Article Summary

The article that I decided to look up relates to the topic of standardization and the curriculum. The article I selected was by Wayne Au (2011) Teaching under the new Taylorism: High Stakes Testing and the standardization of the 21st-century curriculum. In this article, Au argues that the role of standardized testing in our 21st-century curriculum. Au states that “standardized testing in the US represent a form of New Taylorism…testing is connected to issues of control over the classroom practices” (p. 38). Standardization in classrooms is based on the hope of a product and the efficiency to reach said product.

Au compares the Taylorism of the early 1900s to today’s curriculum in the 21st century. The most significant indicator that Au points out is that:

“The application of scientific management in the early 1900s was used to expand public education to the growing masses of students, today’s New Taylorism is serving the opposite function: It is being used as a lever to attack and potentially even shrink US public education (p.40).

The use of public education as a political tool to “advance conservative politics” (p.40). Shows an agenda that is not open to everyone.

This article points out the fundamental flaws of standardization in the curriculum. However, there is good with standardization in the curriculum as well. In my research paper, I want to look at articles that highlight the positives of standardization in the curriculum and recommendations to improve the curriculum for the better of students regardless if they are from a view of pro-standardization or not.


Au, W. (2011). Teaching under the new Taylorism: high‐stakes testing and the standardization of the 21stcentury curriculum. Journal of Curriculum Studies, 43(1), 25–45. doi: 10.1080/00220272.2010.521261



Curriculum Development Response

The traditionalist perspective in regards to curriculum development is most commonly used in Canada. I have experienced the tyler rationale in my own schooling and I feel that the majority of my schooling has been from a traditional curricular development approach. Following the 4 fundamental questions as stated in Smith’s (2000) and Curriculum Theory and Development;

1. What educational purposes should the school seek to attain?
2. What educational experiences can be provided that are likely to attain these purposes?
3. How can these educational experiences be effectively organized?
4. How can we determine whether these purposes are being attained?
(Tyler 1949, p1).

These questions focus on behavioural outcomes in students. My schooling was focused on learning set objectives through differents teachings, lessons which are taught in an organized way, and tests to evaluate whether or not I have learned the certain objectives that were desired.

Some of the limitations to the tyler rationale are that “ the plan or programme assumes great importance” (Smith, 2000, p.4). This takes away from the freedom of voice of students. Smith explains that “They are told what they must learn and how they will do it” (p.4). Also, there are limitations to the measurement of the learning objectives as personal judgement is ineffective and is more focused around indicators.

Some positives in Tyler’s rationale are the structure and organization. The questions can be used to provide clear educational outcomes, determine the different ways of instruction and set up a proper assessment of desired outcomes.

Commonsense Response

In Kumashiro’s article, The Problem with Commonsense (2009), he defines common sense as something that is routine and commonplace (2009). Relating to an education standpoint, he describes that schools should be doing in a way to educate students. The keyword is should as This includes how a teacher should teach subjects and what certain subjects are required to be taught. Commonsense usually gets us to conform to these norms in our environment because we do not want to be seen as different. Common sense provides us with comfort when we follow said norms and are shown and are taught that effective and favourable outcomes are the result of following said norms

It is important that we pay attention to commonsense because it is how our lives and others are shaped. Common sense values change due to the environment around us. For example, Kumashrio was able to see the commonsense of people in Nepal and how it differed from his teachings and everyday life routines. The commonsense for one person is completely different from another person and this shapes how they behave in the world. Another reason why it is important to pay attention to commonsense because of how it is difficult to challenge the commonsensical ideas and often have oppressive values. The difficulty in challenging commonsense is because people see that feel comfortable about the following norms and do not want to experience discomfort in challenging the norms. Kumashiro states “the norms of schooling, like the norms of society, privilege and benefits some groups and identities while marginalizing and subordinating others on the basis of race, class, gender, sexual orientation, religion, disabilities, language, age, and other social values (p.36)”. Due to the fact that these norms are deemed as “right”, they often go unnoticed to us. This lack of awareness if especially prevalent to the people who benefit due to these norms. Common sense shapes the way we are. However commonsense for one person may not be commonsense to another.