Curriculum structure

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The nature and purpose of science education as a component of the school curriculum have a contested history. For example, DeBoer (2000) identified “scientific literacy” as a common curriculum goal for science education but over time there has not always been a shared meaning of that term. In any event, such a goal can be expressed in curriculum terms in different ways. Curriculum structure is therefore as much a social construct as it is an objective description of the shape and function of a particular curriculum. Disagreements over curriculum structure have often reflected deeper philosophical and political differences about epistemology and the purposes of schooling. In this entry, curriculum structures will be reviewed paying attention to the multiple senses in which the term is often used: first, as differences in curriculum form; second, as different ways of making scientific knowledge accessible; and third, as an aspect of society’s expectations of scientific learning. These different ways of viewing curriculum structure are often underpinned by theories of different kinds and these will also be referred to. Copyright © 2015 Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEncyclopedia of science education
EditorsRichard GUNSTONE
Place of PublicationDordrecht
ISBN (Electronic)9789400761650
ISBN (Print)9789400721500, 9789400721494
Publication statusPublished - 2015


Kennedy, K. J. (2015). Curriculum structure. In R. Gunstone (Ed.), Encyclopedia of science education (pp.280-282). Dordrecht: SpringerReference.


  • Curriculum design curriculum models
  • Curriculum frameworks


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