The training of reviewers is an essential step. The goals include developing an understanding of the purpose of the reviews, establishing a common understanding of the role of standards in the review, and fully defining the key terms and criteria to be used in the review. Mock reviews provide the necessary practice, allowing the process outlined in this guide to be adjusted to reflect local needs and values.
The training of the reviewers can also serve to broaden the experiences and background knowledge of the participants, enabling them to envision science education as it could be in local schools, not only as it is. Reviewers should be exposed to recent research in science education content and pedagogy, as well as to outstanding science education programs elsewhere in the nation.
The training process recommended here has been developed through iterative field-test processes. Although the elements have been carefully selected to be those critical for producing a successful review, the facilitator may need to adapt them to meet local needs. Sample agendas, examples, and resources are provided in Chapter 5 "Resources for Training."
Develop a common understanding of review purpose. The purpose of the review process is improved student science achievement in the near future. The more detail reviewers can bring to their reviews, the more they will be able to make the best choice of instructional materials to meet local needs. In order to provide relevant detail, reviewers will need to develop a common understanding of their work.
First, members of the review team should analyze all the data gathered in Step 1. They should not only discuss the data collected about the effectiveness of the current science education program but also decide on strategies to remedy shortcomings and reinforce strengths. Reviewers should also become familiar with local policies governing the curriculum selection process and reach consensus on any choices that may be open to them about how to proceed.
Develop a depth of knowledge about standards. Each reviewer needs to become familiar with the relevant science content standards (Roseman, 1997a). If the standards document has an overview, that may be a good place to begin. Most standards documents have informative text that precedes the standards, which can provide background information, references to research, and examples of the standards in action.
Be sure that each reviewer under-