Curriculum Management


RESOURCES:
Glossary:
Learner Centered Philosophical Principles:
Webliography:
Helpful Websites:



Week 1
Discussion:
How do you define curriculum? Curriculum is what teachers need to teach and what students need to learn to master a course. The curriculum must include all that students need to be able to do and understand prior to going to the next level or grade. It also must prepare students for assessments to be administered throughout the course and at the end of the course.

What do you see as the purpose of curriculum? The purpose of curriculum is to prepares students. If teachers did not have well thought out and planned curriculums, students would not be prepared for the next level. I teach Web Design classes. I expect my students to have learned (and still remember) basic computer skills prior to taking my class. I teach my class as if they have had MSWord, MSPublisher, Excel, and other basic word processing programs. The curriculum in BCIS (renamed this year to BIM) should prepare students to created any type of document or spreadsheet. My course builds upon that knowledge and takes students to the next level.

Given state requirements, how can curriculum best be designed and managed to reflect the goals of an individual school and the needs of its students? The state and NCLB expect students to have a progression from one point to the next. Anything that is stale and stagnant is usually stink or dead. So the goal of education and curriculum is to have students grow towards goals beyond the walls of lower education, to higher education and beyond. Curriculum has to be designed to match the needs of the students in individual schools. No school is made up of students who think and learn the same way. We have to take many things into consideration when creating curriculum, including special needs of not just special education students but of gifted students. We have to look at the demographics of our student bodies, its strengths and weaknesses. We also have to look at the economics of our schools. For instance, schools in a wealthier district can afford to provide special incentives and programs their student body. They can afford to have tutors and smaller class sizes to ensure success for all.

Week 2
Discussion:
Two of your readings this week focused on the relevancy of the classic curriculum theories/models of Ralph W. Tyler and Hilda Taba. Based on the readings and what you have learned in this course so far, do you think the Tyler and Taba models remain applicable to 21st century teaching and learning? Explain.
According to Dr. Arterbury, "curriculum encompasses the knowledge, skills, attitudes, and processes to be taught and learned at the appropriate levels or courses in a district's school." Dr. Artebury also noted in his lecture that: "Hilda Taba described curriculum as a plan for learning" and that Ralph Tyler "defined curriculum as all of the learning of students which is planned and directed by the school to attain its educational goals." Their classic theories and models are relevant today. Dr. Artebury suggested that these theories are just a part of the framework the the state used in the creation of the TEKS which we all use to guide student learning and assessment. Hilda Taba taught that objectives "establish a sense of purpose and provide a basis for deciding what to include or emphasize" in developing a curriculum (Fraenkel, 1992). She also believed that teachers should teach facts that enhance understanding because coverage is impossible. "Taba noted the importance of using objectives to establish a sense of purpose for deciding what to include, exclude, and emphasize in a curriculum" (Arterbury, 2011). She preferred sampling rather than covering. I tend to agree that many times we expect students to retain information which will be of no value past today. We need to give them precepts that can build upon each other. I feel that high school teachers build upon knowledge that students retain from elementary and middle schools. This brings me to Ralph Tyler, who, according to Ronald Simpson (1999), stressed that any educational system is an extension of the values of its society. I found the following quote in Wikipedia, "Tyler describes learning as taking place through the action of the student. "It is what he does that he learns, not what the teacher does" (Tyler p. 63). This quote is very applicable and relevant to today's' students and teachers. Lessons seem abstract and do not become concrete until the students go beyond the step-by-steps which are found in the text. I think they 'get it' when they create projects on their own using skills learned in the text. Ralph Tyler believed that any educational planning should consider the nature of the learner. He is also quoted as saying, "I've never met a child who couldn't learn." (Sanford News Service, 1994). Finally, a quote from Courtenay Middle School. Ralph W. Tyler: "The Tyler Rationale:" "In the first section of his book, Tyler explains that one of the main problems with education is that educational programs "do not have clearly defined purposes." These "purposes" as he describes them should be translated into educational objectives. This objective-based approach to evaluation is at the core of what Tyler proposes. Tyler's approach to evaluation followed these steps:

1. Establish broad goals or objectives.
2. Classify the goals or objectives.
3. Define objectives in behavior terms.
4. Find situations in which achievement if objectives can be shown.
5. Develop or select measurement techniques.
6. Collect performance data.
7. Compare performance data with behaviorally stated objectives. (Courtenay Middle School. Ralph W. Tyler: The Tyler Rationale. 2006)

Arterbury, E. (2011, January). Tyler, Olivia, Taba. Lecture conducted from Lamar University, Beaumont, Texas.
Fraenkel, J. R. (1992). Hilda Taba’s contributions to social studies education. Social Education, 56(3), 172-178.
Simpson, R. (1999). Ralph Tyler on curriculum: A voice from the past with a message for the future. Innovative Higher Education, 24(2), 85-87.
Ralph W. Tyler. (November, 2010). In Wikipedia. Retrieved January 22, 2011, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ralph_W._Tyler
Sanford News Service. Ralph Tyler, one of century's foremost educators, dies at 91. (February 28, 1994). Retrieved January 22, 1011, from http://news.stanford.edu/pr/94/940228Arc4425.html
Courtenay Middle School. Ralph W. Tyler: "The Tyler Rationale" (2006). Retrieved on January 21, 2011 from http://elibrary.sd71.bc.ca/teacher_resources/pedogogical_links/principles_curr_instruction.htm

Week 3
Discussion:
What has been your experience with curriculum management audits? Would your school district benefit from this process? Explain.
Like most of my peers I have not experienced a curriculum management audit, furthermore, this course is my first encounter with the term curriculum management audit. After viewing the lecture, I know that our school and district would benefit from the process. I also feel that individual foundation curriculum courses would also benefit from a curriculum management audit. As I reflect upon student weaknesses in math and science, I know that our math and science departments can benefit from the curriculum management audit. I note that many students in 9th through 11th grade are barely making the mark; we are always just a point away from being "unacceptable" because of our 9th and 10th grade TAKS scores. The 11th grade class does better because I think they know that they do not want to take test during their senior year. Plus, when you a senior, your peers will know that you have not passed the TAKS, which can be a cause of embarrassment for some seniors. I also note that many teachers feel a sense of helplessness and frustration because they have tried so many techniques to get the skills across. Our district spends enormous amounts of money to help students achieve. We have extended day programs and during the day tutorial programs for additional help and support for students who are struggling. In most cases, the students do not show up or if they do, it is not with the intent to excel. A curriculum management audit can not help students take ownership for their success or failure. That is a major factor on our campus, getting students to understand that success and failure, that intrinsic need to succeed, ultimately lies within them.

Week 4
Discussion:
What has been your experience in using data to make decisions about curriculum and instruction? I had to focus on data while preparing my 6th grade students for the reading TAKS test. I would work with the other 6th grade reading teacher to try to find stories and strategies to help our students be successful. We also looked at ways to include technology and were instrumental in getting Read180 implemented on our campus. Our principal insisted that we looked at disaggregated data from elementary records to help identify student strengths and weaknesses. The data helped us know how to use the written curriculum so that the taught curriculum would help students prepare for the TAKS reading test.

How effectively does your school use data to determine goals and objectives in the Campus Improvement Plan? Explain. The school uses data to determine goals and objectives for the Campus Improvement Plan. Department leaders get together at the beginning of each school year to look at data from the previous school. They use this data to help outline improvements for student success. The past year's CIP stated that our campus will move from "unacceptable" to "exemplary." Even though we did not move to exemplary, we did move from "unacceptable" to "acceptable." This was due in part to the strength of the 11th grade scores. This year's CIP also state that 90 percent of the students taking TAKS will pass by 2011. That is indeed a lofty goal in light of our current AEIS data. According to the CIP in the Student Achievement Strengths section for this school year, "The percentage of students passing the reading portion of the TAKS has increased. Gaps between the various student groups have also narrowed. The percentage of students passing reading in the Hispanic, Economically Disadvantaged have also increased. (MHS Campus Improvement Plan, 2010 - 2011)" I think that the school does use disaggregated data to focus on student achievement. We have a lot of work to do in math and science. The CIP Student Achievement Needs sections states, "After careful review of Memorial High School AEIS report and the campus needs assessment, an emphasis was placed on math and science during the past school year. One area of focus was problem solving and critical thinking. Student achievement increased in both subject areas. (MHS Campus Improvement Plan, 2010 - 2011)"

MHS Campus Improvement Plan. (October, 2010).

Week 5
Discussion:
What is your philosophy of curriculum? How did you develop this philosophy? Before this class, my philosophy of curriculum was the outline of courses a student my take to pass a class. I developed this philosophy because I helped write the Reading 6 curriculum one summer for the district. This was not an easy job. In our case, many strong willed people wanted what they wanted; there was very little compromise. When the curriculum was presented to the teachers, many complained. From that year (about 7 years ago) to this, our district has revised curriculum yearly. This was not the case in years gone by. The year we worked on the curriculum it had not been re-written in about ten years.

In the Week 1 discussion, you defined curriculum. Is your definition the same, or has it changed since completing this course? My comment for Week 1 discussion: "Curriculum is what teachers need to teach and what students need to learn to master a course. The curriculum must include all that students need to be able to do and understand prior to going to the next level or grade. It also must prepare students for assessments to be administered throughout the course and at the end of the course." My definition has been broadened since taking the course. I now know that curriculum must be written, taught, and ultimately tested. I also learned that it is beneficial to our students if teachers actually teach the curriculum, which is based on TEKS which will be tested on TAKS.

What should be the relationship between written, taught, and tested curricula? Why is this relationship critical to campus improvement? The relationship between written, taught, and tested curricula is critical to student success. The written and taught curriculum must meet state criteria. Effective curriculum must be accessible, manageable and user friendly, according to Dr. Artebury. He also stated that the three components must be congruent. This relationship is important to improved student scores. The purpose of the campus improvement plan is to improve student performance based on the campus' AEIS disaggregated data. I do not have a written or tested curriculum for my class. I must rely on the TEKS to prepare my students for technology they may need after high school. I try to keep standards high, though this is hard because so many special needs students are placed in Web Mastering for their Technology credit. Many can not grasp what we are going and are working at the frustration level in the class. This class has help me to understand that it is critical that my CTE students, though not a tested subject, have success with TEKS that the state feels they must master for higher education and industry. The campus plan focuses on the needs of our special needs population.