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Curriculum

Definition
The purpose of this assignment is to analyse a course which I currently teach on and
identify key characteristics of the syllabus relating to curriculum theory and practice. In
addition to this it is my intention to define curriculum and analyse key theories relating to
curriculum design and development. First and foremost a definition of curriculum is required.
Quoting the Oxford English Dictionary, (OED) Tummons (2011: 4) defines curriculum as:
A course; specifically, a regular course of study or training, as at a school or
University.
The OED definition is reasonably limited and vague with this in mind additional definitions
are required. Quoting Stenhouse (1981:4) Avis, et.al (2009: 103) offer a slightly more
comprehensive definition of curriculum:
A curriculum is an attempt to communicate the essential principles and features
of an educational proposal in such a form that it is open to critical scrutiny and
capable of effective translation into practice.
Both the OED and Stenhouse are essentially referring to course or syllabus and there
are many other aspects of the curriculum which require discussion. The definition identified
by Kelly (2009: 7) the term curriculum can be, and is, used, for many different kinds of
programme of teaching and instruction is even more broad in its definition and really takes a
step back from the specific syllabus and considers the institution as a whole rather than the
specific course. As can be seen there are a several schools of thought with regards to the
definition of curriculum.
In the example of Hull College the curriculum is identified on three levels:

The entire college curriculum

The departmental curriculum

The specific course curriculum

In the United Kingdom state run secondary and primary schools adhere to a National
curriculum, that is, a standardised syllabus across the entire country. This standardisation is
intended to establish uniformed content ensuring subjects which are considered important
are covered (Tummons, 2009: 81). Additionally, the national curriculum allows comparability
across schools allowing for the identification of institutions who do not meet these required
standards. The department for education states the following key points in reference to the
national curriculum:

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1. All maintained schools in England are required to follow the National

Curriculum;
2. The requirements for maintained schools are set out in the primary
curriculum subjects and secondary curriculum subjects sections; and
3. Although academies and Free Schools are not required to follow the National
Curriculum, they are required to provide a broad and balanced curriculum
which includes English, mathematics, science and religious education.
Beyond this, they have the freedom to design a curriculum which meets their
pupils needs, aspirations and interests.
(Dfee, 2012)
In the example of further education and higher education institutions the national
curriculum does not apply. The majority of FE Colleges often offer courses which are
supplied by a nationally recognised awarding body such as OCR and Edexcel; however, HE
institutions develop their own curriculum and often offer these courses to associated
institutions acting as an awarding body. The main issue which occurs with awarding bodies
such as Edexcel is the wide reaching array of modules which the college may choose from.
Although the qualifications are considered equal the skill set developed by each student will
be hugely differ. The modules chosen by the college will more than likely be influenced by
the skill set by the teaching staff.
Although there is a distinct lack of standardisation in the HE and FE sectors there are
some government initiatives which have seen some change to this issue. The first initiative
which comes to mind is the skills for life reform brought about from the influential Moser
Report published in 1999 (Avis et.al, 2010: 117). The Moser report highlighted the huge
deficiencies in basic numeracy and literacy skills amongst adults. In response the
government established a new strategy to tackle this issue, something which is incorporated
into a colleges curriculum.
With the above statements highlighting the deficiency in HE standardisation it does raise
some questions regarding the comparability of the qualifications students receive. This is a
concern which considered by the coalition government though the use of Unistats website
allowing students to compare Universities (Wyness, 2012). This lack of standardisation has
been identified by Hull College with reference to external applications and will also be
discussion in this paper. Before this can take place it is necessary to return to the theory of
curriculum and consider the pathway an institution has to take when developing a curriculum
of study.
Curriculum Development

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As mentioned above it is important to discuss key consideration an institution makes


when developing a curriculum. This section will analyse key curriculum concepts, curriculum
theory and also current government initiatives.
Curriculum as product VS curriculum as process
The first point to consider is the aim of the curriculum and what its intention is. This
can be defined in several ways:

Curriculum as product

Curriculum as process

The curriculum content model

The situational model

However, for the purpose of this discussion Intend to focus on the two most heavily
discussed models: Curriculum as product and curriculum as process.
Curriculum as product
The school of thought associated with curriculum as product is essentially an
objective based curriculum which focuses on the achievements of the student. (Tummons,
2011:23). This kind of curriculum model was hugely influenced by Ralf Tyler and his four
questions:
1. What are the educational purposes of the curriculum? What are its aims and
objectives?
2. Which learning experiences will help these aims and objectives to be attained?
3. How should these experiences be best organised so that the curriculum is as
effective as it can be?
4. How should the curriculum be evaluated? Which parts of it were not effective?
(Tummons, 2011: 24)
In essence this model is focused around final summative assessments or exams and
is very objective based. There are some serious issues with this model which are highlighted
by Kelly (2009: 71). Kelly states that due to the inclusion of linear sequencing and the
instrumental modelling, discussed below, there is a distinct loss of teacher and pupil
freedom. This model is often associated with the behaviourist approach to learning and is
very attractive model (Armitage et.al, 2000:170) however, it is not appropriate for every
course.

Curriculum as process
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This model is focused on the developmental process the student undertakes and is
more focused on students ability to use and develop the content not just receives it
passively (Armitage et.al, 2000: 170). As with the product, the process model was developed
by an influential theorist, discussed above, Lawrence Stenhouse. These points are
discussed by Tummons (2011: 23) quoting Stenhouse. He argued that any curriculum
should consist of three components:
1. Principles for planning a curriculum, in terms of content, teaching strategies and
sequencing;
2. Principles for researching a curriculum, in terms of researching and evaluating the
experiences of both teachers and students, and the context within which the
curriculum is delivered;
3. A justification of the curriculum which stands up to external critical scrutiny.

(Tummons, 2011: 23)


This model is a reasonably useful model for subjects such as music as the focus is
on the development of the individual student throughout the course and not just the final
results. There are some issues which are discussed by Armitage et.al (2000:170). Armitage
states that there is a reliance on the teacher displaying a high degree of professional ability
and understanding of the key concepts and criteria within their subject specialism. This may
be an issue with new teachers whose knowledge is still developing however this may be
overcome by continuing professional development which is a key part of a teachers job.
The two schools of thought listed above are heavily discussed idioms; however there
are other aspects of the curriculum which require some consideration. These include the
hidden curriculum, the planned and receive curriculum and the formal and informal
curriculum. (Kelly, 2009: 9-13). It is necessary to discuss these before an analysis of a
curriculum offered at my placement can commence.
The total curriculum
The total curriculum refers to the entire sum of courses offered by the institution. It is
argued by Kelly that when discussing curriculum it is often attributed to the individual course
syllabus and not what the entire institution offers. (Kelly, 2009: 9) As mentioned above the
curriculum is considered on three levels at Hull College and thus the planning process is
carried out accordingly. The courses offered by the college are intended to be wide ranging
and offer a full range of study. In addition to this, the curriculum offered by the music
department is required to also meet this ethos and again be wide ranging but specifically in
the field of music.
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The hidden curriculum


Essentially refers to the elements of the course students learn which are not included
in the curriculum and often out of the consciousness of those who are plan the courses.
These could be social skills, attitudes towards equality and diversity and life skills. (Kelly,
2009: 10). When dealing with younger students developing these key social skills is
essential in helping them make the transition from the formalised setting of a school into the
somewhat autonomy of the College.
The planned and received curriculum
The planned and received curriculum is essentially the void between what is planned,
written down, and what is received the student. There are many causes for this void this may
be conscious and unconscious factors. Institutions may deliberately deceive students in
order to make their courses more attractive (Kelly, 2009: 11) or this may be down to a factor
of the resources and maintenance of these resources available at the institution.
Formal and informal curriculum
Formal and informal curriculum is difference between the formal activities, often
timetabled, and the informal activities such as; voluntary help, mentoring, additional support
often referred to as extra-curricular activities (Kelly, 2009: 12). These activities are an
essential part of a teachers job but are yet cannot be defined as part of a curriculum.
Negotiated curriculum
The negotiated refers to a course in which students have some control over what
they study. This kind model may allow students to identify what they wish to study and the
best course of action. There may be some issues, the chosen area of needs to fit within the
criteria of the examination body and also the student group would have to be in agreement
(Tummons, 2011:12).
The views above are discussed by theorists Kelly and Tummons, however there is
another aspect which does require some discussion; the relationship between vocational
education and academic education.
Academic vs. vocational debate
The final area of curriculum theory I intend to analyse is the academic vs. vocational
debate, one of which regularly occurs. The main theory behind vocational training is that the
education is targeted towards a specific occupation. Typical vocational courses include:

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beauty therapy, catering, construction and engineering. However the academic curriculum
covers subjects such as maths, history and sociology Add reference here. A recent poll
carried out by yougov highlighted a distinct lack of vocational study in universities in the UK.
55% of adults in the UK believed too many people studied narrowly academic subjects
(Burns, 2012). With this in mind there is an indication that some kind of reform is required.
However, not every subject is open to vocational training so careful consideration is
required.
In addition to the above there are some reasonably older educational ideologies (Avis
et.al, 2010:108) which also require some brief discussion:

Academicism: academicism focuses on the high status of knowledge for elites

Liberalism: is in contrast to academicism in which it focuses on making knowledge


accessible to all.

Progressivism: places the emphasis on the learner, often referred to as romanticism

Democratic; democratic school of thought focuses on changing the societal and


economic relations

Instrumentalism: instrumentalism main school of thought is in the improving existing


societal and economic relations
(Avis, et.al. 2010:108)

Course sequencing
The final area of curriculum design to consider is the sequence of the curriculum. The
three most popular models are as follows (Tummons, 2011: 51):

Linear sequencing

Thematic Sequencing

Spiral Sequencing

Linear
Linear sequencing is essentially the sequencing where subjects are studied, often in
order of difficulty or complexity. Once subjects have been studied and assessed they are not
studied again.
Spiral Sequencing
Spiral sequencing focuses on the theory that topics are studied again but at a greater
depth. The subjects may also be studied more critically over a longer period. This allows

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students to gain a basic overview of the main subjects in order to allow study to be
undertaken in a holistic manner. (Tummons, 2011: 51)
Thematic Sequencing
Thematic has some similarities to spiral sequencing in which students return to key
subjects. These core or key subjects are studied through the entire programme while new
subjects are introduced into the course. These key subjects provide an underpinning for
everything students study throughout the course.
As can be seen there are a great deal of decisions required of the institution when
developing a curriculum. With this in mind I feel it is now appropriate to discuss a current
course I am teaching in order to carry out a full analysis and to put into context the theories
discussed above. Additionally it is clear that there is no definitive definition of curriculum so
for the purposes of this assignment I will be referring to curriculum as the individual course
syllabus.
For the purpose of this assignment I have decided to carry out an analysis of the Hull
College Foundation Degree in Music Performance, accredited by Leeds Metropolitan
University. First and foremost it is necessary to analyse the Foundation degree programme
offered by Hull College in order to identify the modules offered and also to analyse their
significance to student development.
Below is the module list for the first year of the foundation degree at Hull College:
Hull College Foundation Degree Music (Performance)
Year 1

Year 2

Personal Professional Development 1

Personal Professional Development 3

Personal Professional Development 2

Personal Professional Development 4

Work Related Learning 1

Work Related Learning 3

Work Related Learning 2

Work Related Learning 4

Performance Musicianship

Stylistic Performance

Audio Recording

Music Research

Contemporary Musicianship

Solo Performance Techniques

Popular Music Showcase

Popular Music Performance


(Leeds Metropolitan University, 2012)

As can be seen the modules are wide reaching and do offer elements of vocational
training in addition to the development of core academic skills. Essentially the course, in
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addition to these core modules, is intended to develop students musical skills in key areas.
What is worth noting is the Popular Music Performance module. This indicates that the
course is relevant and current.
To consider the development of the module it is necessary to identify its key features.
First and foremost it can be argued the course is a combination of both process and product
models. Although the course ultimately accumulates in assessed submissions there are
elements which focus on the development process the students undergo whilst on the
programme. This is highlighted with the modules submissions; in many cases, particularly
the work related learning modules, students are required to submit a portfolio highlighting the
developmental process undertaken to produce a finished product.
Additionally all modules also require students to create a critical reflective evaluation
highlighting their own development process. A big part of the music degree is the
identification of personal development points in order to address them appropriately.
Negotiated curriculum
As with the models the sequencing is a combination of two types: thematic and
linear. This is identified through the modules selected for the course. The subject specific
modules are generally studied once which can be related to the linear sequencing model.
However, there are two modules: Work Related Learning and Personal Professional
Development which are thematic in their structure, as in they are studied each semester
increasing in complexity and depth.
Work related learning is focused on professional industry roles in which students
undertake tasks relating to these. Work related one sees students develop a promotion
campaign for a local unsigned artist. Students are expected to deal with this artist
professional along with local media outlets.

This module helps students to develop

interpersonal skills, professionalism, communication skills and promotes team work. All of
these skills can be considered parts of the hidden curriculum.
Each time students study similar material but to a greater depth and with more
autonomy. This is similar with the Personal Professional Development modules; students
under undergo academic study relating to submissions for that semester. Each semester the
depth of study increases accumulating in a final dissertation in year three.
Both the Personal Professional Development and Work Related Learning modules
highlight the inclusion of Vocational and Academic training included in one course.

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According to the award specifications the Personal Professional Development modules are
intended to:
.enable students to acquire and develop a range of skills including
transferable, personal, interpersonal, academic and subject specific skills
that will enable them to succeed in their chosen field of study.
(Leeds Metropolitan University, 2012)
Although all these skills are discussed as part of the curriculum it can be argued they
can be considered part of the, above mentioned, hidden curriculum.
The Work Related Learning models are intended to:
..give students the opportunities to develop an understanding of the music
industry, its legalities, its organisation, and its practical application.
(Leeds Metropolitan University, 2012)
It is obvious that the course has been designed to tackle the problematic issue which
relates to academic vs. vocational training. With the music industry being reasonably hard to
gain employment the course has been designed to provide students with an insight into the
various roles within the industry. Additionally, the Work Related Learning six module,
conducted in the third year of the course, has students developing their own businesses
encouraging entrepreneurship beyond the degree.
Curriculum Evaluation

Reasoning
The final part of curriculum which requires some attention is the evaluative process
which occurs on a regular basis. Curriculum evaluation is an important process to really
evaluate how effective the curriculum is, how it is being managed and delivered (Tummons,
2011: 56). First and foremost it is important to consider the elements of the curriculum and
their effectiveness. Tummons states that the curriculum should be evaluated through the
following outputs:

Material resources

Successes and failures

Employer feedback

Distance Travelled

Moderation and Verification

Students

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The above methods offer an opportunity to assess the full curriculum and its
effectiveness. A primary evaluation which is required is the assessment of resources, both
material and staffing. In the case of Hull College, all equipment is maintained by an engineer
and yearly assessment of the equipment is carried out in order to inform any equipment
which requires repair or replacement. Additionally staff are continually monitored and offered
continuing professional development opportunities which will ultimately extend the
curriculum opportunities (Tummons, 2011: 56). In addition to these points, many of the staff
is employed due to their industry experience thus bring insight and knowledge regular
teaching staff cannot.
Another vital part of the assessment process is the Moderation and Verification.
Combining both internal and external moderation provides accurate feedback to both staff
and department regarding the effectiveness of the teaching and curriculum. This then allows
for further research and development where necessary (Tummons, 2011: 57). Hull College
regularly conduct internal observations and more less formal Learning Walk in which
supporting feedback is provided in accordance with the Ofsted grading criteria.
In addition to the above Avis, et.al, (2010: 242-243) considers various models from
theories such as Tyler, Eisner, Scriven and Kirkpatricks four level model which reviews:
1. Reactions of learners
2. Actual Learning- resulting increase in knowledge/skills
3. Transfer of Behaviour- improvement in real life behaviours
4. Results- impact on organisation
Reactions of the Learners
The reactions of the learners are a key point to consider. It is important that the
content is appropriate for its intended audience. If unsuitable material is used students may
become dejected and student numbers may drop which would affect student retention.
Actual Learning
The actual learning is something which would be continually assessed though
formative assessments. Students general competence and development can be identified
throughout the course through a series of assessments and the general development of
knowledge.
Transfer of Behaviour

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Transfer of behaviour really assesses the development of professional standards of


students. This can be measured through formative and summative assessment. For many
students the transition into autonomous learning encouraged at degree level can be
reasonably difficult so it is important that it is monitored.
Results
The results are ultimately the final grades students achieve. If there was a module
which regularly achieved a low grade there some concern would be raised and appropriate
redevelopment of that module would be carried out.
Evaluation methods
A Curriculum can be assessed through several avenues, these are as follows:

Questionnaires;

Inspections;

Observations of teaching;

Staff-student committees;

Self-assessment reports;

Document audits.
(Tummons, 2011:58)
A combination of all of these methods allows the college to build up a picture of the

current curriculum and highlight any areas which require development. Hull College regularly
carries out departmental meetings to discuss the curriculum and any potential areas which
require attention. In addition students are interview once their programme of study is
complete and quizzed on their experience. A method discussed by Tummons is that
students may be asked to rate a series of questions on a 1-5 scale. This data can then be
complied and analysed. (Tummons, 2011:59)
A recent meeting at Hull College has highlighted a common trend which will be the
basis of my next discussion. It has been highlighted that students who come to the college to
study towards the BA top up having completed a Higher National Diploma at another
institution. It has been noted that in key academic subjects, students grades differ quite
extensively between internal and external applicants. With this in mind I feel a brief analysis
of this is required.
The common qualification held by external applications is, the previously mentioned,
Higher National Diploma produced by Edexcel. This HND is similar in structure to that of a
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BTEC in which there are core modules which are required and the rest of the qualification is
made up of various modules which the institution may choose from. With big differences
between this and the foundation degree discussed above it does raise the question to
whether standardisation is something should be introduced across Higher Education
institutions.
The modules which are studied at Wakefield College are as follows;
Year 1

Year 2

Music in Context

Creative Arts Research

Music Performance

Band Rehearsal and Performance Skills

Music Health and the Law

Preparation Process and Production

Song Writing Techniques

Critical Music Listening

Music Studio Production

Composing for Film in the 21st Century

Music Technology

The Music Business

Principles of Musical Sound

Composition in Context
Applied Music Production

As can be seen it is quite clear that the course is wide reaching in its subjects. However, it is
evident there is a distinct lack of academia and vocational study. Although students to
undergo modules which discuss vocational areas there is a lack of realisation.
For example The music Business in the 21st century module has the following learning
outcomes:

LO1- Understand the roles and responsibilities of music business organisations

LO2- Understand the principles of copyright and royalties

LO3- Understand how music businesses work

LO4- Understand the management of a portfolio career.


(Edexcel, 2010: 129)
Although the module covers the key concepts of the music business students do not

have the opportunity to put into practice these areas of study. When compared with the Work
Related Learning modules offered by Hull College the students learn the same concepts but
in addition put into practice these with the planned projects.

A second point to consider is the, above mentioned, distinct lack of academic study.
Throughout the foundation degree programme at Hull College students are encouraged to
engage in academic writing in order to develop their skills in preparation for the impending
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dissertation in year three. The HND does offer two academic modules Creative Arts
Research and Music in Context. Due to the linear sequencing of this course students are
limited in their opportunities to build upon previous learnt knowledge in these areas. On the
other hand the Hull College degree incorporates thematic sequencing which encourages
students to build upon their previously learnt knowledge in order to develop their skills.
Additionally these skills thought are thought to be transferable allowing students to use them
in a whole range of professions.

The question which really arises is whether or not standardisation is something which
should be implemented. With the National Curriculum intended to equalise all qualifications
should the same be applied to Higher Education institutions?

In a recent interview with Craig Steer (recording available upon request), music
course leader at Hull College I posed this question. Craig has had some involvement in the
redevelopment of the Edexcel syllabus in an effort to tackle to issues with the lack of
academic study. When discussing the issue of standardisation a great number of potential
barriers were discussed and the general consensus was that standardisation potentially
does not work. This is for several reasons, mainly staffing and resources. It can be argued
that when teaching a course from an Edexcel syllabus institutions develop their courses
based around the expertise of the teaching staff. For standardisation to be effective the
knowledge of all teaching staff would have to be equal which in reality would be difficult to
achieve and possibly at the expense of the students. However, it can be argued that more
could be done to incorporate academic subjects into the courses.

Although it is evident that there is no universal standardisation across the county


there is some limited amount of control. With institutions who act as awarding bodies they do
have strict criteria in which institutions have to adhere to. All of these courses have been
designed to be in keeping within the government initiatives so to a lesser extent
standardisation does exist.

Foundation Degree Curriculum Evaluation


For the evaluation of the foundation degree it is necessary to consider appropriate
models for evaluation. Two commonly discussed models are Derek Wises Sweet Model
and Tony Nastas evaluative questions. For the purpose of this assignment I am going to
carry out an analysis on the Foundation Degree using both models to allow for a discussion
and comparison. Additionally I intended to analyse a curriculum evaluation supplied by the
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College. First and foremost it is necessary to analyse the Hull College mission statement.
The 2012/13 Strategic operations are as follows

1. To provide an excellent personalised learning experience


2. To provide an innovative range of products and services meeting the needs of students
and employers locally, nationally and internationally
3. To deliver technical, professional and academic progression pathways from entry to
postgraduate level
4. To promote and embed shared values creating high performance and a culture of
responsibility and trust
5. To ensure financial viability, sustainability and provide outstanding value for money
6. To maximise enterprising partnerships to achieve growth and employability.
(Hull College, 2012)
As can be seen the mission statement states the wide reaching aims of the college.
What is important is point three. The college does offer a wide array of courses which are
intended to encompass a mixture of vocational and academic pathways. Additionally the
college has the ability to take students from entry level 1 right through to Post graduate level.
Wises model of evaluation considers the following:

Strengths

Weaknesses

Efficiency

Effectiveness

The value

To date this model is unpublished but is highly regarded (Exeter University, 2008). The
second model which I intend to use is Tony Nastas evaluative model which is based around
the following considerations:

Quality- this is the focus upon the effectiveness and success of the course from the
points of view of students and staff
Accessibility- This focuses upon the ways in which the course is meeting or failing to
meet the needs of the client group for whom it was intended.
Validity- This is concerned with whether or not the course remains relevant of the
occupational context for which it was designed, which means whether or not it
continues to satisfy the needs of the industry or employers.
(Gray, et.al, 2005:101)

Nastas model is focused around the analysis of vocational qualification but it is


reasonably adaptable so can be used in several contents (Gray, et.al, 2005:101). To

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effectively evaluate these two models it is necessary implement them on the Foundation
degree.
Derek Wises S.W.E.E.T model
Hull College Foundation Degree- Music Performance
Strengths
The main strengths of this course are the wide reaching range of subjects. This is
mainly focused around the combination of academic, subject specialist and vocational areas
of study providing students with a full overview of the music industry and a set of
transferable skills. The models chosen on this course are wide reaching and students
generally engage well and are able to identify the decisions behind the course content. Due
to the combination of thematic and linear sequencing the key core subjects and constantly
being developed whist still providing a broad overview of the music spectrum. The current
retentions and progression onto the BA programme is currently at 93% with more applicants
being accepted externally.
Weaknesses
Although there were a great deal of support and understanding for the modules on
the course there were a few students who were unable to identify the significance to these
subjects and there was some resistance to participate. The main module which caused
issues was the Creative musicianship. Students analysed various music styles from the 20th
century western art movement. This module accumulated in a composition and performance
of a work. The narrow minded field of this subject appealed to a relatively small selection of
the teaching group, this is highlighted in the results from this module. The other module
which caused some issue was the work related learning modules. Having students working
in groups did cause some problems with students regularly missing class.
Efficiency
Due to the thematic and linear design of the course there are a great deal of reusable
resources reducing the need to partake in constant redesign and redevelopment. It is
important to consider the content; with the music industry constantly developing it is
important to ensure the content is relevant and up to date. The areas where the course may
need some consideration is with regards to the amount of hand outs supplied. To reduce
excessive printing costs various resources should be made available online. All the teaching

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staff is very well trained and it is obvious that the staffing allocation has been made to the
teachers strengths.
Effectiveness
The effectiveness of the foundation degree is clearly highlighted in the grades and
student retention. As mentioned, the current retention onto the BA top up is currently 93%
highlighting the effectiveness of the teaching. This is also highlighted at the end of every
module through student feedback in which students are to critically evaluate their work in
order to develop an action plan for development. In addition to these processes, students
are asked to complete a questionnaire in order to grade the course, teaching staff, resources
and the effectiveness of the module. It can be argued that the student reviews are often not
reliable as questions are sometimes filled out in such a way which is representing a personal
attack against a tutor or module.
The value to those involved (value added)
Although not all the content was popular with all students there was a great deal of
value added. First and foremost was the introduction to a great deal of musical areas which
may have been out of the knowledge of the student group. In addition, with the vocational
modules such as work related learning students were provided with the opportunity to work
with outside companies and in many cases lasting working relationships have been
developed which has led to employment. With the personal professional development
modules students have had the opportunity to develop their academic skills enabling them to
build up a set of transferable skills which may be useful should they want to seek
employment out of the music spectrum. Finally students have had the opportunity to work
closely with a great deal of musicians developing their own musical ability, interpersonal and
communication skills.
The above evaluation provides a brief insight into the foundation degree as an
example. Should this model be used, more in depth analysis of each element of the course
would be carried out.
As can be seen the S.W.E.E.T is a reasonably good model in which to evaluate a
curriculum and is easily transferable from the analysis of a single lesson to the evaluation of
an entire colleges curriculum. There are a few issues with this module which do need
discussing. The model is very descriptive in its nature and can easily become very
opinionated rather than analytical. Secondly, this module is seriously lacking any analysis of
data and statistics; however, this may be due to my reasonably limited course evaluation.

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I now intend to analyse the course using Nastas points listed above:

Quality
To consider the course from a quality point of view it is necessary to analyse it from
both the student and staff point of view. First and foremost it is important to consider the
general student feedback. The 1st Year foundation degree feedback is as follows (question
sheet is provided in my appendix (2):
Question
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14

Average response
C
B
B
C
B
B
B
C
B
C
B
B
B
B

As can be seen the feedback is reasonably good and the students are generally
satisfied with the course. The feedback also highlights that the content was relevant and
students were able to engage with the content and identify and understand its significance.
To consider the staff feedback I have included a module evaluation for analysis (appendix
1). The feedback is reasonably limited for individual module however it does contribute
towards a full curriculum evaluation which takes place at the end of every academic year. It
is useful in providing some insight as to the thoughts of the staff.

Accessibility
The next focus is on the appropriateness of the course for its intended audience. The
course is marketed as a popular music course with a focus on contemporary music which
does attract a select range of students. In Comparison Hull University offers a more
academic route with the focus on more orchestral based instrumentation. The specialist
content focuses popular music ranging from the 1950s to current musical trends. This is

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reflected in the work related learning and specialist modules. The course does meet the
expectations of the students and the ethos of the college well.
Validity
The validity of the course really needs to be analysed considering the potential
occupational roles within the music industry. It is widely known that the music industry is
reasonably cut throat so an exploration into the various potential roles within the music
industry is a key part of the course. Modules such as Work related learning provide an
insight into these roles and also overviews the responsibilities involved. This module also
allows students to simulate these roles working with external companies and their peers on
reasonably substantial projects. The personal professional development modules are
intended to develop students transferable skills which may be useful for a whole range of
professions in and out of the music industry. Although the course is considered a popular
music course the subject specialist modules are intended to be wide reaching in order to
inform students of other potential pathways which they may wish to explore.
In comparison to Wises SWEET model, Nastas model allows for more analysis
however it could be argued that more depth of analysis is available when using Wises
model. When considering both models it is easy to see both have various advantages and
disadvantages with this in mind, colleges may use a combination of a few models to ensure
all the angles of discussion are covered.
Current Curriculum Policy and Initiatives
As can be seen my study into curriculum has been reasonably substantial, however a
great deal of my study has been into existing theoretical study. With this in mind I feel it is
now appropriate to consider current changes and initiatives which may have an effect on the
curriculum in my placement.
The English Baccalaureate
The most prominent of these initiatives is the controversial English Baccalaureate, devised
by the current secretary for state, Michael Grove. The English Baccalaureate (Ebacc) was
intended to replace GCSEs the Ebacc focuses on core subjects such as: English,
Mathematics, a foreign language, two sciences and geography or history. The main issue
which has occurred is the distinct lack of study into the arts and sports.
Quoting Russell Hobby, general secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers,
Paton (2012) discusses this problem:
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There is an obvious gap in the new proposals the need to encourage breadth of
learning and development through participation in sport, culture, arts and
volunteering. (Paton, 2012)
To consider this point, it is necessary to consider the above mentioned national curriculum.
Point states that the curriculum offered by a school needs to provide a broad and balanced
curriculum. By focusing on core subjects and omitting arts from the curriculum it could be
argued the new EBacc was in contradiction of its own policies.
On the 7th of February 2013 it was announced that the EBacc would due to opposition from
the liberal democrats and a cacophony of opposition from educators and various bodies
across the UK (Paton, 2012).
If the EBacc had been successfully introduced it could have had a dramatic effect on the
post compulsory sector. With students being steered away or schools focusing their attention
on these core subjects there could have been a large drop in applications into further
education establishments.
Conclusion
To conclude it is necessary to consider both theorists conclusions and also my own
conclusion based on the content of this assignment. Additionally, it is important to consider
what the future may hold for the curriculum. First point of call would be to consider the
theorists discussions.
To summarise the theory of curriculum is complex and problematic. No one solution is
suitable for every institution so each curriculum requires design and development on its own
merit. Neary discusses four basic questions which require discussion relating to the
curriculum:
1. What is the purpose of the curriculum?
2. What subjects are to be included?
3. What learning experiences and college organisation are to be provided?
4. How are the results to be assessed / evaluated?
(Neary, 2003:231)
These are the key thoughts which need to be considered when devising a new
curriculum and it can be argued provide the key basis of all curriculum study. The curriculum
needs to be also considered as a whole taking on board the following points:

Development

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Management

Evaluation

Employability

Regional needs

Industry needs

These points are key areas for consideration when looking at the curriculum that an
institution offers. It is important that the curriculum is balanced in a similar fashion to that of
the national curriculum but also meet the industry and employment needs of the local area.
This idiom of Balance is discussed by Kelly (1989:230) cited in Neary (2003:231):
We will all have our own view of what constitutes a balanced curriculum and
what that view is will in turn depend on what we see as the fundamental
principles of education. We must begin, therefore, by recognising this and
noting the essential and problematic value element in all educational debate.
Neary (2003:231
With this in mind the curriculum is continually developing and being re-evaluated to ensure it
remains relevant both for the regional and national needs but also with reference to the
industry.
Where the future of curriculum is concerned, the Ebacc posed biggest threat to the
future of FE and HE music education. Since this initiative has now been quashed Since the
Ebacc initiative has been concept has now been quashed there is some hope for the future
of music education. However, with budget cuts to the arts the future is reasonably uncertain
where post compulsory music education is concerned. With this in mind, Hull College has
been designated a Studio School in which students are offered an alternative environment in
which to study towards their GCSEs rather than a mainstream school. Whilst in the studio
school the college has decided to offer a few specialism pathways for students, one of which
is performing arts.

This is hugely beneficial to the institution as there are increased

opportunities for retention increasing student numbers across the majority of subjects
including music. Additionally there is the added bonus of the funding each student brings.
My discussion now returns to the content of this assignment. It is reasonably obvious
that the study of curriculum is problematic; as it is so diverse and complex. For this reason
institutions employ full time curriculum managers to develop the curriculum for the college
based on the economic and employment surroundings. In addition to this, there are also
curriculum leaders in place to manage the subject specific curriculums.

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When planning an entire college curriculum the institution needs to consider the local
employment demographic and ensure the courses are wide reaching. A good example of
this is the recent plans for the development of a wind turbine factory in Hull. If this was to go
ahead the college would have to consider altering the curriculum to fulfil this employment
need.
Where music is concerned, Hull College is going through a great deal of change with
their Music Degree Programmes. To date, the college has offered a programme accredited
by Leeds Metropolitan University. However, the college is now intending to offer an Open
University Programme of study. This new course offers a great deal of challenges as the
criteria is far removed from that of Leeds Metropolitan University.

This new change in

curriculum has been brought into place in order to further meet the employment demands
and needs in the music industry. This is a continuous concern when working in a fast moving
industry as music. The curriculum is continually assessed to ensure not only its suitability of
the student cohort but also that of the needs and trends of the industry.
A change in curriculum such as this has many implications to the intake of the
course. As the current course is a 2 year foundation degree followed by a 1 year top-up the
introduction of a full 3 year BA course is expected to see a fall in external applicants for the
top-up year which could have a financial impact. However, the full BA programme is
considered to be more commercial viable and relevant in the current climate.
Secondly, there is a substantial amount workload involved when developing a new
programme of study offering a course of a supplied by an alternative awarding body. The
course needs to be completely redesigned and all associated staff need to be agreement
along with the awarding body. The course offered needs to be within the skill set and
knowledge of the current staff. Finally the course needs to be in keeping with the colleges
mission statement and ethos.
Overall the theory of curriculum is a complex subject and continually requires reevaluation which is why it is an area which will become part of my continuing professional
development. There is no universal curriculum which meets the needs of every institution
which is why curriculum managers are in place to ensure their institutions curriculum meets
the regional needs. As these are continually changing so will the demands of a suitable
curriculum.

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Appendix 1

TUTOR REVIEW
Hull College | Higher Education Unit/Module Review
To be completed for each unit/module, after delivery and include student feedback where appropriate
Programme Title: Foundation Degree Music
Performance

Unit/Module Title: Contemporary musicianship

Dates Delivered: September to December 2011

Tutor: Craig Steer

Unit Retention

Unit achievement

No of students
starting unit

10

No of students
completing unit

Number which
passed

Number with
compensateable
fail/conditional
referral

Number with fail or


non-conditional
referral

Which learning outcomes were problematic and why? (e.g. delivery issues, timing, level, resources, etc.)

1.
2.
3.
4.

Choose appropriate software and hardware technologies in the creation of all sound design
elements.
Demonstrate techniques involved in the creation of all sound design elements for visuals.
Evaluate methods of sound used in the creation of the three sound design elements.
Analyse sound design techniques used within the industry.

LO2 evidence should have more bias toward music rather than just sound design. Brief musical
exercises every week would help. This will help with Music for Product in BA Music Production
LO4 needs to be more clearly evidenced in the students written work. This to be highlighted in the
next handbook.

Does the unit require any minor or major modification prior to next iteration? (give details)

No
Please add any further points you believe need to be considered for the unit.

Summary of action points to be included in Annual Course Report

Examination and unit/module results are provisional, subject to verification by the Exam
Board
Date discussed by course team

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Appendix 2
Hull College | Higher Education Unit/Module Review
Foundation Degree Year 1 (Performance)
This questionnaire is for feedback to the course team about your experiences within the Programme you have studied. Circle
one of the letters to respond to each question or give a written response, as appropriate
1. The amount of work is
Too little
Could be more
About right
A lot
Too much

A
B
C
D
E

2. The content is what I expected it to be


I strongly agree
I agree
I partly agree and partly disagree
I disagree
I strongly disagree

A
B
C
D
E

3. The work is relevant and appropriate


I strongly agree
I agree
I partly agree and partly disagree
I disagree
I strongly disagree

A
B
C
D
E

4. The spread of assessment is fair


Too little
Could be more
About right
A lot
Too much

A
B
C
D
E

5. The equipment available is


Very good
Good
Average
Poor
Very poor

A
B
C
D
E

6. The learning materials used are:


Very good
Good
Average
Poor
Very poor

A
B
C
D
E

7. I find the teaching methods and styles


I strongly agree
I agree
effective in my understanding and learning
I partly agree and partly disagree
I disagree
I strongly disagree

A
B
C
D
E

8. The pace of teaching is


Too slow
Slow
About right
Fast
Too fast

A
B
C
D
E

9. The variety of teaching is:


Very varied
Varied
Average
Limited
Very limited

A
B
C
D
E

10. Assessment criteria are clear


I strongly agree
I agree
I partly agree and partly disagree
I disagree
I strongly disagree

A
B
C
D
E

12. Feedback from assessment is within the


I strongly agree
I agree
Timescales agreed.
I partly agree and partly disagree
I disagree
I strongly disagree

A
B
C
D
E

14. The spread of assessment is fair


Very good
Good
Average
Poor
Very poor

A
B
C
D
E

11. Feedback is useful.


I strongly agree
I agree
I partly agree and partly disagree
I disagree
I strongly disagree
13. The requirements from me for the work
I strongly agree
I agree
are what I expected, following the
I partly agree and partly disagree
I disagree
Guidance given at the start of the unit.
I strongly disagree
what I expected, following the

A
B
C
D
E

A
B
C
are D
E

Guidance given at the start of the unit.

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