CURATE Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Q1. Are districts required to use products rated highly by CURATE?
- No. CURATE is designed to inform and support, not constrain, local decision-making. Products rated Meets Expectations do qualify for a statewide master service agreement making them easier for districts to procure if desired.
Q2. What do CURATE panels look for in the products they review?
- Our CURATE rubrics are unique to Massachusetts and include two domains. Standards Alignment focuses on the expectations set by the Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks for what students should know and be able to do by the end of each grade. Classroom Application focuses on how products actually work in classrooms: their accessibility for diverse students, their usability for busy teachers, and any available research on their impact.
Q3. How do you decide which products CURATE panels review?
- Publishers opt in by submitting their products to CURATE. To qualify for review, submitted products must be designed for comprehensive core curriculum, as opposed to supplemental or intervention programs, and they must demonstrate alignment to college- and career-ready standards as determined by a robust, transparent, independent, and educator-driven review completed prior to CURATE's. Usually, but not always, that review comes from EdReports.
Q4. How is CURATE different from EdReports?
- Our panels use EdReports findings whenever possible as a trusted source of evidence in their reviews. But CURATE builds on EdReports' work in three main ways: (a) CURATE focuses on Massachusetts standards, which are related but not identical to the standards EdReports uses; (b) CURATE incorporates input from educators with experience implementing the specific products under review; and (c) CURATE places particular emphasis on supports for English learners, diversity of representation in texts, and other aspects of accessibility and equity.
Q5. I am using a product rated Partially Meets Expectations by CURATE. Should I stop?
- Not necessarily. Because CURATE reviews only products already vetted by EdReports or a similar process, CURATE ratings identify differences among a generally solid subset of products on the market. Accordingly, our rubrics explain that a rating of Partially Meets Expectations signals that "teachers in Massachusetts would benefit from having these materials but need to supplement or adapt them substantively to serve their students well." Do consider carefully whether adequate supplementation and adaptation is taking place in your context.
Q6. How are CURATE panelists selected, trained, and supported in their work?
- Our CURATE Fellows, all current classroom teachers of record in Massachusetts, undergo a rigorous selection process involving both written applications and interviews. We value deep knowledge of relevant standards and content pedagogy as well as diversity of experience and expertise. During nine hours of initial training, Fellows internalize the CURATE rubrics, practice coming to consensus, build personal relationships, and begin their reviews. At these and subsequent panel meetings, they work with a facilitator charged with guiding their discussion, a researcher from the Rennie Center responsible for documenting decisions and evidence, and a DESE content expert supporting understanding of the standards and rubric. Fellows receive a base stipend for the training and additional compensation for each product they review.
Q7. How can I get involved with CURATE?
There are two main ways educators can support and/or be involved with the CURATE project.
The CURATE project is continuously looking for educators who want to become Fellows. If you are passionate about ensuring access to high-quality, standards-aligned PK-12 science, mathematics, or ELA/literacy curricular materials for Massachusetts students and educators, please check out the qualification requirements and submit an application. Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis. Do you know a colleague that would make a great CURATE fellow? Nominate a colleague for the CURATE Fellowship!
All educators can help the CURATE project by reporting or updating their district's curriculum on the Curriculum Heat Maps. This helps the CURATE team identify districts using the curriculum under review, which can help us collect surveys from teachers using the product. To report or update your district's curriculum, email . Nechama Goldberg
Q8. What's the future of CURATE? Will you be evaluating new editions and versions of products as they are released? What about other subject areas and grade spans?
- CURATE will continue to review submitted science, math, and ELA/literacy products that meet our threshold for review. DESE considers districts' interests and publisher submissions to determine which subject area and grade span panels to convene each semester.
Last Updated: April 3, 2019