facebook linkedin twitter

A Think Twice Review of:

The Hidden Value of Curriculum Reform: Do States and Districts Receive the Most Bang for their Curriculum Buck?

Think Twice - Nov 19, 2015

Publisher/Think Tank - Center for American Progress (CAP)

Author(s) - Ulrich Boser, Matthew Chingos, and Chelsea Straus

The Center for American Progress (CAP) issued a recent report that drew on bold conclusions about the high payoff of better textbooks. The report claimed that, compared to other reforms, a switch to better textbooks was a cost-efficient way to improve student achievement. The report pointed to very real problems with textbook adoption, including poor alignment with standards. It also made strong claims about the payoff of schools’ investment in high-quality curriculum materials.

Reviewer(s) - Sarah Lubienski, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

The review points to clear merits of the report. However, the review also points out that the report overreaches in several areas. Specifically, the report is based on a single prior study and ignores key findings within the original study. Additionally, the report attempts to compare estimated return on investment (ROI) for textbooks against another study’s calculations, ignoring findings from that report as well. The report’s conclusions are marred by highly optimistic claims about curricular ROI.