Alignment is a match between two categories and Curriculum describes what gets taught (Squires, 2012). Curriculum alignment attempts to put to maximum effect the relationship among three categories; namely the taught curriculum, the written curriculum, and the test curriculum. It shows how the above can be used to improve student achievement thus explaining how the design for a curriculum can be aligned to state standards and state specifications for effective instructional process (Squires, 2012).
This article serves to provide a backup into a curriculum design that makes sure what is tested gets taught. It also shows the difficulty that is encountered in in having numerous assessment standards and seeks a way to eliminate the challenge and secondly a specific curriculum can be potentially aligned to more than one standard.
From this article, we get to find from Balance curriculum that when a curriculum is properly aligned, student achievement and performance improves. According to Squires (2012), when taught curriculum is aligned to written standards, there is increased, strong and positive student achievement. Squires (2012) showed textbook studies fostered a limited range of learning strategies such that the emphasis is frequently on problem solving rather than learning by reading, discussion and argument in order to acquire the knowledge to solve a problem of one’s own choosing.
Squires (2012) showed that textbooks may not be well aligned to state tests and it would be prudent for the school districts to identify the gaps and provide the teachers with materials to cover the gaps. In order to align the state tests (test curriculum) to state standards (written curriculum), Marzano came up with a benchmark for comparing all state and national professional association standards to each other and created a website where the same could be achieved for instance, Archives (www.aligntoachieve.com) provided four criteria for alignment of textbooks to standards that are; content, performance, level of difficulty and balance and range. From above we also find there is constraint in testing time where only a limited number of concepts can be assessed effectively (Squires, 2012).
From (Third International Mathematics and Science Studies) TIMSS study findings, it is significant to note that the content of a country’s’ curriculum affects student achievement and that for student learning, the extent of opportunities to learn will depend on the time the teacher spends on the topic which translates to greater performance. A district must control time and content covered at a specific time if the results are to improve of which it is the function of the curriculum. The districts can assist in aligning, structuring, implementing and assessing the curriculum (Squires, 2012).
Squires, D. A. (2012), Curriculum Alignment Research Suggests That Alignment Can Improve Student Achievement, London, Routledge.