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Curriculum and Instruction

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CUrriculum RAtings by TEachers (CURATE)

"We're looking for high-quality curricular materials aligned to Massachusetts standards. Do you have any advice?"

It's an important question, and one we hear frequently. The CURATE project is our response. Beginning in fall 2018, we are convening panels of Massachusetts teachers to review and rate evidence on the quality and alignment of specific curricular materials. Reports summarizing the panels' findings will appear on this page starting in early 2019.


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CURATE English Language Arts & Literacy Rubric
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CURATE Mathematics Rubric
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CURATE Science & Technology/Engineering Rubric

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Is CURATE for all grade spans and content areas?

    The project is launching with a focus on materials that support our recently revised standards for English language arts (ELA) and literacy, mathematics, and science and technology/engineering (STE). We're starting with elementary ELA/literacy, middle school math, and middle school STE.

  2. How do you choose which materials to review?

    We invite publishers of curricular materials to submit information on their products for our consideration. Products must (a) support a comprehensive (rather than supplemental or intervention) ELA/literacy, math, or STE curriculum and (b) have been determined by a rigorous, educator-driven review (such as EdReports') to meet expectations for alignment to college- and career-ready standards. Submissions that meet these requirements are reviewed by a CURATE panel.

  3. How do you choose who serves on CURATE panels?

    All panelists are current PK-12 classroom teachers in Massachusetts public schools. Candidates must undergo a multi-step application and interview process and obtain written support from their districts before being selected as CURATE Fellows. Diversity is a priority: representation from a variety of geographical regions, district and school types, career stages and experiences, and cultural and demographic groups. Experts in special education and English learner education sit on every panel.

  4. What kinds of evidence do the panels consider?

    Three main sources of evidence inform every CURATE review: (1) rigorous, educator-led reviews of quality and alignment, primarily those available from EdReports; (2) information publishers submit directly to DESE in response to specific prompts, often including sample materials such as lesson plans; and (3) perceptual data from Massachusetts teachers who have experience working with the materials under review. Panelists look for triangulation, valuing findings supported by more than one of these varied data sources.

  5. What criteria do the panels use to rate materials?

    Rubrics each have two domains: standards alignment and classroom application. Standards alignment references the Massachusetts learning standards and the curriculum frameworks that contain them. Classroom application, informed by the state's Model Teacher Evaluation Rubric, is composed of three criteria: accessibility for students, usability for teachers, and impact on student learning. Rubrics for ELA/literacy Download Word Document and math Download Word Document are now available; an STE rubric is under development.

  6. What roles do Teach Plus and the Rennie Center play in CURATE?

    The two organizations are working together to support DESE in facilitating the CURATE reviews. Drawing on years of experience cultivating groups of teacher leaders, representatives from Teach Plus Massachusetts are spearheading our panel recruitment, selection, communication, and consensus-building processes. With deep expertise in research methods and data analysis, Rennie Center staff help make sure that panelists can access and interpret the information they need in order to evaluate the curricular materials under review.

  7. How can CURATE help teachers working in districts that grow their own curricula?

    Many teachers enjoy and excel at creating their own curriculum from scratch, and many schools and districts provide the time and structures teachers need to align their curriculum vertically and horizontally with that of their colleagues. Teachers, schools, and districts that grow their own curricula can use CURATE reports to identify products that can serve as examples of high-quality, standards-aligned, coherently designed curricular materials.

  8. Is DESE mandating the use of certain curricular materials?

    No. Schools and districts that choose to adopt materials rated meets expectations by CURATE panels will have the opportunity to procure those materials through a streamlined statewide master service agreement. But districts retain full control over their curricular decisions.

Last Updated: January 9, 2019
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