Fall 1994 · Vol. 23 No. 2 · pp. 136–37 

Book Review

Curriculum Planning: Outcomes-Based Accountability

Weldon F. Zenger and Sharon K. Zenger. Saratoga, CA: R and E, 1992. 209 pages.

Reviewed by Ron Penner

Curriculum Planning is intended as a “how-to-do-it guide” for curriculum planners in the school system, or as a textbook for college-level courses in curriculum planning and development. {137}

The authors, faculty members at Fort Hays State University and Tabor College, Kansas, respectively, have updated and added to an earlier work, Curriculum Planning: A Ten-Step Process (1982), which reviewed significant books and articles in education. The particular concern of this book is to respond to the public’s increased call for demonstrable performance accountability in the educational sector.

The ten steps they propose for curriculum development are:

  • State the curriculum problem or need.
  • Identify, revise, or develop curriculum /program goals and objectives.
  • Plan and organize the resources and constraints of curriculum development.
  • State the functions of and select curriculum committees used for curriculum planning and development.
  • Plan and state the roles and responsibilities of personnel involved.
  • Identify and analyze possible new curricula, programs, or other curricular innovations to meet the stated curriculum need.
  • Assess and select one of the new curricula, programs, or other curricular innovations to meet the stated curriculum need.
  • Design or redesign the new curriculum or program.
  • Implement the new curriculum or program.
  • Evaluate the new curriculum or program.

Each chapter offers a chart outlining the main aspects involved in accomplishing the step in addition to commentary and helpful counsel regarding implementation. The second half of the book offers six very helpful appendices, a comprehensive textbook evaluation guide, and a series of sample programs prepared according to the proposed steps. There is a six-page bibliography.

Some of the key principles guiding the Zengers’ approach are: thoroughness in the planning process, community involvement in the planning process, and illustration of the steps and their workability. Their model builds heavily upon the behavioral objectives approach articulated by Bloom and Krathwohl. If one is in sync with this approach to learning objectives, one will find here a helpful planner. For those subscribing to another approach to objectives, the book will be only partially useful. While the book does not plow new ground, it provides a very clear and practical guide to curriculum development using the behavioral objectives model.

Dr. Ron Penner
Associate Professor of Church and Family Ministries
Mennonite Brethren Biblical Seminary, Fresno, CA.
Fresno, CA.