Correlate, Align, Map, Crosswalk, and More: Common Education Technology and Publishing Terms Defined
May 12 2023

Almost anyone outside of the educational technology (edtech) or academic publishing worlds wouldn’t know what you’re talking about if you told them you just mapped your correlations. Or if you said that your alignments have all been crosswalked. However, in the education industry, this all makes perfect sense. Or it should.

Many of these terms and phrases are tricky, and often used interchangeably. This can lead to confusion and misunderstandings.

To help untangle and de-mystify this web of words, our experts got together to define and explain them as clearly as possible.

Standard: A Learning Requirement

Standard is perhaps the simplest term on this list to understand. Standards are learning requirements or outcomes created by states or other organizations that educational curricula must support or meet to ensure students get a quality education. Think of them as laws that define and govern academic requirements and the content that supports them.

Term in use: The content in chapter one of the math textbook supports the state standard for educating on teaching addition.

Correlation: Matching Content to a Standard

Correlate is the term used to describe linking content to an education standard because it can help meet or support the standard. A correlation is a relationship between two things based on a common trait, in this case, content and a standard it relates to.

Alignment: Direct Relationship Between Content and a Standard

People sometimes use this term interchangeably with correlate. However, they mean two different things. An alignment is a direct relationship between two things. For example, standard A aligns with content B because it doesn’t just relate to it; it can be proven to meet or support it. An alignment is more absolute than a correlation.

Example: You can create alignments using a correlation between two things. We know standard A correlates to content B because the standard relates to the content. An alignment proves the content meets the standard and fully supports it.

Curriculum: A Standard Outside the United States

In most countries except for the U.S., the curriculum is similar to a set of learning standards or a standards framework.

Map: A Term with Two Meanings Depending on the Location

Outside the United States: Educators not working in the U.S. typically map their content to the curriculum.

In the United States: Edtech professionals and publishers use the term map to indicate that the content has already been correlated to one set of standards and now needs to be mapped to additional standard sets or updated standards. Mapping is the act of finding similar standards to the ones something is already correlated to.

Crosswalk: Align to an Additional Set of Content Standards

Like the term map, a crosswalk involves taking an existing correlation to standards and using it to create correlations to additional standards or updated ones.

Have you got questions about any of these terms? The experts at EdGate are always available to help. Contact us today to learn more.