4 Steps For Overcoming Curriculum Chaos

Over the last three years, yours, like most districts, likely scrambled to meet students’ needs in lots of new ways. The district may have purchased new materials to support at-home learning. Teachers may have subscribed to online resources individually.  And, since students returned to school, intervention, and tutoring resources have likely been purchased.

When you analyze the current list of materials in your district, do you have an abundance of instructional materials? If so, are all being utilized, and are they meeting the needs of your students and educators?

Having too many instructional materials can be as challenging as not having enough materials. Too many resources complicate teacher planning and can lead to a lack of consistency in curriculum implementation across classrooms or campuses. The result: curriculum chaos.

Auditing your instructional materials will help you determine which materials are adding value for students and educators and which are no longer meeting their needs.

Below are 4 steps to help you audit your current instructional materials:

  • Inventory your materials: Create a list of the materials being used in each grade and subject or course.
  • Identify where you have instructional materials that appear to be duplicative.
  • Add columns to your list to answer the following questions for grades and subjects or courses where you appear to have an abundance of materials.
    • Material type: Is the material core, supplemental, test prep, or intervention?
    • Alignment: Does the material have a correlation to the standards? Has the alignment to standards been verified?
    • Student Supports: Are the materials designed to support specific student needs (e.g., closed captioning, translations, audio support, visual content)?
    • Cost: What is the unit cost of the material (one-time purchase or subscription)?
  • Identify redundancies: Are there supplemental materials in your list that appear redundant in terms of material type, students served, and targeted standards? For each of those materials determine the following:
    • Which of those has the higher alignment percentage?
    • Which has the higher usage rate?

After completing the audit share the results with stakeholders in your district such as curriculum staff, English learner and bilingual coordinators, principals, and your instructional materials selection committee. Let the data guide your decisions about which materials to keep and which to discontinue.

As with selecting new materials, eliminating materials is an important decision. Thus, using a data-driven process with buy-in from educators will help you reduce curriculum chaos and bring organization to your instructional materials.

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