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American Educator
Summer 2002


Table of Contents

The Cascading Benefits of a Common, Coherent Curriculum

When a curriculum is of high quality and taught to all students across a state or country, the benefits can be great. This special section tells why.

A Coherent Curriculum (PDF)
The Case of Mathematics
By William Schmidt, Richard Houang, and Leland Cogan

A new analysis shows that the mathematics curricula used in the highest achieving countries are very similar—and very coherent. Through a stunning visual comparison, we can see where the U.S. comes up short. We've all heard that curricula in the U.S. are a "mile wide and an inch deep." Here's the research behind the rhetoric.

The Cascading Benefits
The Benefit to Equity
The Benefit to Subject-Matter Knowledge
The Benefit to Professional Development
Getting There in America


Lost at Sea
Without a Curriculum, Navigating Instruction Can Be Tough
By David Kauffman, Susan Moore Johnson, Susan M. Kardos, Edward Liu, and Heather G. Peske

Without a curriculum to guide them, new teachers in Massachusetts struggle to figure out what to teach—and have little time to figure out how to teach.

A Test Worth Teaching To
The IB's course Guides and Exams Make a Good Marriage
By Robert Rothman

A test can be standardized without being silly and rigorous without being "gotcha." The International Baccalaureate shows how test (yes, tests) can serve instruction, not weaken it. Though the IB has traditionally enrolled top students, its ideas about curriculum and testing make sense for all.

Excerpts From the IB History Exam
Teaching for the Test and the Students

Ask the Cognitive Scientist
Allocating Student Study Time: "Massed" versus "Distributed" Practice
By Daniel T. Willingham

It is more effective to have students study the same topic once or twice—or to stretch the same amount of study time over several sessions? In this new column, we offer readers insights from the world of cognitive science. This issue's topic: the evidence for the "spacing effect," plus ideas for applying these findings in your classroom.

What Television Chases Out of Life
By Marie Winn

Let's stop worrying about content of children's TV programs—and start wondering about the family (and academic) life that TV is displacing.

What TV Chases Out of the Classroom

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About American Educator

American Educator is a quarterly journal of educational research and ideas published by the American Federation of Teachers. Recent articles have focused on such topics as reducing the achievement gap between poor and affluent students, heading off student discipline problems, teaching an appreciation and understanding of democracy, the benefits of a common coherent curriculum, and other issues affecting children and education here and abroad. Total circulation, as of our most recent issue, is over 900,000.

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