During the 2020–21 school year, Kent Denver engaged the Institute for Educational Policy at Johns Hopkins University for a complete review of the Upper School history curriculum. Over the course of several months, members of the Johns Hopkins team reviewed all classroom materials used with students. They read every text, article and project and watched every multimedia film or clip used with students in each class. The review evaluated the quality, coherence and viewpoint-diverse nature of all those materials. Their analysis includes a "mapping" of domains of knowledge and topics grade by grade, and assesses the quality of each resource on its own terms and in relation to other materials used in the unit. Additionally, units were investigated for the introduction of multiple perspectives and whether those materials encourage deliberation and disagreement.
All of Kent Denver's courses scored high-quality ratings—with most units providing a "holistic approach by representing a range of voices and viewpoints and nurturing students' critical thinking skills" in open classroom climates that encourage deliberation and disagreement.
According to the reviewers, the content of Kent Denver's courses "goes beyond what you would see in any text and seeks to explain why things are how they are. It gets at the nuances of topics in ways that students can grapple with." Additionally, reviewers noted that, "it appears that the curriculum coordinators have gone out of their way to provide resources that present multiple perspectives."
History department chair, Ginna Halverson, is "proud that Johns Hopkins validates what we believe to be our greatest strengths as a department—empowering kids to think critically and make evidence-based arguments about history."
The Johns Hopkins team will use these same strenuous methods to review Kent Denver's English curriculum (grades 9–11 and AP English Literature) during the 2021–22 school year.