Research and Reflections, Standards-Alignment Information
Part 4 of Open Educational Resources

K-12 OER Collaborative’s Request for Proposals

Learn how the Collaborative is planning on creating and vetting materials.

In the last post, we introduced the K-12 OER Collaborative and the RFP for content developers to create high-quality, Common Core-aligned, open resources that schools can use as their core curriculum.

We were looking for developers to create resources that met the CCSS Publishers’ Criteria for Mathematics and English Language Arts/Literacy as measured by the Instructional Materials Evaluation Tool (IMET) and the Educators Evaluating Quality Instructional Products (EQuIP) rubrics. We were especially attuned to making sure that the materials emphasize the key areas of focus within each course, address the progression of learning skills, and vertically articulate content with other courses to ensure coherence.

The RFP, which was released in late 2014, sought courses that have a coherent assessment strategy, including performance tasks with student work examples, formative assessments, unit-level summative assessments, and rubrics to help teachers understand and interpret student performance. They should include teacher materials that inform and support implementation, including strategies, activities, multimedia, and other resources that allow teachers to differentiate and provide multiple entry points and challenges for students. The materials should contain interactive and multimedia elements, where appropriate, that support quality teaching and learning and grade-level-appropriate resources and strategies to help families support students with their learning and homework.

The RFP’s “scope of work” articulates in more detail exactly what we’re looking for in the full-curriculum materials currently in development. As you can see, we’re committed to creating high-quality content that is aligned to the CCSS. Much of the design of the RFP was driven by the math and English language arts leads in many of the states involved in the Collaborative, in addition to educator surveys and market research we conducted.

Through the RFP review process, which included proposal reviews by teams of educators from across the Collaborative states, we identified ten content developers who submitted excellent proposals. We know that there can often be a difference between what a developer says they can do in a proposal, and what they can actually deliver, however. So, we contracted with all ten developers and had them create prototype units for a single standard designated by us. These units were intended to address the chosen standard over two or three weeks of classroom time. The developers delivered the prototypes to us in June, 2015.

Then, we gathered twenty educators from the participating states, along with the content leads from many of the states, to conduct reviews of the units. Achieve, Inc., the organization behind the EQuIP rubric, provided training and calibration for the educator-reviewers. The EQuIP rubric is the best tool we know of for checking the alignment of unit-level materials. Once we’ve created full courses, we’ll be using the EQuIP rubric to check for alignment of each individual unit as well as the IMET to verify alignment of the materials as a full Common Core-aligned curriculum. By using both rubrics, we feel like we’ll end up with stronger materials.

In our next blog post, we’ll discuss the outcome of the prototype review and our plans for moving forward with full-course development.

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About the Author: Before joining the Collaborative as one of its founding leaders, Karl served as the Director of the Digital Learning Department at the Office of Superintendent of Public Education at the State of Washington.

About the Author: Jennifer Wolfe is a partner with The Learning Accelerator (“TLA”). TLA is the catalyst to transform American K-12 education hrough blended learning on a national scale. In her role, Jennifer is leading the organization’s initiatives around Open Education Resources, including the K-12 OER Collaborative. The Collaborative is creating a new model for K-12 instructional materials under which all students and educators will have access to high-quality, low cost and open source content, disrupting the traditional publishing industry model.