Curriculum Vetting Overview and Resources

An essential element of school improvement is the implementation of high-quality, standards-based curriculum. Code of Maryland Regulation 13A.04 requires that local school systems implement curriculum that aligns with the Maryland College-and Career- Ready Standards.  

 

The Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) has developed a process and resources to vet English language arts (ELA) and mathematics curriculum to ensure full alignment with the Maryland College-and Career-Ready Standards. The process and tools were developed and piloted during the 2017-2018 school year and will be fully implemented in the 2018-2019 school year. Any school system with schools identified for comprehensive support and improvement will be required to use curriculum that has been vetted by MSDE.

Overview:
The Office of Leadership Development and School Improvement and the Division of Curriculum, Instructional Improvement, and Professional Learning collaborated with local school system supervisors to develop a process, protocols, and tools for use in vetting English language arts (ELA) and mathematics curricula.

Defining Curriculum:

Anchoring the work of stakeholders was defining what high-quality curricula looks like; what it includes; and common indicators often found in such a curriculum. Additionally, stakeholders referenced findings of the Council of Great City Schools', "Supporting Excellence: A Framework for Developing, Implementing, and Sustaining a High-Quality District Curriculum"(1), to ground the development of evaluation tools in what are considered key components for developing and implementing any high-quality curriculum. 

 

English Language Arts and Mathematics Curriculum Vetting Tools:
All MSDE vetting tools are designed using leading research- and evidence-based information and models. Each rubric includes components and criteria that must be present in a high-quality English Language Arts or mathematics curriculum.

 

The MSDE has developed four English Language Arts rubrics to effectively capture evidence that the Maryland College- and Career-Ready Foundational Skills and Anchor Standards for Reading, Language, and Writing are represented accurately for: Kindergarten, Grade 1, Grade 2,
and Grades 3-10. 

 

Each tool, featured below, is available as Word documents which can be downloaded and modified to fit a local school system context. 

Research-based Process:

Throughout the pilot phase (SY 2017-18), processes and tools were developed to determine the extent to which each were usable, adaptable [to more than one grade], and suitable for the task. Curriculum vetters were contracted to evaluate Baltimore City Public Schools' English language arts K-10th grade curriculum. 

 

During this process, feedback from stakeholders helped to inform the development of a final set of tools and rubrics. The initial architecture of the ELA and mathematics rubrics were based on the work from Achieve's Educators Evaluating the Quality of Instructional Products (EQuIP) rubrics, the Grade-Level Instructional Materials Evaluation Tool- Quality Review (GIMET-QR), and peer-reviewed research.

Curriculum vetters participated in training to ensure inter-rater reliability in generating a valid and reliable measure. The vetting of each grade level content area (i.e., Grade 4 ELA) approximated 30 hours for vetters to produce a written evaluation and rating for each of the four criterion as evidence of a high-quality curriculum. ELA criterion included: Alignment with Maryland College- and Career-Ready Standards; Evidence of Key Shifts; Instructional Supports to Build Proficiency and Independence, and Assessment Design and Purpose.

 

Vetters worked together to summarize findings for each grade level curriculum into a grade level report. As a final step, vetters generated grade band consensus reports for each grade band: K-2, 3-5, 6-8, and 9-10.  Reports included areas of strength, opportunities for growth and recommendations for improvement, revision, or replacement of curriculum or curriculum components.

Baltimore City K-10 ELA Curriculum Vetting Report

Curriculum Vetting Rubrics

Select the underlined text to access vetting rubrics. Updated May  2019

English Language Arts Vetting Rubrics

Mathematics Arts Vetting Rubrics

Rubrics measure four key criteria to ensure a high-quality, standards-aligned curriculum. The rubric helps vetters to capture areas of promise, opportunities for growth, and recommendations for each grade being evaluated. 
 

Use the grade-appropriate rubric to evaluate kindergarten, grade 1, and grade 2 curricula which focuses on foundational reading skills. 

 

Use the 3-10 rubric to evaluate grades 3 through 10 which has a focus on reading for information and literature and the writing standards. 

One rubric is used to measure four key criteria to ensure a high-quality, standards-aligned curriculum. The rubric helps vetters to capture areas of promise, opportunities for growth, and recommendations for each grade level or mathematics course being evaluated. 
 

Use the mathematics curriculum vetting rubric to evaluate grades kindergarten through high school mathematics courses with a focus on:

  • Focus and Rigor for grade level or course;

  • Coherence within and across grade levels or courses;

  • Instructional supports for teachers of mathematics;

  • Assessment for and of learning.

ELA Grade Level Reporting

ELA Grade Band Consensus Reporting

These tools provide a way to synthesize the strengths and challenges in each grade level curriculum. 
 

Use the K-2 Grade Level Reporting rubric to evaluate kindergarten, grade 1, and grade 2 curricula which focuses on foundational reading skills. 

 

Use the 3-10 Grade Level Reporting rubric to evaluate grades 3 through 10 with more of a focus on reading for information and literature and the writing standards. 

This tool tools identify commonalities across a grade band: K-2; 3-5; 6-8, and 9-10. This reporting tool helps vetters to capture areas of promise, opportunities for growth, and grade band recommendations to a school system for one or more grade levels. 
 

Use the K-2 Grade Band Consensus Reporting rubric to evaluate kindergarten, grade 1, and grade 2 curricula which focuses on foundational reading skills. 

 

Use the 3-10 rubric Grade Band Consensus Reporting rubric to evaluate grades 3 through 10 with more of a focus on reading for information and literature and the writing standards. 

Not Just for CSI Schools

 
 

The Maryland Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) Plan describes technical assistance that will be provided to schools identified for comprehensive support and improvement (CSI).

A key area of support is curriculum vetting. The Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) recognizes that the implementation of standards-based curriculum is critical for school improvement. Consequently, each CSI school will be required to use ELA and mathematics curriculum that has been vetted by the MSDE. 

As outlined above, the curriculum vetting protocol and training has been developed to evaluate alignment of curriculum with Maryland College-and Career-Ready Standards.

 

The process and resources developed are available to any school to use and vet their curriculum for these purposes:

  • prepare students for college and careers;

  • support teachers in delivering effective instruction;

  • ensure access for all students to rigorous and meaningful education in every school and classroom (1).

(1)source: "Supporting Excellence: A Framework for Developing, Implementing,and Sustaining a High-Quality District Curriculum", County of Great City Schools, June 2017.

Comprehensive Support and Improvement (CSI) Schools: 
All comprehensive support and improvement schools will be required to use curriculum that has been vetted by MSDE. Explanation is provided below

The Office of Leadership Development and
School Improvement
Maryland State Department of Education

200 W. Baltimore St. Baltimore, MD. 

Assistant State Superintendent,

tiara.booker-dwyer@maryland.gov 

The mission of the Office of Leadership Development and School Improvement is to provide leadership, support, and technical assistance to local school systems to improve school performance and foster the development, growth, and retention of effective leaders. 

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Updated: November 12, 2019