From Great Materials to Great Instruction

Instruction Partners, an organization that works with small school systems to strengthen instruction and accelerate student learning, has been working to understand what differentiates better outcomes in school reform projects. Up until now, research has held few practical answers about what specific actions could result in better implementation quality. Instruction Partners engaged in a two-year Read more about From Great Materials to Great Instruction[…]

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The Importance of High-Quality Instructional Materials

Learning Forward has released a special open-access issue of The Learning Professional. It builds on a vital topic for educators: the use of high-quality instructional materials. All students deserve access to high-quality content, and all teachers deserve support to implement it well. The message from research is straightforward: instructional materials matter. Good materials in the Read more about The Importance of High-Quality Instructional Materials[…]

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Curriculum as a Lever for Change

Ashley Berner, writing for Fordham’s Flypaper, explores the power of curriculum as a serious lever for change. Her post summarizes the research on this important topic. Excerpts appear below: American policymakers haven’t usually viewed curriculum as a serious lever for change. This is unfortunate, since a growing body of research suggests that a high-quality curriculum, Read more about Curriculum as a Lever for Change[…]

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High-Quality Curricula and Team-Based Professional Learning: A Perfect Partnership for Equity

Learning Forward has released a new report, High-Quality Curricula and Team Based Professional Learning: A Perfect Partnership for Equity. This report is based on three premises: Research has found that effective teaching and high-quality materials both matter for student learning. Effective use of curriculum requires teachers who understand it deeply and use it with intentionality Read more about High-Quality Curricula and Team-Based Professional Learning: A Perfect Partnership for Equity[…]

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Reimagining Middle School

Robert C. Pianta, Dean of the University of Virginia Curry School of Education, recently wrote an article for RealClear Education in which he discusses the pitfalls of middle school and the possibilities for middle grades education. Excerpts from his piece appear below: Compliance. Restraint. Passivity. These are the behaviors and habits of mind that our Read more about Reimagining Middle School[…]

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Evidence for Student-Centered Learning

For the past 35 years, the prevailing narrative about America’s public education system is that it is “broken.” Reform efforts have failed to find a fix because they fundamentally misunderstand this reality: the system is not broken. It is doing exactly what it was designed to do-educate the masses in a standardized fashion that completely Read more about Evidence for Student-Centered Learning[…]

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10 Evidence-Based Policies and Practices for Assessment

The Meadows Center at the University of Texas at Austin has released a piece outlining 10 evidence-based policies and practices for high-quality assessment in schools, along with the research supporting them. These policies/practices include the following: School leadership ensures that teachers have a shared understanding of the curriculum and standards across the grades. Schools use Read more about 10 Evidence-Based Policies and Practices for Assessment[…]

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Chiefs for Change’s Bipartisan Vision for America’s Schools

A functional consensus is emerging among the nation’s boldest education leaders, producing not identical policies, but a set of vital principles that drive approaches shaped to the needs of each of their communities. It’s a set of principles born of extensive work, with the needs of students at the center. It’s worthy of the attention Read more about Chiefs for Change’s Bipartisan Vision for America’s Schools[…]

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Hiding in Plain Sight: Leveraging Curriculum to Improve Student Learning

A new report from a group of the nation’s boldest state and district education leaders finds that improving curriculum is a powerful, but underutilized strategy for school improvement. Curriculum has long been a third rail in U.S. education policy, dismissed by policymakers despite related, highly visible efforts to develop college- and career-ready standards, aligned assessments, Read more about Hiding in Plain Sight: Leveraging Curriculum to Improve Student Learning[…]

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Advancing Student Success through the Arts

The Education Commission of the States recently released Beyond the Core: Advancing Student Success through the Arts. This Education Trends report explores research on how the arts bolster the development of deeper learning skills, provides examples of programs that successfully increased access to the arts in education in public schools, and includes state- and local-level Read more about Advancing Student Success through the Arts[…]

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New Studies Suggest Choice of Curriculum and Textbooks Can Make a Big Difference for Students

Matt Barnum of The 74  recently reviewed research on the importance of curricular materials for student achievement. Excerpts from his article appear below: The idea that schools can get better simply by improving the content of what they teach may seem at once novel and obvious in an education policy debate dominated by heated battles Read more about New Studies Suggest Choice of Curriculum and Textbooks Can Make a Big Difference for Students[…]

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Practice What You Teach: Connecting Curriculum and Professional Learning in Schools

A new report by Ross Wiener and Susan Pimentel of the Aspen Institute makes the case for integrating curriculum into professional learning so teachers can focus on creating engaging learning environments, responding to the needs of their students, and continuously improving their craft. Practice What You Teach: Connecting Curriculum and Professional Learning in Schools  highlights Read more about Practice What You Teach: Connecting Curriculum and Professional Learning in Schools[…]

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Accountability, College & Career Readiness: Is This the Best We Can Do?

In Education Week’s Top Performer’s blog, Marc Tuker recently reflected on the gap between typical American practice and global best practice when it comes to college and career readiness. Below are excerpts from the post: In top-performing education systems, qualifications systems are designed so that at the end of each stage of a student’s progression Read more about Accountability, College & Career Readiness: Is This the Best We Can Do?[…]

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The Visual Edge

Recently, Emily Leibtag of Getting Smart reviewed a new book by Sargy Letuchy, a high school educator from Chicago. The Visual Edge: Graphic Organizers For Standards Based Learning is a compilation of innovative visual instructional tools designed for each Common Core standard, grades 6-12 in the following areas: Reading and Informational Text Reading Literature Text Read more about The Visual Edge[…]

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ESSA’s Well-Rounded Education

With the enactment of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), states will now have greater control and increased opportunities when developing plans that are customized and targeted to address the needs of their students. As ESSA includes expanded guidelines and objectives that are new from what many states are familiar with as part of previous Read more about ESSA’s Well-Rounded Education[…]

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Do Randomized Controlled Trials Meet the ‘Gold Standard’?

The What Works Clearinghouse, which identifies studies that provide credible and reliable evidence of intervention effectiveness, gives its highest rating of confidence only to randomized controlled trials (RCTs). But is an RCT the best way to provide useful information to consumers about complex interventions like curricula? In this American Enterprise Institute report, Alan Ginsburg and Read more about Do Randomized Controlled Trials Meet the ‘Gold Standard’?[…]

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