Updating Curriculum with New or Updated Standards

When sets of standards are updated or replaced, the task of updating and realigning entire curriculum maps can feel daunting. While the most important key to successfully updating curriculum with new standards is providing curriculum writers and teachers expected to teach the updated curricula with the rationale, tools, and time to engage in the process, there are a few key steps to smoothly updating curriculum maps with new or updated standards.

1. Get to know the new standards

You and your teaching teams may be very familiar with the content standards for your specific subject area, and the updates made in a new release of standards may be minor, but it is important to develop a deep literacy of the new standards that you are tasked with guiding students to meet. Whether it is a set of content, technology, social emotional, or other standards, the creation or sourcing of a crosswalk to compare and contrast new standards with prior versions is a strong strategy to begin with, but it may reveal that direct replacement of individual standards may not be sufficient.

img table comparingIf, like in this example comparing two sets of Grade 1 Mathematics learning standards, the shifts from one standard set to the next is minimal, manually replacing individual standards with their updated versions with only minor changes to the rest of the curriculum is appropriate. Work with your Atlas account manager to flag outdated standards as obsolete, making replacing and auditing this process more efficient.

img economics Notice in this Social Studies update of 8th grade standards that two of the 2018 standards do not have equivalent 2011 versions. If we rely solely on direct replacement of 2011 standards with their 2018 modified partners, standards like these two would be left out of the curriculum.

Teachers and curriculum writers should be given the opportunity to analyze the two sets of standards and to collaboratively work with colleagues to process the content and skills detailed in the updates. The degree of modification to be made in each unit depends on how different the standards are from the previous edition. The crosswalk exercise should help to determine how much revising of your units needs to be completed.

Screenshot Adapted Standards

ThinkersYou can always find all of your adopted standards all in one location in Atlas, under 🌐 All Curriculum → Adopted Standards

If the update to the standards was substantive enough that the scope and sequence needs to be updated as well to align to these new standards, it is important to take the time to prioritize, group, and unpack these new standards, not being afraid to make significant changes to units of study.

Prioritize and group the standards

Identify which standards are going to be prioritized at what points throughout the scope and sequence of each course adopting the new standards. For strategies and prioritization criteria, including school-level power standards flagging and prioritization of standards in Atlas, reference our Guide to Prioritizing Standards within your Curriculum using Atlas.

Group standards into units

Group the new standards into new units of study (or modify existing ones) that focus on an intentional number of standards, but also include supporting standards that can serve as scaffolds to reach the focus standards of a unit. If these new standards will be integrated into units with standards from other sets, these standards should be included in this grouping step as well.

Unpack the standards

Once these standards have been grouped into a collection of units, it is time to unpack the content and skills within the standards into the development of enduring understandings, essential questions, and determining of assessment evidence. This is also the time to return to unit plans from before this update to include any components that align to the new unit structure. Remember that you can reference any units in Atlas from past years.

2. Review for Alignment

Complete both a vertical review of the standard prioritization work that you just completed to identify any gaps or redundancies in the scaffolding of standards targeted in your new units of study, as well as to get to know the standards of the grade levels above and below your own grade level. Use these different reports to guide your analysis:

  • Summative AssessmentStandards Analysis
    Identify exactly how many and which standards have been targeted in a single course, grade level, or subject area. Use this information to identify any standards that might have somehow been missed, as well as those that are targeted across more units than is appropriate.
  • Learning ActivitiesStandards Overview
    Track standards that you have prioritized at the school, course, or unit level. Use this information to ensure that they build in depth and rigor as students move through them. Also check for gaps or redundancies as well as scaffolding in the prioritization of key content and skills standards.
  • Evaluating MYP Unit PlansScope and Sequence
    Compare individual components of a unit plan across a few or several courses in one place. Use this information to review the new progression of units, including standards, but also across assessments, learning targets, or any other component of your unit template that should be reviewed for scaffolding, gaps, or redundancies.

3. Continue the curriculum review process

The work of curriculum mapping is never really finished. Once you’ve completed this substantive update with your new standards, there will continue to be opportunities to review and refine your curriculum maps to meet the needs of learners. Ongoing curriculum review cycles can include reviews for cross curricular connections, assessment alignment, integration of school initiatives, and more. For more ideas, reference our guide to Promoting Regular and Ongoing Curriculum Review Cycles. For consultation, coaching, or guidance to support any step or this whole process, see our menu of professional development options at onatlas.com/pd.