The draft curriculum framework that will specify what students are expected to know and be able to do in each grade level from pre-Kindergarten through Grade 8 in the four major curricular areas of English/language arts, mathematics, science, and social studies have been prepared for public review and comment to prepare recommendations to the Board of Education next month.
The draft documents are available for review in each public library and at all schools and through a digitized version that has been placed on the web for easy access. A formal feedback form is also available at the schools and libraries, and an electronic-feedback form is available on the web. (A direct link to the Internet site is below.)
Because of the timeline for completing the draft framework this summer, the deadline for submitting either written or electronic comments is June 28, 2001. The results of this feedback will be reviewed for incorporation into the recommendations being made to the Board of Education on July 2.
The entire draft framework comes in two sets, one for pre-Kindergarten through Grade 4 and the other for Grades 5-8. The documents outline in draft form the curricular goals, the vision of instruction and assessment, and the specifics of what students are to know and be able to do in each of the four subject areas.
The draft framework is the first major step in revising the actual grade-level curriculum, which will be developed once the framework is established.
The draft framework is aligned with the Maryland State Department of Education Content Standards, the state’s Core Learning Goals, and the Maryland Learning Outcomes. National and international standards also influenced the development of the scope and sequence of indicators within this framework.
The curriculum revision began with the state’s content standards because these form the basis for the majority of the standards and assessments being used by the state. Eventually, the revisions will identify what students should know and do in each subject area covered by the Maryland School Performance Assessment Program (MSPAP), the Comprehensive Test of Basic Skills (CTBS), the upcoming Maryland High School Assessments, and the Scholastic Achievement Test (SAT), as well as other available state, national and international standards and assessments.
The draft framework was developed in collaboration with the Council for Basic Education (CBE), an independent nonprofit organization in Washington, D.C.
The massive undertaking is part of a comprehensive effort to help each elementary and middle school principal and teacher identify the exact skills and knowledge that need to be taught so that their students will meet and exceed not just state standards, but also emerging national and international standards.
At the heart of this initiative are two relatively simple objectives -- making sure that students receive a consistent curriculum in every class and every school, and aligning that curriculum to identifiable standards at the highest possible level.
This initiative will include the development of a clear scope and sequence for each course and unit, with companion instructional guides and resources. The initiative also will provide teachers and principals with formative and summative assessments that are linked directly to the revised curriculum. Staff development programs also are being geared to this effort.
The Board of Education set this initiative in motion in February when it approved a revised policy on curriculum to guide the development, implementation, and monitoring of instruction throughout the school system. The revised policy is intended, in part, to establish continuity from grade to grade and consistency from school to school, with students acquiring and applying knowledge and skills toward a recognized standard of performance. The process is expected to take three years.