Therefore, formulation and subsequent application of policies is a characteristic aspect of democratic environments (Fischer and Miller, 77). Policy formulation and application processes tend to be dynamic in nature rather than being static. There is always a constant need to revise and introduce new policies as a means of responding to changes in operating environments.
The continuous need for policy change ushers in the corresponding need for policy analysis exercises. After conception of each policy framework, there is an inherently remote yet distinct possibility that the framework will not address perceived challenges in a holistic manner. As a response to shortcomings of a given policy framework, policy makers embark on another journey of developing advanced policy provisions. Each time a policy system is created; underlying problems coupled with desired objectives serves as the directional tools of the entire process (Fischer and Miller, 83). This element of directionality explains why policy analysis exercises are carried out in a procedural manner. One step always comes before or after another rationally adjacent step. For illustrational purposes, all the procedural steps of policy analysis will be employed in examination of Common Core State Standards, an example of policy initiative used by the American education system.
This is the first step in policy analysis process. Also, problem identification feature as one of the most important step in deriving the directional aspect of policy formulation. Shallow and subjective identification of an underlying problem will lead to a correspondingly subjective conclusion. However, deep comprehension of a problem in hand ensures that subsequent steps in a policy process facilitate development of efficient solutions. With respect to the Common Core State Standards initiative, the underlying problem was low performance capabilities by high school graduates.