Since EdReports started publishing reviews in 2015, more instructional materials than ever before meet EdReports’ expectations for alignment and usability. Yet, the use of those materials in classrooms is not keeping pace with availability. 

Along with providing independent information about K–12 curriculum, EdReports aims to support local communities through comprehensive adoption processes, which includes supporting districts to articulate a local vision and priorities, developing tools to investigate materials, and ongoing professional learning so that curriculums can be implemented well. 

Over the years, we have continued to expand our direct partnerships with state departments of education and with individual school districts. EdReports is proud to work shoulder to shoulder with school communities across the country that prioritize high-quality instructional materials as a lever for equitable student outcomes. These efforts shine a light on the impact quality curricula can have on classroom instruction, and emphasize how great materials not only prepare students for college and careers but also reflect the diversity of learning needs in the classroom. 

Below, you can read highlights from two states, Rhode Island and Ohio, and one district, Metro Nashville Public Schools, that are striving to ensure students and teachers have access to high-quality, grade-level content and are developing comprehensive processes to get there. Each partnership offers insight into the challenges and opportunities facing educators and best practices for others to learn from. 

No single curriculum, no matter how high quality, and no single approach, no matter how comprehensive, can meet all the unique needs of a school system. However, these stories are a powerful testament to the tireless efforts of educators at every level, and the ways quality curriculum in the hands of great teachers can help fulfill the promise of education.

State Spotlight: Rhode Island 

Rhode Island Public School Enrollment and Demographics

138,566 Students
12,281 Teachers
66 Districts
Low income students: 41%
Multilingual Learner: 11%

Students who identify as:
Asian/Pacific Islander: 3%
Black: 9%
Hispanic: 29%
Multiracial: 5%
Native American: 1%
White: 53%

In 2022, EdReports continued its partnership with the Rhode Island Department of Education (RIDE), providing comprehensive information to educators about three widely used early literacy programs in the state.

The aim of our collaboration was to develop an early-literacy-focused review rubric and conduct a series of reviews to be released to Rhode Island educators. The ultimate goal was to equip educators with resources that highlighted strengths and gaps in a variety of programs and introduce new tools to fill those gaps.

“Literacy is power. Providing students with literacy content and evidenced-based instruction that affirms cultural and linguistic identities, is a foundational step to ensuring multilingual learners can meet and exceed grade-level expectations and thrive in their school communities.”  

Veronica Salas, Multilingual Learner Specialist
Rhode Island Department of Education

In addition, we collaborated with Instruction Partners to incorporate these reviews into implementation toolkits. The toolkits also included ongoing professional learning so that teachers had support to use newly selected or already adopted programs well. The initiative and resources from the state were intended to support districts to learn and collaborate together as they transitioned from adoption and early implementation to fully integrating materials into the classroom.

As part of the rubric development and review process, EdReports offered expertise around both English language arts foundational skills and supports for multilingual learners. RIDE went on to create an early literacy rubric specific to multilingual learners in order to evaluate whether their language development needs were fully integrated into the instructional materials being assessed. 

RIDE’s approach illuminates the value of prioritizing multilingual learner supports as fundamental to a program rather than considering them separately and after the fact.

Rhode Island is seeing results from its efforts to give all students access to high-quality curriculum. In 2019, the state legislature codified this vision into law,  requiring all districts to select curriculum that meets EdReports’ expectations for alignment from a state-developed list by the end of 2023. In order to be considered high quality, materials must also support culturally-relevant practices and be responsive to students’ cultural and linguistic needs.

The trajectory of students’ access to high-quality math and ELA materials in Rhode Island is staggering. In ELA, access increased by 128% for elementary students, 235% for middle schoolers, and 697% for high school students. The results were similarly startling in math, with a 40% rise in access for elementary school students over three years, while middle and high school access grew by 832% and 454% respectively. These increases are also positively impacting students of color and students from low income families at a high rate.

State Spotlight: Ohio 

Ohio Public School Enrollment and Demographics

1,614,096 Students
99,077 Teachers
615 School Districts
Low income students: 47%

Students who identify as:
Black: 17%
Asian/Pacific Islander: 3%
Hispanic: 7%
Multiracial: 6%
White: 67%
Multilingual Learner: 5.6%

The Ohio Department of Education (ODE) has demonstrated an ongoing commitment to ensuring each and every student has access to high-quality instructional materials.

Beginning in 2021, the state collaborated with EdReports to launch Ohio Materials Matter—a website powered by EdReports’ vast library of reviews. In addition, ODE also invested in a strong communications plan to build awareness about why high-quality instructional materials matter for teachers and students and the importance of adopting and implementing standards-aligned curriculum.

“There’s a real belief in the power of high-quality curriculum and an understanding that, through ongoing supports and by approaching selection with intentionality, we can change the culture of materials adoption and implementation to make it a more sustainable, successful process for all.”

Sherry Birchem,
Director – Office of Learning and Instructional Strategies, 
Ohio Department of Education

In 2022, with Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief funds set to expire, ODE along with regional education offices (OESCA) partnered with EdReports and Instruction Partners to develop a comprehensive approach to supporting selection best practices across the state. 

EdReports provided services around a variety of components including:

  • Rubric development to support the review of instructional materials in all content areas.
  • Statewide educator outreach including a monthly webinar series and training on advocacy and leadership.
  • In-person adoption training at the regional level with ongoing technical supports. 
  • Additional communications tools. 
  • One-pagers and resources adapted for the Ohio context.

ODE’s choice to signal quality and provide comprehensive supports around materials selection is shaping how curriculum is chosen in Ohio. The focus on resources and training through regional offices means that educators at all levels have access to this crucial information.

District Spotlight: Metro Nashville Public Schools

District Enrollment and Demographics

81,479 Students
162 Schools
Low income students – 42%

Students who identify as:
Black: 39%
Asian/Pacific Islander: 4%
Hispanic: 32%
White: 24%
Multilingual Learner: 28%

In 2022, EdReports partnered with Metro Nashville Public Schools (MNPS) in support of the district’s K–12 mathematics materials adoption. MNPS had to consider new state math standards as well as how to develop a coherent materials adoption plan in order to select curriculum that all stakeholders would feel invested in.

A key component of success was centering the process around the district’s vision of instruction. The instructional vision, established before the process began, acted as a guide to the overall process. It was developed and shared among district teachers in order to ensure buy-in, and  helped clarify the priorities and components the adoption committee would need to select for when evaluating curriculum programs. 

“What I’ve learned from working with others in this field is that EdReports is the gold standard for quality reviews of instruction materials. It’s a huge lift to evaluate curriculum deeply and comprehensively. Their partnership has supported educators across our district to choose the best programs for our students. The thoroughness and independence of the information means that we have data we can trust to include as part of our adoption process.”

David Williams, 
Metro Nashville Public Schools,
Interim Chief Academic Officer

Working with MNPS, EdReports offered a wide variety of services including overall project planning, adoption resources and training, and expertise regarding mathematics instructional materials.

The MNPS math materials adoption highlights the significance of having an instructional vision prior to making a selection. In addition, through a comprehensive and thoughtful application process, the district was able to recruit educators to the adoption committee who were fully dedicated to that vision. MNPS also provided intensive onboarding to prepare the committee for the important, far-reaching work ahead of them. Through these efforts to set out an instructional vision and to recruit and train an expert adoption committee, MNPS demonstrated their firm commitment to selecting the best possible math materials for their students’ needs.