What is curriculum mapping?
Curriculum mapping is a procedure for collecting data
about the curriculum in a school district. Data are gathered
in a format that allows each teacher to present an overview
of his or her students' actual learning experiences. Mapping
is not what ought to happen but what is happening during
the course of a school year. Data offer an overview perspective
rather than a daily classroom perspective.
Why do curriculum mapping?
Realistic information about the curriculum that learners
encounter is essential for decision making. Curriculum mapping
is an extremely useful tool for creating a "big picture"
for curriculum decision making. Among buildings, there can
be large gaps in communication. Integration of curriculum
is about vertical planning as well as horizontal planning.
Without a context for looking at students' experiences over
time, we can make isolated decisions. Curriculum mapping
addresses these challenges.
How can curriculum mapping benefit a school district?
The value of mapping is that educators at a site can edit,
review, validate, and develop curriculum and assessment
with confidence and in context. With a K-12 overview of
what is actually going on in classrooms, individual teachers
can build on previous years with authenticity and better
prepare students for the future. Teachers in a grade-level
can plan more easily and coordinate units of study and activities.
Departments can make more better decisions because they
have more information about what is going on not only within
the building but among buildings. A district can match its
current assessments with all levels of standards. It is
virtually impossible for any one person or committee to
stay on top of the curriculum. Mapping provides a direct,
honest, and accessible tool to help all parties in the district
carry out that task.
What is shown on the map?
A brief description of the content (whether it is student
centered, interdisciplinary, or discipline based); a description
of the processes and skills emphasized; the nature of the
assessment the student produces as evidence of growth; and
which standards are being addressed. The time when it is
taught is also addressed. The point is not to teach to the
months, but to use the months as a common reference to plot
the classroom curriculum.
Do maps make the curriculum standard and rigid?
No, rigidity occurs when communication is weak and revision
is cumbersome. Mapping promotes a living curriculum because
it deals with real time. The possibility for changing and
upgrading the curriculum is increased when a map is entered
on a computer. Mapping promotes informed autonomy.