About the Guide. This Science Educator’s Guide to Selecting High-Quality Instructional Materials presents a method for judging the quality of K-12 teaching materials, both in print and online. It is based on AAAS Project 2061’s curriculum-materials analysis procedure which was developed over several years with funding from the National Science Foundation and in consultation with K–12 teachers, materials developers, scientists, teacher educators, and cognitive researchers nationwide. The procedure’s criteria for making judgments about materials are based on the relevant research into effective science teaching and learning.
The Guide is designed to help science educators determine how well an instructional material supports students in learning important science ideas such as those described in national benchmarks and standards. With its step-by-step procedure for taking a critical look at instructional materials, the Guide can help science educators take a more informed approach to a number of essential tasks. For example, textbook selection committees can use the Guide to compare the strengths and weaknesses of different curriculum materials. Classroom teachers can use it to decide how best to adapt or supplement the materials they are currently using. And curriculum developers can use the Guide to help them focus their new 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, interactive tutorials, files that can be used as templates for recording evaluation judgments, and links to useful online resources.