Advancing The Ball

Chiefs for Change Issues Statement on the Need for High-Quality Curriculum

Leaders of some of the nation’s largest school districts pledge to redouble efforts to see that our schools use high-quality instructional materials and offer curriculum-specific professional development.

Hiding in Plain Sight: Leveraging Curriculum to Improve Student Learning

A must-read primer (and more!) on “The Curriculum Effect.” Congratulations to Chiefs for Change for laying this out so clearly.

Louisiana Threads the Needle on Ed Reform

EdNext article by Robert Pondiscio documenting Louisiana’s (state-led) curriculum reform efforts and how other states are starting to take notice.

Digging The Discourse

Knowledge is Power

Mike Petrilli documents the journey taken by the KIPP organization to embrace curriculum as a vital reform lever – and knowledge-building curriculum in particular – throughout their network of schools.

You’re 100% Wrong About Critical Thinking

A great Newsweek article makes the point, again, that “one cannot think critically without quite a lot of knowledge to think about” (Diane Ravitch, 2009).

American Educator features The Writing Revolution

A new book by Judith Hochman and Natalie Wexler provides practical suggestions for significantly improving writing instruction and supporting knowledge-building at the same time. 

Finding The Good

Move Over Comprehension Strategies; Make Room for Background Knowledge*

*We’ve changed the headline on this blog from how it originally ran to clarify this point:  there IS a place for teaching comprehension strategies, but those strategies should not be the tail wagging the dog of reading instruction.  Our concern is that when we focus primarily on strategies, which have characterized a great deal of reading instruction in […]


Constructing practice sets that prod student thinking.

Pressing Our Point

Collecting the Right Data During Test Flights

By Chrys Dougherty

In her post, “Building the Curriculum Reform Plane While Flying It,” Barbara Davidson made a compelling call for on-the-ground research in schools and districts using high-quality curriculum. Following are some suggested questions to guide this research. Questions about student outcomes. One set of questions might look at student outcomes in schools implementing high-quality curricula across […]

Building the Curriculum Plane While Flying It

By Barbara Davidson

Because StandardsWork has quite a few eggs in the basket of “better instructional materials will contribute to better instructional outcomes,” I’m of a mixed mind about Morgan Polikoff’s recent article outlining the undeniable difficulties of researching and recommending curriculum when we can’t even inventory the darn stuff across our thousands of local school districts. I […]

How People Learn

By Chrys Dougherty

Eighteen years ago, the National Research Council released How People Learn, a report describing key findings of cognitive science and their application to human learning. In 2005, the Council followed up with How Students Learn, which provided additional examples of how these findings could be applied to school curriculum and classroom teaching. On the eve […]