How Teachers and School Leaders Shape Use of Instructional Materials

Female high school teacher standing by table with students teaching lesson, photo by Adobe Stock

Photo by Adobe Stock


Monday, May 3, 2021


2 p.m. to 3 p.m. EDT / 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. PDT


Registration for this event has closed.


Teachers exercise great autonomy in how they use, modify and supplement their instructional materials. In this webinar, RAND researchers use data from a nationally representative sample of educators and interview responses from a sample of teachers and school leaders participating in the RAND American Instructional Resources Survey to answer the following three questions:

  • How do teachers use their main instructional materials?
  • What do teachers want from their instructional materials?
  • And how do school leaders shape teachers’ use of instructional materials?

They will also present findings on teacher and school leader perceptions of instructional materials during the COVID-19 pandemic. These findings provide several insights and implications for those thinking about how to support and improve teachers’ use of instructional materials.

Elaine Lin Wang

Elaine Lin Wang

Elaine Lin Wang is a policy researcher at the RAND Corporation. Her research focuses on the measurement of the quality of literacy instruction and learning, and teachers' and principals' sensemaking of policy initiatives and how that influences their practice. She specializes in using qualitative and case study methods to examine relationships between instruction and student learning outcomes, and to understand factors that facilitate or pose challenges for policy or program implementation.

Wang is also interested in the impact of school climate on students' academic and socioemotional development. She received her Ph.D. in the learning sciences and policy program, with a minor in research methodology, from the University of Pittsburgh. Prior to pursuing her graduate studies, Wang taught high school English for nine years.

Andrea Prado Tuma

Andrea Prado Tuma

Andrea Prado Tuma is an associate social scientist at the RAND Corporation. Her research seeks to understand how schools and school districts implement programs and/or policies to address educational inequality. She has particular expertise in school leadership, research-practice partnerships, and school-community engagement and specializes in qualitative and social network methodology.

Prado Tuma is currently working on projects focused on networked improvement communities (NICs), out-of-school time settings, social and emotional learning, and curriculum and instruction. Prior to graduate school, she worked at the Mexican Institute of Family and Population Research, where she contributed to the design of a curriculum to increase the academic achievement and middle school enrollment of girls in rural Mexico. Prado Tuma received an M.A. and Ph.D. in human development and social policy from Northwestern University.

Julia H. Kaufman

Julia H. Kaufman

Julia Kaufman is a senior policy researcher at the RAND Corporation where she codirects the American Educator Panels. Her research focuses on how states and school systems can support high-quality instruction and student learning, as well as methods for measuring educator perceptions and instruction. She has led studies on how to support students' civics knowledge, skills, and dispositions; how state policies can encourage effective use of high-quality materials; implementation and student outcomes associated with the strategies of the Louisiana Department of Education; perceptions and implementation of state standards for kindergarten through twelfth-grade students; and implementation, outcomes, and costs associated with pipelines for preparing, hiring, and supporting high-quality school leaders and teachers.

Kaufman has also led several projects to develop innovative measures of instructional practice, including measures of student-centered learning and teachers' mathematics instruction. Prior to coming to RAND, Kaufman's research focused on the main factors that support teachers' use of inquiry-based mathematics curricula and the extent to which survey measures can accurately capture teachers' instruction. She holds a Ph.D. in international education from New York University and an M.A. in teaching from the University of Pittsburgh.

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On June 8, RAND will host a companion webinar on how teachers of English language learners and students with disabilities use instructional materials to support their students. Look for it on the RAND events calendar soon.