Understanding Curriculum

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Editor’s comments

This is an example of carefully carried out research addressing examples of lack of alignment between curriculum, assessment and aims which can limit students’ achievement and the achievement of the goals of curriculum planners.

Areas for further research

If you are researching in this area, please let us know so that we can add this information to the guide. An important linked area is the aims of education. The findings reported in Bhatti’s theses indicate the importance of ensuring that the aims of education are aligned with the curriculum (all aspects) and the assessment experience of students. If a wholistic view is not taken by curriculum planners then the desired outcomes are not likely to be achieved. 


5 star:  

The Editors see no reason that these definitions will not be understood in other settings.  A restricted understanding of the different forms the curriculum takes can prevent intended outcomes being achieved.

Strength of Evidence

5 star.

This study provides an overview of different interpretations of the concept of ‘curriculum’.You are welcome to comment and submit definitions and examples for consideration for inclusion.

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Understanding Curriculum

4. Personal Level

Here, the learners are not passive recipient of knowledge them but they are choosing and self- managing learners. They construct their own meanings from their classroom experiences. This curriculum is challenging, but flexible, innovative and learner-friendly. It allows the learners to grasp clearly the learning goals and progress purposefully through active learning. 

3. Instructional Level

The instructional level curriculum is developed by the classroom teacher. The teacher sets the learning outcomes keeping in view his actual experience of the learners. It is based on practical knowledge of the learners and the locality. However, it may lack the depth and breadth. The effective teachers develop the curriculum that is also aligned to national policy and standards. 

2. Institutional Level

Here, the curriculum is developed by the school administration and teachers. However, the students, parents as well as the local community may also be involved. Curriculum at the institutional level is more aligned to the institutional goals. The vocational and training schools often develop their own curriculum according to the nature of particular job or skill they are going to prepare students. 

1. Societal level

At the societal level, curriculum is developed by the federal level agencies, boards of education, publishers, and curriculum reform committees. The curriculum developed at this level is mostly based on theoretical knowledge and is mostly reflection of the educational policy rather than field experience. However, school administrators, teachers, parents, and students are also usually consulted to make it more practical. It is prescriptive and general, giving less space for individuality or local needs.


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