Posts Tagged ‘textbooks’

Hear Ye, Hear Ye…Proclamation 2015 is Now in Progress! A Look at the Social Studies Instructional Materials Adoption Process

Friday, November 21st, 2014

Author: Rachel Hernandez-Eckert, Social Studies Specialist

Duct tape seems to be our best friend right now.  The duct tape that holds the binding of that 10 year old Social Studies textbook, that is.  It seems like an eternity since our last textbook adoption for Social Studies and it is rather exciting that it is finally here.  We are embarking on something new though; this is just not a textbook adoption, but an instructional materials adoption for K-12 Social Studies.  This is a big deal for us and we must tread carefully.

In November, TEA is slated to release the SBOE approved recommended list of instructional materials by publisher.  Although this document will be a working list for school districts, districts do not have to purchase instructional materials exclusively from that list.  There is a caveat to choosing from the approved list though.  School districts will have to justify on their own how the materials align to the TEKS – the accountability will lie exclusively with the school district.  Be aware that the instructional materials submitted for the recommended list only have to meet 50% of the state standards and many questions arise from this seemingly moderate percentage. Take a look at the few inquiry questions from TEA’s Proclamation 2015 Q&A document:

Question: How it is determined that a submitted product is at least 50% compliant with the TEKS? Does a book need to reach 50% compliancy in each strand, or can the percentages vary from strand to strand, as long as they add up to 50%?

Answer: The 50% requirement refers to student expectations, not strands. A product does not need to meet 50% of the student expectations in each strand. A product needs only to meet 50% of all of the student expectations. The percentage of coverage can vary from strand to strand as long as 50% of all the student expectations are addressed.

Question:  Regarding the following: “Materials must meet at least 50% of the elements of the TEKS in both the student version and the teacher version.” Does this mean that (at least) 50% of the elements of the TEKS must be covered in the TE apart from coverage in the SE?

Answer: Materials must meet at least 50% of the TEKS in the teacher version of the instructional materials and at least 50% of the TEKS in the student version. For the purpose of determining eligibility for adoption, only those student expectations that are addressed in both the student and teacher materials will be considered.

 Since the materials available are not exclusively textbooks, school districts are left to consider factors that may not have been prevalent in the last adoption.  Considerations such as: Do we have the infrastructure to support accessing exclusive online content or electronic resources?  Will my teachers need to be trained on accessing online materials?  Do these materials meet the needs of our campuses, such as materials available in Spanish?  How do we ensure that we are investing in the right materials for Social Studies classrooms while considering our district’s future growth?

I’ve heard from school districts that are in the full swing of forming committees of teachers to examine adoption materials and have created evaluation rubrics for their teachers to employ in the review process.  I’ve also heard from school districts that have yet to start the entire development.  If your district is still in the beginning stages of navigating the materials adoption, you have until the spring to make decisions that will probably last another 10 years or possibly longer.

Below are a few tools that may be helpful to you as you begin your review process: