Why Instructional Materials Matter
Instructional materials can have as large an impact on student outcomes as teacher quality. However, schools, districts, and states lack trusted, transparent information about the quality of the materials and tools they use to guide instruction. Only 37 percent of teachers believe that their district or school's instructional materials are aligned with the CCSS. Current state adoption processes yield inconsistent findings and provide limited evidence to support districts in selecting materials.
Due to the lack of information, selection decisions often privilege factors other than alignment or quality. 90 percent of districts report identifying or developing CCSS-aligned materials as a challenge. In one study, the average cost-effectiveness ratio of switching to higher quality curriculum was almost 40 times that of class-size reduction.
Navigating the Materials Adoption Process
Selecting instructional materials is one of the most critical decisions a district will make. Finding materials that are aligned to college- and -career ready standards and meet the needs of your district can be overwhelming, particularly when examining a crowded marketplace. By committing to a clear, comprehensive process, districts can invest time upfront to save time later, maximize choice, and choose the best materials for their students. Get started with these 8 steps.
Questions to Ask Before Starting Your Adoption
We’ve been working and learning with districts over the past few years to capture best practices for making curriculum adoption decisions. One of the biggest challenges for districts actually comes at the very beginning of the adoption process. Our Knowing Your Starting Point Data Inventory is a sampling of questions that are important for districts to know the answers to before starting the adoption process and before looking at materials.
Learn More About Why Instructional Materials Matter
- Don't Forget Curriculum, Brown Center Letters on Education, Brookings Institute
- Choosing Blindly: Instructional Materials, Teacher Effectiveness, and the Common Core, Brown Center on Education Policy at Brookings Institute
- The Hidden Value of Curriculum, Center for American Progress
- Implementation of K-12 State Standards for Mathematics and English Language Arts and Literacy: Findings from the American Teacher Panel
- Teaching Higher: Educators' Perceptions of Common Core Implementation
- Listening to and Learning from Teachers: A Summary of Focus Groups on the Common Core and Assessments
- Curriculum Research: What We Know and Where We Need to Go
- How Teachers Judge the Quality of Instructional Materials
California Curriculum Collaborative
Visit California Curriculum Collaborative, a resource for educators in California that provides crucial tools that support districts and schools with crucial tools in making materials decisions. Pivot Learning (pivotlearning.org), an Oakland-based nonprofit supporting dozens of CA school districts to improve college and career readiness, launched the California Curriculum Collaborative in partnership with EdReports.org, and offers free independent analysis of K-12 Math and English Language Arts materials from national publishers as well as best practices for curriculum adoption.
Learn more from our content reviewers about why instructional materials matter and how EdReports supports educators nationwide to seek, identify, and demand high quality, aligned materials.