Curriculum policy and curriculum development. Berit Karseth Higher Education 4210 22. November 2010. Outline of the lecture. Contesting discourses on curriculum in higher education
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Curriculum policy and curriculum development Berit Karseth Higher Education 4210 22. November 2010
Outline of the lecture • Contesting discourses on curriculum in higher education • Present different curriculum models in higher education with reference to Paula Ensor’s article and my own article on the reading list. • Discuss the role of the student within the different approaches • Present the idea of qualifications framework. Does this idea represent a new curriculum policy in higher education?
The scope of the curriculum field(Inspired by John I Goodlad et al. (1979), Curriculum Inquiry. The Study of Curriculum Practice. New York: McGraw-Hill.
The dominant narratives The alternative narratives Curricular formation and change
Slaughter, Sheila 1997 Class, race and gender and the construction of postsecondary curricula in the United State: social movement, professionalization and political economic theories of curricular change Journal of Curriculum Studies, Volume 29, no. 1, p. 1-30
Curriculum and its stakeholders: Different views and interests • External • Labor market • National State • Transnational institutions • Professional organizations • Social movements and interest groups • Internal • Students • Academics • Administrative and professional staff • Institutional leaders
Point of departure: Contesting curriculum discourses in higher education
Discourse Historically, socially and culturally specific bodies of meaning that constitute the meaning that events and experiences hold for social actors. A discourse is viewed as a set of statements which occur within an institutional setting and which make sense because of an oppositional relation to other discourses. Wetherell, M et al. 2001, Discourse and Data. A guide for analysis, Milton Keynes: The Open University. Wetherell, Met. al 2001 Discourse Theory and Practice. A reader. London: Sage Publications
Discourse analyses • A close study of language in use (language is constitutive: it is the site where meanings are created and changed • A study of patterns • A study of instituionalized ways of talking that regulate and reinforce action and thereby exert power
Methodologically, discourse analysis of policy texts does not tell us about the implementations of the policies in question as such, but it tells us which policy problems and goals are brought to the fore, and which are left aside. • Study of policy discourse involves questioning language dualistically, as both construing policy and being affected by it. Policy words are not mere rhetoric; they are policy, or, at the very least, ‘policies are textual interventions into practice’ (Ball 1993, 12) (From Saarinen 2008)
Paula Ensor’s article Research questions: • What is viewed from the perspectives of government and higher education institutions, as the most significant contemporary ideas for higher education curriculum reform? • How can we describe the implementation of policy on curriculum restructuring in faculties as science and humanities (undergraduate level)?
Questions addressed in my own article: • What kind of curriculum models exist in today’s higher education? • What are the main discourses behind these models? • Do we see a shift in curriculum policy that challenge institutional values and practices?
Participator Spectator Apprentice Consumer Active Passive Autonomous Risk-taker Risk- avoider Elite student Mass student The role of the student in different curriculum models
Educational policy discourses in Sweden 1992-2007Ljunggren, C and Öst, I (2008) Professional and Personal Responsibility in Higher Education. Utbildning och Demokrati , no 2, p. 13-50
The Bologna Process and qualifications frameworks : Purposes, promises and critical reflections
Why? (purposes and promises) Creation of a European Higher Education Area (EHEA) • Economic growth • Employability • Mobility • Competitiveness • Universal participation, lifelong learning and social cohesion
The Bologna meetings • (Sorbonne 1998– 4 European countries (France, Italy, UK and Germany)) • Bologna 1999, 29 countries • Prague 2001, 33 countries (including Turkey (70 mill)) • Berlin 2003, 40 countries (including Russian Federation (144 mill and 1146 accredited higher education institutions, 7 mill students)) • Bergen 2005, 45 countries (including Ukraine (46 mill)) • London 2007, 46 countries • Leuven 2009 • Vienna /Budapest 2010 (anniversary ) one country added (Kazakhstan) Countries party to the European Cultural Convention are eligible for membership • More than 5600 institutions and 31 million students
Objectives to be reach within the first decade of the third millennium agreed upon in 1999 • Adoption of a system of easily readable and comparable degrees, also through the implementation of the Diploma Supplement, in order to promote European citizens employability and the international competitiveness of the European higher education system • Adoption of a system essentially based on two main cycles, undergraduate and graduate. Access to the second cycle shall require successful completion of first cycle studies, lasting a minimum of three years. The degree awarded after the first cycle shall also be relevant to the European labour market as an appropriate level of qualification. • Establishment of a system of credits - such as in the ECTS system – as a proper means of promoting the most widespread student mobility. Credits could also be acquired in non-higher education contexts. • Promotion of mobility by overcoming obstacles to the effective exercise of free movement • Promotion of European co-operation in quality assurance with a view to developing comparable criteria and methodologies. • Promotion of the necessary European dimensions in higher education, particularly with regards to curricular development, inter-institutional co-operation, mobility schemes and integrated programmes of study, training and research.
Added objectives (or action lines to establish a European Higher Education by 2010) • Focus on lifelong learning (to face the challenges of competitiveness and to improve social cohesion, equal opportunities and the quality of life, Prague 2001) • Inclusion of higher education institutions and students in the process(Prague 2001) • Promotion of the attractiveness of the European Higher Education Area (Prague 2001) • Doctoral studies and the synergy between the European Higher Education Area and the European Research Area (Berlin 2003 and Bergen 2005)
The promising Bologna process: Cliff Adelman’s analysis • “has sufficient momentum to become the dominant global model of higher education within two decades” • For the Europeans “it was the only game in town” • “In 20 years, it will be the only game on the planet” • “Has become a teacher for the rest of the world’s higher education system” Adelman, C (2009) The Bologna Process for U.S. Eyes: Re-learning Higher Education in the Age of Convergence. Washington, DC: Institute for Higher Education Policy
How far have we reached?Source: Crosier, D, Purser, L & Smidt, H (2007) Trends V: Universities Shaping the European Higher Education Area. An EUA report. European University Association (a report to the Conference of Ministers in London 2007 • The overall aim is to create a European Higher Education Area that holds up: • Employability • Mobility • Attractiveness • Competitiveness in a global knowledge economy • Social inclusion, universal participation, • lifelong learning
Reasons for the shortcomings • What are your explanations?
EHEA in 2010? “Yet, the closer the 2010 becomes, the stronger the realisation that the processes set in motion will neither be fully achieved nor come to a sudden end. Indeed these processes represent major cultural shifts that have been under-estimated in many ways, and will take more time to be fully integrated into societal reality “ (Trends V p. 79)
Critical reflections on the difficulties • The inherent ambiguity and contradictions of the process • Education is the responsibility of the national states vs. European Higher Education Area • Diversity vs. standardization • Strong national and institutional traditions and mindsets • Reflect different compositions, ideas and sagas
Cont. • Recent history of Europe: Power relations • 70 years since the WW II • Less that 20 years since the end of the Soviet Union • 20 years since the fall of the Berlin Wall • The European recession • Defines the political agendas • The issue of language
Cont. • Misunderstandings, lack of information, adequate tools, procedures and structures • The Bologna process: A science fiction story?
Convergence: Narrow the variance • Between nation-states • Between types of higher education institutions • Between different programs (professional and liberal, old and new) • Between formal and informal learning (higher ED and labor market) Blurring the traditional boundaries
The context of the graduate program of pharmacy at the University of Oslo The Norwegian Association of Researchers (NAR)
Qualifications frameworks and the new architecture of higher education • Cycles • Learning outcomes • Quality assurance • Credits • Recognition • Life long learning Qualifications framework becomes an important intrument to reach the objectives of the Bologna process and EU by facilitating the transparency and portability of qualifications.
The vision (Adelman) : • The development of national qualifications framework will provide students with clear indications of what their paths through higher education look like, what levels of knowledge and skills will qualify them for degree awards, and what their degrees mean.
The importance of learning outcomes • Learning outcome is a written statement of what the successful student/learning is expected to be able at the end of the module /course unit or programme
A framework for Qualifications of The European Higher Education Area “Learning outcomes statements are typically characterised by the use of active verbs expressing knowledge, comprehension, application, analysis, synthesis and evaluation, etc. With ‘outcomes-based approaches’, they have implications for qualifications, curriculum design, teaching, learning and assessment, as well as quality assurance. They are thus likely to form an important part of 21st century approaches to higher education (and, indeed, to education and training generally) and the reconsideration of such vital questions as to what, whom, how, where and when we teach and assess.” (Bologna Working Group on Qualification Framework (2005). Ministry of Siceince, Technology and Innovation, Copenhagen, p. 38)
Qualifications frameworks • European Qualifications Framework (EQF) • Facilitate mobility and lifelong learning (8 levels) • Bologna Qualifications Framework • Dublin Descriptors (3 plus 1 level) • National Qualifications Framework EAPF, University of Oslo, June 19, 2009
Two European Qualifications frameworks • Bologna Framework • Knowledge and understanding • Applying knowledge and understanding • Making judgments • Communication skills • Learning skills • ”can communicate information, ideas, problems and solutions to both specialist and non-specialist audiences” (first cycle) • EQF • Knowledge • Skills • Competence (in terms of responsibility and autonomy) • ”Take responsibility for managing professional development of individuals and groups” (level 6 – should correspond with first cycle)
FROM THE BOLOGNA FRAMEWORK Qualifications that signify completion of the first cycle are awarded to students who: • have demonstrated knowledge and understanding in a field of study that builds upon their general secondary education, and is typically at a level that, whilst supported by advanced textbooks, includes some aspects that will be informed by knowledge of the forefront of their field of study; • can apply their knowledge and understanding in a manner that indicates a professional approach to their work or vocation, and have competences typically demonstrated through devising and sustaining arguments and solving problems within their field of study; • have the ability to gather and interpret relevant data (usually within their field of study) to inform judgments that include reflection on relevant social, scientific or ethical issues; • can communicate information, ideas, problems and solutions to both specialist and non-specialist audiences; • have developed those learning skills that are necessary for them to continue to undertake further study with a high degree of autonomy.
Qualifications framework – a new curriculum policy in higher education? • Curriculum issues that used to be dealt with on an institutional level have become political issues on a national and international level • Emphasis on learning outcome • The underlying curriculum assumption represents a critique of a content driven curriculum approach. Karseth, Berit (2008) Oualifications frameworks for the European HIhger Education Aera: a new instrumentalism or ‘Much Ado about Nothing’? Learning and Teaching, vol. 1(2) 77-101.
Qualifications frameworks – a successful story so far? • The “deadline to have completed the implementation of NQFs for higher education by 2010 appears to have been too ambitious. Measuring success against the expectations for 2010, the picture is now less optimistic than it was in 2007..developing and describing learning outcomes is one of the greatest challenges that the EHEA will face over the next few years. …It seems that there is not enough integration at national level between the qualifications framework, learning outcomes and ECTS…. In attempting to improve their practice on each individual indicator, many countries continued to pursue these action lines separately. … • Bologna process StocktakingLeuven/Louvain-la-Neuve 2009, p 7 and p. 41)
The key point is to design curricula and to foster teaching methods that promote the learning of competencies and skills that are needed in tomorrow’s economy, including in the re-gulated professions. The employers’ engagement in the design of curricula is a way of tuning programme provisions in such a way that they are relevant for the labour market. However, programme construction will still have to pay attention to the longer term needs of society for the provision of important centres of knowledge and research regardless of a more immediate context. Moreover, institutions of higher education contribute to the identification of competences and skills of relevance for the labour market. This is a delicate balance to strike, but nevertheless there is a need to encourage a more systematic dialogue between higher education institutions and employers (Bologna Beyond 2010:10).