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Studies & Degrees in Curriculum Development

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In the earlier years of education, schoolhouses depended on a single teacher who would decide what to teach and when to teach it. It all changed in 1892 when the National Education Association appointed the Committee of Ten which was composed mostly of educators and was chaired by the president of Harvard University at that time, Charles Eliot.

The Committee recommended a standard curriculum which required students to take elementary education for eight years and secondary education for four years. In 1918, changes were needed because of the increasing rate of enrolment in secondary schools. The Commission on the Reorganization of Secondary Education started a standard of forming goals before reforming schools which consisted of the seven Cardinal Principles. These Principles are: Worthy Home Membership, Vocation, Health, Command of Fundamental Processes, Civic Education, Worthy Use of Leisure, and Ethical Character. It was also during this time that American schools conducted many curriculum experimentations. In 1989, the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) published the Curriculum and Evaluation Standards for School Mathematics which was the first set of national standards for math subjects. The curricula for other content areas followed this as an example. In 1993, the National Council of Education Standards and Testing (NCEST) was established as encouraged by then Secretary of Education, Lamar Alexander. This was followed by President Bill Clinton signing the Goals 2000: Educate America Act in 1994 which created a special council to certify national and state content, performance standards, opportunity-to-learn standards, and state assessments.

Curriculum Development is defined as the systematic planning of what is taught and learned in schools reflecting in courses of study and school programs. As a field of study, curriculum development is often taken as a course complimentary of an education major. Developing new curriculum, reviewing existing curricula and improving them if necessary are the most important subjects students will take should they choose to take this major or specialization. Required knowledge in developing curricula like how students learn, education policy and laws, and the different methodologies, assessments, and instructions used in teaching. Students will also have to determine what level of education they want to develop a curriculum for although this is not a problem if curriculum development is taken as a course in an education major or as a specialization.

Students who graduated or had taken curriculum development have many career opportunities waiting for them. One career path professional curriculum developers can take is towards being a Curriculum Development Specialist, usually hired by companies as part of their human resource department. A curriculum development specialist is in-charge of visualizing, creating, and enhancing the learning or training courses given to employees. Of course curriculum developers can find many job opportunities in the education field as a member of the curriculum development department or committee of the school or university.