The Intersection

The Intersection Webinar Recap: USC Rossier School of Education

July 20, 2018

Our thanks to Dr. Morgan Polikoff from the Rossier School of Education at the University of Southern California for presenting on this week’s The Intersection: A Biweekly Education Policy Conversation. Morgan joined us to discuss his recent report entitled “The Challenges of Curriculum Materials as Reform Lever.” In the piece, Morgan examines the difficulties states face in utilizing curriculum to improve and reform education policy.

Key Takeaways:

  • High ROI Potential | Research finds that high-quality curriculum materials have modest effects on student performance. This finding, when coupled with the marginal cost and broad reach of these materials, illuminates the high return-on-investment potential for a curriculum to positively impact student outcomes.
  • Several Challenges to Overcome | There a number of challenges complicating the theory of action behind curriculum materials as a reform lever:

    1) Practically, it is difficult to collect reliable and robust data on curriculum adoption and implementation. This makes analysis problematic.

    2) Curriculum adoption processes vary dramatically across states and districts. These processes often make it difficult to ensure that consistently high-quality materials are selected for purchase and use.

    3) Teachers report that they increasingly use non-textbook curriculum in the classroom. Additionally, many report that they don’t feel well-supported to use textbooks effectively. As a result, the effect of curriculum adoption and purchasing decisions may be inhibited by low rates of utilization in the classroom.

  • States Should Support Districts in Curriculum Decisions | School districts often have little capacity to adequately review and rate curriculum materials for adoption. As a result, states should play an advisory role in the material selection and should offer professional development opportunities to support implementation.

For more on our conversation with Morgan, check out the full webinar below!

We hope you’ll join us for our next webinar on Wednesday, August 1, at 1PM (EST). We look forward to talking with Erin Fahle from the Stanford Graduate School of Education. Erin will join us to discuss her new study Gender Achievement Gaps in U.S. School Districts.

Stay tuned and follow us on Twitter for updates. 

See you at the Intersection,

The Hunt Team

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