Standards-in-Action 2.0 Conducting State-Based Curriculum Reviews for English Language Arts/Literacy

The Standards-in-Action (SIA) 2.0 State-Based Curriculum Review Training offers a range of resources that state and facility administrators and instructors can use to assess the quality of their existing English language arts (ELA)/literacy curricula or instructional materials. The reviews will ensure curricular alignment with state-adopted ELA/literacy standards, the key instructional shifts, and high levels of adult learning and development.

StandardsWork, Inc.
Author(s) Organizational Affiliation
StandardsWork, Inc.
Publication Year
Resource Type
Professional Development

StandardsWork, Inc. produced the Standards-in-Action (SIA) 2.0 State-Based Curriculum Review Training under contract ED-91990018-C-004019 with the U.S. Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education as part of the SIA project, 2018–2023. The training teaches adult educators how to evaluate the quality of their existing instructional materials in relation to their state-adopted standards and the key instructional shifts in literacy. The Curriculum Review Training resources deepen practitioner knowledge about literacy content, research-based instructional strategies, and a curriculum’s effectiveness with English learners (ELs). The training materials are framed by five college- and career-ready instructional dimensions:

1. Close Reading of Complex Text 

2. Building Academic Language 

3. Volume of Reading to Build Knowledge 

4. Evidence-Based Discussions 

5. Evidence-Based Writing 

  1. Each dimension provides users with criteria to assess the degree to which curricula contain critical literacy content and effective instructional strategies to support student learning. Each criterion includes questions to guide the search for evidence of instructional effectiveness in a curriculum. Each dimension also provides additional attention to how well curricula support ELs accessing core academic content. Such support allows ELs to meaningfully participate in Adult Basic Education classes to prepare for college and beyond.

The training resources include a series of annotated slide decks, curriculum review workbooks, sustainability planning guidance, and other resources. The training accommodates variations in adult educators’ experience, though familiarity with the demands of their state standards is an asset.

How the Training Is Conducted

Through a sequence of virtual sessions, participants practice learning how to apply the dimensions and their attendant criteria to a model curriculum supplied to participants. Then, they apply what they’ve learned from reviewing the model curriculum to an existing program curriculum used within their state. Participants subsequently determine whether the existing program curriculum is strong enough to be retained or should be replaced or modified. A participant workbook, facilitator guidance, and slide decks provide direction and context for understanding each dimension and criterion to conduct a review. 

Thus far, 24 state teams have engaged in this training. Participants made concrete plans to evaluate other curricula, train additional curriculum reviewers, and revise or replace less-than-well-aligned curricula as part of the training. There is a sustainability planning document included with these resources. It guides the establishment of an immediate and long-term vision for evaluating curriculum in the state and actions to take in response to assorted curriculum ratings.

The training accommodates variations in adult educators’ experience, though familiarity with the demands of their state standards is an asset. Therefore, this training is best implemented, on the state level, by an experienced standards trainer or facilitator. While the training is designed to be delivered virtually, it is easily adapted for in-person use. Experienced SIA trainers are available to provide this training to states. For more information, states may email the LINCS Technical Assistance Center at

Benefits and Uses

This training aims to spur the review of existing adult education curricula to ensure instructors have the necessary tools to improve student learning and program outcomes. A good curriculum makes teaching and learning consistent within and across levels of learning; it ensures alignment with critical aspects of a state’s academic standards.

Specifically, the training and tools will:

  • Build instructors’ capacity to align their teaching with the demands of state standards, including instructional supports for ELs to access core academic content.
  • Develop adult educators’ understanding of when existing curricula should be replaced, modified, or supplemented. That includes retaining strong standards-aligned curricula for high levels of student learning.
  • Provide adult educators with opportunities to work together to define what standards-based instruction should look like. 
  • Supply adult educators with the knowledge and skills required to conduct curriculum reviews and train others on the process. 
  • Support states’ current and long-range curriculum needs so all instructors will have the tools to improve student outcomes.
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