Indicator 3

The curriculum emphasizes depth of understanding and application of knowledge through:

  • inquiry and problem-solving
  • higher order thinking
  • cross-disciplinary learning
  • authentic learning opportunities both in and out of school
  • informed and ethical use of technology.

What to Look For:

  • Is the curriculum intellectually challenging and does it provide opportunities for students to authentically apply knowledge and skills?
  • All courses, regardless of level, provide students with rigorous and challenging learn experiences which require them to apply, analyze, synthesize, compare/contrast, and evaluate
  • The Program of Studies clearly offers challenging coursework for all students (i.e., there are no courses that “water down” the curriculum for certain “less able” students)
  • Intellectual rigor is evident in the quality of student work reflecting higher order thinking and problem solving techniques
  • Students are regularly called upon to demonstrate their growing body of knowledge, skills, ideas, and concepts and to apply them to real life situations

⇒  writing is done for audiences beyond the classroom {e.g., businessmen, Congress; proposals developed for local agencies (students in a marine biology class engage in a community water quality project, spend time in the field, and write a report for the community)
⇒  students prepare portfolios of their work to be shared periodically with parents and a panel of outside judges
⇒  project work replaces much teacher-directed learning and leads to formal public presentations to audiences of parents, community people, university-based educator, scientific organizations
⇒  students apply a fundamental understanding of the ethical/legal issues surrounding the access and use of media (such as music files, etc.); students apply a fundamental understanding of the ethical/legal issues surrounding the access and use of information to a given project
⇒  the school is able to describe structures that are in place to ensure all of the above: supervision practices; peer review; review of student work; results of assessments