The aligning of the written curriculum to state standards is an important step in the curriculum development process. Curriculum alignment, as defined by Glatthorn, is the process of aligning the written curriculum, the tested curriculum and the supported curriculum to make the taught curriculum more effective. (2004). In turn, it is hoped that a more effective taught curriculum will prepare students to perform better on the tested curriculum.
South Western School District teachers revised the K-12 Health curriculum in October 2007. Teachers from each grade level collaboratively distributed Pennsylvania state standards across grade levels to avoid duplication and provide a spiral for learning. For the most part, the Grade 3 curriculum was successfully aligned with the Pennsylvania Academic Standards for Health, Safety & Physical Education, as seen in the comparison chart in Appendix A. Three of the fourteen standards are missing from the Grade 3 curriculum, however upon further investigation, it was discovered that the three curriculum goals were included in either the Grade 1 or Grade 2 Health curriculum guide. The Grade 3 Health course has very few resources to be considered supported curriculum. Currently, teachers are developing common units for health courses, which will be the supported curriculum.
The Grade 3 Health curriculum guide includes written objectives and essential questions. These two components provide the “big picture” for the taught health curriculum. The objectives are written at low levels of thinking and should be rewritten to increase the critical thinking and problem solving efforts of students in this area. All objectives appear to be mastery objectives, or essential learnings. (Glatthorn, 2004) There is no reference to organic or enrichment objectives in the Grade 3 Health curriculum. These curricular objectives are left to teacher discretion.
CURRICULUM ALIGNMENT! 4
The curriculum guide columns are Standards, Content, Performance and Activities/ Assessments. The Content column (What the Student Will Know) is a direct connection to the state standards, although the actual standard number is not entered in the Standards column. These have been added in Appendix B. The Performance column (What the Student Will Do) is the column that indicates what students will do as a result of learning the Content. These Performance objectives, similar to the Content objectives, lead to mainly low levels of thinking from students. It is recommended that revisions take place in this area to require higher level thinking for students. The Performance objectives must be made more relevant to lives of students, rather than simply recall of knowledge. According to Tomlinson, brain research tells us that curriculum must cultivate meaning making. (2004) Objectives and assignments must be made clear to students by making connections to information they already know and with which they are comfortable. (Tomlinson, 2004) The...