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Leveraging High-Quality Instructional Materials

Studying and implementing high-quality instructional materials anchors the work of effective learning teams. Learning Forward has elevated the importance of this work for the same reason we amplified the role of equity in our vision — a recognition of the need to prioritize and be explicit about the strategies that have the most potential to transform all students’ learning experiences.

As part of launching this work, Learning Forward released a white paper: High-Quality Curricula and Team-Based Professional Learning: A Perfect Partnership for Equity (Learning Forward, 2018). The research is compelling and convinced us that attention to the issue is paramount. The deeper I studied, the more I became convinced that teachers deserve both high-quality instructional materials and the learning team structures to support implementation.

We have always advocated that professional learning begins with a determination of the student outcomes intended for the investment. The Standards for Professional Learning include the Outcomes standard, which states that educator professional learning, to be effective, is focused on the content students are learning and the materials in use in a system (Learning Forward, 2011). However, interpretations have differed with varying outcomes for educators and students, so the time has come to be more explicit.

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