Teaching Development Grants
Completed TDG Projects

Common Core Curriculum

The Efficacy of the Common Core Curriculum in the Enhancement of Student Learning for the 21st Century: A Qualitative Investigation


This project aimed at understanding, through interviews, students’ experiences of the Common Core Curriculum.

In general, the students interviewed were broadly in agreement that their Common Core experience had enabled them to:

  • Broaden their horizon and to think differently about the world
  • Connect what they had learned from the Common Core to real life and/or disciplinary study
  • See arguments from various perspectives
  • Obtain out-of-discipline knowledge
  • Reflect on their own beliefs and values through listening to the views of others
  • Work collaboratively with students across faculties
  • Enhance their critical thinking skills
  • Think out of the box
  • Accept diversity, uncertainty and complexity

Some of the difficulties that students encounter include failure to get onto a first choice course; scheduling of tutorials; inconsistent workloads and assessment patterns; the use of text-heavy PowerPoints in lectures; and a lack of useful feedback on assessed work.

The findings of the project suggest that the Common Core Curriculum is making a substantial contribution to the pursuit of the University’s educational aims. In particular, the Common Core provides a primary opportunity for students to engage in interdisciplinary and interactive enquiry organized around significant topics.

Principal Investigator

Professor G.M. Kochhar-Lindgren, Professor and Director of Common Core CurriculumContact (with thanks for the earlier work of Dr. Gayle Morris, Mr. Gwyn Edwards, and Professor Gina Marchetti)

Project level

University-level project

Project Completion

December 2014

Deliverables (HKU Portal Login Required)

  1. Evaluated the extent to which students’ perceive the current Common Core Curriculum to have fulfilled the stated institutional and course-level educational aims
  2. Critically explored the extent to which new understandings are emerging, specifically those related to values, to the development of interdisciplinary and intercultural ways of thinking, and to students’ sense of themselves and of others
  3. Explored how students’ educational experiences within the Common Core shape students’ identities, behaviours, interests and values
  4. Interrogated from the student perspective the pedagogical mechanisms that are contributing to the learning as envisioned in the CCC goals and the HKU institutional aims
  5. Supported continuing program enhancements by working with CCC stakeholders to embed key findings in relevant policies and practices
  6. Developed targeted professional development activities for Common Core Teaching staff

The most important outcome of the project is a substantial contribution to the existing institutional student experience data in terms of the extent to which the CCC is achieving its stated goals and contributing to the university aims.