Curriculum mapping is a systematic approach to monitoring, the implementation of the curriculum and the gathering of feedback. In other words, it is the reconstruction of the real curriculum that teachers have taught. This type of curriculum monitoring was introduced as early as 1984 by King and Idleman in Project CAMS (Curriculum Analysis Monitoring System). The primary problem that plagued the system was the lack of technology to support real-time tracking and reporting of the curriculum and its failure to processes timely data.
Most mapping procedures are based upon at least two constants: content taught and time spent. The intent of a curriculum map is to show exactly how much time is devoted to each major learning task within each classroom or subject area. This is done through a self-log of units of topics, time, and/or sequence. The two most common approaches for the self-log procedures are the blank sheet and the checklist. Both the checklist approach and the blank sheet approach can only emulate what already currently exist in every day teaching of the curriculum. Both procedures for mapping can, with effective design, address the concept that the single most important factor in predicting whether or not a teacher is delivering to students a curriculum that is linked empirically to the outcomes that are desired.
In step five the PLC unit development team will submit their unit to be placed on a district wide format that articulates the time the unit will be given for instruction. In a growth curriculum model these units will be adjusted to the skill sets achieved by students through a formative assessment process, thus leaving room for the reinforcement of standards not being obtained. (See Example of Growth Curriculum Model) In the fixed curriculum model where the unit maps are not flexible to adjustment in successful authentic task measurement may cause the occurrence of large performance gaps between groups of students. (See Example of Fixed Unit Map)
The heart of curriculum mapping is to insure that each student is given the opportunity to learn what is expected of him or her. Thus both the teacher and the student must hold with crystal clarity a conception of the desired skills for the student in a class or course. Modern technology now makes it possible to register more complete information about the effectiveness of instruction and how it relates to student performance. What is not answered currently is how those measurements will be implemented within each state, district or classroom.