School reform through a highly specified curriculum: Implementation and effects of the core knowledge sequence

Amanda Datnow, Geoffrey Borman, Sam Stringfield

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Scopus citations

Abstract

This article reports on the first systematic national study of Core Knowledge Sequence implementation and effects. The Core Knowledge Sequence is a list of curricular topics to teach in the elementary grades. This study employed a mixed-method design involving longitudinal case studies of Core Knowledge schools combined with a quasi-experimental, untreated control group design. Findings showed that the Core Knowledge Sequence was implemented successfully in 3 of 4 schools and that consistent relationships existed between improved implementation and improved test scores. Core Knowledge students' basic skills standardized tests scores were about the same as, or slightly better than, demographically matched control students' scores. Students in Core Knowledge schools, however, scored significantly higher than control students on tests of Core Knowledge content. Core Knowledge implementation also led to increased curricular coordination and the use of project-based instruction and contributed positively to teachers' professional lives. However, the reform was work intensive and was accompanied by negative political attributes. Implications for curricular reform are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)166-191
Number of pages26
JournalElementary School Journal
Volume101
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2000
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education

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