Education content comes in so many forms. Essays, stories, assignments, and assessments all come together to reach students. Why? Because the main purpose of education content is to assist in high-quality instruction. The content a student is given is the vessel to their comprehension and mastering of a skill. It’s also the way educators communicate with students.
In short, students need content to learn and educators rely on it to teach.
According to the Association of American Publishers, education professionals need resources that are “engaging, effective, and diverse.” Publishers and product creators have the responsibility to find content that meets all these needs. Missing one of these elements actually hinders student learning. The great part is that this is preventable.
The answer is to know what type of content is needed, and why.
Some professional standards to follow when choosing content are grade-level appropriateness, readability, adaptability, differentiation, and timeliness. Although this list is not exclusive, it does provide basic criteria for successful educational content.
Also, when choosing content education professionals need to include equal representation. This means equal multicultural, multilingual, gender, and author origin representation across content. Equal representation in texts bridges cultural gaps between teachers and students. Once the bridge is formed, student academic performance can increase.
However, depending on where and how the content is used, the expectations and requirements change. Content that is thorough and extensive enough for curriculum use would not be appropriate for an assessment. Alternatively, content that is concise enough for an assessment may not be suitable in a supplemental product.
Since content is such an essential component to instruction, it’s important to recognize what types of content work best in each scenario. Mastering this understanding will boost instructional success and meet educator expectations everywhere.
Education Content in Curriculum
In a previous blog post, we touch on the idea that curriculum content needs to sustain a longer shelf-life. Curriculum tends to not be updated as frequently as other products and needs to last longer. Because of this, curriculum content needs to be extensively vetted and assessed before use.
Mosaiq CEO, Jennifer Kennett, identifies curriculum as the core of student instruction. This type of education content has some big shoes to fill. As mentioned, it needs to sustain a much longer life cycle. Schools typically use textbooks for ten or more years because of budget limitations. Although publishers update content to reflect changes and accuracy, they are also sensitive to this challenge. So they work to produce content that can remain in circulation for longer timeframes.
Choosing the right content for curriculum can determine its success. Curriculum is not just the books or texts used in a classroom, it is the foundation of all classroom instruction. According to educator Dr. Beverly White, a fully-developed curriculum includes everything an educator may need while leaving room for the educator to make it what he or she wants.
This is a deeply extensive need and demonstrates the vast importance of incorporating the right texts.
Education Content in Supplemental Products
Most curriculums now include supplemental products. These products aid in standard mastery. They can be in print or digital form, but their purpose is the same. Supplemental products are designed to help students master a skill they may be struggling with through traditional instructional efforts.
Content in supplemental materials needs to help isolate specific skills. The content needs to not be overly complex, and help address areas in which students struggle. Due to this, the content used in supplemental products falls somewhere between strict restrictions and laxed expectations.
Supplemental content should be a clear representation of the standard or skill being addressed. However, since the content is meant to help with instructional gaps, supplemental materials do not need to stick to the strict requirements of assessment content.
Education Content in Assessment
Of all the types of instructional content, assessment content requires the deepest alignment to specific regulations. This is because assessments are meant to do one thing…assess a student’s abilities. This needs to be done clearly and with as few variables as possible.
According to NWEA, assessment content needs to follow five guidelines. It needs content validity, reliability, fairness, student engagement, and consequential relevance. This means it needs to address what it is supposed to, and nothing else. Assessment content can not distract students from what is being asked, while being interesting and data-driven.
One of the largest concerns in assessment content is avoiding bias and sensitivity. It is illogical to assess students with materials that are offensive or uncomfortable. This may prevent students from performing to their fullest ability. Instead, including content that avoids distractions or emotional triggers allows for a clearer vision of the students’ skill. Clear and unbiased content leads to higher student success.
Gathering education content goes far beyond just choosing texts. A deep level of analysis is required every step of the way.
What are some struggles you have with finding effective content? We would love to hear about them! Leave a comment below or on our LinkedIn page.