K-12 Curriculum Reviews: What Sets Learning List Apart?

Learning List's Curriculum Review Service 10-Year Anniversary Image with gold baloons

Does the following scenario sound familiar? The state’s math standards recently changed, and your district purchased new instructional materials for mathematics. Teachers use the materials for a few months, but when students struggle to master the content, the teachers grow skeptical about the material’s quality. Increasingly, they turn to lesson resources they have developed themselves or borrowed from their colleagues. …

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Customizing an Instructional Materials Rubric To Reflect Your District’s Priorities

Rubric rating scale - interval example

This is the second blog in the series about effective strategies for reviewing and selecting instructional materials. Our first blog discussed planning a successful adoption, which included distributing and aggregating the results of a needs assessment. Now it is time to develop a rubric for the adoption. Developing a rubric from scratch can be daunting. More often, educators look for …

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8 Steps to Planning a Successful Instructional Materials Adoption

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If your district or campus will be adopting new materials this year, someone in your campus or district is probably starting to plan the adoption process. Over the last decade, Learning List has assisted hundreds of districts, both formally and informally, with instructional materials adoptions. Based on research regarding selecting and implementing high-quality instructional materials and our own observations of …

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Save Time with The Learning List

Instructional Materials Reviews

Over the years, numerous subscribing districts have contacted us for help finding instructional materials to consider for a new course they were planning to offer. We would contact other districts that subscribe to our service and compile a materials list for the relevant course. One day, a grateful curriculum director explained that the list we gave her had saved her staff weeks of work. That sparked an idea! We could leverage our relationships with districts and publishers alike to create a robust materials list for the range of subjects and courses schools offer.

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How Much Influence Do Principals Have When It Comes to Selecting and Using Instructional Materials?

What is the principal’s role in selecting and implementing materials? The RAND Corporation’s study titled, School Leader’s Role in Selecting and Supporting Teachers’ Use of Instructional Materials, answers that question. The study explored how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted school leaders’ perception of materials’ quality, as well as their role in selecting and implementing instructional materials. The study was based on qualitative, semi-structured interviews …

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Using the Publisher’s Correlation to Get the Biggest Bang-for-Your-Buck From Your Materials

publisher's correlation works like this image of a Google map with red pinsp is like google map with red pins

Whether you are reviewing the alignment of a material before you purchase it or are planning instruction with a material you already own, the publisher’s correlation can be an invaluable resource. The correlation identifies which standards the material has attempted to address and directs teachers to specific content in the material that addresses those standards.

Strategies for Reviewing Adaptive Materials

Over the last year, many of our subscribing districts requested reviews of adaptive materials. The concept behind adaptive materials is admirable: different content is presented to each student based upon the student’s performance on each task or assessment. In essence, these products offer the promise of an individualized instruction for each student.

However, districts should not assume that “adaptive” means “aligned to standards.” Many adaptive materials assign content based on skill mastery rather than mastery of the standards. Based on our experience, districts would be advised to carefully review the alignment of adaptive materials to the standards they are needed to support before using them.

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Alignment: Intervention & Test Prep Materials

As we near the end of the school year, your focus may be on intervention and testing. We offer three suggestions to help you prepare your students for end-of-year success.
Make sure your intervention materials are aligned to the standards you are reteaching. Using tightly aligned materials will reduce your workload and make intervention more effective. Many intervention materials are not designed to align to 100% of state standards. Make sure the material(s) you are using for intervention are aligned to the standards you are re-teaching. Verify that the citations (e.g., lessons, activities, assessments) you plan to use address both the content and rigor of the standards your students need to learn.
 

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A Seismic Shift in Science Materials

Over the last several years, we have reviewed hundreds of science materials aligned to state standards, Advanced Placement frameworks, and Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). Over the last two years, we have observed a significant design shift in science products. Using the 5E model and Project Based Learning (PBL), publishers are designing science instruction to engage students in doing science, rather than learning about science. Where traditional instructional materials might present information and ask students to respond through short-answer or multiple-choice questions, newer materials provide teachers with resources to facilitate inquiry-based science instruction. 

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Selecting Materials to Support Differentiated Instruction

As this school year resumes, teachers are going to need to differentiate and accelerate instruction to ensure that students are ready for their new grade level’s content. Whether you are selecting from your district/campus’ existing materials or purchasing new materials, we offer the following questions to help you identify materials that will support teachers in differentiating instruction to meet the needs of their students.

(1) Do the resources offer differentiated planning support for teachers?
Teachers need resources that will help them differentiate instruction to meet their students’ varied learning needs while simultaneously implementing the district curriculum. Here are three features to look for in teacher materials to support teachers in planning differentiated instruction.

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