Developing clarity about what we want students to learn
One crucial objective for professional learning communities is to increase the quality of student learning. A guaranteed and viable curriculum is a foundational element to that mission.
Given that a great deal of the collaborative team’s work within a professional learning community centers on monitoring teacher instruction and student achievement, it is imperative that the team’s members have a clear understanding of what they want students to learn. Without a guaranteed and viable curriculum, assessment tasks and the measurements based on them become inconsistent, invalid, and unreliable.
A guaranteed and viable curriculum can only be created, implemented, and sustained through collaborative effort, making this task ideal work for collaborative teams. Such activity also creates the opportunity for teachers – those who will eventually deliver the content to students – to be directly involved in curriculum design.
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Getting clear on what a guaranteed and viable curriculum is
Guaranteed means that all teachers are aware of the content they are responsible for teaching and are, in fact, teaching that content (usually stated as content descriptions or standards). This approach ensures that every student has the opportunity to learn the year- and subject-appropriate content on which they will be assessed. Viable means that the amount of content is teachable in the time available for instruction. Essentially, a guaranteed and viable curriculum is one that can be taught in the time available and is being taught in every classroom.