03 SES 09 A, Supporting Teachers in Curriculum Design and Implementation
The Netherlands is currently moving from a very general set of core objectives to a much more prescribed language curriculum with more emphasis on learning outcomes. Since 2010, schools in the Netherlands are required to implement the national Framework of Reference for Language and Mathematics (Doorlopende Leerlijnen Taal en Rekenen, 2009). The Framework of Reference consists of common standards for all pupils at different educational levels. This important reform in Dutch educational law is motivated by the desire to promote data-driven education. The aim is to facilitates the transition from one educational level to the other, by providing a clear and common 'language' for teachers within and across different educational levels.
The Framework of Reference describes three levels of language learning of an increasingly complexity. High expectations are held for all Dutch pupils, included children with special educational needs (SEN). Primary education, including all forms of special education, is both assigned the common basic and advanced level for those pupils with more cognitive capacities. The common basic level of the Framework of Reference, the so-called 'fundamental level', is a minimal level which all students should have achieved leaving (special) primary education. After primary education, pupils continue their education in different educational levels according to their capacities. Cognitive development becomes thus more and more important in special educational needs (SLO, 2008).
Notwithstanding the efforts of schools, there are pupils who do not attain the minimum standards set. This leaves schools with a dilemma for pupils with language development disorders that have an effect in the outcome for (certain aspects of) language learning: at one hand setting high goals and strive for high learning outcomes for all pupils, and at the other hand setting both realistic and attainable goals that meet the needs of an individual pupil.
Teachers feel the need for support in making choices in the curriculum in order to be able to meet the educational needs of these pupils. Parker Boudet et al. (2007) point out the importance of a well-equipped 'data-wise' school-team. School leaders need to create a data-driven environment so that all members on their team can develop what they call 'assessment literacy'. The authors strongly advise this need to be done collaboratively with room for dialogue. To support schools in making such choices, more insight is needed in aligning common standards to individual needs in a data-driven environment. This leads to the central research question for this study: How can a framework of reference for language be specified and embedded in a data-driven environment in order to support schools in the development of education that is both in line with common standards and is at the same time tailored to the special educational needs of individual learners?
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