Curriculum map: characteristics, parts and functions

Curriculum maps are visual tools that allow you to organize what needs to be taught in an educational center, taking into account each subject or field, period of age and time of year, whether it is months, quarters or semesters.

The curriculum map is presented in tabular form and, thanks to its simple structure, it is very easy to understand and refer to on future occasions. Below we will take a closer look at what they are, what their characteristics are, how they are made and what functions they have.

    What is a curriculum card?

    A program map is an educational tool in which the content of the program is visually represented. It is therefore an element which helps teachers in the development and application of the school year. This tool is very useful, as it allows teachers to find inconsistencies and overlaps in some of the elements they planned to teach, or to find aspects of the academic course for improvement.

    In order to establish a program map, it is necessary to specify the subjects and the skills to be taught in each of the subjects and levels of the center. In this way, teachers can adapt their teaching style to the needs of the students and taking into account what other teachers teach.

    The format of the curriculum card is usually that of a spreadsheet or table. Its columns display the periods you want to work with, while the rows contain this information about the topics to be taught during those periods. However, this is not the only way to map the curriculum, because each teacher and center can consider another more appropriate organization.

    Features of the program card

    We can highlight three characteristics of curriculum maps.

    1. Data represented visually

    The most beneficial feature of curriculum maps is that they are tools that allow you to represent all information about a curriculum and student needs visually and in a single document.

    Thanks to this, the curriculum map it is very beneficial at the administrative level. Teachers can check by sticking at a glance if they are achieving their goals or if they need to change anything in their approach.

    Another advantage of this point is that it is easier to understand for people outside the educational institution, such as new teachers, educational inspectors and parents of students. It is a very intuitive tool to understand.

    2. Summary of important information

    When creating a curriculum map a lot of information should be placed in a limited space.

    For this, it is necessary to synthesize the data deemed necessary and sufficiently clear to help understand what will be taught.

    3. Organized in several sections

    To facilitate understanding, curriculum maps are usually divided into several sections. complementary, according to different criteria established by the teacher who prepares it.

    The exact divisions vary in each one, depending on the technique used to create them, although they tend to look a lot alike.

    • Divisions are generally based on these three criteria:
    • The areas to be taught (mathematics, language, biology, etc.)
    • The age of the students
    • School term (quarters, semesters, months …)

    That way, if you want to check out what each age group needs to learn at a certain point in the course, you just need to look at the section on the curriculum map and see what school goals are outlined there.

      Structure and parts

      While the form of a program plan can vary widely depending on what is depicted in it, the truth is that in the vast majority of cases, its structure is in the form of a table or chart. calculation.

      This design is, in fact, one aspect of curriculum maps that makes them truly useful, allowing identify at a glance the data to consult on a student, his class or the subject in question.


      Typically, columns represent time periods, such as terms into which the academic year is divided. As well as, in each of the columns there are usually subdivisions, Representing the different fields of education mentioned in the curriculum map, such as the artistic or scientific field.


      In the row part, the educational levels of the students at which the lessons will be taught are usually represented. Usually this division is done according to the degrees to which they belong or according to the cycles in which they are in. In this way, some curriculum maps can be divided into years of primary, secondary, preschool … while others do it by joining them in pairs or cycles.

      You can also go a little further and make a much more detailed curriculum map, in which all the information of each of the students is formatted. In these cases, the lines would represent the knowledge and goals of a single student, and are geared more towards schools with fewer students or special centers.


      When developing a curriculum plan, teachers should have established the learning goals they want to achieve. In addition, teachers must make an effort and gather all the information necessary to specify what they want to teach and what they have seen other teachers teach as well, Avoid overlaps and repetitions.

      Once this is done, the teacher will only have to translate the information from each of the courses he teaches into a spreadsheet or a table. In doing so, it is important to ensure that the result is as clear as possible in order to facilitate its understanding during future consultations, or to avoid misunderstandings if other teachers have to resort to this curriculum map.

      As we mentioned in the previous section, the organization of each program plan may vary depending on the needs of the students, the academic situation or what is going to be taught.

      However, and as we have seen, the most common is to divide the table into columns according to the program areas and periods in which the course is divided, while the rows would contain the information of each of the teaching levels taught.

      Educational functions

      Based on what is seen, we can specify as two the main functions of curriculum maps.

      Organize the teaching activity

      Curriculum maps are generally used a tool that allows teachers to organize, Determine which academic goals should be achieved during the educational course.

      It is common for a single teacher to have to deal with many students of different levels in their subject (s), which means having a useful and clarifying tool such as the curriculum map greatly facilitates their teaching activity.

      Outcome measurement guide

      If a curriculum map is well designed, it is also an ideal tool for measure the results obtained during the academic year. The program map allows the teacher to see at any time whether he is achieving the results he set himself the goal of achieving at the start of the school year.

      If you have not achieved the planned goals, you will be able to easily correct, act and reorganize the contents that you teach in class, having a very simple reference when reading the program outline.


      As we have seen, the curricular maps they are very useful tools for teachers, Establishing from a good start what needs to be achieved during the teaching process. In addition, it allows you to see if there are any teachers that overlap with others in terms of content to teach, as well as tools that allow you to evaluate the course of the course and see if the objectives are. initially achieved.

      Bibliographical references:

      • Jacobs, H. (1998). Connections, Maps and Learning Structures: Interview with Dr Heidi Hayes Jacobs. Magazine of the independent school. National Association of Independent Schools. 57 (3).
      • Hale, JA (2008). A guide for assigning CVs. Thousand Oaks, Calif .: Corwin Press. p. 145.

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