The role of a curriculum director and how data helps

role of school curriculum director
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The education system has come a long way over the last couple of decades, steadily evolving to meet the needs of 21st-century learners. Edtech has improved dramatically, decision-making is becoming more and more data-driven, and in general, an unprecedented level of innovation is driving the entire sphere forward.

With this change, new roles have emerged or become even more crucial for success. In this article, we’ll take a look at one of those, the role of a curriculum director.

In the grand scheme of things, the end goal is obviously to facilitate learning at the student level, but where exactly does the curriculum director fit in? Who are they? What do they do? And how can currently existing data be used to help them function more effectively?

Role and responsibilities of a curriculum director

When it comes to decisions concerning the content that is delivered to students in class, the concept of local control largely holds sway. Local entities that control the schools take responsibility for the decisions concerning the curriculum delivered within classrooms and remain accountable to state and federal authorities for the achievement of goals and targets.

Within that framework, the role of a curriculum director is to ensure that there is alignment between the content that students are being taught, and the desired goals used to evaluate their learning. In simple terms, they plan the curriculum.

A task that would fall within their purview is, for example, determining why students continuously underperform in a particular area. They may revisit the resources used for that particular topic and assess whether or not the textbook that is being used, for instance, does a good job of covering that particular subject matter.

Here are some of the tasks curriculum directors take on:

  • Planning and creating fresh curriculums while evaluating the effectiveness of current ones
  • Creating educational resources for use in classrooms
  • Creating tools to track students’ progress in accomplishing their academic objectives
  • Researching trends in their field of study’s disciplines or relevant topics
  • Assisting in staff development to help teachers refine their instructional techniques

The use of data in curriculum development

Data-driven policy-making improves the effectiveness of the interventions that are put in place. For a curriculum director, this often means being able to better understand the root of an issue and make targeted recommendations that are backed by solid evidence.

For example, if a student is not doing well, that particular student may need help. If an entire class is not doing well on a particular subject, then the teacher may need more support. However, if an entire district of schools is struggling with the mastery of a particular concept, then possibly, the materials and methods being used for the instruction of that topic should be reviewed.

Without the necessary data – appropriately structured and visualized – it is impossible to recognize the patterns that exist within the data in relation to their impact on learning outcomes.

How technology is changing the way curriculum directors use data

One of the biggest changes that has come about thanks to technology is not the availability of data. Schools and educational institutions routinely churn out huge amounts of data on a daily basis. The challenge has always been the ability to visualize that data, from many different sources, in a digestible and actionable format.

Instead of, for example, logging into four or five different systems and somehow manually aggregating students’ performance from each of those disparate sources. With a resource like AnalyticVue, for example, a curriculum director can log into one place and see all this information drawn from different sources and aggregated into customizable, easy-to-understand dashboards.

Technology puts data in the hands of curriculum directors, without requiring them to become full-fledged data analysts.

Using data to measure the effectiveness of educational programs

These newfound capabilities have given curriculum directors license to go beyond just grades and assessments to determine how well students are doing. Technology provides the ability to look at students’ performance at a much more granular level.

Curriculum directors are now able to take a statistic, like a certain percentage of students doing poorly on a particular standard or objective, and drill deeper into the insights behind that. Is that proportion evenly spread out, or can it be narrowed down to a specific subgroup?

In general, technology enhances their ability to determine the effectiveness of their policies in relation to the assessments they are using – be it assessment tools at the district or state level, or annual state assessments.

The importance of data-driven decision-making in education

The most important effect of data-driven decision-making is the ability of policymakers to accurately determine trends and identify cause-effect relationships within the data they are observing. This can help enhance the ability to determine the effectiveness of curriculum, resources, and tools.

More importantly, students get the help they need in order to do well. By relying not only on aggregate data for data-driven decision-making, such as summative assessments but also on sufficiently granular data, it is easier to identify the causes of certain challenges.

For example, data could indicate that there may be a cultural bias within teaching materials which makes it difficult for a certain subgroup to grasp underlying concepts. Or it might be a language barrier, in which case there can be special programs set up for students who speak English as a second language. The key to getting results is accurately diagnosing the causes of these challenges. This cannot be achieved without data.

Data-driven decision-making in education has more advantages, such as:

Students actively contribute to the creation of educational materials

Teachers are able to develop educational materials depending on the changing needs of their pupils by using data to guide their decision-making. Student outcomes and progress can be analyzed to identify which resources seem successful in helping different students succeed.

Students learn more effectively

By being able to quickly evaluate tools and techniques, instead of experimenting based on prior experience, teachers can create concrete learning materials and processes that have a higher rate of success since they are based on actual, current data that is representative of their students.

Personalizes the learning experience

Since data takes center stage in a data-driven education model, teachers constantly adapt to the needs of their students. This sort of adaptive teaching allows the learning experience to be much better suited for each individual student, taking into account the needs of both individual students and the classroom as a whole to provide the best experience for all.

Close the achievement gap

Data-driven education becomes even more important within institutions that have a discrepancy in budget and resources available to offer students a well-rounded education.
Instead of spending more time and resources to find ways to nourish students outside of the classroom, these institutions can bridge the achievement gap by analyzing the discrepancies among their students and putting strategies in place to ensure they are receiving the education they need to achieve the same levels of success as their peers.

Common challenges facing the way curriculum directors use data

The difficulties curriculum directors face when it comes to data boil down to three things: No data, late data, and too much data.

Insufficient data

In a lot of cases, data exists, but in multiple sets from multiple, siloed sources. It is not in a format that curriculum directors can easily visualize and draw conclusions from. This is effectively the same as not having that data.

A platform like AnalyticVue makes use of an API-driven system to combine data from different online learning and evaluation systems into one analytics solution, eliminating those problematic silos.

Delayed data

Even where efforts are made to aggregate data from disparate systems, this process is time intensive and requires advanced data analysis skills. It takes too much time to aggregate the data and present it in an actionable format.

Overwhelming amounts of data

Curriculum directors are not necessarily data specialists who are able to manipulate large amounts of data to glean the insights they need. This is another challenge that is solved by modern education analytics technology That will automatically aggregate information into easy-to-understand dashboards.


The role of a curriculum director is to oversee the design and implementation of educational programs and materials in a school or district. They use data to evaluate the effectiveness of these programs and make informed decisions on what changes need to be made to improve student learning outcomes.
Schools are steadily moving away from relying on simple statistics like averages, totals, and medians of test scores to more nuanced, more subtle specifics. To really help students, and teachers, you need to be able to see more.

Which specific standards did students struggle with in a particular evaluation? Or which particular group of students found certain material the most challenging?

Tools like AnalyticVue, with their ability to effortlessly move data from one system to another, with visualizations, backed by the expertise of educators with decades-long experience helping a diverse range of clients meet their targets I’ve never been more crucial.

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