This study examined the degree of alignment between instructional practices and national curriculum standards, which may vary as a function of teacher characteristics. Using self-reports from teachers about their experiences teaching the national curriculum standards, the study explored three aspects of the alignments: (1) topic coverage, (2) level of difficulty for teachers to teach, and (3) level of difficulty for students to learn. While topic coverage is determined by the percentage of the national curriculum standards topics taught during the year of 2008-2009, the level of teacher difficulty to teach and the level of student difficulty to learn are assessed using a scale from 1 (very easy) to 4 (very difficult). I used mixed multilevel regression analyses to examine the relationships between alignments and teacher characteristics. The study involved 501 junior secondary school teachers from three western provinces in Indonesia (Lampung, Jakarta, and East Java) who teach the following nationally-assessed subjects: Indonesian, English, science, and mathematics. The findings showed that the majority of teachers taught 100% of the topics that were outlined in the national curriculum standards. Teachers generally found the topics easy to teach; however, students had some difficulty understanding the topics. In terms of the relationships of alignments with teacher characteristics, the findings suggested that these relationships varied. Theoretically, this research provides two contributions. First, lacking research in the area of curriculum standards and classroom instruction as mediator of student competencies, the findings of this study make an important contribution to the current research of the standards-based education system. Second, predicting alignments as a function of teacher characteristics in this study contributes to the theoretical discussion of teacher characteristics. As practical implications, the low level of the students' understanding required by the national standards is a problem that requires great concern from the government at all levels. Regarding topics, there is an urgent need to identify the specific topics that teachers think are difficult for the students to understand.



College and Department

David O. McKay School of Education; Educational Leadership and Foundations



Date Submitted


Document Type





alignment, survey, curriculum standards, classroom instructional, topic coverage, level of difficulty, teacher characteristics, junior secondary school