Curricular Alignment

Curricular Alignment | SMUS Boarding SchoolEducation is all about progression. Students learn about a topic or build a new skill set and carry it forward into other classes and school years. Curricular alignment is the process we use to ensure that each student is as prepared for a new term as any other and that students use what they've learned in multiple ways.

Curricular alignment comes in two forms: by-grade alignment and cross-grade alignment.;

By-Grade (Vertical) Alignment

As students move through the school, particularly in the Middle and Senior Schools, they have many different teachers. Curriculum maps – detailed representations of the abilities and content that must be covered in each course – help our teachers ensure that students in different classes learn the same things. 

For example, the Math department might decide to do a focus unit on problem analysis in Math 10. Each teacher would make sure their students had a firm understanding of how to interpret written problems before students move on to Math 11. This ensures that students are at the same level and it prevents unnecessary repetition or overlap of concepts.

Our curriculum maps are extensive and adaptive. While content and goals are consistent, teachers can vary their assignments, readings or even material. For example, an English teacher might cover Shakespeare using Richard III instead of Othello, but the students would learn the same basic principles.

Cross-Grade (Horizontal) Alignment

An important way of making our learning permanent is by using skills or knowledge in different ways. Cross-grade alignment is when a certain theme or tool is used in different subjects and courses at the same time.

For example, students may be studying Greek mythology in English, painting Greek deities in Art class and applying the Pythagorean theorem in Math. Alternatively, students might learn about online databases and use this newfound tool to research presentations for Science and History classes.

This cross-pollination helps cement learning and encourages students to make connections between subjects.