2061 Connections
An electronic newsletter for the science education community

March 2011

Selecting Standards-Based Science Materials

With an abundance of print and online instructional materials to choose from, many science teachers have a difficult time finding those that are likely to be most effective in helping their students achieve state and national science standards. To offer some expert help in this task, Project 2061 has produced the online Science Educator’s Guide to Selecting High-Quality Instructional Materials. The new Guide is based on AAAS Project 2061’s curriculum analysis procedure, which was developed over several years with funding from the National Science Foundation. The procedure was also used by Project 2061 in its widely cited evaluations of middle and high school science and mathematics textbooks.

Through illustrative examples and interactive tutorials, the Guide provides a step-by-step approach to evaluating instructional materials that can be used by:

  • Classroom teachers to select new materials or adapt or supplement those they are currently using;
  • Textbook selection committees to compare the strengths and weaknesses of different materials; and
  • curriculum developers to focus their instructional designs more precisely on the ideas they want students to learn.

The online version of the Guide includes examples from textbooks that have received high and low ratings when previously evaluated using the Project 2061 procedure, a set of self-guided tutorials, templates for keeping track of decisions about materials, and links to useful online resources.

Screen shot of the Educator's Guide

The Science Educator’s Guide to Selecting High-Quality Instructional Materials was developed with support from the AAAS William T. Golden Endowment Fund for Innovative Programs and is available free of charge.


American Association for the Advancement of Science. (1993). Benchmarks for science literacy. New York: Oxford University Press.

National Research Council. (1996). National science education standards. Washington, DC: National Academy Press.

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For more information about Project 2061’s Science Educator’s Guide to Selecting High-Quality Instructional Materials, please contact:

Principal Investigator: Dr. Francis Molina, (202) 326-7002

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