As an alternative to the specified sanctions under the 2002 reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, known as the No Child Left Behind Act, for school districts throughout New York that were cited as being in corrective action, the state of New York negotiated an audit of the written, taught, and tested curriculum for its districts in need of improvement. Since 2005, AIR has worked collaboratively with 30 New York districts in corrective action to conduct highly collaborative audits of curricula (i.e., written, taught, and tested) in both English language arts and mathematics. AIR’s individual, school curriculum audits are designed to provide information to school and district leadership teams about the curriculum and the instruction taking place in their buildings so that the teams can identify specific areas on which to focus improvement efforts.
AIR’s audits consist of a mixed method evaluation, including analysis of extant student performance data; district policy documents; classroom observations; and interviews and focus groups with teachers, principals, students, parents, and district officials. Analyses are conducted independently on each set of data and shared with individual districts for action planning. The evaluation teams meet with school district teams (including superintendents, principals, and instructional staff members) to interpret the results in the audit documents, working together to identify strong themes and findings. This cooperative approach allows for a high level of buy-in from the districts, with the process culminating in a district-owned action plan for addressing areas such as curriculum alignment, differentiating instruction, integrating services for students with disabilities and English language learners, embedded professional development, retaining new teachers, monitoring, the utilization of assessment data, and concerns specific to high schools.