WELLESLEY, Mass., Sept. 20, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Over three-quarters of K-12 districts have made at least one full-course curricula adoption decision over the past three years, with the need to meet changing standards driving most of these decisions, according to the results of a new survey from the Babson Survey Research Group (BSRG).
The project, funded by a grant from The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, surveyed a national sample of over 500 decision makers in K-12 school districts to examine the process by which they made curriculum adoption decisions and the extent to which open educational resources (OER), freely available materials that can be copied, edited, and shared, factor into those decisions.
Key findings from the report include:
- Most districts make an adoption decision for Mathematics (59 percent), followed by English Language Arts (44 percent), Science (29 percent), and History and Social Studies (19 percent).
- The overwhelming reason districts cite as the reason to engage in an adoption decision is a need to select new material to meet changing standards.
- Teachers have decision-making power in the adoption process for 94 percent of districts, followed by district-level administrators (75 percent), and principals (73 percent).
- Districts cite five or more factors as being "very important" or "critical" in their adoption decision. The top three are comprehensive content, working with existing technology, and cost.
- Cost is far more important among districts with high rates of children in poverty (52 percent say it is "critical") than those with low rates of child poverty (26 percent say it is "critical").
- Districts adopt material from more than a dozen sources, but the top three publishers (McGraw-Hill, Pearson Education, and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) command the market.
- Awareness of open educational resources (OER) is low, with only one-third of districts aware of both the term and its licensing. However, awareness and adoption of specific OER materials is higher than awareness of the term itself; two-thirds of all districts are aware of at least one open full-course curriculum alternative and over a third have actively considered at least one.
- Open licensed full-course curricula materials have been adopted by 16 percent of all districts.
- Districts with a high proportion of students in poverty have adopted open licensed full-course curricula materials at more than twice the rate of districts with low rates of child poverty (22 percent as compared to 10 percent).
Dr. Jeff Seaman, Co-Director of the Babson Survey Research Group, said, "A district curriculum adoption decision is a long and complicated process that involves many players and the consideration of multiple alternatives. The driving force is typically the perception that the existing materials no longer meet current standards."
Dr. Seaman continued that "districts often have only a vague understanding of the specifics of the term 'open educational resources' and of specifics of licensing, but they are well aware of open full-course curriculum products, even if they remain somewhat fuzzy on what makes them 'open'."
The complete report, What We Teach: K-12 School District Curriculum Adoption Process, 2017 is released under a Creative Commons license and is available for download at http://www.onlinelearningsurvey.com/oer.html.
About Babson Survey Research Group
The Babson Survey Research Group at Babson College (http://www.onlinelearningsurvey.com) conducts regional, national, and international research projects, including survey design, sampling methodology, data integrity, statistical analyses and reporting.
About Babson College
Babson College is the educator, convener, and thought leader of Entrepreneurship of All Kinds®. The top-ranked college for entrepreneurship education, Babson is a dynamic living and learning laboratory where students, faculty, and staff work together to address the real-world problems of business and society. We prepare the entrepreneurial leaders our world needs most: those with strong functional knowledge and the skills and vision to navigate change, accommodate ambiguity, surmount complexity, and motivate teams in a common purpose to make a difference in the world, and have an impact on organizations of all sizes and types. As we have for nearly a half-century, Babson continues to advance Entrepreneurial Thought & Action® as the most positive force on the planet for generating sustainable economic and social value.
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SOURCE Babson College