Curriculum is the way content is designed and delivered. It includes the structure, organization, balance and presentation of the content in the classroom. Neither standards nor the textbook is the curriculum. Standards based content in the curriculum needs to be well thought out, coordinated, conceptually and contextually organized and taught with effective materials. (National Research Council, 1996)
Designing a curriculum includes examining the ideas, concepts and skills in a topic coupled with recommendations from the standards and the research on student learning. A "coherent" curriculum is one that holds together, that makes sense as a whole; and its parts, whatever they are, are unified and connected by that sense of the whole. (Beane, Toward a Coherent Curriculum, 1995)
This involves carefully thinking about the flow of ideas to determine: (1) The core set of ideas students should learn within a topic, ranging from the specific facts, terminology, skills and ideas to broad concepts, "big ideas" and unifying themes. (2) The major connections among ideas both within the content domain, across content domains and across disciplines. (3) Important prerequisites leading to increasing sophistication, by which students eventually come to under important ideas from one grade level to the next and within grade levels.
To make AYP, under the federal No Child Left Behind (NCLB) legislation a school or district must meet performance targets established for students in reading and mathematics, as well as meet state targets for student participation, attendance, and graduation (at high school). Student performance in the school as a whole is measured, as well as the performance of specific subgroups of students, which are broken down by ethnicity, socioeconomic status, educational disability, and non or limited English proficiency. In addition, to comply with the requirements of the federal No Child Left Behind Act that all students demonstrate proficiency by 2013-2014 in reading and mathematics, performance targets increase incrementally over the years. Finally, school not making AYP for two consecutive years in the same content area are designated a "School in Need of Improvement" (SINI).