Curriculum Mapping Model

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The current Curriculum Mapping model is based on the work of Dr. Heidi Hayes Jacobs (1997). Udelhofen (2005) states "…the concept of curriculum mapping originated in the 1980s with the work of Fenwick English…" (xviii). Dr. Jacobs embraced and enhanced the earlier work by adding a variety of teacher-driven curriculum maps, horizontal and vertical alignments, cyclic reviews, and professional curricular dialogue. Jacobs (2004) states, "…curriculum maps have the potential to become the hub for making decisions about teaching and learning. Focusing the barrage of initiatives and demands on schools into a central database that can be accessed from anywhere through the Internet can provide relief … Mapping becomes an integrating force to address not only curriculum issues, but also programmatic ones." (p.126).

Curriculum Mapping emphasizes the requisite that teachers and administrators focus on the balance between what really took place in individual classrooms with what was individually or collaboratively planned. This data is measured in real time: recorded by months or grading periods. Most types of curriculum maps are recorded monthly. Teachers record what has taken place, or is planned, individually at a school-site level (Diary Map, Projected Map); collaboratively planned curriculum at a school-site level (Consensus Map, oftentimes referred to as a Core Map, Master Map, or Benchmark Map); or collaboratively planned curriculum at a district level (Essential Map).

To gain insight into gaps, absences, and repetitions in a school or district's K-12 curriculum, it is critical to create quality maps. During the initial learning-to-map-phase the most commonly recorded data includes content, skills, assessments, resources, and their alignment to one another other and state (or other) standards. In subsequent and more advanced phases of mapping, additional data such as evaluation processes, attachments of best-practice lesson plans and activities, essential questions, and other curricular information is often included.

Curriculum maps are never considered "done." Curriculum Mapping does not perceive education as a static environment since learning, and learning about learning, is a continual process. As long as teachers have new students, new classes, and new school years, newly created and revised curriculum maps provide evidence of a school or district's ongoing curriculum.

Curriculum maps are never used for teacher evaluation or punitive damage. They are designed to provide authentic evidence of what has happened or is being planned within a school or a district. Encouraging individual and collaborative renewing and re-visiting of data (curriculum maps and other sources) through curricular dialogues is essential to mapping and becoming a thriving educational environment that continually improves student learning.