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Training Tools for Curriculum Development. A Resource Pack
Core Modules

 

 
  1. Curriculum evaluation

  2. Student assessment

  3. Assessment of learning outcomes in specific content areas

 

This module offers opportunities for curriculum professionals to develop their understanding of curriculum evaluation and student assessment by exploring:

  • International and regional trends and rationales for curriculum evaluation and student learning assessment;
  • Types and methods of curriculum evaluation and student assessment;
  • Approaches to the restructuring of evaluation and assessment systems.

This module is organized in three activities:

  1. Curriculum evaluation. The participant is guided through an analytical schema to plan the evaluation of curricula.
  2. Student assessment. Participants examine considerations about student assessment that are regularly included in curriculum materials.
  3. Assessment of learning outcomes in specific content areas. Strategies and special modalities for the assessment of learning outcomes are analyzed for content areas recently included in curricula.

Following these activities is a “Resources” section which contains a list of discussion papers and other resources referred to in the activities, and a series of additional reading materials.

Conceptual framework
Curriculum evaluation is a necessary and important aspect of any national education system. It provides the basis for curriculum policy decisions, for feedback on continuous curriculum adjustments and processes of curriculum implementation.

The fundamental concerns of curriculum evaluation relate to:

  • Effectiveness and efficiency of translating government education policy into educational practice;
  • Status of curriculum contents and practices in the contexts of global, national and local concerns;
  • The achievement of the goals and aims of educational programmes.

Student assessment is an important aspect of curriculum evaluation which helps to facilitate the understanding of the impact and outcome of education programmes. A fundamental measure of the success of any curriculum is the quality of student learning. Knowing the extent to which students have achieved the outcomes specified in the curriculum is fundamental to both improving teaching and evaluating the curriculum.

Curriculum evaluation
The term “evaluation” generally applies to the process of making a value judgment. In education, the term “evaluation” is used in reference to operations associated with curricula, programs, interventions, methods of teaching and organizational factors. Curriculum evaluation aims to examine the impact of implemented curriculum on student (learning) achievement so that the official curriculum can be revised if necessary and to review teaching and learning processes in the classroom. Curriculum evaluation establishes:

  • Specific strengths and weaknesses of a curriculum and its implementation;
  • Critical information for strategic changes and policy decisions;
  • Inputs needed for improved learning and teaching;
  • Indicators for monitoring.

Curriculum evaluation may be an internal activity and process conducted by the various units within the education system for their own respective purposes. These units may include national Ministries of Education, regional education authorities, institutional supervision and reporting systems, departments of education, schools and communities.
Curriculum evaluation may also be external or commissioned review processes. These may be undertaken regularly by special committees or task forces on the curriculum, or they may be research-based studies on the state and effectiveness of various aspects of the curriculum and its implementation. These processes might examine, for example, the effectiveness of curriculum content, existing pedagogies and instructional approaches, teacher training and textbooks and instructional materials.

Student assessment
The ultimate goal of curriculum evaluation is to ensure that the curriculum is effective in promoting improved quality of student learning. Student assessment therefore connotes assessment of student learning. Assessment of student learning has always been a powerful influence on how and what teachers teach and is thus an important source of feedback on the appropriateness implementation of curriculum content.

Fulfilling the diverse objectives of diagnosis, certification and accountability requires different kinds of assessment instruments and strategies selected to achieve specific purposes. Assessment of student learning could be summative or formative, and there are various types of tests to address different needs such as standardized tests, performance-based tests, ability tests, aptitude tests and intelligence tests.

Key-words
Evaluation, Assessment, Assessment Instruments and Tools, Impact, Learning Outcomes, Curriculum Evaluation, Performance, Effectiveness, Decentralization, Accountability, Internal Evaluation, External Evaluation.