overseeing the curriculum
As coordinator it is important to have an overview of the whole curriculum and to look at how the curriculum effects students, to find any problems and work through them with the leadership team and teachers to find solutions.
Using the yearly overviews for each subject and the IA deadlines document, and keeping up to date with how students are coping with self-management are good strategies to keep on top of how the curriculum design is coping with the demands of the Programme. The yearly overview can be kept as a ‘live’ document, where teachers can make any changes depending on factors such as missed classes and each classes’ progress through the course. It is important to ensure that important deadlines such as internal assessments and reporting are met. Departmental meetings are a good time to go through the yearly overviews to make sure that staff are on task to cover the content by the end of the course and to make any necessary changes (as Coordinator you must be aware of the possible impact of any changes on other subjects). If a teacher is struggling to cover the content the DP Coordinator can work with them to create a plan of action.
It is good practice to get feedback from both staff and students on the curriculum design, which can be done through departmental meetings and the DP core class. When making any decision about changing the design of the curriculum it is vital to make sure that any changes fit in with each subject guide and that the effects of any changes have been fully considered.
A change I made in my first school, which was a November exam school, was to move the Diploma Programme mock exams from September to July to give more time for students and teachers to work through any gaps in knowledge that become apparent from the results. In order to make this change, I put a proposal to the Leadership team and asked subject teachers for their advice. I looked at how it would effect the teachers’ ability to give predicted grades and took into account the fact that moving the exams earlier would mean that there would be more of the content that hasn’t been taught. I then got the opinion of both existing and old students, including their worries about the mock exams. With the results, I met and emailed parents to go through their concerns on the dates of the mock exams and about the whole process.