University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
College of Education

C&I501: Fundamentals of Curriculum Development
Fall, 2007 

Instructor: Ian Westbury
Time: Tuesday, 4.00-6.50
Place: 4F Education

Office: 257 Armory
Office hours: By appointment

There will be no class on September 18 

Programs of study: The technical term used to designate all the studies offered in a given school, to be distinguished from (1) the curriculum, meaning the group of studies systematically arranged for any pupil or group of pupils; and (2) the course of study, meaning the quantity, quality, and method of work in any given subject of instruction. (Paul Monroe [1911], Cyclopedia of Education, Vol. X, p. 51


The focus of this course is 'curriculum reform' and what it means -- and in particular what it means in the different contexts of the 'society' and the school. With this in mind, we will be reviewing contemporary 'progressive' reform, administrative reform -- as in the No Child Left Behind legislation and other forms of outcome-based curriculum management -- and the 'new' movement for 'evidence-based' curriculum decision-making. The goal is to develop an appropriate perspective on these 'movements.

The 'text' for the course was written by John Dewey a century ago -- and (almost) everything I will be arguing is there -- and the whole essay is worth reading:

Horace Mann and the disciples of Pestalozzi did their peculiar missionary work so completely as intellectually to crowd the conservative to the wall. For half a century after their time the ethical emotion, the bulk of exhortation, the current formulae and catchwords, the distinctive principles of theory have been found on the side of progress, of what is known as reform. . . . [A]ll these ideas, at the outset so revolutionary, have filtered into the pedagogic consciousness and become the commonplace of pedagogic writing and of the gatherings where teachers meet for and inspiration and admonition.

It is, however, sufficiently obvious that, while the reformer took possession of the field of theory and enthusiasm and preaching, the conservative, so far as concerns the course of study was holding his own pretty obstinately in the region of practice. He could afford to neglect all these sayings; nay, he could afford to take a part in a glib reiteration of the shibboleths, because, as a matter of fact, his own work remained so largely untouched. He retained actual control of school conditions; it was he who brought about the final and actual contact between the theories and the child. And by the time ideals and theories had been translated over into their working equivalents in the curriculum, the difference between them and what he as a conservative really wished and practiced became often the simple difference of tweedle dum from tweedle dee. So the 'great big battle' was fought with mutual satisfaction, each side having an almost complete victory in its own field. Where the reformer made his headway was not in the region of studies, but rather in that of methods and of atmosphere of school-work.

From John Dewey (1902) The Educational Situation


1. Active participation in three group projects.

2. Completion of a final project, most typically an essay review of a recent book that raises (personal) questions of interest. An alternative (to be approved after discussion) would be a review of research, an educational policy issue, or a design framework for a curriculum development undertaking.


No text is required. Readings will be made available as handouts and on the course web site (see above) as well as through the Library's e-reserve system.

Background reading:

Education Next (a magazine)

Catalyst (a magazine)

Cohen, D. K., Raudenbusch, S. W., & Ball, D. L. (2003). Resources, instruction, and research. Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, 25 (2), 119--142.

Doyle, W. (1992). Curriculum and pedagogy. In P. W. Jackson (Ed.), Handbook of research on curriculum (pp. 486--516). New York: Macmillan. (e-reserve)

McEneaney, E. H. and Meyer, J. W. (2000). The content of the curriculum: An institutionalist perspective. In M. T. Hallinan (Ed.), Handbook of the Sociology of Education (pp. 189--211). New York: Kluwer. (e-reserve)

Lundgren, U. P. (2003). The political governing of education and evaluation. In P. Haug and T. A. Schwandt (eds), Evaluating Educational Reforms: Scandinavian Perspectives (Greenwich, CT: Information Age Press).

Westbury, I. (in press). Making curricula: Why do states make curricula, and how? In F. M. Connelly (ed.) Sage Handbook of Curriculum and Instruction (Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage).

Clandinin, D. J. & Connelly, F. M. (1995). 'Thinking narratively: A case at the boundaries'. In Clandinin, D. J. & Connelly, F. M., Narrative Inquiry: Experience and Story in Qualitative Research. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Connelly, F. M. & Clandinin, D. J. (1995). Teachers' professional knowledge landscapes: Secret, sacred and cover stories. In Clandinin, D. J. & Connelly, F. M. (eds) (1995). Teachers' Professional Knowledge Landscapes(pp. 3--15). New York: Teachers College Press.


'Fostering a community of learners'

Kirschner, P. A., Sweller, J., and Clark, R. E. (2006) Why minimal guidance during instruction does ot work: An analysis of the failure of constructivist, discovery, problem-based, experiential, and inquiry-based learning.Educational Psychologist, 41 (2), 75--86. (e-journal in UIUC library)

Pellegrino, J. W. (2006) Rethinking and redesigning curriculum, instruction and assessment: What contemporary research and theory suggests. A paper commissioned by the National Center on Education and the Economy for the New Commisson on the Skills of the American Workforce.

Seaborne, Malcolm (1971) The English School: Its Architecture and Organization, Vol. 1 (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul).

Dewey, J. (1902) The Educational Situation


No Child Left Behind

Duffrin, E. (2006) Probation brings a big payoff at McCorkleCatalyst Chicago

Koretz, D. M. (1998) Statement of Daniel M. Koretz before the Committee on Education and the Workforce, United States House of Representatives

Standards and tests: Keeping them aligned. (2003) Research Points: Essential Information for Education Policy, 1 (1). (Washington, DC: American Educational Research Association)

Westbury, I. Comparing American and Japanese achievement: Is the United States really a low achiever? Educational Researcher, 21 (5) (1992): 18–24. (e-journal in UIUC library)

Koretz, D. M. (2002) Limitations in the use of achievement tests as measures of educators' productivity. Journal of Human Resources, 37 (4), 752--777. (e-journal in UIUC library)

Linn, R. L. (2003) Accountability: Responsibility and reasonable expectationsEducational Researcher, 32 (7), 3--13.

Bloom, B. S., Hastings, J. T. & Madaus, G. F. (1971) Handbook of Formative and Summative Evaluation of Student Learning (New York: McGraw-Hill).

Rudalevige, A. (2003) The politics of No Child Left BehindEducation Next, Fall


Scientifically-based practice

Schemo, D. J. (2007) In war over teaching reading, a U.S.-local clashNew York Times, March 9.

Thomas, G. & Pring, R. (2004) Evidence-based Practice in Education (Maidenhead, UK: Open University Press).

Shaywitz, S. (2003) Overcoming Dyslexia: A New and Complete Science-based Program for Readings Problems at Any Level (New York: Knopf).

Shaywitz, S. (1998) Dyslexia New England Journal of Medicine, 338 (5), 307--312.