Curriculum Map: Characteristics, Structure, Functions, Example

curriculum map  is an educational tool in which the contents of the curriculum of a school year are represented visually. It is an element that can help teachers and educators to find inconsistencies or overlaps in some elements of their plan, or to find areas for improvement in it.

The process of creating a curriculum map involves aligning the skills and topics to be covered in each area with the different classes and the levels of the students belonging to them. In this way teachers can adapt their teaching style to the needs of their students to achieve the best results.

Typically a curriculum map looks like a spreadsheet or table. Within this tool, the columns show the time periods with which you want to work, and the rows include information about the topics that will be taught during them. However, there are many other ways to organize a curriculum map.

Once completed, the curriculum map allows the teacher to discover at a glance what the needs of the class are, what resources they will need to meet them, and what content they will teach to achieve the proposed goals. In this way, the teacher knows very quickly everything he needs to carry out the educational process.

Features of the curricular map

– Represent the data visually

The most important characteristic of a curriculum map is that it is one of the few educational tools that allows to represent all the information regarding the curriculum and the needs of the students visually in a single document. This has many advantages both at the class level and at the more administrative level.

On the one hand, by having a good curriculum map, teachers can check at a glance if they are meeting the objectives they had set for themselves or if, on the contrary, they have to change their approach in some way. In this way, it is much easier for them to correct their trajectory and help students to achieve their goals in a personalized way.

On the other hand, in addition, the organization of the information obtained with a curriculum map can be very useful for all those who want to understand the activity of the teacher.

Thus, both families, directors or educational inspectors have all the information they can request in a single resource and explained in a very simple and intuitive way.

– Summarizes all important information

One of the keys to curricular maps is that the space available in them to represent the information is quite limited. Because of this, the teachers who create them have to be able to summarize very efficiently everything they need to complete the school year and meet the educational objectives.

There are many methods to develop a good curriculum map; but in all cases the idea is to capture all the information necessary to be able to impart the contents of the school year in a single document and visually.

– It is usually divided into several sections

In order to be as understandable as possible, a curriculum map is usually divided according to different criteria into several complementary sections. The exact divisions that each of them presents will vary depending on the technique used to create them; but in general they tend to be very similar.

Thus, normally the sections of a curriculum map are divided based on three criteria: the areas to be taught (for example, linguistic or mathematical areas), the age of the students who are going to be taught, and the school period (normally divided into three terms).

In this way, to check what each student has to learn at a certain point in the course, it is only necessary to look at the element of the table in which the school objectives corresponding to their particular situation are described.

Structure of the curriculum map

Although there may be many ways to carry out a curriculum map, the truth is that most of the time these are structured in the form of a table or spreadsheet. This design is very useful because it allows you to locate at a glance the data referring to a particular class or student once you know how the map is organized.

Columns

Columns generally represent different time periods, such as the quarters into which the course is divided. In addition to this, each of the columns usually has subdivisions representing the different educational areas to which the map refers, such as the artistic or scientific field.

Rows

On the other hand, in a traditional curriculum map the rows represent the educational levels of the students to whom the class is going to be taught. Normally this division is made according to the degrees to which they belong or based on the cycles in which they are found.

Thus, some curricular maps are divided, for example, into all the years of primary and secondary school, while others do so by joining them two by two.

However, it is also possible to make a much more detailed curricular map in which all the information of each of the students is reflected. In these cases the rows would represent the knowledge and objectives of a single student.

Features

Usefulness for teachers

A curriculum map usually serves primarily as a tool that allows teachers to determine what school goals they have to achieve during an educational course. Teachers normally have to deal with a multitude of students of different levels, so having a tool of this type can be extremely useful.

Guide to measuring results

In addition, a well-made curriculum map will also help the teacher to realize at all times whether he is achieving the results that he had set out to achieve at the beginning of the school year.

If not, it will be much easier for you to correct your behavior and reorganize the content you teach in each class, having a very easy to read reference with all the necessary data for it.

Evaluation

Finally, teachers can also take advantage of the curriculum maps to carry out an evaluation process of the course once it has finished. With this tool in hand, it is very easy to compare the results that have been achieved with those that were supposed to be achieved, in such a way that the map provides  very valuable feedback  for the teacher.

Other functions

However, curriculum maps are not only useful for the teacher, but can be fundamental tools for other members of the educational community. For example, parents can benefit from them if they have doubts about the education their children are receiving, being able to consult the teaching objectives at all times.

Something similar happens with educational inspectors or directors of educational centers. These professionals can supervise the work of teachers in a much easier way through the use of a curriculum map, being able to quickly check what students should be learning at all times.

Elaboration

Once its operation is known, the development of a curriculum map is relatively simple. Teachers usually have all kinds of information on the teaching objectives that students have to achieve in each school period, as well as reports on the level of students and classes in general.

With all these data collected in advance, the teacher would only have to capture the information of each of the courses in a spreadsheet or in a table, trying to make the result as clear as possible to be able to understand it quickly whenever someone had to consult it.

The exact organization of the curriculum map may vary depending on the needs of each moment; But as we have already seen, the most common involves dividing the columns according to the curricular areas and the time periods into which the course is divided, while the rows would contain the information for each of the educational levels studied.

Example

As we can see in this example, we are faced with a basic curricular map prepared for primary school students and focused on the areas of Language and Mathematics. In this case, it has been chosen to divide the students into three cycles and the course into three quarters, this being one of the most common divisions when using this type of tool.

In the case of a real curricular map, within each of the cells in which the educational contents can be seen, we could find a short explanation of each of them, including the milestones to be achieved and some comments on how it is going to evaluate whether they have been achieved or not.

As you can see, this tool allows you to check very quickly and easily the content that should be taught at all times, in such a way that the teacher can adjust their classes according to the needs of the group and the speed with which it is get moving.

References

  1. “Curriculum Mapping” in: The Glossary of Education Reform. Retrieved on: May 21, 2020 from The Glossary of Education Reform: edglossary.org.
  2. What Is a Curriculum Map? (And How Do You Make One?)”In: Applied Educational Systems. Retrieved on: May 21, 2020 from Applied Educational Systems: aeseducation.com.
  3. “Curriculum Mapping: Definition, Purpose, and Tips” in: Thought Co. Retrieved on: May 21, 2020 from Thought Co: thoughtco.com.
  4. “Procedures for curriculum mapping” in: ASCD. Retrieved on: May 21, 2020 from ASCD: ascd.org.
  5. “Curriculum mapping” in: Wikipedia. Retrieved on: May 21, 2020 from Wikipedia: en.wikipedia.org.

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