Education Curriculum

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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.

  • Teacher Mary Yi works with fourth-grade students at the Sokolowski School in Chelsea, Massachusetts, September 15, 2021, photo by Brian Snyder/Reuters

    Report

    Approaches and Obstacles to Teaching Media Literacy

    Sep 23, 2021

    The majority of U.S. public schools address media literacy competencies in some manner. But according to K–12 teachers, instruction is unevenly implemented, at best, and obstacles are common. Media literacy education also varies across schools of different ethnic compositions and poverty levels.

  • Kindergarten teacher Princess Bryant (R) and paraprofessional Emily Lichtenstein meet their incoming students and parents remotely before the first day of classes in the new school year at the Tynan Elementary School in Boston, Massachusetts, September 18, 2020, photo by Brian Snyder/Reuters

    Commentary

    How State Critical Race Theory Bans Could Trickle Down to the Classroom

    Aug 31, 2021

    Given the potential blowback to teaching anything related to race or gender, avoiding lessons on the experiences of women or people of color will be the path of least resistance in many schools. But discussing racism and sexism in a safe environment is crucial for students to become active, knowledgeable citizens.

Explore Education Curriculum

  • A student in an elementary classroom drawing in her notebook

    Report

    Louisiana Teachers Think About and Implement State Standards

    State education leaders' efforts to align instruction with standards appear to be making a difference. Louisiana teachers regularly consult classroom resources that address state standards, and are teaching in ways that differ from the norms in other states.

    Oct 13, 2016

  • Report

    Report

    Mathematics Audit of the DoDEA Schools: 2014–2015

    This report is an audit of the then-current Department of Defense Education Activity mathematics program, built around standards established in 2009, to help prepare for a transition to Common Core State Standards, which began in 2014--2015.

    Aug 10, 2016

  • Teacher using a tablet in a classroom while students work on desktop computers

    Commentary

    Inspiring Better Teacher Planning and Instruction or Just Adding Noise?

    Teachers can and should have the freedom to select and develop at least some of their own instructional resources. But whether sites like Amazon Inspire will actually save teachers time and help them find high-quality resources is up for debate.

    Jul 20, 2016

  • Journal Article

    Journal Article

    Detracking and Tracking Up: Mathematics Course Placements in California Middle Schools, 2003–2013

    Between 2003 and 2013, the proportion of California eighth graders enrolled in algebra or a more advanced course nearly doubled to 65%. In this article, we consider the organizational processes that accompanied this curricular intensification.

    Jun 1, 2016

  • A teacher and student in a classroom looking at a laptop

    Commentary

    Technology Is Only Part of Personalized Learning

    The concept of personalized learning has gained favor in recent years, partly because new technology applications help to facilitate it. But those who characterize this instructional approach as “students just using computers or other devices” are greatly oversimplifying it.

    Mar 4, 2016

  • Journal Article

    Journal Article

    Academic Civic Mindedness and Model Citizenship in the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme

    This study uses interview and survey methods to describe the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programme's (DP) development of students' "academic civic mindedness" and "model citizenship" at four public schools in California.

    Feb 22, 2016

  • Report

    Report

    Evaluation of the Regional Choice Initiative

    This evaluation describes the Regional Choice Initiative (RCI), a large-scale initiative in 17 school districts in Pennsylvania. The RCI sought to expand school choice and offer more-rigorous courses for students in grades 7 to 12.

    Jan 8, 2016

  • Students pledging allegiance to the American flag

    Commentary

    Strengthening Our Democracy Starts in School

    The teaching of civics and other social studies courses has hit hard times in most states, driven in part by accountability systems that reward schools for math and reading scores. Yet civic education is critical to the stability of our democracy and seems warranted now more than ever.

    Dec 17, 2015

  • Report

    Report

    Development of a K–12 Financial Education Curriculum Assessment Rubric

    RAND researchers document the current state of the literature and advance a set of criteria for assessing the content, utility, quality, and efficacy of K-12 financial education curricula.

    Nov 5, 2015

  • Piggy bank and school books in a classroom

    Tool

    A Tool for Reviewing K-12 Financial Education Curricula

    A bewildering array of curricula and materials is available to support K–12 financial education. This reviewing tool helps educators assess which to use, and to better understand the strengths and gaps in the curriculum currently in use.

    Nov 5, 2015

  • Graduation cap and diploma

    Report

    Competency-Based Programs Are an Innovative Approach to Higher Education

    Among other benefits, competency-based education programs have the potential to increase the alignment between graduate skills and employer needs, as well as address degree-completion rates by offering new pathways to students.

    Oct 22, 2015

  • Woman using a laptop at her kitchen table

    Commentary

    Exploring New Approaches to Higher Education: The Expansion of Competency-Based Programs

    Policymakers and educators must determine if the risks of maintaining the status quo outweigh the potential benefits of competency-based programs, especially for those students who are ill-served by the traditional higher education model.

    Sep 29, 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • Journal Article

    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