Recently Chalk collaborated with Dr. Heidi Hayes Jacobs to bring thousands of educators free professional development seminars focusing on curriculum mapping. We wanted to share what we learned from these sessions and some key takeaways that might help your school.
From our survey which tallied thousands of responses, we found that only 23% of schools in the US have their entire curriculum mapped out, and of those 14.7% rarely review their own maps. Also, over 19% of schools have some maps in place and still in the process of curriculum mapping.
It was shocking that 20% of schools have not mapped their curriculum at all. That’s a staggering number! That’s a lot of schools’s not working on creating a blueprint that guides student success.
Take a look at the results and see which spectrum do you align with.
Curriculum mapping is a hard and tedious process for many schools but it is a big focus this year. Many educators have started questioning what they are teaching and when they are teaching core concepts and standards. From our findings, over 70% of schools have a hard time mapping. So why is curriculum mapping hard?
We set out to explore what educators say about this:
“Our teachers have not embraced the importance or the why behind it. I feel like we have beat the “why” to death.”
– A. Quarry
“Curriculum mapping is not difficult it’s just that they do not give the teachers the autonomy to do it themselves.”
– T. Brown
“It’s difficult because it requires a culture shift to use the data created from the maps to improve student learning.”
– T. Preston
“It might be difficult in terms of all the constant revisions it needs to go through throughout the school year, but it’s a process that is walked through as a team, sharing ideas, supporting each other, trying to picture the school year in the most beneficial way.”
– J. Viloria
“I think it is a long process & you have to get the very best teachers and other staff that knows the content very well together to discuss the maps. Scheduling this is very difficult. Budget is an issue as well, as teachers want to be paid for extra work.”
– K. Herbst
“There is no time. Administration doesn’t have the impetus to visit the classrooms & learn what is being taught. Teachers are left up to themselves to do vertical planning and that goes awry when admin does not like what the consensus is.”
– Y. Hickman
Beyond the responses above, we tallied the top 6 concerns/issues when it came to mapping and they are the following:
- Lack of Time – teachers have limited time to map.
- Lack of Effort – teachers, and administrators may not always know the amount of effort a mapping project takes.
- The Why Not Defined – teachers don’t know the why and don’t know how to map
- Commitment To Review Maps – it gets hard to upkeep and update maps
- Low Relevance – practitioners find that the impact of maps decreases over years of teaching
- Lack of Knowledge – makes it difficult to start a mapping project
These are common concerns when educators are mapping. That’s why schools need to be more clear on their “why” behind mapping. There needs to be a why that people can easily understand and breakdown, so they are able to work on mapping.
There are varied perspectives from all educators and administrators. What helps in these sorts of situations is addressing the problems your school is facing and coming up with practical solutions to those problems.
Of the schools that do map, over 55% of schools are using Google Drive/One Drive to do their curriculum mapping, and for over 40% it’s harder to curriculum map in these platforms. Only 10% of schools are using a curriculum mapping platform like Chalk and are able to create a living breathing curriculum. With a software, mapping became easier for the schools and their teachers. It helped teacher teams become collaborative, communicate easily, share resources, and plan effectively.
When we surveyed teachers we also found that many teachers want professional development (PD) badly! They are feeling burnt out and want more support from their teams and school. Over 60% of teachers are looking for PD opportunities. Teachers want PD delivered in many ways, here are the 5 formats that schools should be considering when they are going about delivering PD:
- Short Clips and Videos
- In-Person Sessions and Team Specific Sessions with other Teachers
- Learning Sessions with Thought Leaders
If your school has limitations around PD, which many schools do. Chalk has created an ample amount of PD resources that could help you. You can find them through the resources section. Take a look at various resources such as the curriculum mapping guide, steps to vertical alignment, textbooks are not curriculum, and delivering effective PD.
Hope it helps you reflect on where you are in your curriculum journey and where you want to go. If you do need a free curriculum review, our team at Chalk can help you. Book a meeting here.
Check out Self Assessment: Am I Ready to Refine My Curriculum Mapping Process to get started or How to Audit Your Curriculum: An 8-Step Guide to help your curriculum map be most effective.