What questions should Ms. Flores and Mr. Ericson ask the general and special education teachers?

Page 9: Using the Curriculum

Intended Curriculum

government building

Taught Curriculum

teacher pointing an area on a map

Learned Curriculum

student at desk


Makes up the official curriculum of a state or school district:

  • Often takes the form of graduation requirements
  • Contains content that students are expected to learn
  • Linked directly to assessments

Includes all aspects of activities in the classroom, such as:

  • Lessons and activities
  • The teacher’s instructional behaviors (e.g., questioning, lecturing)
  • Classroom rules
  • Materials (e.g., textbooks, worksheets, electronic media)

What students actually learn as a result of being in the classroom:

  • Includes additional information that may or may not be part of the intended or taught curricula (such as a negative attitude about math)

Keep in mind, for students with disabilities:

  • The state makes the intended curriculum more immediate and specific for the student.
  • Legal goals and objectives should supplement and support the intended curriculum but not replace it.

Keep in mind, for students with disabilities:

  • Too often, the IEP becomes the taught curriculum. This limits the student’s entire educational program to specific goals and objectives written into the IEP.
  • Teachers should aim for learning that is broader than the IEP and is connected to larger, more global contexts.

Keep in mind, for students with disabilities:

  • Assessments often show that students haven’t learned what the teacher intended them to learn. The learned curriculum may include inaccuracies, misconceptions, and incomplete information.
  • A child’s success depends on the teacher’s ability to match specific instructional strategies with the content. More complex information, which involves higher-order thinking, requires different types of instruction.

(Nolet & McLaughlin, 2000)

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