What is a Curriculum Developer?

Curriculum DeveloperOne of the most important behind-the-scenes positions in today’s schools is that of the curriculum developer. Their job is actually pretty complex, and it involves navigating a series of complex state educational standards, textbook implementations of those standards, and teaching strategies that make curriculum and standards easily accessible to students and teachers. To that end, the average curriculum developer spends just as much time creating an engaging curriculum as they do observing classes, assessing the learning process, and considering what might be changed for the next school year to help students become even more successful.

An Eye for New Standards and Educational Trends

The most basic responsibility of the curriculum developer in today’s public and private schools is to be aware of any changes that might be made to state standards and standardized assessment. These two factors are the driving forces in today’s schools when it comes to selecting a textbook, developing teaching styles, and accommodating students with special needs. Academic standards govern which types of math students should learn at each grade level, the nature of their English language proficiency and comprehension of grammar rules, their ability to read passages of text, and their understanding scientific concepts.

By understanding these standards and keeping an eye out for nationwide trends, curriculum developers keep their school district both within state regulations and on par with local, statewide, and national schools where achievement and proficiency rates are elevated. This understanding of trends and standards will dictate virtually every decision the curriculum specialist makes for their students.

Evaluation and Implementation of New Textbooks

In addition to minding state standards and observing trends in educational delivery, curriculum developers will be responsible for sampling and selecting textbooks for the school. This decision will typically be made based on which textbook most closely aligns with state standards, though some curriculum developers may want to focus on how that textbook explains complex problems, how it interacts with technology, and how it’s received by the school’s existing group of teachers.

Developers will also keep an eye out for how the adoption of a new textbook affects students test scores and standardized test performance over time. If the textbook leads to greater level of standards proficiency and standardized achievement, they may want to stick with that book for the long-term. In some cases, continual evaluation may reveal a textbook that doesn’t work for students or teachers. That textbook could be harming the student’s levels of comprehension and achievement, and the curriculum developer would be wise to opt for something else instead.

Interaction with Teachers to Ensure Good Lesson Planning

Finally, the curriculum developer needs to be the go-to person for teachers who are planning their approach to content throughout the year. They’ll be able to answer questions about a textbook, give support and guidance for certain lesson plans or teaching styles, and offer advice for reaching out to students who are struggling with any type of material throughout the school year. In this way, the developer is responsible not only for ensuring high levels of student achievement, but also for supporting teachers as they try to do their part in conveying advanced concepts and helping every student succeed individually.

Related Resource: Technology Teachers

A High-Stakes Part of the Education Industry

Textbooks, state standards, teaching approaches, and student achievement are all central to modern education. According to the curriculum development program at Concordia University, no one is more central to each of these components than the curriculum developer, who will ensure the long-term success of the school through careful selection and curation of the best teaching materials.