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Wilson's Graduate Exam Questions


ED 721- Fundamentals of Curriculum

The second principle of magic...things which have once been in contact with each other continue to act on each other at a distance after the physical contact has been severed.                                     Sir James Frazer

General Instructions: In order to facilitate your exams, you will be allowed to choose from the current array of exam questions. If you have specific questions about the exam process, you can call the graduate office at 346-4403. If there is no human there, leave a message on the audix system. Be sure to speak slowly and indicate your name and telephone number. Please DO NOT CALL ME, someone from the graduate office will be the exam proctor. 

Answer ONLY ONE of the following questions. As you answer your question, please make sure you provide concrete examples and some scholarly support either from readings related to our class or from your own research in preparation for the exam. Authors, dates and the title of the publication may be mentioned in the body of your answer.

Keep an eye on the clock. If you are running short of time, or if you think you will run short on time, you may outline parts of your response. Answers will be considered for their completeness and their relation to the question, the support you offer, and your ability to draw professional conclusions by synthesizing personal, professional experience with academic and scholarly support.

 Picture (13x13, 122 bytes) 1. In class we discussed two common but very different ways in which curricula are usually formed: Means Ends, or Ends Means.

In light of the push for national and state standards, choose one of the following positions and defend its importance to curriculum development, and/or to teaching and learning -- Become a proponent: a) for means ends curriculum; or b) for ends means curriculum as it is tied into outcomes, benchmarks or established standards; or c) for an artful, balanced combination of both methods.

Within the context of your discussion you may pretend that you are defending your position before the BOE, peers, parents or community members. Arguments may be tied into a fictional discussion with any constituency. Be sure to:

Clearly state your position and delineate the reasons why you think it is the best approach.

Offer concrete examples for the type of curriculum development you have chosen, (either current and/or historic examples.)

Be sure to consider and offer the future legacies of your arguments. (That means offer examples or justifications as to why your position can be linked to the long term ramifications which have decided implications for the community, or the country, or for students and their learning processes, or for the profession.)  

Picture (13x13, 122 bytes)  2. We spent time discussing the immense power and legacies of different types of curricula (societal, hidden, null, concomitant, phantom). Additionally, over the past four years I have used Clavell's Children's story as a concrete example of different types of curricula outside of written curricula. For this question choose any two types curricula other than written. Your choices may be of any paired combination--examples: phantom and hidden, null and concomitant, hidden and null, phantom and concomitant, hidden and concomitant, null and phantom, etc.  

  • Briefly and correctly define both chosen terms.

  • Tie these concepts into the process of learning known as accretion.

Give concrete examples of how both are or have been used as part of the function of American schooling experiences, or explain how they have impacted, impact or could impact what goes on in schools.  

Pick any two issues from the following list. For each chosen issue, please pair one of your chosen curricula -- making sure that each issue has been paired with a different type of curriculum. Discuss how the issue might change or be impacted by the curriculum of your choice.

a) the dramatic changes in traditional American family structures

b) the reintroduction of values education and moral teaching

c) unprecedented advances in technology

d) resulting changes from ever-widening gaps in students' socio-economic levels

e) home schooling issues

f) the education agendas of radical fringes of special interest groups, or groups trying to seize political control of American education.

g) the push for universal standards, especially as these demands are pushing out other, more important issues  

Picture (13x13, 122 bytes)  3. In class we explored the fact that the processes and relationships in the curriculum are often organic or dynamic in nature -- meaning that many issues which affect different types of societal curriculum (null, hidden, phantom, concomitant) can change at any given moment and find their way into written curriculums. For instance, issues which were or are part of the null, hidden, phantom or concomitant curriculum can readily become part of the overt curriculum due to changes in parental, community or political attitudes or the needs of society.

From an accurate historic perspective, pinpoint at least three major shifts in written curriculum tracing the dynamic progression of your examples from something that was part of the hidden, null, phantom or concomitant curriculum and which moved or is about to be moved into the realm of the formal or written curriculum. Be sure to explain why this shift occurred. And . . .

Project two shifts that might occur in the future. Be sure to offer sound reasons or justifications for these possibilities.  

Picture (13x13, 122 bytes)  4. Longstreet and Shane discuss four very important concepts concerning curricular development and the processes of change. These concepts are also closely tied to teaching and learning, school reform movements and American life and society in general -- intragenerational disjunctures, vectors of change, cultural mindsets and hyperturbulence. I added the concept of intergenerational disjunctures, bringing the total to five. For this question you must take hyperturbulence and then choose one other concept (vectors of change, intragenerational or intergenerational disjunctures, or cultural mindsets). Complete the following:

(a Briefly define both hyperturbulence and the concept you chose offering supportive examples. After you have done this then choose to complete either b or c, not both.

(b Pick any curricular issue of your choice --(e.g., Multiple Intelligences, subject integration, ESL, OBE, inclusion, and so forth) and offer an informed, and enlightened, discussion as to how the chosen concept has or will be changed in light of hyperturbulence, intragenerational or intergenerational disjunctures, vectors of change, or cultural mindsets.

(c Pick any curricular issue of your choice (see examples above) and justify why it needs to be part of the curriculum for citizens of the 21st century. Be sure to place your discussion in the context of hyperturbulence, vectors of change, cultural mindsets, or both disjunctures

Picture (13x13, 122 bytes)   5. Although most American educators are very eclectic in their educational beliefs, well-articulated, and consistent curricular orientations often determine whether or not curriculums are ultimately useful, helpful or companionable to potential users. Adopting a common curricular orientation that is most reflective of your educational beliefs:

  • briefly name and define the specific orientation, also trace its origins and historic progression into American education. ( Common metaphoric descriptions maybe be helpful here.)

  • explain how the particular orientation parallels your beliefs about learning, teaching and children.

  • offer concrete examples of how your choice is currently functioning in schools, delineating why curricula written reflecting this orientation is beneficial to the teaching and learning process. Your examples and justifications may be situational and tied to your particular teaching assignment or field.

Picture (15x15, 663 bytes)  Please remember to make sure you have offered support and that you have answered the question in all it's parts. This exam emphasizes higher order thinking skills, critical thinking and connections between your studies and your professional life.

Other Graduate Exam Questions:   


copyright Leslie Owen Wilson, 1997, 2001, 2003. 2005