Seven School Curriculum Types and their Classroom Implications

This article describes the 7 types of curriculum and their classroom implications. Upon reading this article, you will realize the complexity of the term “curriculum” as I discuss each type, along with the examples. Read on and find out the different types.

Allan Grathon (2000), as cited by Bilbao et al. (2008), describes the seven types of curriculum as follows:

  1. Recommended CurriculumPerhaps you have asked these questions: Why should I take all these subjects and follow the course flow religiously? Why is there a need to implement the K to 12?The answer is simple! The Ministry of Education, the Commission on Higher Education, or any professional organization can recommend and implement a curriculum.

    In the Philippines, for example, what is being implemented by the Department of Education (DepEd) or the Commission on Higher Education (CHEd), is an example of a recommended curriculum.

    In some cases, a law making body like the congress and the senate, or a university or a school can recommend a subject, a course, or any academic program which is deemed necessary for national identity and security, for environmental protection and sustainable development, among others.

  1. Written CurriculumThis refers to a lesson plan or syllabus written by teachers. Another example is the one written by curriculum experts with the help of subject teachers. This kind of written curriculum needs to be pilot tested or tried out in sample schools to determine its effectiveness.
  1. Taught CurriculumThis is about the implementation of the written curriculum. Whatever is being taught or an activity being done in the classroom is a taught curriculum. So, when teachers give a lecture, initiate group work, or ask students to do a laboratory experiment with the their guidance, the taught curriculum is demonstrated. This curriculum contains different teaching styles and learning styles to address the students’ needs and interests.
  1. Supported CurriculumInstructional materials, such as textbooks, audio visual materials, blogs, wikis, and others are examples of support curriculum. Other examples are playgrounds, zoos, gardens, museums, and real life objects. It is called supported curriculum because it helps teachers implement a written curriculum thus enables the students to become life-long learners.
  1. Assessed CurriculumWhen students take a quiz or the mid-term and final exams, these series of evaluations are the so-called assessed curriculum. Teachers may use the pencil and paper tests, and authentic assessments like portfolio and performance based assessments in order to know if the students are progressing or not.
  1. Learned CurriculumThis type of curriculum indicates what the students have actually learned. This can be measured through learning outcomes. A learning outcome can be manifested by what students can perform or do either in their cognitive, affective or psychomotor domains. The learning outcome can be determined by the results of the tests, and it can be achieved by the students through the use of learning objectives.
  1. Hidden CurriculumThis refers to the unplanned or unintended curriculum but plays an important role in learning.

Now, let’s discuss some classroom implications of the different types of curriculum by taking the following situation as example.

Let’s assume that you are a college student taking up Bachelor of Secondary Education, major in English. Your course or degree program is a recommended curriculum prescribed by CHED. The syllabi given to you by your teachers are the written curriculum. When your teachers start to teach, that is a taught curriculum. And when they ask you to use the internet and search information about a given topic, this is a supported curriculum.

Furthermore, teachers need to evaluate your performance. So, when you are given a test or exam that is the assessed curriculum. The results of the assessed curriculum will determine what you have actually learned – and that is the so-called learned curriculum. However, the hidden curriculum can affect what will be taught and assessed by your teachers, and eventually may affect what you will learn.

To sum it up, curriculum is not only about a course or a simple listing of subjects but it is the total learning experience of students as indicated by the seven types of curriculum.


Bilbao, P. P., Lucido, P. I., Iringan, T. C., and R. B. Javier (2008). Curriculum development. Quezon City: Lorimar Publishing, Inc.

© 2015 January 7 M. G. Alvior

Cite this article as: Alvior, Mary G. (January 7, 2015). Seven School Curriculum Types and their Classroom Implications. In SimplyEducate.Me. Retrieved from

132 thoughts on “Seven School Curriculum Types and their Classroom Implications”

      1. what are the major types of curriculum? because i found some where that
        curriculum can be categorized into two major types and these are
        now what is your comment on this

  1. Dear Sir Paul Mukama,

    Thank you for bringing that up, but I’m not familiar with the ones you mentioned (implisity and explisity as major types of curriculum). I would appreciate if you could give me the link.

    Dr. Mary

      1. Hi, Mary! Thanks for your comments. If it is implicit or explicit curriculum, maybe it is only the terminology that makes the difference. Is implicit somewhat related to the hidden curriculum or the intended curriculum? And what about the explicit? Does it refer to the achieved or implemented curriculum? Well, I can only have a definite response if there are references or links (websites) that will further explain the implicit and explicit curriculum mentioned by Sir Paul.

    1. I think he made an error instead of explicit he typed explisity. Nevertheless explicit is just same as formal curriculum

    1. Hi, Kathryn.

      It is important for you to know the different types of curriculum to understand the concepts and processes involved in curriculum development. It also explains why it is important to do lesson plans, assess students’ performance and monitor and implement curricular programs, etc.

    1. Dear Sajal,

      I appreciated your effort of sending me the link. I’m really happy because the purpose of this site is for professional development and academic success. This is a place where teachers and students meet to globalize higher education by sharing what we know. I agree with the ones described/defined by Dr. Leslie. There could be more kinds/types of curriculum and these are subject to interpretations. Thus, it depends on the readers what they should agree or disagree. Thank you.

  2. Hi, Elias. Yes, it is important to apply the 7 types because they are the types of curriculum that exist in school. However, it depends on your country, school administrators, or school heads if they want to apply them or not. Thanks.

  3. I had to research about the types of Curricula and the importance of knowing them. This helped me a lot. This is very understandable and clear. Thank you so much.

    1. Hi, Jean.

      Teacher must be sensitive to the hidden curriculum because it is a key to make students learn. A curriculum that is written may look perfect but it makes no sense when the students don’t learn. In affective filter hypothesis, if the affective filter is up, no learning will take place. Affective filters are the emotional and psychological aspects that prevent students from learning like if they are hungry, afraid or have problems in life. To know the hidden curriculum and its implications to classroom teaching, please read this link, Thanks a lot.

    1. Hi, Shammy! Planned curriculum is what you want to do in the classroom. The examples of planned curriculum are lesson plans, course outlines, syllabus, etc. However, achieved curriculum is the one being learned by the students. You will know it once you already have the results of their quizzes, assignments, projects, and exams (formative and summative assessments).

  4. Came across the question.. Explain the by product of school curriculum.. Please, how do i go about the solution? Are the by product same as the types of curriculum?

    1. Hi, Williams! I don’t know exactly what you meant by “by product of school curriculum”, but in my opinion is when we say “by product” it means the end, results or outcomes. So, when the learning outcomes have been achieved thru assessment (formative and summative), that is considered the by product. Likewise, it may mean the quality of students or graduates that the school has produced.

  5. hi ! I do not know what does it mean about this question on book. What are the tools used by the school to assess the curriculum? or does it mean to assess the 7 curriculum that exists in that particular school ? Can you list down

    1. Hi, Zachary! I think it is more on assessing the curriculum, in general. It is more on ways of determining if the lesson is learned or not. For examples, the use of quizzes, projects, portfolio, assignments, etc.

    1. Hi, Dj! Please tell me your school or university. As to your question, stakeholders are important in curriculum implementation because a curriculum can’t be implemented without them. For example, who will implement the curriculum if there are no administrators and teachers. How can the school operate without the students? How can the teachers teach if there are no students? Also, if there are no parents to send their children to school, how can there be students in school? If there are no industries to provide school for them. Curriculum is societal, so all the stakeholders must be considered in its development and implementation.

      1. Hello, Lyn. Your question is hard to answer. The written curriculum depends on your school or to you as a teacher. In most cases, get the contents and performance standards from your Ministry of Education, Commission on Higher Education or from any accrediting bodies that govern your school.

  6. This is a very good substance. I appreciate your research. However , where does parental involvement comes in terms of support from home.

    1. Dear James,

      Hi! parental involvement comes when they support the learning environment and needs of their children. For example, they should spend money for the education of their children. They should provide their emotional needs and others. They really have to motivate their children to study and learn. May I know your school?

    1. Hi, Joely Ann. We need to change it in order to keep abreast with the changes/trends. We need to be updated of what is happening in the educational system. Also, we need to address the needs of the students and the industries as well, etc.

    1. Hi, Aishnes. I already answer this question in one of the comments. Please check all the articles I wrote about curriculum. There is one who asked me the same question. To look for the articles, go to HOME, then on the left side corner you can see the list of topics, go to EDUCATION, click it, and click CURRICULUM. Then scroll down and you read the comments from each article. I have no time to look for that question since I’m a busy person. Another way, is to look for the table of contents. Thanks.

  7. dr. Mary, just want to ask do you have like a list of schools that will show or act as an example of the types of curriculum they use? or is there any schools or universities that uses different type of curriculum based on the discussions you provided? your answer is highly appreciated thanks in advance.


    1. Hi, Ann. I’m so sorry but I don’t have a list of schools. However, just try to observe classrooms if they use the things I mentioned above. As far as I know, a school can use several types depending on their administrators or department chair persons. For example, in the recommended curriculum, all DEPED and SUCs (state universities & colleges) follow the curriculum recommended by CHED. You can also interview teachers as to your questions. Thanks.

    1. Hi, Nana. Yes. However, once you integrate other subject matters to the existing curriculum, it will become broad, and therefore be classified under the broad field curriculum. But the question is, how many subject matters have you integrated in the existing? How broad is broad? If you only integrate less than two and the scope is not the huge, then, it could not be under the broad field curriculum. Thanks.

  8. Thanx hey, this is very educative in as much as it is inspirational Dr Mary! Im based in Zimbabwe, teaching a local church owned school.

  9. Hi. What are the importance of these curriculum on the life of a teacher and its implication to the life of the learners?

    1. Those types of curriculum are important to teachers because they are the ones implementing them. If there is no curriculum, the teacher nor the school can’t exist. The most important thing in an educational system is the curriculum because it is the heart. Likewise, it is also important to the life of students. Do you think students can be called students if there is no curriculum? What will they study or learn if there is no curriculum? For more details just read some of my articles about curriculum/education in this site. Thank you so much.

    1. Hello! I’m so sorry but I am not familiar with the term received curriculum. I only know about learned. Perhaps, received is also related to learned or it could be any form of curriculum that is provided/given to the students, thus the word, received is used.

  10. Hi colleague, I’m happy to find such educative platform, may i some clarifications on multiple intelligence by Howard Gardner

    1. Hello! Thanks so much for the kind words. May I know your specific question regarding multiple intelligences? Which aspect should I clarify about?

  11. Congrats its an inspiring site ever found. I appreciate your good work but i have one qn concerning curriculum
    What are the issues to consider during curriculum design and development? Your answer is highly in need..

    1. Dear Franco,

      Your question is highly appreciated. There are many issues to consider but the major issues are the legality of the program that you will design and develop. Each country or institution has its own sets of procedures and policies. Just comply with the requirements. Then the financial aspect, the manpower (like the teachers, the staff and consultants). You should also consider the industries. Just make sure that students from the program can find a job.

  12. Hi can i asked something how do the teacher enrich the curriculum in every school where they taught?

    1. Hi, Hanna Mae.

      The teachers can enrich the curriculum if they are allowed to do so. But if they are allowed, they can give supplementary materials that are related to the topics, that can get the interests of the students, that are appropriate for their level and background.

  13. In addition how do the teacher percieve the role as curricularist? Im just really confused of everything and i just want to know such thing about this..

    1. Hi, again. I have already answered this question before. Please look at the previous comments and replies. Perception varies. It is a personal one. So, how do you look at it? But you could not simply state that a teacher is a curricularist because he needs expertise and thorough knowledge. A simple classroom teacher is not an expert in curriculum and cannot be addressed as curricularist. But as to the perception, and if you mean the curricularist as curriculum implementor, it is also hard on the part of the teacher. He may view his role as very important because the success of any curricular program in on the teacher. In short, you may view the role as important or not.

  14. hello ma’am.i have a question,,ahm..what is the connection of the Recommended curriculum to Written curriculum??:)

    1. Hi, Aida. Both are written. However, not all written curriculum can be considered as recommended. Recommended curriculum can be prescribed by other bigger institutions or organizations while the written curriculum may refer only to lesson plans or syllabus.

    1. Thanks so much, Ayalew Molla. Please pray for me that I would be always healthy and have time to write and answer your questions. I’m getting sick due to some health problems I experienced for the past few months.

    1. Hi, Rafei Lei. Curriculum in schools are varied due to the complexities of the learning and teaching process, and the changes that may occur in a country and society as well. In addition, there are many issues that need to be addressed by the school and the heart of any learning institution is the curriculum.

    1. Hi, Marist. If it is a daily implementation of curriculum in the classroom, it means that you have to carry out your lesson plans and syllabus in a daily basis, from the instructional objectives down to assessment in order to find out if the students have learned or not.

  15. hi Mary hope you good. can u please help me in identifying the relationship that exist among the different types of curricular

    1. Hi, Mulamata. I think the relationship is more on how we connect the lesson or degree program to assessment and what are the other variables that affect the teaching and learning process. The bottomline is how can we achieve the optimum learning of students in a successful manner.

  16. thank you so much maam. This help me alot in making may assignment in school. Thank you so much for aloting your time sharing your wisdom to others. May the lord GOD bless you and guide you alway. 🙂

  17. hi! why the following regarded as the part of hidden curriculum
    a/the choice of the subject by the pupils
    b/the cleanlines of the school compound
    c/the design of the school time table

    1. Hi Sanga.
      according to my view and research it’s called hidden because they are things a student learns while at the school without being aware. Also termed as unconditional learning. Attitudes, skills, habits are among hidden values copied by learners from teachers, peers or elders. It is non academic but educational significant outcome of learning.

  18. Hi Dr.may
    i am studding Master of Art in Nursing , i face to A question which is , What is the type of Curriculum used in Nursing Course CHED 2009 series 14 ? Dr.Mary i am overseas student i fined more of What i need in your page thank you so much the more you make my feel positive ,,
    Have A nice day & Night Ma’am ..

    1. Hello, Layan. How are you? I’m so sorry for a delayed reply. The curriculum issued by CHED is an example of a recommended curriculum. So, the curriculum in Nursing Course issued by CHED 2009 series 14 is a recommended curriculum.

  19. but these types of cureiculum are confusing me coz i want the definition of prescribed,formal and imformal curriculums….and yet i couldnt see them….

  20. Hello po…
    I just want to ask question that came in my mind and its really bothering… what does it mean___ What, Why and how to Evaluate a Curriculum?

    Plsss… I need answer..

    1. Hi, James. Your question needs a long answer and I can’t answer it here. Perhaps, I have to write an article about it if I have time. I’m so sorry.

    1. Hi, Eraj. Yes, there is. Learned curriculum is the actual lesson/knowledge learned by the students while assessed curriculum is more on the assessment process to determine if the students learned.

      1. can you help me Dr. l have an asignment on curriculum studies.The difference between planned curriculum and actual curriculum and give possible reasons for there disparities

  21. Dear Dr Mary

    I am PGCE student and we where given an assignment on “USING PRACTICAL EXAMPLES TO DIFFERENTIATE THE TYPES OF CURRICULUM AS APPLICABLE IN THE MICRO, MESO AND MACRO LEVELS IN SA”. Please simplify this question for me or rather what examples would you consider in answering the question?

    1. Hello, Lorraine. PGCE means a Post Graduate Certificate Education, right? And what do you mean by SA? Saudi Arabia or South Africa? I can’t give you the exact answers because the acronyms are not clear to me.

      As to the definition, perhaps this can help you, and from there, you can provide your own examples since you are more familiar with your place.

  22. can you help me Dr. l have an asignment on curriculum studies.The difference between planned curriculum and actual curriculum and give possible reasons for there disparities

    1. Hi, again Tafadzwa. The reason for the disparity is that when you do the actual teaching, sometimes you can’t implement all the parts of your lesson plans (planned or intended curriculum) due to the influence of the hidden curriculum.

    1. Hi, Sophie. The actual, ongoing or implemented curricula are the so-called “real”, which means that they are the ones being implemented in the classroom. The planned curriculum in a form of lesson plan is only planned and therefore can be altered depending on the students’ needs during the actual delivery of the lesson.

  23. Good day Dr. Mary, your article enlightened me so much on the types of the curriculum. I have grey spots on understanding this on our masteral class and this page helped me in comprehending it well. I have a question though, in the Philippine setting and in the midst of various issues teachers encounter on implementing the curriculum, what are your suggestions on minimizing and or eliminating/ bridging the gap between the taught and the learned curriculum?
    Thank You for taking time and best regards.

    1. Hi, Quinn. My suggestions are the following: (1) formulate objectives that are smart or formulate learning outcomes; (2) the delivery and management of curriculum; and (3) the time spent in teaching. If the curriculum is congested or the time spent is too much for the students to absorb the lessons, then there is no meaningful learning on the part of the students. It is useless to teach more time if the students’ affective filters are high. Thus, there is a gap between the taught and the learned curriculum.

    1. Hi, KIm. One of the benefits is that you can ensure that the standards or requirements for that course/program/subject are followed. Next, it is easier to prepare. It is like one size fits all. One main syllabus, textbook can be used and assessment tools are the same . It is also easy to manage and evaluate.

    1. Teachers are the implementors and they must be trained and monitored to ensure that the prescribed curriculum are followed.

  24. sorry madam!!!!. I have a question . What are the different scholars who tried to classify the types of curriculum?

  25. Chilomba Pardon, (undergraduate) a Zambian in central Africa.

    Dr! You are very powerful and you need to be Honored by highly recognized bodies or universities like the HARVARD UNIVERSITY for your super able knowledge and tireless research mentality. That is my HUMBLE prayer and may the ALMIGHTY LORD who never went wrong bless you ABUNDANTLY especially your health which is the most important of all as other things can just be following one after the other. In fact ”Doc” is not enough hence” Prof”. Good and lovely night. Now Doc, what are the elements of curriculum?

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