March 4, 2015

EdReports.org educators determine which math textbooks meet criteria for alignment to the Common Core State Standards (CCSS)

Durham, NC - March 4, 2015 - EdReports.org, a new nonprofit that reviews instructional materials to determine alignment to Common Core standards, today announced the results of its first round of reviews. Their findings revealed that most of the K-8 mathematics instructional materials reviewed do not meet their criteria for alignment to the standards of the Common Core.

"Both K-12 and higher education leaders have coalesced around the importance of higher standards, but these standards will only help students if teachers have classroom materials that are aligned and usable," said Eric Hirsch, EdReports.org's executive director. "In response to that need we created EdReports.org to provide educators a trusted resource for rigorous, independent and public reviews of the alignment and usability of classroom curricula-a sort of ‘Consumer Reports' for school materials."

The group next plans to review high school math and English Language Arts materials.

"Without reliable information about the materials we use in the public K-12 system, American school districts will continue to struggle to improve student achievement," said Maria Klawe, president of Harvey Mudd College and EdReports.org board chair.

EdReports.org is the only organization of its kind with classroom teachers reviewing yearlong materials that are either digital or print based. Their review methodology and evaluation tool were informed by the best designs from a dozen existing curriculum-review rubrics. The tool evaluates instructional materials' alignment to the CCSS through a series of review categories, or "gateways," that are organized by the shifts called for in the CCSS: Focus, Coherence and Rigor, and Mathematical Practices.  Materials that meet criteria for alignment are then further evaluated to determine their usability, which includes supports for educators, differentiated instruction for diverse learners, good student assessment practices, and effective use of technology.

Result highlights include:

  • One instructional series, Eureka grades K-8, published by Great Minds, met the criteria for alignment at all grade levels.
  • Another instructional series, My Math, published by McGraw-Hill, met the alignment criteria in two grades - grades 4 and 5.
  • Another four series had at least one grade that partially met the alignment criteria:
    • Go Math (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt): Grades 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, and 8;
    • Expressions (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt): Grades K, 1, and 2;
    • Digits (Pearson): Grades 6 and 8; and
    • Math in Focus (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt): Grade 8.
  • Eureka grades K-5 also met the criteria for usability.
  • The remaining series evaluated did not meet the alignment criteria.

"My teachers and principals clamor for better materials to use in the classroom," said Dr. Kevin Maxwell, Superintendent for Prince George's County, Maryland Schools. "Until now, we didn't have an independent source to assess alignment and usability. EdReports.org answers this need."

Materials review teams were comprised of outstanding classroom educators and mathematics experts who have demonstrated a deep understanding of the CCSS. They represent every grade level and average more than 15 years of classroom teaching experience.

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