Curriculum Pacing Guides
If you haven't read the latest issue of Ed. Leadership yet, let me give you another reason to pick it up. The issue features a two-page article summarizing the research on Pacing Guides.
The article indicates that pacing guides are not inherently bad, but too often the manner in which they are used results in narrowing the curriculum, fragmenting knowledge into test related pieces, and increasing teacher-centered instruction.
Most guides do not address student reasoning and teachers rarely deviate from the guides. In contrast, Japanese pacing guides describe student solutions to problems and describe how teachers can build on student thinking during instruction.
Recommendations - Guides Should:
- Emphasize curriculum guidance, rather than prescriptive pacing.
- Focus on central ideas.
- Provide links to exemplary curriculum materials, lessons, and instructional strategies.
I would further recommend that administrators consider how the prescriptive use of pacing guides impedes implementation of professional development initiatives. Frequently PD initiatives focus on student-centered instructional strategies to deepen understanding. However, if coverage of content is emphasized over conceptual understanding in pacing guides, it creates a conflict for teachers and the administrators who evaluate them.