Curriculum Definition

As part of an overarching strategy to align the work across Rhode Island, RIDE facilitated the development of a statewide definition of curriculum as a foundation for understanding and more equitable implementation.

Rhode Island is committed to ensuring all students have access to consistent and high-quality instructional materials.


Curriculum is a standards-based sequence of planned experiences where students practice and achieve proficiency in content and applied learning skills. Curriculum is the central guide for all educators as to what is essential for teaching and learning, so that every student has access to rigorous academic experiences. The structure, organization, and considerations in a curriculum are created in order to enhance student learning and facilitate instruction. Curriculum must include the necessary goals, methods, materials and assessments to effectively support instruction and learning.


Goals within a curriculum are the standards-based benchmarks or expectations for teaching and learning. Most often, goals are made explicit in the form of a scope and sequence of skills to be addressed. Goals must include the breadth and depth to which a student is expected to learn.


Methods are the instructional decisions, approaches, procedures, and routines that teachers use to engage all students in meaningful learning. These choices support the facilitation of learning experiences in order to promote a student’s ability to understand and apply content and skills. Methods are differentiated to meet student needs and interests, task demands, and learning environment. Methods are adjusted based on ongoing review of student progress towards meeting the goals. 


Materials are the tools selected to implement methods and achieve the goals of the curriculum. Materials are intentionally chosen to support a student's learning. Material choices reflect student interest, cultural diversity, world perspectives, and address all types of diverse learners.


Assessment in a curriculum is the ongoing process of gathering information about a student’s learning. This includes a variety of ways to document what the student knows, understands, and can do with their knowledge and skills. Information from assessment is used to make decisions about instructional approaches, teaching materials, and academic supports needed to enhance opportunities for the student and to guide future instruction.

Curriculum Definition Resources

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