Curriculum Column

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Half of the nation's elementary schools have undergone "major curriculum shifts" in the past three years, and teachers have generally welcomed these changes, according to a new survey.

The survey, conducted by Instructor magazine, also found that elementary teachers feel they have a great deal of power to affect curricular decisions.

Nine out of 10 teachers responding said they make decisions about instructional styles and lesson plans independently or with colleagues, and two-thirds said they are allowed similar leeway in selecting classroom materials.

A summary of the poll's results was published in the magazine's Winter 1987 special issue. For a full report, write Curriculum Survey, Instructor, 545 Fifth Avenue, New York, N.Y. 10017.

The number of high-school students participating in the Advanced Placement program grew by 13 percent last year, the College Board has reported.

And the rise in minority-student participation has exceeded the program's overall rate of growth over the past four years, according to the board. In 1987, 19 percent of participants identified themselves as minorities, up from 16 percent in 1984.

The program added a record 575 schools last year, the board noted, and is now in 7,776 high schools, which graduate two-thirds of all college-going seniors.

The 32-year-old program provides course descriptions and examinations in 26 introductory college-level courses in 15 subjects. Students who score 3 or above on the examinations, on a 5-point scale, can receive credit or advanced placement at many colleges.

On the May 1987 tests, 68 percent of the grades awarded were 3 or above.

The American Forum Inc. has produced a curriculum framework to help districts add a global perspective to courses for grades K-12.

The 220-page framework, which is currently used in Weston, Conn., among other districts, is intended to help schools implement the recommendations of the report issued last May by the Study Commission on Global Education. That report urged schools to "keep up with a changing world" by infusing their curricula with a global perspective.

The American Forum is a new organization formed by the merger of Global Perspectives in Education and the National Council on Foreign Languages and International Studies.

Copies of "Next Steps in Global Education: A Handbook for Curriculum Development" can be ordered for $30 each, plus 10 percent for postage and handling, from gpe/ncflis Publications, 131 Varick St., New York, N.Y. 10013.--rr

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