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Curriculum Management: Aligning the Curriculum

Curriculum alignment attempts to improve student achievement by remedying the discrepancy that too often exists
between the state standards, district curriculum guides, the teacher’s instructional plans, and the assessment
measures in schools.

Case Study – Making Adjustments via Alignment

A group of third-grade teachers in Portland, Oregon, meet after school to review student achievement test data.
The Principal happens to arrive at the door of the classroom as the teachers are reviewing the results.

“I think this whole standards movement and emphasis on tests is a way for administrators to control the faculty,”
says teacher Melody Taylor, revealing anger in her voice.

Principal Barbara Bevington enters the room. “I understand your frustration, Melody,” she says calmly.
“Nonetheless, I can assure you that I’m not interested in controlling anyone. I’m interested in our school doing the
best it can for our students.”

Melody looks on disapprovingly, as if she is not buying the principal’s sincerity.

Bevington decides to address the group. “What I don’t understand is why our students are falling behind in the area
of measurement in mathematics. It can’t be because of our teachers – we have some of the best teachers in the
state,” declares the principal, looking approvingly over at Melody, who blushes, embarrassed.

The principal continues, “Math measurement is noted in our district standards as well as being addressed in our
textbook, and yet the test data reveal that our students are really struggling in this area.” Four of the other teachers
are nodding their heads in agreement as they study the data.

Sue Cockrill, another third-grade teacher adds, “I think I know why our students are doing poorly on measurement.
The chapter on measurement is one of the last chapters in our math book, and we usually never get there.”

“You’re right!” says Melody. “Why don’t we move the chapter on measurement up on our schedule? That will ensure
that we will cover it.”

“Great ideal!” says another third-grade teacher, pencilling in the change. Everyone smiles. The principal is beaming.
“I am really proud of all of you as a third-grade team. You are really doing some great work in analysing the test
results and adjusting the curriculum accordingly,” She then turns and walks back down the hall to her office. Principal
Bevington is impressed that through data analysis her teachers were able to identify an area in the standards that is
not being met by the local curriculum. She is also proud that melody Taylor is part of that important team.

The Challenge

Getting teachers to align curriculum to state and federal standards and regulations is a major challenge for school
administrators. Analyse the problems and hurdles that Principal Bevington had to overcome. What other strategies
can she use to get her teachers to accept mandated changes and to align her school’s curriculum?

Key Questions

1. What are your impressions of Principal Bevington? Did she adequately handle the issue of data analysis and
aligning curriculum? Why or why not?
Answer: She shows the manner of what and how to be responsible principal. A school head must show concerns to
its stakeholders. She handled the situation well with the help and ideas of her teachers.

2. What are your impressions of the third-grade teachers in this elementary school?
Answer: They are the kind of teachers that are willing to do the best they can. The use o data analysis just to find
out the problem of the students is a kind of great idea. They are the teachers who really shows the concerns to their
students and that made me give my two thumbs up.

3. If the principal has another meeting with the third-grade teachers, what should be discussed?
Answer: The matter to be discuss is maybe if the curriculum will be successfully tackled according to the given dates.
Other schools can fully finish to discusses all the contents of the books at the end of the school year

4. What are some possible reasons that Principal Bevington’s third-grade curriculum is out of alignment with
state and national standards?
Answer: I think the main reason is time management. I do believe that Principal Bevingtons teachers doing their job
properly but the main problem is the curriculum itself and time management.

5. What are some other innovative approaches that Principal Bevington might use to increase student
achievement scores? Identify the strategies and explain why you think they might be effective.

Answer: Wisely Managed Classroom Technology

Many schools have become one-to-one schools, each student has his or her own technology item (typically a tablet
or computer) to work with each day. In some districts, students can take the technology home to complete their
homework. There is a delicate balance with technology use in the classroom. Teachers must use technology in a
wisely managed way and with a variety of activities

Reference: Gatthorn, A., Boschee, F., Whitehead, B., & Boschee, B. (2012). Curriculum Development: Strategies for
Development and Implementation (3rd Ed). Thousand Oaks, California 91320: SAGE