The WHY of Curriculum Documentation

Documenting curriculum does not feel like a very glamorous or exciting activity. But it helps to consider how documentation in itself is a cognitive process for teachers to provide “clarity” (Hattie’s effect – teacher clarity) first and foremost for students, then for peer teachers, administrators, etc, as shown on the wheel below. We talk a lot about “visible thinking” for students: so curriculum documentation is visible thinking for teachers. Once well documented, curriculum can become a strong tool to drive focused and productive conversations.


Hattie’s Influences & Effect Sizes indicated in our “Why Curriculum Documentation” wheel, are described below :



From Glossary of Hattie’s influences on student achievement:

Student self-reported grades:  “In a video Hattie explains that if he could write his book Visible Learning for Teachers again, he would re-name this learning strategy “Student Expectations” to express more clearly that this strategy involves the teacher finding out what are the student’s expectations and pushing the learner to exceed these expectations. Once a student has performed at a level that is beyond their own expectations, he or she gains confidence in his or her learning ability.”

Teacher clarity: “One of the main points of Hattie’s books about Visible Learning is the importance to clearly communicate the intentions of the lessons and the success criteria. Clear learning intentions describe the skills, knowledge, attitudes and values that the student needs to learn. ”

Feedback: Feedback on task, process and self-regulation level is far more effective than on the Self-level (e.g. praise which contains no learning information). Descriptive feedback is closely related to providing formative assessment (see above)…the most powerful feedback is that given from the student to the teacher. This feedback allows teachers to see learning through the eyes of their students. It makes learning visible and facilitates the planning of next steps. The feedback that students receive from their teachers is also vital. It enables students to progress towards challenging learning intentions and goals.”


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