Durham, NC, May 25, 2022 — A new study published today by EdReports, a nonprofit that provides free reviews of instructional materials, found that the availability of standards-aligned instructional materials continues to increase, but the majority of teachers are not using or have access to high-quality curricula.
The State of the Instructional Materials Market 2021: The Availability and Use of Aligned Materials draws on data from the RAND Corporation American Instructional Resources Survey (AIRS) on curriculum use, teacher perception, and school context. Released annually, the study focuses on the availability of year-long instructional materials that are aligned to college and career-ready standards, how regularly these materials are used, and how often teachers are modifying or supplementing their lessons. Additionally, this year’s study explores the extent to which materials provide culturally relevant content and support a diversity of student needs, including those of multilingual learners.
“Because of the critical role materials play in supporting teachers and students, it is vital for all stakeholders to have a better understanding of the materials market,” said Eric Hirsch, Executive Director of EdReports. “The 2020-21 school year was unlike any other, and while teachers’ use of standards-aligned materials remained consistent from 2020 into 2021, they were also supplementing with resources found on places such as Google and Pinterest at higher rates. In watching this trend, and assessing the impact of the pandemic, we should all be asking: are all students receiving access to the grade-level content and supports they need to learn and grow?”
The 2021 study offers five key findings that capture the evolving nature of the multi-billion dollar annual materials market and how teachers are experiencing instructional materials in their classrooms.
- The availability of standards-aligned instructional materials continues to increase.
- Despite the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on education, the use of aligned materials has remained consistent to previous years.
- Regardless of alignment, teachers are modifying their instructional materials at similar rates.
- Teachers want materials that are aligned to state standards, offer support for multilingual learners, and provide culturally relevant content and approaches, but few believe their materials meet these needs.
- Research shows that implementing high-quality instructional materials in an environment with supportive leadership, along with ongoing coaching, and professional development is most likely to lead to success. This is not the experience teachers report having.
A new addition to this year’s report is information about teacher perceptions about whether or not materials help engage all students in high-level learning and ensure access to grade-level content. Seventy-two percent of teachers say materials that include support for multilingual learners are somewhat or extremely important to them. A still higher 82% of teachers cite ‘content and approaches that are culturally relevant’ as somewhat or extremely important to them. However, when it comes to the materials teachers are using, less than 25% of teachers describe their curriculum as adequate or completely adequate in meeting the needs of multilingual learners or in supporting them to provide culturally relevant instruction.
“Along with being standards aligned, I’m looking for a curriculum that is truly student centered, where students can engage in the mathematical practices and be challenged to think critically,” said Neven Holland, a fourth grade teacher and EdReports Klawe Fellow. “If the materials don’t connect, the kids are not going to pay attention. We deserve materials that offer guidance for how to support different learners and that give us ways to bring in a variety of communities while still meeting the standards.”
Later this year, EdReports is scheduled to release “Data Snapshots” that further explore content-area specific market trends for the use of K-12 math, English language arts, and science curricula. A 2020 snapshot of the science materials marketplace is available now on the EdReports.org website along with nearly 1,000 free reviews of core comprehensive instructional materials.