Moving Ahead: Mapping Recent K-5 Curriculum Selection Trends in California

In this report, CEMD offers new 2023–24 data about the high-quality math choices that California districts are making now, with a focus on K–5 core materials.

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The Center for Education Market Dynamics • April 11, 2024

California education leaders care about strong curriculum. From curriculum reviews by CalCurriculum to resources from California County Superintendents and guidance from the California Department of Education, state leaders prioritize expanding access to quality-aligned materials. The state’s upcoming 2025 math adoption poses yet another opportunity to get quality curricula into California classrooms.¹ And the role district leaders like you play in selecting those materials is as important as the materials themselves — as is everyone who supports you in making the best curricular decisions you can for California students, including students who have been historically underserved.²

In 2025, the California State Board of Education will release its first math adoption list since 2014, recommending materials aligned to its revised math framework.

Our analysis suggests that a measurable percentage of districts have already transitioned to new math curricula, ahead of the formal state adoption. These early purchases reflect 13 districts but represent 385,000 students, highlighting the sweeping impact that a district curriculum decision can have on student access.

Chart showing most prevalent high-quality, aligned K-5 math products in California districts.

While some California districts are moving to select math curricula now, districts with greater percentages of multilingual learners (MLLs) are the least likely to have adopted a new curriculum product. The upcoming adoption cycle is an opportunity to expand access to high-quality math materials for all students in California, including MLLs and others who are historically underserved.

The latest curriculum selection trends in California show us that district leaders are seeking to make good decisions for students, selecting high-quality, aligned products and shifting away from products without quality alignment. Already driving investment in new products and product enhancements, the upcoming state adoption presents a significant opportunity to continue expanding access to high-quality instructional materials and move the needle for historically underserved students. The Center for Education Market Dynamics will continue to track the movement of the math materials market and provide insights and data for district leaders to help inform the decision-making process around curriculum selection.

¹ CA Dept of Education. (n.d.). 2025 Mathematics Instructional Materials Adoption (K-8). Instructional Materials – Mathematics.
² We disaggregated data from the RAND 2022 American Teacher Panel (APT) and the 2022 American School Leader Panel (ASLP) and found that significantly higher numbers of teachers and school leaders in schools serving higher numbers of Black and Latino students, MLLs, and students experiencing poverty reported that district curriculum selection informs what they do in the classroom daily.
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