Although there may be only one formal curriculum published by an educational institution, there are, in fact, other curricula students follow, including the Hidden Curriculum, Null Curriculum, Tested Curriculum and Electronic Curriculum. Each curriculum disseminates various and sometimes conflicting messages to students and affects their learning experience.

Written Curriculum

The Written Curriculum is the published curriculum that is part of the formal education. The Written Curriculum includes course objectives, course guides, lesson plans, course material and grading criteria. The Written Curriculum is supplemented by other types of curricula, such as the Electronic Curriculum. Although this s the official curriculum, it is often subordinated by other more powerful curricula.

Hidden Curriculum

The Hidden, or Covert, Curriculum refers to messages communicated by an organization that are implied. The Hidden Curriculum may have more influence than the Written Curriculum because it is based on the norms and values of the organization. The Hidden Curriculum includes ongoing school activities and routines that are not documented and can indicate unofficial preferences for certain subjects. The scheduling or prioritization of certain courses over others can point to a Hidden Curriculum that some subjects are not as important as others.

Null Curriculum

The Null Curriculum represents the material or subjects that are not being taught as part of the Written Curriculum. Due to limited resources or an emphasis on purely academic courses, not all material or subjects will be taught. When subjects such as music or art are not included in the Written Curriculum and thus form part of the Null Curriculum, students may believe these subjects have minimal value.

Tested Curriculum

The Tested, or Assessed, Curriculum is the body of information on which students will be tested. Teachers may prefer to teach material that will be tested on state or school tests to improve their success rates. Teachers who put more emphasis on the Tested Curriculum may overlook the material prescribed in the Written Curriculum.

Electronic Curriculum

The Electronic Curriculum includes all learning activities that are Internet-based. By acknowledging the existence of the issues to be considered with the electronic curriculum, educators must take into consideration the credibility of information on the Internet. Students must develop critical-learning skills to determine the quality of information they are researching.