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Curriculum Quality Standards for School-to-Work: A Guidebook (MDS-955)

B. Dougherty, M. Ellibee

Over the past five years, literature regarding quality vocational/school-to-work programs has been published in abundance (Beck, 1991; Grubb, Davis, Lum, Plihal, & Morgaine, 1991). However, relatively little attention has been directed toward examining explicit indicators of quality curriculum in these programs. Although recent research has documented numerous aspects of program quality (e.g., integrated curriculum, laboratory and worksite experiences, use of technology, and active student learning experiences), virtually no attention has been given to specific attributes perceived to comprise quality curriculum components. These components, in turn, contribute to program quality.

By identifying the quality attributes of school-to-work curriculum, curriculum developers can design instructional products which reflect a positive interface between curriculum design, content, instruction, and student assessment. These quality attributes can also help establish important benchmarks for the instructional materials used by local partnerships implementing school-to-work initiatives.

The National Consortium for Product Quality (NCPQ) was established to link school-to-work curriculum research with quality standards and indicators. The NCPQ mission focuses on the following goals:

This Guidebook presents essential information regarding the NCPQ Curriculum Standards, Indicators, and their reflection in existing curriculum products. The Guidebook details the qualitative curriculum standards, supporting indicators for each of the standards, possible forms in which those indicators may appear in curriculum products, the process for reviewing curriculum using the NCPQ Standards, and a Product Profile that summarizes each product reviewed.

Curriculum Quality Standards for School-to-Work: A Guidebook is intended to directly assist instructors, curriculum developers, and teacher educators. The standards and indicators provide an essential tool for evaluating curriculum materials for content, instructional strategies, student assessment, and equity and diversity considerations. The NCPQ Review Process analyzes submitted material in relation to the Standards and Indicators. The Review Process yields a product profile that provides not only an evaluation of the submitted material, but information about product uses and availability. Supporting research, resources, and technical assistance for school-to-work curriculum are also included in the Guidebook.

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