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Selecting Instructional Materials: A Guide for K-12 Science
achievement — begin preparing for the next review and selection round.
The review and selection teams should also discuss their experiences and recommendations with those responsible for professional development, for developing or revising the curriculum framework, and for refurbishing classroom science materials. This kind of internal communication will help develop the capacity to improve the science program continuously.
Continue to strengthen the program. During review and selection, materials may have been recommended that were not highly rated or that were considered incomplete in terms of helping students achieve relevant standards. Identify who will follow through with the suggestions gathered during review and selection. Because new instructional materials are constantly under development, you may want to schedule periodic mini-reviews to identify new materials to replace or supplement those in place.
Continue community involvement. Community interest in the review and selection process should be nurtured and sustained. Be sure that the community is kept aware of — and involved in — the new program in action. Disseminate information gathered in periodic progress reviews. Establish or strengthen a community advisory board. If the community was not wholly supportive of the process or outcome, begin now to involve key community stakeholders in discussions aimed at preparing for the next round of instructional materials selection.
Constraints and Cautions
The demands of implementing the new program may leave no staff or no time to deal with ongoing evaluation and long-term planning. Experience with the information in this guide should help science program administrators articulate their need to collect evidence of program effectiveness continually, develop capacity to understand the role of standards in the science program, keep the community informed, and plan for future reviews of new instructional materials. Resources for evaluation and long-term planning should be given high priority.
If a demand for evidence of student improvement is made in the first year or two, be prepared for student achievement data to be disappointing. Changes in education practice are multidimensional and require numerous changes, such as new teaching approaches and new kinds of materials. All pertinent aspects must change to significantly affect outcome (Fullan, 1991), and that takes time. Gather baseline data and describe reasonable expectations. Explain long-term evaluation plans and methods.