District led curriculum reform: Establishing a cohesive focus on the technical core

Date of Completion

January 2011


Education, Higher Education Administration|Education, Leadership|Education, Curriculum and Instruction




Because student achievement is not meeting state and national accountability targets, districts have taken more active steps to create systemic changes toward the goal of improving student achievement. Most often these reform efforts target curriculum issues. A number of factors, however, may affect a district's ability to leverage curriculum changes so that they actually improve student achievement. This study analyzed a failed reform effort in one district, Suburbia. The study was guided by a conceptual framework that highlighted the importance of focusing reform efforts cohesively on the technical core by (1) building a district-wide consensus that supports curricular reform efforts, (2) making a commitment to equity for all students, (3) instituting ongoing monitoring of curriculum implementation, and (4) establishing concerted effort to align all curricular reform strategies into a coherent vision. Based on the analysis, the study outlines a framework districts could use to guide their work in implementing district-led reforms. The discussion of the framework includes detailed steps that districts might follow in their reform efforts. The discussion also includes specific recommendations for creating district-wide consensus, promoting equity for all students, ensuring ongoing monitoring of curriculum implementation, and aligning all strategies that are in place for achieving reform. ^