Syllabus for EDL-520



Curriculum revision is an ongoing process that requires professional guidance and support. Potential educational leaders need to understand the importance of curriculum development in the success of the educational experience and recognize the organization and relevance of curriculum change. Through the examination of various curriculum designs, educators will visualize an overview of systematic curriculum development. Standards-Based Curriculum Development, Pre-K–12 allows students to examine essential components of a cohesive curriculum based on such influences as national and state standards established to guide local curricular planning and development to meet the changing needs of students and other stakeholders in a diverse community. Processes for development of curricula at classroom, building, and district levels, regardless of grade, academic discipline, or kind of student, will be considered in preparation for hands-on experience in creating curriculum in the student's primary discipline. Integrating differentiated instruction through various curriculum designs will allow the educator to develop necessary skills, as an instructional leader, to facilitate his or her faculty's creation of successful curriculum documents. The entire process, from initial needs assessment to implementation, will be the focus of this course. (ISLLC 1, 2, 4, 5, available at; NJDOE 1, 2, 4, 5 - available at


On successful completion of this course, you should be able to accomplish the following:

  1. Use national and state standards as the bedrock for developing curriculum for a diverse student population.
  2. Analyze the elements needed for curriculum change and the practical aspects of the change process in improving curriculum.
  3. Develop curriculum through needs assessment related to district, building, and classroom environments.
  4. Guide members of faculty through exploration and mapping to determine structure and organization of curriculum.
  5. Develop and organize both goals and objectives as preparation for curriculum design based on appropriate, prescribed standards.
  6. Integrate differentiated instruction in curriculum designs to meet the educational standards.
  7. Use integrated curriculum strategies to enhance the concept of educational relevance.
  8. Assess the distinctions between a standards-based curriculum and one emerging from alternative approaches to curriculum, and analyze the roles of school leaders arising from different models.
  9. Develop a leadership model using the mission statement or district philosophy that provides an agenda to include key stakeholders in curriculum and instructional activities in a school setting to maximize student achievement.
  10. Design an organizational structure for a school that involves staff, parents, students, and community participants and that reflects legitimate participation and meets the elements of responsible leadership.
  11. Compare and contrast the strategies and techniques for creating school cultures and climates conducive to learning and assess the school leader’s role in achieving the desired climate.
  12. Assume the role of an instructional leader in actively planning, organizing, coordinating, and implementing an actual curriculum design for a particular area.
  13. Analyze the barriers to instructional improvement and devise ways to overcome those problems.
  14. Design a process to supervise instructional faculty and staff, planning for and implementing short- and long-term school improvement goals, and designing professional development programs that ensure high academic performance among all students.
  15. Prepare to create a process that enables the school to evaluate its instructional progress on a regular basis, thus allowing it to accept input from stakeholders and maintain its currency in a climate of change.
  16. Employ successfully a variety of research approaches that encourages critical thinking, a consideration of the local community, and an understanding of student needs and interests.


You will need the following materials to do the work of the course. The required textbooks are available from the University's textbook supplier, MBS Direct, at

Required Textbooks

  • Oliva, P., & Gordon, W. (2012). Developing the curriculum (8th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.

    ISBN-13: 978-0132627511

  • Wiggins, G., & McTighe, J. (2005). Understanding by design (expanded 2nd ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Merrill/Prentice Hall.

    ISBN-13: 978-0131950849

  • McTighe, J., & Wiggins, G. (2004). Understanding by design professional development workbook. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

    ISBN-13: 978-0871208552

Electronic Portfolio Registration

As a capstone experience in the Educational Leadership program, you will prepare an electronic portfolio that demonstrates your incremental achievement of the program standards. Each course in the program helps you to identify artifacts to place in your portfolio on completion of the course. To this end, you are required to purchase an electronic portfolio registration code upon your entry into the Master of Arts in Educational Leadership program.   Basic directions for purchasing access to and using your electronic portfolio are posted within the Educational Leadership Students Organization (online community).


Standards-Based Curriculum Development, Pre-K–12 is a three-credit, graduate course, consisting of eight modules. Modules include topics, learning objectives, study materials (textbook readings and lecture notes), and activities. Module titles and topics/key ideas are listed below.

Topics/key ideas covered in this module include:

Topics/key ideas covered in this module include:

Topics/key ideas covered in this module include:

Topics/key ideas covered in this module include:

Topics/key ideas covered in this module include:

Topics/key ideas covered in this module include:

Topics/key ideas covered in this module include:

Topics/key ideas covered in this module include:

In addition to module activities, you are required to complete a curriculum unit or project. For information about the curriculum unit or project, see the discussion below or go to the Curriculum Unit/Project area of the course Web site.


For your formal work in the course, you are required to participate in nine online discussion forums, complete nine written assignments, and submit a curriculum unit or project. See below for more details.

Consult the Course Calendar for assignment due dates.

Online Discussion Forums

Each module in the course has an online class discussion forum (Module 5 has two forums). All discussion forums take place asynchronously.

Online discussions provide an opportunity for you to interact with your classmates. During this aspect of the course, you respond to prompts that assist you in developing your ideas, you share those ideas with your classmates, and you comment on their posts. Forum interactions promote development of a community of learners, critical thinking, and exploratory learning.

Please participate in online discussions as you would in constructive face-to-face discussions. You are expected to post well-reasoned and thoughtful reflections for each item, making reference, as appropriate, to your readings. You are also expected to reply to your classmates' posts in a respectful, professional, and courteous manner. You may, of course, post questions asking for clarification or further elucidation on a topic.

Written Assignments

Each module in the course concludes with a short writing assignment of about 500 words (Module 5 has two writing assignments). The writing assignments require you to write well-reasoned and thoughtful papers on questions derived from the module objectives, making reference, as appropriate, to the readings and other sources of information. You are required to use APA format for your work and for all references. Written Assignment 7, in Module 7, requires a short PowerPoint presentation.

Curriculum Unit or Project

The curriculum unit or project constitutes a principal artifact for your portfolio and counts 37% toward your grade. Choose one of the following options:

  1. Curriculum Unit option—Develop an actual curriculum unit based on one of the two designs: (a) traditional design, as presented in Oliva; or (b) Essential Question through UbD, as presented in McTighe and Wiggins. Begin with an introduction including demographics and population. Follow a traditional template or the templates in Understanding by Design Professional Development Workbook, by McTighe and Wiggins, if that is your choice.

  1. Project option—An alternative to the curriculum unit would be a practical project, for example, a revision of a program, participation in a curriculum design effort, or a curriculum alignment effort. Involved in this process would be an overall description of your role, an example of the work you developed or wrote, and other artifacts of your participation.


You will complete your work on the curriculum unit or project in two stages: (a) by first submitting a proposal to your mentor for feedback and approval (Stage 1) and (b) by then submitting your completed unit or project for evaluation and grading (Stage 2). Please see the Curriculum Unit/Project area of the course Web site for further details and the Course Calendar for due dates.

Portfolio Artifacts and Reflective Narrative

The principal artifacts for this course are the essential question chart (Written Assignment 5.1), backward design (Written Assignment 5.2), PowerPoint presentation (Written Assignment 7.1), and the curriculum unit or project. Accompanying each artifact is a reflective narrative that describes the process and how the artifact meets specific standards and prepares you for school leadership.

Upload your artifacts to your electronic portfolio, and be certain to indicate their alignment to the applicable ISLLC standards.


Your grade in the course will be determined as follows:  

All activities will receive a numerical grade of 0–100. You will receive a score of 0 for any work not submitted. Your final grade in the course will be a letter grade. Letter grade equivalents for numerical grades are as follows:


















Below 73

To receive credit for the course, you must earn a letter grade of C or higher on the weighted average of all assigned course work (e.g., assignments, discussion postings, projects, etc.). Graduate students must maintain a B average overall to remain in good academic standing.


First Steps to Success

To succeed in this course, take the following first steps:

Study Tips

Consider the following study tips for success:


Thomas Edison State University is committed to maintaining academic quality, excellence, and honesty. The University expects all members of its community to share the commitment to academic integrity, an essential component of a quality academic experience.

Students at Thomas Edison State University are expected to exhibit the highest level of academic citizenship. In particular, students are expected to read and follow all policies, procedures, and program information guidelines contained in publications; pursue their learning goals with honesty and integrity; demonstrate that they are progressing satisfactorily and in a timely fashion by meeting course deadlines and following outlined procedures; observe a code of mutual respect in dealing with mentors, staff, and other students; behave in a manner consistent with the standards and codes of the profession in which they are practicing; keep official records updated regarding changes in name, address, telephone number, or e-mail address; and meet financial obligations in a timely manner. Students not practicing good academic citizenship may be subject to disciplinary action including suspension, dismissal, or financial holds on records.

All members of the University community are responsible for reviewing the Academic Code of Conduct Policy in the University Catalog and online at

Academic Dishonesty

Thomas Edison State University expects all of its students to approach their education with academic integrity—the pursuit of scholarly activity free from fraud and deception. All mentors and administrative staff members at the University insist on strict standards of academic honesty in all courses. Academic dishonesty undermines this objective. Academic dishonesty can take the following forms:


Thomas Edison State University is committed to helping students understand the seriousness of plagiarism, which is defined as using the work and ideas of others without proper citation. The University takes a strong stance against plagiarism, and students found to be plagiarizing are subject to discipline under the academic code of conduct policy.

If you copy phrases, sentences, paragraphs, or whole documents word-for-word—or if you paraphrase by changing a word here and there—without identifying the author, or without identifying it as a direct quote, then you are plagiarizing. Please keep in mind that this type of identification applies to Internet sources as well as to print-based sources. Copying and pasting from the Internet, without using quotation marks and without acknowledging sources, constitutes plagiarism. (For information about how to cite Internet sources, see Online Student Handbook > Academic Standards > “Citing Sources.”)

Accidentally copying the words and ideas of another writer does not excuse the charge of plagiarism. It is easy to jot down notes and ideas from many sources and then write your own paper without knowing which words are your own and which are someone else’s. It is more difficult to keep track of each and every source. However, the conscientious writer who wishes to avoid plagiarizing never fails to keep careful track of sources.

Always be aware that if you write without acknowledging the sources of your ideas, you run the risk of being charged with plagiarism.

Clearly, plagiarism, no matter the degree of intent to deceive, defeats the purpose of education. If you plagiarize deliberately, you are not educating yourself, and you are wasting your time on courses meant to improve your skills. If you plagiarize through carelessness, you are deceiving yourself.

For examples of unintentional plagiarism, advice on when to quote and when to paraphrase, and information about writing assistance and originality report checking, click the links provided below.

Examples of Unintentional Plagiarism

When to Quote and When to Paraphrase

Writing Assistance at Smarthinking

Originality Report Checking at Turnitin

Disciplinary Process for Plagiarism

Acts of both intentional and unintentional plagiarism violate the Academic Code of Conduct.

If an incident of plagiarism is an isolated minor oversight or an obvious result of ignorance of proper citation requirements, the mentor may handle the matter as a learning exercise. Appropriate consequences may include the completion of tutorials, assignment rewrites, or any other reasonable learning tool in addition to a lower grade for the assignment or course. The mentor will notify the student and appropriate dean of the consequence by e-mail.

If the plagiarism appears intentional and/or is more than an isolated incident, the mentor will refer the matter to the appropriate dean, who will gather information about the violation(s) from the mentor and student, as necessary. The dean will review the matter and notify the student in writing of the specifics of the charge and the sanction to be imposed.

Possible sanctions include:

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