- Independent reviews from EdReports on science curriculum found that four of six models, aimed at students in grades 6 through 8, were “insufficiently aligned” to the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), Education Week reports.
- Primarily, EdReports found that four different series didn't score high enough to make it through the first of three gateways that assess whether the curriculum is designed in conjunction with NGSS criteria, including engineering practices and phenomena. The four that didn't meet expectations were:
- Discovery's Science Techbook
- Carolina Biological Supply Company's Science and Technology Concepts
- Teachers' Curriculum Institute's Bring Science Alive! Discipline Program
- Teachers' Curriculum Institute's Bring Science Alive! Integrated Program
- The companies, for the most part, did not agree with EdReports assessments. Carolina Biological Supply Company admitted it needed to make some elements more clear and would be making those changes, while Discovery Education argued that the way EdReports reviewed its curriculum is problematic, assessing some of its teaching elements as optional when it isn’t. Teachers’ Curriculum Institute, meanwhile, added in a statement to Education Week that EdReports “overlooked or disregarded evidence” in its review.
It is crucial that educators run through all the research that they have at their disposal on any curriculum tool they are considering bringing into a district, school or classroom. This kind of inquiry is particularly important when administrators are considering adopting new curriculum. That’s why part of the decision-making process should include resources from outside groups such as EdReports, as well as academic studies that give administrators and curriculum designers additional insight into how a tool or resource has actually performed in the field.
A good place to start is to ask the very curriculum vendors administrators are looking to work with for any research they may have on their own material. Then, they should reach out to third parties such as academic journals and researchers. This due diligence in the procurement process is critical.
Many vendors may — and often do — have an argument with assessments of their materials that do not view them positively. For example, most of the six vendors developing science curriculum in these EdReports reviews had apparent issues with the research firm’s approach in assessing their materials. Looking at these curriculum evaluations is important, but so too is understanding how the evaluations were conducted in the first place. Administrators should also look at any changes vendors made as a result. After conducting that research, administrators are then well-equipped to start a conversation with a vendor.