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Case study of curriculum mapping implementation in one high school: Implications for practice and research

Shilling, Tamara
Scope and Method of Study:
The purpose of this qualitative case study was to explore the experiences and perspectives of the teachers and administrators implementing a curriculum mapping initiative to determine opportunities and challenges of the curriculum mapping process and suggest strategies for successful curriculum mapping implementation and sustainability. Eleven teachers and one school administrator were recruited for the study. Data collection procedures included semi-structured interviews, document analysis, and classroom observations. The constant comparative method of data analysis was used to examine recurring patterns and regularities across data and develop categories and themes.
Findings and Conclusions:
The findings illuminated both strengths and weaknesses of curriculum mapping. Curriculum mapping was viewed as an effective planning tool to ensure consistency and continuity of curriculum and alignment with state standards, thus providing "a safety net" for teachers. Participants also perceived mapping as a means to increase collaboration, cross-curricular integration, and communication with stakeholders. The weaknesses of mapping included exclusive emphasis on measurable objectives, reduced and test-driven curriculum, and difficulty of coming to consensus during the mapping process.
Despite some positive gains, curriculum mapping was neither fully implemented nor used to its full potential in the school setting. The barriers to curriculum mapping implementation involved time and money constraints, insufficient and inadequate training for mapping, low teacher buy-in, resistance to change, and inconsistent administrative support and leadership.
The strategies for successful implementation and sustainability of curriculum mapping were identified as follows: consistency of leadership and planning, provision of adequate resources and assistance, constant communication about the initiative, monitoring the implementation process, and maintaining a strategic balance between pressure and support.