Open Educational Resources

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Open Educational Resources (OER) offer opportunities for increasing equity and access to high-quality K–12 education. Many state education agencies now have offices devoted to identifying and using OER and other digital resources in their states.

Below, learn more about the Achieve OER Rubrics and Evaluation Tool, training materials on the rubrics and the Achieve OER Institute.


To help states, districts, teachers, and other users determine the degree of alignment of OER to the Common Core State Standards, and to determine aspects of quality of OER, Achieve has developed eight rubrics in collaboration with leaders from the OER community (download link for rubrics below). To allow users to apply these rubrics and evaluate the quality of instructional resources, Achieve partnered with OER Commons to develop an online evaluation tool. OER Commons, an online repository for open education resources, is now hosting the tool and its resulting evaluation data. Every resource available on OER Commons contains an "Evaluate Resource" button that will direct users to the evaluation tool. The coding for the tool is freely available online here. Resources rated on OER Commons will create a pool of metadata, and this metadata will be shared through the Learning Registry with other interested repositories.

The Rubrics

Rubric I. Degree of Alignment to Standards

Rubric II. Quality of Explanation of the Subject Matter

Rubric III. Utility of Materials Designed to Support Teaching

Rubric IV. Quality of Assessment

Rubric V. Quality of Technological Interactivity

Rubric VI. Quality of Instructional Tasks and Practice Exercises

Rubric VII. Opportunities for Deeper Learning

Rubric VIII. Assurance of Accessibility

Download the Rubrics.


Achieve has collaborated with educators, state leaders and other organizations to produce two systems for appraising the quality of instructional materials, the Open Educational Resource (OER) Rubrics and the Educators Evaluating the Quality of Instructional Products (EQuIP) Rubrics. This guide has been developed to help educators who are interested in determining the quality of instructional materials — starting with the determination of which rubric(s) is most appropriate to use.


Creative Commons License
OER Evaluation Rubrics by Achieve, Inc. is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License. Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available; contact Achieve.


Below is a set of materials developed to help educators use and learn more about the Achieve OER Rubrics and Evaluation Tool. This includes a handbook, videos and set of presentation slides that give instructions on how to apply the rubrics and use the online tool, as well as examples of what different ratings mean under each rubric. The information included in in the handbook, videos and slides is meant to mirror one another, with specific examples included in the handbook and slides. Multiple ways to read and share this information gives educators the opportunity to use the resource(s) that are most useful for them.

Achieve Open Educational Resources Evaluation Tool Handbook

Click the links below to view videos and download presentation slides that explain how to apply the rubrics and use the OER Evaluation tool.

An Introduction to the Achieve OER Rubrics | VideoSlides

Rubric I: Alignment to Standards VideoSlides

Rubric II: Quality of Explanation of the Subject Matter VideoSlides

Rubric III: Utility of Materials Designed to Support Teaching VideoSlides

Rubric IV: Quality of Assessment VideoSlides

Rubric V: Quality of Technological Interactivity VideoSlides

Rubric VI: Quality of Instructional Tasks and Practice Exercises VideoSlides

Rubric VII: Opportunities for Deeper Learning VideoSlides

Using the Achieve OER Evaluation Tool on OER Commons VideoSlides


Virtual Tour of the OER Rubrics and Evaluation Tool


In State Support for Open Educational Resources: Key Findings from Achieve's OER Institute, one of the key challenges identified for the use of OER in classrooms at scale is a lack of knowledge and awareness about OER among educators. To assist states and districts in communicating about OER, Achieve developed the following resources with feedback from OER Institute states. This suite of materials includes sample key messages about OER, sample presentation slides and a sample survey to gauge knowledge and awareness about OER. Each of these resources are intended to be modified by state and district leaders in order to fit local contexts. All resources are licensed with a Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license. 

OER Institute Resources
Building on Achieve's previous work with the OER rubrics, seven states —California, Illinois, Louisiana, Minnesota, North Carolina, Washington, and Wisconsin—agreed to work together in Achieve’s OER Institute. The goal of OER Institute is to bring these states together to discuss issues and policy barriers surrounding using OER in college- and career-ready standards implementation. This ongoing, year-long effort has included webinars for states to discuss these issues, such as the use of open licensing and measures of quality, as well as an in-person convening in November 2012 for state teams to share current progress in using OER and engage in strategic planning activities to use OER in their transition to new standards. An OER Planning Framework and presentation slides were used as part of the November 2012 in-person convening.
OER Institute Policy Brief
The following policy brief describes the the OER Institute initiative, provides detail on the activities completing during the OER Institute's first year, and includes appendices that detail each of the seven OER Institute state’s efforts related to advancing the use of OER. This brief also outlines three potential areas for cross-state collaboration to support the use of OER:
  • Establishing commonalities in defining quality
  • Sharing quality, standards-aligned resources
  • Sharing metadata about quality resources

Additionally, the brief describes four key findings to date from the OER Institute:

  • States face a number of common challenges and barriers to implementation, including a lack of knowledge about OER and uncertainty about the quality of resources available online.
  • Experts from multiple sectors, including standards, curriculum and technology, must work together to use OER successfully in CCSS implementation.
  • States must develop a common understanding of processes for measuring quality and vetting resources.
  • States must assess their technology and capacity needs to implement technology-based innovations.

Achieve will be continuing this work through providing virtual and in-person convenings for OER Institute states, providing  state-specific assistance to implement plans related to OER and hosting OER materials review sessions.

Click here to access the full policy brief.

OER Institute State Profile Updates
In the short time since publishing this policy brief, states have made significant progress in advancing the use of OER in classrooms. The field of OER is fast changing and focused on innovation, and Achieve thought it appropriate to compile an additional volume of state profiles to share more broadly the OER-focused efforts being made across some of the OER Institute states. 


After working with a group of states on issues related to OER for more than two years through the OER Institute, Achieve has developed the following recommendations for states to help share key strategies from states that have begun using OER as part of the college- and career-ready implementation plans to continue advancement of OER across states. These recommendations also aim to provide helpful information and guidance for states that are interested but have not yet begun an organized effort to use OER in college- and career-ready standards implementation. 

These OER policy recommendations are centered on two main tenets, which provide a basis and framework for additional recommendations:
  • States and districts should use OER as part of their strategies to support the implementation of college- and career-ready standards. Furthermore, when public funds are used, the instructional materials created should be openly licensed.
  • States and districts should ensure that all instructional materials being used, including OER, are high quality and aligned to college- and career-ready standards.
The additional recommendations below support the integrity of implementing high-quality OER aligned to college- and career-ready standards:
  • States should develop strategies for using OER to support college- and career-ready standards implementation. These strategies should include goals and relevant timelines as well as an individual or team of individuals to lead these efforts. 
  • States and districts should use specific criteria and review processes to measure alignment to the college- and career-ready standards to ensure that OER being used meet the level of quality needed to support teaching to those standards.
  • States and districts should use OER to leverage common standards as an opportunity for collaboration in the development, refinement and continuous improvement of OER instructional materials.
  • States and districts should include OER in professional learning activities. This professional learning can increase knowledge and awareness of OER and their benefits and bolster the reputation of OER among educators, administrators and other stakeholders as materials that can be of high quality.