3 Strategies to Evaluate Curriculum to Understand its Effectiveness

March 30, 2023

A curriculum is a planned course of instructions to aid students’ steady learning. It assists students to practice and gain expertise in respective fields of study and learn applied learning skills. The curriculum comprises ways to achieve desired goals, methods of teaching, and material of learning, along with tests and examinations to determine students’ learning outcomes. 

Analysis of the curriculum used in the teaching space and its impacts on the students is very significant, for which teaching experts have proposed many strategies. We will discuss three frameworks that can be used as strategies for rational and comprehensible evaluation of the effectiveness of the curriculums and their practicality in the educational programs. 

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Stufflebeam’s CIPP Model

The objective of the CIPP Model is the management-oriented evaluation and continuous improvements. The following steps are required to evaluate any curriculum’s effectiveness. 

In the first step of Context, you assess the goals and the overall mission of the program. A connection between learning material and targeted beneficiaries is critical and must highlight the concept’s background. You analyze things used in teaching and the environment where the lesson is conducted. 

In Input, you examine the plan for completion of the study program. You investigate the stakeholders, required resources to start the program, and the period of the whole program. Mainly, you need to explore ways to make it more beneficial for not just the students but the teachers as well. The Curriculum & Instruction Master’s Degree in Leadership can help you define how teachers can learn from the program and use appropriate leadership styles to deliver the best to the students. 

In Product, you analyze the implementation plan. Here, you study the proficiency and risks of the program’s transportability. The model questions the program’s sustainability and ease of adjustment for all stakeholders. 

In Process evaluation, you scrutinize the program’s action plan. You check whether you were able to attain the desired results and their overall outcome. It also allows monitoring the teaching process and getting feedback from both the students and educators. 

Stufflebeam’s model appeals most to the educators by offering evaluative data, which is helpful in decision making and bringing improvements where needed. It is also one of the best frameworks for asking both formative and summative questions important for evaluation. 

Bradley’s Effectiveness Model

Bradley proposed the following ten indicators for analyzing any curriculum plan’s effectiveness. 

  1. Vertical Curriculum Continuity: The course is in K-12 format. Teachers have access to things taught in grades below and above them. 
  2. Horizontal Curriculum Continuity: The course has the same content and objectives in all classrooms of the same grade. 
  3. Instruction based on Curriculum: Lesson plans are made from the course of study only and align with its contents, goals, and assessments. 
  4. Curriculum Priority: Teachers get financial help during summer courses. Topics are well discussed in school agendas. 
  5. Broad Involvement: Teachers have representation in curricular activities. The school administrators and teachers approve the course of study. 
  6. Long-range Planning: Each program is present in the district’s 5-year sequence and review cycle. 
  7. Decision-making clarity: The course-related decisions can be controversial, but not the decision-makers.
  8. Positive Human Relations: Disagreements between teachers, principals, and curriculum makers on curriculum development are inevitable. Communication, however, must not stop. 
  9. Theory-into-practice Approach: The program’s philosophy, objectives, and outcomes are correlated. 
  10. Planned Change: Internal and external publics agree with the curriculum and are focused on making it better. 

The best aspect of Bradley’s model is the involvement of teachers, who are often overlooked on bigger platforms, in curriculum development. Also, it ensures the implementation of a coherent syllabus throughout the area, which makes it easier to get unbiased feedback.  

Tyler’s Objectives-Centered Model

Developed by Ralph Tyler in 1947, Tyler’s model is still being used globally. Previously, many educators have used it wholly or partly for curriculum development and effectiveness evaluation. It consists of four simple steps. 

  • First, you determine the objectives of the class or subject, consistent with the institute’s philosophy.
  • For the next step, you identify or develop the learning activities required for achieving those objectives. The purpose is to provide students the opportunities to engage in the learning activity and encourage them. 
  • In the third step, you build an environment and offer instruments that can organize the desired behavior of students. You should demonstrate the expected behavior in the form of controlled, unbiased, and reliable activities. 
  • The final step is the evaluation of the objectives. You conduct different types of examinations to assess students’ learning experience and achievability of goals.  

In Tyler’s models, the course plan’s objectives are obtained from three places; the student, the society they live in, and the subject matter. In this view, any concept that does not address the students or society must not be included in the curriculum. Its emphasis is on the productivity of activities as they have a role in enhancing the learning process. 

Final Thoughts

There are hundreds of approaches for verifying the efficacy of the syllabus taught at schools and other educational institutes. Often, the curriculum is developed and taught without any understanding. However, we often forget that it cannot be fully beneficial if its usefulness is not regulated. It is critical to evaluate what we teach to our students, for which a correct framework is essential. Although we have proposed the most popular models for this purpose, we still believe that one shoe does not fit all. You must analyze all models and choose the best parts of all or either of them to develop the most appropriate strategy for effectiveness evaluation. 

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