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The Learning Conference 2003

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Presentation Details


Curriculum Reform In New South Wales, Australia: A Comparison Of Mathematics Teachers’ Views With Other Subject Areas

Paul Ayres, John McCormick, Bernice Beechey.

This paper reports part of a study on teachers’ perceptions of major curriculum reform in New South Wales, Australia. The NSW Higher School Certificate, a high stakes, public, end-of-schooling examination has recently been reformed with major changes to syllabi, assessment and reporting; the first cohort completed the examination in 2001. The aim of this research was to investigate teachers’ perceptions of the impact of the changes on their work and motivation. The extensive nature of the changes offered a unique opportunity to study a range of phenomena related to teachers’ work. Because of the many issues involved, it was expected that the changes studied would be sources of stress (not necessarily negative) for teachers which could be expected to have important ramifications for teacher motivation and the success, or otherwise, of the curriculum innovations. Consequently this study was designed within a theoretical framework derived from established theories of motivation and occupational stress, including Albert Bandura’s (1997) social cognitive theory.

The principal focus of the paper is to discuss mathematics teacher' views of the curriculum reform and how they compare with other subject teachers. Quantitative and qualitative data are presented. Measures of teacher self-efficacy and stress related to the innovation, as well as general perceptions about the implementation are reported. In particular, the following issues are discussed: teaching the syllabus to students of differing abilities and literacy levels, using new technology, workload, interpreting the new syllabus, standards referencing, speed of implementation, development and availability of new resources.


Paul Ayres  (Australia)
The School of Education
University of New South Wales

John McCormick

Bernice Beechey

  • Major curriculum reform in NSW
  • Mathematics teachers' views
  • Comparative data

(30 min Conference Paper, English)