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There are four types of curriculum services: material development, accreditation or teaching resources, implementation of new curriculum and curriculum evaluation. "Curriculum" is a term used to describe all of the materials used to teach a subject to students. This includes textbooks, lectures, test banks, course outlines and marking guides.
People who work in curriculum services include administrative staff members and teaching professionals. The skills necessary for this type of work are primarily communication, research and analysis. Working as a member of a team, curriculum services personnel interact with education agencies, textbook publishers and related professionals to ensure that the curriculum is relevant, accurate and easy to follow.
Material development is a multi-step process that is usually managed using project management methodologies, including the development of a project plan, timeliness, deliverables and milestones. The first step is to establish the level of the course, the prerequisites and the target student age. Material guidelines are reviewed by psychologists and educational experts to validate the project plan.
The learning tools used in the modern classroom include textbooks, computer software, movies and interactive learning exercises. All of these course development technologies need to be incorporated into the curriculum, with direct correlation between the teaching points and the material. The vast majority of these materials are developed by private companies, publishers and filmmakers. Curriculum services is often responsible for reviewing the materials and providing accreditation or certification that the materials are appropriate, accurate and suitable.
There are two motivations for new curriculum: new educational requirements and scheduled rewriting. New curriculum is developed in response to changing educational requirements. This can be driven by technology developments, new scientific discoveries or changing business processes. Course material must be updated in order to keep the references current. Implementing a new curriculum typically requires at least 18 months of lead time, so that new materials can be developed, advance copies can be provided to teachers and supporting programs can be changed.
On a regular, scheduled basis, all course curriculum is reviewed and evaluated. The purpose of the evaluation is to remove content that is out of date and add new developments in the subject to the relevant courses. This can include new scientific developments or a change in the way a historical event is perceived, based on new information.
The education required to work in curriculum services include a minimum post-secondary education from an accredited university or college. Areas of study include education, English, the humanities and the social sciences. A love of learning and dedication to continuing education is a core requirement for work in this sector.
Cafe41 - I think that both math curriculums have their merits but I wanted to add that there are many curriculum providers that offer a complete curriculum that a parent can use for homeschooling.
This is also what a lot of schools do because it is more cost effective to buy from the same publisher. I know that Calvert offers a complete curriculum and even provides support for parents. It is a great curriculum materials service.
Mutsy - I have heard of Saxon Math, but I think Singapore Math is much better because of its mastery approach to mathematics.
Students using this program have a solid foundation in math because new concepts are not introduced until the current ones are mastered. This programs begins mental calculations by the second grade and becomes more abstract quickly.
I wanted to add that Saxon Math has curriculum lesson plans for both the homeschool and traditional school markets.
They offer a spiral approach to mathematics that provides a variety of problem solving examples with significant math computation.
This program is highly recommended by many in the education industry because it prepares students well for standardized tests.
The lessons are all scripted so that if a parent were using the program in a homeschool setting she could easily teach the lesson.
The only downside to this curriculum involves the fact that there are many concepts introduced at a time and these same concepts will not be reintroduced for some time so some students do not develop sufficient mastery of the subject matter because they need more repetition.
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