Curriculum Coherence and Student Success
Research has shown that coherence among curriculum, instruction and assessment is a fundamental principle of educational practice. This action research project uses a combination of qualitative and quantitative methods to study the phenomenon of curriculum coherence in eight participating departments. The broad objective is to design a model of institutional development that is grounded scientifically by using research on student outcomes to drive curriculum and program development. A Curriculum Review Cycle is defined and used as a process for helping each participating department to determine whether or not there is a need for change in the coherence structure of the curriculum. This methodology moves the process of decision-making from the individual teacher to the department as a whole, thereby creating collective decision-making structures that work to achieve alignment, equity, fairness and an increase in learning for students. By using selected versions of Bloom’s taxonomy, an analysis of individual and departmental understanding of the objectives and standards for each course and of the cognitive level of tasks submitted to the students, we show the need for entire departments to revisit, realign and reconfirm the general course objectives before any consensus can be achieved in terms of student learning and how they should be assessed.
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