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'Lost at Sea': New Teachers' Experiences with Curriculum and Assessment


The authors of this paper interviewed 1st- and 2nd-year teachers working in a wide range of Massachusetts public schools to better understand their experiences with curriculum, state standards, and high-stakes tests. Even in a state with a highly developed system of standards and accountability, the study found that new teachers received little guidance about what to teach and how to teach it and as a result they struggled in their day to day work. "The absence of a coherent curriculum has implications for student achievement and teacher retention in that students may learn less than they otherwise might, and many new teachers who could have succeeded with more support may leave teaching prematurely because of the overwhelming nature of the work and the pain of failing in the classroom. This suggests an urgent need to reconsider the curricula and support provided to new teachers."

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