Instructional Practices for Standards-Based Curriculum

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Running head: INSTRUCTIONAL PRACTICES FOR STANDARDS-BASED

Instructional Practices for Standards-Based Curriculum
Brandi R. Woods
Grand Canyon University
EDA 561 - Curriculum Development for School Improvement

October 24, 2010

Instructional Practices for Standards-Based Curriculum
George W. Bush put into action the No Child Left Behind Act to ensure that all children were giving the right education and succeeding. With this, many states adopted a standard-based curriculum approach that required for all schools to have a state-wide test for accountability. This has definitely influenced and changed the teachings of many schools (Wiles & Bondi, 2007). With the standards-based curriculum being adopted by many states, it means that the curriculum has become simplified and geared towards test taking. Most teachers are used to this testing and do not know anything else or know any other way to teach except to the test. The curriculum gives a list of expectations that each child should master. A lot of subjects are not seen as important such as electives (music, art, foreign language, etc.) (Wiles & Bondi, 2007). Some teachers have seen this movement as hard because they want to be able to teach their students so much more than just a test. They believe that they cannot have fun in teaching anymore. Once the state has set the standards, it is up to the local district to develop programs and test all students for achievement on the certain standards. The next step is to create categories by topic and then further to define the topics with content. Scope and sequence lists, curriculum maps and frameworks are then created by groups of teachers, who are given sample lesson plans and materials to use to key their own lessons to the standards. The final step of this process is to create aligned standards-based tests and then hold districts, schools, and teachers accountable for the defined standards. Educators, in general, agree that there should be accountability for learning with data and evidence to substantiate it. The concern is that students are being "short-changed" by a focus on a narrowly defined curriculum that may not meet the needs of all students (Wiles & Bondi, 2007). What is to be taught in the curriculum is determined by the standards, but “how” the curriculum is conveyed at the classroom level becomes most important. Teachers must have adequate and aligned materials in order to maximize student learning. These materials must be comprehensive enough to encompass whatever needs the students have within the individual classroom. Reference and context materials such as maps must be available as well as enrichment and remedial materials. Materials should be readable, motivating and interesting. It is important that curriculum leaders help teachers use professional skills and logic. Leaders in curriculum need to help teachers with the pace of delivery even to the point of organizing concepts around major pieces or “chunks” of learning. Finally, curriculum leaders should help teachers work with students on motivation (Wiles & Bondi, 2007). With this being said, there are various practices designed to achieve high-level learning for all students in a standard-based curriculum. It is the teacher’s job to help promote this. High-level learning will more than likely not be mentioned in the curriculum. Schools should make sure that teachers are adequately trained to help them achieve high-level learning. With high-level learning comes complete class engagement. The students must feel connected to what they are learning. So, the teachers must motivate all the students in some form or fashion. Listed below are some ways to help motivate them and get them to think outside of the box which in turn will lead to high level learning: 1. Information--having access to state-of-the-art knowledge 2. Problem solving--developing and implementing plans to create solutions to challenges that...
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