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Selecting Instructional Materials: A Guide for K-12 Science
only collect useful data, but also increase interest in the review, selection, and approval processes.
In addition to the basic reporting of standardized test scores, a study of the item analyses can provide useful data on student achievement. This information is usually provided along with the overall scores to school administrators. Professional development in how to interpret and apply the test-item analysis information is useful for principals and teachers, who are then better prepared to provide information on student achievement. In regions that disaggregate the test scores in a number of ways — by gender, race, courses, or classrooms — it is possible to further pinpoint needs that should be taken into consideration in selecting instructional materials.
Another source of data related to student science achievement is enrollment data in upper-level science courses, in which students enroll by choice or by meeting prerequisites. Improvements in the science courses should show a trend to increased demand and enrollment for advanced courses, as well as an increased participation of currently underrepresented minorities.
The information collected before the review will help influence final selection decisions and provide compelling background information in support of your recommendations during the approval process.
Identification and involvement of community stakeholders. Support from influential members of the community will be critical when recommendations for the ultimate selections need to be approved and when the new materials are introduced into schools. Selected local scientists and engineers from industry, faculty of local colleges and universities from both the education and science departments, and leaders of science education programs can be made members of an advisory board, along with teachers, students, and parents. Some members of this board may become reviewers and trainers. Participation in the advisory board and in the review and selection process will help educate community members about the curriculum, standards, classroom needs, and available instructional materials.
Involve the community in learning about the science program through district, school-level, and community activities such as open house events, community meetings, and newsletters. Educate participants about program goals and the science standards and gather opinions and suggestions. Keep community members informed through periodic updates using all of the news media available in your community.