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Curriculum Planning History

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Curriculum was created to be used as a guide and implemented to maximize student learning and to achieve optimal academic achievement. According to Kelting-Bigson (2013) Prior to 1900 the idea of curriculum was simply describing it in terms of subjects, time allotted to these subjects, and when in years students would take these subjects. Beginning in early 1900, curriculum was viewed differently as more of a science with principles and methodology (Kliebard, 1995; Orstein & Hunkins, 1998).The reason for curriculum is it outline knowledge that needs to be learned for each content area for each grade and to instruct/ teach students how to obtain and retain this knowledge and use it to improve their performance by creating games and activities to train the learner to put this new knowledge learned to work in their benefit. Curriculum has come a long way within the last 100 years.

It is important to understand the history of educational curriculum, the movements that have impacted it, and the laws that come with it. There are political and historical occurrences throughout the years that have molded and influenced the current curriculum designs used by many states and districts in our schools. Throughout the past decade ELL and SIOP laws have impacted curriculum designs in both positive and negative ways. Many of these changes have focused on students with disabilities and insufficient learning curves. Because of this there is a lack of academic challenges for gifted students.

Possessing a historical sense of curriculum allows us to realize the fact that the field of curriculum is continues to mature (Kelting-Bigson, 2013). Throughout the history of educational curriculum there have been many curriculum specialist which have impacted the development of educational curriculum. Many of these curriculum specialist have conducted and obtained research to find more effective approaches to create a curriculum that maximizes student academic learning. The focus for one of the specialists, Hunter, “Motivation, a student’s intent to learn, is one of the most important factors in successful accomplishment….Therefore, we need to become knowledgeable about and skilled in the use of professional techniques that have high potential for increasing student motivation” ( Hunter, 2004, p. 13). By learning and understanding the history of curriculum design one is able to create a more effective curriculum. There have been many impactful occurrences that have effected education, but No Child Left Behind has been the most recent.

According to the U.S Department of Education, “ (NCLB) mandates that schools make adequate yearly progress in reading and mathematics on state tests in order to continue to receive federal funding. This focuses on all students(ELL, ESOL, and ESE) .If adequate yearly progress is not fulfilled federal funding is reduced. The reason for NCLB is to keep schools accountable for student academic progress. Because of this new law the current curriculum design has been affected in negative and positive ways. One negative thing that NCLB has instilled in education is the lack of science and social studies being taught in schools. Since the focus has been on reading and mathematics the other subjects are not being looked at as a focus anymore. One positive is that there is more time and instruction on the core subjects: reading and math. This was done in hopes of gaining or maintaining current federal funding.

When planning/creating a curriculum the guidelines for NCLB is used as a guide for all subjects, leaving less time for other subjects and electives that are not the subjects to fulfill the NCLB requirements. So, by adding more instruction to the subjects that fulfil NCLB requirements, schools will meet the requirements needed to maintain adequate yearly progress to keep federal funding. Impacts being made by NCLB are curriculum changes such as common core standards, and a large amount of time needed for district assessments which takes away time from classroom instruction. The NCLB was created to have a positive impact on education by keeping schools responsible for students is in good intentions and wants to keep schools responsible for all students academic progress, however schools are feeling the pressure due to this and now curriculum is developed based on test information that each grade will be assessed on. The curriculum will slowly loose the focus on subjects that have nothing to do with standardized tests.

According to Honigsfeld using data from the U.S. Census Bureau, students with a home language other than English will comprise 40 percent of the school-age population by 2030. Students that need improvement in the English language are also known as Language Learner (ELL). ELL students need support depending on their skills and level. There are many programs used to assist these students with understanding and applying the English language. Once they understand and apply these skills they are able to be successful in school and function in society. These students are a large percentage of many schools, therefore impacting how the curriculum is created. This can be very challenging when creating the curriculum, because the curriculum must align to ELL standards as well as English proficiency standards. When creating a curriculum it may be difficult, because ELL are entitled to extra time during standardized tests.

How do you create a balance of meeting national, state, and local requirements, while incorporating additional time for ELL learners? It is imperative to implement programs that share the same amount of time as ELL learners. This may be the difference in maximizing student achievement. Here in Florida our ELL population is large and is steadily increasing. For that reason all teacher must be ELL/ESOL certified. Sheltered Instruction Observation Protocol (SIOP) was created to assist teachers adapt to students learning the English language by providing adequate professional development opportunities. Adding SIOP into the curriculum allows teachers to be comfortable and successful teaching ELL students.

When creating a curriculum it is important to meet the needs of students with learning disabilities and students who are classified as ELL. The students who are gifted are usually not brought up because they are succeeding academically, but these students are not being challenged. These students also need to be considered while creating/planning a curriculum. By creating a curriculum that targets ELL, ESE, and gifted students all students regardless of their academic level would be reached. When creating a gifted curriculum it is important to have proficiency as well has higher goals/levels that the students can obtain.

The problem with some gifted programs is that it takes away from other subjects like music, pe, and art. These programs although not on standardized test are valuable for the students. Planning and Creating a curriculum can be challenging trying to meet all the students needs and trying to meet all the requirements to keep funding. The focus should be to develop a curriculum that challenges all students and to continuously improve students’ academic yearly progress. While standardized tests scores have it negative impacts on curriculum, it does allow schools extra funding. Curriculum has four components: Content, Objectives, Goals, and Assessment/Evaluation. These components go hand in hand and you would not have a curriculum if one component was missing. Curriculums has changed throughout the decade, but only for the betterment of education.


Honigsfeld, A. (2009). ELL PROGRAMS: Not ‘One Size Fits All’. Kappa Delta Pi Record, 45(4), 166-171. Hunter, R. (2004). Madeline Hunter’s Mastery teaching: Increasing instructional effectiveness in elementary and secondary schools. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press Kelting-Gibson, L. (2013). Analysis of 100 Years of Curriculum Designs. Online Submission. Kliebard, H. M. (1995). The struggle for the American curriculum. New York: Routledge. Ornstein, A. C., & Hunkins, F. P. (2009). Curriculum foundations, principles, and issues (5th ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson.

U.S Department of Education. No Child Left Behind and Accountability. 2015. Retrieved from

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