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Auditors: Duval Elementary Language Arts Curriculum ‘Solid,’ But Questions Remain

Krissy Venosdale
Flickr Commons

Auditors were overwhelmingly positive about Duval County’s elementary language-arts curriculum after the first phase of their probe, examining the materials’ alignment with state standards.

The K-5 English-Language Arts Curriculum, which was first implemented in schools last school year, is being audited by the company Educational Directions. Representatives from the company presented their mid-audit findings Tuesday to school board members.

MORE | Read the full report

They said the curriculum is strong and engaging. It met or exceeded state expectations for language and writing assessments.

Auditors added, Duval has the best handle on critical vocabulary out of all the districts they’ve worked with over the past couple years. For example, there are about 20 terms that mean “main idea,” and district covers most of them.

The report calls the foundational K-2 curriculum “particularly noteworthy.”

However, they still have concerns and questions about the learning plans as they move into the next phase of their assessment.

For example, they worry the required pace will de-emphasize speaking and listening. They also said some aspects of transition between second and third grade are too abrupt.

Plus, they didn’t have access to the district's professional-development program. The report said there’s an enormous amount of material to cover, and teachers must be carefully prepared and monitored closely.

Auditors said the curriculum has a strong set of specific rituals and routines,that might require “hand holding” with implementation.

Moving into the next phase, auditors will examine how well schools align with the district, and how well individual classrooms align with schools. Instructional experts will visit 25 Duval schools, sit in on more than 400 classes and hold teacher and principal focus groups.

Auditors said they’ll be able to see how students’ scores compare in schools that roll out the curriculum with greater and lesser fidelity.

Final results will be presented in the spring.

Photo: “Classroom View toward Windows” used under Creative Commons.

Reporter Lindsey Kilbride can be reached at, 904-358-6359 or on Twitter at@lindskilbride.    

Lindsey Kilbride was WJCT's special projects producer until Aug. 28, 2020. She reported, hosted and produced podcasts like Odd Ball, for which she was honored with a statewide award from the Associated Press, as well as What It's Like. She also produced VOIDCAST, hosted by Void magazine's Matt Shaw, and the ADAPT podcast, hosted by WJCT's Brendan Rivers.