Nature of Curriculum

What does it mean to study the Nature of Curriculum?
This line of research emphasizes studies about research-based characteristics of curriculum, such as coherence, rigor, and focus; delivery mechanisms that will change what learning looks like in the classroom; and the educative nature of materials that teachers use in their classrooms. We design simple yet powerful studies that focus on one area of emphasis, and we design complex studies that address overlapping areas of emphasis. Each study will contribute to knowledge in the field and increase understanding about the relationships among curriculum, instruction, and learning.

We plan studies such as an exploratory study of a groundbreaking idea related to digital learning environments or a synthesis of prominent studies on formative assessment in secondary science across the last decade. Our studies might focus on the design and development of instructional materials with focus on outcomes related to equity. The design and development of our Inquiry Program for Grade Eight is an example of such a study. This project is funded by Institute of Educational Sciences (IES) at the U.S. Department of Education.

Another way to study the nature of curriculum is to conduct large, rigorous, controlled studies of a program’s effects. Our efficacy study on BSCS Science: An Inquiry Approach that we are currently conducting in the state of Washington, also funded by IES, is an example of such a study.

Browse the list below for a selection of Nature of Curriculum research reports.

In 2008, BSCS launched a four-year randomized control study that...

By implementing modern standards for scientific research in education, this study sought to examine the effectiveness of an inquiry-based instructional...

The American Institute of Biological Sciences (AIBS) conducted a review of 10 textbooks that were used in yearlong courses in the biological sciences in...

BSCS collaborated with Beijing Normal University in the Peoples Republic...

In this article, the authors describe results from two field-test studies conducted by BSCS, both of which indicate a strong relationship between fidelity...

Despite decades of research and various forms of evidence, the effectiveness of inquiry-based materials and/or teaching has yet to be established in...

This article was written by past BSCS Executive Director Joseph McInerney and published in the December 1986/January 1987 issue of Educational Leadership...

As a way of examining the influence of national standards on the content included in textbooks, the authors of this report compared the table of contents...

The reports listed on this page describe studies conducted on the BSCS high school comprehensive program, BSCS Biology: A Human Approach. All three...

BSCS Science & Technology is a multi-level, thematic program that integrates life sciences, Earth and space sciences, and physical sciences...