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6.5.8 Scope of the Curriculum Content

The level to which a topic can be taught is called scope of curriculum content. Scope refers to the depth and breadth of content with in the curriculum at any one time. A useful starting point when dealing with the scope of content in a curriculum is to pose questions about the nature and balance of that content. For example, in the context of a school curriculum we might ask the following questions;

  • How much of each content area should students study at any one time? i.e. what should be the ratio of time spent on maths, science, English studies and so forth?
  • Is there a body of common content that all students should know? Should all students leave school being exposed to a set of common learnings?
  • If one supports the notion of a core plus electives approach to content, what should be the role of elective content?
  • And increasingly relevant question facing curriculum developers today. What content should be excluded from the curriculum?

Scope may be influenced by:

  • Time constraints: time is the major constraint when determining the scope of content. Breadth may be great time spent on a particular subject theme or may represent more subjects to be taught in a given time period.
  • A common core: the core concept suggests that there is a body of content that all students should acquire as a result of their schooling experience. Just how much the core should constitute (50 %, 75%) and exactly what should be included in the core content are subject to debate.
  • Special needs integration requirements: the scope of the content may also be influenced by the notion that schools should provide content to meet the special needs of children and adolescents. This might take the form of electives or options to accommodate student interests and social contexts.
  • Total amount of content required: integration of content is to be encouraged in order to provide some sense of reality to the learner.
  • Final point to note when considering the scope of curriculum content is to what cortent should be included or excluded from the curriculum.

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