Curriculum Mapping:

Based on the research of Hale, Dunlap(2010), and Hayes Jacobs (1997), curriculum mapping is the study of what is being taught - not only in a classroom but a school and across grade levels. The importance of mapping the curriculum is that it can be show where gaps are occurring between grade levels as well as where repetition is taking place and time is being lost. It involves a process of collecting data on the curriculum to identify the core skills being taught, the content being taught and the assessments that are being used to measure the content for each subject and grade level. At the end of the process the school will have a tool that will help teachers make plans for teaching what they need to teach and they will have information on what the students have been taught before and what they will be taught in the future.

Creating a curriculum map starts with data collection from each subject and grade level to determine what is being taught, how and how it is tested. Once this is done, a review of the maps within a subject across grade levels is done to look for gaps and repetitions. Gaps that are identified can then be addressed by the different grade levels to ensure that the students are actually being taught what they need. When the repetition of skills is found, teachers can decide what needs to be spiraled and what needs to be cut in certain subjects or grades. Although students need to practice and reinforce skills, the repeated teaching of a skill as if for the first time will can lead to boredom and is a waste of time.
Another important part of this mapping process is to look for opportunities for intergration and collaboration. By combining units or teaming with other subjects that are studing similar skills, teachers will be able to reinforce learning and students will be able to understand the relationship between subjects.
The maps should be compared with the assessments that the students are asked to take. The curriculum should reflect the standards and skills that are on the assessments so the map should reflect this as well. The results from the assessments should show evidence that the curriculum is appropriate and being taught. This will then lead to the last step which is to review and update the map as needed. A teacher and a school needs to update and change the map as needed to reflect new techniques and activites and to adjust as the data would lead.


Hayes Jacobs, H. (1997). Mapping the big picture: Integrating curriculum & assessment K–12. Alexandria, VA:
Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

Hale, Janet A & Dunlap, Richard F, Jr. (2010). An Educational Leader's Guide to Curriculum Mapping.

Jefferson County School System, Louisville, GA.

According to Jefferson County Schools, mapping allows for an increase in collaboration and the development of challenging lessons. They use the maps in their schools to ensure that all standards are being taught and to prepare for the assessments. The schools in Jefferson County use the maps to know what standards are being taught and then use benchmark assessments to find out what the students have learned. From these assessments the teachers will diffirentiate and provide support as well as review the map as a group to determine what adjustments are needed.

When a school leader decides to implement the use of curriculum mapping there are a few challenges that must be addressed. The first major one is the time needed to do address the curriculum, the map and to develop and plan as a subject or grade level. The leader must provide time and support for this to be done. The leader must also provide clear guidelines to get the teams started as many will not have experience in mapping. This will also require support through the year as the teachers are developing assessments and making adjustments. Lastly, a leader must commit to this plan over time in order for it to be fully and accurately developed. It takes the implementation of the map and the results of the assessments to really know what is working and what needs adjusting. This will take more than just a few months and it will require time to analyze each year.