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  • Print publication year: 2017
  • Online publication date: August 2019

Chapter 8 - Building a development progression


Learning Objectives

In this chapter you will learn to:

  • • link curriculum and resources to assessment and reporting
  • • understand the theoretical basis on which criterion-referenced frameworks are built
  • • understand the theoretical basis on which students are located to levels on a criterion-referenced framework
  • • conduct a pairwise comparison of criteria
  • • build a criterion-referenced framework through deconstruction of curriculum
  • • build a progression for units of work and detailed learning outcomes.
  • This chapter shows how criterion-referenced frameworks are derived. The first section describes the process of derivation using a list of ordered skills produced by item response theory (IRT). The second section shows how a similar list of ordered skills can be produced using Thurstone's (1927) method of pairwise comparison. Two remaining sections form the balance of the chapter. A major feature of this chapter is a case study from the national TAFE-delivered Vocational Education and Training (TVET) sector illustrating criterion-referenced frameworks and pairwise comparison in practice.


    Often curriculum refers to the academic content taught in a formal course or program. The term ‘curriculum’ typically refers to the knowledge and skills students are expected to acquire. It also refers to standards they are expected to meet, the lessons taught, the teaching materials used in a course and the assessments used to evaluate student learning. UNESCO describes the term thus:

    Curriculum can be envisaged from different perspectives. What societies envisage as important teaching and learning constitutes the ‘intended’ curriculum. Since it is usually presented in official documents, it may be also called the ‘written’ and/or ‘official’ curriculum. However, at classroom level this intended curriculum may be altered through a range of complex classroom interactions, and what is delivered can be considered the ‘implemented’ curriculum. What learners really learn (i.e. what can be assessed and can be demonstrated as learning outcomes/learner competencies) constitutes the ‘achieved’ or ‘learned’ curriculum.

    (UNESCO 2017)

    The achieved curriculum is a focus of this chapter. In addition to learning outcomes achieved, curriculum theory points to a ‘hidden’ curriculum: that is, the unintended development of personal values and beliefs of learners, teachers and communities; the unexpected impact of a curriculum; and unforeseen aspects of a learning process. Those who develop the intended curriculum should have all these different dimensions of the curriculum in mind.