Curriculum Alignment: Performance Types in the Intended, Enacted, and Assessed Curriculum in Primary Mathematics and Science Classrooms

Studia paedagogica: Learning and Work

This study examined the process of curricular alignment in primary school mathematics and science. Six performance type categories were used to define the cognitive-demand levels evident in the mandated curriculum and elicited through classroom practice. The purpose of this comparative case study is to understand how the intended goals of the mandated curriculum are interpreted for planning, instruction, and assessment purposes. The data includes video-recorded lessons, interviews, planning documents, and work samples from units of work. The results revealed that interpreting the intended goals of the mandated curriculum at the classroom level is a complex and dynamic process. The process is one of iterative interpretation at various levels of curriculum planning. The alignment of performance type expectations are influenced by the "sources of authority" that are accessed, such as standardized testing programs, textbooks, and curriculum consultants. The types of performances that were privileged in assessment practices were reflected in planning and instruction at the school level, indicating that, among other factors, assessment has a critical role in determining how the curriculum is enacted.

Klíčová slova:
alignment; assessment; curriculum; planning; science; mathematics


[1] Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (2013). ACARA Annual report 2012–2013. Retrieved from

[2] Barnes, M., Clarke, D., & Stephens, M. (2000). Assessment: The engine of systematic reform? Journal of Curriculum Studies, 32(5), 623–650.

[3] Beck, M. D. (2007). Review and other views: "Alignment" as a psychometric issue. Applied Measurement in Education, 20(1), 127–135.

[4] Bhola, D. S, Impara, J. C., & Buckendahl, C. W. (2003). Aligning tests with states' content standards: Methods and issues. Educational Measurement: Issues and Practice, 22(3), 21–29. | DOI 10.1111/j.1745-3992.2003.tb00134.x

[5] Clements, D. H. (2006). Curriculum research: Toward a framework for ‘research based curricula'. Journal of Research in Mathematics, 38(1), 35–70.

[6] Cohen, A. S. (1987). Instructional alignment: Searching for a magic bullet. Educational Researcher, 16(8), 16–20. | DOI 10.3102/0013189X016008016

[7] Council of Australian Governments. (2008). National Numeracy Review Report. Retrieved from

[8] Education Queensland (2000). A guide to productive pedagogies. Retrieved from

[9] Field, J. C. (1991). Educators perspectives on assessment: Tensions, contradictions and dilemmas. Canadian Journal of Education, 16(2), 210–214. | DOI 10.2307/1494973

[10] Garden, R. (Ed). (1997). Mathematics and science performance in middle primary school. Wellington: Ministry of Education.

[11] Herman, J. (1997). Assessing new assessment: How do they measure up? Theory into Practice, 36(4), 196–204. | DOI 10.1080/00405849709543769

[12] Krathwohl, D. (2002). A revision of Bloom's taxonomy: An overview. Theory into Practice, 41(4), 212–218. | DOI 10.1207/s15430421tip4104_2

[13] La Marca, P. M., Redfield, D., Winter, P. C., Bailey, A., & Despriet, L. H. (2000). State standards and state assessment systems: A guide to alignment. Washington: Council of Chief State School Officers.

[14] Miles, M. B., & Huberman, A. M. (1994). Qualitative data analysis: An expanded sourcebook. Newbury Park: Sage Publications.

[15] Ministerial Council on Education, Employment, Training and Youth Affairs (MCEETYA). (2008). The Melbourne declaration on educational goals for young Australians. Retrieved from

[16] OECD. (2009). PISA 2009 assessment framework: Key competencies. Retrieved from

[17] Porter, A. C. (2002). Measuring the content of instruction: Uses in research and practice. Educational Researcher, 31(7), 3–14. | DOI 10.3102/0013189X031007003

[18] Porter, A. C. (2004). Curriculum assessment. Nashville: Vanderbilt University. Retrieved from

[19] Porter, A. C., & Smithson, J. (2001). Defining, developing, and using curriculum indicators (Research report RR-048). Philadelphia: Consortium for Policy Research in Education, University of Pennsylvania.

[20] Porter, A. C., Smithson J., Blank, R., & Zeider T. (2007). Alignment as a teacher variable. Applied Measurement in Education, 20(1), 27–51. | DOI 10.1080/08957340709336729

[21] Posner, G. J. (1994). The role of student assessment in curriculum reform. Peabody Journal of Education, 69(4), 91–99. | DOI 10.1080/01619569409538788

[22] Rothman, R. (2003). Imperfect matches: The alignment of standards and tests. Washington: National Research Council.

[23] Schoenfeld, A. H. (1999). Looking towards the 21st century: Challenges of educational theory and practice. Educational Research, 28(7), 4–14. | DOI 10.3102/0013189X028007004

[24] Squires, D. A. (2009). Curriculum alignment: Research based strategies for increasing student achievement. California: Sage Publications.

[25] Stake, R. E. (1995). The art of case study research. Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications.

[26] Stein, M. K., & Lane, S. (1996). Instructional tasks and the development of student capacity to think and reason: An analysis of the relationship between teaching and learning in a reform mathematics project. Educational Research and Evaluation, 2(1), 50–80. | DOI 10.1080/1380361960020103

[27] Stiggins, R. (2005). Student-involved assessment for learning. New Jersey: Pearson Education.

[28] Stiggins, R., & Chappuis, J. (2012). Introduction to student-involved assessment for learning. New Jersey: Pearson Education.

[29] Sullivan, P., Clarke, D. J., Clarke, D. M., Farrell, L., & Garrard, J. (2013). Processes and priorities in planning mathematics teaching. Mathematics Education Research Journal, 25(4), 457–480. | DOI 10.1007/s13394-012-0066-z

[30] Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority. (2007). Victorian Essential Learning Standards. Retrieved from

[31] Webb, N. (1997). Criteria for alignment of expectations and assessments in mathematics and science education. Washington: National Institute for Science Education Publications.

[32] Webb, N. (2005). Webb alignment tool training manual (Draft). Madison: Wisconsin Centre for Educational Research.

[33] Woodward, J., Beckmann, S., Driscoll, M., Franke, M., Herzig, P., Jitendra, A., Koedinger, K. R., & Ogbuehi, P. (2012). Improving mathematical problem solving in grades 4 through 8: A practice guide. Retrieved from

[34] Xu, L., Kang, Y., & Clarke, D. J. (2011). A comparative investigation of mathematics curricula from Australia, China and Finland. Research report presented at the combined conference of the Australian Association for Mathematics Teachers and the Mathematics Education Research Group of Australasia (AAMT/MERGA), July 3–7, 2011, Alice Springs, Australia.

[35] Ziebell, N., Ong, A., Clarke, D. (2017). Aligning curriculum, instruction and assessment. In T. Bentley & G. Savage (Eds.), Educating Australia: Challenges for the decade ahead (pp. 257–276). Carlton: MUP Publishing.





PDF views