In previous articles, I have written about educational frameworks, exploring what they are and what one looks like; however, I have yet to write about how they potentially fit into the big picture at a school. For the purpose of this article, curriculum frameworks, curriculums, educational frameworks and curriculum mapping will be defined as follows:
Curriculum Framework: A curriculum framework is an organized plan or set of standards or learning outcomes that defines the content to be learned in terms of clear, definable standards of what the student should know and be able to do. - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Curriculum_framework
Curriculums: The courses offered by an educational institution. - https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/curriculum
Educational Framework: At a school, an educational framework is the most essential supporting structure, and when designed correctly, it becomes the foundation upon which everything else is built. A framework’s design is the direct representation of a school’s vision, philosophy, values, curriculums, and student needs.- https://shala-books.com/education-blog/what-is-an-educational-framework
Curriculum Mapping: Curriculum mapping is the process of indexing or diagraming a curriculum to identify and address academic gaps, redundancies, and misalignments for purposes of improving the overall coherence of a course of study and, by extension, its effectiveness. - https://www.edglossary.org/curriculum-mapping
Now that the terms have been defined in the context of this article, we can begin to explore where and how an educational framework fits in at a school. The first step is for the school to select a curriculum framework(s) and curriculums that are in line with their vision (values, philosophy, etc.). Once the curriculum framework(s) and curriculums have been chosen, the educational framework can be designed. It is important to understand that a curriculum framework and an educational framework are not one and the same – a curriculum framework is the set of learning outcomes and an educational framework is the diagram of the way the standards are connected and arranged across all subject areas. This diagram is unique to a school, and ensures cohesiveness amongst all curriculums chosen. Once the educational framework has been created, the process of curriculum mapping can easily begin. Because the educational framework has mapped out how the curriculums will be laid out and arranged in a general sense, administrators and teachers can then go into more detail using planners to see where the potential overlaps and gaps in outcomes may occur throughout the year, and eliminate them beforehand. This differs from the current practice of teachers curriculum mapping based on data collected from previous years - it is a pre-emptive strike if you will, and the curriculum mapping can be refined and tweaked in the years to come. This new process of curriculum mapping will be discussed in greater detail in the following articles:
Eliminating the Flaws in Curriculum Mapping
The Role of Planners in Curriculum Mapping.
In education, we seemed to have skipped over the step of educational frameworks when developing school plans, which is an oversight that needs to be corrected. Educational frameworks are the missing link between a school’s selection of a curriculum framework(s)/curriculums and the process of curriculum mapping, and once in place can have a tremendous impact on both a school’s teaching culture and student learning.