Unlike other Educational Frameworks that I have developed in the past that have narrowly focused on school or district concerns, this framework addresses an issue we face on a global level – one that relates to students who are transferring schools due to family relocation. As I have recently discovered with my own family’s move from Canada to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – differing curriculums do not transfer seamlessly, and I have spoken of the impact this had on my daughter in a prior article, where I discussed how she was faced with the reality of being two years behind her peers in Year 4 (Grade 3). As I am of the mindset that in education the solution to any problem we encounter should be putting the proper framework in place, I designed the model below that – theoretically speaking – should work globally.
The concept behind the Global Curriculum Equivalency Framework is similar to that of a reading level correlation chart that compares and standardizes reading levels from different programs – PM Benchmark, DRA, Reading Recovery, Fountas and Pinnel, Rigby, etc., so that no matter which school a student transfers to or from, and no matter which program they were assessed on, a teacher can match them to the one they are using. And the beauty of this is that it demystifies and clarifies where the child is at so the teacher can plan accordingly, which I don’t think anyone can argue the value of. Now imagine the same concept but bigger in impact because schools would have access to documents that indicate curriculum equivalencies in all subject areas and at all grade levels around the world; if such documents had existed, EtonHouse Malaysia, would have seen straight away that both the Language Arts and Math curriculums they were offering were miles ahead of what my daughter had learned following the B.C. curriculum, and they could have adjusted her curriculums accordingly from the get go without my intervention.
So how exactly would the Global Curriculum Equivalency Framework work? It would start off by having a team of educators sort through curriculums to create equivalency charts by subject area that offered comparisons based on both age and grade level, which is depicted at the bottom of the frameworks’ design (four colored columns within the orange box). From there, the equivalency charts would be made accessible to schools globally. Once schools were in possession of these documents, they would have two choices the first would be to simply do away with grouping classes by age and allow students to be placed in classes based on the curriculums followed at their prior school. In this case, a grade 3 class could perhaps consist of students 8, 9 & 10 years of age. The second option would be to continue to group students by date of birth, but in certain subject areas, such as LA and Math, where abilities could range vastly depending on background knowledge, students could be divided into different levels – meaning that Math students in a grade 3 class would be split three ways: some would follow the grade 2 curriculum, some would follow the grade 3 curriculum, and others the grade 4 curriculum. In either scenario, no student would be left floundering as they struggled to complete a curriculum they simply weren’t prepared for, and a school would have the flexibility to do away with placement tests since they would already have a clear understanding of each child’s abilities prior to entering the school.
As I designed the Global Curriculum Equivalency Framework, the reality of putting a framework such as this in place was not lost on me. Theoretically speaking, this framework reflects the utopian idea of access to higher education, not limited to the primary levels; it would also impact the secondary levels and ultimately extend so far as to provide universities and colleges with documents that would offer direct curriculum comparisons between the countries and schools that students would be applying from. Realistically speaking, to put such a system in place would require the cooperation of governments, districts, schools, etc., which would be no easy feat. But hey, an educator can dream, right?