Formal Curriculum Assessment

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State Curriculum Assessment

Curriculum Defined

Every year as new students enter school they wonder what they will learn. As the student enters the room on the first day of school the teacher has her room precisely decorated and has all of her lesson plans clearly defined. Although the student has no idea, these lesson plans where designed specifically for his/her every need before he even stepped into that classroom. Every year the curriculum for Louisiana schools is determined long before the student ever arrive, but what exactly is the curriculum and what does it do for each student individually? The curriculum in schools today has been defined in many different ways; this is primarily due to the fact that most everyone has an opinion on how and what the curriculum of our students should be. When curriculum is ordinarily defined there are usually words like study and planned activities that arise, but there is more to it than just that. The curriculum that our students are given should be more than just homework and tests, it should also continue outside of the classroom. Although this could seem a bit uncouth, it can be planned out and individualized for students. Making sure that the curriculum is planned out for individuals is another major part of the curriculum being a success. The specific curriculum that is planned out for students should also always be clearly defined within their content level and for the students’ specific learning ability. And finally a classes curriculum should follow the curriculum with others classes throughout the state, ensuring that all students are given the same opportunities to learn.

Todd (1965), E.A. Curriculum Development and Instructional Planning in Nederland, Texas stated that, “a curriculum can be defined as the planned educational experiences offered by a school which can take place anywhere at any time in the multiple context of the school, e.g. public schools as caring communities.” (p. 1) This describes a certain type of curriculum that is not only in the classroom, but outside of it as well. It should involve the community and all of the functions that are included within that. Cornbleth (1990) states that "Curriculum construction is an ongoing social activity that is shaped by various contextual influences within and beyond the classroom and accomplished interactively, primarily be teachers and students. The curriculum is not a tangible product but the actual, day-to-day interactions of students, teachers, knowledge and milieu…… The curriculum knowledge or subject matter of interest here is primarily but not solely academic (e.g., mathematics, history). It also includes the personal, social, and world knowledge that is communicated or otherwise made available to students and what might be characterized as knowledge about knowledge - Its nature, sources, limits and change. While knowledge typically is treated as an object or commodity to be acquired, that is not the intention here” (p. 1) He goes on to describe how the curriculum in schools should teach the students’ social skills that will one day help them better succeed in life. This part of the curriculum is sometimes that parts that cannot be written or planned. Although these lessons are not always planned out they can sometimes be the most rewarding for students. Teaching students life lessons so that they may one day be able to succeed in a real life situation is sometimes much more important than teaching them even some of the greatest knowledge obtainable.

To make sure that all students are always given adequate opportunities to learn, the curriculum should be individualized for all students’ specific learning needs. Ignacio Estrada once said, “If a child can’t learn the way we teach, maybe we should teach the way they learn.” All students have different ways that they must learn, some are hands-on learners, some must hear a lecture, and some might learn better by simply reading it out...
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