This article reports on a study of teachers in New South Wales (Australia) and their practices surrounding outcomes assessment and reporting, which took place in 2003 and 2004 as a follow-up to a major study in 1995. The study explored whether the main focus of a teacher's work involves planning, teaching, assessing, rewarding and sharing in their classroom and with colleagues, and whether this focus suffered many distractions in the flurry of reforms of the past decade. One example of 'changing times' in the classroom has been the devolution of school management, which caused a number of diversions of energy and time away from teaching and learning. Yet even in the area of curriculum schools were struggling with a range of issues, many brought on by the advent of outcomes-based curricula. In seeking to change what happens in schools, teachers argued that they needed clear and well-argued reasons to change. This article thus provides an update on the relevant research, beginning with national and international experiences, before a discussion of workload, the place of parents and school organizational effects. One finding is that alongside a 'crowded curriculum', teaching has become a 'crowded profession'. The article concludes with reflections on how changing times in the classroom mean social reform as well as educational reform, in which teaching and learning shape effects and consequences from educational events so that knowledge grows through experiences, measuring possibilities not outcomes.
International Studies in Sociology of Education Vol. 15, Issue 1, p. 31-48