Seven Criteria for the Selection of Subject-Matter or Content of the Curriculum

This article clarifies the two viewpoints of the curriculum and discusses the 7 criteria for the selection of subject matter or content of the curriculum (Bilbao et al., 2008).

The term curriculum is viewed in two different ways: the micro and the macro. The micro curriculum refers to subjects while the macro curriculum refers to curricular programs. For example, the subject biology is a micro curriculum while BS in Civil Engineering is a macro curriculum.

What do the micro and the macro curriculum contain? The following criteria discusses the content of these two levels of the curriculum.

 Seven Criteria for the Selection of Subject-matter or Content of the Curriculum

The selection of subject matter for micro curriculum employs the seven criteria below. For the macro curriculum, the subjects needed for the curricular program or course.

1. Self-sufficiency

To help learners attain maximum self-sufficiency in the most economical manner is the main guiding principle of subject matter or content selection (Scheffler, 1970) as cited by Bilbao et al. (2008). Although the economy of learning implies less teaching effort and less use of educational resources, students gain more results. They can cope up with the learning outcomes effectively.

This criterion means that students should be given a chance to experiment, observe, and do field study. This system allows them to learn independently.

With this principle in mind, I suggest that for a high school curriculum or preparatory year, there should be a one-day independent learning activity each week. However, this should be carefully planned by the teacher. When the students return, they should present outputs from the activity.

2. Significance

The subject matter or content is significant if it is selected and organized for the development of learning activities, skills, processes, and attitude. It also develops the three domains of learning namely the cognitive, affective and psychomotor skills and considers the cultural aspects of the learners. Particularly, if your students come from different cultural backgrounds and races, the subject matter must be culture-sensitive.

In short, select content or subject matter that can achieve the overall aim of the curriculum.

3. Validity

Validity refers to the authenticity of the subject matter or content you selected. Make sure that the topics are not obsolete.

For example, do not include typewriting as a skill to be learned by college students. It should be about the computer or Information Technology (IT).

Thus, there is a need to check regularly the subject matter or contents of the curriculum, and replace it if necessary. Do not wait for another 5 years to change it.

Modern curriculum experts are after current trends, relevance and authenticity of the curriculum; otherwise, the school or the country becomes obsolete.

4. Interest

This criterion is true to the learner-centered curriculum. Students learn best if the subject matter is meaningful to them. It becomes meaningful if they are interested in it. However, if the curriculum is subject-centered, teachers have no choice but to finish the pacing schedule religiously and only teach what is in the book. This approach explains why many fail in the subject.

5. Utility

Another criterion is the usefulness of the content or subject matter. Students think that a subject matter or some subjects are not important to them. They view it useless. As a result, they do not study.

Here are the questions that students often ask: Will I need the subject in my job? Will it give meaning to my life? Will it develop my potentials? Will it solve my problem? Will it be part of the test? Will I have a passing mark if I learn it?

Students only value the subject matter or content if it is useful to them.

6. Learnability

The subject matter or content must be within the schema of the learners. It should be within their experiences. Teachers should apply theories in the psychology of learning to know how subjects are presented, sequenced, and organized to maximize the learning capacity of the students.

7. Feasibility

Feasibility means full implementation of the subject matter. It should consider the real situation of the school, the government, and the society, in general. Students must learn within the allowable time and the use of resources available. Do not give them a topic that is impossible to finish.

For example, you have only one week left to finish the unit but then, the activities may take a month for the students to complete. Thus, this requirement is not feasible.

Do not offer a computer subject if there is no even electricity in the area, or there are no computers at all.

Further, feasibility means that there should be teachers who are experts in that area. For example, do not offer English for Business Communication if there is no teacher to handle it.

Also, there is a need to consider the nature of the learners. The organization and design of the subject matter or content must be appropriate to the nature of students.

So, it would be better if students in a subject-centered curriculum (with pacing schedule that must be religiously implemented every week) shall be grouped homogeneously; otherwise, many will flunk in that subject.

In conclusion, teachers in elementary and high school are not directly involved in the selection of subject-matter because there are already lesson plans made by the Department of Education. All they have to do is to follow it. However, they can also customize the lessons if their department heads or principals allows them.

As regards macro curriculum, the Commission on Higher Education sets guidelines and policies on what subjects to offer as minimum requirements for the course. Then, the Curriculum Development Committee will takes charge of the selection, organization and implementation of the curriculum with the approval of the Academic Council.

The Curriculum Development Committee headed by the Director of Curriculum Development sees to it that the selection of the subject-matter and the subjects for a curricular program be examined and scrutinized using the 7 criteria mentioned above.

But, this is not the end of the process yet! The selection of the subject matter or content of the micro and macro curriculum is only one of the considerations in designing the curriculum.


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

© 2015 February 7 M. G. Alvior

Cite this article as: Alvior, Mary G. (February 7, 2015). Seven Criteria for the Selection of Subject-Matter or Content of the Curriculum [Blog Post]. In SimplyEducate.Me. Retrieved from

62 thoughts on “Seven Criteria for the Selection of Subject-Matter or Content of the Curriculum”

      1. its really educating. what about other criteria such as scope. balance.relevance.integration.sequence and continuity…will it imply? and if yes in which way?

    1. I must appreciate you for your contribution to my learning through your piece of work. More to your your academic research work. Thanks.

  1. Thanks a lot for your contribution to education system.Thanks again because it has helped me to finish my assignment on time instead of going to the library for searching the information.

    1. You are welcome, Mariam. I’m glad that I am able to help you. Please share the site to others. Thank you so much in advanced. God bless!

  2. thanks very much for your clear clarification on the criterias for curriculum content selection coz it help me to accomplish my assigment.

  3. Hi, Lovely!

    How do we know if the content is within the:

    a. time – if the tasks or lessons are appropriate for the time given or prescribed. For example, if the allowable time is 54 hours per semester, make it sure that the topics can be covered well within the time frame. You will know it if the students will complain or if they can’t finish the task on time. That’s why the pacing schedule or the syllabus must be planned well. Just to give you a simple example, will you allot 5 hours for the students to write a 150-word paragraph?

    b. resources – make sure that you have the resources like books, laboratory, or equipment to help students learn. For example, will you assign them to go to a speech laboratory, if your school doesn’t have it? Of course, not!

    c. expertise of the teacher – teachers must have a bachelor’s degree and have a license to teach. They must also have MA or Phd that are vertically articulated which means that it should be within their range of specialization. If your program in the bachelor is BSED English, your MA and your Phd must be in English Language Teaching or Applied Linguistics.

    d. Experiences of the learners – make sure that the students can relate to the lessons and they find them meaningful to their work or job someday.

    1. Hi, Wada. Im so sorry for a delayed reply. Constraints are budget, lack of teacher training, lack of books, lack of facilities, lack of qualified teachers, attitude and motivation of teachers and students in the implementation of the curriculum, and lack of management or administrative support.

    2. Curriculum implementation means that you have to apply what is being written or recommended in the curriculum in your school. It is like putting it into action. As to factors, it could be the reactions (positive or negative)of the stakeholders, the administrative and financial factors, and the impact to the industries or communities that the school ought to serve.

  4. Nice to meet you Dr. so longer I’m a first year student in a faculty of education from the open university of tanzania, hope to enjoy ur presentation, God bless

  5. hello ma’am good morning .. can you help me about my field study 4 . learning episode 5 about approaches about school curriculum .. because I can’t find an answer about the samples on how the principles of curriculum content are applied in their school .. with an acronym of BASIC . each letter we will give a sample.
    hope you read this ma”am and you can give me any sample !!.
    thank you.

  6. gud day,as an education student, your explanations help me to understand these lessons further, we have an examination about this topic tonight and it really helps me a lot. Thanks and God bless!

  7. I read your article. Really, It is very interesting and lovely. Please, do you have others? I need them badly. Write me on my email.

    1. Hello, Bezabih. Please see the link to my published book at the right hand side of this post. More are coming. Thank you.

  8. Thank you so much Ma’am Mary for this cite. It helps me a lot in my field study 4. May you keep on posing a meaningful and useful written works.
    God bless you, po.

  9. How do you know the significance in the content curriculum? How do you know if the curriculum is valid?When do you know that curriculum is useful? When do you know that the subject matter is within the range of your learners experience?And when do you know that the learners are interested in content?

  10. Aw, this was an incredibly good post. Taking a few minutes and
    actual effort to make a very good article… but hat can I say… I hesitate a whole
    lot and don’t manage to get nearly anything done.

  11. Thank you very much. It helps me a lot to understand this topic. Actually I am going to take the LET this march 2018. Again thank you ma’am. God Bless you.

  12. Thanks very much for your relevant ideas as regards to this topic. I have learnt and understood a lot from this precised and well explained content you have endevered to share with other people in the world. I appreciate you for that. on top of that, I encourage youg to cotinue being short and precised in whatever message or information you may come up with. This is to enable easy understanding among the researchers and the learners in the whole world. God Bless you for the effort you put in to come up with information above.

    1. Thank you Moding Patrick for your kind words. We need prayers to continue this platform. Please help us share this site in order to help others.

  13. Thanks Dr , I have learned a lot from your article ! May you please tell me the determinants that impact the development of curriculum

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