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Teaching under the new Taylorism: high-stakes testing and the standardization of the 21st century curriculum

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The application of the principles of scientific management within the structure, organization, and curriculum of public schools in the US became dominant during the early 1900s. Based upon research evidence from the modern day era of high-stakes testing in US public education, the fundamental logics guiding scientific management have resurfaced 100 years later, as teachers' classroom practises are increasingly standardized by high-stakes testing and scripted curriculum. As such, this paper offers a critical analysis of the changes made to teaching in modern times and argues that public school teachers in the US are teaching under what might be considered the 'New Taylorism', where their labour is controlled vis-a-vis high-stakes testing and pre-packaged, corporate curricula aimed specifically at teaching to the tests.

Keywords: critical analysis; curriculum research; educational assessment; prescriptive teaching

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: University of Washington - Bothell, Bothell, WA

Publication date: February 1, 2011

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