Studies in Curriculum Decision Making


310 pages
Contains Illustrations, Bibliography
ISBN 0-7744-0220-2





Edited by Kenneth A. Leithwood
Reviewed by P.J. Hammel

P.J. Hammel is a professor of Education at the University of


K. Leithwood presents the results of four years of research, by a number of OISE faculty members, as it not only describes individual curriculum decisions but also indicates how a broader picture may be drawn to develop a wider process of educational change.

Presented in three parts, the thesis develops as follows: Part I reports the results of three research studies which examined how curriculum decisions are made by teachers and what factors seemed to influence that decision-making and which attempted to discover explanations for the character of this decision-making. Part II reports additional studies which examined the influence on this curriculum decision-making process by: principal, consultant, area superintendent, university professor, commercial curriculum materials, and Ministry of Education curriculum guidelines. To implement what was learned in the research, Part III attempts to develop guidelines for improving teachers’ curriculum decision-making and to relate these to the whole question of educational change in order to develop “tentative but plausible hypotheses about what actions may be required to bring significant and wide-spread gains” in achieving those educational outcomes aspired to by society.

As indicated earlier, this represents the result of four years of large-scale research which has served as the basis not only for this work, but also for twelve courses at the master’s and doctoral levels in the area of “curriculum process.” The language in this work, therefore, is the highly technical language of university-based research. The development of the guidelines for effective educational change is complex and, indeed, speculative. Also because “teachers are not properly seen as implements of research and development ideas nor as assistants to research in any sense, but are, rather, best seen as independent agents with an educative function in curriculum development and innovation,” this work will serve best those graduate students and professors whose responsibility it will be to assist teachers in improving their curriculum decision-making.


“Studies in Curriculum Decision Making,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed May 19, 2024,