EVALUATING THE CURRICULUM

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Teachers often find themselves having to evaluate curriculum materials. Is the curriculum better and fulfilling the needs of the children and the society?

Curriculum materials are devised to help pupils learn. It will be important to use the materials with pupils and to take into account pupils' actions and reactions. This is all the more relevant when the intentions of the materials are in terms of reasoning skills, understanding, attitudes and values rather than specific practical skills or factual knowledge.

How well is your curriculum working? The question can only be answered by considering:

Ø  How well your curriculum accomplishes what it sets out to achieve?

Ø  How well does it meet the wider aims of the curriculum?
Ø  How well does it allow all young people to achieve high standards?
Ø  What are the strengths of your current curriculum and what are areas for further development?'

So evaluation is the process of gathering and using information to help in making decisions or judgment. To make the evaluation, you need information and criteria against which it will be judged. These criteria can be organized into six categories.

I.  Content
Does the material:

  • Give opportunity for pupils to apply and develop their citizenship ideas?
  • Give opportunity for pupils to use and develop their citizenship skills?
  • Encourage positive attitudes towards their local and global?
  • Encourage citizenship attitudes?
  • Relate to the pupils' every day experiences?
  • Appeal equally to boys and girls and to those of all cultural and religious backgrounds?
  • Involve the pupils in working co-operatively and in combining their ideas?
  • Involve the pupils in first-hand investigation of issues?
  • Involve them in planning and investigating through research?
  • Encourage them to display their work and explain it to others?
  • Require them to be self-critical and open to others' ideas?
  • Involve resources which are readily available?
  • Reflects the diversity of our society through activities, use of language, and illustrations?
  • Makes them sensitive towards their environment?
  • Inculcates in them the democratic values or not?


II. Organization and Structure
Does the material:

  •     * Provides cohesive units that build conceptual understanding.
  • Provides for in-depth, inquiry-based investigations of social issues.
  • Emphasizes connections among History, Civics and Geography
  • Emphasizes interdisciplinary connections.
  • Incorporates appropriate instructional technology.
  • Incorporates materials that are appropriate and engaging for students of the community.
  • Includes a master source of materials and resources.
  • Includes safety precautions where needed, and clear instructions on using tools, equipment and materials.


III. Student Experiences
Does the material:

  • Involve students in active, inquiry-based, open-ended learning, and problem solving.
  • Involve use of manipulatives to explore, model and analyze.
  • Involve use of instructional technology to visualize complex phenomena or concepts, acquire and analyze information, and communicate solutions.
  • Provide multiple routes for students to explore concepts and communicate ideas and solutions.
  • Are developmentally appropriate and provide for diverse cultural backgrounds, abilities and learning styles.
  • Encourage collaboration and reflection.
  • Have relevance to the students' day-to-day experiences.
  • Use a variety of resources.


IV. Teacher Support Materials

  • Provide background about the content.
  • Offer ideas for how parents and community could be involved and kept informed about the program.
  • Give suggestions for creating a variety of learning environments, such as cooperative learning; independent research; grouping strategies; student as teacher, learning centers and field trips.
  • Reference resource materials such as appropriate videos, films, books, etc.
  • Suggest how to adapt materials for different developmental levels of students.
  • Incorporate strategies for engaging all students such as open-ended questions to stimulate student thinking, journals, manipulatives, explorations, visual, auditory and kinesthetic approaches.


V. Student Assessment Materials

  • Are free of racial, cultural, ethnic, linguistic, gender, and physical bias.
  • Are oriented toward problem solving and real-world applications.
  • Are embedded in the instructional program, occurring throughout the unit, not just at the end.
  • Incorporate multiple forms of assessment such as: student demonstrations; oral and written work; student self-assessment; technology; teacher observations; individual and group assessments.
  • Focus on the process of learning such as: predicting; modeling; making inferences; and reasoning (not just the product).


VI. Program Development and Implementation

  • Was designed using a research base.
  • Is flexible and adaptable to local curriculum and/or school.
  • Offers training, sustained technical assistance, and long-term follow-up for teachers.

These categories should be considered as overlapping rather than distinct. In evaluating programs and materials, it is recommended that the evaluating committee give special consideration to how all the components of the materials and programs work together to ensure that students' experiences in social science are of the highest possible quality.


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