Helping Educators Determine the Quality of Open Education Resources

Open Educational Resources (OER), or digital materials that can be used for teaching, learning, research and more, are made available for free to be used with few or no restrictions. They include full lesson plans, learning modules, complete courses, and many other tools, materials, and techniques used to support access to knowledge — and there are literally millions of open education resources currently available on the Internet. But what differentiates them from one another? How can educators determine whether the resources are high quality? As educators look for ways to help students learn and improve achievement, they need to know which tools may fit their specific needs.

In November, Achieve and the Institute for the Study of Knowledge Management in Education (ISKME) launched a new tool for users to rate the quality of open education resources. The tool allows educators to rate the quality of these teaching and student learning resources, align these resources to the Common Core State Standards (CCSS), and evaluate the extent to which the individual resources align to specific standards. The tool allows users to apply seven rubrics — available online at — to evaluate different dimensions of quality.

Publication Date: 
December 16, 2011