What Is Curriculum Mapping? + Tips For Teachers

What Is Curriculum Mapping? + Tips For Teachers

Curriculum mapping is known as a process indexing or diagraming a curriculum to recognize and address the prevailing academic gaps, redundancies, and misalignments to improve the overall coherence of a course of study and, by extension, its effectiveness.

Curriculum mapping is also defined as aligning the learning and teaching standards that demonstrate how well and to what extent has a school or teacher matched the course content that students are taught with the academic expectations and the defined in learning standards.

In simple words, we may refer to the mapping of different elements of a course that are entailed in educating the learners. It may include assessments, textbooks, assignments, lessons, and instructional techniques.

How does a “good” curriculum look like?

In general, a "good" curriculum is:

  • Well organized and purposefully designed to facilitate effective learning.
  • Defined objectives and goals.
  • Have no academic gaps.
  • No unnecessary repetitions.
  • Well-aligned across lessons, courses, subject areas, and grade levels.

Curriculum maps are often used by teachers to compare their curriculum with national standards or other educators. Post-comparison, teachers analyze their work and improve their curriculum standards, if required.

In other words, we may say, educators map a curriculum with the sole purpose to make sure their students are taught lessons and subjects that match the academic expectations in a particular subject area or grade level.

There are specific approaches or strategies for developing a curriculum. We can characterize them as a set of objectives that need to be met while mapping a curriculum. They're as follows:

  • Vertical coherence: A vertically aligned or vertically coherent curriculum cover topics that ensure what students learn in a lesson, course, or grade level prepares them for the upcoming lesson, course, or grade level. It aims to provide students with a kind of learning that is purposefully structured and logically sequenced across grade levels to help students build on what they have learned previously and learn the knowledge and skills that will help them prepare for more challenging, higher-level work. 
  • Horizontal coherence: A curriculum is a horizontally aligned or horizontally coherent curriculum when it is similar to the curriculum of an equal lesson, course, or grade level. For example, a grade eight-math class is what other students learn in a different grade, eight class. This process of curriculum mapping aims at evaluating learning achievement and progress based on what has been taught to students previously and on the learning standards that the students are expected to meet in a particular course, subject area, or grade level.
  • Subject area coherence: Curriculum is coherent within a subject area when students receive similar instruction and learn the very same topics across subject area classes. For example, if a school has two different teachers teaching Grade 7 physics, the learning outcomes should be equal in each class, regardless of the teacher.
  • Interdisciplinary coherence: A coherent interdisciplinary curriculum focuses on improving altogether, i.e. Teachers from many disciplines (such as mathematics, English, science and history) work together to improve the critical transversal skills students need to thrive in all subjects and levels.

How can teachers build an outstanding curriculum?

Curriculum mapping is not as easy as it may sound; it has many challenges, and, of course, it is tedious work to accomplish. Teachers are required to observe and conduct extensive research in all aspects of curriculum mapping.

To assist you, we have enlisted a few expert pieces of advice.

Understand Students' Abilities

First of all, as a teacher, it is crucial that you have a clear understanding of your students' abilities before planning a program. Collect information about the students, their study styles, behavioural patterns, and more. It will help provide a clear picture of what students need and prepare effective measures for interacting with them.

Work on Student and Institutional Development

Since every administrator has their own way of maintaining a certain institutional culture. They may want their staff and teachers to concentrate on helping students develop their curricular and extra-curricular skills. So, having a conversation with the institution's concerned authorities will be of great help to get a clear idea of what is expected from them as a professional. Such a conversation will help teachers communicate their decisions and ideas and clarify their queries about the school's initiatives that need to be prioritized or rejected in the classroom.

Choose Right Study Materials

No curriculum is complete without textbooks. They are a crucial resource in reaching educational excellence. Textbooks guide to newly appointed teachers. They can provide an essential insight into learning expectations and quality vocabulary content, and various other research-based content. But textbooks cannot gauge the needs of students. That's where teachers can play a big part. First, teachers choose handbooks that address learning needs. They should also maintain flexibility and integrate innovation into day-to-day classroom sessions. It will not only make each lesson lively but also help impart quality education to the students.

Set Pace

It is extremely important to have clear guidelines and a rhythm of work to provide a smoother learning experience. Furthermore, if teachers set high expectations early in the session, this will help increase classroom productivity while setting high expectations for students. It also identifies content that students struggle with. Also, it assists in analyzing and modifying classroom management and teaching strategies to meet students' varied demands.

Establish Learning Expectations

Already mentioned above, it is crucial to know the capabilities of your students; also, have a clear idea of their expectations, learning needs, strengths, weaknesses, and so forth. Each learner learns differently, so you need to differentiate learning materials based on learner needs. Accordingly, make sure that each student gets much access to the content and equal attention during the session.

Provide Flexibility

Curriculum flexibility is a necessity. There are possibilities that you may have difficulty preparing lesson plans and giving ample time at some point. Former teachers may also experience similar problems. Therefore, you must always accept flexibility and adapt to changes without effort.

You should also be open to rejecting and replacing unnecessary lesson plans and adjusting lessons in a way that engages and interests learners.  

Also, you can look at these excellent examples to get more ideas:

A Hypothetical A.A. Arts Program 

Curriculum Mapping Example (John Carroll University)

Curriculum Map Guidelines - University of West Florida

University of Illinois Springfield


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About the Author
Author: Saniya Khan
Saniya Khan I am Saniya Khan, Copy-Editor at EdTechReview - India’s leading edtech media. As a part of the group, my aim is to spread awareness on the growing edtech market by guiding all educational stakeholders on latest and quality news, information and resources. A voraciously curious writer with a dedication to excellence creates interesting yet informational pieces, playing with words since 2016.

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