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

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. The district’s math materials gather dust, and district leaders are left with curriculum chaos.

That scenario, which has played out in districts across the country for decades, was our impetus for founding Learning List a decade ago and remains our call to action. 

This week is Learning List’s 10th anniversary, a time for celebration and reflection. We founded Learning List’s subscription-based instructional materials review service as an economical way to help educators access independent, evidence-based curriculum reviews to inform districts/campuses’ purchasing decisions. 

Over the years, other entities have begun reviewing instructional materials, including more state education agencies. So, what sets Learning List apart? 

We expand districts’ choices and inform local control. 

Like Consumer Reports®, Learning List is a private company, independent from publishers and free from political influence. States and other review entities rate and rank materials with the goal of identifying “the best” materials for districts to use. We do not. We calculate an alignment percentage, but we do not rank or rate the materials we review. We provide our subscribing districts with access to easy-to-read, evidence-based reviews of thousands of widely-used PreK-12 instructional materials and comparison tools that empower them to select the materials that meet their students’ needs best. 

We provide a curriculum review service.

While states’ and other entities’ reviews are driven by publishers’ submissions, requests from subscribing districts drive our review process. Consequently, our library is filled with reviews of the materials districts are most interested in. We also assist districts in finding answers to selection-related questions and help facilitate local adoption processes. In short, Learning List provides a review service, not just a website with reviews.

Our curriculum reviews are published within a timeframe that meets educators’ needs.

Most review entities take months to publish their reviews. While each material is reviewed by multiple subject matter experts, our efficient review methodology and strict adherence to deadlines enable us to publish an alignment report, instructional quality review, and technology compatibility review for each material within six weeks of the material’s submission.

We have reviewed many more and a greater variety of materials than other entities.

Other entities review materials aligned to a specific state’s standards or national standards. We have reviewed materials aligned to multiple states’ and national standards. We have reviewed more than 3,300 core and supplemental materials published by almost 200 publishers. Our reviews span the four core subjects and several others, including Career & Technical Education, Health Education, Technology Applications, and Advanced Placement courses. No other review entity has the equivalent breadth or depth of experience reviewing materials.

Our reviews and tools are useful beyond the selection process.

Most other entities produce reviews to help educators select materials. Our reviews and online tools inform instruction, as well as selection decisions. Educators use our standard-by-standard alignment reports and comparison tools to develop targeted instruction and/or intervention with the materials they have purchased.

As educators know all too well, the price does not necessarily equate with value. Despite the existence of free reviews, we are celebrating our 10th anniversary because the value districts get from our review service far exceeds the low subscription price.

Over the years, we have added other curriculum support services to meet districts’ evolving needs. We look forward to partnering with many more districts to expand their capacity, relieve their workload and provide peace of mind. 

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