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Center for Instructional Support

Model Curriculum Frequently Asked Questions

What are Massachusetts Model Curriculum Units?

  • Massachusetts Model Curriculum Units are curricular units of study that promote effective instruction to improve student learning in grades PK-12.
  • The Massachusetts Model Curriculum Units are aligned to Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks.
  • Massachusetts Model Curriculum Units were developed using the backward design process of Understanding by Design.
  • All Massachusetts Model Curriculum Units contain resources including a variety of texts and high quality digital resources.
Model Curriculum Overview Video

What is the purpose of Massachusetts Model Curriculum Units?

The purpose of the Massachusetts Model Curriculum Units is to provide

  • Support to schools and districts as they develop and align their curriculum.
  • Curriculum units with embedded performance assessments to districts help meet the demands of the Frameworks.

Which content areas and grade levels are addressed in the Massachusetts Model Curriculum Units?

Massachusetts Model Curriculum Units in grades PK-12 are being developed in

  1. History & Social Science
  2. English Language Arts
  3. Mathematics
  4. Science & Engineering/Technology (2014 summer)
  5. Career Vocational Technical Education

Who developed Massachusetts Model Curriculum Units?

  • Educators (curriculum designers) from all over the Commonwealth worked in teams to develop these units.
  • Over 60 school districts and charter schools participated in this project.

Did educators (curriculum designers) receive any professional development?

Yes, curriculum designers received high quality professional development in

  • Understanding by Design
  • Universal Design for Learning
  • Developing performance assessments

These trainings were conducted by national and regional experts during the Model Curriculum working sessions.

The ongoing professional development was aligned to the Massachusetts Standards for High Quality Professional Development.

How do I access the units?

  • All units can be downloaded from the Model Curriculum page on the DESE website.
  • The following link will take you directly to the unit access page.
  • Units are being revised and released on a rolling basis until the July of 2014. We encourage you to check the site often for the most recent versions of the units and resources.

Are districts mandated to use Massachusetts Model Curriculum Units?

  • There is no state mandate however; districts are encouraged to use the units as they are, or to amend the units to best fit the needs of their students.
  • The units can also be used as part of school or district wide professional development around standards, assessment, curriculum unit development, and instructional practice.
  • Use of the Model Units may assist teachers in the Educator Evaluation process. To learn more about Educator Evaluation please email:

How do I tell DESE about my experience with Massachusetts Model Curriculum units?

  • Please complete the MCU Feedback Survey. DESE wants to know about your experience with these units!

Who do contact if I have more questions?

Last Updated: October 23, 2014
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