Analytic Quality Glossary


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Citation reference: Harvey, L., 2004-21, Analytic Quality Glossary, Quality Research International,

This is a dynamic glossary and the author would welcome any e-mail suggestions for additions or amendments. Page updated 18 June, 2021 , © Lee Harvey 2004–2021.


Novel Recipes




core definition

Curriculum is the embodiment of a programme of learning and includes philosophy, content, approach and assessment.

explanatory context

A curriculum may be set down as a formal document but it is argued that this is only a part of the full curriculum, which also includes non-formal elements in the learning process.

analytical review

Northeast Texas Network Consortium (2002) define curriculum as:

A program of courses to be taken in pursuit of a degree or other objective.


Wojtczak (2002) defines curriculum as:

An educational plan that spells out which goals and objectives should be achieved, which topics should be covered and which methods are to be used for learning, teaching and evaluation.

Coles (2003) argues that it curriculum is much more than that:

A curriculum is more than a list of topics to be covered by an educational programme, for which the more commonly accepted word is a ‘syllabus’. A curriculum is first of all a policy statement about a piece of education, and secondly an indication as to the ways in which that policy is to be realised through a programme of action. In practice, though, a curriculum is more than even this; it is useful to think of it as being much wider. As a working definition of a curriculum I would say that it is the sum of all the activities, experiences and learning opportunities for which an institution (such as the Society) or a teacher (such as a faculty member) takes responsibility – either deliberately or by default. This includes in such a broad concept of curriculum the formal and the informal, the overt and the covert, the recognised and the overlooked, the intentional and the unintentional. A curriculum is determined as much by what is not offered, and what has been rejected, as it is by positive actions. And very importantly the curriculum that actually happens – that is what is realised in practice – includes informal contact between teachers and learners as well as between the learners themselves, and this has been termed ‘the hidden curriculum’ which often has as much influence on what is learnt as the formal curriculum that is written down as a set of intentions. And it includes what you decide to do on the spur of the moment. So in fact it is useful to think of there being three faces to a curriculum: the curriculum on paper; the curriculum in action; and the curriculum that participants actually learn.

The (2007) site states:

I advocate the definition of curriculum that suports a complex network of physical, social and intellectual conditions that shape and reinforce the behavior of individuals, and takes in consideration the individual's perceptions and interpretations of the environment in order to reinforce the learning objectives and to facilitate the evaluation procedures.

associated issues

related areas

See also



Coles, C., 2003, ‘The development of a curriculum for spinal surgeons’, Observations following the Second Spine Course of the Spinal Society of EuropeBarcelona 16th – 19th September 2003,, not available at this address 28 February 2011., 2007, What is the meaning of curriculum? and what are the examples of curriculum? available at, accessed 21 September 2012, not available 20 June 2019.

Northeast Texas Network Consortium (NTNC), 2002, Distance Learning College Glossary. , accessed 20 September 2012, not available 20 June 2019.

Wojtczak, A., 2002, Glossary of Medical Education Terms,, December, 2000, Revised February 2002, accessed 2 September 2012, page not available 30 December 2016.

copyright Lee Harvey 2004–2021

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