Syllabus for EDL-530



Critical Issues and Theories in Curriculum Design and Evaluation, Pre-K–12 is designed to guide the student in the process of identifying and analyzing emerging and developing issues in curriculum design, development, implementation, and evaluation. Such issues may include academic standards, diversity, technology, testing and assessment, innovative programs, and state and federal legislation. Included are the identification of curriculum sources, how these sources influence trends, how these trends emerge and evolve, their impact on student achievement, and how professionals, particularly supervisors, curriculum developers, teacher-leaders, and teachers, can use these trends and issues to improve student learning. Students study both the positive and negative aspects of the issues and develop a responsible approach to critically assess the importance and significance of emergent and future issues in order to function as responsible professionals. (ISLLC 2, 4, 6; NJDOE 2, 4, 6).


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

  1. Identify and analyze the sources of curriculum as a means of understanding and applying emerging trends and initiatives to improve student learning.
  2. Evaluate current theories and approaches in curriculum and teaching to determine the effectiveness of various instructional methods and classroom practices.
  3. Compare and contrast learning theories and curriculum practices that promote student learning and achievement.
  4. Develop a rationale for specific curriculum programs and instructional methods for such audiences as at-risk students, diverse learners, disadvantaged students, the disabled, and others.
  5. Adopt evaluation and assessment methods and practices that are reliable and valid means of determining the effectiveness of curriculum programs and instructional methods.
  6. Explain and discuss the emerging policies and regulations that influence curriculum design, development, implementation, and evaluation.
  7. Construct a personal and professional approach to identifying and analyzing future trends and issues in curriculum.
  8. Demonstrate an ability to investigate, analyze, and express yourself professionally in terms of the issues and trends likely to emerge in the field of curriculum.



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

Required Textbook

  • Ornstein, A. C., Pajak, E. F., & Ornstein, S. B. (Eds). (2015). Contemporary issues in curriculum (6th ed.). Boston: Pearson.

    ISBN-13: 978-0-13-325997-1


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).



Critical Issues and Theories in Curriculum Design and Evaluation, Pre-K–12 is a three-credit, graduate course, consisting of six modules. Modules include an overview, topics, learning objectives, assigned reading, and activities. Module titles are listed below.

Course objectives covered in this module: 1, 7, 8

Course objectives covered in this module: 2, 7, 8

Course objectives covered in this module: 3, 7, 8

Course objectives covered in this module: 4, 7, 8

Course objectives covered in this module: 5, 7, 8

Course objectives covered in this module: 6, 7, 8

In addition to module assignments, you are required to complete a final field-based project on key trends in curriculum. For information about the final project, see the discussion below or go to the Final Project area of the course Web site.


For your formal work in the course, you are required to participate in online discussion forums, complete writing assignments, and complete a final field-based project on key trends in curriculum. See below for more details.

Consult the Course Calendar for assignment due dates.

Discussion Forums

Each module in the course has two or more online class discussion forums. All discussion forums take place asynchronously. Post your robust reflections on the assigned readings for each module and interact with your peers through discussion and dialogue to build a hospitable online learning community.

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. Discussion 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.

Writing Assignments

Most modules in the course include two writing assignments. The writing assignments require you to compose well-reasoned and thoughtful essays on case studies and on pro or con activities from the textbook. You are required to use APA format for your work and for all references.

Final Project

The International Bureau of Education, UNESCO (, has identified key trends in curriculum, indicating that curriculum design, development, and implementation have gone from one approach to a new approach. In your final project, you will select two of these trends and discuss how your district or school has adopted (or failed to adopt) the trend. Your discussion should include data from reliable sources (e.g., student demographics or test scores), some measure of action research (e.g., staff survey), and a critical analysis of the how well (or poorly) the trend(s) have been addressed or implemented.

The project is due on the last day of the semester (see the course Calendar). You are required to use APA format in organizing your paper and for any citations. For additional details, see the Final Project area of the course Web site.

Portfolio Artifacts and Reflective Narrative

The principal artifact for this course is the final project on key trends in curriculum and its associated artifacts. Accompanying the artifact is a reflective narrative that describes the process and how the artifact meets specific standards and prepares you for school leadership.

Upload your artifact to your electronic portfolio, and be certain to indicate its 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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