Tennessee Curriculum Center

Develop Coherent Plans

Curriculum coherence is vital and is associated with high-performing systems…A system is regarded as 'coherent' when the national curriculum content, textbooks, teaching content, pedagogy, assessment, and drivers are all aligned and reinforce one another.
Tim Oates, 2007

When something adheres it sticks fast. Things that cohere have been naturally or logically united to form a whole. When the educational goal of building a coherent K-12 curriculum has been met, the likelihood is strong that new understandings will adhere to students’ minds. In this light, educators have long known that a common characteristic of effective curricula is that they show careful articulation among key concepts both within and across grades. This only happens when the educational community studies the research base to determine how deep understanding unfolds through repeated exposure to topics over time at successively higher levels of complexity and increasing degrees of sophistication. This is the rationale for scaffolded instruction wherein a more knowledgeable teacher provides carefully crafted supports that guide the learners’ development. Scaffolded learning experiences enable students to build on prior knowledge and assimilate new information.

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