Criterion One (mean rank = 1.19): The rating of the documents on criterion one “Clarity and validity of objectives” ranges from 0-2. Fourteen (13.6 percent) of the documents rated received a score of ‘0.’ These guides did not state valid goals and/or objectives. Some have vague descriptors as outcomes of the course. Most of them focused on classroom rules and grading procedures.
Criterion Two (mean rank = .835): Most of the courses of study did not include any references to assessment.
Criterion Three (mean rank = .194) The rating of the documents on this criterion “Delineation by grade of essential skills, knowledge, and attitudes” ranges from 0-2, with only three (2.9 percent) receiving a score of “2” and 13 (12.6 percent) documents receiving a score of “1.”’ These syllabi do not spell out curriculum expectations for subject areas, grade by grade. Without such delineation, teachers have no way of knowing what students have learned in previous grades and what is expected at each level.
Criterion Four (mean rank = .476): Most of the courses did not identify textbooks and/or any supplemental resources.
Criterion Five (mean rank = .107): Only nine (11 percent) of the documents made vague linkages between objectives and how a teacher might translate the objectives into learning experiences for students.
Comments made by district administrators, principals, teachers, and parents support the findings that the curriculum guides are inadequate to guide instruction:
“Curriculum guides are not user friendly.”
“Our vocational education courses are hardly practical, very out-dated, barely mediocre, and not widely offered.”
“All I have for curriculum is the textbook and the state benchmarks.”
“Teaching is not linked to curriculum guides.”
“They need to attend to the reorganization of the curriculum documents to make them user friendly.”
“There is no philosophical basis for instruction.”
“There is not a well-defined assessment strategy in the curriculum guides.”
In summary, the curriculum guides are inadequate to direct an instructional program that aligns what is written, taught, and tested. The highest rated guide had a total score of “8.” Most elements of adequacy (valid objectives delineated by grade and subject, instructional resources and strategies, evaluation of student performance) are lacking in almost all guides. Quality guides are an essential part of a district’s plan to direct instruction and achieve consistency of expectation for instruction and learning. Without clear curriculum objectives to provide a context for course development, there
is no direction in guiding teacher planning.
This lack of direction makes it difficult, if not
impossible, to design an effective instructional program. Finding 2.3: Curriculum Guides Are Not Effectively Used as Teacher Tools.
Curriculum guides are designed to provide direction and consistency in delivering curriculum to students in classrooms. Guides give teachers a framework for objectives, essential skills, teaching strategies, resources, and evaluation methods. They allow teachers to focus on teaching and learning and to align instruction with the assessment process. For effective instruction to take place, the appropriate curriculum guides must be available in schools and used by teachers. When guides are not used consistently in the planning and delivery of instruction, there is a danger that the approved curriculum will not be taught and that the written, taught, and tested curriculum will not be aligned. Additionally, failure to use guides may reduce coherence across the curriculum.
Clover Park School District Audit Report Page 42