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NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance.
The National Research Council (NRC) is the operating arm of the National Academies Complex, which includes the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The National Research Council was organized in 1916 by the National Academy of Sciences to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy's purposes of furthering knowledge and providing impartial advice to the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Bruce Alberts, President of the National Academy of Sciences, and Dr. William Wulf, President of the National Academy of Engineering, are chairman and vice chairman, respectively, of the National Research Council.
The Center for Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Education (CSMEE) was established in 1995 to provide coordination of all the National Research Council's education activities and reform efforts for students at all levels, specifically those in kindergarten through twelfth grade, undergraduate institutions, school-to-work programs, and continuing education. The Center reports directly to the Governing Board of the National Research Council.
Development, publication, and dissemination of this report were supported by a grant from the Robert W. Woodruff Foundation, Inc. Any opinions, findings, or recommendations expressed in this report are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Robert W. Woodruff Foundation, Inc.
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Center for Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Education. Committee on Developing the Capacity to Select Effective Instructional Materials.
Selecting instructional materials : a guide for K-12 science / Committee on Developing the Capacity to Select Effective Instructional Materials, Center for Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Education, National Research Council ; Maxine Singer and Jan Tuomi, editors.
Includes bibliographical references and index.
1. Science—Study and teaching—United States—Aids and devices. 2. Science—Study and teaching—Aids and devices—Purchasing—United States. I. Singer, Maxine. II. Tuomi, Jan. III. Title.
LB1585.3 .C45 1999
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Copyright 1999 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
COMMITTEE ON DEVELOPING THE CAPACITY FOR SELECTING EFFECTIVE INSTRUCTIONAL MATERIALS
Maxine Singer, Chair, Member of the National Academy of Sciences and the Institute of Medicine,
President of the Carnegie Institution of Washington,
Carnegie Academy for Science Education, Washington, DC
Buffalo State College, First Hand Learning, Inc., Buffalo, NY
Phoenix Urban Systemic Initiative for Mathematics, Science, and Technology, Phoenix, AZ
Merck Institute for Science Education, Rahway, NJ
Jo Ellen Roseman,
Project 2061, American Association for the Advancement of Science, Washington, DC
National Science Teachers Association, Arlington, VA
Jan Tuomi, Study Director
Christine Mirzayan, NRC Intern
Doug Sprunger, Senior Project Assistant
Kathleen Johnston, Editor
Jim Lawson, Editor
Sally Stanfield, Editor,
National Academy Press
Estelle Miller, Book Designer,
National Academy Press
SELECTING INSTRUCTIONAL MATERIALS: A GUIDE FOR K-12 SCIENCE
This report has been reviewed by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise, in accordance with procedures approved by the NRC's Report Review Committee. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the authors and the NRC in making the published report as sound as possible and to ensure that the report meets institutional standards for objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study charge. The content of the review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the deliberative process. We wish to thank the following individuals for their participation in the review of this report:
American Association for the Advancement of Science
D. Bruce Montgomery
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Lawrence A. Shepp
Dale Stein, Emeritus
Michigan Technological University
George Mason University
While the individuals listed above have provided many constructive comments and suggestions, responsibility for the final content of this report rests solely with the authoring committee and the NRC.
In 1996, the National Academies published the National Science Education Standards (the Standards) for grades K-12. This effort responded to a call from our nation's 50 governors who requested that standards be developed as an important step in improving science education in the United States. Since then, the National Academies have established the Center for Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Education and published reports designed to help school districts and others assure that all K-12 students achieve the level of science understanding defined by the Standards. Most of the states have in turn developed their own science education standards guided by the national framework.
This report by the Committee on Developing the Capacity for Selecting Effective Instructional Materials is addressed to school districts, school district administrators, individual schools, school administrators, teachers, scientists, school boards, parents, and the community at large. It provides a tested procedure for the evaluation and selection of K-12 science instructional materials that is consistent with state and/or national standards and thereby supports the learning of science by all students. The first section of the report contains background information about curricula and current selection procedures, including the review and selection efforts of other institutions. After describing its own processes, the Committee presents a "Guide to Selecting Instructional Materials," which has been designed to assist local school districts in training evaluators and carrying out an effective review and selection process.
School personnel across America are seeking concrete guidance in the difficult task of identifying instructional materials that provide opportunities for students to learn the types of science content described in the Standards. The variety of science instructional materials available is daunting and the quality is uneven, making the tasks of evaluation and selection challenging. But an intelligent choice is essential to achieve the important goal of improved science education for all Americans.
The National Academy of Sciences gratefully acknowledges the Robert W. Woodruff Foundation for its generous financial support of the Committee on Developing the Capacity for Selecting Effective Instructional Materials and this report. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the Committee and do not necessarily reflect those of the funder.
The development of the review and selection processes and tools would not have been possible without the cooperation and assistance of state and school district science educators, who tried out various forms of the tools, allowed observations of their processes and discussions, and provided direct suggestions to the study director. Our deep appreciation to the following individuals and groups:
Herb Brunkhorst, California State University, San Bernadino, and participants in the Inland Area Science Project, University of California, Riverside;
Kathy Comfort and participants in the California Science Implementation Network;
Bob Dean, University of California San Diego, and Nancy Taylor, San Diego County Office of Education, and participants in the California Science Project, San Diego;
Terry Lashley, Director, Appalachian Rural Systemic Initiative at the University of Tennessee and participants in the initiative from Kentucky, North Carolina, Ohio, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia;
Maria Lopez-Freeman and the leaders of the California Science Project sites;
Bruce McEwen, Head of the Hatch Laboratory of Neuroendocrinology at the Rockefeller University and Member of the National Academy of Sciences; Bonnie Kaiser, Director of Precollege Science Education Programs; and the New York City scientists and teachers in Rockefeller University's Science Outreach Program;
Patricia Morse, University of Washington, and Seattle and Spokane scientists and teachers participating in the review of high school texts sponsored
by the American Institute of Biological Sciences and the David and Lucile Packard Foundation;
Tom Peters, Director at the Anderson Oconee Pickens Hub, and the participants from the other 12 hubs of the South Carolina Systemic Initiative for science and mathematics education; and
Lin Tucker, Melanie Barron, and teachers in the Cambridge, Massachusetts Public Schools and their scientist partners through Project Astro.
Bill Gillam, Math Specialist at the Bamberg/Calhoun/Orangeburg Math/ Science Hub at South Carolina State University, pored over the cost calculation worksheet, constructed a spreadsheet, and ran real costs through it until the paper and electronic methods agreed. This is a feat many attempted and no one else accomplished.