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1.5 SCOPE OF THE CURRICULUM

Scope can be defined as the level to which a topic can be taught. According to Print (1993) scope refers to the breadth and depth of content to be covered in a curriculum at any one time.

The term scope encompasses the magnitude of content and objectives within a curriculum (Beauchamp, 1975). More specifically, it is the breadth of knowledge to be covered within the curriculum or a particular subject area.

The scope concerns the question about what to include or exclude as for as the selection of subject matter (content) is concerned. It determines the range and extent of each area to be covered.

As an example, in the production technology program, the scope of the curriculum might include production technology and its impact on societies, the production technology cycle, processing technology systems, manufacturing technology systems, construction technology systems, and future implications of production technology.

From this example, one can see that the scope includes the breadth or magnitude of content that the program wishes to transfer into learning experiences.

Scope in the curriculum answers the question of what should betaught whereas sequence answers the question of when diverse objectivesand learning activities should be emphasized. There are numerous meansof determining scope:

  • The breadth of content for student attainment may be selected on the state level with its mandated objectives. These objectives are stated with precision; students either do or do not achieve these ends as a result of instruction. The total number of objectives determined on the state level then emphasizes what will be taught or the scope of the curriculum.On the state level, mandated objectives are selected for cach curriculum area. These objectives are available to teachers who in return choose learning opportunities for student interaction so the latter may attain the precise objectives. Evaluation is always done in terms of the precise objectives and emphasizes the use of criterion referenced tests. Results from students when having taken the test are stated in quantitative terms.
  • A second approach in determining scope is to have teachers. supervisors, and administrators in a planned series of meetings identify what students are to learn. Each curriculum area and its scope can be determined by these school professionals. Content and skills to be covered in ongoing lessons and units of study may then be identified. The totality of what is identified becomes the scope of the curriculum.
  • A third procedure is to place heavy emphasis upon the basal textbooks used in each curriculum area to provide the framework in determining scope. Basal texts have always been used in educational history in teaching-learning situations. They possess a body of subject matter which specialists have selected for learners to attain. Much time, effort, and money has gone into writing each textbook. The manual section of a basal contains reference sources for the teacher to use in the instructional arena.
  • A fourth method in ascertaining sequence is to use a learning centers approach. The centers may be developed by the teacher alone, or through teacher- pupil planning. More tasks should be available at the diverse centers than what any one student can complete so that choice is involved as to what to learn and what to omit.

Decision making here is left up to the student. Thus the student chooses content and skills to learn and to omit. If a student perceives more purpose in activities other than those contained at the learning centers, he/she may discuss this with the teacher and thus pursue alternative activities and experiences. Scope here emphasizes the total experiences chosen by the learner with teacher guidance.

Basic principles / guidelines in dealing with scope

  • There is a need to work from basic generalizations or universal thinking to specific or particular elements progressively.
  • The initial decision making should be concerned with theidentification of the major areas of knowledge to beincluded.
  • The content to be included must be educationally worthwhile.
  • The content must be occupationally and professionallyrelevant for teaching.
  • The scope must determine the appropriate skills, attitudes and beliefs which the students need to be aware of.
  • The scope should be determine the appropriate intellectual and practical level of difficulty in the content
  • The scope ought to include consideration of technology, assessment and examination to be used.

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