Teachers desire great instructional materials that get students excited to learn. Below is a list of studies, reports, and briefs that demonstrate the lasting effect high-quality materials have on students.*

The Johns Hopkins Institute for Education Policy and Johns Hopkins Center for Research and Reform in Education conducted a research review on the effects of curricular choices in K–12 education for the Knowledge Matters Campaign, a project of StandardsWork, Inc.

(Standards Work, 2017)

This brief shows that a relatively nascent but powerful body of research suggests content-rich, standards-aligned, and high-quality curricula exert a powerful influence on student achievement.

(Chiefs for Change, 2017).

This report focuses on instructional changes implemented by teachers and the effectiveness of the training and support they received. It also cataloged the textbooks they used.

(Brookings, 2016)

This brief argues that curriculum reform is a low-cost, high-return educational investment.

(Center for American Progress, 2015)

This brief discusses the importance of weaving together the curriculum that students engage with every day with the professional learning of teachers.

(The Aspen Institute, 2017)

This case study presents the challenges Newport-Mesa Unified School district faced, the important steps they took to ensure success, and the role EdReports played in their journey of instructional materials adoption.  (EdReports, 2018)

This report found evidence that state department of education work to align instruction with standards may make a difference for teachers’ practices and understanding about their state standards. Using data from the RAND American Teacher Panel, researchers found that Louisiana teachers were more likely than other teachers to consult resources that address their state standards, and they reported teaching—and thinking about teaching—in ways that differ from U.S. norms and that are more aligned with Common Core State Standards.

(Rand Corporation, 2017)

This study analyzes an experiment in which middle-school math teachers were randomly given access to “off-the-shelf” lessons designed to develop students’ deep understanding.

(Northwestern Institute for Policy Research, 2016)

This article describes a system of curriculum-driven reforms that has prompted Louisiana’s public school teachers to change the quality of their instruction in measurable and observable ways

(Education Next, 2017)

ERS studied school systems and states with improving student outcomes to learn best practices for teacher professional learning.

(ERS, 2018)

This brief describes how Learning First has worked with university and school system leaders from Australia, Brazil, Finland and the United States to help teacher education around the world adequately prepare new teachers for the classroom.

(Learning First, 2017)

This memo explores how districts can use the curriculum RFP process to encourage the highest-quality submissions.

(Johns Hopkins School of Education – Institute for Education Policy, 2018).

This report examines two key school supports that could help teachers address state standards in their instruction: curriculum requirements and school leader knowledge of standards.

(RAND Corporation, 2018)

This report provides an analysis of the instructional materials used by the 30 largest school districts in the country.

(Center for American Progress, 2018)

This paper shows that policymakers have largely overlooked curriculum as a lever for education reform – and how that is beginning to change. 

(Learning First, 2018)

This report, a collaboration between Johns Hopkins Institute for Education Policy and Learning First, and written by Dr. David Steiner, argues that selecting and developing quality curriculum is a complex process that is too often ignored in policy and teacher preparation, leaving teachers across the United States under-prepared to perform these activities.

(Learning First, 2018)

Louisiana, an historically low-performing US state, has introduced a process to enable schools to select quality curriculum and a strategy to support and encourage the teaching of quality curriculum in classrooms across the state. The results are striking, as this case study shows. 

(Learning First, 2018)

This brief, from Nebraska, is a synthesis of key research supporting high-quality instructional materials. The brief includes key findings regarding the rationale for the selection of high-quality instructional materials. It also includes recommendations for districts to consider when selecting and implementing instructional materials.

(Nebraska Instructional Materials Collaborative, 2019)

*This research list was originally compiled by Nebraska and published on the Nebraska Instructional Materials Collaborative site. Nebraska is one of the eight states in the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) Instructional Materials and Professional Development Network. Research blurbs were paraphrased or copied from report abstracts or summaries.