Curriculum Alternative Approaches

Curriculum Implementation


  • Start with a plan
  • Reality Hits
  • Good Curriculum
  • Curriculum Implementation
  • Relationship between the planned curriculum and the enacted curriculum
  • Technical Approach
  • Analogy


  • Fullan (1999) and Scott (1999)
  • Term implementation
  • Leithwood (1971)
  • School District
  • Dominant Questions
  • "How to"
  • Implementing any new curriculum
  • Institutionalized
  • Some writers say...
  • Commitment
  • Consonant User vs. Dissonant User
  • Metaphor of "Zones"
  • 2 views on Curriculum Implementation
  • Guidelines about Curriculum
  • Realistic view of curriculum implementation


  • Fullan (1982); "Factors Affecting Implementation"
  • Fullan and some colleagues
  • Glatthorn and Jailall (2000)
  • No Child Left Behind Act in 2001
  • Standards-based education
  • Fullan (2000)
  • House (1979)
  • Lusi (1997)
  • Cohen and Hill (2001)
  • Porter (1993)


  • Curriculum Development
  • Desimone (2002)
  • Simplified Procedure

Implementation: Student Activities and Achievements

  • Major reason for implementation
  • Test scores
  • During the 1990s
  • Authentic Assessment

Implementation: Use of Curriculum Materials

  • Survey Revealed
  • Curriculum materials
  • Teachers, principals, and other stakeholders

Implementation: Teacher Activities

  • Various Methods
  • Participants in the study


Fullen and Pomfret (1977) review of research has been widely cited

Fidelity of Implementation

  • Assumed with good modeling and effective modeling of curriculum, teachers will have full buy-in
  • curriculum innovations enacted = planned curriculum
  • if time and energy is devoted to planning a curriculum then curriculum adopted by schools should be used by teachers; if modified, then effectiveness may change
  • curriculum literacy-the knowledge and skill that many teachers may lack in understanding how to teach it (curriculum)
  • current writing discredit hard-line approach to fidelity of use
  • Tyack and Cuban (1995): curriculum developers taking fidelity of use approach ignore teachers’ experiences
  • Teachers are passive recipients of the wisdom of curriculum developers; onced trained, teachers will have a high level of “technical efficiency”
  • Fidelity of curriculum implementation lends itself more easily to curriculum that is unusually complex, difficult to master, requiring definite sequencing, or where students understanding of it depends on teachers being appropriately matched with specific curriculum strands


Adaptation in Implementation

  • Alternative to curriculum implementation termed process perspective (Fullan and Promfret,
  • Also known as adaptation or mutual adaptation
  • Differing circumstances of schools and teacher require on-site modification in the curriculum

  • Mutual Adaptation
  • Adjustments are made to both the innovation curriculum and to institutional setting
  • A two-way street between developers and users
  • Continue Debate: Fidelity of Use versus Mutual Adaptation

  • Came into prominence in the 1970s, and still continues
  • Mutual adaptation was widely recommended in professional literature in curriculum field
  • Implementation can be measured; Hall and Loucks (1977) developed a series of instruments, the Concerns-Based Adoptions Model (CBAM) for measuring the implementation of specific innovations
  • Both continued to be used in the 1990s
  • National reports of 1980s have multiple interpretations
  • Government and state polices of 1990s pushed in direction of fidelity of use
  • Contrast: professionalization among teachers and grassroots demands for local curriculum development pushed in direction of mutual adaptation
  • Other countries undergoing educational change
  • Researchers have also drawn attention to how the professional careers and personal lives of teachers influence how they participate in curriculum implementations
  • Curriculum like a play


Supporting Curriculum Implementations

· Rarely successful on a large scale unless it receives support (pg. 228)

I. Federal and State Actions

· various programs have assisted schools with implementing curricula such as:

· federal agencies provide incentives to school districts to adopt and implement externally developed programs, or

· provided funds for external facilitators to assist with implementation of locally developed curricula

A. Demonstration Era (pg. 229) (1950’s-1960’s)

· Started with programs Elementary and Secondary Act (of ’65, Follow Through, Right-to-Read, and Bilingual Education)

· Did not take into consideration the each school setting is different and has different needs; program effectiveness=appropriate setting

B. Evaluation Era (early 1970’s)

· Programs now carefully scrutinized & formally evaluated

· Looked more closely at students’ academic achievement

· Missed the mark again because forgot that program effectiveness=appropriate setting

C. Dissemination Era (mid 1970’s)

· Had been become more focused on sharing of ideas, information, and expertise; less on whole programs intended as models without adaptations

· (pg. 229) programs funded by US Office of Education devoted to dissemination, including using state facilitators

· 1980’s, 1990’s; lots of education budget cuts while states began assuming greater control over curricula of local schools; probably resulting from pressures arising from reports and commission findings.

· NCLB is major federal initiative of 2000s (pg. 230)

II. Approaches to Implementations

A. Approaches to Implementations

· Focus on group involved in implementation or individual teachers

· Four prominent approaches

1. Action Research (pg. 230)

· A type of inquiry involving groups of teachers in systematically analyzing educational problems of concern to them, planning program, enacting them, evaluating what they have done, repeating the cycle if necessary

· Takes the intentions of the participants

a. Teachers gathers as a group to consider ways of improving a program/practice

b. Identify a field of action (possibly implementation)

c. Develop then enact a specific plan

d. Continuously monitoring what they are doing

e. Evaluate what was enacted

f. Revise

1. Technical approach (group directed by person(s) with the expertise)

2. Collaborative approach (full group participation with technical knowledge

(Feldman, Redrick, Weiss-1999 Action Research has 3 dimensions)

a. Personal dimension-individual development

b. Professional dimension-control over teaching knowledge

c. Political dimension –social change (in direction of justice and democracy)

(Redrick and Feldman-2002 Action Research as 3 dimensions around the understanding and intentions of participates that are subdivided)

d. Theoretical orientations to Action Research

e. Purposes of Action Research

f. Types of reflection in Action Research

Positive and Negative effects of Action Research)

Action Research Overview

2. Concerns-Based Adoption Model (CBAM)

· Collective change results from changes in individuals as they relate to each other.

· CBAM says: we have this curriculum to adopt; how do we help the teacher (not the school or district)

· Centers on the concerns of the teachers

· Fuller (1969) sequence—concerns about self, to teaching, to students.

Hall, Wallace, and Dossett (1973) examined how the concerns applied to educational change; developed 2 stages; Hall and Loucks (1978) added a 3rd

a. Stages of Concern-(SoC) focuses on teachers feeling as they become involve in implementation (read page 235)

· SoC profiles of teachers involved in implementation can help a school, a district, external facilitators particularly in devising in-service activities to target major concerns

b. Levels of Use-(LoU) used to track what teachers actually do during the implementation of new curriculum

· 8 levels of use; measured through a focused interview process

· Knowing what levels individual teachers are on can aid in implementing a new curriculum

c. Innovation Configuration-(IC) creates an inventory of essential characteristics of the curriculum from the points of view of developers and teachers

· Doesn’t ensure agreement on what’s essential, but defines differences between planned and enacted curriculum.

· Provides basis for informed discussion about differences and possible adjustments in the curriculum

Research Studies using CBAM

3. Curriculum Alignment

· Attempts to ensure maximum congruency between planned and enacted curriculum through extensive testing of what is taught

· Strict interpretation of fidelity of use; little to no room for adaption of curriculum implementation

· Teachers evaluate according to students’ academic success, as measured by standardized test

· Curriculum frameworks are official documents that describe what is to be taught.

· Textbook committees pressured to accept a standardized curriculum as defined by the textbooks of major commercial publishers

· Standardize tests place teachers under still other pressures for uniformity, particularly when teachers are formally evaluated or rewarded on the basis of the test scores of their students.


4. Comprehensive School Reform Programs (CSRP)

· Idea of CSRP is that previous efforts to reform or improve schools have been unsuccessful because they were piecemeal, failing to focus comprehensively on the “whole school” and design fully what were to be the new innovations.

· Select program to be used from 35 approved research-based models

· School receiving large amounts of CSRP funding have difficulty breaking the mold and finding the right balance between exploiting current practices and exploring new ideas that may lead to future success

· Courts can enforce using CSRP

· Many schools receive CSRP grants, especially with T1 eligibility being reduced to 50 of a school’s students living below the poverty level


  • Domain I: Fostering a collaborative culture to support educator development and student learning
  • Domain II: Accessing and using research to improve practice and student learning
  • Domain III: Promoting professional learning for continuous improvement
  • Domain IV: Facilitating improvements in instruction and student learning
  • Domain V: Promoting the use of assessments and data for school and district improvement
  • Domain VI: Improving outreach and collaboration with families and community
  • Domain VII: Advocating for student learning and the profession