Curriculum Mapping

 General Overview

"Our students need us to know their experiences over the course of time. They need us to know what's really going on in their daily classes as they move among teachers and subjects. They need us to know and give credence to their work from year to year. Not only will the district be informed about what is going on within the classroom, but parents and the community will also have this knowledge." -Heidi Hayes Jacobs author of Mapping the Big Picture:  Integrating Curriculum and Assessment K-12
Curriculum mapping is a collection of information about each teacher's curriculum based on the school calendar. This information identifies the core content, process, and assessment used in the curriculum for each subject area. This type of program helps to improve communication within the district about the curriculum and what every teacher is covering. Not only will the district be informed about what is going on within the classroom, but also parents and the community.

Mapping improves instruction by clearly laying out the objectives and what is being taught at each grade level eliminating unnecessary repetition. This allows for objectives to be met in a timely manner and reflects on the students' scores at testing time. Curriculum mapping is taking place all over the United States. It is not something that has been adopted by every district, but numerous schools within the states are using and seeing the benefits of this program. Curriculum mapping is a rapidly expanding program that is proving itself to be very beneficial. For more information, please take a look at the websites within this section that we have found to be helpful in our research.

Overall, curriculum mapping involves creating a collection of each individual teacher's lessons, and planning them out according to the school calendar. Through this process, repetition of lessons among grade levels is eliminated because the teachers are all informed of the lessons students are learning in a particular grade. When educators are more aware of what their students have already learned and what they must still be taught, objectives can be met in a more timely manner. This is a method that is increasing in popularity found all throughout the United States.

How do I start my curriculum map?

Beginning the curriculum mapping process can be difficult. Provided below are the seven phases of curriculum mapping. The seven phases are steps that teachers can use to further the advancement of curriculum mapping within their school .

Seven Phases of Curriculum Mapping:

  1. Collecting the Data
  2. The First Read-Through
  3. Mixed-Group Review Session
  4. Large Group Review
  5. Determine Those Points That Can Be Revised Immediately
  6. Determine Those Points That Will Require Long-Term Research/Development
  7. The Review Cycle Continues

Task #1: Read Maps to Gain Information

We are only as effective as what we know; therefore, reading and examining curriculum maps enables us to create a database for making important decisions. Maps expand individual perspectives and increase the quality of educational decisions.

Task #2: Identify Gaps

We need to recognize that the operational curriculum is composed of what each and every teacher does in his or her classroom. Frequently, we find gaps between goals and what is taught, and these gaps can have a lasting impact on a child's learning. Studying the maps can reveal missing pieces in both vertical and horizontal alignment of curricula.

Task #3: Identify Repetition

Often, teachers assume that they are introducing a book or concept for the first time when that is not necessarily the case. Maps can reveal both content repetitions and skill repetitions, which differ from skill spiraling, as well as assessment repetition. By studying maps, teachers can recommend whether the content, skills, and assessments they detail are to be validated or revised.

Task #4: Identify Potential Areas for Intergration

Merging concepts from two or more disciplines can make for a powerful and lasting learning experience. Whether the focus is a topic, theme, issue, or problem-based study, elementary and secondary teachers can use maps to find natural connections that will expand and underscore students' learning. The point is that interdiciplinary designs are best when sensible, not strained, integration is planned.

Task #5: Match Assessment with Standards

The only evidence we have of our students meeting the standards is what they write, what they say, what they build, what they design, and what they compute-not what we cover. It is in the classroom that the student and the standard meet. Maps can serve as the monitoring device to check whether there is sufficient student evidence to match a standard in the classroom.

Task #6: Review for Timelines

Every day brings new books, ideas, technology, and breakthroughs to the classroom, making it imperative that teachers update their plans and look for dated materials and possible replacements. This also refers to best current practices; as teacher learn new strategies, these strategies should be added to the map.


Here are websites you can visit to gather more information on mapping your curriculum, and view examples of teachers and schools that are currently successful with this method.,13,134

There are many books available with information on curriculum mapping. Here are some of the top suggestions.

  • Mapping the Big Picture: Integrating Curriculum and Assessment K-12 By: Dr. Heidi Hayes Jacobs
  • Getting Results with Curriculum Mapping By: Dr. Heidi Hayes Jacobs
  • Supervision Across the Content Areas By: Sally Zepeda
  • Keys to Curriculum Mapping: Strategies and Tools to Make it Work By: Susan Udelhofen
  • Understanding and Shaping Curriculum: What We Teach and Why By: Thomas W. Hewitt

In order to aid you in getting started on organizing your curriculum, here are some websites with tools to begin the process.