Comparing Curriculums

Comparing Curriculums - A chief concern for current United...

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A chief concern for current United States lawmakers is whether or not our educational standards are set highly enough and, in particular, whether they are on par with foreign educators. A widespread belief exists that a nation’s economic productivity is directly related to student performance in the areas of math and science; however, this relationship between standards, teaching, and learning is not necessarily a simple one. Curriculums are set on a national, state, and local level as well as by publishers. These both formal and informal decisions on the part of lawmakers and textbook publishers lend to at what level students are taught. Teachers also make personal decisions about the standards of education in their classroom. Thus, both the “implemented curriculum”, and the modified curriculum based on teachers’ decisions, must be considered with the officially intended curriculum when comparing other nations’ educational standards. Thus, who sets curriculum standards becomes of great note. Japan, Germany, and the United States are interesting in this regard in that they all differ. In Japan, curriculum is determined at the national level. The National Ministry of Education provides a single set of curriculum guidelines that give detail to the given topics of study and the number of hours of instruction required in each of the accredited elementary and junior high schools. For these levels of schooling, the ministry also approves textbooks published by only six commercial publishers. These textbooks do resemble each other in content because they are required to be closely based on national guidelines. Local school boards are permitted to make only minor modifications to these national guidelines and may choose textbooks only from those on an approved list. The Ministry, however, does not monitor whether or not the standards are adhered to, thus leaving the issue of oversight to the hands of the local education boards. Teachers of
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each subject in the school work closely together to ensure that all cover textbook material at approximately the same rate and depth. This is due in part to the teachers’ desire that their students score highly on the high-school entrance examination, which is based entirely on the national curriculum, and in due in part to the oversight of local authorities. In contrast, Germany allows each of its sixteen states to set its own curriculum
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Comparing Curriculums - A chief concern for current United...

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