New Report Shows State Approaches to Supporting Open Educational Resources

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CCSSO, New America spotlight how states are leading to implement OER, recommend key lessons for future work

Washington, D.C. (May 22, 2018) – As states move to implement college- and career-ready standards, state education leaders recognize the importance of providing teachers and school leaders with high-quality curriculum and instructional materials to support students in reaching these new standards. Many teachers and local schools have started exploring open educational resources, or OER, and states are beginning to play a more active role in supporting local schools in their efforts to gain access to high-quality OER.


Today, the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) and New America jointly released a new resource to support states in these efforts. Navigating the New Curriculum Landscape: How States are Using and Sharing Open Educational Resources provides a deeper look into how states are supporting OER implementation, and what lessons can be learned from the progress they are making. This report spotlights examples of new and different approaches for promoting and sustaining open, relevant, and high-quality instructional materials. It concludes with five key takeaways for state leaders to consider as they improve the quality and affordability of the materials teachers are using every day.


 “As states have continued to embrace OER, we’ve seen how these resources can transform the ways states and districts offer instructional support to educators,” said CCSSO Executive Director Carissa Moffat Miller. “In order to provide an equitable education for all students, it’s critical that teachers have access to the high-quality curriculum and instructional materials they need to support classroom learning, and OER serves as a backbone for leveraging quality resources across states.”


OER are freely available materials that are published using an open content license and can be freely and legally downloaded, used, changed, built upon, and redistributed. Teachers and instructional leaders may use OER to keep lesson content up-to-date, adapt materials to meet the needs or interests of students, or share effective content with other educators across classrooms.


While there is wide variation in approaches, states are deeply integrating OER within their broader efforts to ensure teachers and school leaders are equipped with the crucial resources to help their students succeed. State strategies range from including OER within existing state reviews of curricular materials to developing and curating new openly-licensed resources from which schools or districts can choose. Across all states, CCSSO and New America found evidence that frequent collaboration, communities of practice, and intentional communication have been key levers to spread and build upon this work.


Going forward, as more states work to integrate OER into their broader efforts to support local schools and districts in accessing high-quality curricular materials, CCSSO and New America identified the following key takeaways:

  • States are making strides in integrating OER initiatives within state curriculum work. OER presents an opportunity for states to adapt, improve, and share, rather than start from scratch.
  • Though OER are free to use, identifying sustainable funding is important to creating, maintaining, and scaling high-quality OER.
  • States are considering implementing state-level policies to support OER efforts.
  • Ongoing curriculum research is essential, and OER’s transparency and adaptability offer exciting new opportunities for efficacy research.


For more information, download the full report.




The Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) is a nonpartisan, nationwide, nonprofit organization of public officials who head departments of elementary and secondary education in the states, the District of Columbia, the Department of Defense Education Activity, and five U.S. extra-state jurisdictions. CCSSO provides leadership, advocacy, and technical assistance on major educational issues. The Council seeks member consensus on major educational issues and expresses their views to civic and professional organizations, federal agencies, Congress, and the public.


About New America

New America is dedicated to renewing America by continuing the quest to realize our nation’s highest ideals, honestly confronting the challenges caused by rapid technological and social change, and seizing the opportunities those changes create. New America uses original research and policy analysis to help solve the nation’s critical education problems, crafting objective analyses and suggesting new ideas for policymakers, educators, and the public at large.



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