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ERIC Number: ED570140
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2015-May
Pages: 32
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
Uncommonly Engaging? A Review of the EngageNY English Language Arts Common Core Curriculum
Haydel, Elizabeth; Carmichael, Sheila Byrd
Thomas B. Fordham Institute
The need for standards-aligned curricula is the most cited Common Core challenge for states, districts, and schools. Yet five years into that implementation, teachers still report scrambling to find high-quality instructional materials. Despite publishers' claims, there is a dearth of programs that are truly aligned to the demands of the Common Core for content and rigor. Fixing America's curriculum problem is no small challenge. This report analyzes New York State's Common Core-aligned ELA curriculum, built from scratch and made available online for all to use for free. How solid is this product? Is it well aligned to the Common Core? Is it teachable? Findings include: (1) EngageNY's alignment to the Common Core is generally strong. (2) Selected texts are high-quality and appropriately rigorous, and the program allows educators greater flexibility than other scripted programs. (3) Because New York engaged multiple curriculum developers to create separate resources for different grade bands, each set of materials reflects a distinctive underlying approach to curriculum and literacy, meaning that the progression across grade bands is bumpy. (4) While content and foundational skills in the early grades appear thoughtfully developed, the sheer quantity of content across all grade bands can be overwhelming. (5) Additionally, EngageNY's high school curriculum (not yet complete) lacks a critical emphasis on literary content, a problem that is amplified by the fact that students read mostly excerpts of great books rather than full novels, biographies, and so on. While not perfect, the materials offer educators--both inside and outside New York State-an important alternative to traditional textbooks of questionable quality and alignment. This has been updated to reflect that at the high-school level, students mostly, not exclusively, read excerpts of great books rather than full novels and biographies. Appended are: (1) CCSS Implementation Rollout in New York; (2) Review Criteria of CCSS-Aligned Instructional Materials (English Language Arts) [Foreword by Kathleen Porter-Magee and Victoria Sears May.]
Thomas B. Fordham Institute. 1701 K Street NW Suite 1000, Washington, DC 20006. Tel: 202-223-5452; Fax: 202-223-9226; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation; Louis Calder Foundation; Thomas B. Fordham Foundation
Authoring Institution: Thomas B. Fordham Institute
Identifiers - Location: New York