Academic journal article Educational Research Quarterly

Comparison of Curriculum Development Practices

Academic journal article Educational Research Quarterly

Comparison of Curriculum Development Practices

Article excerpt


Lesson and unit plans designed by preservice teachers who developed their plans using the backward design model or a traditional model of curriculum design were compared. Two independent raters scored 153 lesson and unit plans developed by preservice teachers in two different sections of Educational Planning and Management. The plans were evaluated using Danielson's Framework for Professional Practice by means of six components: demonstrating knowledge of content and pedagogy, demonstrating knowledge of students, selecting suitable instructional goals, demonstrating knowledge of resources, designing coherent instruction, and assessing student learning. Results included evidence that preservice teachers who were taught curriculum design using the backward design model outperformed preservice teachers who were taught curriculum design using a traditional model on all six components.

On Saturday, March 2. 2002, President Bush pledged to work to enlist a new generation of well-trained teachers to help America's children succeed in school. Highlighting his educational agenda, Bush said in his weekly radio address: "The effectiveness of all education reform eventually comes down to a good teacher in a classroom A good teacher can literally make a lifelong difference" (Associated Press, 2002, p. A3). In 2002 Bush approved nearly three billion dollars from the education budget to be used for teacher training, recruiting, and hiring. If federal funds are going to be spent on educational reform and teacher training, it would be imperative to know on what training contents money should be spent.

The improvement of our nation's educational system is under greater scrutiny than ever before because of Bush's educational agenda. When designing curriculum, a vital component of teacher training, h is important to determine which curricular design process is effective to allow for the teacher to demonstrate knowledge of content and pedagogy, demonstrate knowledge of students, select suitable instructional goals, demonstrate knowledge of resources, design coherent instruction, and assess student learning, components of planning and preparation tasks required of beginning teachers (Danielson, 1996). These six components include those aspects of teaching that are expected of experienced as well as beginning teachers. Therefore, it is critical that when planning and preparing curriculum, future educators employ the curriculum process that best incorporates these six components of effective teaching.

The field of curriculum development is not static; new procedures are being suggested for changing existing curricula all the time, even though it may be a new name for an old or existing idea. However, if individuals look back over the history of curriculum development, they will learn that the backward design process is somewhat unique, not found in historical literature.

Curriculum development has been in existence since the mid- 180Os when William Harvey Wells divided all students in the city of Chicago into grades and established a distinct course of study for each subject at each grade level (Tyack, 1974). In 1892, the National Education Association's Committee of Ten was charged with developing a plan for standardizing the high school curriculum. The plan was to prepare secondary school adolescents for the entrance requirements of college by using subject differentiation at public schools (Kb'ebard, 1995). This central, discipline-oriented, college preparation curriculum survives to this day, as does the idea that curriculum planning is, for the most part, subject naming, specifying content, and ordering the treatment (Walker & Soltis, 1986).

These pragmatic intentions were given philosophical validation by educational theorists who believed "the task of the school was to deliver a prescribed body of subject matter, based on idealist and/or realist views of knowledge" (Dittmar, 1993, p. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed


An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.