Curriculum Reform: Forwards or Backwards?

  • Warwick Elley


In April 1993, the Minister of Education launched the New Zealand Curriculum Framework, which sets out the essential skills and achievement objectives to be developed in every school. During the year, also, the detailed national statements of aims and standards for Mathematics and Science were published, along with suggested instructional activities and assessment tasks. In addition the draft statement for English was released in October, for comment, and work was well advanced on the Technology and Social Science curricula. The Government’s hope is that these various documents would “specify clear objectives” and identify “for boards of trustees, teachers, students, parents and the wider community a progression of desirable standards of learning – against which students’ progress can be assessed” (Ministry of Education, 1993a). This is the hallmark of the reformed curricula – that the progression in each subject be clearly specified. The standards are spelled out in the form of eight successive levels in each learning area and students’ progress is to be assessed in relation to these levels.

These statements are the first curriculum documents to be developed under the Ministry’s new contract system, and it remains to be seen whether they will acquire sufficient levels of teacher ownership and attract sufficient resourcing and teacher development to be successfully implemented, as intended....


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Author Biography

Warwick Elley
How to Cite
ELLEY, Warwick. Curriculum Reform: Forwards or Backwards?. The New Zealand Annual Review of Education, [S.l.], n. 3, dec. 1993. ISSN 1178-3311. Available at: <>. Date accessed: 25 oct. 2020. doi:


Curriculum and Subject Specialties