A Critical Summary

The journal article “Teaching under the New Taylorism: High-Stakes Testing and the Standardization of the 21st Century Curriculum” written by Wayne Au, focuses on the standardization of education in the 21st century. In order to explore this topic, Au focuses on what standardization means for the teacher, and how it affects what is being taught, as well as how it is being taught. In most of the article, Au talks about the standardization of teaching and what it means to teach under this new standardization. Au discussed how teaching has become more and more consistent. For example, a grade 2 teacher at one end of the country should be saying and teaching the same thing as a grade 2 teacher on the other end of the country, regardless of the different social cultures specific to that region. Au also discussed “the binder,” which tells teachers not only what to teach and how to teach it, but also what the teachers have to say. This planned curriculum leaves the teachers merely speakers for the already planned, organized, and scripted curriculum. 

The other part of the journal article focuses on the standardization of testing. Au compares the concept of standardized testing to a working factory. He claims that standardized testing is used to reduce the individual student to just a score. Regardless of these students’ home life, individual needs, or personal interests, they became a test score. Au discussed how these tests made schooling and success more about the score of a test compared to the masses instead of personal growth and achievement. Au also discussed how these standardized tests impact the concept of teaching and teachers as well. These standardized tests showed how well the student understood the curriculum. Meaning many students failing the tests shows poorly on the teacher because it means the teacher failed to teach “the binder” correctly. Au argues that the standardization of testing both neglects the individuality of the child, and is a means of judging the teacher. 

The next steps I have in this assignment are to read the other two articles I have selected. As I read each article, I need to keep in mind how it contributes to or disputes my focus article. I want to look to see if either article mentions some of the topics in my summary, and how these different authors view the same topic. Maybe I will make a T-chart with similarities and differences, or maybe just a page of notes on each article so it will be easier to organize my thoughts when writing my critical analysis. 

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