5 Key Features that Make Learning List Unique

[Source: Learning List]
[Source: Learning List]
(1) Learning List is a service: Learning List is not just a review site. Subscriber requests drive our review process. Subscribers can access the over 800 reviews we’ve already completed; and, if we haven’t reviewed a product of interest to them, they can request a review:

·    Campus/district selection committees can request reviews of materials;

·    Principals can request reviews of materials their teachers want the campus to buy; and

·    Teachers can request reviews of materials they hear about from colleagues in other districts.

Then, teachers/curriculum teams can use our alignment reports on an ongoing basis to help them assign only the portions of their districts’ materials that are truly aligned to the depth and rigor of each standard.  Thus, Learning List functions as an extension the school/district’s curriculum department.

“In order to be good stewards of taxpayer money, we’ve partnered with Learning List to make better educated purchasing decisions.” Misty Swanger, Director of Curriculum & Instruction, Jonathan Alder School District

“Learning List helps districts use their instructional materials instructionally.” Pat Hardy, Texas State Board of Education member.

(2) Learning List reviews comprehensive (year-long) and supplemental materials (specialized): We review instructional materials of all types in all formats, English and Spanish versions. In order to expand subscribers’ choices and help them make cost- and instructionally-effective purchases, we purposefully review products offered at different prices from major and specialty publishers, as well as open-educational resources. The table below lists the Learning List-verified alignment percentages and prices of five of the products reviewed in 6th grade math:


While alignment is critical to student success, Learning List also provides an editorial review addressing equally important attributes of each material’s instructional content and design, including focus, coherence, rigor, ease of use and adaptions for special populations. 

“Most teachers don’t have the time, expertise or experience Learning List’s reviewers have to review instructional materials. This is a very valuable service for districts.”  John Lopez, Former Managing Director for Instructional Materials and Ed Tech, Texas Education Agency

“Our teachers often ask us to buy products, and we don’t know if they’re any good. Learning List’s independent reviews will help us figure out what to buy.” Shelley Reavis, Director of Curriculum, Burnett CISD

(3) Learning List is standards agnostic: Learning List has no allegiance to any particular set of standards. Developed in response to requests from educators who were tired of purchasing materials that failed to live up to publishers’ alignment (and other) claims, Learning List reviews materials aligned to a variety of standards, including state-specific,  Common Core  and Advanced Placement. Reviews for Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)-aligned materials will be released in summer 2015.

“Learning List is an invaluable tool for educators, especially those in small and mid-sized districts.  Their objective reviews, absent of political influences, benefit students, parents and school districts.  I cannot recommend them highly enough.” Thomas Ratliff, Texas State Board of Education member

(4) Learning List empowers choice. Teachers and students have different needs and capabilities; therefore, each district/campus looks for different attributes in instructional materials. For that reason, Learning List does not rank or recommend materials.  Rather, we provide thee distinct types of reviews to help educators determine which materials will best meet their students’ (and teachers’) needs:

  • a detailed alignment report verifying the material’s alignment to each standard for the applicable grade/subject. Learning List then calculates the percentage of the standards to which the material is aligned;
  • an editorial review describing the material’s instructional content and design using a research-based protocol with over 100 criteria; and, 
  • educator ratings and reviews based on specified criteria consistent with effective teaching practices. Thus, the only “ratings” provided are those of educators who have used the products with students.

All products are completely reviewed and reviewed against the same criteria for each of the 3 types of reviews to make it easy for subscribers to compare materials on an equal playing field. Learning List’s reviews are accompanied by a completed publisher questionnaire, in which the publisher presents their product directly to our subscribers; Learning List does not edit the publisher’s responses. 

“By using Learning List, our district identified a supplemental math resource that helped raise scores across all elementary grade levels in one year. We couldn’t have done this without your reviews.” Rick Howard, Superintendent, Comanche ISD

(5) Learning List is subscription-based. We offer our service for a low, annual subscription rate. Campus- or district-wide annual subscriptions are based on student enrollment with rates starting at $1/student and decreasing as enrollment increases. After all, if a campus/district is going to spend $75+/per student on new instructional materials this year, doesn’t it make sense to spend $1 or less per student to choose and then use their instructional materials more effectively?

A nimble company with a sustainable business model, Learning List responds quickly to educators’ evolving needs in a rapidly changing marketplace.

“I can’t imagine why any district that heard your presentation would not want to subscribe to your service. Your reviews are awesome.” Doug Rawlins, Principal, Panhandle ISD

“Your detailed alignment reports alone would have saved our urban district tens of thousands of dollars in overtime and staff stipends.” Dr. Yolanda Rey, Executive Director, Texas ASCD 

More information about Learning List’s Features and Methodology is available here.

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