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Curriculum & Leadership Journal
An electronic journal for leaders in education
ISSN: 1448-0743
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New publications

Is the No Child Left Behind Act Working? The Reliability of How States Track Achievement

Bruce Fuller, Kathryn Gesicki, Erin Kang, Joseph Wright

A working paper traces how 12 diverse states in the USA have reported on student achievement trends from 1992 to 2005. Trend lines often follow jagged, saw-tooth patterns over time, as state education officials change testing companies and shift the bar defining 'proficient' performance, and teachers spend more time on test preparation activities. The PACE research team confirmed earlier findings that many states report much higher shares of fourth-graders 'proficient' in reading and math, compared with the percentage of students found to be proficient under the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). Following the January 2002 passage of the No Child Left Behind Act, states have continued to report annual gains in reading proficiency, while the federal assessment indicates that fourth-graders' performance has levelled off. Together, these factors lead to state test score patterns that are difficult for parents and local educators to interpret. Recommendations are advanced for bringing state and federal testing systems into closer alignment. (Adapted from publisher's description.)


Subject Headings

Education policy
United States of America (USA)

The Wisdom of Practice: Essays on Teaching, Learning and Learning to Teach

Lee S Shulman
Jossey Bass, April 2004

The book brings together the individual publications of Shulman, a ‘pioneer in the field of teaching and teacher research’, to provide a comprehensive collection of his work on K–12 education. The essays in this volume consider a broad range of teaching and learning issues, including the critical knowledge and practical aspects of effective teaching, the necessary ingredients for quality teacher education programs, appropriate teacher assessment, educational research, educational reform and liberal education. The collection explores topics such as psychology and mathematics education, autonomy and obligation, historical perspectives on educational research, collaborative and community-based teaching and professional development. (Adapted from publisher’s description.)


Subject Headings

Teaching profession
Teaching and learning
Teacher training

Authentic Spoken Workplace Texts in the Classroom

T Pascal Brown

The book is designed to help ESL and careers teachers prepare ESL students for the workplace. Across seven chapters, the book identifies and explains the differences between the main features of workplace conversations. Each chapter explores one aspect of authentic workplace conversation and provides relevant transcribed texts, working models and a summary of relevant research findings. The book also outlines classroom activities, as provided by practising teachers. (Adapted from review by K Rushton in Scan, May 2006 and publisher’s description.)

Key Learning Areas


Subject Headings

English language teaching
English as an additional language

Pathways and Prospects: A Longitudinal Study of Young People Negotiating Transition after School (2003–2007)

Karen Vaughan, Josie Roberts, Ben Gardiner

This initial Pathways and Prospects report documents findings from the first two years of a four-year study into the early career and training choices and experiences of New Zealand school leavers. The project focuses on young people’s early experiences of career, with findings set to inform the development of the policies and systems supporting young people in transition. From 2003, annual in-depth interviews have been held with more than 100 young people from six areas: trades and public sector-based apprenticeships, military careers, tertiary education, youth training, employment, unemployment or ‘gap’ years. Alongside describing career choices and influences, participants’ share their experiences of career identity, discontinuity and ‘changes of heart’. Researchers note that careers tend to be seen as pathways that require flexible, adaptable decision making. The report suggests that career support groups and policies should be re-focused on helping students develop career development and management skills, rather than the current emphasis on advice and guidance. Adapted from publisher’s description. See also NCZER media release (Scoop.co.nz), 22 June 2006.


Subject Headings

New Zealand
Career education
Transitions in schooling

School Management in Transition: Schooling on the Edge

D Shuttleworth
Routledge/Falmer, August 2003

Based on an OECD study, this book analyses the impact of recent ‘neo-conservative agendas’ and the current focus on standards, testing and accountability on the role of school leaders in the USA, Britain, Japan, Mexico, Belgium, the Netherlands, Sweden, Greece and Hungary. The book explores the school leader’s recent role transition from teacher-administrator to quality control supervisor, and considers how some schools have dealt with the resulting issues. The author considers each country’s experience of decentralisation, testing, external assessment and privatisation, and explores related morale, recruitment and retention issues. The various management models employed to address these issues within each country are explained, with best practice examples highlighted. The author suggests that teachers and principals should be trained to meet the demands outlined, and offers management strategies for school leaders in the book’s concluding chapters. According to a review by Paul Becker in Journal of Educational Thought, the author fails to address the differences between neo-conservatism and scientific management, and does not consider the contexts of neo-conservative agendas. The book is written for school leaders, academics, researchers and policy makers. (Adapted from review in Journal of Educational Thought, Vol 39, No 3, 2005 and publisher’s description.)


Subject Headings

Great Britain
United States of America (USA)
School principals
School leadership

Building Australia's ICT Skills

ICT Skills Foresighting Working Group ICT Skills Foresighting Working Group

Recognising the importance of ICT’s contribution to Australia’s economic growth, this report identifies the skills and capabilities needed for the current and future development of the industry. The report has been released after concern over a lack of publicly available data on ICT skill requirements, and decreases in the number of ICT students and graduates. An analysis of current trends and potential developments for technologies is presented, and associated skills outlined. Possible options for better forecasting the future workforce needs of industry are suggested. The report explores the roles of schools, VET, universities and employers to ensure provision of the ICT skills highlighted. Recommendations focus on industry leadership; maintaining provision of and access to labour market intelligence; retention, retraining and upskilling; workforce attractiveness and ICT skills in school. In line with the report, the Australian Government has announced the creation of an open-access national ICT skills tracking and monitoring system. (Adapted from report and media release from Helen Conan, Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts, 21 June 2006.)


Subject Headings

Computers in society
Educational planning
Information and Communications Technology (ICT)