What is an Evidence-Based Curriculum?

 An effective curriculum is designed to facilitate the acquisition of skills and knowledge that align with standards, that is, what students need to learn. Curriculum is how the lesson is planned, designed, and constructed to address standards. Instruction is the way the curriculum is delivered to students. Curriculum ranges from lessons developed by teachers to professionally published textbooks. An evidence-based curriculum consists of practices that have been vetted through rigorous research. The curriculum should be selected after a thorough assessment to ensure that the following criteria have been met: it aligns with standards; research of sufficient quality and quantity is available; levels of competency are defined; high rates of responding are embedded; opportunities for providing feedback for correct answers is addressed; corrective feedback and remediation are designated; scope and sequencing that lead to increasing levels of difficulty are spelled out; mastery-based instruction is required; and formative assessment is specified. In the end, for maximum effectiveness, lessons need to be linked to “big ideas,” those core concepts, principles, theories, and processes that provide meaning and context to instruction. 

Evidence-Based Curriculum

Based on peer reviewed research


Scholarly peer review (also known as refereeing) is the process of subjecting an author's scholarly work, research, or ideas to the scrutiny of others who are experts in the same field, before a paper describing this work is published in a journal, conference proceedings or as a book. The peer review helps the publisher (that is, the editor-in-chief, the editorial board or the program committee) decide whether the work should be accepted, considered acceptable with revisions, or rejected.

Peer review requires a community of experts in a given (and often narrowly defined) field, who are qualified and able to perform reasonably impartial review. Impartial review, especially of work in less narrowly defined or inter-disciplinary fields, may be difficult to accomplish, and the significance (good or bad) of an idea may never be widely appreciated among its contemporaries. Peer review is generally considered necessary to academic quality and is used in most major scientific journals, but it does by no means prevent publication of invalid research. Traditionally, peer reviewers have been anonymous, but there is currently a significant amount of open peer review, where the comments are visible to readers, generally with the identities of the peer reviewers disclosed as well.

Real-World test


To help designers understand how their idea will work in the complex world of the actual user


Varies on project and tests used

Group size

Small groups 2-14

What is real-world testing?

Real world testing is testing a prototype in the actual setting in which it will be used with the actual users that will be using it. Students are challenged to find real users who are able to test their prototype in real time. This is a more advanced testing tool because it can often take more time and it requires that the students have a pretty well developed prototype. Real World Testing can require multiple tests with different potential users and different settings.

Why use real-world testing?

As students become more advanced with the design process they will begin to create things that will actually be used in the world long term. Real World Testing offers an authentic assessment of how their idea will work in the long run. Real World Testing is also a great way for students to connect with their communities through design challenges.

How do we do real-world testing?

Real World Testing is best done as a part of a larger design challenge. As teachers the challenge is to mentor students through the process of designing an authentic test. Each project and idea will require a different kind of test. Some questions that may help providing guidance to the students are:

  • What are some examples of your target audience in our community?
  • What are examples of extreme users for your idea in our community?
  • Which variable(s) are the most important to test with your target audience?
  • What kind of setting will provide the most authentic assessment of your idea?
  • How are you going to capture feedback (video, recordings, notes, pictures etc)
  • What are the key questions that you have for the users about your idea?

Once students have determined who and where they will need to be testing they may need some support reaching out to community members.

Sample lessons

Materials: A prototype, camera/recorder/notebook for recording findings

Pre-work: Students should have a well-developed prototype, students should also be exposed to a wide variety of design strategies to effectively design their real-world testing scenarios

This lesson works best if it is treated more as a mentorship relationship between teacher and students. Teachers can use the questions below to guide students through the following steps:

Site Selection:
Who needs to be there?
What does the space need to be like?
Time of day/ specific weather needed for effective testing?
Length of time for testing?

Feedback/recording findings:
How will you solicit feedback?
How will you record feedback?
How will you record results?

How will you run the test?
What materials will you need?
Who needs to be there? (from your team/experts etc...)
Other logistics to think about?

Share Findings:
How well did your test work?
Would you change anything about the test if you had a chance to do it again?
What feedback did you get?
How will you move forward with your idea?
What advice do you have for others 


For this research, English language was chosen since it is one of the easiest language in the world.


Early language and communication skills are crucial for children’s success in school and beyond. Language and communication skills include the ability to understand others (i.e., receptive language) and express oneself (i.e., expressive language) using words, gestures, or facial expressions. Children who develop strong language and communication skills are more likely to arrive at school ready to learn. They also are less likely to have difficulties learning to read and are more likely to have higher levels of achievement in school.

During the first years of life, children’s brains are developing rapidly and laying the foundation for learning. The interactions that children have with adults influence how children develop and learn. As a result, early childhood educators have a prime opportunity to provide children with interactions that can support children’s growth and development, particularly their language and communication skills.

As past research shows, when teachers provide children with higher levels of language stimulation during the first years of life, children have better language skills. When teachers ask children questions, respond to their vocalizations, and engage in other positive talk, children learn and use more words. A study found that one third of the language interactions between teachers and children were the type that support children’s language development, while the other two-thirds included less complex language such as directions, general praise, and rhetorical questions. Promoting more high-quality language interactions between children and adults provides children with the kinds of experiences that can foster their growth in language and communication.

This guide describes 10 practices that early childhood educators can use to support the development of language and communication skills of infants and toddlers. Because research supports the importance of adult-child interactions for infants and toddlers,the practices are designed to be done one-on-one or in small groups. Each practices draws upon the types of interactions that research suggests promotes language and communication skills. These interactions include:

  • Responding to children’s vocalizations and speech
  • Engaging in joint attention with children
  • Eliciting conversations with children
  • Talking with children more
  • Using complex grammar and rich vocabulary
  • Providing children with more information about objects, emotions, or events.