Curriculum Reform

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The set of courses that a school, university, or other educational institution offers—and, at times, requires for graduation—constitutes its curriculum; these courses may be determined at the school or district level, but more frequently they are influenced by educational legislation and policy. RAND has investigated and advised policymakers on curriculum development in schools worldwide, including helping to redesign the entire curriculum for Qatar's K-12 schools and universities.

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    Commentary

    Reauthorizing ESEA: Four Recommendations to Make Testing Work

    Jan 21, 2015

    Will Congress be able to reauthorize ESEA in 2015? Success will depend on legislators clearing several hurdles, such as decisions regarding teacher quality, school improvement, and charter schools. And at the center of the debate remains the issue of federal requirements for testing.

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    Report

    Measuring Hard-to-Measure Student Competencies

    Nov 3, 2014

    Interpersonal and intrapersonal competencies such as communication and resilience are important predictors of success and civic engagement after high school. They're also difficult to measure. Practical, high-quality measures could help educators and policymakers improve outcomes for students.

Explore Education Curriculum

  • Working welder

    Report

    Energy-Sector Workforce Development in Southwestern Pennsylvania

    Technological innovations in the energy sector have increased demand for semiskilled labor in southwestern Pennsylvania. How can postsecondary educational and training programs adapt to the evolving skills demand?

    Aug 31, 2015

  • Pipeline construction

    Report

    Energy-Sector Workforce Development in West Virginia

    The production of natural gas and gas liquids from shale in West Virginia has increased demand for workers. Ten action items can help the Community and Technical College System of West Virginia and other stakeholders support a well-aligned and coherent workforce-development pipeline.

    Aug 31, 2015

  • Workers prepare to change drilling pipes on the rotary table of a natural gas rig near Towanda, Pennsylvania, February 3, 2010

    Research Brief

    Aligning Education and Training to Meet Energy Workforce Needs

    Energy-sector employers in West Virginia and southwestern Pennsylvania report having difficulty filling semiskilled jobs. And the sector's technology is changing quickly. How can the region's leaders improve the workforce-development pipeline?

    Aug 31, 2015

  • Journal Article

    Mathematics Teacher Development in the Context of District Managed Curriculum

    The purpose of this study was to develop and test the viability of a conceptual framework for analyzing mathematics instruction and mathematics teacher development within the context of policies regarding district-wide adoption of curriculum.

    Jun 2, 2015

  • A gorup of students with hands up in the classroom

    Journal Article

    Teachers' Social Networks and Sustaining Instructional Improvement

    What dimensions of teachers' social networks matter for sustaining instructional improvement? Elements like strong ties, high levels of expertise, and depth can all contribute to teachers' ability to maintain high-quality instruction the face of ever-changing students, classrooms, schools, and districts.

    Jun 1, 2015

  • Teacher helping a high school student on a computer

    Commentary

    Recommendations for ESEA Reauthorization That Support Innovation

    As lawmakers consider the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, it is critical that in meeting their objectives they do not create unnecessary obstacles to the productive innovations being explored at schools, such as personalized learning.

    Jan 27, 2015

  • Students taking a test in a classroom

    Commentary

    Reauthorizing ESEA: Four Recommendations to Make Testing Work

    Will Congress be able to reauthorize ESEA in 2015? Success will depend on legislators clearing several hurdles, such as decisions regarding teacher quality, school improvement, and charter schools. And at the center of the debate remains the issue of federal requirements for testing.

    Jan 21, 2015

  • Two Indian college students outdoors

    Commentary

    Building a Sound Technical and Vocational Education and Training System

    Technical and vocational education and training in India has expanded significantly over the past two decades. But quality and relevance remain significant issues. What may be learned from other countries' experiences?

    Dec 31, 2014

  • Two high school or college students working together

    Commentary

    A Plan for Measuring Hard-to-Measure, 'Soft' Skills

    Research increasingly suggests that “soft” skills are important for college and career success, as well as for promoting civic engagement. So far, these skills are largely unmeasured in schools. But new research may pave the way for change.

    Dec 10, 2014

  • High school students collaborating

    Report

    Measuring Hard-to-Measure Student Competencies

    Interpersonal and intrapersonal competencies such as communication and resilience are important predictors of success and civic engagement after high school. They're also difficult to measure. Practical, high-quality measures could help educators and policymakers improve outcomes for students.

    Nov 3, 2014

  • U.S Marine with many medals

    Commentary

    Mending the Marriage Between Colleges and the Military

    Without a concerted effort to change military executive education, military services will continue a misguided effort to buy academic credibility, and some elite universities will continue selling their names. Most importantly, the United States will miss an opportunity to hone the critical thinking of its next generation of military leaders.

    Aug 18, 2014

  • A high school student gets instruction from her teacher

    Research Brief

    Competency-Based Education in Three Pilot Programs: What It Is, How It's Implemented, and How It's Working

    In 2011, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation extended grants to three organizations involved with competency-based education approaches. RAND examined these organizations' implementation, student experiences, and student outcomes.

    Aug 4, 2014

  • High school students with teacher in class, using laptops

    Report

    Examining Competency-Based Education

    Competency-based education meets students where they are academically, provides opportunities for choice, and awards students credit for evidence of learning, not time spent studying a subject. Researchers identify lessons for policy, partnerships, and practice regarding this approach.

    Aug 4, 2014

  • standardized test

    Report

    How New Deeper Learning Tests Measure Up

    English language arts and mathematics items from a group of nationally and internationally administered “deeper learning” tests were more cognitively demanding than previously studied state tests. Demand also varied by subject and item format. These and other findings provide a benchmark for comparing how well new tests assess deeper learning.

    Mar 3, 2014

  • Journal Article

    The International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme in Mexico as Preparation for Higher Education

    In this study we analyse the relationship between Mexican students' enrolment in the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programme (DP) and their college preparedness using a case-study methodology.

    Jan 1, 2014

  • high school students using computers, boy blue plaid shirt

    Blog

    Cognitive Tutor: Encouraging Signs for Computers in the Classroom

    A first-year algebra curriculum that blends tutoring software with conventional textbook learning had a positive effect for high school algebra students. Researchers found significant improvements—a change equivalent to moving from the 50th percentile to the 58th on an algebra posttest.

    Nov 19, 2013

  • group of students working on computers

    Research Brief

    Does an Algebra Course with Tutoring Software Improve Student Learning?

    A “blended” approach that combines traditional textbook learning and computer-based instruction could help improve performance among algebra students.

    Nov 18, 2013

  • girl with head scarf in classroom

    Solution

    Guiding Education Reform in Qatar

    Qatar's leadership asked RAND to examine the country's K-12 school system and provide options for improvement. Researchers collected and analyzed information by observing schools, government ministries, and other workplaces; conducting interviews; and analyzing relevant documents.

    Sep 20, 2013

  • Students at James A. Garfield High School immersed in an engineering project

    Blog

    Transforming Schools by Developing 21st Century Skills

    If students are to learn the skills they need to succeed in tomorrow's competitive world, educators may need to rethink yesterday's teaching practices. That's the rationale behind teaching 21st century skills, which include high-order abilities like teamwork and critical thinking.

    Jul 18, 2013

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    Report

    The Common Core State Standards and DoD Education Activity Schools

    As it implements the Common Core State Standards, the Department of Defense Education Activity should consider developing and providing implementation-specific supports to its schools.

    Nov 12, 2012