California is far ahead of most states (maybe all states) in recognizing that publishers need specific criteria in designing highly effective programs to both address the standards and provide a firm grounding in research-based pedagogies for reaching and teaching all children. California further understands that teachers benefit from strong published programs as they work to support students’ language diversities their classroom. Over the years, they have designed a rigorous process for evaluating and recommending only the most complete and accurate instructional materials for their teachers and students.
In mid-April, I was privileged to work alongside California educators as they move to review and approve grade K-8 publisher materials aligned to the California ELA/ELD Framework (2015). Having learned about the Framework and how it will be applied in the evaluation of publisher submitted programs, I have no qualms about sharing this design with my readers. Furthermore, I suggest that if you are looking for criteria to use in your local adoption program, look no further. Teachers and other educational leaders from outside of California will be impressed with the depth and rigor of this instructional materials evaluation (by the way, California completed this process for math in 2014; click here for the mathematics recommendations).
The process is so rigorous, that announcement of the extensive reviews will not be made until November when the California Department of Education (CDE) adopts and publishes the evaluation and recommendation reports. But those credible reports will be worth the wait. More than thirty programs representing at least twelve educational publishing houses have been submitted for the K-8 review across five program types: Program 1 Basic ELA (K–8); Program 2 Basic ELA/ELD (K–8); Program 3 Basic Biliteracy (K–8); Program 4 Intensive Intervention ELA (4–8); Program 5 Specialized ELD (4–8)
This is not the first time I have participated in a CDE Review. In the spring and summer of 2012, I participated in the Supplemental Instructional Materials Review (SIMR), a review intended to identify for schools published materials aligned to the CCSS ELA/Literacy materials. This was a special review following up on the Common Core adoption of 2010 and coming before the scheduled full-adoption of 2015. During that review, I had the opportunity to preview and evaluate the College Board’s Springboard program for middle school. The review panel did not recommend Springboard for approval (you can find the Report of Findings for all submitted publications here findings here) because it did not meet all of the CC ELA/Literacy Standards–a requirement of approval then and now. To see what programs were approved, click here. In 2012, twenty-eight publisher programs were submitted for the supplemental review; thirteen were approved. The review is rigorous and unbending. All standards must be met.
This review will be different. The Common Core has become common language for publishers. California has provided an extensive narrative describing what must be included with the submissions if they hope to win the CDE’s approval. And the CDE has gone to great lengths in updating the state’s ELA/ELD Framework (July 2014). The extensively researched document is available online, SBE-Adopted ELA/ELD Framework Chapters, but not yet published as a complete edited text.
So what makes California’s Framework so different? First, it is far more than the image you see on this blog. The Framework truly incorporates the Common Core Standards and a set of standards for English Language Development. Instead of merely saying, “If students are correctly taught, they can be successful with the standards,” California is expecting publishers and teachers to provide pedagogically sound, educationally practical, and developmentally appropriate activities, instructions, materials, and assessments in the learning program. Moreover, the design and user-friendliness of the program will be among the criteria evaluated in the review process. The framework (access the full document here) was developed to be used in tandem with the Common Core; as you can see in the graphic, the English Language Development Standards are nested in the very center of the Framework graphic–a nexus of the Common Core ELA/Literacy Standards. Students, all students, come to school with diverse and often disparate language experiences in their homes. It is from that place, their central means of communication, that school takes them to levels of proficiency with the Common Core.
The review of nationally recognized ELA/ELD programs submitted to the California Review Panel can offer guidance to schools and districts across the country as they begin to consider and make purchases of Common Core aligned textbooks for their students and teachers. To see what other publishers/programs are being evaluated, click on this link for a complete listing of those who have submitted instructional materials for this 2015 review. Reviewers have from now until mid-July to complete independent and confidential reviews. In July, we meet again in LA for public deliberations where we will come to consensus on our reviews. Following that week-long process, we will write a formal Report of Findings that will be record evidence related to our decision as related to the ELA/ELD Framework to be submitted to the California Department of Education for their final decision. In November, they will formally announce which programs meet the rigor of evaluation and become recommended by the state for local textbook adoption.
I’ve got to run–my husband and a truck driver have just unloaded three pallets, fifty-seven boxes of McGraw Hill’s California Wonders into my garage. Let the review begin!Share Online