For implementation of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) to be successful, all educators need access to high quality and aligned instructional materials. Achieve launched the Educators Evaluating the Quality of Instructional Products (EQuIP) initiative to build the capacity of educators to evaluate and improve the quality of instructional materials for use in their classrooms and schools. EQuIP builds on a collaborative effort of education leaders from Massachusetts, New York and Rhode Island that Achieve facilitated, which resulted in a set of criterion-based rubrics designed for educators to use in evaluating the quality and alignment of lessons and units.
In June 2013, Achieve launched the EQuIP Peer Review Panel, a group of expert reviewers who have been trained to apply the EQuIP Rubrics and quality review process to lessons and units that have been submitted by states, districts, partners and educators. To date, this group has included 55 educators who collectively represent 875 years of classroom experience. The EQuIP Peer Review Panel has reviewed and provided constructive, criterion-based feedback on close to 200 lessons or units. Achieve announced recently that 50 lessons and units rated Exemplar or Exemplar if Improved are now publicly available to educators nation-wide. The Exemplar rating indicates that a lesson or unit is well-aligned with the Common Core and ready for immediate use in classrooms; lessons or units rated Exemplar if Improved are aligned and require some improvement in one or more dimensions of the rubric. These materials reflect all grade bands (K-5, 6-8, 9-12) in both mathematics and English language arts/literacy.
Educators are invited to submit lessons and units for review through the EQuIP website.
Susan Whelte, former Director of Literacy and Humanities at the Massachusetts Department of Education, found the EQuIP process to be a helpful and highly useful guide in her state’s efforts to create and refine model instructional units.
“Massachusetts is pleased that Achieve’s EQuIP project has selected six of our Model Curriculum Units as exemplars to be shared with educators throughout the world,” she says. “Massachusetts’ adoption of the Common Core State Standards in 2010 provided the impetus for engaging teachers in using the standards in coherent and intelligent ways. Aligning curriculum, instruction, and assessment to standards takes skill and attention to detail: it’s not always easy at first, but it surely helped to have the EQuIP rubric as a guide. It is thrilling now to see the units in action in classrooms throughout the Commonwealth and to see the educators from our original design teams leading similar curriculum writing work in their districts.”
Educators have also found the peer review panel’s suggestions for improvement to be highly valuable. Angela Orr, K-12 Social Studies Coordinator for Washoe County School District in Nevada, incorporated feedback from the EQuIP peer review process as part of continual curricular improvement.
“When we received detailed and specific feedback from the EQuIP panel of reviewers, we were able to continue our learning and revisit some of our earlier work,” she says. “The process reminded me to include important information in core-aligned lessons and has facilitated my work as professional developer.”
Alissa Peltzman, Vice President of State Policy and Implementation Support at Achieve, says, “The EQuIP process is designed to elevate the expertise of educators and to foster a culture of continuous improvement grounded in high-quality feedback. We are honored to work with such a highly-skilled panel of educators to highlight exemplary work. We are thrilled to reach this milestone, but the work is far from over. Achieve is striving to raise awareness of these open source exemplary materials and encourages others to make them available or include them in repositories or other platforms. We hope to double the number of exemplars while also building the capacity of educators to integrate this process and the criteria embedded within the rubrics into their everyday work.”
To learn more about EQuIP or download exemplary lessons and units, please visit www.achieve.org/EQuIP. (Click the EQuIP Exemplars tab.)