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In
education Education is the process of facilitating , or the acquisition of , s, , morals, s, s, and personal development. Educational methods include , , , and directed . Education frequently takes place under the guidance of educators; however, lea ...

education
, a curriculum (; plural curricula or curriculums) is broadly defined as the totality of student experiences that occur in the educational process. The term often refers specifically to a planned sequence of instruction, or to a view of the student's experiences in terms of the educator's or school's instructional goals. A curriculum may incorporate the planned interaction of pupils with instructional content, materials, resources, and processes for evaluating the attainment of educational objectives. Curricula are split into several categories: the explicit, the implicit (including the hidden), the excluded, and the extracurricular.Kelly, A. V. (2009). The curriculum: Theory and practice (pp. 1–55). Newbury Park, CA: Sage.Braslavsky, C. (2003). The curriculum. Curricula may be tightly standardized or may include a high level of instructor or learner autonomy. Many countries have national curricula in
primary Primary or primaries may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Music Groups and labels * Primary (band), from Australia * Primary (musician), hip hop musician and record producer from South Korea * Primary Music, Israeli record label Works * ...
and
secondary education Secondary education covers two phases on the International Standard Classification of Education The International Standard Classification of Education (ISCED) is a statistical framework for organizing information on education Educatio ...
, such as the United Kingdom's
National CurriculumA national curriculum is a common programme of study in school A school is an educational institution designed to provide learning spaces and learning environments for the teaching of students (or "pupils") under the direction of teachers. Mo ...
.
UNESCO The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) (french: Organisation des Nations unies pour l'éducation, la science et la culture) is a specialised agency United Nations Specialized Agencies are autonomous orga ...

UNESCO
's
International Bureau of Education The International Bureau of Education (IBE-UNESCO) is a UNESCO The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO french: Organisation des Nations unies pour l'éducation, la science et la culture) is a specialised a ...
has the primary mission of studying curricula and their implementation worldwide.


Etymology

The word "curriculum" began as a
Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language A classical language is a language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share" or "to be in relation with") is "an appa ...

Latin
word which means "a race" or "the course of a race" (which in turn derives from the verb ''currere'' meaning "to run/to proceed").''Oxford English Dictionary'', "Curriculum," 152 The word is "from a Modern Latin transferred use of classical Latin curriculum "a running, course, career" (also "a fast chariot, racing car"), from currere "to run" (from PIE root *kers- "to run")." The first known use in an educational context is in the ''Professio Regia'', a work by
University of Paris , image_name = Coat of arms of the University of Paris.svg , image_size = 150px , caption = , latin_name = Universitas magistrorum et scholarium Parisiensis , motto = ''Hic et ubique terrarum'' (Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical ...
professor
Petrus Ramus Petrus Ramus (french: Pierre de La Ramée; Anglicized as Peter Ramus ; 1515 – 26 August 1572) was an influential French humanist, logician, and educational reformer. A Protestant convert, he was one of the most prominent victims of the St. Bar ...

Petrus Ramus
published posthumously in 1576. The term subsequently appears in
University of Leiden Leiden University (commonly abbreviated as LEI; nl, Universiteit Leiden) is a public university, public research university in Leiden, Leiden, Netherlands. Founded in 1575 by William the Silent, William, Prince of Orange as a reward to the town of ...
records in 1582. The word's origins appear closely linked to the
Calvinist Calvinism (also called the Reformed tradition, Reformed Christianity, Reformed Protestantism, or the Reformed faith) is a major branch of Protestantism Protestantism is a form of Christianity Christianity is an Abrahamic religions, A ...
desire to bring greater order to education. By the seventeenth century, the
University of Glasgow , image_name = University_of_Glasgow_Coat_of_Arms.jpg , image_size = 150px , latin_name = Universitas Glasguensis , motto = la, Via, Veritas, Vita ''Via et veritas et vita'' (, ) is a Latin language, Latin phrase meaning "the way and the t ...

University of Glasgow
also referred to its "course" of study as a "curriculum", producing the first known use of the term in English in 1633. By the nineteenth century, European universities routinely referred to their curriculum to describe both the complete course of study (as for a degree in surgery) and particular courses and their content. By 1824, the word was defined as "a course, especially a fixed course of study at a college, university, or school."


Definitions and interpretations


Professional interpretations

There is no generally agreed upon definition of curriculum. Some influential definitions combine various elements to describe curriculum as follows: *Through the readings of Smith, Dewey, and Kelly, four types of curricula could be defined as: **Explicit curriculum: subjects that will be taught, the identified "mission" of the school, and the knowledge and skills that the school expects successful students to acquire. **Implicit curriculum: lessons that arise from the culture of the school and the behaviors, attitudes, and expectations that characterize that culture, the unintended curriculum. **Hidden curriculum: things which students learn, ‘because of the way in which the work of the school is planned and organized but which are not in themselves overtly included in the planning or even in the consciousness of those responsible for the school arrangements (Kelly, 2009). The term itself is attributed to Philip W. Jackson and is not always meant to be a negative. Hidden curriculum, if its potential is realized, could benefit students and learners in all educational systems. Also, it does not just include the physical environment of the school, but the relationships formed or not formed between students and other students or even students and teachers (Jackson, 1986). **Excluded curriculum: topics or perspectives that are specifically excluded from the curriculum. *It may also come in the form of extracurricular activities. This may include school-sponsored programs, which are intended to supplement the academic aspect of the school experience or community-based programs and activities. Examples of school-sponsored extracurricular programs include
sports Sport pertains to any form of competitive Competition arises whenever two or more parties strive for a common goal A goal is an idea of the future or desired result that a person or a group of people envision, Planning, plan and co ...

sports
, academic clubs, and
performing arts The performing arts are arts such as music, dance, and drama which are performed for an audience. It is different from visual arts The visual arts are art forms such as painting Painting is the practice of applying paint Paint is ...
. Community-based programs and activities may take place at a school after hours but are not linked directly to the school. Community-based programs frequently expand on the curriculum that was introduced in the classroom. For instance, students may be introduced to environmental conservation in the classroom. This knowledge is further developed through a community-based program. Participants then act on what they know with a conservation project. Community-based extracurricular activities may include “environmental clubs, 4-H, boy/girl scouts, and religious groups” (Hancock, Dyk, & Jones, 2012). *Kerr defines curriculum as " l the learning which is planned and guided by the school, whether it is carried on in groups or individually, inside or outside of school." *Braslavsky states that curriculum is an agreement among communities, educational professionals, and the State on what learners should take on during specific periods of their lives. Furthermore, the curriculum defines "why, what, when, where, how, and with whom to learn." *Smith (1996, 2000) says that, " syllabus will not generally indicate the relative importance of its topics or the order in which they are to be studied. Where people still equate curriculum with a syllabus they are likely to limit their planning to a consideration of the content or the body of knowledge that they wish to transmit." According to Smith, a curriculum can be ordered into a procedure: :Step 1: Diagnosis of needs. :Step 2: Formulation of objectives. :Step 3: Selection of content. :Step 4: Organization of content. :Step 5: Selection of learning experiences. :Step 6: Organization of learning experiences. :Step 7: Determination of what to evaluate and of the ways and means of doing it.


Types of curricula

Under some definitions, curriculum is prescriptive, and is based on a more general
syllabus A syllabus (; plural ''syllabuses'' or ''syllabi'') or specification is a document that communicates information about a specific course and defines expectations and responsibilities. It is generally narrower in scope than a curriculum In educati ...

syllabus
which merely specifies what topics must be understood and to what level to achieve a particular grade or standard. A curriculum may also refer to a defined and prescribed course of studies, which students must fulfill in order to pass a certain level of education. For example, an elementary school might discuss how its curricula is designed to improve national testing scores or help students learn fundamental
skills A skill is the learned ability to perform an action with determined results with good execution often within a given amount of time, energy, or both. Skills can often be divided into domain-general and domain-specific skills. For example, in the ...
. An individual teacher might also refer to his or her curriculum, meaning all the subjects that will be taught during a school year. The courses are arranged in a sequence to make learning a subject easier. In schools, a curriculum spans several grades. On the other hand, a high school might refer to their curricula as the courses required in order to receive one's
diploma A diploma is a certificate or deed issued by an educational institution, such as college or university, that testifies that the recipient has successfully completed a particular course of study. The word diploma also refers to an academic award w ...
. They might also refer to it in exactly the same way as an elementary school and use it to mean both individual courses needed to pass as well as the overall offering of courses, which help prepare a student for life after high school. A curriculum can be seen from different perspectives. What
societies A society is a group of individuals involved in persistent social interaction In social science, a social relation or social interaction is any relationship between two or more individuals. Social relations derived from individual agenc ...

societies
envisage as important teaching and learning constitutes the "intended" curriculum. Since it is usually presented in official documents, it may be also called the "written" or "official" curriculum. However, at a classroom level this intended curriculum may be altered through a range of complex classroom interactions, and what is actually delivered can be considered the "implemented" curriculum. What learners really learn (i.e. what can be assessed and can be demonstrated as learning outcomes or competencies) constitutes the "achieved" or "learned" curriculum. In addition, curriculum theory points to a "hidden" curriculum (i.e. the unintended development of personal values and beliefs of learners, teachers, and communities; the unexpected impact of a curriculum; or the unforeseen aspects of a learning process). Those who develop the intended curriculum should have all these different dimensions of the curriculum in view. While the "written" curriculum does not exhaust the meaning of curriculum, it is important because it represents the vision of the society. The "written" curriculum is usually expressed in comprehensive and user-friendly documents, such as curriculum frameworks or subject curricula/syllabi, and in relevant and helpful learning materials, such as
textbooks A textbook is a book containing a comprehensive compilation of content in a branch of Study skills, study with the intention of explaining it. Textbooks are produced to meet the needs of educators, usually at educational institutions. Schoolbook ...
, teacher guides, and assessment guides. In some cases, people see the curriculum entirely in terms of the subjects that are taught, and as set out within the set of textbooks, and forget the wider goals of competencies and personal development. This is why a curriculum framework is important. It sets the subjects within this wider context, and shows how learning experiences within the subjects need to contribute to the attainment of the wider goals. Curriculum is almost always defined with relation to schooling. According to some, it is the major division between
formal Formal, formality, informal or informality imply the complying with, or not complying with, some set theory, set of requirements (substantial form, forms, in Ancient Greek). They may refer to: Dress code and events * Formal wear, attire for forma ...
and
informal education Informal education is a general term for education that can occur outside of a structured curriculum. Informal education encompasses student interests within a curriculum in a regular classroom, but is not limited to that setting. It works through c ...
. However, under some circumstances it may also be applied to informal education or free-choice learning settings. For instance, a
science museum A science museum is a museum A museum ( ; plural museums or, rarely, musea) is a building or institution that Preservation (library and archival science), cares for and displays a collection (artwork), collection of artifacts and other ...
may have a "curriculum" of what topics or exhibits it wishes to cover. Many after-school programs in the US have tried to apply the concept; this typically has more success when not rigidly clinging to the definition of curriculum as a product or as a body of knowledge to be transferred. Rather, informal education and free-choice learning settings are more suited to the model of curriculum as practice or
praxis Praxis may refer to: Philosophy and religion *Praxis (process), the process by which a theory, lesson, or skill is enacted, practiced, embodied, or realized *Praxis model, a way of doing theology * Praxis (Byzantine Rite), the practice of faith, ...
.


Historical conception

In the early years of the 20th century, the traditional concepts held of the "curriculum is that it is a body of subjects or subject matter prepared by the teachers for the students to learn." It was synonymous to the "course of study" and "syllabus". In ''The Curriculum'', the first textbook published on the subject, in 1918,
John Franklin Bobbitt John Franklin Bobbitt (February 16, 1876 near English, Indiana English is a town in Crawford County, Indiana, United States. It has served as the county seat of Crawford County since 28 December 1893. The population was 645 at the 2010 United States ...
said that curriculum, as an
idea In common usage and in philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about reason, Metaphysics, existence, Epistemology, knowledge, Ethics, values, Philosophy of mind, mind, and Philoso ...

idea
, has its
roots A root In vascular plants, the roots are the plant organ, organs of a plant that are modified to provide anchorage for the plant and take in water and nutrients into the plant body, which allows plants to grow taller and faster. They most often ...
in the
Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language A classical language is a language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share" or "to be in relation with") is "an appa ...

Latin
word for ''race-course'', explaining the curriculum as the course of deeds and experiences through which
child Biologically, a child (plural children) is a human being between the stages of childbirth, birth and puberty, or between the Development of the human body, developmental period of infancy and puberty. The legal definition of ''child'' generall ...

child
ren become the
adult Biology, Biologically, an adult is an organism that has reached sexual maturity. In human context, the term ''adult'' has meanings associated with social and Law, legal concepts. In contrast to a "Minor (law), minor", a legal adult is a person ...

adult
s they should be to succeed later in life. Furthermore, the curriculum encompasses the entire scope of formative deed and experience occurring in and out of school such as experiences that are unplanned and undirected or those that are intentionally directed for the purposeful formation of adult members of society, not only experiences occurring in
school A school is an educational institution designed to provide learning spaces and learning environments for the teaching of students under the direction of teachers. Most countries have systems of formal education, which is sometimes compuls ...

school
. (cf. image at right.) To Bobbitt, the curriculum is a social engineering arena. Per his cultural presumptions and social definitions, his curricular formulation has two notable features: (i) that
scientific Science () is a systematic enterprise that Scientific method, builds and organizes knowledge in the form of Testability, testable explanations and predictions about the universe."... modern science is a discovery as well as an invention. ...

scientific
experts would best be qualified to and justified in designing curricula based upon their expert
knowledge Knowledge is a familiarity or awareness, of someone or something, such as facts A fact is something that is truth, true. The usual test for a statement of fact is verifiability—that is whether it can be demonstrated to correspond to e ...
of what qualities are desirable in adult members of society, and which experiences would generate said qualities; and (ii) curriculum defined as the deeds-experiences the student ''ought to have'' to become the adult he or she ''ought to become''. Hence, he defined the curriculum as an ideal, rather than as the concrete
reality Reality is the sum or aggregate of all that is real or existent within a system, as opposed to that which is only imaginary Imaginary may refer to: * Imaginary (sociology), a concept in sociology * The Imaginary (psychoanalysis), a concept by ...

reality
of the deeds and experiences that form who and what people become. Contemporary views of curriculum reject these features of Bobbitt's postulates, but retain the basis of curriculum as the course of experience(s) that form humans into persons. Personal formation via curricula is studied both at the personal and group levels, i.e.
cultures Culture () is an umbrella term which encompasses the social behavior Social behavior is behavior Behavior (American English) or behaviour (British English; American and British English spelling differences#-our, -or, see spelling differ ...
and societies (e.g. professional formation,
academic discipline An academic discipline or academic field is a subdivision of knowledge Knowledge is a familiarity or awareness, of someone or something, such as facts A fact is an occurrence in the real world. The usual test for a statement of fact is ...
via historical experience). The formation of a group is reciprocal, with the formation of its individual participants. Although it formally appeared in Bobbitt's
definition A definition is a statement of the meaning of a term (a word In linguistics, a word of a spoken language can be defined as the smallest sequence of phonemes that can be uttered in isolation with semantic, objective or pragmatics, practical ...

definition
, curriculum as a course of formative experience also pervades
John Dewey John Dewey (; October 20, 1859 – June 1, 1952) was an American philosopher A philosopher is someone who practices philosophy. The term ''philosopher'' comes from the grc, φιλόσοφος, , translit=philosophos, meaning 'lover of wisdom ...
's work (who disagreed with Bobbitt on important matters). Although Bobbitt's and Dewey's idealistic understanding of "curriculum" is different from current, restricted uses of the word, writers of curricula and researchers generally share it as common, substantive understanding of curriculum. Development does not mean just getting something out of the mind. It is a development of experience and into experience that is really wanted. Robert M. Hutchins, president of the
University of Chicago The University of Chicago (UChicago) is a private university, private research university in Chicago, Illinois. Founded in 1890, its main campus is located in Chicago's Hyde Park, Chicago, Hyde Park neighborhood. In Fall 2021, it enrolled 18,45 ...
, regarded curriculum as "permanent studies" where the rules of grammar, rhetoric, logic, and mathematics for basic education are emphasized. Basic education should emphasize
the three Rs The three Rs (as in the letter ''R'') are three basic skills taught in schools: Reading (process), reading, Writing, writing and arithmetic, arithmetic (usually said as "reading, writing, and 'rithmetic"). The phrase appears to have been coined a ...
and college education should be grounded on liberal education. On the other hand,
Arthur Bestor Arthur Eugene Bestor Jr. (September 20, 1908 – December 13, 1994) was a historian of the United States, and during the 1950s a noted critic of American public education. Biography Early life Bestor was born on September 20, 1908, in Chautauqua ...
, an essentialist, believes that the mission of the school should be intellectual training. Hence, curriculum should focus on the fundamental intellectual disciplines of grammar, literature, and writing. It should also include mathematics, science, history, and foreign language. According to Joseph Schwab, discipline is the sole source of curriculum. In our education system, curriculum is divided into chunks of knowledge called subject areas in basic education including English, mathematics, science, and social studies. In college, discipline may include humanities, sciences, languages, and many more. Curricula should consist entirely of knowledge which comes from various disciplines. Learning the lesson should be more interesting and beneficial than receiving a scolding, being ridiculed, being required to stay after school, among other punishments. Thus, curricula can be viewed as a field of study. It is made up of its foundations (philosophical, historical, psychological, and social foundations), domains of knowledge, as well as its research theories and principles. Curricula as an area of study should be scholarly and theoretical. It is concerned with broad, historical, philosophical social issues and academics. Under a starting definition offered by John Kerr and taken up by Vic Kelly in his standard work on the curriculum, it is “all the learning which is planned and guided by the school, whether it is carried on in groups or individually, inside or outside the school." There are four ways of approaching curriculum theory and practice: # Curriculum as a body of knowledge to be transmitted. # Curriculum as an attempt to help students achieve a goal. # Curriculum as a process. # Curriculum as praxis. In recent years the field of education and curriculum has expanded outside the walls of the classroom and into other settings, such as
museums A museum ( ; plural museums or, rarely, musea) is a building or institution that cares for and displays a collection Collection or Collections may refer to: * Cash collection, the function of an accounts receivable department * Collect ...
. Within these settings curriculum is an even broader topic, including various teachers, inanimate objects such as audio tour devices, and even the learners themselves. As with the traditional idea of curriculum, curriculum in a free choice learning environment can consist of the explicit stated curriculum and the hidden curriculum; both of which contribute to the learner's experience and lessons from the experience. These elements are further compounded by the setting, cultural influences, and the state of mind of the learner. Museums and other similar settings are most commonly leveraged within traditional classroom settings as enhancements to the curriculum when educators develop curricula that encompass visits to museums, zoos, and aquariums.


Progressivist views

On the other hand, to a progressivist, a listing of school subjects, syllabi, courses of study, and lists of courses of specific discipline do not make a curriculum. These can only be called curriculum if the written materials are actualized by the learner. Broadly speaking, curriculum is defined as the total learning experiences of the individual. This definition is anchored on
John Dewey John Dewey (; October 20, 1859 – June 1, 1952) was an American philosopher A philosopher is someone who practices philosophy. The term ''philosopher'' comes from the grc, φιλόσοφος, , translit=philosophos, meaning 'lover of wisdom ...
's definition of experience and education. He believed that reflective thinking is a means that unifies curricular elements. Thought is not derived from action but tested by application. Caswell and Campbell viewed curricula as "all experiences children have under the guidance of teachers." This definition is shared by Smith, Stanley, and Shores when they defined curriculum as "a sequence of potential experiences set up in schools for the purpose of disciplining children and youth in group ways of thinking and acting." Curriculum as a process is when a teacher enters a particular schooling and situation with the ability to think critically, an understanding of their role and the expectations others have of them, and a proposal for action which sets out essential principles and features of the educational encounter. Guided by these, they encourage conversations between, and with, people in the situation out of which may come a course of thinking and action. Plus, the teacher continually evaluates the process and what they can see of outcomes. Marsh and Willis view curricula as all the "experiences in the classroom which are planned and enacted by teacher, and also learned by the students." Any definition of curriculum, if it is to be practically effective and productive, must offer much more than a statement about knowledge-content or merely the subjects which schooling is to teach, transmit, or deliver. Some would argue of the course that the values implicit in the arrangements made by schools for their pupils are quite clearly in the consciousness of teachers and planners, again especially when the planners are politicians, and are equally clearly accepted by them as part of what pupils should learn in school, even if they are not overtly recognized by the pupils themselves. In other words, those who design curricula deliberately plan the schools’ "expressive culture". If this is the case, then, the curriculum is ‘hidden’ only to or from the pupils, and the values to be learned clearly from a part of what is planned for pupils. They must, therefore, be accepted as fully a part of the curriculum, and especially as an important focus because questions must be asked concerning the legitimacy of such practices. Currently, a spiral curriculum is promoted as allowing students to revisit a subject matter's content at the different levels of development of the subject matter being studied. The constructivist approach proposes that children learn best via pro-active engagement with the educational environment, as in learning through discovery.


Primary and secondary education

A curriculum may be partly or entirely determined by an external, authoritative body (e.g., the
National Curriculum for EnglandThe National Curriculum for England was first introduced by the Education Reform Act of 1988. At the time of its introduction the legislation applied to both England and Wales. However, education later became a devolved matter for the Welsh governme ...
in
English English usually refers to: * English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History of Anglo-Saxon England, early medieval England, which has eventually become the World language, leading lan ...

English
schools, or the International Primary Curriculum for
International Schools An international school is a school that promotes international education, in an international environment, either by adopting a curriculum such as that of the International Baccalaureate The International Baccalaureate (IB), formerly known ...
). Crucial to the curriculum is the definition of the course objectives that usually are expressed as learning outcomes and normally include the program's
assessment Assessment may refer to: Healthcare *Health assessment, identifies needs of the patient and how those needs will be addressed *Nursing assessment, gathering information about a patient's physiological, psychological, sociological, and spiritual st ...
strategy. These outcomes and assessments are grouped as units (or modules), and, therefore, the curriculum comprises a collection of such units, each, in turn, comprising a specialized, specific part of the curriculum. So, a typical curriculum includes communications, numeracy, information technology, and social skills units, with specific, specialized teaching of each. Core curricula are often instituted, at the
primary Primary or primaries may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Music Groups and labels * Primary (band), from Australia * Primary (musician), hip hop musician and record producer from South Korea * Primary Music, Israeli record label Works * ...
and
secondary Secondary is an adjective meaning "second" or "second hand". It may refer to: * Secondary (chemistry), term used in organic chemistry to classify various types of compounds * The group of (usually at least four) defensive backs in gridiron football ...
levels, by school boards, Departments of Education, or other administrative agencies charged with overseeing education. A core curriculum is a curriculum, or course of study, which is deemed central and usually made mandatory for all students of a
school A school is an educational institution designed to provide learning spaces and learning environments for the teaching of students under the direction of teachers. Most countries have systems of formal education, which is sometimes compuls ...

school
or school system. However, even when core requirements exist, they do not necessarily involve a requirement for students to engage in one particular class or activity. For example, a school might mandate a music appreciation class, but students may opt out if they take a performing arts class.


Australia

In
Australia Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a Sovereign state, sovereign country comprising the mainland of the Australia (continent), Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous List of islands of Australia, sma ...

Australia
, the
Australian Curriculum The Australian Curriculum is a national curriculum for all primary and secondary schools in Australia Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a Sovereign state, sovereign country comprising the mainland of the Australia ...
took effect nationwide in 2014, after a
curriculum developmentCurriculum development is a process of improving the curriculum In education, a curriculum (; plural curricula or curriculums) is broadly defined as the totality of student experiences that occur in the educational process. The term often refers ...
process that began in 2010. Previously, each state's Education Department had traditionally established curricula. The Australian Curriculum consists of one curriculum covering eight subject areas through year 10, and another covering fifteen subjects for the senior secondary years.


Canada

In
Canada Canada is a country in the northern part of North America. Its Provinces and territories of Canada, ten provinces and three territories extend from the Atlantic Ocean, Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean, Pacific and northward into the Arctic Oce ...

Canada
each province and territory has the authority to create its own curriculum. However, the
Northwest Territories The Northwest Territories (commonly abbreviated as NT or NWT; french: Territoires du Nord-Ouest) is a federal territory A territory is an administrative division Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country subd ...

Northwest Territories
and
Nunavut Nunavut ( ) ( iu, ᓄᓇᕗᑦ) is the newest, largest, and northernmost territory of Canada Canada is a country in the northern part of North America. Its Provinces and territories of Canada, ten provinces and three territories exten ...
both choose to use the
Alberta ("Strong and free") , image_map = Alberta in Canada 2.svg , Label_map = yes , coordinates = , official_lang = English , capital = Edmonton , largest_city = Calg ...

Alberta
Curriculum for select parts of their curriculum. The territories also use Alberta's standardized tests in some subjects.


South Korea

The National Curriculum of Korea covers
kindergarten Kindergarten (, ) is a preschool educational approach based on playing, singing, practical activities such as drawing, and social interaction as part of the transition from home to school. Such institutions were originally made in the late 18th ...

kindergarten
, primary, secondary, and
special education Special education (known as special-needs education, aided education, exceptional education, exceptional student education, special ed., SEN, or SPED) is the practice of educating students in a way that provides accommodations that address thei ...

special education
. The version currently in place is the 7th National Curriculum, which has been revised in 2007 and 2009. The curriculum provides a framework for a common set of subjects through 9th grade, and elective subjects in grades 10 through 12.


Japan

The curriculum in Japan is determined based on the guidelines for education and the guidelines for learning presented by the
Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology The , also known as MEXT or Monka-shō, is one of the eleven Ministries of Japan The ministries of Japan are the most influential part of the executive branch The executive is the branch of government exercising authority in and holding Mo ...
(MEXT). When deciding on the curriculum for each school, the school's organizers will decide on the outline by referring to the manuals and explanations prepared by the Education, Science and Technology Ministry and other public offices, and the schools will decide on additional annual plans. The Courses of Education and Courses of Study are fully revised every 10 years. Before World War II, the curriculum was based on the school regulations corresponding to each school type.


The Netherlands

The Dutch system is based on directives coming from the
Ministry of Education, Culture and Science The Ministry of Education, Culture and Science ( nl, Ministerie van Onderwijs, Cultuur en Wetenschappen; OCW) is the Ministries of the Netherlands, Dutch Ministry responsible for Education in the Netherlands, education, Culture of the Netherlands, ...
(OCW). Primary and secondary education use key objectives to create curricula. For primary education the total number of objectives has been reduced from 122 in 1993 to 58 in 2006. Starting in 2009 and 2010 all key objectives are obligatory for primary education. The key objectives are oriented towards subject areas such as language, mathematics, orientation towards self and the world, art, and physical education. All of the objectives have accompanying concrete activities. Also final exams are determined by the OCW and required. Parts of those exams are taken in a national setting, created by the Centrale Examencommissie Vaststelling Opgaven (CEVO). Furthermore, the OCW will determine the number of hours to be spent per subject. Apart from these directives every school can determine its own curriculum.


Nigeria

In 2005, the Nigerian government adopted a national Basic Education Curriculum for grades 1 through 9. The policy was an outgrowth of the Universal Basic Education program announced in 1999, to provide free, compulsory, continuous public education for these years. In 2014, the government implemented a revised version of the national curriculum, reducing the number of subjects covered from 20 to 10.


Russia

Core curriculum has typically been highly emphasized in Soviet and Russian universities and technical institutes.


United Kingdom


England and Wales

The
National CurriculumA national curriculum is a common programme of study in school A school is an educational institution designed to provide learning spaces and learning environments for the teaching of students (or "pupils") under the direction of teachers. Mo ...
was introduced into
England England is a that is part of the . It shares land borders with to its west and to its north. The lies northwest of England and the to the southwest. England is separated from by the to the east and the to the south. The country cover ...
,
Wales Wales ( cy, Cymru ) is a Countries of the United Kingdom, country that is part of the United Kingdom. It is bordered by England to the Wales–England border, east, the Irish Sea to the north and west, and the Bristol Channel to the south. It ...
and
Northern Ireland Northern Ireland ( ga, Tuaisceart Éireann ; sco, label=Ulster-ScotsUlster Scots, also known as Scotch-Irish, may refer to: * Ulster Scots people The Ulster Scots (Ulster-Scots The Ulster Scots (Ulster Scots dialects, Ulster- ...
as a nationwide curriculum for primary and secondary
state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspaper), a daily newspaper in Columbia, South Carolina, Un ...
schools following the
Education Reform Act 1988 The Education Reform Act 1988 is widely regarded as the most important single piece of education legislation in England and Wales since the 'Butler' Education Act 1944. Provisions The main provisions of the Education Reform Act are as follows: ...
. Notwithstanding its name, it does not apply to
independent school An independent school is independent in its finances and governance. Also known as private schools, non-governmental, privately funded, or non-state schools, they are not administered by local, state or national governments. In British Engli ...
s, which may set their own curricula, but it ensures that state schools of all local education authorities have a common curriculum.
Academies An academy (Attic Greek Attic Greek is the Greek language, Greek dialect of the regions of ancient Greece, ancient region of Attica, including the ''polis'' of classical Athens, Athens. Often called classical Greek, it was the prestige (sociolin ...
, while publicly funded, have a significant degree of autonomy in deviating from the National Curriculum. The purpose of the National Curriculum was to standardize the content taught across schools to enable
assessment Assessment may refer to: Healthcare *Health assessment, identifies needs of the patient and how those needs will be addressed *Nursing assessment, gathering information about a patient's physiological, psychological, sociological, and spiritual st ...
, which in turn enabled the compilation of league tables detailing the assessment statistics for each school. These league tables, together with the provision to parents of some degree of choice in assignment of the school for their child (also legislated in the same act) were intended to encourage a '
free market In economics Economics () is a social science Social science is the branch A branch ( or , ) or tree branch (sometimes referred to in botany Botany, also called , plant biology or phytology, is the science of pl ...
' by allowing parents to choose schools based on their measured ability to teach the National Curriculum.


Scotland

In
Scotland Scotland ( sco, Scotland, gd, Alba Alba (Scottish Gaelic Scottish Gaelic ( gd, Gàidhlig or Scots Gaelic, sometimes referred to simply as Gaelic) is a Goidelic language (in the Celtic languages, Celtic branch of the Indo-European ...

Scotland
, the Curriculum for Excellence (CfE) was introduced in August 2010 in all schools. The national qualifications were introduced in 2013 by the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA). The national qualifications include the Life Skills Coursework (SFL),
National 3 Curriculum for Excellence is the national curriculum In education, a curriculum (; plural curricula or curriculums) is broadly defined as the totality of student experiences that occur in the educational process. The term often refers specific ...
(NAT3),
National 4 Curriculum for Excellence is the national curriculum for Scottish schools for learners from the ages 3–18. It was developed out of a 2002 consultation exercise – the 'National Debate on Education' – undertaken by the-then Scottish Executive ...
(NAT4),
National 5 Curriculum for Excellence is the national curriculum for Scottish schools for learners from the ages 3–18. It was developed out of a 2002 consultation exercise – the 'National Debate on Education' – undertaken by the-then Scottish Executive ...
(NAT5),
Higher Higher may refer to: Education * Higher (Scottish), a Scottish national school-leaving certificate exam and university entrance qualification Music Albums * Higher (Regina Belle album), ''Higher'' (Regina Belle album), 2012 * Higher (Ala Boratyn a ...
, and
Advanced HigherThe Advanced Higher is an optional qualification which forms part of the Scottish secondary education system brought in to replace the Certificate of Sixth Year Studies (CSYS). The first certification of Advanced Higher was in 2001. It is normally t ...
.


United States

In the
U.S. The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US), or America, is a country primarily located in North America North America is a continent entirely within the Northern Hemisphere and almost all ...

U.S.
, each
state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspaper), a daily newspaper in Columbia, South Carolina, Un ...
, with the individual
school district A school district is a special-purpose district that operates local public Primary school, primary and Secondary school, secondary schools in various nations. North America United States In the U.S, most K–12 public schools function as uni ...
s, establishes the curricula taught. Each state, however, builds its curriculum with great participation of national academic subject groups selected by the
United States Department of Education The United States Department of Education (sometimes shortened to the ED, ED or DoEd) is a United States Cabinet, Cabinet-level department of the federal government of the United States, United States government. It began operating on May 4, 198 ...
such as the
National Council of Teachers of Mathematics Founded in 1920, The National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) is the world's largest mathematics education In contemporary education, mathematics education is the practice of teaching and learning mathematics, along with the associate ...
(NCTM) for mathematical instruction. The
Common Core State Standards Initiative The Common Core State Standards Initiative, also known as simply Common Core, is an educational initiative from 2010 that details what K–12 students throughout the United States should know in Language arts, English language arts and mathemat ...
(CCSSI) promulgates a core set of standards which are specific information and skills a student needs to know at each grade level in order to graduate. States may adopt these standards in part or whole and expand upon them. Schools and states (depending on how much control a state gives to its local schools) then develop their curriculum to meet each of these standards. This coordination is intended to make it possible to use more of the same textbooks across states, and to move toward a more uniform minimum level of education attainment. According to the CCSSI, “ cisions on how to implement the standards, including the right supports to put in place, are made at the state and local levels. As such, states and localities are taking different approaches to implementing the standards and providing their teachers with the supports they need to help students successfully reach the standards.”


Higher education

Many educational institutions are currently trying to balance two opposing forces. On the one hand, some believe students should have a common knowledge foundation, often in the form of a core curriculum whereas others want students to be able to pursue their own educational interests, often through early specialty in a major or through the free choice of courses. This tension has received a large amount of coverage due to
Harvard University Harvard University is a Private university, private Ivy League research university in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Founded in 1636 as Harvard College and named for its first benefactor, the History of the Puritans in North America, Puritan cler ...

Harvard University
's reorganization of its core requirements. An essential feature of curriculum design, seen in every college catalog and at every other level of schooling, is the identification of prerequisites for each course. These prerequisites can be satisfied by taking particular courses, and in some cases by examination, or by other means, such as work experience. In general, more advanced courses in any subject require some foundation in basic courses, but some coursework requires study in other departments, as in the sequence of math classes required for a physics major, or the language requirements for students preparing in literature, music, or scientific research. A more detailed curriculum design must deal with prerequisites within a course for each topic taken up. This in turn leads to the problems of course organization and scheduling once the dependencies between topics are known.


Core curriculum

At the
undergraduate Undergraduate education ieducationconducted after secondary education and prior to postgraduate education. It typically includes all postsecondary programs up to the level of a bachelor's degree. For example, in the United States, an entry-level ...
level, individual
college A college (Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language A classical language is a language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share" or "to be in rel ...

college
and
university A university () is an educational institution, institution of higher education, higher (or Tertiary education, tertiary) education and research which awards academic degrees in several Discipline (academia), academic disciplines. Universities typ ...

university
administrations and faculties sometimes mandate core curricula, especially in the
liberal arts Liberal arts education (from Latin "free" and "art or principled practice") is the traditional academic program in Western higher education. ''Liberal arts'' takes the term ''Art (skill), art'' in the sense of a learned skill rather than spec ...
. However, because of increasing specialization and depth in the student's major field of study, a typical core curriculum in
higher education Higher education is tertiary education leading to award of an academic degree. Higher education, also called post-secondary education, third-level or tertiary education, is an optional final stage of formal learning that occurs after completion ...
mandates a far smaller proportion of a student's course work than a
high school A secondary school describes an institution that provides secondary education Secondary education covers two phases on the International Standard Classification of Education The International Standard Classification of Education (ISCED) is a ...

high school
or
elementary school A primary school (in Ireland, the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, Jamaica, and South Africa), junior school (in Australia), elementary school or grade school (in North America and the Philippines) is a school A school is a ...

elementary school
core curriculum prescribes. Among the best known and most expansive core curricula programs at leading American colleges and universities are those of
Columbia University Columbia University (also known as Columbia, and officially as Columbia University in the City of New York) is a in . Established in 1754 as King's College on the grounds of in , Columbia is the oldest institution of higher education in and ...
and the
University of Chicago The University of Chicago (UChicago) is a private university, private research university in Chicago, Illinois. Founded in 1890, its main campus is located in Chicago's Hyde Park, Chicago, Hyde Park neighborhood. In Fall 2021, it enrolled 18,45 ...
. Both can take up to two years to complete without
advanced standing Transfer credit, credit transfer, or advanced standing are the terms used by colleges A college (Latin: ''collegium'') is an educational institution or a University system, constituent part of one. A college may be a academic degree, degree-aw ...
, and are designed to foster critical skills in a broad range of academic disciplines, including the social sciences, humanities, physical and biological sciences, mathematics, writing and foreign languages. In 1999, the
University of Chicago The University of Chicago (UChicago) is a private university, private research university in Chicago, Illinois. Founded in 1890, its main campus is located in Chicago's Hyde Park, Chicago, Hyde Park neighborhood. In Fall 2021, it enrolled 18,45 ...
announced plans to reduce and modify the content of its core curriculum, including lowering the number of required courses from 21 to 15 and offering a wider range of content. When ''
The New York Times ''The New York Times'' is an American daily newspaper based in New York City with a worldwide readership. Founded in 1851, the ''Times'' has since won List of Pulitzer Prizes awarded to The New York Times, 132 Pulitzer Prizes, the most of a ...

The New York Times
'', ''
The Economist ''The Economist'' is an international weekly newspaper A weekly newspaper is a general-news or current affairsCurrent affairs may refer to: Media * Current Affairs (magazine), ''Current Affairs'' (magazine), a bimonthly magazine of cult ...
'', and other major news outlets picked up this story, the university became the focal point of a national debate on education. A set of university administrators, notably then-President Hugo F. Sonnenschein, argued that reducing the core curriculum had become both a financial and educational imperative, as the university was struggling to attract a commensurate volume of applicants to its undergraduate division compared to peer schools as a result of what was perceived by the pro-change camp as a reaction by "the average eighteen-year-old" to the expanse of the collegiate core. As core curricula began to diminish over the course of the twentieth century at many American schools, some smaller institutions became famous for embracing a core curriculum that covers nearly the student's entire undergraduate education, often utilizing classic texts of the
western canon The Western canon is the body of high culture High may refer to: People with the name * High (surname)High is a surname. Notable people with the surname include: *Jason High (born 1981), American mixed martial artist *Martha High (born 1945) ...
to teach all subjects including science. Five
Great Books A classic is a book A book is a medium for recording information Information is processed, organised and structured data. It provides context for data and enables decision making process. For example, a single customer’s sale ...

Great Books
colleges in the United States follow this approach: St. John's, Shimer,
Thomas Aquinas Thomas Aquinas (; it, Tommaso d'Aquino, lit=Thomas of Aquino; 1225 – 7 March 1274) was an Italian Dominican Dominican may refer to: * Someone or something from or related to the Dominican Republic The Dominican Republic ( ; es, ...
, and
Thomas More Sir Thomas More (7 February 1478 – 6 July 1535), venerated in the Catholic Church The Catholic Church, often referred to as the Roman Catholic Church, is the List of Christian denominations by number of members, largest Christian chur ...
.


Distribution requirements

Some colleges opt for the middle ground of the continuum between specified and unspecified curricula by using a system of distribution requirements. In such a system, students are required to take courses in particular fields of learning, but are free to choose specific courses within those fields.


Open curriculum

Other institutions have largely done away with core requirements in their entirety.
Brown University Brown University is a private Private or privates may refer to: Music * "In Private "In Private" was the third single in a row to be a charting success for United Kingdom, British singer Dusty Springfield, after an absence of nearly two de ...

Brown University
offers the "Open Curriculum", implemented after a student-led reform movement in 1969, which allows students to take courses without concern for any requirements except those in their chosen concentrations (majors), plus two writing courses. In this vein, it is possible for students to graduate without taking college-level science or math courses, or to take only science or math courses.
Amherst College Amherst College ( ) is a private Private or privates may refer to: Music * "In Private "In Private" was the third single in a row to be a charting success for United Kingdom, British singer Dusty Springfield, after an absence of nearly two ...
requires that students take one of a list of first-year seminars, but has no required classes or distribution requirements. Similarly,
Grinnell College Grinnell College is a Private college, private Liberal arts colleges in the United States, liberal arts college in Grinnell, Iowa. It was founded in 1846 when a group of New England Congregationalism in the United States, Congregationalists establ ...
requires students to take a First-Year Tutorial in their first semester, and has no other class or distribution requirements. Others include
Evergreen State College The Evergreen State College is a public liberal arts and sciences college in Olympia, Washington Olympia is the capital of the U.S. state In the United States The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United Stat ...
,
Hamilton College Hamilton College is a private liberal arts college in Clinton, New York. It was founded as Hamilton-Oneida Academy in 1793 and was chartered as Hamilton College in 1812 in honor of inaugural trustee Alexander Hamilton Alexander Hamilto ...
, and
Smith College Smith College is a private Private or privates may refer to: Music * "In Private "In Private" was the third single in a row to be a charting success for United Kingdom, British singer Dusty Springfield, after an absence of nearly two decades ...

Smith College
.
Wesleyan University Wesleyan University ( ) is a private Private or privates may refer to: Music * "In Private "In Private" was the third single in a row to be a charting success for United Kingdom, British singer Dusty Springfield, after an absence of nearl ...

Wesleyan University
is another school that has not and does not require any set distribution of courses. However, Wesleyan does make clear "General Education Expectations" such that if a student does not meet these expectations, he/she would not be eligible for academic honors upon graduation.


Gender inequality in curricula

Gender inequality Gender inequality is the social process by which men and women are not treated as equals. The treatment may arise from distinctions regarding biology, psychology, or cultural norms. Some of these distinctions are empirically-grounded while othe ...

Gender inequality
in curricula shows how men and women are not treated equally in several types of curricula. More precisely, gender inequality is visible in the curriculum of both schools and Teacher Education Institutes (TEIs).
Physical education Physical education, often abbreviated to Phys Ed. or P.E., is a subject taught in school A school is an educational institution designed to provide learning spaces and learning environments for the teaching of students under the direct ...
(PE) is an example where gender equality issues are highlighted because of preconceived
stereotyping Police officers buying doughnuts and coffee, an example of perceived stereotypical behavior in North America. In social psychology Social psychology is the Science, scientific study of how the thoughts, feelings, and behaviors of indivi ...
of boys and girls. The general belief is that boys are better at physical activities than girls, and that girls are better at ‘home’ activities such as sewing and cooking. This is the case in many cultures around the world and is not specific to one culture only.


See also

*
Academic advising Academic advising is, according to the National Academic Advising Association, "a series of intentional interactions with a curriculum In education, a curriculum (; plural curricula or curriculums) is broadly defined as the totality of student e ...
*
Body of knowledge A body of knowledge (BOK or BoK) is the complete set of concepts, terms and activities that make up a professional A professional is a member of a profession or any person who earns a living from a specified professional activity. The term also d ...
* CSCOPE (education) * Curriculum studies *
Educational programAn educational program is a program written by the institution or ministry of education Education is the process of facilitating learning, or the acquisition of knowledge, skills, value (ethics), values, morals, beliefs, and habits. Educ ...
*
Europass Europass is a European Union (Directorate-General for Education and Culture (European Commission), Directorate General for Education and Culture) initiative to increase transparency of qualification and mobility of citizens in Europe. It aims to mak ...

Europass
*
Extracurricular activity An extracurricular activity (ECA) or extra academic activity (EAA) is an activity, performed by students, that falls outside the realm of the normal curriculum In education, a curriculum (; plural curricula or curriculums) is broadly defined as ...
*
Hidden curriculum A hidden curriculum is a set of lessons "which are learned but not openly intended"Martin, Jane. "What Should We Do with a Hidden Curriculum When We Find One?" The Hidden Curriculum and Moral Education. Ed. Giroux, Henry and David Purpel. Berkeley ...
*
Lesson (1884). Image:Falconry lesson.jpg">225px, Falconry lesson A lesson or class is a structured period of time where learning is intended to occur. It involves one or more students (also called pupils or learners in some circumstances) being taug ...

Lesson
*
Lesson plan A lesson plan is a teacher A teacher, also called a schoolteacher or formally an educator, is a person who helps students to acquire knowledge, competence or virtue. ''Informally'' the role of teacher may be taken on by anyone (e.g. when ...
*
Lifelong learning Lifelong learning is the "ongoing, voluntary, and self-motivated"Department of Education and Science (2000).Learning for Life: Paper on Adult Education Dublin: Stationery Office. pursuit of knowledge for either personal or professional reasons ...
* Open source curriculum *
Pedagogy Pedagogy (), most commonly understood as the approach to teaching, is the theory and practice of learning Learning is the process of acquiring new , , s, s, , attitudes, and s. The ability to learn is possessed by s, s, and some ; there is ...
* Residential curriculum * Structure of the disciplines *
Sudbury school A Sudbury school is a type of school, usually for the K-12 K-1 is a martial arts Martial arts are codified systems and traditions of combat practiced for a number of reasons such as self-defense; military A military, also known collecti ...
s have no curriculum *
Syllabus A syllabus (; plural ''syllabuses'' or ''syllabi'') or specification is a document that communicates information about a specific course and defines expectations and responsibilities. It is generally narrower in scope than a curriculum In educati ...

Syllabus
*
Unschooling Unschooling is an informal learning Informal learning is characterized “by a low degree of planning and organizing in terms of the learning context, learning support, learning time, and learning objectives”.Kyndt, E., & Baert, H. (2013). A ...

Unschooling
emphasizes self-directed learning rather than a curriculum * Curricula in early childhood care and education


Works cited

* Bilbao, Purita P., Lucido, Paz I., Iringan, Tomasa C., and Javier, Rodrigo B. (2008). ''Curriculum Development''. Quezon City: Lorimar Publishing, Inc. *


References


Gerador de currículos on-line


External links


World Council for Curriculum and Instruction

OnCourse Systems for Education - Curriculum Builder
*
UNESCO International Bureau of Education

National Council of Teachers of Mathematics
{{Authority control + Didactics