Curriculum Compacting: Definitions and Steps for Implementation

Curriculum Compacting

Curriculum compacting streamlines the grade-level curriculum for high-potential students to enable time for more challenging and interesting work. This differentiation strategy was specifically designed to make appropriate curricular adjustments for students in any curricular area and at any grade level. The procedure involves

(1) defining the goals and outcomes of a particular unit or block of instruction,

(2) determining and documenting the students who have already mastered most or all of a specified set of learning outcomes, and

(3) providing replacement strategies for material already mastered through the use of instructional options that enable a more challenging, interesting, and productive use of the student’s time.

Most teachers indicate that they are committed to meeting students’ individual needs. Yet, many teachers do not have the background information to put this commitment into practice. Related research demonstrates that many talented students receive little differentiation of curriculum and instruction and spend a great deal of time in school doing work that they have already mastered.

Too often, for example, some of our brightest students spend time relearning material they already know, which can lead to frustration, boredom, and, ultimately, underachievement. Curriculum compacting has been effective in addressing underachievement when the compacted regular curriculum is replaced with self-selected work in a high-interest area, making schoolwork much more enjoyable.

Most teachers who use compacting learn to streamline or “compact” curriculum through a practical, step-by-step approach to the skills required to modify curriculum, and the techniques for pretesting students and preparing enrichment and/or acceleration options based on individual areas of interest. Practical issues such as record keeping and how to use the compacting form are also necessary to help guide teachers toward implementing this strategy. Once they have tried to compact for students, these guidelines can help to save valuable classroom time for both teachers and students.

Top teacher training institutes in Mumbai like Aditya Birla Education Academy always take it on high priority to promote the teaching method of curriculum compacting for teachers.

History of curriculum compacting

Curriculum compacting, as presented in this chapter, has been field tested since 1975. It has been used with individuals and groups of students with above-average ability in any academic, artistic, or vocational area. Most important, research demonstrates that compacting can dramatically reduce redundancy, and challenge gifted students to new heights of excellence (Reis et al., 1993). It can be particularly meaningful for high-ability students who are underachieving because it provides one clear way to streamline work that may be too easy and replace that work with more challenging work and also, with self-selected opportunities in that area or in another area of interest

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Dr. Joseph Renzulli
The National Research Center on the Gifted and Talented, University of Connecticut Board of Trustees Distinguished Professor

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