National Evaluation of Curriculum Effectiveness

Student and teacher

Project Status: Current
Focus Area: School Improvement and Redesign
Location: National
Principal Investigator: Thomas J. Kane

The National Evaluation of Curriculum Effectiveness is investigating the efficacy of the textbook and instructional materials in promoting student achievement. As a result of the evidence base established by this project, educational leaders will be better equipped to make informed decisions about which materials to adopt for their school systems.

The study will: 

  • identify the instructional materials that are used for mathematics instruction in fourth- and fifth-grade classrooms through a school survey,
  • investigate the factors that might influence the efficacy of a given textbook by conducting a teacher survey, and
  • examine whether and how the use of such materials is related to students' achievement.

The project's first year will focus on the mathematics textbooks and primary curriculum resources used in fourth- and fifth-grade classrooms. Currently, the project is being launched across six states: California, Louisiana, Maryland, New Jersey, New Mexico, and Washington.

Education Agencies

Louisiana (Letter of Support)
New Jersey 
New Mexico 

Organizational Partners

University of Washington
University of Southern California
University of California, Davis


America Achieves
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Bloomberg Philanthropies
The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation

Dan Goldhaber

Dan Goldhaber

Affiliated Researcher, SDP Fellowship Faculty Advisor
Professor in Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences
Center for Education Data & Research, University of Washington

In the last few years, schools around the country have implemented new textbooks and curriculum materials in response to the new standards adopted by states.  As educators, we feel an obligation to learn from those experiences, by comparing the learning gains of students that have been using different textbooks and curriculum materials.  

That is why we are launching the National Evaluation of Curriculum Effectiveness: To identify and build a foundation of evidence about the textbooks and curriculum materials that are most effective in helping students achieve.

Education leaders need that evidence to ensure that students and teachers have the highest quality materials in the future. We expect that findings from our study will inform state and local system leaders who will, for the first time, have information about textbook efficacy in making their decisions. In turn, teachers and students will benefit from access to stronger materials that support their instructional methods and address learning needs.

We need the help from districts and schools to collect accurate information that can improve the evidence base for everyone.

Learn how you can help