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Selecting Instructional Materials: A Guide for K-12 Science
STEP 4:SELECTING MATERIALS
To move closer to the goal of making excellent science instructional materials available to students and teachers, the data and judgments collected during review must now be applied to making selections. First, the review data should be compiled and examined. Up to this point, each set of materials was reviewed only against standards. Now, the sets of materials will be compared with one another.
At this time, considerations of cost and professional development likely to be needed for successful implementation are reconciled with resources. Training and supporting the teachers in using the new materials is just as critical to reaching the goal of increased student achievement as choosing good materials.
Finally, another decision-making body, such as a school board, will usually make the final decision about which materials will be purchased. The recommendations developed through the selection process need to make a strong case, citing evidence to support the validity of the process used while focusing on the role of instructional materials in supporting student learning goals.
Begin the selection process. The review can continue through selection, with the same participants, so that review and selection constitute a seamless process. However, new people will sometimes be involved at this point, due to local decision-making policies or the need to involve other stakeholders, for example. In any case, some review participants should be part of the selection process in order to provide continuity. Any newcomers should be provided with background information about the process so far and engage in a mock review in order to develop understanding of the review data.
Complete the ranking of comparable instructional materials. As described at the end of "Step 3: Reviewing Materials," the selection process begins with examination of a ranked list of instructional materials suitable for a specific grade and content area in the curriculum framework. The recommendations were drafted by the facilitator to help organize the selection process, but should now be examined and revised as necessary. In taking on the selection tasks the participants need to incorporate four elements: (1) review data, (2) information collected in preparing for the review, (3) comparative cost, and (4) professional development requirements.
1. Review data. At the end of the review process, the facilitator will have compiled the ratings of all