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Students and parents discussing the Culturally Responsive Scorecard

Culturally Responsive Curriculum Scorecard

The Culturally Responsive Curriculum Scorecard was designed by The NYU Metro Center to help parents, teachers, students, and community members determine the extent to which their schools’ English Language Arts curricula are (or are not) culturally responsive. We hope that this tool will provoke thinking about how students should learn, what they should learn, and how curriculum can be transformed to engage students effectively.

Download the Culturally Responsive Curriculum Scorecard

Use the buttons below to download the scorecards

Scorecard In English Scorecard in En Español

To create this tool, we drew upon a wide variety of existing resources, including multicultural rubrics, anti-bias rubrics, textbook rubrics, and rubrics aimed at creating cultural standards for educators, determining bias in children books and examining lesson plans (ADEED, 2012; Aguilar-Valdez, 2015; Grant & Sleeter, 2003; Lindsey et al, 2008; NCCRES, 2006; Rudman, 1984; World View, 2013). We supplemented those with additional questions to provide a more comprehensive tool.

 

parents from NYC Coalition for Educational Justice using the Culturally Responsive Curriculum Scorecard to analyze curriculum used in New York City schools

Parents from NYC Coalition for Educational Justice using the Culturally Responsive Curriculum Scorecard to analyze curriculum used in New York City schools

We have designed this scorecard so that it can be customized to your context and conditions. Completing the entire document will give you the most comprehensive analysis of how culturally responsive your curriculum is. If you don’t have the time or capacity to do that, you can complete an individual section and get a more limited assessment. We designed this specifically with K through eighth grade English Language Arts curricula in mind, but feel free to try it with other grades and subjects as well. If your school doesn’t have a set curriculum, you can also use this tool to assess the diversity of the school or classroom library.

EJ-ROC at the NYU Metro Center conducted a demographic analysis of 15 commonly-used English Language Arts curriculum and booklists from 3-K and Pre-K through 8th grade, and found that White authors and characters are wildly over-represented in proportion to the student population. Of the 1,205 books we analyzed, 1,003 books were by white authors yet white students represent only 15% of NYC’s student population. This is nearly five times more books than by all authors of color combined.

Read the full report, Diverse City, White Curriculum: The Exclusion of People of Color from English Language Arts in New York City, conducted by the NYU Metro Center and released by the NYC Coalition for Educational Justice

If you have any questions or need help with the CRC Scorecard, please email us at nyu-ejroc@nyu.edu or tweet us @nyu_ejroc.

What is Curriculum?

People use the word “curriculum” to mean very different things. In this context, curriculum means the detailed package of learning goals; units and lessons that lay out what teachers teach each day and week; assignments, activities and projects given to students; and books, materials, videos, presentations, and readings used in the class. Curriculum can take the form of a textbook and teacher’s manual bought from a publisher, a notebook of lesson plans pulled together from various sources, or a reading list with a packet of matching activities created by teachers. Curriculum is different from a syllabus, which is an outline of the topics covered in the class; a booklist, which is a list of readings without activities; and standards, which are the expectations for what students should know at each grade level. Standards are what students should know and be able to do, and curriculum lays out how students will learn to do it.

  • Textbooks
  • Lesson Plans
  • Stories/Books
  • Worksheets and Homework Assignments
  • Teacher's Manuals
  • Media/Videos
  • Learning Standards/Expectations
  • Tests
  • Class Activities

How to Use the Scorecard

We have designed this scorecard so that it can be customized to the context and conditions of your school district and campaign. Completing the entire document will give you the most comprehensive analysis of how culturally responsive your curriculum is. If you don’t have the time or capacity to do that, you can complete an individual section and get a more limited assessment. We designed this specifically with K through eighth grade English Language Arts curricula in mind, but feel free to try it with other grades and subjects as well. If your school doesn’t have a set curriculum, you can also use this tool to assess the diversity of the school or classroom library.

The Seven Steps To Complete Your Curriculum Scorecard

  1. Get your child’s/school’s curriculum.
    Go to your teacher, principal, or district office, and ask to see your child’s or school’s English Language Arts curriculum. In many districts, there is a Parent Bill of Rights that gives parents the right to access their child’s curriculum. If the school is using a commercial curriculum, ask for a copy or the name and publisher so you can look it up online. (If you need to purchase it, NYU Metro Center can help). If the school is using a homemade curriculum, ask for a copy, or at least a sample of a few months of lesson materials. If they refuse to give you the curriculum, take your request to a higher level in the district, or discuss with your team to decide next steps.
  2. Select your curriculum evaluation team.
    The curriculum scorecard will work best if you have a team of at least 3 people with diverse identities (racial, gender, age, sexuality, class, national origin) and roles (parent, student, teacher, administrator, community member) who work together to evaluate the curriculum. These people do not have to be education professionals or have prior experience with evaluation. The more people, the better!
  3. Choose the grades, units, and lessons to analyze.
    Curricula can be thousands of pages, so you will need to select one or a few grades, units, and lessons to focus on (a sample of the larger curricula). The units you choose should not focus specifically on diversity and multiculturalism; they should be typical units. If you are able to cover more than one grade, select at least one lower and one upper grade.
  4. Pull out keywords that represent each statement that the evaluation team can look for.
    Once you have your curriculum and the scorecard in hand, review the statements for the scorecard you will begin with (Representation, Social Justice or Teachers Materials). Make sure the team understands each statement, and refer to the Glossary and Explanations with any questions. Chart key words, ideas and qualities from the statements that you will be looking for as you read the curriculum. This will help ensure that as you read, you are focused on the information you’ll need in order to effectively score.
  5. Conduct the evaluation.
    The scorecard asks for your level of satisfaction with the curriculum on various measures. There is no right answer; this is just your opinion as someone who cares about culturally responsive education. As you answer each statement, use the Scoring Guidelines to help you decide your ratings.
  6. Score the evaluation.
    Tally your score for each section of the scorecard. A curriculum may excel in one area and fall short in another, and it is important to record those differences. You should come out with one score for each of the following sections: + Character Tally + Author Tally + Representation + Social Justice + Teachers Materials
  7. Discuss with your team.
    Discuss the process with your team: Did anything new come up? What was easy and what was hard? Did some items seem more important than others? This is also an opportunity to strategize about next steps: Do you think this evaluation provides an accurate picture of the curriculum? Does additional information need to be collected? Is there anyone you want to meet with to discuss the results?
  8. Share the results.
    ​​​​​​Let other people know how culturally responsive your curriculum is!

Scorecard Development

The Culturally Responsive Curriculum Scorecard was developed to help parents, community members, educators and organizers investigate how culturally responsive their school’s curriculum is. The CRC Scorecard was primarily developed for humanities textbooks and accompanying teacher’s manuals that schools and districts purchase (such as Pearson, McGraw-Hill, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Cengage Learning and others). The research team was comprised of three African American and White women who all had different backgrounds and expertise in academic research and organizing around culturally responsive education.

How This Tool was Developed

The research team began by reviewing more than 20 existing education, classroom, and library based rubrics and comparing them to culturally responsive education research. Most of the rubrics reviewed were oriented towards evaluating multicultural education, diversity, culturally responsive classrooms and pedagogy, and general textbook analyses. Based on the review of existing rubrics, the research team outlined existing elements of culturally responsive education and areas where new rubric foci and questions were necessary. There are three distinct ways that cultural responsiveness can appear in curriculum: the subjects of the curriculum; the socio-historical-political context and positioning of those subjects; and the strategies and guidance for teaching. These three categories became the three sections of the Scorecard: Representation (with Diversity of Characters and Accurate Portrayals subsections), Social Justice (with Decolonization/Power and Privilege, Centering Multiple Perspectives, and Connecting Learning to Real Life & Action subsections), and Teacher’s Materials.

The research team modified statements from six existing rubrics and wrote the remaining CRC Scorecard statements. The tables below identify the origins of each scorecard statement. In recognition of the technical language used to discuss culturally responsive education, guidelines and a glossary were created to make the Scorecard more user-friendly. Fuller guidelines can be found on the CRC Scorecard website, along with supplemental learning materials which can be read at your discretion. Finally, the research team developed guidelines for interpreting scores for each section of the scorecard. The team decided to split all possible scores into five categories, Culturally Destructive, Culturally Insufficient, Emerging Awareness, Culturally Aware, and Culturally Responsive. Each of these categories were measured by calculating score ranges with the following percentages respectively, 30%, 20%, 20%, 15%, and 15%. After experimenting with multiple scoring calculations, this range best represented the essence of the CRC categories, their relation to CRC statements, and the various ranges of possible responses.

The CRC Scorecard was first piloted amongst a group of six New York City parent leaders and community organizers, together with two researchers, and then tested amongst a larger group of about twenty parent leaders and community organizers. The research team also elicited one-on-one feedback on the scorecard by reaching out to national organizers, CRE experts, educators and parent leaders to make revisions to the scorecard. In each of these settings, researchers asked for and incorporated feedback on the scorecard’s design, content, ease of use, and overall usefulness of the scorecard.

Limitations

There are several limitations of the CRC Scorecard:

  • The time required to fully evaluate a curriculum is likely beyond the capacity of many organizing groups, teachers, parents, and communities at large. This limitation is addressed by suggesting users sample parts of the curriculum to make conclusions about the curriculum.
  • It may be difficult for parents, organizers, and communities at large to get access to their school’s curriculum. While testing the scorecard, it became apparent that not all schools and districts are transparent about the curriculum being used in classrooms, despite the fact that many districts explicitly give parents the right to see their child’s curriculum.
  • The CRC Scorecard may be easiest to use with curriculum that are in textbook or text-based formats. In some cases, teachers and schools create their own curriculum by pulling resources, lesson plans, and learning materials from multiple places.
  • Organizers, parents, and communities may need additional help with using the Scorecard because examining issues of representation, social justice, and teacher instruction is challenging work. EJ-ROC can assist interested parties in using the scorecard or train representatives from each organization in using the scorecard.

If you have additional questions about how the Scorecard was developed or the Scorecard in general, please contact us at nyu-ejroc@nyu.edu.

Sources

Representation

The character and author tally was modified from Grant & Sleeter’s Turning on Learning: Five Approaches for Multicultural Teaching Plans for Race, Class, Gender and Disability (2003).

Scorecard Statements

Diversity of characters

Modified Statement:

1. The curriculum features visually diverse characters, and the characters of color do not all look alike.

Source: World View. (2013). Seven ways to evaluate multicultural literature . Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina

Statement:

2. There are references to different ethnic and cultural traditions, languages, religions, names and clothing.

3. Diverse ethnicities and nationalities are portrayed – not all Asian families are Chinese, not all Latinx families are Mexican, etc.

Source: Written by EJ-ROC Research Team

Modified Statement:

4. Diverse family structures (ie. single parents, adopted or foster children, same-sex parents, other relatives living with the family, etc.) are represented.

Source: “Ten quick ways to analyze books for racism and sexism” taken from Children’s literature: An issues Approach by Masha K. Rudman, ( 1984), 2nd edition, p. 126, Longman. The information was adopted and reprinted from the Council on Interracial Books for Children, Inc’s publication

Statement:

5. Characters that are differently abled are represented.

6. Characters of color are main characters and not just sidekicks.

7. If there is conflict in the storyline the characters of color are not mostly considered the problem.

Source: Written by EJ-ROC Research Team

Accurate portrayals

Modified Statements: 

8. Characters of color are not assumed to have low family wealth, low educational attainment and/or low income.

9. Gender is not central to the storyline. Female characters are in a variety of roles that could also be filled by a male character.

10. Social situations and problems are not seen as individual problems but situated within a societal context.

Source: “Ten quick ways to analyze books for racism and sexism” taken from Children’s literature: An issues Approach by Masha K. Rudman, ( 1984), 2nd edition, p. 126, Longman. The information was adopted and reprinted from the Council on Interracial Books for Children, Inc’s publication

Modified Statement:

11. Characters of diverse cultural backgrounds are not represented stereotypically, or presented as foreign or exotic.

Source: World View. (2013). Seven ways to evaluate multicultural literature . Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina.

Statement:

12. Problems faced by people of color or females are not resolved through the benevolent intervention of a white person or a male.

13. Diverse characters are rooted in their own cultures and are not ambiguous.

Source: Written by EJ-ROC Research Team

Social Justice Orientation

Decolonization/Power and Privilege

Modified Statements:

14. Curriculum highlights non-dominant populations and their strengths and assets, so that students of diverse race, class, gender, ability, and sexual orientation can relate and participate fully.

15. The curriculum communicates an asset-based perspective by representing people of diverse races, classes, genders, abilities and sexual orientations through their strengths, talents and knowledge rather than their perceived flaws or deficiencies.

16. The curriculum does not communicate negativity or hostility toward people of marginalized backgrounds through verbal or nonverbal insults, slights or snubs.

Source: Aguilar-Valdez, J. (2015). Rubric for culturally responsive lessons/assignments. Retrieved from https://www.westminstercollege.edu/docs/default-source/undergraduate-documents/other-programs/tides/rubric-f or-culturally-responsive-lessons.pdf?sfvrsn=2

Modified Statement:

17. Curriculum and instructional activities promote or provoke critical questions about the societal status quo. They present alternative points of view as equally worth considering.

Source: National Center for Culturally Responsive Educational Systems. (2006). The Mississippi cultural responsivity matrix: A teacher’s self-study guide for culturally responsive practices in grades k-6: Reading and Mathematics. Retrieved from https://steinhardt.nyu.edu/scmsAdmin/uploads/004/678/NCCREStMississippiTool%201.4.pdf

Centering Multiple Perspectives

Modified Statement:

18. The curriculum recognizes the validity and integrity of knowledge systems based in communities of color, collectivist cultures, matriarchal societies, and non-Christian religions. Source: Alaska Department of Education & Early Development. (2012). Guide to Implementing the Alaska Cultural Standards for Educators. Retrieved from https://education.alaska.gov/akstandards/cultural/cultural_standards.pdf

Statement:

19. The curriculum presents different points of view on the same event or experience, especially points of view from marginalized people/communities. Source: Written by EJ-ROC Research Team

Connect learning to action/real life issues

Modified Statement:

20. The curriculum provides avenues for students to connect learning to social, political, or environmental concerns that affect them and their lives and contribute to change.

Source: Aguilar-Valdez, J. (2015). Rubric for culturally responsive lessons/assignments. Retrieved from https://www.westminstercollege.edu/docs/default-source/undergraduate-documents/other-programs/tides/rubric-f or-culturally-responsive-lessons.pdf?sfvrsn=2

21. The curriculum encourages students to take actions that combat inequity or promote equity within the school or local community.

Source: National Center for Culturally Responsive Educational Systems. (2006). The Mississippi cultural responsivity matrix: A teacher’s self-study guide for culturally responsive practices in grades k-6: Reading and Mathematics. Retrieved from https://steinhardt.nyu.edu/scmsAdmin/uploads/004/678/NCCREStMississippiTool%201.4.pdf

Teacher Materials

Statement:

22. The authors of the teachers’ materials are people of diverse identities (race/ethnicity, gender, other identities if possible).

Source: Written by EJ-ROC Research Team

Modified Statement:

23. Guidance is provided on being aware of one’s biases and the gaps between one’s own culture and students’ cultures.

Source: Culturally Proficient Inquiry: A Lens for Identifying and Examining Educational Gaps. Randall B. Lindsey, Stephanie Graham, R. Chris Westphal, Jr., & Cynthia Jew. Thousand Oaks, CA.: Corwin Press, 2008.

Statements:

24. Diverse student identities are seen as assets and strengths that can advance individual and group learning, rather than seen as challenges or difficulties to be overcome.

25. Guidance is provided on making real-life connections between academic content and the local neighborhood, culture, environment and resources.

Source: Written by EJ-ROC Research Team Modified

Statement:

26. Guidance is provided on giving students opportunities to contribute their prior knowledge and experience with a topic, not just respond to the text and information presented in class.

Source: Newton Public Schools: “Educator Evaluation Rubric and Performance Standards - Classroom Educators”

Modified Statement:

27. Guidance is provided on engaging students in culturally sensitive experiential learning activities.

Source: Alaska Department of Education & Early Development. (2012). Guide to Implementing the Alaska Cultural Standards for Educators. Retrieved from https://education.alaska.gov/akstandards/cultural/cultural_standards.pdf

Statements:

28. Guidance is provided on opportunities to engage students’ families to enhance lessons.

29. Guidance includes, for specific lessons, a range of possible student responses that could all be valid, given the range of student experiences and perspectives.

30. Guidance is provided on customizing and supplementing the curriculum to reflect the cultures, traditions, backgrounds and interests of the student population.

Source: Written by EJ-ROC Research Team

 

Culturally Responsive Education Resources

Culturally Responsive Education

Culturally Responsive Education: A Primer for Policy and Practice
Johnston, E., D’Andrea Montalbano, P., & Kirkland, D.E. (2017). Culturally responsive education: A primer for policy and practice . New York: Metropolitan Center for Research on Equity and the Transformation of Schools, New York University.

Culturally Responsive Education Stories
NYC Coalition for Educational Justice. (2018). Culturally Responsive Education CRE Stories Website.

Banned Mexican-American Studies Curriculum Boosted Student Achievement: Study
Planas, R. (2014, December 6). Banned Mexican-American studies curriculum boosted student achievement: Study. Huffington Post .

Stanford Study Suggests Academic Benefits to Ethnic Studies Courses
Donald, B. (2016, January 16). Stanford study suggests academic benefits to ethnic studies courses.

But That's Just Good Teaching! The Case for Culturally Relevant Pedagogy
Ladson-Billings, G. (1995). But that’s just good teaching! The case for culturally relevant pedagogy, 34 (3), 159-165. 

Decolonization and Examining Power & Privilege

Decolonizing School Systems: Racial Justice, Radical Healing, and Educational Equity in Oakland Unified School District
Chatmon, C.P. & Watson, V.M. (2018). Decolonizing school systems: Racial justice, radical healing, and educational equity in Oakland Unified School District. Voices in Urban Education , 48, 7-12.  

Decolonising SOAS: What’s All the Fuss About?
Sabaratnam, N. (2017, January 18). Decolonising SOAS: What’s all the fuss about? SOAS Blog .  

Privilege 101: A Quick and Dirty Guide
Ferguson, S. (2014, September 19). Privilege 101: A quick and dirty guide. Everyday Feminism . Retrieved from https://everydayfeminism.com/2014/09/what-is-privilege/ Alia Wong. October 15, 2015. History Class and the Fictions About Race in America.

Centering Multiple Perspectives

Multiple Perspectives in an International Classroom
Jackson, A. (2012, November 30). Multiple perspectives in an international classroom. Education Week’s Global Learning Blog.