Adoption, implementation, and reality : an explanatory sequential mixed methods study of the novice teacher experience implementing a knowledge-building curriculum.


Student performance on national and state assessment metrics signals a concern regarding our nation’s current literacy performance. Four key data metrics signal this crisis: National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP; National Center for Educational Statistics, 2021), American College Test (ACT, 2019), Scholastic Assessment Test (SAT; College Board, 2021), and State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR; Texas Education Agency [TEA], 2019b). Despite the TEA’s (2021c) revision to ELA state standards and additional certification requirements around the science of reading and a knowledge-building curriculum, there is minimal research that outlines the novice ELA teacher experience implementing this type of curricular program. To fill this need, the study investigated the experience of ELA teachers in Grades 6–8 across four Texas operating regions within the IDEA Public Schools network. This explanatory sequential mixed methods study combined Vygotsky’s (1978) social constructivism theory, Vygotsky’s More Knowledgeable Other, and the mindset around literacy instruction according to Scarborough’s (2001) rope as the theoretical framework to identify the novice teacher experience implementing Wit & Wisdom, the adopted knowledge building curriculum purchased by IDEA Public Schools. The study’s use of teacher Likert scale quantitative survey data responses in Phase 1 heavily informed the semi-structured qualitative interviews collected in Phase 2. Data integration in Phase 3 allowed for key findings to emerge regarding teacher usage of Wit & Wisdom in addition to their perceptions of curriculum alignment and overall quality. Results from the study showed the novice teacher experience implementing a knowledge-building curriculum is heavily influenced by their assigned campus manager. Implications from the study impact four key educational sectors: state departments of education, district officials, campus leaders, and English Language Arts classroom teachers. The study provides key recommendations for each of the four target audiences as they each prepare to adopt and implement a knowledge-building curricular program.



Literacy. Knowledge-building curriculum. Novice teacher. Implementation experience. Explanatory sequential mixed methods.