Scripted Curriculum in Urban, Public Schools















Scripted Curriculum in Urban, Public Schools

Annie Hunt & Katherine Shoals

What is Scripted Curriculum? Scripted curriculum materials are instructional materials that have been commercially prepared and require the teacher to read from a script while delivering the lesson (Moustafa & Land, 2002). Scripted materials reflect a focus on explicit, direct, systematic skills instruction and are touted as a method to boost sagging standardized test scores and narrow the achievement gap between children growing up in poverty and those who are more affluent (Coles, 2002). Scripted curriculum is a systematic instruction by way of a script the teacher is required to follow.


Top Companies that Create Materials:

  Why do schools receive scripted curricula?

  • Is the most common in districts that face significant challenges attracting and retaining experienced and qualified teachers (specifically larger urban schools in high-poverty communities)
  • When teachers are underprepared, it is seen as the means to help them know what to teach, when to teach it, and how

  Components of scripted curriculum:

  1. Learning standards/objectives
  2. Units/lessons to teach
  3. Assignments & projects given to students
  4. Books
  5. Materials
  6. Videos
  7. Presentations
  8. Readings
  9. Assessments & other ways to evaluate student learning

 What are the pros of scripted curriculum?

  •  May help teachers who have a weakness in an area- giving the teacher a script to follow when teacher so that all of the information is laid out in front of them
  • Gives confidence to those who lack confidence in certain subject area(s)
  • Teaching quality can be assured, improved, or at least maintained across either a school or educational system

   What are the cons of scripted curriculum?

  • Diverse ethnic and cultural makeup of classrooms makes it unlikely that one single curriculum will meet the needs as well as the interests of all students
  • A typical classroom has a wide spectrum of learning strengths and needs
  • Focuses on test-driven instruction and rote memorization
  • Is not flexible
  • Diminishes class time available for social studies, science, as well as social and life skills
  • Places students under “high-stakes evaluations”
  • Keeps students away from engaging other disciplines that may allow students to develop creativity and build skills in other areas










 Impact on Teachers:

  •  Loss of autonomy
  • Feel disrespected and not valued
  • Increased stress
  • Feel defeated in regards to helping their students
  • Makes it boring - assessment driven
  • Feel trapped
  • Eliminates creativity

 Impact on Students:

  • No time to go back and relearn
  • Students quickly get lost
  • Not relatable
  • Uninteresting
  • Assessments are stressful and nonstop
  • Do not find joy in learning
  • No freedom for creativity
  • Focused on memorization vs. application

 “Our current education system is hindering creativity, on all fronts. There needs to be a massive change where teaching to the whole child is critical,complete with real-life experiences.” -Barb Stewart


“Scripted and Narrowed Curriculum Reform in Urban Schools”

 “Delivering What Urban Readers Need”

 “Scripted Curriculum: Is is a prescription for success?”

 “The Impact of Scripted Literacy Instruction on Teachers and Students”

 “Teaching Around the Script”

 “Educational Standardization: Helpful or Harmful?”

 “Scripted Reading Programs: Fishing for Success”