Wednesday, December 15, 2010

A Web Research Tool to Guide Textbook Adoption

When working with curriculum writing teams to write programs, it is important to start with a shared vision that includes the expectations children will be held to and the broad agreed upon instructional approach to implementing the curricula. An educational leader should impress upon the curriculum team the need for the curriculum vision to drive the textbook adoption process.
How to do this? The first step is to arrange for a “carnival” of program pitching by textbook representatives. Each publisher representative should have 45 minutes to review samples of materials and answer questions. Throughout this session, the curriculum committee should look at wonderful data on publisher program effectiveness.
This data can be obtained from The United States Department of Education’s What Works Clearinghouse (click)
The “Clearinghouse” is a large warehouse of research on the major publisher’s programs. What makes the site so special is the way the data is presented. Teams of analysts culled the hundreds of studies conducted for the programs and summarized the findings. What we’re left with are two-page concise “bottom lines” on the programs legacy for promoting student achievement. Taking the data a step further, the USDOE research team looks at the populations these programs have served effectively (urban, suburban, rural, etc.). Teachers are often surprised at the findings (did you know that the data says Everyday Math is one of the only programs that effectuates student growth?).

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