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Research has revealed the impact of utilizing High-Quality Instructional Materials. Below is a sample of the prevailing, relevant research available.

Student Learning

  • The Supplemental Curriculum Bazaar: Is What's Online Any Good? (Fordham Institute, 2019). This study examines lesson plans and related resources that teachers download from popular websites to determine their overall quality.
  • Instructional Coherence: A Key to High-Quality Learning Acceleration for All Students (TNTP, 2020). This guide is designed to help system leaders create more coherent instructional programs that accelerate learning for all students.
  • Hiding in Plain Sight: Leveraging Curriculum to Improve Student Learning (Chiefs for Change, 2017). This paper looks at states and districts where smart strategies are being used to ensure that high-quality standards are matched with high-quality instructional materials. It also explores the lessons from the experiences of these state and districts that other state and district leaders can apply to similar reforms in their own contexts. 
  • The Opportunity Myth: What Students Can Show Us About How School Is Letting Them Down—and How to Fix It. (TNTP, 2018). This report reveals 5 findings:
    • Students have big, clear plans;
    • Most students do what they are asked in school--but are still not ready to succeed after school;
    • Students spend most of their time in school without access to four key resources: grade-appropriate assignments, strong instruction, deep engagement, and teachers who hold high expectations;
    • Students of color, those from low-income families, English language learners, and students with mild to moderate disabilities have even less access to these resources than their peers; and
    • Greater access to the four resources can and does improve student achievement – "particularly" for students who start the school year behind.
  • What We Teach Matters: How Quality Curriculum Improves Student Outcomes (Learning First, 2018). This report defines quality curriculum and sets out the contemporary evidence on its impact on student learning. It argues that developing and implementing quality curriculum is an important next step for many school systems.
  • High Quality Curricula: A Cost Effective Way to Increase Student Achievement.  (Johns Hopkins Institute for Education Policy, 2016). This evaluation of recent research provides evidence that curriculum does matter: some curricula produce better learning outcomes than others. Furthermore, switching to a more effective curriculum seems to be a cost-effective way to improve student outcomes. The findings in these papers also emphasize the need for more research in this area.

Teacher Professional learning

  • Curriculum - Based Professional Learning: The State of the Field (CRPL, 2022). 

    Research suggests that curricula, on their own, can only do so much to advance student learning; curriculum-based professional learning is an essential component. With support from the Carnegie Corporation of New York, Columbia University's Center for Public Research and Leadership (CPRL) researched the state of the field of curriculum-based professional learning, identifying its areas of strength and opportunities to grow, scale, and strengthen the effort. 

  • Combining Curriculum and Teacher Professional Learning  (Learning First, 2018). This report argues that quality curriculum and teacher professional learning are not policy trade-offs. It shows how quality standards and curriculum strengthen best practice teacher professional learning based on an improvement cycle. 
  • School Supports for Teachers’ Implementation of State Standards (RAND Corporation, 2018). This RAND study examines two key school supports that could help teachers address state standards in their instruction: curriculum requirements and school leader knowledge of standards.  The findings imply states and districts should try to do more to ensure that the materials they recommend or require are closely aligned with their standards, as well as provide clear information about the materials that are most closely aligned with their standards. On a related note, our findings imply that school leaders need more training and support to better understand content and approaches aligned with their state standards. 
  • Connecting Curriculum and Professional Learning in Schools (The Aspen Institute, 2017). This paper presents examples of educators integrating student curriculum with professional learning and provides the research which supports the concept of improving the teaching and advancing student learning by weaving together these two components. Key takeaways for state, district, and school leaders are provided. 

Systemic Improvement

  • High-quality Curriculum And System Improvement  (Learning First, 2019). This report focuses on why states and districts need to focus on curriculum as a vehicle of student success, and how that focus would contribute both to improved student learning and to equity. It sets out current approaches to curriculum development and implementation and implications for school improvement. 
  • Curriculum Research: What We Know and Where We Need to Go (Standards Work, 2017). In Winter 2017, the Johns Hopkins Institute for Education Policy and Johns Hopkins Center for Research and Reform in Education conducted a research review on the effects of curricular choices in K–12 education. That review surfaced several important findings, including:
    1. Curriculum is a critical factor in student academic success.
    2. Comprehensive, content-rich curriculum is a common feature of academically high-performing countries.
    3. The cumulative impact of high-quality curriculum can be significant and matters most to achievement in the upper grades where typical year-on-year learning gains are far lower than in previous grades.
    4. Because the preponderance of instructional materials is self-selected by individual teachers, most students are taught through idiosyncratic curricula that are not defined by school districts or states.
    5. Research comparing one curriculum to another is very rare and, therefore, not usually actionable.
  • Rigorous, Comprehensive Curricula and Assessments in Louisiana (ERS, 2018). In this report, Education Resource Strategies (ERS) examines Louisiana Department of Education (LDOE)’s efforts to develop high-quality, standards-aligned curricula as a tool to help teachers implement new, rigorous college- and career-readiness standards (CCRS). This report outlines the steps LDOE took to implement their curriculum-focused strategy including defining a coherent vision of instruction with high academic standards, making it clear what high-quality curriculum looks like, engaging teachers in the development of the curriculum tools, and investing in data-driven feedback to improve the tools.

Instructional Materials Landscape

  • The State of the Instructional Materials Market 2021 (EdReports, 2021). This report focuses on the availability of programs that are aligned to college and career-ready standards, how regularly these aligned materials are used, and how often teachers are modifying or supplementing their lessons. It draws upon data from EdReports reviews, copyright dates, and data from the RAND Corporation American Instructional Resources Survey (AIRS) on curriculum use, teacher perception, and school context.

Review, Selection and Adoption Process

  • Building Capacity and Consensus through a Teacher-Led Materials Adoption (EdReports, 2018). This Case Study from EdReports details how the Newport-Mesa Unified School District approached the task of adopting a new K-5 math program through a teacher-led, alignment focused process which would bring high-quality materials to every elementary school student in the district. This is a story about how much materials matter for student learning and the choices communities can make so that all students succeed. 
  • Using the RFP Process to Drive High-Quality Curriculum: Findings from the Field (Johns Hopkins School of Education – Institute for Education Policy, 2018). This policy memo focuses on the district-level Request for Proposal (RFP). The memo explores how districts can use the curriculum RFP process to encourage the highest-quality submissions. Specifically, it explores how districts can signal that they are serious about quality – and conversely, which components of an RFP actually discourage high-quality applicants.

Teacher Preparation

Last Modified: 9/12/2023 3:05:55 PM