system that defines the learning tasks and skills attained.  Since it is a common system that integrates education and workplace competencies, the codes between the education system and the workforce development system are the same.  

Notice that the same person chairs both the Idaho Workforce Development Council and the Idaho State Board of Education Assessment and Accountability Board.  Karen McGee is the chairwoman on both boards.  

Workforce Development Council 

Goal 1 Assess the needs of business and industry to enhance economic development, based on market sensitivity.

Goal II Establish a comprehensive workforce development delivery system

Goal III Support a comprehensive education system for all students K-16+ that includes rigorous school-based learning and relevant work-based learning.

Goal IV Provide opportunities for and encourage life-long skill development for Idaho's current and transitional workers.


Idaho State Board of Education, Assessment and Accountability Board.  



SCANS Coding System


Language Arts





** Note the difference between the language arts standards and the humanities standards.  The language arts guide cites the Idaho law that applies.  The Humanities standards manual was paid for by the Albertson’s Foundation.  This is a backdoor way of forcing changes in the curriculum.  On standardized national assessments, when the teacher doesn’t encode the humanities section, the school fails the assessment in that area.  That failure can then be reported to parents or in the news and parents think the school has failed because it didn’t meet the ‘standard’.  The local school board is then left to try and explain why they failed.   This is how local school boards lose control of the curriculum.  See pg 35 of Learning a Living to see how 'standards' are integrated outside the curriculum mandated by law.


Notice that in the Table of Contents, the descriptive term is preceded by a number. 


856.  Glossary of Humanities Terms

         01     Aesthetics.   A branch of philosophy that deals with issues of beauty…. the standards for judging and interpreting the significance of art. 

         26     Style.  An accustomed manner or method of creating or performing as sanctioned by an accepted standard


857.  Idaho Humanities Standards.  All Idaho students have the right to develop a basic understanding of the humanities disciplines….

         03      Humanities Standards Not A Curriculum Guide.   The Idaho Humanities Standards Outline essential information and skills and are not intended to be read as a curriculum guide.  The state standards set the goals for what a student in Idaho should know and be able to do in the humanities disciplines.  Local school districts provide classroom opportunities for students to produce measurable products that meet those standards. 


867 through 872 Visual and Performing Arts - Kindergarten through Grade 3

868.  Standard One

870   Standard Two [   Note… not all entries in the table were included for the sake of brevity.


Standard Breakout - By the end of grade 3, the student will

Content Knowledge and Skills

Samples of Applications

01.  Conduct analyses in the arts and humanities disciplines

a. Music

    1.  Recognize and respond to characteristics and content of various musical forms

     2. Examine music as a form of communication


ii. Match oral music terms with corresponding pictures


b. Visual Art

     2. Examine the visual arts as a form of communication

Using art reproductions, identify the four steps of art criticism (description, analysis, interpretation and evaluation


On an assessment form - or probably a computer system, the teacher might be selecting the descriptive elements, but the coding in the computer would be:

Standard             Opinion

87001b2                 1,2,3,4,5      Good…. Ok…. Bad Attitude   (I just made up the opinion codes)


Workforce codes -

The coding scheme of the workforce development system corresponds to the coding scheme of the schools. 


In the Language Arts guide, page 18, category 008  item 14:

Skills Certificate. Portable, industry recognized credential that certifies the holder has demonstrated competency on a core set of performance standards related to an occupational cluster area. Serving as a signal of skill mastery at benchmark levels, skill certificates may assist students in finding work within their community, state, or elsewhere.  A National Skills Standards Board is presently charged with issuing skill voluntary standards in selected occupations based on the result of research and development work completed by twenty-two (22) contractors.


Page 19, Category 009  Item 03

Total Quality Management.  A systematic approach to standardizing and increasing the efficiency of internal systems and processes, whether in a business or a school, using statistical and management tools for continuous improvement. Emphasis is on documenting effective processes, committing to meet customers’ needs and sharing decisions. 


Codes in the computer would be something like

00814X   where X is a code for Yes or No.  

00903N   where N is a number corresponding to ‘attitude’.    1= Future brown-noser, 5=Thinks and acts independently.  (5 is a failure in this system)


"Students would be free to use their resumes in seeking employment or further education at any time.  Employers could be expected to demand from students the highest level of certification that the job demands (i.e. high-performance (SCANS) workplaces can demand high skills including for the  CIM - [Certificate of Initial Mastery]).  It would be up to the consumers of this information--employers." p xix.  

"In addition to formal schooling, learning takes place through employers and work-based education.  This learning should continue for a life-time, supported by the human resource functions of recruiting, developing, and retaining employees.  Workplace education produces portable certificates that are valued in many workplaces." p xx


"In addition to the education-based assessment, a way to assess and certify persons who are already in the workforce (an experienced-based assessment) is needed.  The Federal Government, some private firms, and a coalition of trade associations in the hospitality industry have begun the hard work that will lead to the needed assessment tools." p xx

"Information should flow from employers to educators through recruiting and employment development activities, including the ways in which employees progress up career ladders.  Educators, in turn, should inform employers of the workplace competencies that students have attained. p xx


Information Flow Diagram from page 73 of "Learning A Living".