Strong Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment

Superintendents that overcome the odds indicate that they work toward having all curriculum, instruction, and assessment practices in their districts based as solidly as possible on some type of valid research. Elmore (2008) described these three components as the Instructional Core, or the "relationship of the student and the teacher in the presence of content".

They believe that by having a strong Instructional Core in all classrooms, this will form the foundation for the success of their students. In their own ways, superintendents made it clear that the Instructional Core is an important component of their vision for improvement. Decisions about it are usually intentional, based on educational research, and implemented throughout the district.

Connections & Resources

The following indicators in the WISE Tool (Idaho's online planning tool) would make for natural connections for superintendents who are considering making plans related to this topic.

IB07 The district ensures that school improvement and restructuring plans include research-based, field-proven programs, practices, and models. PDF Icon CLICK HERE Link
IA09 The superintendent and other central office staff are accountable for school improvement and student learning outcomes. PDF Icon CLICK HERE Link
IB02 The district examines existing school improvement strategies being implemented across the district and determines their value, expanding, modifying, and culling as evidence suggests. PDF Icon CLICK HERE Link
IC02 The district designates a central office contact person for the school, and that person maintains close communication with the school and an interest in its progress. PDF Icon CLICK HERE Link
IC03 District and school decision makers meet at least twice a month to discuss the school's progress. PDF Icon CLICK HERE Link
IC05 The district provides a cohesive district curriculum guide aligned with state standards or otherwise places curricular expectation on the school. PDF Icon CLICK HERE Link

The resources below are provided for further exploration of this topic. They are among many tools and readings that Idaho School Superintendents have either used or cited in their work.

The Mega System: Deciding. Learning. Connecting.

The Mega System: Deciding. Learning. Connecting. (Redding, 2006)

For a concise overview of how superintendents might view the connections of Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment, Sam Redding’s The Mega System is an excellent resource. Formatted as a short handbook, chapter 3 provides an excellent overview of what is entailed in ensuring students are learning. Available for free download from the author at

Instructional Rounds in Education: A Network Approach to Improving Teaching and Learning

Instructional Rounds in Education: A Network Approach to Improving Teaching and Learning (City et al., 2009)

City et al. describe Richard Elmore's concept of the Instructional Core in their highly regarded book on Instructional Rounds in Education. This book provides an in-depth look at how leaders can define problems of practice related to the Instructional Core along with strategies they can use to continuously evaluate and improve decision-making as it relates back to teaching and learning.