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Curriculum Leadership
Fifth Edition
Curriculum Leadership
Strategies for Development and Implementation
Fifth Edition
Allan A. Glatthorn
Floyd Boschee
Professor Emeritus
The University of South Dakota
Bruce M. Whitehead
Retired School Principal
The University of Montana
Bonni F. Boschee
Assistant Professor of Humanities
Beacon College
SAGE Publications, Inc.
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Copyright © 2019 by SAGE Publications, Inc.
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permission in writing from the publisher.
Printed in the United States of America
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
ISBN 978-1-5063-6317-2
This book is printed on acid-free paper.
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Brief Contents
1. Preface
1. • Chapter 1 The Nature of Curriculum
2. • Chapter 2 Curriculum History: The Perspective of the Past
3. • Chapter 3 Curriculum Theory
4. • Chapter 4 The Politics of Curriculum
1. • Chapter 5 Curriculum Planning
2. • Chapter 6 Improving the Program of Studies
3. • Chapter 7 Improving a Field of Study
4. • Chapter 8 Processes for Developing New Courses and Units
1. • Chapter 9 Supervising the Curriculum: Teachers and Materials
2. • Chapter 10 Curriculum Development and Implementation
3. • Chapter 11 Aligning the Curriculum
4. • Chapter 12 Curriculum and Teacher Evaluation
1. • Chapter 13 Current Developments in the Subject Fields
2. • Chapter 14 Current Developments Across the Curriculum
3. • Chapter 15 Individualizing the Curriculum
6. Glossary
7. Index
8. About the Authors
Detailed Contents
Chapter 1 The Nature of Curriculum
The Concept of Curriculum
The Types of Curricula
The Recommended Curriculum
The Written Curriculum
The Supported Curriculum
The Taught Curriculum
The Tested Curriculum
The Learned Curriculum
Components of the Curriculum
Curricular Policies
Curricular Goals
Fields of Study
Programs of Study
Courses of Study
Units of Study
The Mastery, the Organic, and the Enrichment Curricula
The Hidden Curriculum
The Constants of the Hidden Curriculum
The Variables of the Hidden Curriculum
Case Study: Bridging the Gap Between Theory and Practice
The Challenge
Key Issues or Questions
Chapter 2 Curriculum History: The Perspective of the Past
Academic Scientism (1890–1916)
The Predominant Trends
The Exemplary Leaders
Progressive Functionalism (1917–1940)
The Predominant Trends
The Exemplary Leaders
Developmental Conformism (1941–1956)
The Predominant Trends
The Exemplary Leaders
Scholarly Structuralism (1957–1967)
The Predominant Trends
The Exemplary Leaders
Romantic Radicalism (1968–1974)
The Predominant Trends
The Exemplary Leaders
Privatistic Conservatism (1975–1989)
The Predominant Trends
The Exemplary Leaders
Technological Constructionism (1990–1999)
The Predominant Trends
The Exemplary Leaders
Modern Conservatism (2000–2009)
The Predominant Trends
The Exemplary Leaders
Technological Functionalism (2010–Present)
The Predominant Trends
The Exemplary Leaders
A Century Plus of Curriculum Trends in Retrospect
Case Study: Curriculum Approaches Can Challenge Administrators
The Challenge
Key Issues or Questions
Chapter 3 Curriculum Theory
The Nature and Function of Curriculum Theory
Curriculum as Praxis
Linear Thinkers
Holistic Teachers
Laissez-Faire Advocates
Critical Theorists
Leadership in Curriculum Theory
Classifying Curriculum Theories
Structure-Oriented Theories
Value-Oriented Theories
Content-Oriented Theories
Process-Oriented Theories
A System for Examining Curricular Processes
Alternative Curriculum Approaches
Curriculum as Transmission of Information
Curriculum as End Product
Curriculum as Process
Curriculum as Praxis or Awareness
Organizational Leadership Models
Burke–Litwin Model
Research Theory Into Practical Application
Melding Theory and Research Into Best Practice
On-the-Ground Connections
New and Aspiring Teacher–Leaders as Partners
Changing Curriculum: Theory Into Practice
Complex Issues Involving Accountability
Socioeconomic Challenges, Tolerance, and Cultural Capital
Technology as a Catalyst of Change
The Theoretical School of the Future
Case Study: Integrating Curriculum Theory
The Challenge
Key Issues or Questions
Chapter 4 The Politics of Curriculum
Myths About U.S. Schools
Political, Cultural, and Socioeconomic Realities
An Overview of the Curriculum Influence Process
The Role of the Federal Government
Scholarly Structuralism (1957–1967)
Romantic Radicalism (1968–1974)
Privatistic Conservatism (1975–1989)
Technological Constructionism (1990–1999)
Modern Conservatism (2000–2009)
Technological Functionalism (2010–Present)
Common Core State Standards
Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA)
State Role in Curriculum
Education Is Becoming a State Function
The Role of Professional Organizations
National Accreditation and Teacher Preparation
Guiding Preservice Teachers
Increasing Role of the Courts and Congress
Local Education
A Principal’s Political View of Schools
The Classroom Teacher
Internal Pressures
External Pressures
Technology and Elements of Change
Perceptions Regarding Curriculum Influence in Your State
Case Study: Building a Political Firewall
The Challenge
Key Issues or Questions
Chapter 5 Curriculum Planning
Goal-Based Model of Curriculum Planning
Locus of Planning Decisions
Organizational Structures
District Curriculum Advisory Council
Local School Advisory Council
Curriculum Task Forces
Community Participation–Cultural Awareness
Identification and Allocation of Leadership
Importance of Integrity
Alignment of Educational Goals
Formulating a Curriculum Database
Planning a Calendar
Conducting a Needs Assessment
Organization and Evaluation of Resources
Teacher-Powered Professional Learning
Creating Teacher-Led Professional-Learning Strategies
The Rule of Three
Early-Out Time for Students
Send Pairs of Individuals to Workshops and Seminars
Substitute Rotation
Free Consulting Services
Schedule Adjustment
College and University Preservice Programs
School, University, or College Partnerships
Curriculum and Technology Cooperatives
Community Resources
Management Planning Matrix
Global Connections: Research and Practice
Case Study: Involving Community and Teacher-Leaders
The Challenge
Key Issues or Questions
Chapter 6 Improving the Program of Studies
Reconceptualizing Programs of Study
Interdisciplinary Courses
Restructured Programs of Study
Improving the Program of Studies
Improving Low-Performing Schools
Using Pacing Guides
Closing the Achievement Gap
Developing Dynamic Knowledge
Developing Learner Interaction and Curriculum Integration
Operationalizing Change and Reform
Developing Balanced Assessments
Using Standards and Outcome Statements
Aligning District Goals and the Curriculum
Correlating Curricula
Analyzing Resources Allocated to Curricula
Importance of Data Analysis in Assessment
Assessing Learner and Cultural Needs
Improving the Program of Studies
Assessing Constituent Satisfaction
Global Connections
Finland’s Model
Case Study: Data Before Concepts
The Challenge
Key Issues or Questions
Chapter 7 Improving a Field of Study
Reconceptualizing Fields of Study
Diagnostic–Prescriptive Models
Elective Models
Role of Collaborative Leadership
Improving the Field of Study
Rationale for a Teacher-Centered Process
Student-Centered Process
Prepare to Teach Culturally Diverse Classrooms
Establish Educational Project Parameters
Orient for Mastery
Mapping the Desired Curriculum
Refine the Map
Developing and Selecting Curriculum Materials
Suggest Time Allocations
Ensuring Curriculum Change
Case Study: Providing Diverse Teaching Strategies
The Challenge
Key Issues or Questions
Chapter 8 Processes for Developing New Courses and Units
The Technological Process of Curriculum Planning
Determine Course Parameters
Assess the Needs of the Learners
Identify Course Objectives
Sequence and Cluster Course Objectives
Identify Learning Activities
Select Instructional Materials
Identify Assessment Methods
Develop the Curriculum Guide
The Technological Model Summarized
The Naturalistic Process of Curriculum Planning
Assess Alternatives: Academic, Cultural, and Social
Stake Out the Territory
Develop a Constituency
Build the Knowledge Base
Plan Quality Learning Experiences
Develop the Course Examination
Develop the Learning Scenarios
The Naturalistic Model Summarized
The Inverse Design Process of Curriculum Planning
Preparing Schools for New Beginnings With Technology
A Three-Dimensional Assessment Matrix
Global Connections: Dual Systems in Korea
Case Study: When Trivial Becomes Tragic
The Challenge
Key Issues and Questions
Chapter 9 Supervising the Curriculum: Teachers and Materials
Supervising the Taught Curriculum: Current Approaches
Hunter’s “Essential Elements”
Farrell’s “Backwards Model”
Glickman, Gordon, and Ross-Gordon’s “Developmental Supervision”
Costa and Garmston’s “Cognitive Coaching”
Elements of Supervision
Understanding Change
Differentiated Professional Development
Professional Learning
Informal (Walk-Throughs) Observations
Instructional Rounds: The Art and Science of Teaching
What Teachers Can Learn
Individual Development
Maslow’s Theory of Human Needs
The Interrelationship of Processes
Supervising the Supported Curriculum
Determine How Teachers Will Allocate Space
Board Policy
Appoint the Textbook Adoption Committee
Prepare the Committee
Textbook Adoption Committee Involving Distance Learning
Provide the Committee with Selection Resources
Determine How Teachers Will Use the New Materials
Supporting Culturally Revelant Teaching
Supporting Teaching and Learning With Technology
Supporting Digital Solutions for 21st-Century Learning
Global Connections: French Partnership
Case Study: Teacher-Leaders as Instructional Coaches
The Challenge
Key Issues or Questions
Chapter 10 Curriculum Development and Implementation
Developing a Program Philosophy and Rationale Statement
Sample: English Language Arts Program Philosophy
Sample: English Language Arts Program Rationale Statement
Methods for Choosing Teacher Representation
Developing a Scope and Sequence, Program Goals, Objectives, Learning Outcomes, and
Authentic Tasks
The Committee Structure
Samples: Program Scope and Sequence, Program Goal, Exit Outcomes Met, Objectives,
Learning Outcomes, and Authentic Tasks
Primary Grades
Elementary Intermediate Grades
Middle Level or Junior High
High School
Global Connections: Narrowing the Achievement Gap
Leadership Truths for Curriculum Leaders
Case Study: Building Consensus by Committee
The Challenge
Key Issues or Questions
Chapter 11 Aligning the Curriculum
A Rationale for Curriculum Alignment
Philosophy Statement
Role of the Principal
Aligning Curriculum With State Standards
Role of Common Core State Standards
Assessment and State Standards
Curriculum Design
Goal-Based Design
Unit and Lesson Design
Designing Preassessments
Organizing the Alignment Project
Organizational Strategies
Identifying Mastery Objectives
Developing Curriculum-Based Assessments
Focusing on Culture and Social Diversity
Correlating the Mastery List and Instructional Materials
Developing Instructional Planning Aids
Making a Yearly Planning Matrix
Developing a Management Planning Matrix
Creating a Unit-Planning Guide
Utilizing Research for Curriculum Alignment
Using Data-Driven Programs
Monitoring and Evaluating Curriculum Alignment
Case Study: Making Adjustments Via Alignment
The Challenge
Key Issues or Questions
Chapter 12 Curriculum and Teacher Evaluation
The Goals of Curriculum and Teacher Evaluation
Evaluation Models
Tyler’s Objectives-Centered Model
Stufflebeam’s Context, Input, Process, Product Model
Scriven’s Goal-Free Model
Stake’s Responsive Model
Eisner’s Connoisseurship Model
Bradley’s Effectiveness Model
Developing an Eclectic Approach
Evaluating a Field of Study
Preparing for the Evaluation
Assessing the Context
Identifying the Evaluation Issues
Developing the Evaluation Design
Measuring Effectiveness Versus Developing Teachers
Leadership and Evaluation
Role of the Principal in Evaluation
The Principal and Evaluation Design
Understanding Effective Teaching
Measuring for Success
Bridging Cultural Knowledge
Assessing Teaching and Learning
Focusing on Student Performance
Value-Added Models
Evaluation Program Guidelines
Evaluation Checklist
Evaluation Strategies for Success
Setting Goals and Indicators
Identifying Target Populations
Educational Research Centers
Implementing the Evaluation Design
Technology and Evaluation: The Final Piece of the Puzzle
Integrated System Assessments
Technology and Student Achievement
Digital-Age Learning
Digital-Age Teaching
Digital-Age Leadership
Data Collection
Technology Plan Assessment
Professional Learning and Evaluation
Classroom Technology Environment
Equity Issues
Global Connections: Evaluation and Accountability
Case Study: Teaching to the Test
The Challenge
Key Issues or Questions
Chapter 13 Current Developments in the Subject Fields
Developments in English Language Arts, Reading, and Writing
English Language Arts
Trends in English Language Arts
English Language Arts Common Core State Standards Literacy Checklist
Critical Literacy
Realities in Reading
Trends in Reading
Recommendations for Curriculum Leaders
Expanding a Culture of Writing
Writing to Learn
Trends in Writing Across the Curriculum
Dual Immersion Programs in English Language Arts
History–Social Studies
Revised National Curriculum Standards for Social Studies
Trends in History–Social Studies
Trends in Mathematics
Key Strategies
The Equity Principle
Trends in Science
Foreign Language
Trends in Foreign Language Education
Education in the Arts
Trends in Art Education
What Students Should Know and Be Able to Do in the Arts
Physical Education and Health
Trends in Physical Education
A New Vision for Physical Education
Multicultural Education
Technology and Exponential Change
Case Study: What Is Taught Versus What Should Be Taught
The Challenge
Key Issues or Questions
Chapter 14 Current Developments Across the Curriculum
Thinking Skills
Effective Schools Process
Improving Listening Skills
Improving Speaking Skills
English Language Learner Education
Leadership for Socially Diverse Groups
Accommodating Diversity
Innovation and 21st-Century Learning
Technology and Pedagogy
Redefining the Culture of School
Technology Linked to Student Achievement
Impact of Technological Advances
Professional Learning and Technology
Setting Priorities
Global Connections: Canada’s Shifting Minds Model
Strategies for Success
Successful School Technology Strategies
Case Study: Developing and Sharing Strategies
The Challenge
Key Issues or Questions
Chapter 15 Individualizing the Curriculum
Differentiated Instruction
Types of Individualized Instruction
Elective Courses
Curriculum Tracking
Open Classrooms
Self-Paced Instruction
Personalized Learning
National Association of Early Childhood Specialists in State Departments of Education
Adaptive Learning Environments Model
Learning Styles Models
Cooperative Learning Models
Mastery Learning Models
Enhancing Teaching and Learning
Special Needs: Accommodations and Modifications
Section 504
Cross-Cultural Comparisons in Special Education
Adaptive Programs for the Gifted
Parallel Curriculum for the Gifted
Discovery Method
Special Pace: Acceleration
Special Curricula
PreK and Early Childhood
Value-Added Early Learning
Early Intervention Programs
Reading Test
Spelling Test
Reading Recovery
Response to Intervention
Social and Economic Considerations
Focusing on Social Media and Ethical Issues
Social Ramifications of Cyberbullying
Digital Citizens
Nine Themes of Digital Citizenship
Global Connections: Third Culture Kids
Case Study: Response to Intervention Issues
The Challenge
Key Issues or Questions
About the Authors
Curriculum Leadership: Strategies for Development and Implementation (5th edition) is intended for those presently
functioning as curriculum leaders and those preparing for such roles. Its central intent is to provide such readers
with the knowledge and the skills needed to exercise leadership in curriculum at several levels and in many roles.
To that end, it begins by exploring the foundations of the field in the first part—Foundations of Curriculum—so
that decisions are made from a broad perspective and with deep knowledge. The first chapter establishes the
central concepts used throughout the work, explaining the general concept of curriculum and explicating its
essential elements; the goal of this chapter is to provide the reader with a set of conceptual tools. The second
chapter reviews the past 100-plus years of curriculum history so that decision makers can see the problems and
solutions of the present from an informed historical perspective. The third chapter surveys the several types of
curriculum theory, since good theory provides deeper insight about the complex relationships involved in all
curriculum work. The final chapter of the “foundations” section examines the politics of curriculum work—the
way that power and influence affect curriculum decision making at the federal, state, and local levels.
The second part, Curriculum Processes, turns to procedures. The general goal of this section is to help the reader
acquire skills needed to bring about major curriculum change. The section begins with an overview of curriculumplanning process. Then, separate chapters deal with the more specific processes involved in improving and
developing the three levels of curricula—programs of study, fields of study, and courses and units of study.
The third part of the book, Curriculum Management, is concerned with the management of curriculum. If
curricula are to be truly effective, they must be managed well. Chapter 9 suggests specific ways in which the leader
can supervise both instructional processes and the selection and use of materials—the “supported” and the
“taught” curriculum—to use the constructs employed in this work. Chapter 10 presents a how-to in developing
and implementing a districtwide curriculum for the subject areas. Chapter 11 provides a rationale for and explains
the processes used in aligning the curriculum—ensuring that the written, the taught, the tested, and the learned
curricula are brought into closer alignment. Chapter 12, Curriculum and Teacher Evaluation, reviews several
models for evaluating the curriculum and makes specific suggestions for developing and implementing a
comprehensive evaluation form.
The book closes with Part IV on curricular trends—Current Trends in the Curriculum. Chapter 13 examines
trends in the subject fields, and Chapter 14 looks at trends across the curriculum, including the use of technology.
The book ends with an examination of current approaches to individualize instruction and to adapt the
curriculum for learners with special needs.
New to the Fifth Edition
A sample of the changes for the fifth edition of Curriculum Leadership: Strategies for Development and
Implementation are based on the recommendations and revisions suggested by the reviewers. In addition to
reference and webliography updates throughout, responses to the case study challenges and key issues and
questions by the students were added to the applications in each chapter.
Chapter 1 emphasizes the value of later school start time, a description for effective teaching and teaching
the whole child, the concept of learning to remember, and essential critical 21st-century skills.
Chapter 2 was condensed, with clarification of all the educational eras that influenced curriculum.
Chapter 3 emphasizes teacher leadership for curriculum development and implementation.
Chapter 4 added an introduction of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) and state requirements. Also,
the value of mobile technology is addressed.
Chapter 5 establishes a curriculum framework for the development of professional communities.
Chapter 6 highlights the implications of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).
Chapter 7 provides further commentary on ensuring curriculum change.
Chapter 8 assesses the processes for developing new courses and units.
Chapter 9 further accentuates the supervision of the taught curriculum by introducing a case study on
teacher-leaders and instructional coaches.
Chapter 10 provides clarification of authentic tasks.
Chapter 11 assesses the need for a close fit between the written curriculum and the taught curriculum.
Chapter 12 discusses the purpose of curriculum and teacher evaluation and presents an example of
measuring teacher effectiveness.
Chapter 13 highlights approaches for a unit of study.
Chapter 14 expands on a more balanced approach to curriculum planning and redefining the culture of
Chapter 15 offers a renewed focus on personalized learning and third-culture kids.
We benefited greatly from reviews by Dr. John R. Morton, Emporia State University; Dr. Ramona A. Hall,
Cameron University; Dr. Jo Nell Wood, Saint Louis University; Timothy J. Frederiks, EdD, Centenary
University; Mary Kropiewnicki, EdD, Cabrini University; and Amy N. Farley, University of Cincinnati.
Special thanks must go to Elizabeth You, editorial assistant at SAGE, for her continuing dialogue, assistance, and
constant willingness to help with the production of the fifth edition of Curriculum Leadership: Strategies for
Development and Implementation.
We would like to express our sincere appreciation to Dr. Charat N. Khattapan, Instructional Designer III at
Florida Gulf Coast University, Fort Myers, Florida, for his guidance and assistance in technology. We also
acknowledge the supportive help received from Dr. Marlys Ann Boschee and Charlotte Whitehead. They helped
us give meaning and coherence in an age in which change and flux in education reign supreme. Also, a special
thanks goes to Dr. Bonni F. Boschee for her continuing contributions made from her experience as a public school
teacher, school administrator, professor, and graduate coordinator for online courses.
This book is dedicated to Dr. Allan A. Glatthorn (1924–2007), who believed deeply in sharing his love of
education and curriculum. His unique understanding of leadership and curriculum processes continues to be a
key for successful leaders today. As coauthors of Curriculum Leadership: Strategies for Development and
Implementation, we hope this edition will continue to provide completeness in curriculum thought and
theory and enhance positive changes for the future.
—Floyd Boschee
—Bruce M. Whitehead
—Bonni F. Boschee
Part I Foundations of Curriculum
Chapter 1 The Nature of Curriculum
Chapter 2 Curriculum History: The Perspective of the Past
Chapter 3 Curriculum Theory
Chapter 4 The Politics of Curriculum
Curriculum planners have tried to characterize curriculum with very little guidance. The purpose of Part I is to
present an overview of curriculum so that curriculum planners can begin to comprehend the essential elements for
curriculum development and implementation and gain a fundamental foundation on which to firmly build a
sound curriculum.
1 The Nature of Curriculum
Questions Addressed in This Chapter Include the Following:
What is the concept of curriculum?
What are the types of curriculum?
What are the components of curriculum?
What are mastery, organic, and enrichment curricula?
What is meant by the hidden curriculum?
This introductory chapter provides curriculum leaders and teachers with a general overview of the curriculum field
and a set of concepts for analyzing the field. The discussion that follows focuses on the following outcomes:
defining the concept of curriculum, examining the several types of curricula, describing the contrasting nature of
curriculum components, and analyzing the hidden curriculum. Some fundamental concepts essential for
understanding the comprehensive field of curriculum can be established at the outset.
The Concept of Curriculum
In a sense, the task of defining the concept of curriculum is perhaps the most difficult of all—certainly challenging
—for the term curriculum has been used with quite different meanings ever since the field took form. Curriculum,
however, can be defined as prescriptive, descriptive, or both.
Prescriptive [curriculum] definitions provide us with what “ought” to happen, and they more often than
not take the form of a plan, an intended program, or some kind of expert opinion about what needs to
take place in the course of study. (Ellis, 2004, p. 4)
Analogous to prescriptive curricula are medical prescriptions that patients have filled by pharmacists; we do not
know how many are actually followed. “The best guess is that most are not” (Ellis, 2004, p. 4). This is parallel to
the prescribed curriculum for schools where the teacher, like the patient, ultimately decides whether to follow the
prescription. In essence, “the developer proposes, but the teacher disposes” (p. 4).
To understand the nature and extent of curriculum diversity, it is important to examine the prescriptive and
descriptive definitions offered by some of the past and present leaders in the field. The prescriptive definitions in
Table 1.1, arranged chronologically, have been chosen for their representativeness.
The descriptive definitions of curriculum displayed in Table 1.2 go beyond the prescriptive terms as they force
thought about the curriculum “not merely in terms of how things ought to be . . . but how things are in real
classrooms” (Ellis, 2004, p. 5). Another term that could be used to define the descriptive curriculum is
experience. The experienced curriculum provides glimpses of the curriculum in action. Several examples, in
chronological order, of descriptive definitions of curriculum are listed in Table 1.2.
Table 1.1 â–  Prescriptive Definitions of Curriculum
Table 1.1 â–  Prescriptive Definitions of Curriculum
Date Author
“Curriculum is a continuous reconstruction, moving from the child’s present
experience out into that represented by the organized bodies of truth that we call
studies. . . . [T]he various studies . . . are themselves experience—they are that of the
race” (Dewey, 1902, pp. 11–12).
1957 Ralph Tyler
“[The curriculum is] all the learning experiences planned and directed by the school
to attain its educational goals” (Tyler, 1957, p. 79).
“Curriculum means the planned interaction of pupils with instructional content,
materials, resources, and processes for evaluating the attainment of educational
objectives” (Indiana Department of Education, 2010).
Note: Prescriptive curriculum provides us with what “ought” to happen and, more often than not, takes the form of a plan, an intended
program, or some kind of expert opinion about what needs to take place in the course of study.
In your opinion, which prescriptive definition is most appropriate today? Why?
Table 1.2 â–  Descriptive Definitions of Curriculum
Table 1.2 â–  Descriptive Definitions of Curriculum
Date Author
1935 Hollis Caswell and
Doak Campbell
“Curriculum is all the experiences children have under the guidance of
teachers” (Caswell & Campbell, 1935).
1960 W. B. Ragan
“Curriculum is all the experiences of the child for which the school accepts
responsibility” (Ragan, 1960).
Edward S. Ebert II,
Christine Ebert,
and Michael L.
“Curriculum is only that part of the plan that directly affects students.
Anything in the plan that does not reach the students constitutes an
educational wish but not a curriculum” (Ebert, Ebert, & Bentley, 2013, p.
Note: Descriptive curriculum explains how curricula “benefit or harm all individuals it touches.” For example, one descriptive concept from
curriculum theory is that of the hidden curriculum, which is some of the outcomes or by-products of schools, particularly those situations that
are learned but not openly intended.
In your opinion, which descriptive definition is most appropriate today? Why?
The definitions provided for prescriptive and descriptive curricula vary primarily in their breadth and emphasis. It
would seem that a useful definition of curriculum should meet two criteria: It should reflect the general
understanding of the term as used by educators, and it should be useful to educators in making operational
distinctions. Therefore, the following definition of curriculum will be used in this work:
The curriculum is a set of plans made for guiding learning in the schools, usually represented in
retrievable documents of several levels of generality, and the actualization of those plans in the
classroom, as experienced by the learners and as recorded by an observer; those experiences take place in
a learning environment that also influences what is learned.
Several points in this definition need to be emphasized. First, it suggests that curriculum includes both a set of
plans made for learning and the actual learning experiences. Limiting the term to the plans made for learning is
not enough because, as will be discussed next, those plans are often ignored or modified. Second, the term
retrievable documents is sufficiently broad in its denotation to include curricula stored in a digital form—that is,
software and/or shared on the Internet. Also, those documents, as will be more fully explained next, are of several
levels of specificity. Some, such as curricular policy statements, are very general in their formulation; others, such
as daily lesson plans, are quite specific. Third, the definition notes two key dimensions of actualized curriculum:
the curriculum as experienced by the learner and that which might be observed by a disinterested observer. Finally,
the experienced curriculum takes place in an environment that influences and impinges on learning, constituting
what is usually termed the hidden curriculum.
Key to Curriculum Leadership
Curriculum specialists, school administrators, and teacher-leaders should review and monitor curriculum policies to make sure they align
with curricular goals and support student learning.
Although the definition for curriculum does not deal explicitly with the relationship between curriculum and
instruction, an implicit relationship does exist. Instruction is viewed here as an aspect of curriculum, and its
function and importance change throughout the several types of curricula. First, in the written curriculum, when
the curriculum is a set of documents that guide planning, instruction is only one relatively minor aspect of the
curriculum. Those retrievable documents used in planning for learning typically specify five components: a
rationale for the curriculum; the aims, objectives, and content for achieving those objectives; instructional
methods; learning materials and resources; and tests or assessment methods.
Consequently, instruction is a component of the planned curriculum and is usually seen as less important than the
aims, objectives, and content at the actualized level; when the planned or written curriculum is actually delivered,
instruction takes on a new importance. In the end, a quality curriculum is based on concepts over routines and
favored learning through solving problems as well as developing newly formed strategies (Remillard, 2016). For
that reason, administrators and teacher-leaders should view the curriculum as the total learning experience for
students and focus on instruction—how teachers are teaching.
The Types of Curricula
The definition stipulated previously suggests a major difference between the planned curriculum and actualized
curriculum. Yet even these distinctions are not sufficiently precise to encompass the several different types of
curricula. It is important to note that the word curriculum (as defined from its early Latin origins) means literally
“to run a course.” For example, if students think of a marathon with mile and direction markers, signposts, water
stations, and officials and coaches along the route, they can better understand the concept of types of curriculum
(Wilson, 2005).
As early as 1979, Goodlad and associates were perhaps the first to suggest several key distinctions. As Goodlad
analyzed curricula, he determined there were five different forms of curriculum planning. The ideological
curriculum is the ideal curriculum as construed by scholars and teachers—a curriculum of ideas intended to reflect
funded knowledge. The formal curriculum is that officially approved by state and local school boards—the
sanctioned curriculum that represents society’s interests. The perceived curriculum is the curriculum of the mind
—what educators, parents, and others think the curriculum to be. The operational curriculum is the observed
curriculum of what actually goes on hour after hour in the classroom. Finally, the experiential curriculum is what
the learners actually experience.
While those distinctions in general seem important, the terms are perhaps a bit cumbersome, and the
classifications are not entirely useful to curriculum workers. It seems to be more useful in the present context to
use the following concepts with some slightly different denotations: the recommended curriculum, the written
curriculum, the supported curriculum, the taught curriculum, the tested curriculum, and the learned
curriculum. Four of these curricula—the written, the supported, the taught, and the tested—are considered
components of the intentional curriculum. The intentional curriculum is the set of learnings that the school
system consciously intends, in contradistinction to the hidden curriculum, which, by and large, is not a product of
conscious intention.
The Recommended Curriculum
The recommended curriculum is that curriculum that is endorsed by individual scholars, professional associations,
and reform commissions; it also encompasses the curriculum requirements of policymaking groups, such as federal
government and state agencies. The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), passed in 2015, which dramatically shifts
authority of our nation’s system of public education back to state and local control, is similar to Goodlad’s
ideological curriculum. It represents a curriculum that stresses “oughtness,” identifying the skills and concepts that
ought to be emphasized, according to the perceptions and value systems of the sources.
Curriculum Tip 1.1
Recommended curricula are typically formulated at a rather high level of generality; they are most often presented as policy
recommendations, lists of goals, suggested graduation requirements, and general recommendations about the content and sequence of a
field of study, such as mathematics.
Several influences seem to play key roles on the shaping of the recommended curricula. The primary influence is
the prevailing decline of American education at the elementary, middle, and high school levels; its low
international educational ranking; and the achievement gap between students of different races. As a result, the
Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) and the National Governors Association (NGA) committed to
the Common Core State Standards Initiative (CCSSI). This educational initiative in the United States detailed
what K–12 students should know in English language arts and mathematics at the end of each grade.
The CCSSO and the NGA organizations selected representatives from 48 states, two territories, and the District
of Columbia to write the standards for the common core. The task for writing the standards engaged the talents
and expertise of educators, content specialists, researchers, community groups, and national organizations,
including an advisory group of experts from Achieve, American College Testing (ACT), the College Board, the
National Association of State Boards of Education, and the State Higher Education Executive Officers. Although
the professional association subject area specialists for which the standards were written were not included in
writing the standards, they were invited to critique the CSS draft standards prior to their release for public
comment. “In addition, the draft standards were [reviewed] and feedback [provided] from teachers, parents,
business leaders, and the general public” (Kendall, 2011, p. 1).
Curriculum Tip 1.2
First, we must define what we mean by standards. Second, we must create a set of standards that are “doable” in the classroom. Finally,
teachers must view standards as an important part of their work. I call these the three Ds—definition, doability, and desirability.
—Jim Cox (2000). President of JK Educational Associates, Inc., Anaheim, California
As part of a recommended curriculum, many states relied greatly upon Common Core State Standards (CCSS) to
spur curriculum change in a number of schools across the country. Note, however, that Minnesota only adopted
the Common Core English language arts standards in their entirety and added some supplementary content.
Regardless of an ongoing debate over CCSS, there appears to have been more attention given to explicit practice
standards since its inception (Walkowiak, 2015). Although standards existed prior to the CCSS, a comparison of
standards in different periods of time is shown in Table 1.3.
The Role of Professional Associations
In addition to a focus on state standards and the previously established CCSS recommendations, professional
associations will continue to have a major impact on curricular change. Foremost, the professional associations
representing several disciplines, such as the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM), the National
Council of Teachers of English (NCTE), the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC), and the National Council
on Teacher Quality (NCTQ), have been active in generating recommended curricula. These associations also
influence school administrators who have membership in their professional associations comprising the American
Association of School Administrators (AASA) and National Associations for Secondary School Principals
(NASSP), Middle School Principals (NAMSP), and Elementary School Principals (NAESP).
In essence, the professional associations serve as the public voice for the numerous academic disciplines. They
provide a vision, leadership, and professional development to support teachers, ensuring learning of the highest
quality for each and every student. In addition, the professional associations are dedicated to ongoing dialogue and
constructive discussion with all stakeholders about what is best for our nation’s students.
Table 1.3 â–  A Comparison of Education Before Standards-Based Education, During the
Standards Movement, and Under the Common Core State Standards
Table 1.3 â–  A Comparison of Education Before Standards-Based Education, During the Standards
Movement, and Under the Common Core State Standards
Before Standards-Based
During the Standards
Under the Common Core
State Standards
of expectations Time available = time
to instructional needed.
Varies by state; no explicit
design criteria. Often not
enough instructional time
available to address all
Standards are designed to
require 85 percent of
instruction time available.
Curriculum is defined by
the textbook.
Standards drive the
curriculum, but curriculum
development lags behind
standards development.
Standards publication is
followed quickly by
curriculum development.
Methods of
Seat time; Carnegie units
(emphasis on inputs over
State standards; criterionbased.
Cross state standards;
consortia of states.
Source of
expectations for
The expectations in
textbooks or those
described in Carnegie
units; historical,
traditional influences.
Varies by state; over time,
moved from traditional
course descriptions to
college- and career-ready
The knowledge and skills
required to be college and
career ready; international
benchmarks; state
assessment of
Infrequent comparison of
students against a national
sample; minimum
competency tests in the
Accountability; to clarify
student performance by
subgroup (NSLB).
Accountability; to learn and
improve teaching and
Not systemic; reform is
Systemic nature enacted through programs
at the school or district
of reform
Standards curriculum and
Reform varies by state and
assessment are shared
within states; “local control”
among participating states
states are much less systemic.
and territories.
Source: Kendall (2011). Reprinted by permission of McREL International.
Professional Association Membership Tip
A professional association is a great place to be mentored in whatever skills you need to learn.
—Laura Raines for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution
The Written Curriculum
The written curriculum, as the term is used here, is the curriculum embodied in approved state and district
curriculum guides. It is intended primarily to ensure that newly adapted educational goals of the system are being
accomplished and that the curriculum is well managed. This enables all students, regardless of ethnicity, cultural
background, or challenges, to be able to graduate from respective high schools and be prepared for postsecondary
education and careers. Typically, the written curriculum is much more specific and comprehensive than the
recommended curriculum, indicating a rationale that supports the curriculum, the general goals to be
accomplished, the specific objectives to be mastered, the sequence in which those objectives should be studied, and
the kinds of learning activities that should be used. Curriculum leaders are thus able to develop well-documented
and technologically driven implementation plans, goals and objectives, as well as timelines that can be used as
reference points for future change and improvement.
Curriculum Tip 1.3
The written curriculum is an important component of authentic literacy—the ability to read, write, and think effectively.
Regarding school curriculum administrators and teacher-leaders, the authors believe that written generic and sitespecific curriculum must be authentic. Equally important, shared leadership continues to garner recognition as a
successful reform approach when restructuring written curriculum (Stanulis, Cooer, Dear, Johnston, & RichardTodd, 2016). Generic curricula are those written for use in various educational settings. Initially, during the
1960s, numerous generic curricula were produced by federally funded research and development laboratories;
now, more typically, they are produced by state and federal education departments and intended for use
throughout the individual states and/or country, with some local leeway provided. Site-specific written curricula
are those developed for a specific site, usually for a local school district or even for a particular school.
Site-specific written curricula are influenced by several different sources. First, as will be explained more fully in
Chapter 4, federal and state legislation and court directives play a role. The passage of Public Law 94–142,
prescribing that schools provide the “least restrictive environment” for handicapped learners, undoubtedly
precipitated much local curriculum work to help teachers work toward “inclusion.” The textbooks and
standardized tests in use in the district seem to influence decisions about the inclusion and placement of content.
The expectations of vocal parent and community groups seem to have at least a constraining influence on what
can be done.
In general, however, the guides seem to reflect the preferences and practices of a local group of elites: a director of
curriculum, a supervisor of that subject area, a principal or teacher-leader with a strong interest in curriculum, and
experienced teachers. They, in turn, seem most influenced by the practice of “lighthouse” districts. It is important
to note that we are entering a new kind of shared leadership in the 21st century.
Key to Leadership
It is important to note how managers seem only to manage while, in contrast, leaders actually lead. A major key to school success is
focusing on the quality of leadership, as well as shared leadership with teachers.
Supporting teacher-leaders continues to evolve as classroom teachers gain a global view of what affects their
perception of good schools. However, overturning the old ways of management is not easy, especially in school
districts comfortable with the status quo (Saltzman, 2016). Subsequently, the authors strongly believe that people
will support what they help create so that all stakeholders, especially teachers, share the commitment of curriculum
Equally important as quality leadership is a need for quality written curricula. The three chief functions of written
curricula seem to be mediating, standardizing, and controlling. They first mediate between the ideals of the
recommended curriculum and the realities of the classroom; in this sense, they often represent a useful
compromise between what the experts think should be taught and what teachers believe can be taught. They also
mediate the expectations of administrators, teacher-leaders, and the preferences of faculty and staff. The best of
them represent a negotiated consensus of administrators and teacher-leaders. An example of the “how-to” in
developing and implementing curriculum is illustrated in Chapter 10.
Written curricula also serve an important role in standardizing the curricula, especially in larger districts. Often,
they are produced as a result of directives from a superintendent who is concerned that students in School A are
studying a social studies curriculum or using a reading series quite different from those in Schools B and C.
Table 1.4 â–  Principal and Teacher-Leader Curriculum Responsibilities
Table 1.4 â–  Principal and Teacher-Leader Curriculum Responsibilities
The Extent to Which the Principal or Teacher-Leader Does the Following:
Knowledge of
Is knowledgeable about current curriculum, instruction, and assessment practices
Is directly involved in the design and implementation of curriculum, instruction, and
assessment practices
Provides faculty and staff with needed curriculum material and professional learning
opportunities necessary for the successful execution of their roles
Establishes clear curriculum goals and keeps those goals at the forefront of the school’s
Change agent
Is willing to and actively challenges the status quo in curriculum development and
Monitors and evaluates the effectiveness of school curriculum practices and their
impact on student learning
Ensures that faculty and staff are aware of the most current curriculum theories and
practices and makes the discussion of these a regular aspect of the school’s culture
Undeniably, standardized and centralized curricula are generally used by school administrators and teacher-leaders
as tools to guide teaching. That said, focusing on standards and student achievement is not new. Waters,
Marzano, and McNulty (2003) compiled more than three decades of research on the effects of instruction and
schooling on student achievement and found a substantial relationship between curriculum leadership and student
achievement (see Table 1.4). The results of this study continue to provide practitioners with specific guidance on
the curricular, instructional, and school practices that, when applied appropriately, can result in increased student
In reviewing the research on the effects of instruction and schooling on student achievement, it becomes readily
apparent that any written curriculum must be adapted to emerging technologies. Similarly, written curriculum
should represent a useful synthesis of recommended curricula and local practice and be well conceptualized,
carefully developed, and easy to use.
Unfortunately, many written curricula still lack these qualities. A careful review of a large number of such
curriculum guides reveals a series of common faults: Objectives are often not related to the stated goals,
instructional activities are not directly related to the objectives, the activities do not reflect the best current
knowledge about teaching and learning, and the guides are generally cumbersome and difficult to use. Allan A.
Glatthorn (1987), author of several curriculum leadership books, questioned the comprehensiveness of some
curriculum guides. He recommended that the written curriculum should be delivered to teachers as a loose-leaf
notebook, containing only a scope and sequence chart, goals, a list of course objectives, and a brief list of materials.
This simpler format, he argued, would make the written curriculum more likely to be used.
In addition to the common faults of curriculum guides, the problem of mismatched textbooks exists in many
school districts nationwide as well. Research by Allington (2002) showed that numerous classrooms used
textbooks written two or more years above the average grade level. In other words, if schools use textbooks as the
key curriculum provider, then students need textbooks that are readable and understandable.
The Supported Curriculum
The supported curriculum is the curriculum as reflected in and shaped by the resources allocated to support and
deliver it. Four kinds of resources seem to be most critical here: the time allocated to a given subject at a particular
level of schooling (How much time should we allocate to social studies in Grade 5?); the time allocated by the
classroom teacher within that overall subject allocation to particular aspects of the curriculum (How much time
shall I allocate to the first unit on the explorers?); personnel allocations as reflected in and resulting from class size
decisions (How many physical education teachers do we need in the middle school if we let PE classes increase to
an average of 35?); and the textbooks and other learning materials provided for use in the classroom (Can we get
by with those old materials for one more year?).
Equally important is the role of special education, as well as an understanding of how curriculum can support
special education programs. Increasing the support of special education services is perhaps one of the best
approaches to foster and strengthen curriculum, as well as to disrupt inequities that many students with disabilities
experience. Thus, educational leaders need to mobilize a wide range of support across three dimensions: personal,
curriculum, and technology (Fisher & Frey, 2016).
Unfortunately, the harsh reality is that school leaders often have minimal guidance when facing continued budget
cuts for supported curriculum. Decisions dealing with economic conditions are generally represented by two
distinct lines of thought. First, there is the response to cut back leadership or management. Second, there is a
move toward crisis management, such as advocating slashing budgets, reducing programs, and eliminating teachers
and staff. Given these two limited options, school leaders need to explore all possibilities if they are to
accommodate needed curricular changes. Thus, with more waves of digital innovation on the way, school leaders
are clamoring to find creative ways to finance curriculum adequately. This conundrum is of paramount
importance and is clearly critical if future generations of children are to remain educationally, socially, and
economically competitive on a global level. Most assuredly, the benefits of learning about and from the world are
many, especially for those students in schools having a global-competency focus (Tavangar, 2016–2017).
Clearly, the patterns of influence bearing on the supported curriculum seem rather complex. First, both federal
and state governments exercise a strong influence on the supported curriculum: State curriculum guidelines go
even further by specifying minimum time allocation, as well as state-approved lists of basic texts that restrict the
choice of textbooks to a relatively small number.
In addition, the local school board, under the leadership of its superintendent, seems to be playing an everincreasing role in supporting curriculum. In many districts, boards adopt curriculum policies specifying minimum
time allocations to the several subjects, approve district-purchased texts, and make major budget decisions that
strongly affect the personnel and material support provided. At the school level, principals and teacher-leaders also
seem to have a major influence. They usually have some discretion in the allocation of funds for textbooks, media,
and other learning materials. And the school leaders are often given some latitude in their requests for additional
Because the classroom teacher is so vital to the process, it is not surprising that a key to strengthening and
deepening what is taught relies largely on professional learning. As a result, school leaders at all levels are now
recognizing the critical importance of teacher growth and the role of professional learning communities (PLCs).
Like students, it is best if educators remain in a consistent state of discovery and learning. For these reasons,
curriculum staff, administrators, and teacher-leaders need to work collaboratively if they are to set the direction for
21st-century learning. Innovative concepts like m-learning and e-learning don’t just happen. It takes planning,
strategy, and collegial reform to make it happen. By building awareness and strategic alliances, teachers can, and
often do, make a significant difference in the lives of their students. For that reason, one cannot circumvent the
importance of high-quality professional training in today’s globally changing society.
Professional Learning Tip
As educators, I think that we learn best, or we are more receptive to presentations, when we know that the experts are practitioners
themselves. Also, it makes us feel valued as practitioners when others are coming to learn from us.
—Aman Dhanda, Senior Fellow, Educator Engagement (ASCD, 2017)
Undeniably, problems with textbooks and materials are a recurring issue. It should be shared that current
elementary school reading series appear to contain several flaws: Stories written for use in the primary grades do
not give enough insight into characters’ goals, motives, and feelings. Many of the so-called stories do not actually
tell a story and textbooks lack a logical structure often emphasizing a trivial detail rather than a fundamental
principle. Harder textbooks, as well as media-related texts, unfortunately, have captured the attention of educators
and policymakers who want to raise academic achievement.
The role of supportive curriculum is to lead students to mastery in any subject by creating scenarios in which
learners see themselves in that subject—because they grasp its potential to extend their capacities and to benefit
other people (Tomlinson, 2013–2014). In their earlier book, The Parallel Curriculum, Tomlinson et al. (2002)
share that parallels can be used to develop or support curriculum for individuals, small groups, and entire classes.
The term parallel indicates several formats through which educators can approach curriculum design in the same
subject or discipline. Tomlinson and her colleagues referred to the four parallels as core curriculum, curriculum
and connections, curriculum of practice, and curriculum of identity. These parallel processes can be deductive or
inductive and can be used as catalysts either to discover student abilities and interests or in response to student
abilities and interests. They believe that these parallels act as support for thematic study and help connect content
that might otherwise seem disjointed to learners. Using this model, a teacher might establish a definition of
change, identify key principles related to change, and introduce students to key skills and specific standards.
The supported curriculum plays a central role at several stages of the curriculum cycle—first in developing
curricula and second in implementing the curriculum. Those involved in aligning the curriculum should assess to
what extent a good fit exists between the written, the supported, and the taught curricula (see Chapter 11).
Finally, any comprehensive evaluation of the curriculum should assess the supported curriculum because
deficiencies in support will undoubtedly be a major factor in student achievement.
Value of Later School Start Times
Another factor that needs support to improve the curriculum and student achievement is to study the value of
later school start times for teenage students. For example, Kyla Wahlstrom et al. (2014) conducted a 3-year
research study that included over 9,000 students in eight public high schools in three states. The results revealed
that high schools that start at 8:30 a.m. or later allow for more than 60% of students to obtain at least 8 hours of
sleep per school night. Teens getting less than 8 hours of sleep report significantly higher depression symptoms,
greater use of caffeine, and are at greater risk for making poor choices around substance use. Academic
performance outcomes, including grades earned in core subject areas of math, English, science, and social studies,
plus performance on state and national achievement tests, attendance rates, and reduced tardiness, showed
significantly positive improvement with start times of 8:30 a.m. or later.
In support of Wahlstrom’s et al. research study, Carolyn Crist (2017) referenced the study in a published article in
Sleep Health, the journal of the National Sleep Foundation. This study included data for 30,000 students in 29
high schools from eight school districts across seven states. The results showed that 2 years after a delayed start was
implemented at these high schools, average attendance rates increased 90%, and graduation rates increased from
79% to 88%.
Sleep Deprivation Effects
Negative effects for adolescents are academic, social, mental, and physical. Insufficient sleep can be related to attention problems both in
and out of school, general cognitive functioning, emotional regulation, mood disorders, engaging in risky behaviors, and academic
—Carolyn Crist (2017)
The Taught Curriculum
The extent to which consonance exists between the written curriculum and the taught curriculum seems to vary
considerably. At one extreme are those school systems that claim to have achieved a high degree of balance
between the two by implementing curriculum alignment projects. At the other extreme are schools where a state
of curricular anarchy exists: Each teacher develops his or her own curriculum, with all sorts of disparate activities
going on across the school.
How does the taught curriculum, regardless of its fit with the written curriculum, become established? The
question is a complex and important one that can best be answered by synthesizing studies of teacher quality and
classroom responsibility. These interacting variables often provide teachers the support needed to be successful
(Quaglia & Lande, 2016). However, two questions remain: How does a teacher connect students with the subject?
And how does the teacher meet the needs and interests of the whole child?
Curriculum Tip 1.4
The taught curriculum is the delivered curriculum, a curriculum that an observer sees in action as the teacher teaches.
Teachers, in most schools, are given material such as courses of study or curriculum guides, textbooks, and other
supporting material to teach students. In most schools, the way the material is taught, connecting the student with
subject matter, is left entirely to the discretion of the teachers. Some schools have a genuine concern about the
teaching and learning process. For example, a survey conducted by one school district over a 2-year period of
1,220 graduating high school students sought to find out what their perceptions were of the curricular program.
The survey fleshed out the qualities and characteristics of the “best” and “weakest” teachers. The descriptors
indicated that the best teachers
were caring, understanding, outgoing, loving, patient, dedicated, and respecting of students;
conducted classes that had strict discipline, used different methods—discussion, lectures, group activities—
didn’t exactly follow the books and weren’t determined to finish the books, made material interesting, and
gave practical uses of information;
communicated well, listened well, were open in their attitudes toward students, had energy, were humorous,
and enjoyed their jobs.
By contrast, the weakest teachers
were boring, grumpy, disorganized, and complaining;
lectured only, did not explain the lesson well, had no lesson plan, spoke in monotone voice, put students
down, used poor teaching methods, went too fast, gave notes without explanation, lacked good oral
communication skills, assigned too much book work, went over the material too fast, and had little
classroom control. (Hughes & Orr, 1989)
Teaching the Whole Child
Nearly 30 years after the study by Hughes and Orr, study after study shows the single most important factor
determining the quality of education a child receives is the quality of his or her teacher (GreatSchools Staff, 2016).
Teaching is one of the most complicated jobs today. It demands broad knowledge of subject matter, curriculum,
and standards; enthusiasm, a caring attitude, and a love of learning; knowledge of discipline and classroom
management techniques; and a desire to make a difference in the lives of young people. With all these qualities,
GreatSchools Staff summarized some of the characterizations of great teachers.
They set high expectations for all students. They expect that all students can and will achieve in their
classroom, and they don’t give up on underachievers.
They have clear, written-out objectives. Effective teachers have lesson plans that give students a clear idea of
what they will be learning, what the assignments are, and what the grading policy is. Assignments have
learning goals and give students ample opportunity to practice new skills. The teacher is consistent in
grading and returns work in a timely manner.
They are prepared and organized. They are in their classrooms early and ready to teach. They present lessons
in a clear and structured way. Their classrooms are organized in such a way as to minimize distractions.
They engage students and get them to look at issues in a variety of ways. Effective teachers use facts as a starting
point, not an end point; they ask “why” questions, look at all sides and encourage students to predict what
will happen next. They ask questions frequently to make sure students are following along. They try to
engage the whole class, and they don’t allow a few students to dominate the class. They keep students
motivated with varied, lively approaches.
They form strong relationships with their students and show that they care about them as people.
They are warm, accessible, enthusiastic, and caring. Teachers with these qualities are known to stay after
school and make themselves available to students and parents who need them. They are involved in
schoolwide committees and activities, and they demonstrate a commitment to the school.
They are masters of their subject matter. They exhibit expertise in the subjects they are teaching and spend
time continuing to gain new knowledge in their field. They present material in an enthusiastic manner and
instill a hunger in their students to learn more on their own.
They communicate frequently with parents. They reach parents through conferences and frequent written
reports home. They don’t hesitate to pick up the telephone to call a parent if they are concerned about a
ASCD’s Whole Child Initiative is an effort to transition from a focus on narrowly defined academic achievement
to one that promotes the long-term development and success of all children. To fully prepare students for college,
a career, and citizenship, a new approach to education is required to meet the demands of the 21st century. As
research, practice, and common sense tell us, the whole-child approach to education does develop and prepare
students for the challenges and opportunities of today and tomorrow. However, students’ comprehensive needs
must be met through shared responsibility with students, families, school personnel, and communities (ASCD,
We know that true school improvement is hard. However, we must remember that it’s not about a single
passionate leader. It’s not about fixing teachers and teaching or parents and parenting. It’s not about poverty. It’s
not about money. And it’s not about high standards. It’s about all of them—and more. It becomes obvious that
only a whole-child approach, aligned across curriculum and instruction, school climate and structures, professional
development, and student learning, can truly ensure that each child in our schools is prepared for long-term
success in further education, a career, and civic life (ASCD, 2012).
Teaching With Technology
Modern-day education is not focused on simply learning concepts or facts as they are laid out in a curriculum.
Instead, it should be about the process of building connections to transform learning environments with the goal
of deepening learning for all students. As a result, by giving students access to technology and helping teachers
transform their teaching practices, students are better engaged in the learning process and have ownership in their
learning. In addition, students gain an awareness of the importance and value of communication. Today, with a
single laptop, a webcam, a projector, and an Internet connection, a teacher can broadcast and begin collaboration
with any other classroom. As groups of learners coalesce around shared passions online, they experience something
that is difficult to replicate in physical space (Technology in Schools, 2015).
Technology Tip
Using technology in the classroom can help impede the “lecture style” system of education and accommodate a variety of learning
Teaching is one of the most complicated jobs today. It demands broad knowledge of subject matter, curriculum,
and standards; enthusiasm, a caring attitude, and a love of learning; knowledge of discipline and classroom
management techniques; and a desire to make a difference in the lives of young people. With all the qualities
required to be an effective teacher, school administrators should strongly consider those characteristics when hiring
teachers for their school district.
The Tested Curriculum
The benefits of assessment and preassessment depend largely on its purpose, form, and utility (Guskey &
McTighe, 2016). The tested curriculum is that set of learned knowledge and skills that are assessed in teacherplanned classroom assessments; in district-developed, curriculum-referenced tests; and in standardized tests. To
what extent are these assessments related to the taught curriculum? The answers seem to vary. There were early
problems in student assessment preparation. Tests previously concentrated on assessing students’ comprehension
and memory of objective information, and their attempts to measure understanding of concepts resulted in
multiple-choice items that really assessed students’ guessing ability.
The evidence on the congruence between curriculum-referenced tests and instruction suggests a somewhat
different picture. In districts using curriculum-referenced tests as a means of monitoring teacher compliance, the
assessment seems to drive instruction, and the result is a closer fit. Yet, here, the congruence is not reassuring to
those who value higher-order learning. An examination of a curriculum-referenced test used in a large district’s
alignment project indicated that the assessment items were concerned almost exclusively with such low-level
objectives as punctuation, spelling, and parts of speech. The research also suggests that there is a widening gap
between standardized tests and what some instructors are teaching. The consequences of inadequate alignment
and poor assessments are serious.
From a historical perspective, Berliner took the lead in 1984 in pointing out that achievement was lower in
schools where there was not a close fit between what was taught and what was assessed. Students were put at a
disadvantage when the teaching and testing did not match, and their scores were probably not a valid measure of
what they had learned. And there were serious legal consequences when poorly fitting tests were used to make
decisions about promotion and graduation. The courts ruled that when assessments were used for purposes that
denied constitutional guarantees of equal protection or due process (as in retention or denial of graduation),
schools needed to provide evidence that those tests assessed skills and concepts actually taught in the classroom. As
Popham (2007) stated,
If we plan to use tests for purposes of accountability, we need to know that they measure traits that can
be influenced by instruction. . . . Instructionally insensitive tests render untenable the assumptions
underlying a test-based strategy for educational accountability. (p. 147)
Within this milieu of court orders, schools began facing greater problems with local testing. The result has been
high-stakes testing for accountability of not only schools and school districts but also individual teachers (Zirkel,
2013). Not surprisingly, new court cases seem to suggest another level of high-stakes testing: state laws and local
policies that provide for student test performance as one of the criteria for summative evaluation of educators.
Likewise, test performance criteria may play a carefully circumscribed rather than exclusive role in evaluations
having disciplinary consequences.
Despite the many challenges facing teachers and schools, more teachers are using state-approved, online-based
programs to ease the alignment of local assessment to state and national standards. Classroom teachers are also
using data analysis of student strengths and weaknesses. In furthering this endeavor, a series of web-based
programs now allow classroom teachers to create pre- and posttests online easily and quickly and to adjust
instruction as needed. Equally helpful is the availability of valid and reliable test questions (aligned with state
standards) that can be selected from large banks of assessment items. These types of online-based programs also
provide valuable teaching strategies that can address specific areas of need for individual students.
Curriculum Tip 1.5
Components of the curriculum determine the fit between what is taught and what is learned.
It might be useful at this juncture to note again that the four curricula discussed previously—written, supported,
taught, and tested—might be seen as constituting the intentional curriculum, which comprises that set of learning
experiences the school system consciously intends for its students. For school reform to be broad, lasting, and
effective, local school communities must have the opportunity and authority to address the issues that most
directly affect the conditions of teaching and learning, such as inadequate and inequitable funding; control of
budgets, staffing, scheduling, curriculum, and assessment; and broad involvement of parents and community in
the school. The focus on test scores diverts our attention from the crucial issues that our schools must address if
they are to be transformed. Rather than relying on the coercive power of tests, people truly interested in improving
schools would be better served by placing their faith in the people who know the students best.
The Learned Curriculum
The term learned curriculum is used here to denote all the changes in values, perceptions, and behavior that occur
as a result of school experiences. As such, it includes what the student understands, learns, and retains from both
the intentional curriculum and the hidden curriculum. The discussion here focuses on what is learned from the
intentional curriculum; the last part of the chapter analyzes what is learned from the hidden curriculum.
What, then, do students learn and retain from the intentional curriculum? Obviously, the answer varies with the
student, the teacher, and the curriculum. Some subtle transformations, especially between the taught curriculum
and the learned curriculum, however, occur in most classrooms, regardless of the specific conditions. Yet an
accepted axiom, something that is true and universal for effective teaching, should reflect what is known about
learning. Figure 1.1 presents the data on learning and remembering that is applicable to all ages.
Currently, with the passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) in 2015, educators have a renewed
opportunity to shape school reform. For example, there is an emerging educational trend centering on
personalized learning or competency-based learning. This type of learning involves identifying crucial learning
skills in a developmental sequence. For crucial skills, students are given instruction and practice for as long as
needed to develop deep understanding. Students advance and move ahead in the sequence of skills based on
demonstration of mastery (Sornson, 2016).
Although assessment and accountability remain in the forefront of education, the concept of a data-driven cycle of
improvement is tremendously exciting and continues to spark creative innovations with instructional
methodologies (Bambrick-Santoyo, 2016). The same holds true for flipped instruction. Unlike a traditional
classroom—where knowledge is conventionally delivered by a teacher—a teacher using a flipped instructional
approach might first have students study a topic on their own utilizing a variety of technological media. For
example, research suggests that flipping instruction is best suited to a curricular approach that integrates the
method with many other research-based strategies (Moran & Young, 2015). Nonetheless, flipped instruction is
not a new concept and is occasionally referred to as a backward classroom, a reverse instruction, or reverse
Figure 1.1 â–  Learning to Remember
Learning and Retention Tip
There is mounting evidence that active learning methods—collaboration, simulation, small-group sessions, and “flipped classrooms”—
produce better results for students, both in terms of test scores and information retention.
Authors’ research and experience
In addition to techniques such as data-driven or flipped instruction, schools are focusing on different ways to use
mobile devices and are implementing BYOD or BYOT (bring your own device or bring your own technology)
policies. In fact, mobile devices were recommended for use in schools as early as 2010 by the U.S. Department of
Education in the National Education Technology Plan (NETP) (Scholastic Administrator, 2012).
Along with new developments in technology, systemic planning is melding with up-to-date technological
advancements to create digital-aided schools across the globe. Moreover, systemic designs are redirecting
educational technology away from its use as a mere tool toward its role in addressing the academic needs for a
different generation of learners. The concentration of this approach makes implementation and regular use of
technology even more student centered while providing a shared vision as well as awareness on how technology
can advance teaching and learning (Whitehead, Jensen, & Boschee, 2013).
Components of the Curriculum
Although several texts in the field seem to treat curriculum development as if it were one undifferentiated process,
the realities are quite different. The concept subsumes several distinct entities that might best be described as
components of the curriculum. Each of these will be analyzed briefly next and then discussed more fully in the
chapters that follow.
Curricular Policies
The term curricular policies, as used here, designates the set of rules, criteria, and guidelines intended to manage
curriculum development and implementation. In reviewing the literature, Kirst (as cited in Glatthorn, 1987) led
the way by noting that there are macro-policies, such as a board policy on courses required in high school, and
micro-policies, such as a set of recommendations for a curriculum unit in mathematics. Policymaking, as Kirst
noted, is essentially the “authoritative allocation of competing values” (p. 15). Thus, as a board makes a policy
requiring 3 years of science in the high school curriculum but does not require any study of art, it is perhaps
unwittingly according a higher value to science as a way of knowing than it does to aesthetics. Saylor, Alexander,
and Lewis (1981) made a useful distinction between de jure policymaking (as implemented in court decisions,
national and state legislative acts, and local agency regulations) and de facto policymaking (as carried out by
community networks, testing bureaus, accrediting associations, and advisory boards).
Curriculum Tip 1.6
Administrators and teacher-leaders are well advised to reexamine policies affecting curriculum and the accepted practices at their schools.
The decisions that a school makes regarding established policies and practices can affect students enormously. In
this regard, school boards have multiple policies and practices that can and do affect curriculum development.
Some policies are deliberately set in place, while others evolve with time.
Curricular Goals
Local district curricular goals are often generated from state standards and/or nationally recommended standards.
The development of overarching goals is based on giving sufficient time to develop, articulate, and rationalize a
series of well-established objectives (Nidus & Sadder, 2016). These established goals are generally long-term
educational outcomes that the school system expects to achieve through its curriculum. As a result, three critical
elements can be included in this definition. First, goals are stated much more generally than objectives. Thus, one
goal for English language arts (ELA) might be this: Learn to communicate ideas through writing and speaking.
One objective for fifth-grade language arts would be much more specific: Write a letter, with appropriate business
letter form, suggesting a community improvement. Second, goals are long-term, not short-term, outcomes. The
school system hopes that after 12 years of formal schooling, its students will have achieved the goals the system has
Finally, curricular goals are those outcomes the school system hopes to achieve through its curriculum. Here, it is
important to make a distinction between educational goals and curricular goals. Educational goals are the longterm outcomes that the school system expects to accomplish through the entire educational process over which it
has control. The term 21st-century skills is generally used to refer to certain core competencies such as
collaboration, digital literacy, critical thinking, and problem solving that advocates believe schools need to teach to
help students succeed in today’s world. In a broader sense, however, the idea of what learning in the 21st century
should look like is open to interpretation—and controversy. To be a global digital citizen, Crockett (2016)
provides a list (see Table 1.5) of the essential critical 21st-century skills every student needs for life beyond the
Table 1.5 â–  Essential Critical 21st-Century Skills
Table 1.5 â–  Essential Critical 21st-Century Skills
Why It’s Important
Problem solving
Students need the ability to solve complex problems in real time.
Students need to be able to think and work creatively in both digital and nondigital
environments to develop unique and useful solutions.
Students need the ability to think analytically, which includes proficiency with
comparing, contrasting, evaluating, synthesizing, and applying without instruction or
Students must possess the ability to collaborate seamlessly in both physical and virtual
spaces, with real and virtual partners globally.
Students must be able to communicate not just with text or speech, but in multiple
Communication multimedia formats. They must be able to communicate visually through video and
imagery as effectively as they do with text and speech.
Source: Reprinted by permission of Global Digital Citizen Foundation, 2016. URL: https://globaldigital citizen.org/21st- century-skills- everystudent- needs. Licensed under CC BY-NC- SA 4.0 https://creativecom mons.org/licenses/b y-nc-sa/4.0/.
How do curricular policies and curricular goals interrelate? In a sense, the policies establish the rules (“Take 3 years
of health education”), and the goals set the targets (“At the end of those 3 years, you will have adopted
constructive health habits”). In this sense, they should determine in a rational system the form and content of all
the other components that follow. As will be evident throughout this work, however, educational organizations are
usually not very rational. Typically, policies are not related to goals, and goals are not related to fields and
programs of study.
Fields of Study
A field of study is an organized and clearly demarcated set of learning experiences typically offered over a
multiyear period. In most school curricula, such fields of study are equivalent to the standard school subjects:
ELA, mathematics, social studies, science, and so on. At the college level, fields are more narrowly defined; thus,
students pursue majors in history or anthropology or sociology—not “social studies.” Thus, a middle school might
offer a 4-year field of study called “Humans and Their Environment,” which would bring together concepts from
the social sciences, the natural sciences, and English language arts.
Programs of Study
A program of study is the total set of learning experiences offered by a school for a particular group of learners,
usually over a multiyear period and typically encompassing several fields of study. The program of study is often
described in a policy statement that delineates which subjects are required and which are electives, with
corresponding time allocations and credits. Here, for example, is a typical program of studies for an elementary
Reading and language arts: 8 hours a week
Social studies: 3 hours a week
Mathematics: 4 hours a week
Art: 1 hour a week
Music: 1 hour a week
Health and physical education: 1 hour a week
At the college level, a student’s program of studies includes all the courses he or she will take or has taken.
Courses of Study
A course of study is a subset of both a program of study and a field of study. It is a set of organized learning
experiences, within a field of study, offered over a specified period of time (such as a year, a semester, or a quarter)
for which the student ordinarily receives academic credit. The course of study is usually given a title and a grade
level or numerical designation. Thus, “third-grade science” and “English II” are courses of study. At the college
level, courses of study seem to be the most salient component for both students and faculty: “I’m taking
Economics I this term”; “I’m offering Elizabethan Literature this quarter.”
Units of Study
A unit of study is a subset of a course of study. It is an organized set of related learning experiences offered as part
of a course of study, usually lasting from 1 to 3 weeks. Many units are organized around a single overarching
concept, such as “Mythical Creatures” or “The Nature of Conflict.” Units of study generally follow established
Robert Marzano (as cited in Marzano, Pickering, & Pollock, 2001) noted that when developing units of study at
any level, it is best to view the process as a series of phases. The planning phases of unit development include the
At the beginning of a unit, include strategies for setting learning goals.
During a unit, include strategies
for monitoring progress toward learning goals;
for introducing new knowledge; and
for practicing, reviewing, and applying knowledge.
At the end of a unit, include strategies for helping students determine how well they have achieved their
It is a best practice for teachers to present students with components and subcomponents of the unit process and
then structure tasks to emphasize a specific component or subcomponent. Marzano’s intent is for teachers to
systematically utilize strategies that work. These are best-practice approaches and will eventually lead to mastery.
As noted by Guskey and Anderman (2014), students who focus on mastery are more likely to persist at academic
tasks, especially challenging ones.
A lesson is a set of related learning experiences typically lasting 20 to 90 minutes, focusing on a relatively small
number of objectives. Ordinarily, a lesson is a subset of a unit, although, as noted previously, the unit level is
sometimes omitted by teachers while planning for instruction.
These distinctions among the several components of a differentiated curriculum have an importance that
transcends the need for conceptual clarity. Each seems to involve some rather different planning processes. Thus,
to speak generally about “curriculum planning,” without noting the difference between planning a program of
studies and planning a course of studies, is to make a rather serious mistake.
Improving and differentiating lessons based on current brain research and curriculum design is becoming a critical
component in the search for best practices. Moreover, foundations of differentiated lessons include such strategies
as curriculum compacting, flexible grouping, tiered activities, and individual student contracts (Parsons, Dodman,
& Burrowbridge, 2013). As part of the differential process, educators often use innovative techniques such as
student learning objectives (SLOs). These specialized objectives can be content centered or course specific.
Therefore, a key to successful teaching is for teachers to anticipate the instructional supports students need and
integrate these supports into a lesson—just in time for new learning. Clearly, just-in-time learning can lead to
exciting moments in the classroom as well as in education (Rollins, 2016). New learning spaces and innovative
applications are providing teachers with instant access to up-to-date information. Teachers wanting to develop
creative and exciting lessons are now able to readily reach out to a strong network of colleagues (Ferriter &
Provenzano, 2013). Nonetheless, it remains practical to tie new lessons to tried-and-true strategies that have
proven effective over time.
Marzano and his colleagues (2001) identified nine categories of strategies, still relevant today, that have a vast
effect on student achievement:
1. Identifying similarities and differences
2. Summarizing and note taking
3. Reinforcing effort and providing recognition
4. Doing homework and practicing
5. Allowing for nonlinguistic representations
6. Enhancing cooperative learning
7. Setting objectives and providing feedback
8. Generating and testing hypotheses
9. Formulating questions, cues, and advance organizers
Obviously, students need a fair amount of guidance when learning these complex processes. Thus, curriculum
planning should emphasize metacognitive control of all processes. These processes are similar to skills in that they
often produce some form of product or new understanding. Classroom teachers intuitively recognize the
importance of metacognition but may not be aware of its many dimensions. Metacognitive ability is central to
conceptions of what it means to be educated. The world is becoming more complex, more information rich, and
more demanding of fresh thinking.
The Mastery, the Organic, and the Enrichment Curricula
One additional classification system first proposed by Glatthorn (1980) has proven useful, especially in developing
and improving fields of study.
Curriculum Tip 1.7
Curriculum leaders should distinguish between the three types of learning in each field of study. The three types of learning are mastery,
organic, and enrichment.
The three types of learning result from the following analytical steps. First, divide the learnings in that field
between those that are basic and those that are enrichment. Basic learnings are those that, in the views of
knowledgeable educators, are essential for all students (all, in this use, refers to the top 90% of learners, excluding
the least able and those with serious learning disabilities [LD]). Enrichment learnings are the knowledge and skills
that are interesting and enriching but are not considered essential; they are simply “nice to know.” Thus, in fifthgrade social studies, curriculum workers might decide that the early settling of the Vikings in Iceland would be
interesting enrichment content.
Table 1.6 â–  The Three Types of Curricula
Table 1.6 â–  The Three Types of
Nonstructured Organic
Nonstructured learning, on the other hand, includes all those skills, knowledge, and attitudes that can be mastered
without such careful sequencing, planning, testing, and delineation. Structured and nonstructured learning yield
the three types of curricula depicted in Table 1.6: mastery, organic, and enrichment.
Once the first division between basic and enrichment is made, then further divide the basic learnings into those
that require structure and those that do not require structure. Structured learning, as the term is used here, has four
1. Sequencing
2. Planning
3. Measurable outcomes
4. Clearly delineated content
Mastery learnings are those that are both basic and structured. Thus, in mastery-based learning, a student and
teacher discuss specific next steps to gain a better foothold on the path to master (Nolan, 2016). An example of a
mastery objective for language arts, Grade 2, is the following: Use a capital letter for the first word in a sentence.
Organic learnings, however, are those that are basic but do not require structuring. They are the learnings that
develop day by day, rather naturally, as the result of numerous interactions and exchanges. They tend not to be
the focus of specific learnings. They are just as important as the mastery outcomes (if not more so), but they do
not require sequencing, pacing, and articulating. Here is an example of organic learning for language arts, Grade
2: Listen courteously while others speak.
The teacher might emphasize learning on every occasion, not just devoting a specific lesson to it. And enrichment
learnings, as noted previously, are those learnings that simply extend the curriculum; they are not considered basic.
This tripartite division is more than an interesting intellectual exercise. It has significant implications for
curriculum development. In general, district curriculum guides and scope-and-sequence charts based on individual
state and/or CCSS standards should focus solely on the mastery elements. The nurturing of organic components
can be enhanced through effective professional learning; such outcomes do not need to be explicated fully and
carefully in guides. The enrichment components can be included in a supplement for those teachers who want to
share enrichment activities.
Likewise, curriculum-referenced tests should focus only on mastery elements; organic elements should not be
tested. This distinction also has implications for the purchase of texts: Textbooks should focus on the mastery
objectives; the teacher can nurture the organic without the aid of textbooks.
Finally, the distinction helps resolve the issue of district versus teacher control. In general, the district should
determine the mastery curriculum, to the extent of specifying objectives. The district emphasizes the important
outcomes but gives the teacher great latitude of choice in nurturing them. In addition, the enrichment
curriculum is the teacher’s own: Here, the teacher can add whatever content he or she feels might be of interest to
the students.
Curriculum Tip 1.8
The key to enriching curriculum is to involve students in real-life problem-solving scenarios.
The Hidden Curriculum
The concept of hidden curriculum expresses the idea that schools do more than simply transmit knowledge. In
fact, the challenges one faces by a student inside the school can easily be connected to and compounded by things
that are happening outside of school or in the community (Hatch, 2009). As part of this process it is important to
peel back layers of curricula and data to uncover any systemic inequities (La Salle & Johnson, 2016–2017). Thus,
there are differences between written and hidden curricula in that teachers teach and students learn implicit
concepts and patterns (Deutsch, 2004). Hidden curriculum, which is sometimes called unstudied curriculum or
implicit curriculum, might best be defined in the following manner: those aspects of schooling, other than the
intentional curriculum, that seem to produce changes in student values, perceptions, and behaviors.
As the definition suggests, students learn a great deal in school from sources other than the intentional curriculum.
Although the term hidden curriculum is often used with negative connotations, those learnings can be both
desirable and undesirable from the viewpoint of one aspiring to optimal human development. In examining the
specific nature of hidden curriculum, it seems useful, at this point, to distinguish between what might be termed
the constants (those aspects of schooling that seem more or less impervious to change) and the variables (those
aspects that seem susceptible to reform).
Curriculum Tip 1.9
The hidden curriculum might be seen as those aspects of the learned curriculum that lie outside the boundaries of the school’s intentional
Another aspect of the hidden curriculum is that of the extracurriculum or cocurriculum. This curriculum
embodies all of the school-sponsored programs that are intended to supplement the academic aspect of the school
experience. Athletics, band/choral groups, clubs, drama, student government, honor societies and/or student
organizations, school dances, and social events all fall under the heading of extracurricular activities. However,
participation in these activities is purely voluntary and does not contribute to grades or credits earned toward
advancement from one grade to the next or to graduation. Extracurricular activities are typically open to all,
though participation often depends on skill level (Ebert, Ebert, & Bentley, 2013).
The Constants of the Hidden Curriculum
Certain aspects of the hidden curriculum are so intrinsic to the nature of schools as a cultural institution that they
might be seen as constants. Historically, the depiction of those constants presented next has been influenced by a
close reading of several early curricular reconceptualists such as Apple (1979), Pinar (1978), and Giroux and
Penna (1979); sociologists such as Dreeben (1968); and educational researchers such as Jackson (1968) and
Goodlad (1984). One of the constants of the hidden curriculum is the ideology of the larger society, which
permeates every aspect of schooling. Thus, schools in the United States inevitably reflect the ideology of
democratic capitalism.
A key component of the school as an organization is the classroom, where the most salient aspects of the hidden
curriculum come into play. The classroom is a crowded place, where issues of control often become dominant.
Control is achieved through the differential use of power; the teacher uses several kinds of power to control the
selection of content, the methods of learning, movement in the classroom, and the flow of classroom discourse.
Control also is achieved by the skillful use of accountability measures; teachers spend much time evaluating and
giving evaluative feedback. In such a classroom, students unconsciously learn the skills and traits required by the
larger society; they learn how to be punctual, clean, docile, and conforming. They learn how to stand in line, take
their turn, and wait.
Even though the previously given features of the hidden curriculum are presented here as constants relatively
impervious to change, it is important for curriculum leaders to be aware of their subtle and pervasive influence.
Being aware of aspects and variables of the hidden curriculum is crucial for the success of our future administrators
and teacher-leaders.
The Variables of the Hidden Curriculum
Several other important aspects of the hidden curriculum can be more readily changed by educators. The most
significant of these can be classified into three categories: organizational variables, social-system variables, and
social and culture variables.
Organizational Variables
The term organizational variables is used here to designate all those decisions about how teachers will be assigned
and students grouped for instruction. Here, four issues seem worthy of attention: team teaching, promotion and
retention policies, ability grouping, and curriculum tracking. The evidence on the effects of team teaching on
student achievement is somewhat inconclusive. Even though many school systems have implemented
“promotional gates” policies that promoted students solely on the ba…
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