end, the experience of carrying out the kind of rigorous review that is common in the scientific world, requiring so much background, will be valuable on many levels. It will provide a significant professional growth experience for many reviewers, help develop a local capacity to select and implement a strong science program successfully, and contribute to developing leadership among local science educators.


This guide and the process it advocates are based on four key assumptions:

  1. The selection of instructional materials can be carried out either for a comprehensive science program or for a small part of such a program. The process in this guide can be used equally well for a variety of selection needs: selecting materials for a multiyear program (for example, K-5, 6-8, or 9-12); meeting a specific goal (such as identifying instructional materials for a new ninth grade physics course); or selecting a single unit of study for part of a year.

  2. The review of instructional materials, which precedes selection, will be based on standards; that is, specific student learning goals. Applying standards to the process makes student learning of important concepts and skills a key factor in making selection decisions. It is also assumed that local policies will determine the source of the standards to be used — national, state, or local.

  3. A curriculum framework (see box) is in place that is based on standards and describes a scope and sequence for student learning. It also is assumed that the selection process involves decisions about which instructional materials are most likely to help students achieve the learning goals given in the framework.

  4. At least two people will review each instructional material, and a group including both experienced teachers and scientists will collaborate in the review process. Experienced teachers contribute their knowledge of how children learn, how to manage a classroom learning environment, and the particular challenges of the local

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