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Selecting Instructional Materials: A Guide for K-12 Science
grade level and across grade spans, while still meeting overall student learning goals. Making final recommendations, particularly for elementary and middle school, entails a great deal of back-and-forth in search of a coherent arrangement, and it may require some adjustments in the original framework to take advantage of the best curriculum materials that are available.
The selection process may fail to identify materials that address content for each grade level. Solutions include continuing to search for materials to put through an ongoing review, writing new materials from scratch, or attempting to fix materials with poor ratings. Constraints and cautions about local efforts to write or fix materials are discussed below.
Complete the selections. Now you have the product of the entire process — recommended instructional materials chosen for their carefully assessed ability to meet student learning goals. Of course, professional development and ongoing materials management are essential for successful implementation. Be sure to specify the recommended components for each selection (software, laser disk, student workbooks, assessment packets, etc.).
Prepare to present a case for approval. The results of planning, training, reviewing, and selecting now must be approved and implemented. The responsibility of selection participants continues with the requirement to communicate with and persuade decision makers to approve their recommendations. In developing the recommendations report, integrate information about the effectiveness of the current program with how the recommended selections will address related concerns. Point out that the focus of the review was on student learning goals and note any relationships those goals have to current or future achievement tests or graduation requirements. Describe the contacts made with the community and school district administrators, as well as their involvement in the process and any pertinent results or findings. Note the credentials of your reviewers and the extent of their training.
In most localities, an oral presentation will be required — most likely to the school board. Anticipate and prepare to answer questions from school board members, other administrators, and the community. You may want to have summary charts or figures on hand. Have a member of the local scientific community, preferably a member of the review and selection team, speak on behalf of the process and recommendations.
Constraints and Cautions
The selection process may result in recommendations of some instructional