Factors superintendents consider when making the decision between commercially developed curriculum or locally developed curriculum
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This study examined the factors superintendents consider when making the decision between commercially developed curriculum or locally developed curriculum. This study was guided by three research questions: (a) What factors does the superintendent consider in selecting a curriculum? (b) How do these factors impact the decision to use a commercially developed curriculum or to use a locally developed curriculum? and (c) How does the decision-making process regarding curriculum selection correlate with other functions of the superintendent and the school district? This qualitative multiple-case study intended to describe the experiences of six school superintendents who have served in this capacity for ample time to have developed a perspective in relation to curriculum choice for their respective districts. During semi-structured interviews, questions posed to the participants were organized around the following themes: (a) importance of curriculum along with time devoted to overseeing curriculum and how this relates to other responsibilities of the superintendent; (b) the factors considered when deciding curriculum choice; (c) the pros and cons of commercially developed curriculum and locally developed curriculum; and (d) the challenges associated with curriculum. This questioning along with the review of documents relating to curriculum guided the development of the findings and provided structure for the reporting of data and analysis. The data collected through the interviews and document reviews were coded according to first-level coding and pattern coding. This research study revealed that overseeing and maintaining a guaranteed and viable curriculum is very time and cost intensive, but the essential piece for student achievement. In addition, in regards to deciding between commercially developed or locally developed curriculum, the superintendents in this study were adamant advocates for their curriculum choice and had justifiable reasons for their choice. The final finding disclosed in this study was that with the role of the superintendent being very taxing, the function of Curriculum and Instruction does not always take priority. In conclusion, with such emphasis placed on having a guaranteed and viable curriculum, as the chief instructional leader, superintendents must put forth a concentrated effort to select a curriculum that will promote and support student learning and success.
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