• Who will be responsible for facilitating the instructional materials review and selection process?

  • Who will comprise the review and selection committee(s)? How will they be chosen?

  • How will the review and selection committee members be prepared for their task?

  • How will the review and selection committee(s) function? How will decisions be made? How and by whom will the final recommendations be made?

  • What will be the role of district administrators? What degree of influence will district personnel have on the selection process?

  • How will a list of vendors be generated?

  • What materials and information will be solicited from the vendors?

  • What other sources of information will be provided to the committee(s)?

  • What are the district's standards or learning goals? Are they widely accepted and in use?

  • Are the current instructional materials aligned to the standards? Are they being used?

Procedures for Selecting Instructional Materials in Private Schools

In the United States there are a variety of schools other than those administered by local public school systems; these include parochial schools, independent schools, nationally administered public schools run by for-profit organizations (e.g., the Edison Project Schools), and a growing number of public charter schools. Informal inquiries have revealed selection procedures that range from school-wide coherent policies, to departmental committees, to selection by individual teachers.

The Edison Project, for example, selects materials centrally and the same materials are used in all its schools (currently 24,000 students in 50 schools in 12 states). The selection process is initiated by setting curriculum standards and objectives with the advice of consulting groups. Their science standards are described as a synthesis of the Standards and Benchmarks. Instructional materials are then evaluated with reference to the standards. Among the issues considered are (1) how well the materials will support the teachers and (2) evidence that the materials (or program) actually works. The Edison Project reports that there are insufficient studies on science learning to help very much with evaluation of efficacy (Chubb, 1999).

An urban, independent elementary school that emphasizes its science program reported that a science department committee first defines the curriculum and then selects texts or kits

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