Systemic factors refer to influences on curricular programs that lie outside the intended and enacted curricula and are not readily amenable to change by the curriculum designers. Examples include the standards and the accountability system in place during the implementation period. Standards are designed to provide a governance framework of curricular objectives in which any particular program is embedded. Various sets of standards (i.e., those written by National Council of Teachers of Mathematics [NCTM], those established by states or districts) represent judgments about what is important. These can differ substantially both in emphasis and in specificity.
Accountability systems are a means to use the combination of standards and typically high-stakes test to conform in offerings across a governance structure. As mentioned previously, curriculum programs may vary in relation to their alignment to standards and accountability systems.
Other policies such as certification and recertification processes or means of obtaining alternative certification for teachers can have a major impact on a curricular change, but these are typically not directly a part of the curriculum design and implementation processes. State requirements for course taking, college entrance requirements, college credits granted for Advanced Placement (AP) courses, ways of effecting grade point averages (i.e., an additional point toward the Grade Point Average [GPA] for taking an AP course), availability of SAT preparation courses, and opportunities for supplementary study outside of school are also examples of systemic factors that lie outside the scope of the specific program, but exert significant influences on it. Textbook adoption processes and cycles also would be considered systemic factors. As reported to the committee by publishers, the timing and requirements of these adoption processes, especially in large states such as Texas, California, and Florida, exert significant pressure on the scope, sequence, timing, and orientation of the curricula development process and may include restrictions on field testing or dates of publication (as reported by Frank Wang, Saxon Publishers Inc., in testimony to the committee at the September 2002 workshop).
Intervention strategies refer to the theory of action that lies behind the enactment of a curricular innovation. We found it necessary to consider attention given by evaluation studies to the intervention strategies behind many of the programs reviewed. Examining an intervention strategy re-