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Instructional Materials

 

Adoption Overview

By law, the State Board of Education must approve those K-8 textbooks and other instructional materials which districts purchase using state money. Only those materials on the state-approved adoption list may be purchased using state funds unless a district petitions the state board for a waiver of the requirement.

To establish a list of approved textbooks, the state board has devised a process for evaluating those materials submitted by various publishers looking to have their materials adopted by the state. The process calls for teachers to serve on review panels to evaluate the materials and make recommendations to the state Curriculum Development and Supplemental Materials Commission (the Curriculum Commission) on those materials which meet the state’s criteria for adoption.

The primary adoption of science materials occurs every six years; the previous adoption took place in 2000. Although the law provides for an interim, or follow-up, adoption, the state board declined to conduct an interim adoption during the intervening six years.

In preparation for the 2006 adoption, the state board in 2004 approved the criteria by which submitted materials were evaluated. The draft criteria set off a firestorm of criticism when they initially capped the amount of hands-on activities a publisher could include to no more than 25 percent of instructional time. As a result of the efforts of CSTA, businesses and other education organizations, the state board backed down from the limit and revised the criteria to require that no less than 20 to 25 percent of the instructional program in submitted materials be composed of hands-on activities.

Panels comprised primarily of science teachers—the Instructional Materials Advisory Panels, or IMAPs—and panels of science experts—Content Review Panels, or CRPs—were selected to review and evaluate the submitted materials for compliance with the criteria and for science content. The Curriculum Commission and State Board of Education approved 51 IMAP members and 24 CRP members over the course of several meetings from September 2005 to March 2006. Irregularities with the initial screening and appointment of IMAP members by the Curriculum Commission caused CSTA to request a meeting with the state board president and members of the commission to resolve various points of contention with the selection process. As a result of that meeting, several IMAP applicants who had been eliminated by the Curriculum Commission for illegitimate reasons were subsequently appointed by the commission and board.

The IMAPs and CRPs met in July 2006 to evaluate the submitted materials and make an initial recommendation to the full Curriculum Commission. The panels recommended 11 of the 12 submitted programs to be adopted. Subsequently, the commission, at its September meeting, confirmed the IMAP/CRP recommendations and recommended the 11 programs to the State Board of Education, which formally adopted the materials in November.

CSTA and the K-12 Alliance had organized a "parallel" review of the submitted materials. Teams followed essentially the same process as used by the official IMAP/CRP panels, using the Criteria for Evaluating Science Instructional Materials and the publishers' standards maps. The CSTA/K-12 Alliance teams reached the same conclusions about the programs as the IMAPs and CRPs. Team members attended the four-day IMAP/CRP deliberations meeting and were instrumental in a couple of cases in calling attention to some procedural irregularities which, if left unchecked, may have resulted in some qualified programs not being recommended by the panels. We also testified at the Curriculum Commission meeting in September in support of the IMAP/CRP recommendations. In a disagreement between the two science experts on the commission concerning the one non-recommended program, the work of the CSTA/K-12 Alliance teams was acknowledged as being decisive in the final commission recommendations.

CSTA thanks all the great people who served on our "unofficial" teams, who reviewed the materials and/or attended the deliberations meetings. You made the difference!