A viable curriculum purposefully aligns the intended curriculum, taught curriculum, and assessed curriculum. This requires consistency and articulation in delivery up the grade levels and across a grade level or course, as well as flexibility in how teachers are able to adapt the curriculum to meet the varying needs of their students.
Curriculum Development (Intended Curriculum)
The Essential Learning Outcomes that students will achieve at each grade level are identified at the district level through the curriculum development process. Spring Lake Park graduate expectations guide this backwards design. State standards, national standards, and local practices drive decision-making, development, and revision.
Essential Learning Outcomes
Essential Learning Outcomes are measurable outcomes that define what we expect each student to know, understand and be able to do in each curricular area and at each grade level and serves as the intended curriculum. This framework serves as a guide for focusing instruction and mapping the taught curriculum at the school-level. Elements of the Essential Learning Outcome document include:
- Enduring Understandings: Statements that clearly articulate the big ideas that promote long term understanding of the discipline or subject area that have lasting value beyond the classroom. These are the important understandings that we want students to retain after they may have forgotten the details (Brown, 2004; Wiggins & McTighe, 1998)
- Essential Questions: Focus our attention on what is important. They foster inquiry, understanding, and transfer of learning. They occur naturally and should be asked over and over (Brown, 2004; Wiggins & McTighe, 1998)
- Learning Targets: Specify, in measurable terms, what all students should know and be able to do to achieve desired understandings and answer essential questions (Brown, 2004). These will be identified for each subject within each grade level
- Assessment Plan: Determining acceptable evidence, assessments of learning (summative), to assess and to evaluate student achievement of desired results.
Assessment for Learning (Assessed Curriculum)
Assessments, formative and summative, are designed to measure student learning of our intended curriculum. The results of these assessments are used by the teacher to modify instruction to meet student needs.
- Formative Assessment (Assessment for Learning)
Assessment for learning promotes ongoing student growth. It includes the frequent assessments that measure students’ knowledge or ability regarding a specific concept/skill, and allows a teacher and her/his student to identify her/his strengths and weaknesses. Teachers use formative assessment as a teaching tool to guide future instruction and to improve upon weaknesses.
- Summative Assessment (Assessment of Learning)
Assessment of learning provides a snapshot of what a student knows at a given point in time. It is often used to report achievement status to others. It is often an assessment that measures students’ knowledge or ability at the conclusion of a unit or an end of course study.
Instructional Alignment (Taught Curriculum)
The intended curriculum provides the targets that are taught in the classroom. Teachers use these targets to collaboratively and individually develop instructional plans and assessments to appropriately identify and respond to student needs. Time is formally scheduled so that PLC Teams and vertical teams can engage in ongoing conversations to ensure articulation of the curriculum and to reveal and eliminate gaps and overlaps.