Factory model schools feature: top-down management, separation from the community, emphasis on behavior and school management, centralized planning, standardization, outcomes designed to meet societal needs, and efficiency in producing results. These characteristics are compared to the factory system of production.
They employ direct instruction methods: a teacher drilled information into the class in "assembly line fashion", the students learn by rote copying and memorization, and they are then tested on the information presented to them. This method is also referred to as "sage on the stage".
The Factory model also features depersonalization, strict hierarchy of authority, uniformity over innovation, process and procedure, and standardization of curriculum, testing, class sizes, time periods, and learning rates.
The origins of factory model education date back to the Prussian educational system introduced into what is now eastern Germany in the late 18th century by Frederick the Great. It was brought to national attention by Horace Mann after a visit to Prussia in 1843. Mann, then secretary of the Massachusetts board of education has been styled as "the father of the American public school system."
He studied many educational systems before promoting and introducing universal, free, and secular education based on the Prussian model as the most efficient way known to teach literacy on a large scale. Within six decades every state in the USA had introduced a similar system.