In today’s EdWeek, Catherine Gewertz discusses how some states have relaxed their control over instructional materials and are providing districts with more freedom in choosing their classroom resources. Increasingly, states are stepping away from textbook adoption processes in which state-appointed panels review instructional materials and provide lists of state “approved” resources from which districts were required to purchase.
The increased freedom in selecting instructional materials has been a reason to celebrate in many districts. But administrators are quick to acknowledge that the new freedom comes with some challenges, particularly as so many new instructional materials designed to address the Common Core State Standards flood the market. With less state guidance on what to choose and more instructional materials to choose from, districts bear a greater burden to ensure the materials they select are aligned to standards and appropriate for students. This is a time-consuming task and requires resources that many districts do not have.
Learning List’s mission is to help districts choose and then use high-quality, standards-aligned materials. For each product, Learning List features three types of independent reviews:
(1) Learning List’s alignment reports verify the citations listed in the publisher’s correlation from the educator’s perspective. The reports show whether and where the material addresses the content, context, and cognitive demand of each standard;
(2) Our research-based editorial reviews assess the material’s instructional content and design to help educators understand whether the product will meet their students and teachers’ needs; and,
(3) Educators can rate and review the products to explain how the materials affected teaching and learning in their classrooms.
In the aggregate, Learning List’s reviews provide districts with the information they need to ensure that a product is aligned to standards and contains the features and functionality that their students’ need. The detailed alignment reports also help educators integrate the instructional materials into their curriculum more effectively. Our service saves districts time and money and provides the documentation required to certify that instructional materials meet state standards.