Opinion
Education Letter to the Editor

Ways Do Exist to Check Alignment to Standards

September 13, 2010 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

To the Editor:

The architects of the common-core state standards are right to be worried about the alignment of curriculum materials to the standards (“Curriculum Producers Work to Reflect Common Standards,” Aug. 25, 2010). The fact is that curriculum developers make all kinds of claims about the alignment of their materials to different states’ standards, and these claims are seldom verified in any scientific way. The result is that the materials teachers use are, at best, not as well aligned with the standards as they could be, and, at worst, poorly aligned, leading teachers to teach content not specified in the standards at all.

It is surprising, though, that the common core’s developers would say that there are no solid processes in place to evaluate the alignment of curriculum materials with standards. This is not true. The Council of Chief State School Officers and researchers at the University of Wisconsin have developed such procedures, based on the prior work of Andrew C. Porter, that have been in use for a decade now. The Surveys of Enacted Curriculum, or SEC, can be used to content-analyze curricula to provide detailed information on the similarities and differences between instruction, standards, assessments, and/or curriculum materials. The methodology can even be used to design a curriculum that is maximally aligned to the standards based on the available lessons from a variety of curriculum resources.

Such analyses do require time and money. Content analysis of a typical textbook can cost from $6,000 to $12,000. Nonetheless, such costs represent a tiny fraction of the development budget for textbooks, and the common-core standards have already been content-analyzed, making the alignment analysis of any given curriculum a straightforward and inexpensive process.

Being able to objectively describe the nature and level of alignment of any curriculum to the new common standards (or any state content standards, for that matter) certainly offers an improvement over the current, ad hoc system for making claims about curriculum alignment.

Morgan Polikoff

University of Southern California

Los Angeles, Calif.

John Smithson

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Madison, Wis.

A version of this article appeared in the September 15, 2010 edition of Education Week as Ways Do Exist to Check Alignment to Standards

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Law & Courts Webinar
Future of the First Amendment:Exploring Trends in High School Students’ Views of Free Speech
Learn how educators are navigating student free speech issues and addressing controversial topics like gender and race in the classroom.
Content provided by The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Student Well-Being Webinar
Start Strong With Solid SEL Implementation: Success Strategies for the New School Year
Join Satchel Pulse to learn why implementing a solid SEL program at the beginning of the year will deliver maximum impact to your students.
Content provided by Satchel Pulse
Jobs Virtual Career Fair for Teachers and K-12 Staff
Find teaching jobs and other jobs in K-12 education at the EdWeek Top School Jobs virtual career fair.

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Education Briefly Stated: June 8, 2022
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Briefly Stated: June 1, 2022
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Briefly Stated: May 11, 2022
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
9 min read
Education Briefly Stated: April 27, 2022
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
9 min read