Examining Issues of Quality on Teachers Pay Teachers: An Exploration of Best-selling U.S. History Resources
Abstract: Online educational marketplaces, where teachers buy and sell lessons, have seen remarkable growth over the past decade, but have had little empirical investigation of the quality of materials. This study examined U.S. history resources on Teachers Pay Teachers (TpT), a prominent and growing online educational marketplace. TpT’s 500 best-selling U.S. history resources were analyzed using directed content analysis to describe their characteristics. Then, a subset of resources—the top 100 best sellers labeled as “activities”—were analyzed with a rubric for quality. Findings show that resources were low cost (average price = $5.08) with high buyer ratings. Best-selling activities were aesthetically well-designed but presented concerns regarding authentic pedagogy, perspectives, and potential for harm to students—especially to those of marginalized identities. For overall quality, 70% of activities were rated poor/moderate and just 30% were rated good/excellent. We discuss the role of teacher education in preparing teachers to carefully use these growing marketplaces, and the responsibilities of the marketplaces themselves. The analytic tool developed for this study—the “Curating and Creating with Care Rubric”—should be useful to researchers as well as teachers who buy and sell classroom resources online.