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Selecting Instructional Materials: A Guide for K-12 Science
contents, any assessment materials, and a list of all the components of the set or unit. "Sticky notes" are convenient for marking sections to which you may return. (You should not write on instructional materials under review, because publishers usually ask for their return in salable condition.)
4.Review what students should understand or be able to do.
Make sure that Form 1 contains your name and the title of the unit or set of instructional materials you are reviewing. Now, read the first or highest priority standard and transfer source, grade, and text information about it to the top of Form 2. Now you will begin to do a review, one standard at a time. As you begin, be sure you understand the science content and level of sophistication implied — what students should understand or be able to do. Do not proceed until this is clear to you and your fellow reviewers. Use the content expertise of the scientists on the team and consult your reference books to develop your understanding of what exactly would constitute achieving each standard.
5.Examine the materials for content coverage and scientific accuracy and importance.
Next, examine in detail the materials to look for content coverage and scientific accuracy and importance. Record what you find and where in detail on Form 2. If it turns out that the content of the standard cannot be found in the materials, record why you think so, and give a "not at all" rating for that standard on Form 4 and in the Summary Rating column for that standard on Form 1. Under these circumstances, there is no point in completing Forms 3 and 5.
6.Determine the likelihood the students will learn content.
When the content of the standard is found in the materials, continue to look through the materials for how well and how often the students are engaged in learning about that content. Look also for how well an average teacher would be supported in planning and carrying out the learning experiences. You will be filling out Form 3, using your own judgment and the definitions of the criteria developed during review training. Provide evidence for your conclusions and cite lessons, section numbers, or text, as appropriate.
If instructional materials do not match any standards, but nevertheless seem worthwhile and well designed, you may be confused. In such cases, reviewers often wonder whether the standards are in error. Although this could be the case, usually it is not, and the materials should not be considered for selection. Topics not found in the standards have