Your Name and Title:

Adam Blum, CEO

School or Organization Name:

Co-Presenter Name(s):


Area of the World from Which You Will Present:

Los Gatos, Ca

Language in Which You Will Present:


Target Audience(s):

Educators and School Administrators

Short Session Description (one line):

Selecting and Assessing Educational Resources For Teaching to Common Core State Standards

Full Session Description (as long as you would like):

Selecting and Assessing Educational Resources For
Teaching to Common Core State Standards

Adam Blum

Most of the US teachers are now teaching to the Common Core State Standards. This is a curriculum and content shift for the vast majority of teachers and the majority self-assess as not being ready to handle the new content they are presented with. Teachers recognize this as an opportunity to introduce supplemental resources (videos, games and exercises) to flip their classroom to some extent. But it is difficult to find the necessary resources.

We present best practices in choosing just the right resource to use for a particular topic or standard, gleaned from working with thousands of teachers. We will also discuss how to assess effectiveness of using a resource with students, in order to optimize resource usage on an ongoing basis.

Criteria for Resource Choice

There are several factors that teachers should evaluate when considering a resource. While these may seem obvious we have found that teachers that use these styles

Content Precision

How closely aligned is the resource to the standards? This can be assessed both subjectively and using computer-mediated techniques to rate or score the alignment of the resource to the standard. This is based on common information on the metadata attributes of both the resource and the standard. The proposed alignment precision scores have proven to be very helpful in assessing suitability. The effectiveness of this approach is a bit surprising, so we present results on this.


Another important factor for the teacher to consider is continuity with previously used resources. For example a video on a standard might be a mere continuation of a teacher’s lecture whose previous one happened to address a previous standard. Or a game might be part of a series of games, that build both on previous knowledge taught and on the in-game playing metaphors already learned.

Challenge Level

Most standards have at least a basic and advanced level of understanding that are at play in the learning process. Resources can be assessed as not just aligning to a standard but as either basic or advanced.

Presentation Style

There are many common styles of videos: talking head lecturers, “drawing diagrams on the blackboard” (electronic or physical) popularized by Khan Academy but used often elsewhere, “real world footage” of moving video that demonstrate concepts, and animated cartoons that show a situation involving the concept in question, often using children and animal characters.

Most teachers can choose for a given class or given students which approach is most effective. Making this an explicit part of the resource choice process has resulted in better results as discussed below.
Assessing Resource Effectiveness

There are several criteria used in determining just how good a resource is for a class or a particular student.

Results on a Mastery Assessment

One characteristic of Common Core State Standards-based teaching is that students are evaluated with assessments of their mastery of individual standards. PARCC and SBAC provide assessments used by a large number of states. But many individual school districts and ed tech companies provide additional assessment methods. Results on assessments of the particular standard is the obvious and of course first way to gauge resource effectiveness.


Depth of student of resource is another good gauge. This is measured in several ways:

  • Completion of usage – watching or playing from start to finish
  • Frequency of usage – especially over a period of time as the resource becomes the “goto knowledge source
  • Choice of a resource - over another resource assigned for a topic or standard

If students (or even teachers) are sharing the resource with peers this is an even more powerful indicator. It can help to distinguish between resources that are very close in effectiveness and in cases where multiple resources are used and its difficult to determine relative effectiveness.

Most sites provide a way for students to present a rating. This is a helpful additional indicator, although it is so casual to set them and somewhat broad brush (few levels to rate at) that it is not that valuable by itself.


This is an outline of an early framework for choosing resources and assessing resource usage. We are still getting more and more results from thousands of active teachers using an online educational resource catalog that are refining our insights, which we will share in the context of this talk. Specifically we will demonstrate software that assists with both selection and assessment of resource usage according to these criteria.

We then present some detailed and extensive statistics on how teachers are choosing educational resources (based on search options from a comprehensive educational resource catalog). We then show how teachers interpret resource effectiveness.

Finally we close the loop and show how effectiveness ratings can be used to guide future choices of resources.


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