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Center for Instructional Support

Instructional Materials and Professional Development: Strengthening Curriculum in Massachusetts

Expanding access to high-quality, standards-aligned curricular materials can significantly improve student outcomes, especially when teachers have the professional learning opportunities they need to make the most of those materials. The Center for Instructional Support at DESE is committed to ensuring that all students in Massachusetts enjoy the many benefits of a strong curriculum.

  • Curricular materials are resources teachers use to facilitate sequences of learning experiences (e.g., lesson and unit plans, texts); also called adopted or written curriculum.
  • A curriculum is a sequence of student learning experiences teachers facilitate using curricular materials as a foundation (not a script!); also called enacted or taught curriculum.

Quick Reference Guides

Download Word Document
Evaluating and Selecting High-Quality Instructional Materials Process
Download PDF Document
Ensuring Curricular Coherence
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Assessing Your Curriculum Landscape
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Aligning Curriculum to Massachusetts Standards

Evaluating & Selecting High-Quality Instructional Materials for ELA, Math, and Science Network

Is your district considering high-quality instructional materials as part of its long-term continuous learning and/or SOA plan? Join DESE’s 2020-21 Evaluating & Selecting High-Quality Instructional Materials for ELA, Math, and Science Network.

The Evaluating & Selecting Network combines 3 in-person differentiated sessions with monthly personalized virtual support to guide district teams through a strong instructional materials selection process for ELA, Math, and/or Science in any K–12 grade span.

To apply, visit Evaluating and Selecting High-Quality Instructional Materials for ELA, Math, and Science Network 20-21.

Questions? Please contact the content-specific person(s):

Text Inventory Handbook

Building knowledge is essential to effective literacy instruction, because background knowledge is essential to comprehending text. The Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks expect students to engage with a varied and coherent body of texts that work together to build broad and deep knowledge of the world. This handbook Download PDF Document guides school and district leaders through an inventory process designed to gather information about the texts students encounter in grades 9–12. The handbook includes:

  • A customizable survey asking teachers about the texts they assign in their classes
  • Instructions for adapting the survey to align with local goals, priorities, and initiatives
  • Guidance for communicating about the survey and acting effectively on data collected
  • Resources for identifying texts diverse in representation and rich in content knowledge

The goal is to examine how teachers' choices fit together, identifying connections to emphasize, gaps and redundancies to address, and other opportunities for increasing the coherence and variety of students' experiences with text.

Curriculum Heat Maps

The maps are meant to support cross-district collaboration on curriculum and related professional learning in Massachusetts. They show which curricular materials district leaders tell us are most widely used to support instruction in their schools. In this initial phase, the maps focus on English language arts (ELA) and literacy, math, and science and technology/engineering (STE). In addition to the main PK-12 map, eight simpler maps show just the most commonly used materials for specific subject areas and grade spans. Please note that the materials shown on these maps were chosen simply for their prevalence in Massachusetts.

Click the box with the arrow in a map's top left corner to view its navigation pane. Click the frame icon in a map's top right corner to view a larger version of the map and sidebar. If you have any questions about the maps, please contact Nechama Goldberg.

Download PDF Document
Download Word Document
Detailed Instructions

PK-12 ELA/literacy, math, & STE curriculum

Elementary ELA/literacy curriculum

Elementary math curriculum

Elementary STE curriculum

Middle school ELA curriculum

Middle school math curriculum

Middle school STE curriculum

High school ELA data are insufficient to generate their own map at this time.

High school math curriculum

High school STE curriculum

Download Excel Document
Searchable Maps PK-12 Curriculum Data
Contact Us

Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
75 Pleasant Street, Malden, MA 02148-4906

Voice: (781) 338-3000
TTY: (800) 439-2370


Disclaimer: A reference in this website to any specific commercial products, processes, or services, or the use of any trade, firm, or corporation name is for the information and convenience of the public and does not constitute endorsement or recommendation by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.