Curriculum

Review Process

Curriculum Selection

The preschool and infant and toddler curricula included in the Curriculum Consumer Report met the following selection requirements:

  • Written with a plan that includes goals, teaching practices, and learning experiences. The curriculum provides learning goals and activities to support these goals in key areas of children's development. It provides guidance on what to teach (content) and how to teach (learning experiences and teaching practices).
  • Comprehensive. The curriculum addresses multiple domains in the Head Start Early Learning Outcomes Framework (ELOF). Curricula that address only a specific domain (e.g., ones focusing on early math or literacy) are not included in this report.
  • Commercially available. The curriculum can be purchased and is published in English. 
  • Listed in Program Information Report (PIR) data. At least two programs listed the curriculum first in the 2016 PIR data.

The home-based (home visiting) curricula included in the Curriculum Consumer Report met the following selection requirements: 

  • Written with a plan that includes goals and materials for home visiting. The curriculum provides strategies to engage and connect with families and to promote effective parenting skills that support children's development.

  • Designed to be used in home-based programs.

  • Comprehensive. The curriculum supports children's development in multiple domains of the ELOF.

  • Commercially available. The curriculum can be purchased and is published in English.

  • Listed in PIR data. At least two programs listed the curriculum first in the 2016 PIR data.

Curriculum reviews will continue to be added to the Curriculum Consumer Report based on current PIR data. 

Curriculum Review Process

Evaluation of Criterion 1: Evidence Base for Child Outcomes was based on a literature review of peer-reviewed journal articles and independent evaluations of each curriculum. Review summaries include information on the research design, sample and generalizability, training, fidelity of implementation, and child outcomes.

For the evaluation of criteria 2–14 (and criterion 15 for home-based only), two independent reviewers were assigned to each curriculum. Curriculum reviewers were child development experts with extensive knowledge and experience in early childhood education. Reviewers of home-based curricula also had significant experience in home visiting.

All reviewers participated in training on the comprehensive review process and rubric. In the first stage of the review process, reviewers examined the curriculum for information and examples related to each of the criteria for effective, comprehensive curricula. Reviewers then used this information to rate the curriculum on each criterion and provide a justification for each rating. Reviewers met weekly with a member of the Office of Head Start National Center on Early Childhood Development, Teaching, and Learning (NCECDTL) team for consultation and further guidance throughout the review and rating process.

Once ratings for all criteria were assigned, the NCECDTL team aggregated the reviews and ratings into summaries of all criteria for each curriculum. If significant discrepancies in ratings between reviewers arose, the NCECDTL team met with the two reviewers to discuss and resolve the discrepancies. The NCECDTL team shared curriculum ratings with curriculum publishers and invited their input.