Survey Confirms Many U.S. Teachers Using Self-Made Materials

The RAND Corporation conducted surveys of U.S. teachers and implementation of new standards as well as the instructional materials they are using. With a special focus on states with Standards Adopted from the Common Core (SACC), the report reveals that teachers are more likely to use materials aligned to the CCSS for math than they are for ELA. The authors believe this could be because teachers have a better understanding of the mathematics standards than they do ELA.

Key findings

  • More teachers from SACC states did not know when they would be expected to address their state standards compared with their counterparts in non-SACC states.
  • Mathematics teachers in SACC states typically used materials developed or selected by their districts or themselves, with high percentages using published materials that have demonstrated alignment with CCSS.
  • Most ELA teachers in SACC states also drew upon materials developed by themselves or their districts, although leveled readers were the most commonly used texts in ELA classrooms, especially at the elementary level.
  • Elementary ELA teachers reported spending the majority of in-class and out-of-class reading time on leveled texts, written at students' individual reading levels, whereas secondary teachers reported more time spent on the same grade-level text.
  • Teachers consult a variety of online resources for instruction with Google and Pinterest topping the list.
  • Within SACC states, secondary teachers reported spending significantly more time developing their own materials compared with elementary teachers; 41 percent of elementary teachers in SACC states reported spending more than four hours a week on their own materials versus 51 percent of secondary teachers.
  • The majority of self-developed materials are individual lessons and activities.

For more on the factors that influence teachers' selection and use of instructional materials related to state standards, readImplementation of K–12 State Standards for Mathematics and English Language Arts and Literacy, RAND Corporation (April 2016).

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