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Article
Publication date: 4 September 2017

Lotta Tikkanen, Kirsi Pyhältö, Tiina Soini and Janne Pietarinen

The purpose of this paper is to gain a better understanding of how national board administrators, more precisely, officials at the Finnish National Board of Education…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to gain a better understanding of how national board administrators, more precisely, officials at the Finnish National Board of Education (FNBE) have perceived the primary influencing factors, or “regulators”, of the national core curriculum reform and the success of the implementation. The alignment between the identified regulators was also explored.

Design/methodology/approach

Altogether, 23 FNBE officials participated in this mixed methods study.

Findings

The results showed that the officials perceived the core curriculum reform as a systemic entity: the reform was implemented using a top-down and bottom-up strategy, and several regulators were identified at different levels of the education system. The officials also viewed the implementation as successful, and identified more promoting than hindering factors in it. However, they emphasised regulators at the administrative level, whereas regulators at the district or national levels were less often identified. They also highlighted the importance of orchestrating collaboration in comparison with the other regulators.

Practical implications

The results imply that in addition to considering separate determinants of reform success, it is important to pay attention to sufficient alignment between the regulators at different levels of the education system in order to better understand and promote the implementation of a large-scale reform.

Originality/value

This study provides new knowledge on national board administrators’ perspectives on what regulates the implementation of a large-scale curriculum reform.

Details

Journal of Educational Administration, vol. 55 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0957-8234

Keywords

Open Access
Article
Publication date: 11 April 2019

Jenni Sullanmaa, Kirsi Pyhältö, Janne Pietarinen and Tiina Soini

Shared understandings of curriculum reform within and between the levels of the educational system are suggested to be crucial for the reform to take root. The purpose of…

3372

Abstract

Purpose

Shared understandings of curriculum reform within and between the levels of the educational system are suggested to be crucial for the reform to take root. The purpose of this paper is to explore variation in perceived curriculum coherence and school impact among state- and district-level stakeholders.

Design/methodology/approach

The participants (n=666) included state- and district-level stakeholders involved in a national curriculum reform in Finland. Latent profile analysis was employed to identify profiles based on participants’ perceptions of the core curriculum’s coherence and the reform’s impact on school development.

Findings

Two profiles were identified: high coherence and impact, and lower consistency of the intended direction and impact. State-level stakeholders had higher odds of belonging to the high coherence and impact profile than their district-level counterparts.

Practical implications

The results imply that more attention needs to be paid in developing a shared and coherent understanding particularly of the intended direction of the core curriculum as well as the reform’s effects on school-level development among state- and district-level stakeholders.

Originality/value

The study contributes to the literature on curriculum reform by shedding light on the variation in perceived curriculum coherence and school impact of those responsible for a large-scale national curriculum reform process at different levels of the educational system.

Details

Journal of Educational Administration, vol. 57 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0957-8234

Keywords

Book part
Publication date: 20 January 2021

Tiina Soini, Kirsi Pyhältö and Janne Pietarinen

The national core curriculum is renewed in Finland approximately every ten years, the most recent one being 2016. The core curriculum sets the general goals, providing the…

Abstract

The national core curriculum is renewed in Finland approximately every ten years, the most recent one being 2016. The core curriculum sets the general goals, providing the foundation for district- and school level curriculum development work (Finnish National Board of Education, 2016). The messages from transnational educational policy (e.g. OECD) are apparent in the core curriculum. However, districts, schools and teachers are highly autonomous in upholding, resourcing and deciding about the curriculum making at the local sites of activity. Accordingly, the curriculum making relies heavily on shared sense-making as a tool for cultivating transformative learning throughout the educational system. The chapter draws on the results of the national “School Matters” research project (2014-2018), to provide the meta-analysis of the sense-making in national curriculum making. Results suggested that the shared sense-making focused on engaging educational practitioners in learning at all layers of the system. However, the means for facilitating shared sense-making between the different layers of the system and curriculum was perceived to be less coherent by the stakeholders at the district and school level, than at the state level. This implies that the educational providers should not only be involved in co-creation of the aims, contents and values of the curriculum document, but also in designing novel and ecologically valid ways for orchestrating the complex and dynamic curriculum making.

Details

Curriculum Making in Europe: Policy and Practice within and Across Diverse Contexts
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-83867-735-0

Keywords

Content available
Book part
Publication date: 20 January 2021

Abstract

Details

Curriculum Making in Europe: Policy and Practice within and Across Diverse Contexts
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-83867-735-0

Book part
Publication date: 20 January 2021

Daniel Alvunger, Tiina Soini, Stavroula Philippou and Mark Priestley

This chapter provides a summary and a concluding discussion on the main findings from the different cases and chapters throughout this volume. The chapter revisits the…

Abstract

This chapter provides a summary and a concluding discussion on the main findings from the different cases and chapters throughout this volume. The chapter revisits the approach on curriculum making as non-linear and as framed around a conceptualisation of interrelated sites of activity – supra, macro, meso, micro and nano – presented in the introduction. A central conclusion of this book is that the meso site of activity stands out as critical for current developments within curriculum making, both in terms of a transformed role for the nation state in macro curriculum making, as well as implications of policy flows and processes from the supra site of activity. Based on our observations, we suggest an elaborated model for understanding curriculum making, with special attention to the significance of meso curriculum making and teacher agency. In the final part of the conclusions, we argue that there are a number of lessons to be learned from curriculum making in the European context. In line with the significance of meso curriculum making observed throughout the volume, we emphasize the importance of middle ground and mobility, the necessity of participatory curriculum making, and that systems of accountability need to be based on trust. We also underline the importance of a delicate balance concerning regulation– providing support, guidance and steering – together with a critical awareness of destructive as well as progressive forces for maintaining and providing the agency of the educational systemfor good curriculum making.

Details

Curriculum Making in Europe: Policy and Practice within and Across Diverse Contexts
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-83867-735-0

Keywords

Book part
Publication date: 20 January 2021

Mark Priestley, Stavroula Philippou, Daniel Alvunger and Tiina Soini

This chapter provides an introduction to the European case study chapters in this volume on curriculum making. The chapter explores different conceptions of curriculum and…

Abstract

This chapter provides an introduction to the European case study chapters in this volume on curriculum making. The chapter explores different conceptions of curriculum and curriculum making. It offers a critique of existing thinking about curriculum making as something that occurs withinreified levels within an educational system. Such thinking often construes curriculum making as occurring through linear and hierarchical chains of command from policy to practice. Drawing upon previous conceptualizations of curriculum making, the chapter develops a new approach to understanding curriculum making. This is a heuristic rather than a normative framing; it is essentially non-linear, framed around the concept of intertwined sites of activity – supra, macro, meso, micro and nano – within complex systems, with curriculum making framed as types of activity rather than institutional functions.

Details

Curriculum Making in Europe: Policy and Practice within and Across Diverse Contexts
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-83867-735-0

Keywords

Content available
Book part
Publication date: 20 January 2021

Abstract

Details

Curriculum Making in Europe: Policy and Practice within and Across Diverse Contexts
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-83867-735-0

Book part
Publication date: 20 January 2021

Bob Lingard

The chapter demonstrates that one way to read recent developments in national curriculum in nations around the globe is as both expressions of and responses to…

Abstract

The chapter demonstrates that one way to read recent developments in national curriculum in nations around the globe is as both expressions of and responses to globalization. Additionally, the chapter argues that curriculum making today is affected by ever-changing imbrications between local, national, regional and global relationships. Examples of this include the curriculum impacts actual and potential of the OECD's testing regime and aspirations in relation to curriculum and the EU's creation of a European education policy space. The more recent rise of new nationalisms and ethnonationalism is seen to have potential impact on national curriculum. Some consideration is also given to the content of the curriculum and the contemporary focus on both disciplinary knowledge and on what sorts of people schools should produce; both it is argued are responses to globalization. The ways the message systems (curriculum, pedagogy and evaluation) sit in a symbiotic relationship with each other and the impact of the strengthened significance of international and large-scale assessments on the enactment of the curriculum are also documented. Some brief account is provided of the enhanced involvement of EdTech companies producing online curricula and the ways the pandemic has accelerated this development with the concerning potential for the privatization of the curriculum.

Details

Curriculum Making in Europe: Policy and Practice within and Across Diverse Contexts
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-83867-735-0

Keywords

Book part
Publication date: 20 January 2021

Ana Mouraz and Ariana Cosme

The aim of this chapter is twofold: first, it will discuss the roots and the aims of the curriculum reform launched in Portugal in 2017, suggesting that it shows the…

Abstract

The aim of this chapter is twofold: first, it will discuss the roots and the aims of the curriculum reform launched in Portugal in 2017, suggesting that it shows the influence of international policy borrowing. Secondly, it aims to present and to discuss the trends that this reform is putting in place, highlighting some successful practices as well some misconceptions and controversial practices. To accomplish such aims, it follows the analytical framework that inspires this book, namely the approach that understands curriculum making as a dynamic process of interactions between different layers of the system, emphasizing the meso and the micro layers of curriculum decision-making. The focus on the experimental period that this chapter narrates is also an opportunity to analyse dynamics among the layers of curriculum making.

Details

Curriculum Making in Europe: Policy and Practice within and Across Diverse Contexts
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-83867-735-0

Keywords

Book part
Publication date: 20 January 2021

Nienke Nieveen and Wilmad Kuiper

This chapter addresses the balancing act between curriculum guidance and curriculum space, against the backdrop of an integral curriculum review at the national/macro…

Abstract

This chapter addresses the balancing act between curriculum guidance and curriculum space, against the backdrop of an integral curriculum review at the national/macro level in the Netherlands, labelled ‘Curriculum.nu’. As part of this review initiative, many choices have to be made, reflecting answers to the following two questions: What balance is needed between curriculum regulation at the macro level and the provision of curricular space for schools at the meso and the micro level? And, what are the related responsibilities of all involved in the educational system web in order to make the curriculum change successful? Before getting to tentative answers, the chapter will provide an introduction to curriculum policy in the Netherlands and will offer an overview of the motives, aims, approaches and preliminary results of Curriculum.nu. The provisional answers include a set of research-informed principles for making the curriculum review efforts a success, including a call for dovetailing the various curriculum layers and for a strategic curriculum mix of room for school-specific decision-making, substantive guidance, support by exemplification and firm investments in professional development.

Details

Curriculum Making in Europe: Policy and Practice within and Across Diverse Contexts
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-83867-735-0

Keywords

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