who is most likely to affect the selection process and then target your outreach efforts to them. If your community has contradictory ideas about the need for science program improvement, do not skimp on this initial step of preparation. A well-planned and well-executed review process ultimately can be annulled by lack of community support. Schedule frequent progress discussions with other administrators to obtain their advice and commitment as well.

If you arrange for publisher representatives to make presentations to reviewers, try to provide a level playing field for large and small publishers. Give all presenters a common format to follow and forbid the offering or accepting of gifts (which is usually prohibited by local policy anyway). Remember that reviewers can be inappropriately influenced by these presentations, even if they involve only an overview of the program and its components. Caution reviewers to look for evidence to support the claims made by the publishers.

To save time and money, a common impulse is to narrow the field of materials to be reviewed by some kind of prescreening. Various scenarios were examined during the development of this guide, and each carries some risk of undermining a valid review process. The most promising current resources for prescreening are those reviews of science materials published by organizations that have made a large investment in developing both detailed review criteria and the reviewer expertise. Most notably, Project 2061 is producing in-depth reviews based on its Bench-marks for Science Literacy (AAAS, forthcoming c). These reviews compare materials according to various criteria and are available on the Internet (See Chapter 5 ''Resources for Training"). The National Science Resources Center has produced two books of recommended instructional resources, one for elementary school science, and one for middle school science (NSRC, 1996, 1998). The criteria used are provided as appendixes in both books, with the full text available on the Internet (See Chapter 5 "Resources for Training"). Another source of middle school science review information is the Ohio Systemic Initiative (Ohio Systemic Initiative, 1998).

If there is community-wide agreement on the success of some elements of the current science program (e.g., high student achievement and teacher satisfaction), it may be possible to keep those elements in place and focus the review on revising only those parts of the curriculum to be changed.

A publisher's claims of standards addressed or recommended grade levels should be viewed with suspicion. Only a careful review will reveal the degree to which the content of



The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement