7 Reasons Why Your Curriculum Matters More Than you Think (2023)

All curriculums share one goal: to help students learn. No matter what country or district your school is in, student outcomes start with a solid plan.

But a curriculum does much, much more than guide lessons in math, reading and history. It can benefit schools just as much as students, from teachers to administration. And it can help schools connect with parents and the community around them.

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Not just any curriculum, though. A good curriculum.

So what does a good curriculum look like, and how can you make sure you’re putting the best plans in place for your students and your school? Before we show you what a good curriculum map looks like, let’s dive into the 7 reasons why your curriculum matters.

What can a good curriculum do?

1. It both creates and reflects culture and identity.

On a broad level, a curriculum reflects the national culture in which a school operates – different countries have different expectations of their students, even if teaching practices are similar. But it can also reflect and define the culture at the school level as well, from the specific needs of the neighborhoods they serve to the topics where you want to differentiate yourself.

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2. It keeps up with a changing world.

A good curriculum is never a one-and-done initiative. Revisiting it regularly allows you to not only review how things are going, but also make room for new topics that are relevant today. In fact, the World Economic Forum touts curriculum as a key player in helping educators keep up with the speed of changing trends, technology and skills students will need in the future.

3. It makes learning (and teaching) consistent.

Internal consistency happens when students inside your school can expect to walk away with the same set of skills, whether their teacher is a veteran in the profession or learning the ropes. Consistency should also stretch across a district, state or province, or country as well – a student in fifth grade should expect to graduate with the same foundational knowledge and skills, no matter where they learn.

4. It opens the doors for collaboration.

Having regular discussions about curriculum creates opportunities to get all stakeholders involved: teachers, administration, parents and communities. Getting input from everyone will help identify where you’re strong and what gaps you need to address. It also gives teachers a platform over which they can share best practices, knowledge and resources with each other.

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5. It saves schools money.

Textbooks aren’t cheap, but they’re commonplace because they’re convenient – they provide a pre-built progression of knowledge that’s hard to ignore for busy teachers. With a strong curriculum in place, schools can break away from an over-reliance on textbooks and take a more active and dynamic role in choosing better (and cheaper) texts.

6. It helps teachers align.

A good curriculum also connects teachers from across grade levels and subject areas to look at the big picture of student learning. Teachers can work together to plan a progression of topics that build off of ones that came before and connect across disciplines. The result? You reinforce knowledge over time and make sure that students are prepared for what’s coming next.

7. It provides measurable targets.

Data matters. If you aren’t setting specific goals around how your students are learning, how will you determine whether your curriculum is successful? That’s why a good curriculum sets measurable outcomes and tracks progress throughout the year. Teachers get a better view of what’s happening in the classrooms, students know where they stand and parents are kept up-to-date.

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How to make a good curriculum map

Ready to turn your curriculum into a good one? We recommend starting by mapping out your curriculum with – you guessed it – a curriculum map. Basically, it’s a documented overview that captures the scope of each class and how teachers will approach each topic.

It’s a great way to nail down and balance things like:

  • Standards on a government level
  • The sequence of standards taught in class
  • Skills students should be able to do
  • Content that students will encounter
  • Assessments that will gauge learning
  • Timelines for lessons and units within each class

Because a curriculum map is essentially a plan for learning, it helps to approach it like a plan, too. We walk through a detailed process for creating one in our complete guide to curriculum mapping, but in a nutshell, you’ll want to start at the end and work backward:


  • Identify your desired results, from knowledge and skill development to student performance goals.
  • Then think about how you’ll measure those results, including the assessments you’ll use to assess student understanding
  • Use those learning goals to plan instruction

That map will become the north star that guides more detailed lesson planning down the road, so it’s important to get faculty input and buy-in on the direction, too.

Already have a curriculum map? Read How to Audit Your Curriculum: An 8-Step Guide. Our articles on Why Do You Need to Focus on Concept-Based Curriculum and How to Use Bloom’s Taxonomy for Curriculum Planning are also great resources for further learning.


What are the 3 important curriculum influences? ›

There are many factors that influence curriculum design. Three of these main factors include technology, a multicultural society, and classroom management. Technology is sometimes fearful for teachers, but it should simply be viewed as another tool to help teachers.

Why is a strong curriculum important? ›

An effective and robust curriculum sets quantifiable goals and keeps track of student development throughout the year. With this support, teachers have a greater understanding of what is going on in the classrooms, students know where they stand, and parents are informed and a part of the educational culture.

What is curriculum and why does it matter? ›

Curriculum is the guidelines by which different content matters are taught and assessed. Curriculum is the outline of concepts to be taught to students to help them meet the content standards. Curriculum is what is taught in a given course or subject.

What makes a good curriculum? ›

A good curriculum is one in which we address the physical, mental, spiritual, cultural and intellectual health of the child, in a joined-up way. Young people should learn to question and be encouraged to make a meaningful contribution throughout their lives for the good of us all.

What are the qualities of a good curriculum? ›

A good curriculum is not rigid- it allows room for flexibility, monitoring and evaluation by administration. It should provide sufficient scope for the cultivation of unique skills, interest, attitudes and appreciations. It should be psychologically sound.

What are the four purposes of the curriculum? ›

The four purposes are that all children and young people will be: Ambitious, capable learners who are ready to learn throughout their lives. Enterprising, creative contributors who are ready to play a full part in life and work. Ethical, informed citizens who are ready to be citizens of Wales and the world.

What are curriculum matters? ›

We are a network of educators leading school district implementation of high-quality curriculum who have come together to share our learning so that other educators might benefit from our experience.

What should curriculum focus on? ›

It should be a focus on the overall development of the student. All the experiences provided during the course both inside and outside the institution are included in the curriculum.

What are the 5 elements of the curriculum? ›

The Five Elements of the Curriculum That Matters Framework
  • Practices. Practices are used by students to apply an idea, a belief, or a method to construct understanding. ...
  • Deep Thinking. ...
  • Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) ...
  • Civic Engagement. ...
  • Equity.
Jul 27, 2022

What are the 6 components of curriculum? ›

Any curriculum consists of several components: objectives, attitudes, time, students and teachers, needs analysis, classroom activities, materials, study skills, language skills, vocabulary, grammar and assessment.

What are the 9 types of curriculum? ›

The following represents the many different types of curriculum used in schools today.
  • Overt, explicit, or written curriculum. ...
  • Societal curriculum (or social curricula) ...
  • The hidden or covert curriculum. ...
  • The null curriculum. ...
  • Phantom curriculum. ...
  • Concomitant curriculum. ...
  • Rhetorical curriculum. ...
  • Curriculum-in-use.

How curriculum impacts a person? ›

It is a university's primary means of influencing what and how students learn, and it helps shape their attitudes, behaviours and understanding of the world.

Why is curriculum taught important? ›

Taught Curriculum (also known as Operational Curriculum):

Teachers, being the chief implementers of curriculum, occupy a crucial role in curriculum decision making. Taking the students into consideration, they decide how to achieve the intended learning outcomes.

How important is a school curriculum? ›

An effective curriculum increases students' understanding about the world around them and provides them with knowledge and skills necessary for success in the 21st century. An effective curriculum also provides a roadmap of what students are expected to learn.

What is the most important of curriculum? ›

It helps teachers align.

A good curriculum also connects teachers from across grade levels and subject areas to look at the big picture of student learning. Teachers can work together to plan a progression of topics that build off of ones that came before and connect across disciplines.

What are the values of curriculum for excellence? ›

The purpose of Curriculum for Excellence is to help children and young people to become: • Successful learners; • Confident individuals; • Responsible citizens; and • Effective contributors. Developing the capabilities and attributes of the four capacities is embedded across all learning.

What are the 4 principles of Curriculum for Excellence? ›

The purpose of the curriculum, planned on this basis, is to make sure that learners acquire the four capacities of Curriculum for Excellence to be: > successful learners > confident individuals > effective contributors > responsible citizens.

What are the 7 principles for curriculum design and what do they mean? ›

This planning should demonstrate the principles for curriculum design: challenge and enjoyment; breadth; progression; depth; personalisation and choice; coherence; relevance.

What are the 4 areas of learning of the Curriculum for Excellence? ›

Curriculum areas

Languages (including English, Gàidhlig, Gaelic (Learners), modern languages and classical languages) Mathematics. Religious and moral education (including Religious and moral education and Religious education in Roman Catholic schools) Sciences.

What are the three focus of curriculum? ›

In order to design a strong curriculum that can be judged as Outstanding, schools need to look at three key areas; Intent, Implementation and Impact. The judgement of the curriculum is made using these focus areas, so it is important not only to get them right but to know why they are right.

What are the 8 principles of teaching? ›

Eight principles of effective teaching
  • Develop mastery learning. ...
  • Don't dismiss knowledge as 'lower order' ...
  • Expect excellence from all. ...
  • Guide learning. ...
  • Ensure that students have to think hard. ...
  • Put deliberate practice into lessons. ...
  • Test to improve learning. ...
  • Use questioning frequently and rigorously.
Apr 21, 2016

What is the most common curriculum? ›

Subject-Centered Curriculum Development Model

It is the most common model of standardized curriculum. Subject-centered curriculum development model is not learner-centered, and the model is less concerned with individual learning styles compared to other forms of curriculum development models.

What is curriculum in your own words? ›

The term curriculum refers to the lessons and academic content taught in a school or in a specific course or program. In dictionaries, curriculum is often defined as the courses offered by a school, but it is rarely used in such a general sense in schools.

How does the teacher influence the curriculum? ›

Teachers can contribute by collaboratively and effectively working with curriculum development teams and specialists to arrange and compose martial, textbooks, and content. Teacher involvement in the process of curriculum development is important to align content of curriculum with students needs in the classroom.

How can curriculum transform a society? ›

The transformation of curriculum implies teaching from different perspectives and points of view. According to Banks (2004), “The knowledge that emanates from epistemologically marginalized communities often contests existing political, economic, and educational practices and calls for fundamental change and reform.

What are the 8 types of curriculum modifications? ›

Narrator: There are many ways to modify or change the curriculum. It can be useful to think about eight different categories or types of modifications: Environmental support, materials adaptation, activity simplification, child preferences, special equipment, adult support, peer support, and invisible support.

Should students choose their curriculum? ›

Student choice leads to increased engagement and empowerment. It inspires students to want to learn new things. It allows students to show what they know, but to take it so much further. Student choice creates an environment where students discover what they want to learn.

What are the 3 elements of curriculum? ›

Regardless of definition or approach, curriculum can be organized into three major components: objectives, content or subject matter, and learning experiences.

What are the different types of curriculum influences? ›

A complex and interacting array of influences impact on curriculum decisions, including historical, ideological, cultural, political, economic, theoretical and pragmatic influences. This leads to multiple views and interpretations of curriculum content and processes.

What are the 3 models of curriculum? ›

What are the three models of curriculum design? There are three models of curriculum design: subject-centered, learner-centered, and problem-centered design.

What are the five 5 basic components of a curriculum? ›

The Five Elements of the Curriculum That Matters Framework
  • Practices. Practices are used by students to apply an idea, a belief, or a method to construct understanding. ...
  • Deep Thinking. ...
  • Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) ...
  • Civic Engagement. ...
  • Equity.
Jul 27, 2022

What are the 4 major components of curriculum? ›

From a UDL perspective, we think of four components to a curriculum: the goals, the methods, the materials, and the assessment. They are very closely interrelated in that the goal is the primary thing with which a lesson begins and the others line up to achieve that goal.

What are the 5 basic types of curriculum? ›

The five basic types of curriculum are Traditional, Thematic, Programmed, Classical, and Technological. The most used curriculum can be found within these broader categories.

What is the goal of curriculum? ›

Overall, the main objective of the curriculum is to develop the overall personality of a child by including the subject matter that is for the overall development of students i.e., cognitive, affective, and psychomotor.

What are the 5 major factors that influence curriculum development and planning? ›

There are five (5) factors that affect curriculum design. These are (1) political, (2)social, (3) economic, (4) environmental and (5) technological. Discuss these factors in curriculum design.

What is the best curriculum model? ›

Educators, on the other hand, still widely regard the Tyler model as the most effective paradigm for curriculum development.

What are the 11 types of curriculum? ›

The paper goes onto the discuss the eleven types of curriculum: (1) overt, explicit or written, (2) social curriculum or societal, (3) hidden, (4) phantom, (5) null, (6) rhetorical, (7) Concomitant, (8) received, (9) curriculum in use, (10) electronic and (11) internal curriculum.

What is example of curriculum? ›

A curriculum may also refer to a defined and prescribed course of studies, which students must fulfill in order to pass a certain level of education. For example, an elementary school might discuss how its curricula is designed to improve national testing scores or help students learn fundamental skills.


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