Evaluation of a New Curriculum Initiative


Evaluationof a New Curriculum Initiative


Curriculumdevelopment is a process that aims at solving an educational orsocietal problem. It puts into consideration the needs and problemsin educational institutions to improve the programs available and atother instances, to come up with new programs. Solutions obtained inthis process are implemented to suit learners for effective contentdelivery. Since the curriculum of any nation reflects what itssociety is, it goes a milestone towards contributing to societalchanges. The design of a curriculum is a key factor of considerationwhen reflecting on issues that aid towards reaching the desireddecisions. This paper aims at reviewing the use of mind mapping as abrainstorming curriculum exercise in American schools and thecurriculum designs that use this as a method of enhancing teachingand learning. Susan Miller Dorsey Senior High School effectivelyuses mind mapping in conducting instructional activities and shall beused in this paper. A wider universal and contextual relationshipshall be done in a collaborative and integrative way.

Evaluationof a New Curriculum Initiative

Oneof the most important aspects of curriculum changes and dynamics isthe process it undergoes when coming up with its design. Change hasto be studied and managed in a careful way to effectively achieve itsrequirements. A good curriculum design should be able to cope withthe continuously emerging educational problems. To do this,educational stakeholders must first accept the fact that the problemexists. A contemporary and informed proactive means of problemsolving should also be considered. When coming up with possiblesolutions, it should be certain that they are useful in predictingfuture problems. It should actualize the required processes whose aimshould be making individuals, society and institutional culturebetter. Curriculum design and development is a problem solvingprocess and should put into consideration things like the availableresources, needs and problems being solved for the purpose ofimprovement. The curriculum design employed in a given institution isa reflection of the products of that institution and the society atlarge and can be used to improve the morals of that society. Thispaper seeks to address mind maps as used in Susan Miller DorseySenior High School. It is a school with a population of 1,380learners whose composition by race is 52% black, 46% Latino and 1%white students.54% of these students are male while 46% are female.It is a public district school in Los Angeles.

MindMapping and Curriculum Design

Tocome up with an effective curriculum design, it is important toconsider how its parts relate. The essence of curriculum design isaddressed by having a clear thought of how the parts of the newcurriculum will be arranged. According to Ornstein&amp Hunkins, 2013, a small part of the curriculum should be used topromote the whole. Learning and philosophical theories must beconsidered to determine if the design decisions made are in line withour beliefs regarding people. It should be able to meet thesepeople’s needs concerning what they should learn, how they aresupposed to learn it and how the knowledge acquired is going to beput to use. Curriculum design concerns itself with how basic partssuch as content, objectives, learning experiences and contentevaluation are arranged.

Thecomponents of curriculum design are summarized by four basicquestions: what needs to be done? What should be included as subjectmatter? What are the strategies of instruction, educationalresources, and learning activities that need to be employed? What arethe methods and instruments which should be used for appraisal ofcurriculum outcomes? Since curriculum design entails issues whichare philosophical, practical and theoretical in nature, keenconsiderations are needed for affectivity. An individual’sphilosophy dictates how objectives shall be selected and interpreted,how the content shall be selected and organized, how decisions ofteaching or delivering of this content and how to make judgmentsconcerning the success of the curriculum developed.

Mindmapping as employed by SusanMiller Dorsey SeniorHigh School gives learners an opportunity to effectively do thisduring the process of instruction. Oughton, John, Reed and Michael(2000) note that one of the most critical components of learners’cognitive understanding is the ability to make negotiations among themany concepts and issues they process in a continuous manner.Structures of knowledge exist in the cognitive understandings oflearners as graphical representations and are referred to ascognitive understandings or mind maps. These mind maps are thespatial representations of learnt knowledge and theirinterrelationships which are stored in an individual’s memory. Itis important to find out whether following a conscious and intenseprocess of educational instruction leading to cooperated learning andcritical thinking. From this, certain conceptions of education andtheir interrelationships are established. This is fully related tohow learners come up with strategies for solving problems in future.

Mindmaps use a constructivist approach and involve a very dynamic processwhich uses mapping as a tool of instruction. For this reason, mindmapping is used in demonstration and facilitation of the process ofconcept mapping using contexts of technology. From this, solutions ofexisting and future curricular problems are found. Ornstein &ampHunkins, (2013) look at mind maps in a synonymous way as conceptmaps. They define it as the outward mirror of an individual’sreasoning which makes the person to implement his potential ofthinking. Some scholars have argued on the importance of studyingefficiency of cognitive tools and models through which problemsolving will be supported by externalizing internal representationsin learners through representing of problems in an internal manner.According to Farrand et al (2002), mind mapping should be recommendedas a technique of study in senior high school curricula as it issuited to solving problems as a basis of learning.

CurriculumDevelopment Approach

Themajor function of curriculum development is to make sure thatlearners get learning experiences which are coherent. Theseexperiences are required to make a contribution to students’academic, personal and professional wellbeing. When looking atcurriculum development and design, it is necessary to put intoconsideration issues such as key components and relationships ofthese components, the process of curriculum development and thetopics to be put into consideration while making these developments.In doing this, the developer should make sure that there is a clearalignment between the three curriculum states: the plannedcurriculum, the delivered curriculum and the experienced curriculumwhich is in the learners’ point of view. While the intendedcurriculum looks at what was intended by the designers, the deliveredcurriculum seeks to address what the administrators organized andwhat is to be taught by teachers. The experienced curriculum on theother hand seeks to look at what was learnt by the students.Curriculum development follows a very complex process in which first,a need and context is developed then the aims of the curriculum areset. SusanMiller Dorsey SeniorHigh School’s curriculum aims at increasing content retention amongits learners in the most effective manner. To do this, teachersmanipulate the minds of students using technology to evaluateretention. Second, a development of high level descriptions in whichthe objectives of the curriculum are set is done. This entailssetting curriculum rules and the necessary requirements to getexternal accreditation. Third, a detailed design is done. Here,intended learning outcomes, educational means plan which entailsinteractions during learning, content and assessment is established.To achieve this, plans of how resources shall be delivered andimplemented are set. An evaluation and control initiative is then putin place. Fourth, the process of planning review and confirmation isdone. This involves confirming if all required resources areavailable and the ability to educationally deliver the curriculum.Finally, the curriculum is implemented through effective delivery.

Goalsof Curriculum Development

Keyelements and relationships in the process of curriculum developmentare majorly learners and staff. The design of the curriculum shouldensure that it answers the needs of staff and curriculum experiencesof students.Susan Miller Dorsey Senior High School uses mind maps as a way ofenhancing retention among learners. To effectively develop a curriculum that embraces this, its majorgoal is to translate broadly intended topics and educational issuesto action plans which are specific.

Aims/Objectivesof Using Mind Maps

Theuse of mind maps in Susan Miller Dorsey Senior Secondary school isaimed at ensuring a holistic conception of the curriculum, continuousdevelopment of professionals, and putting the theoretical curriculumwith social practice. Retention of what is learnt in class goes amilestone in helping learners in this school achieve theseobjectives.

ImplementationStrategy and Evaluation Criteria

Studentat Susan Miller Dorsey Senior High School are allowed to attendclasses like all other students in America. The difference comes infrom the fact that here, learners are required to do content analysisin various subjects through practical projects using theoreticalideas learnt in class. At the end of each session, they are requiredto brainstorm first in groups then as individuals. The mind map isdrawn using a computerized mind mapping program in which the studentwho shows high retention scores the highest marks.


Itis apparent that students who employ the use of mind maps as a methodof enhancing retention have the ability to retain a greater part ofthe learnt content as opposed to those who only use theoretical waysof learning. Through brainstorming, learners are able to guide oneanother particularly if they are put in groups. For young students,this method is effective as it allows interactions. Learners enjoythe freedom of expressing opinions from their point of view in aclimate in which they are allowed to think freely, critically andanalytically.


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Farrand,P., Hussain, F. &amp Hennessy, E. (2002). The Efficacy of the “MindMap” StudyTechnique. MedicalEducation.36,426-431

Ornstein,A.C., &amp Hunkins, F. P. (2013).&nbspCurriculum:Foundations, principles, and issues, 6thEd.&nbspBoston:Allyn &amp Bacon

Oughton,John M., Reed, W. Michael. (2000). The effect of hypermedia knowledgeand learning style on student-centered concept maps about hypermedia.Journal of Research on Computing in Education.32 (3).