Featured Story: EdReports.org

Client: EdReports | Location: Nationwide, with headquarters in North Carolina
Single Featured Story

Issues

Outcomes

EdReports.org launched in March 2015 with its first reports on 20 sets of K-8 math materials in wide use around the country.

EdReports.org receives 400,000 page views from almost 50,000 unique visitors

The Issue

The Common Core State Standards raise expectations for students and for teachers, but several years after most states adopted the standards, too few classroom teachers have access to high-quality, aligned textbooks and other instructional materials. The Common Core needs a “Consumer Reports” to help districts and educators know what year-long textbooks and materials to choose and purchase. While a number of rubrics exist to evaluate whether lesson plans or units align to the Common Core, no organization was independently evaluating and publishing whether full curriculum and textbook series align to the Common Core.

As Common Core implementation rolled out across the country, leading national organizations and thinkers like Achieve, Student Achievement Partners, the Illustrative Mathematics Project with Dr. Bill McCallum, Bill Schmidt at Michigan State University’s Center for the Study of Curriculum, Maria Klawe at Harvey Mudd College (and future chair of EdReports.org), Morgan Polikoff at the University of Southern California, Dr. Lillian Lowery, former Superintendent of Maryland State Department of Education, and a set of national education funders, including the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, Helmsley Charitable Trust and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, began coalescing around the lack of aligned materials as among the greatest gaps in the field.

What We Did

Education First was hired by a group of leading funders to incubate a new organization to evaluate curricular materials. Working closely with Dr. Maria Klawe, the EdReports.org board chair, our team helped recruit other Board members and supported them through key governance decisions including business planning and the hiring of Eric Hirsch as Executive Director. As a partner to the new EdReports.org team, Ed First facilitated educators to create a materials-evaluation rubric, and we recruited and supported the training of the first cohort of 46 educators to review materials.

For more information about this project, please contact Jenn Vranek.

The Outcome

EdReports.org is a robust, staffed and growing organization. EdReports now fills a critical field gap, by convening, training and facilitating veteran educators to analyze texts and digital materials; publishing transparent review reports; and getting those reports in the hands of the folks who need them the most: schools and districts. By March 2015, teams of teachers reviewed 87 K-8 math grade-level materials. By early 2016, EdReports will release reviews for another 59 K-8 math materials. The organization also has expanded to review materials in high school mathematics and English Language Arts. People are paying attention to what those teachers have to say. Numerous media outlets reported EdReports.org’s findings, including The Washington Post, Education Week and Politico,. Publishers are responding, asking for EdReports.org’s tools and methods, and requesting to resubmit their materials for reconsideration after making changes.

*http://www.edweek.org/media/ewrc_teacherscommoncore_2014.pdf
**http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/DigitalEducation/2014/02/claims_of_common_core-aligned_.html

Why It Matters

When districts (and states) know how to make smarter purchasing decisions – involving educators, using independent information about quality, and bringing greater scrutiny to purchasing – teachers and students get the materials they need. EdReports.org is creating savvier consumers and empowering educators to lead this critical element of the Common Core transition.

Project Documents

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