The Development Of A School Curriculum

School curricula are used around the world to guide and instruct teachers on what to teach and how to teach it. A curriculum identifies the philosophies and values of the educational system, incorporating the goals and objectives, educational resources, and assessments of the specific educational program.

Curricula guide our teachers on how to achieve their specific educational goals. Teachers, in turn, guide our children, influencing their attitudes towards learning, their achievements, and ultimately, their success in life.

Devising an effective curriculum is an ongoing process involving the evaluation of the existing curriculum, implementing changes, and re-evaluating the changes. A firm set of guidelines is necessary to combine the complexity of the various methodologies, the pedagogy and principles of teaching, and the expected learning outcomes, resulting in a well-documented and effective curriculum.

The design and implementation of a curriculum are driven by trained experts in the field. By enrolling in one of the online doctoral programs in education at Rockhurst University, you could become a leader in your chosen field of expertise, drawing upon your learning and educational experience to direct the way forward in young people’s lives. Their course provides students with the flexibility to earn their degree while gaining valuable skills in educational leadership and management.

There are a number of models available to guide the design of a curriculum. Essentially, you need to follow a structured process that may include the following focal points:

  • Analysis and planning
  • Research
  • Design and development
  • Implementation
  • Evaluation

The end product must be acceptable to teachers and must be seen as educationally valid by parents, teachers, and the general community. The evaluation process is ongoing, so the final document may be tweaked when the need arises.

The curriculum must be consistent with the developmental and growth stages of the children it is intended for and meets their educational needs. It must be compatible with the general ideology and philosophies of teaching and learning, well-articulated for the intended age group, and easy for educators to understand and implement.

It should be developed by a team of educators across a broad base of subjects and disciplines and linked to evaluation and development goals.

The ideal curriculum will include a wide range of materials, such as examples, samples, references, and suggested resources.

Election of A Committee

To begin with, a curriculum development committee should be elected, enlisting the help of a group of teachers who are representative of the schools and grade levels. In addition, the committee can include school administrators, students, and knowledgeable members of the public. A respected, experienced chairman should be elected to run the project.

Members of the committee will need to be committed to a long-term project as the development and implementation phases take time and the continuity of expert knowledge of the project is important. They should have a sound knowledge of governmental and state requirements, as these need to be incorporated into the curriculum where necessary.

Modern teaching is undergoing rapid changes, and teachers are required to keep up with these changes, whether these are new teaching methods or the introduction of new technology in the classroom. The curriculum committee should familiarize themselves with current technology and teaching methods and any future methods that may be introduced with the new curriculum.

Establishing The Philosophy and Values of The Education System

The philosophy of education is a statement of values, principles, purpose, and context, incorporating the pedagogical approach and the children’s needs while remaining relevant to the educational system it is intended for. Philosophy may influence what subjects are taught, how they are taught, and supporting values and beliefs. It provides an understanding of the purpose and nature of education. It encourages the analysis of different methods of educational practice and gives teachers insight into their profession.

As the first step in the process, a draft philosophy should provide the fundamental framework of the project, giving direction and justifying the need for discipline-based instruction.

The following five questions may be of help in determining the philosophy:

  • What is the purpose of education?
  • On what guiding principles is our program built?
  • What are our core beliefs regarding teaching and learning?
  • What are the essential questions?
  • How will we use assessment to improve student learning?

The draft philosophy statement must be based on accurate claims that are supportable and provide a clear justification for the program. It must be aligned with pedagogical practices and with the district’s philosophy, providing sound goals and objectives that will satisfy teachers and pupils alike.

Pedagogy: The Science of Teaching

Pedagogy is the science of teaching, and there are currently two pedagogical approaches: traditional and progressive.

The traditional approach to teaching is teacher-centered with an emphasis on knowledge rather than skills.

The progressive approach is student-centered, where students play an active role in the learning process. It involves project work,inquiry-based learning, individual and group work, and a thematic or topic-based approach. Students acquire many additional skills with this approach, such as research and independence, social skills, and the ability to work in teams.

The committee may decide to use a mix of both pedagogical approaches, or they may decide upon a progressive approach, broadening the student experience and enriching the learning process.

Defining Goals

Goals addressing the key cognitive and affective content expectations of the program should be broadly defined in order to leave room for continuous growth. Each goal grows logically out of the philosophy and a district goal, with a clear linkage. The goals should be realistic and comprehensive enough to support a quality program for learners, lending themselves to developing one or more of the objectives. The number of goals set must be manageable.

Analysis And Planning

The first step in the analysis and planning phase must be gaining a suitable understanding of what is currently being taught in the curriculum. This helps to identify current issues and should be viewed as the basis for the needs analysis in the next step of the process.

Some of the reasons for making changes to or creating new curricula include new discoveries relating to existing content, outdated teaching methods and materials used, or a shift in the way course delivery takes place, such as the introduction of remote learning as a result of the 2020 pandemic. Other possible reasons may be the dissatisfaction of parents, teachers or students regarding the content of the current curriculum or its delivery. Another factor could be a poor student achievement rate, in which case a thorough analysis of the current system and teaching environment would be necessary.

An important step in the analysis and planning stages is the identification of the desired student outcomes. Based on the philosophy and values of the educational system, what do students need to learn, how should they learn it and what are the goals and objectives for the future success of the project?

The committee should gather as much data as possible to aid them in the analysis, which should include opinions of teachers, parents, students, and knowledgeable committee members; samples of current lesson material; teaching methods in use; student assessment data; assignments; standards of teaching; textbook and media material and students’ grades.

Establishment of An Action Plan And a List of Learning Objectives

This process is time-consuming, but defining the objectives of the curriculum and identifying clear expectations of what the learners are expected to know, their capabilities, and the measurement thereof helps to clarify the planning and design process.

The objectives need to be measurable, realistic, and attainable by the students. They must be compatible with the goals and philosophies as set out at the beginning of the project and meet the needs of the students. They also need to be concise but detailed enough to give the reader a clear understanding of what is required without being too laborious or, on the other hand, too trivial.

Items for consideration during the process of identifying objectives, include:

  • An increase in student scores.
  • Encourage students to have a genuine interest in the subject.
  • Incorporate interesting and varied exercises into the teaching.
  • Provide consistent activities for students.
  • Meet the needs of the students in terms of personal and educational goals.
  • Evaluate learning theory and other cognitive methods.
  • Introduce new learning technology.
  • Introduce new teaching methods.

Needs Analysis

The next step in the process is to analyze the current educational system in terms of strengths and weaknesses, omissions of content, outdated methods, and irrelevant or problematic content.

The committee also needs knowledge of local and government test data, grade-level criterion-referenced test data, and course final examination results in order to do a thorough review of the current situation.

At this point, suggestions for improvement or change are documented, taking into account parents’ and community members’ expectations and concerns.


Thorough research needs to be done in terms of the instructional materials that are available for teaching purposes. The analysis of resources is done with the curriculum objectives in mind, aided by costing exercises, the assessment of available resources, and the evaluation of existing materials as well as suggested educational aids.

The move away from a single textbook approach necessitates the procurement of supplementary materials such as computer software and hardware, instructional modules, and teaching aids.

Care needs to be taken when assessing sophisticated computer equipment and the individual child’s access. In less advanced areas, many children do not have access to, or cannot afford, computer equipment or internet access. In cases like this, individual teachers or schools may have to come up with alternate solutions.

Design And Development

Sequencing of Grade Levels and Course Objectives

There are various ways to organize a curriculum guide, from using a graded structure to organizing it into subject groups, sequential organization, or organization by big topics or ideas.

It’s important for a teacher to know what subject matter was covered in the previous grade so that informational continuity can be achieved. The teacher should also have access to knowledge about what the students are expected to learn in the grade following their current one to eliminate the possibility of overlap in particular subjects. This means that a comprehensive curriculum that follows from grade to grade is important in determining what content should be covered and when.

Discuss the current content of the curriculum and make choices about what you want to teach. Decide on concepts, and the varied aspects of the subject and how they may relate to other subjects in the curriculum. Break this information down further into manageable components in line with the project objectives.

Delivery of Content

In addition to the educational content, the curriculum must provide examples for each objective, suggest techniques and methods for the delivery of content and give ideas for materials that can be used in instruction.

Plan the delivery of the content by setting out the teaching narrative for each lesson, from the starting point to the final outcome. The content should be clear and concise and easy for teachers to work with.

It’s a fact of life that some students will be more advanced than others, and this needs to be addressed through the recommendation of more advanced teaching materials to meet those needs. The curriculum must provide information on how teachers should assess and evaluate the objectives and suggest interdisciplinary links, such as reading material.


Tools for the measurement of student progress include a set of grade-level tests, performance-based tasks, and final examinations. The identification of these assessment items helps to measure not only student progress but also the effectiveness of the goals and objectives in meeting students’ needs. It also serves to demonstrate the expectations for students and teachers. Samples of these assessments and student grades will be used to assess the overall efficiency of the new curriculum.


Once the planning and design phases are complete, the committee usually spends a couple of weeks writing the curriculum and getting it ready for presentation when the new school year starts. An effective committee will oversee the implementation, evaluation, and update of the curriculum where necessary.

Teachers need support in the implementation phase and time to familiarize themselves with the new curriculum. The committee can help them identify the overall design of the new material and how it differs from the previous curriculum.

It takes time for a new curriculum to be effectively integrated into the day-to-day process of teaching, and the committee, resource teachers, and principals need to be present to nurture the process.


There are two stages of evaluation: an initial phase, which monitors the implementation and makes changes during the initial stages, and an ongoing evaluation phase, which monitors the curriculum through the years, providing material for future updates. Implementation and tweaking of the system can take up to two years before it is properly settled and working to everyone’s satisfaction.

The implementation cycle begins with a detailed evaluation of the effectiveness and impact of the new program. This includes surveys, discussions, and meetings. The committee needs to gather data on perceptions of the strengths and weaknesses of the program, and the evaluation of materials and topics. This data should be representative of overall student progress linked closely to daily instruction and activities.

Regular meetings are held with teachers of specific grades to share materials, activities, test results, and samples of students’ work in order to assess the effectiveness of the new curriculum and update it where necessary.

This means that ongoing analysis of material such as grade-level exam data, teacher-developed assessments, performance assessments, and student portfolios needs to take place on a regular basis.

The importance of this phase of the process cannot be stressed enough, as the detailed documentation of these results will form the basis for the next round of curriculum development and improvement.


The successful implementation of a new curriculum requires the acceptance of teachers, pupils and parents. Changes in the curriculum should be explained to all stakeholders and should include the reasons for the changes along with expectations for the new curriculum.

The constant bombardment of information on social media and other platforms, as well as mobile phones, has meant a decrease in the average attention span of students. In current times, students require constant stimulation in order to stay focused and interested. The ideal school curriculum is one that embraces change and evolves to keep in step with the rapidly advancing technical and intellectual capabilities of its students.