Curriculum Audit Findings and Recommendations

  • Standard 1: The School District Demonstrates Its Control of Resources, Programs, and Personnel

    Finding 1.1: The Columbus City Schools board policies and administrative guidelines are inadequate to provide comprehensive local control over curriculum management and related functions.

    Finding 1.2: The district’s organizational charts and job descriptions do not provide adequate control over human resources for maximum productivity in meeting the district’s mission and priority goals.

    Finding 1.3: Planning activities have been intermittent over recent years and have resulted in a fragmented system with no unified, clear direction guiding the Columbus City Schools. District leaders are in the process of creating a new strategic plan. Although the district improvement plan and campus improvement plans contain some characteristics of effective planning, auditors found them inadequate in design, deployment, and delivery to guide planning efforts.

    Standard 2: The School District Has Established Clear and Valid Objectives for Students

    Finding 2.1: The district does not have a curriculum management plan to direct the design, implementation, evaluation, and delivery of the curriculum; planning is not adequate to direct curriculum management functions.

    Finding 2.2: The scope of the Columbus City Schools written curriculum is not adequate to direct teaching of core subjects at any level (elementary, middle or high school), or is it adequate to direct teaching of non-core subjects at the middle and high school levels. The written curriculum documents lack the minimum necessary quality components for directing instruction at all levels. Teachers use the written curriculum less frequently than other resources for planning, resulting in reduced district control of consistent curriculum delivery.

    Finding 2.3: Many English language arts, mathematics, and social studies learning strategies align in content and cognition to the Ohio Learning Standards. Mathematics aligns less frequently than other subject areas in context. Most student “I Can” statements align for content but require less complexity, as evidenced by Depth of Knowledge levels.

    Standard 3: The School District Demonstrates Internal Consistency and Rational Equity in Its Program Development and Implementation

    Finding 3.1: Instructional practices do not reflect district expectations for rigorous and engaging instruction. Monitoring practices are inadequately defined and do not promote effective delivery of the written curriculum.

    Finding 3.2: Most student work artifacts across all grade levels and subject areas examined require lower-order cognitive skills. Contexts of the artifacts are most frequently of the least engaging type in the core content areas. Grades K-8 English language arts artifacts are consistently below grade level, and high school artifacts do not always measure mastery of the identified standard.

    Finding 3.3: The Columbus City Schools has not institutionalized a system to prevent, monitor, and eliminate district- and campus-level inequalities and inequities that can create barriers to equal access to the district’s programs and services and achievement parity for all students.

    Finding 3.4: The district English as a second language (ESL) program models and framework for instructional delivery are not consistently implemented district-wide, and program plans are not adequate to provide guidance and coordination in instructional delivery.

    Standard 4: The School District Uses the Results from System-Designed and/or -Adopted Assessments to Adjust, Improve, or Terminate Ineffective Practices or Programs

    Finding 4.1: Although the district regularly assesses student achievement, the district lacks adequate direction for a comprehensive student assessment program.

    Finding 4.2: The scope of formal student assessment is inadequate to evaluate the taught curriculum, and evidence of alignment between formative assessments and high stakes assessments is lacking.

    Finding 4.3: The district does not have a systematic approach to the effective use of data for sound decision making regarding teaching and learning to improve student achievement.

    Finding 4.4: Assessment trends reflect small increases in academic performance; however, performance remains well below the state average and below districts serving similar student populations.

    Standard 5: The School District Has Improved Productivity

    Finding 5.1: The Columbus City Schools have not developed and implemented systems and processes focused on increased productivity of human capital to improve learning of all students.

    Finding 5.2: The district’s budget development and financial decision-making process is not adequately directed by clientele needs, curricular goals, strategic priorities, or assessment data. Budget processes need greater use of feedback on student achievement of curriculum goals and objectives in the development of budget documents to facilitate determinations of cost-effectiveness and equity in program activities and services.

    Finding 5.3: Elements of facility planning are evident in multiple district documents. However, collectively, they do not support adequate long-range planning to provide quality learning environments for the teaching-learning process. The quality of current instructional facilities is inconsistent across the district.

    Recommendations of the PDF-CMSi Curriculum Audit Team for the Improvement of the Columbus City Schools

    Recommendation 1: Establish and maintain adequate control over curriculum management with adoption and implementation of curriculum management related board policies and administrative guidelines; focuses planning efforts and quality planning documents; and comprehensive job descriptions for all personnel and organizational charts that meet the principles of sound organizational management.

    Recommendation 2: Develop and implement a comprehensive curriculum management plan to provide a system-wide direction for the design, delivery, monitoring, and evaluation of the curriculum. Revise existing curriculum documents in the English language arts, mathematics, science, and social studies to increase the alignment of the written, taught, and assessed curriculum. Develop written curriculum documents for the non-core subject areas at all grade levels.

    Recommendation 3: Implement systems that ensure effective instructional practices and rigorous student work associated with high levels of student achievement. Establish and implement standards and procedures for monitoring the delivery of the curriculum and the use of quality research-based instructional strategies.

    Recommendation 4: Develop and implement a comprehensive system for student assessment that will provide meaningful opportunities to analyze data for decision making, close the district achievement gaps, and support improved student achievement. Develop system-wide formative and summative assessment tools concurrently with curriculum development.

    Recommendation 5: Prioritize equity in every policy, plan, and aspect of teaching and learning. Establish written, planned procedures for monitoring equity issues across the district. Develop and implement a plan of action to establish clear guidance, direction, and coordination in instructional delivery and planning for the ESL program.

    Recommendation 6: Design and implement a process to support improved productivity of human capital throughout the district for higher levels of learning by all students.

    Recommendation 7: Adopt a three-year plan for the development and implementation of a performance-based budget that allocates resources in accordance with needs and provides efficient use of resources.