Developing your local capacity to identify and select instructional materials for the best possible local science program will require several years of effort and ongoing evaluation. As you go through each round of review and selection, lessons learned should be noted and applied to revising the criteria and the processes used. The assumptions and implied goals of the review criteria should be checked against subsequent student achievement and teacher feedback. Having just completed the selection process, you — and participants in the review and selection process — are in a position to recommend ongoing monitoring of the effects and to prepare for the next round. Monitoring may identify the need for supplementation of the choices just made.
Although in many areas the facilitator's job description changes once the science instructional materials are selected — to professional development and implementation concerns or to another subject matter area — continual attention needs to be focused on the efficacy of the new instructional materials. To implement a process of continual improvement, the new program should be monitored in a number of ways, and community involvement should be sustained.
Gather student achievement data. Review how your district and state will gather data on student achievement with the new materials. The coordination of the implementation of new instructional materials with any new assessment plans, the content of professional development, and knowledge of the political climate will enhance success of the science program (DoEd, 1997a). Analysis of district or state test data, surveys of teachers, and interviews of students can provide evidence of the effectiveness of the materials in helping students achieve the standards.
Also consider more informal opportunities to gather feedback on the science program, such as teacher professional development, meetings of principals, science material distribution centers, a district-wide web site, focus groups, and classroom observations. Keep the focus on standards-based student achievement information, not only to collect convincing data but also to reinforce the message that student achievement is the goal of the science program.
Take another look at the process. If this was not done at the end of the review, reconvene those who were involved in reviewing and selecting the materials to discuss what worked and what did not. Collect their suggestions for future modifications, and with the other key feedback — such as student