Curriculum denotes the subjects encompassed in a course taught in an institution of learning. Curriculum assessment is the appraisal of the content of the courses or subjects taught. We live in a dynamic world. To adopt this, we need to change in tandem with the world.
The surest way of maintaining parity with this dynamism is to align our educational systems to the changes. In this day and age, Schools prepare students for specialized disciplines. The curriculum ought to prepare students adequately to meet the challenges in their work life. As such, the curriculum should be abreast with the changes that are taking place in specialized disciplines.
According to Reeves (2007), questions that could arise in assessing the curriculum include: what is the span of the courses offered? What is the relevance of the course content? How engaging are the tests set for the courses? How do the tests compare one institution to another in terms of depth of coverage?
In addition, to what extent the course content is up to speed with recent developments in the disciplines. This paper explores some of the common areas of need in schools and the strategic plans employed to address the needs towards attainment of an equitable education system.
Every school is different and unique in its own way. The, common unifying, factor is the curriculum. Perhaps, one would ask why the schools post different results despite the assumed similarity in curricula. There is a critical need to review the requirements for schools that cause these inequalities.
Academic performance indices have continued to portray how different schools perform in terms of churning out top achievers. The API’s suggests that a school’s growth or rather declining in performance accrue from the status of the institution.
However, API does not expound on the reasons for this differences in performance. The results go a long way in determining the status bestowed on an institution of learning. The status associated with the institution directly influences the willingness of employers to take graduates as their employees.
Students hailing from a lowly ranked institution will find it difficulty in securing jobs irrespective of their individual performance. Such students are placed in a disadvantaged position that is beyond their control.
Some schools are restricted performance because of their location or size as well as lack of adequate amenities. For this reason, they are unable to provide students with an all round educational experience. For instance, schools that lack sufficient space for a football pitch will only offer sports that require little fields.
Students who are gifted in other games are denied a chance to excel in the sport since the facilities are inadequate. The schools may also enroll large number of students, which may not be proportional to its capacity.
Thus, overpopulation leads to overstretching of the institution resources with an ultimate effect of compromising the quality education. Consequently, student to teacher ratio is of significant consideration in overutilization of schools educational resources. In addition, schools become unmanageable, and some students tend to develop mischievous characters due to lack of close supervision.
There is a growing number in the failure of many states to invest adequately in the education of low income students. New immigrants with effective teachers and necessary curriculum and learning material results in growing numbers of unskilled school leavers (Darling-Hammond, 2010, p 25).
Darling-Hammond argues that
Students who have no control of the quality of the education are the likely to be held accountable and punished more severely. [In fact, this is done] repeatedly for the failures of the system in which they are trapped. That there has been little outcry, is undoubtedly linked to the fact that the victims are overwhelmingly poor children of colour, viewed as expendable and undeserving of serious investment (Darling-Hammond 2010, p 79).
Some schools have attempted to seek council on means and ways to address their needs. To this end, they have put up suggestion boxes in the school compound where stakeholders can give propositions on ways to improve the situation that ail the institutions. On the quality of education offered, the learning institutions have engaged the students in periodic assessments of lecturers.
How do we address the problems highlighted above? Assessments of content in the curriculum should be aligned to standards. However, the standards should be set bearing in mind that the schools need to be differentiated. Differentiation comes in the way of demographics and other differentiating factors.
School populations should be reduced to proportions that internalize quality in the learning experience. Large population correspond to disproportionate student to teacher ratio. The more watered down the education quality will be. Ways of reducing the school population should be critically considered.
The government should be engaged in construction of more schools to ease pressure on the few that are available. The inculcation of good morals should not be a preserve of the teaching fraternity; rather, involvement of parents and students themselves is crucial.
Errant members of the society should be of concern to all and the sundry considered to the latter. Parents should, therefore, engage actively in the moral upbringing of school going children. Equal opportunities should be accorded to students irrespective of the schools they attend.
Employers should be sensitized not to turn away students from the basis of their attendance or background. High standards of teaching should be championed. To this end, progressive improvement of teachers’ abilities should be encouraged through seminars and exchange programs.
Teachers should also be availed in schools without discrimination. Young teaching staff ought to be encouraged to express an amiable character to students. Where university teaching staff is approachable, students are encouraged to interact positively with their lecturers. This will enhance the enjoyment and a fruitful learning environment.
Teaching materials should also be availed in a timely manner and adequate quantities. Schools that are located in rural areas should be given an advantage over those that are in urban areas.
This is undertaken through raising funds with relative ease. Alternative learning mediums should also be encouraged. Posting the course content online makes it available to almost all students at the same time, and can be stored over a long time for reference.
Technology also makes interaction between students and the teaching staff easier. Student union participation in addressing the needs of the school should also be encouraged. The students being the biggest building blocks of stockholders in the school fraternity should be given a voice in running affairs of the institution.
The government should also look into ways of providing assistance to the less fortunate members in the society, as well as marginalized or minority groups. This can be achieved via availing of bursaries, scholarships and advancing student loans.
The loans are payable at low interest rates upon of tertiary education and when on employment. Within the School, students should be surveyed at least twice a year to obtain feedback.
As such, impressions and comments gotten on the course and manner they are adopting with the content and calculations will be fundamental in coming up with better strategies (Webber, 2005). Institutions of higher learning should not be concentrated in urban areas.
The rural areas should have access to such institutions to ensure parity in the education system. Sports should be encouraged as a unifying factor between the teaching staff and students.
This fosters unity and may work in advancing goal congruence for the betterment of the learning institution. Exchange programs between different institutions should be encouraged. Exchange programs, give students an opportunity to exchange views on best practice, and encourages tolerance.
Education is the key to success. Education should be availed to all and preferably at a subsidized cost. Effective policies that give parity to all should be developed and implemented.
As Hammond says, we should move beyond a collection of disparate shifting and reform initiative. [At occasional times should we] relate to what we know about teaching and learning. Well-organized and supported policies enable students to learn how to create, and invent [for world to benefit] (Darling-Hammond 2010, pp 2-3).
Marginalized or minority groups should be given an advantage to bring parity in the education system. Failure to which the number of school dropouts in these groups will continue growing to the detriment of society. There is a need to review the needs specific to schools that cause the inequality.
The status associated with the institution then directly influences the willingness of employers to take on graduates as their employees. Ultimately, it is evident that common areas of need in schools and the strategic plans employed to address the needs towards attainment of an equitable education system are inevitable.
Darling-Hammond, L. (2010). The flat world and education: How America’s commitment to equity will determine our future. New York, NY: Teachers.
Reeves, D. B. (2007, November). Closing the Systemic Gap Between the Highest and Lowest Performing Students. Presentation at the Achievement Gap Summit Meeting of the California Department of Education, Sacramento, CA.
Webber, D., (2005). Reflections on Curriculum Development, Pedagogy and Assessment by a New Academic. International Review of Economics Education. volume 4, issue 1. Web.