California Instructional Materials Adoption
The California State Board of Education will take action to adopt new science instructional materials for K-8 in November 2018. A complete timeline of the adoption process is available from CDE.
A list of companies submitting materials for adoption by California is also available from CDE. The list includes links to access the programs and/or more information about the materials being submitted. A total of 33 programs were submitted.
It is important to remember, that even if selecting a program from the state-adopted list, a local review of the materials is strongly recommended. Please visit the White Paper, Resources for Reviewing, and Williams Act tabs for more information.
Standards Maps for Grades Nine Through Twelve
CDE offers Standards Maps to support review and adoption of high school materials. Standards maps for high school CA NGSS are currently under development.
Standards map templates were developed so that school districts can determine the extent to which instructional materials, or a combination of instructional materials, for students in grades nine through twelve align with the content standards adopted by the State Board of Education (SBE). Publishers are invited to include completed standards maps with materials offered for sale in the four core content areas in grades nine through twelve, citing where their materials align with the content standards. The standards maps are also a tool for local educational agencies to use when evaluating instructional materials for alignment with content standards, as local school boards must certify that materials are aligned with the California content standards. Source: CDE
Reviewing Instructional Materials
Coming Soon!: County Offices of Education and regional partners across California will be offering professional learning opportunities and training on the tool for reviewing instructional materials developed by the NGSS Collaborative (CCSESA-CISC Science Sub-Committee, California Science Project, CSTA, K-12 Alliance @ WestEd, CDE, and State Board of Education). Trainings are expected to begin in the winter of 2018, after the State Board takes action to adopt instructional materials for K-8. The review tool and training will be applicable to all grade levels K-12.
In the meantime, several resources are now available to facilitate the review instructional materials. These include:
- NextGen TIME - Published by BSCS in collaboration with the K-12 Alliance @ WestEd and Achieve, Inc.
- The California Department of Education (CDE) has a number or resources and guiding documents including guidelines, textbook weight information, and implementing materials not on the California adoption list.
- 2016 California Science Framework: Chapter 13: Instructional Resources to Support the Next Generation Science Standards for CA Public Schools K-12
- Achieve Resources and Tools:
- Achieve Reviews: Achieve is broadening its reach to identify more high-quality materials designed for the NGSS. We hope this will help both those developing materials—whether in the classroom, a university, or a publishing company—and those looking for quality materials to support implementation.
- EQuIP Rubric for Science: The Educators Evaluating the Quality of Instructional Products (EQuIP) Rubric for science provides criteria by which to measure the degree to which lessons and units are designed for the NGSS. The EQuIP webpage includes information for the EQuIP rubric, a professional learning facilitators guide, helpful training videos, and more.
- NGSS Lesson Screener: The NGSS Lesson Screener provides criteria for a quick look into the degree to which lessons and units are designed for the NGSS.
- NGSS Alignment Claims: How Publishers Talk About the Next Generation Science Standards: This document categorizes and describes some of the common ways those developing and marketing science instructional materials are making connections to the NGSS. In addition to sharing the categories of claims common in the marketplace, several examples are provided of claims that Achieve would like to see more frequently—ones that closely tie to the major NGSS Innovations.
- PEEC: "PEEC" is an acronym for the Primary Evaluation of Essential Criteria for NGSS Instructional Materials Design. PEEC can be used by educators to evaluate the degree that the NGSS Innovations are represented in science instructional materials programs.
- Peer Review Panel: The EQuIP Peer Review Panel (PRP) for Science was launched in September 2016 to provide concrete examples of high quality lessons and units that, along with professional learning, can support implementation of the NGSS. The PRP seeks to identify lessons and units that best illustrate the cognitive demands of the NGSS as introduced in A Framework for K-12 Science Education. To submit lessons or units to the PRP for review, click here.
- Quality Examples of Instructional Materials: The criterion-based reviews provided by the Peer Review Panel are meant to be constructive and in the spirit of continuous improvement. All submissions receive feedback regardless of their rating and confidentiality will be ensured for those that are not ready to be shared publicly. Lessons and units that are rated by the PRP as Examples of High Quality NGSS Design, Examples of High Quality NGSS Design, If Improved, or identified as Quality Works in Progress will be publicly posted along with the EQuIP criterion-based feedback so that all educators can benefit from these materials.
- NGSS Design Badge: Achieve awards a digital badge called the NGSS Design Badge to science units designed for the NGSS that have earned the highest rating on the EQuIP Rubric for Science based on a review conducted by Achieve or its Science Peer Review Panel. The digital badge includes a logo, the name of the unit, the date the badge was awarded, and a "Verify" button. When a user clicks on the digital badge to verify its authenticity, the badge provides a full EQuIP evaluation describing quality features of the unit in question.
Priority Features of NGSS Aligned Instructional Materials
Recommendations for Publishers, Reviewers, and Educators
The California Science Teachers Association and the science teachers associations of three other Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) west-coast states, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington, have co-authored a white paper on priority features of NGSS instructional materials. This is the first time our states have collaborated to convey a common vision on an issue of great importance for the implementation of the NGSS. We understand all too well that for meaningful shifts to happen and to support the full vision of the NGSS, strong K-12 Instructional materials are required. We specifically call out K-12 because although California is a K-8 adoption state, high quality materials are also needed for 9-12.
In addition to the priority features identified in the white paper, California adopted a Science Curriculum Framework in 2016 which includes guidance for instructional materials. CSTA supports the Science Curriculum Framework and its recommendations in addition to those provided in the white paper.
As articulated in the Framework, an additional priority feature includes California’s Education and the Environment Initiative Law of 2003 and its resulting Environmental Principles and Concepts. We urge producers of instructional materials to reference Appendix 2 of the California Science Framework and uphold the vision of environmental literacy for California’s students with integrity. As referenced in the white paper, observable components of the student’s school or community and local environmental issues as local phenomena or problems provide an avenue for this seamless integration of the EP&C’s with the NGSS.
Williams Act and Science
Adapted from: The Williams Act and You - A Love Story
The Williams Act was part of the settlement of a lawsuit called the Williams Case. In the Williams case, 100 students, with the help of the ACLU, sued their school district and the state for not providing current and adequate instructional materials, safe and decent school facilities, and qualified teachers. Part of the settlement included the enactment of new state laws, including CA Education Code Section 60119 which addresses instructional materials sufficiency. Details are available on CDE’s website.
The Basics of the Williams Act Relating to Instructional Materials
- The school board of any district needs to hold a public hearing by the 8th week of the school year and certify that all pupils have adequate textbooks or other instructional materials and if not report on where the deficiencies are and who they affect.
- The curriculum materials need to be aligned to standards.
- Students need to have access at home and at school. With a textbook this traditionally means that they have a text they carry back and forth from school to home. Photocopied sheets are not adequate.
Selecting the Best Curriculum for Your District
When looking for new NGSS curriculum, choose one that fulfills the Williams Act and meets the needs of your district. The state adoption process is designed to help districts find a curriculum that is aligned to the state standards, a key requirement of the Williams Act. (See the K-8 Adoption tab.)
As part of the state’s process, the instructional materials reviewers use checklists to make sure instructional materials submitted by publishers have alignment with the science framework adopted by the California State Board of Education. The state process does not evaluate the quality to which those materials align nor how well the materials meet the specific needs of students and teachers. There is no mandate to purchase curriculum from the approved list.
When your district decides to adopt new materials for the California NGSS standards (or any standards), the State also outlines a process that they need to go through. This process is recommended whether a district chooses materials on the state approved list or not. In 2015, the State Board of Education adopted “Guidelines for Piloting Textbooks and Instructional Materials” which that outlines the process. (A fully accessible version is available from CDE – see FAQ 21.)
Key Features of the Guidelines (specific to science)
- The committee should review the 2016 California Science Framework and the California NGSS standards. (A more user-friendly presentation of the standards is available from the San Diego County Office of Education.)
- The committee should review the specific needs of the district including past test scores and demographic data on special populations.
- The committee needs to prioritize criteria and decide on a process. (Consider making use of CSTA’s White Paper: Priority Features of NGSS Instructional Materials and see the Resources for Reviewing tab.)
- There needs to be a check on the social content of the materials to ensure that they avoid stereotyping, reflect California’s multicultural society, and create a positive learning environment.
- If the curriculum is not on the state the state-approved list, a curriculum map should be created to ensure that all standards are addressed in the curriculum.
- Set-up a fair piloting process to pilot the instructional materials selected by the committee
CDE offers a robust FAQ page that will likely address most of your question.
Williams Act and Online, Kit-Based, Open Source, or Locally-Designed Programs
The Williams Act does not restrict districts to the use of textbooks. It intentionally refers "instructional materials" rather than "textbooks." As defined by the William Act: “Instructional materials may be printed or non-printed, and may include textbooks, technology-based materials, other educational materials, and tests.”
For electronic material, it is possible for students to have accounts to access student portals at home. This depends, however, on students having computers and internet access at home. Some districts and schools provide one-on-one computers for students who don’t have devices to use and help pay for internet access for families that cannot afford it. This doesn’t need to be for all families, only those that need or request it. Providing access to a computer at school or at the public library is not adequate. After all, homework might be getting started at 9:00 pm on a Sunday night when schools and libraries are not open.
Another solution is use an open source product to provide a bound book that has standards-based science content and can be used to do homework and assign reading. This is what several kit-based programs already use. Note that photocopied sheets of pages copied to address a shortage are not acceptable for this requirement. The books do not equal the full curriculum. For example in a kit-based program, the core of the instruction is in experiments done in whole-class settings. The book is a supplement that allows for reading about the science and doing homework. This has been seen as an acceptable solution under the Williams Act.
District Approval Is Required
Instructional materials must be approved of by the school district’s board of education. County Offices of Education monitor compliance with the Williams Act.
The California Science Teachers Association is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization and your donation may be tax deductible. Membership and donations are the backbone of the important work CSTA engages in to promote high quality science education.
- 1-Year Membership
- 1-Year Membership
- Enjoy a full year of CSTA membership.
- Join Online
- Adopted Standards
- Communications Tools
- Curriculum Framework
- Early Implementation Initiative (K-8)
- Framework for Science Education (K-12)
- Implementation & PD Funding
- Instructional Materials
- Key Facts
- Middle Grades Learning Progressions (6-8)
- NGSS Achieve Website
- NGSS Blog
- NGSS Timeline
- PD Events for Teachers