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Instructional Materials Reviewed by New Mexico Educators for New Mexico Educators

Materials Matter!

Instructional materials matter!  Research shows that students learn primarily through their interactions with teachers and content.  The instructional core is the foundation for ensuring all kids are college and career-ready and have the skills and knowledge they need to thrive in school and beyond.  “One of the most significant factors that impacts student achievement is that teachers commit to implementing a guaranteed and viable curriculum to ensure no matter who teaches a given class, the curriculum will address certain essential content and provide a coherent experience for every student.”  (What Works in Schools, Marzano, 2003)    


However, not all students have the same access to high-quality instructional materials (HQIM) and this perpetuates the opportunity gap.  According to the TNTP 2018 report “The Opportunity Myth”, students have big plans for college and career and most students do what they’re asked in school but are still not ready to succeed after school.  They found that one reason students leave school unprepared for their futures is the lack of access to grade-appropriate assignments.  They found students spent more than 500 hours per school year on assignments that weren’t appropriate for their grade - the equivalent of six months of wasted class time for each core subject. 



In classrooms with more access to high-quality instructional materials, students did better—particularly if they started the school year behind their peers. 


One of TNTP’s five recommendations is, “Give all students, especially those who are behind grade level, access to instruction that asks them to think and engage deeply with challenging material.”  We know that educators have one of the most important missions in society.  We also know from a recent Rand survey that 96% of teachers are searching for lessons and materials on Google and 75% on Pinterest.  According to the 2019 report “The Supplemental-Curriculum Bazaar: Is What’s Online Any Good?”, most of the materials found online rate as mediocre or probably not worth using and fail to align to the academic standards to which they claim to align.  On average, teachers are spending approximately seven hours per week searching online for materials. This assortment of online materials can lead to instructional incoherence and inequities for our students.  


The Instructional Material Bureau’s mission is to ensure HQIM is in the hands of every educator and learner in New Mexico and that it is used to its fullest extent.  We also must assert that in order for HQIM to be fully effective, it must be implemented with high-quality professional learning.  In fact, a recent review of STEM instructional-improvement programs found that when teacher professional learning focused on the curriculum materials teachers would use in their classrooms, student performance rose about 10 percentile points.    


The research is intended to support educators at all levels of the educational system to ask for, insist on, and make the shift to HQIM.