Establishing Curriculum Coherence: Content Specific Criteria

Curriculum Coherence MathEstablishing Curriculum Coherence: Content Specific Criteria

Establishing a purpose and a process for this work are the first two steps in beginning the task of curriculum review. Those crucial steps will drive curriculum work. The third step is using agreed upon criteria to make content curriculum decisions. 

What Criteria Will You Use to Make Your Decisions?

Each content area has specific criteria to help one make an informed decision. The WRESA content consultants are putting together an interactive document in each content area that highlights resources to use in this process. Mathematics will be the focus of this article (Attached – Links are accessible). The other content areas will be available this summer.

Each content area will include an article to help establish a focus for the work. The NCSM article, Curricular and Instructional Coherence, by Valerie L. Mills should launch a lively discussion. The K-12 Mathematics Research/Numeracy Chart provides research about best practices in mathematics. It synthesizes mathematical research and serves as a great resource when discussing shifts in instruction that greatly impact learning.

What Are You Critiquing?

The flow chart provides four tools to help with the evaluation of lessons/units of study, purchasing materials, published materials, and other curricular resources.

EQuIP Rubric for Mathematics: Units and Lessons

This rubric is designed to assess the quality of mathematical units and lessons. It focuses on four areas: Alignment to the Depth of the CCSS, Key Shifts in the CCSS, Instructional Supports, and Assessment. A five step process is provided to help educators with this critique. Videos highlighting the process are also available.

Instructional Materials Evaluation Tool (IMET): Purchasing Materials

Many factors go into local purchasing decisions. Alignment to the Standards is a critical factor to consider. This tool is designed to evaluate alignment of instructional materials to the Shifts and the major features of the CCSS. It also provides suggestions of additional indicators to consider in the materials evaluation and purchasing process.

Mathematics Publishers’ Material

These criteria were developed from the perspective that publishers and purchasers are both responsible for providing quality materials to students. The K–8 Publishers’ Criteria are structured as follows:

I. Focus, Coherence, and Rigor in the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics

II. Criteria for Materials and Tools Aligned to the K–8 Standards

III. Appendix: “The Structure is the Standards”

NCSM: Materials and Analysis Tools: Curriculum Materials

A set of tools that will assist K-12 textbook adoption committees, school administrators, and K-12 teachers in selecting mathematics curriculum materials that support implementation of the newly developed CCSSM. The tools are designed to provide educators with objective measures and information to guide their selection of mathematics curriculum materials based on evidence of the materials’ alignment with the CCSSM and support for implementation of the CCSSM in classrooms.

The Materials Analysis has a set of three tools:

Tool 1 provides information about the degree to which specific trajectories of mathematics topics are incorporated appropriately across grade-band curriculum materials.

Tool 2 focuses on the extent to which the Standards for Mathematical Practice are embedded and integrated in the curriculum materials.

Tool 3 focuses on the extent to which mathematics curriculum materials address overarching considerations related to equity, assessment, and technology.


The use of these evaluation tools should assist with both the selection and implementation of the math curriculum. The curriculum cycle will need to be constantly reviewed to ensure maximum achievement in mathematics. Good mathematical pedagogy and formative assessment are crucial elements for student success.

curriculum implementation (2)