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Open Access Holding policy-makers to account: exploring 'soft' and 'hard' policy and the implications for curriculum reform

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Curriculum implementation as both an educational practice and a policy conundrum has been the focus of academic research since the 1970s. A new perspective is taken in this article by borrowing from the literature on policy implementation in multilevel systems of government. The concepts of 'hard' and 'soft' policy are used to show that policy-makers choose from a range of strategies and it is these choices rather than teacher attitudes that may account for the level of implementation of a policy. A case study of curriculum implementation in Hong Kong is used to show how 'hard' and 'soft' policy can be identified in practice.

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Keywords: CURRICULUM IMPLEMENTATION; CURRICULUM POLICY; CURRICULUM REFORM

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 March 2011

More about this publication?
  • Founded in 2003 by the UCL Institute of Education, the journal reflects the Institute's broad interests in all types of education in all contexts - local, national, global - and its commitment to analysis across disciplines using a variety of methodologies. It shares the Institute's aspiration to interrogate links between research, policy and practice, and its principled concern for social justice.

    Drawing on these strengths, LRE is a wide-ranging and engaging journal that features rigorous analysis and significant research across key themes in education, including: public goals and policies; pedagogy; curriculum; organization; resources and technology; and institutional effectiveness. Articles and book reviews are written by experts in education, psychology, sociology, policy studies, philosophy and other disciplines contributing to education research, and by experienced researcher-practitioners working in the field. The highest quality of reporting and presentation are ensured through an independent, anonymised peer-review process. As an entirely web-based open access journal, LRE has been able to offer innovative features and formats including: epistolary conversation; colour photos and illustrations; illustrative video clips.

    LRE welcomes relevant articles and book reviews. Please email them to [email protected]

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