You might hear about state standards, curriculum frameworks and instructional materials. Although they are related, these are not interchangeable terms.
Even if you don’t know the term, you’re probably already familiar with instructional materials. They’re the books, packets, computer programs and other learning resources that teachers and students use in the classroom or at home.
These items are designed to help students learn facts and skills — or develop cognitive processes. Instructional materials can be printed, like textbooks or tests, or they can be technology-based, including content presented on computers and mobile devices. School districts can choose from a vast collection of available instructional materials.
Standards outline what students should know and be able to do in each subject area and at each grade level. In California, the State Board of Education determines and approves standards for all students, from kindergarten through high school. School districts must offer coursework and lessons that effectively teach the state’s standards.
Curriculum frameworks are guides that help educators deliver lessons tied to the state’s standards. As such, they describe curriculum and instruction, and they recommend instructional materials and professional development. The State Board of Education approves frameworks, which are developed by disciplinary experts, including teachers.