Curriculum evaluation is crucial to measuring curriculum effectiveness in any educational setting. In this lesson, we’ll explore this process and examine several models that might be used for curriculum evaluation.
Is the New Curriculum Any Good?
Mrs. Brown is a math teacher at a local junior high school.
Her school has recently adopted a new math curriculum, and Mrs. Brown has her doubts as to whether or not the choice of curriculum was a good one. Several of the parents have also expressed their concerns. Mrs. Brown is in need of a method for evaluating the effectiveness of this new curriculum. She is looking to conduct a curriculum evaluation.
What Is Curriculum Evaluation?
The purpose of curriculum evaluation is to determine whether or not the newly adopted curriculum is producing the intended results and meeting the objectives that it has set forth, and it is an essential component in the process of adopting and implementing any new curriculum in any educational setting.
Another purpose of curriculum evaluation is to gather data that will help in identifying areas in need of improvement or change.
Why Is It Necessary?
There are several parties, or stakeholders, interested in the process and results of curriculum evaluation.
- Parents are interested because they want to be assured that their children are being provided with a sound, effective education.
- Teachers are interested because they want to know that what they are teaching in the classroom will effectively help them cover the standards and achieve the results they know parents and administration are expecting.
- The general public is interested because they need to be sure that their local schools are doing their best to provide solid and effective educational programs for the children in the area.
- Administrators are interested because they need feedback on the effectiveness of their curricular decisions.
- Curriculum publishers are interested because they can use the data and feedback from a curriculum evaluation to drive changes and upgrades in the materials they provide.
In the end, the goal is always to make sure that students are being provided with the best education possible. Because the curriculum is a huge part of this, curriculum evaluation is a means of deciding whether or not the chosen curriculum is going to bring the school closer to that goal.
Models for Curriculum Evaluation
Let’s take a closer look at several of the models available for curriculum evaluation:
The Tyler Model
The Tyler model, a curriculum evaluation model that takes into account information from the active learner and pays close attention to how well the goals and objectives of the curriculum are supported by the experiences and activities provided, was named after its creator, Ralph Tyler, and focuses on four main areas:
- The purpose of the curriculum being evaluated (the objectives)
- The experiences that are provided to support that purpose (the strategies and content)
- How these experiences are organized (organization of the content)
- How the outcomes are evaluated (assessment)
It has been criticized, however, for its simplicity and because assessment is a final step rather than an ongoing part of the process.
The Taba Model
The Taba model, a curriculum evaluation model emphasizing inductive reasoning, was created by Hilda Taba who believed that true curriculum should be developed by the teacher, rather than decided upon by administration or another authority. The Taba model, also called the ”Inductive Approach,” uses a series of stages or steps, which can be applied in both the development and evaluation of curriculum.These stages are:
- Deciding on objectives
- Selecting content
- Organizing content
- Selecting learning experiences and activities
- Organizing learning experiences and activities
- Deciding what and how to evaluate
Stake’s Model (Countenance Model)
In the 1950s, Robert Stake formulated the Countenance model, also known as Stake’s model, which looks at curriculum from a more scientific point of view by examining three distinct areas of the curriculum.
These areas are:
- The antecedents, which are the conditions in place before application of the curriculum.
- The transactions, which are the activities and experiences happening as a result of implementing the curriculum.
- The outcomes, which are the results and changes brought about after implementation of the program.
When looking at outcomes, Stake’s model pays special attention to whether or not the outcomes match the objectives or intended results. Congruence between objectives and outcomes is key.
Cronbach, who was a student of Tyler’s, developed a model, the Cronbach model, that looks mostly at assessment as a method for evaluating curriculum. He believed the teacher in the classroom should be solely responsible for all curriculum related assessment and that assessment should be ongoing. At the same time, he also believed that, while teachers should be tasked with gathering data for evaluation, it is not up to them to decide whether or not a curriculum is worth keeping.
When looking at assessment data, it should be determined whether or not the curriculum is accomplishing what it sets out to accomplish (whether it covers the stated objectives and meets the stated goals).
The CIPP Model
The final model we are going to look at is the CIPP model, which was developed in the 1970s. The CIPP model is a curriculum evaluation model that focuses on four steps in its evaluation. CIPP is an acronym for the four steps:
The context step of the model is focused on identifying needs and deciding the overall context of the curriculum. Input refers to the instructional component and the sources and methods of information input. It also looks at the strategies and activities provided to fine-tune instruction.
The process piece looks for any potential defects in the strategies used for curriculum implementation. Product compares outcomes with objectives and original overall context.
Curriculum evaluation is a method for determining the worth and effectiveness of any newly implemented curriculum. There are several stakeholders with interest in the results of curriculum evaluation that include parents, teachers, the community, administrators, and curriculum publishers.One of the easiest ways to conduct a curriculum evaluation is through use of an evaluation model.
Some of the models that have been developed for curriculum evaluation include:
- The Tyler model, which focuses on the learner and looks at how well objectives are supported by activities and experiences.
- The Taba model, which believes that true curriculum comes from the teacher and should focus on inductive reasoning.
- Stake’s model, also known as the Countenance model, which looks for congruence between outcomes and stated objectives.
- Cronbach’s model, which focuses primarily on assessment as a means of deciding if objectives are being met.
- CIPP model, which looks at context, input, process, and product.