The recommended curriculum derives from experts in the field. Almost every discipline-based professional group has promulgated curriculum standards for its field.
The written curriculum is found in the documents produced by the state, the school system, the school, and the classroom teacher, specifying what is to be taught.
The supported curriculum is the one for which there are complimentary instructional materials available, such as textbooks, software, and multimedia resources.
The tested curriculum is the one embodied in tests developed by the state, school system, and teachers. The term “test” is used broadly here to include standardized tests, competency tests, and performance assessments.
The taught curriculum is the one that teachers actually deliver. Researchers have pointed out that there is enormous variation in the nature of what is actually taught, despite the superficial appearance of uniformity (Gehrke, Knapp, & Sirotnik, 1992).
The learned curriculum is the bottom-line curriculum—what students learn. Clearly, it is the most important of all.