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Common-Core Needs Dominate Districts' Curriculum Priorities, Survey Finds

Cross-posted from Michele Molnar at Marketplace K-12.

As districts implement the Common Core State Standards, 68 percent plan to purchase new instructional materials—an increase from 62 percent two years ago, according to a survey by MDR, a provider of marketing information and services for education.

The potential market size of purchasing common-core materials is 7,600 district buyers, according to the survey, which will be included in MDR's EdNET Insight State of the K-12 Market 2013. This four-part report will be available in its entirety later in December. In the meantime, MDR, which is based in Shelton, Conn., shared a portion of the report's results with Education Week.

Replacing textbooks with online resources was listed as a high- to medium-priority initiative by 78 percent of curriculum directors who responded to the survey. Procuring apps was a high to medium priority for 77 percent.

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Besides purchasing common-core materials, 66 percent of curriculum directors—especially those in large, urban districts—plan to create new materials using internal resources, and 58 percent, particularly from suburban districts, plan to repurpose existing materials.

Some 76 percent of districts—especially among small districts—plan to seek free materials from the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) and the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium.

Of technology directors who responded to the survey, 43 percent say they are "substantially prepared" for online common-core testing, while 7 percent said they are not at all prepared and 14 percent consider themselves fully prepared.

Curriculum directors are focused on modifying curriculum and instruction to meet the new standards, which was the top priority of 84 percent. Modifying assessments to prepare for the new common-core tests is a top priority for 79 percent.

Two priorities that have moved up from previous years are implementing STEM programs, and focusing on personalized learning, or more learner-centric environments.

MDR conducted its district-level survey in Aprill and May 2013, with 256 technology directors responding and 257 curriculum directors, said Kathleen Brantley, director EdNET Insight. She said the survey is statistically valid based on metropolitan area and size of district.

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