June 25, 2020

Durham, NC, June 25, 2020 — EdReports.org, a nonprofit that provides free reviews of instructional materials, released its first round of reports for standards-aligned materials enhanced with detailed technology information about the components of curriculum that can support in-person, remote, or hybrid learning environments. The results of this initial release reveal a wide range of product capabilities that may affect how districts plan for the fall. 

“Most schools and districts are trying to implement remote learning at scale for the first time which means educators are rapidly trying to reassess how they use technology in instruction,” said EdReports.org’s Executive Director Eric Hirsch. “Access to high-quality instructional materials by all students is more important than ever, and technology plays an essential role in that access. The goal of our enhanced reports is to help consumers better understand the digital design and capabilities of their materials—or ones under consideration—so they can prepare for a return to school in whatever form it takes.” 

EdReports requested technology information from 25 publishers for 72 curriculum series that educator reviewers reported were standards-aligned. The series include K-12 mathematics and English language arts programs and one middle school science program. EdReports asked for the most accurate, descriptive information about the technology and digital design of these curricular products. Our goal was not to evaluate for quality or desirability, but to document features in materials in order to empower local schools and districts with information to select materials that will work best for them given their technological capabilities and instructional vision.

Initially, EdReports published 31 completed technology forms, more than 90 grade- and course-level reports, and found the following themes:

  • The details really do matter. There is a great variety in how materials are designed. Most publishers indicated that their materials could work for in-person, remote, or hybrid situations. However, the details illustrate that products do so differently, varying greatly in the levels of student, parent and educator engagement and support.
  • Many materials were not designed for remote or hybrid settings. Publishers have created stop gaps in some cases and have longer term revisions underway to enhance digital design. EdReports will be updating these documents monthly to reflect these continued changes as they are proposed and completed by publishers.

Courtney Allison, Chief Academic Officer at EdReports, said that EdReports is in a unique position to collect technology information from publishers and highlight it as part of the information districts should evaluate when considering curriculum. “What will work for one district may not work for another,” said Allison. “For districts already using high-quality aligned materials, we recommend using the technology information to understand the components of your materials in light of local needs before approaching a new technology or curriculum purchase. If your district is searching for new materials, this is the perfect time to analyze the digital design of standards-aligned curriculum options to make sure they fit your technology needs and capabilities.”

EdReports expects to publish technology information for an additional 35 standards-aligned titles as they are received and will release them on a rolling basis throughout the summer. For more information about these reports and EdReports’ response to the COVID-19 crisis, visit: www.edreports.org.

 

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Contact: Janna Chan
jchan@edreports.org

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