Back in 2011, Indiana Public Law 73-2011 altered state and local textbook adoption procedures. Under this law, Indiana no longer follows a strict six-year cycle for math materials adoption. Textbook adoptions are now under the control of the local superintendent and school board. Adoption of new math materials is optional, and districts have the discretion to continue to use current materials beyond the six-year cycle without needing a waiver from the state. Likewise, the State Board of Education no longer produces a list of approved textbooks from which districts must choose. Thus, local school districts determine their own materials review process, purchasing cycles, and criteria for the selection of new materials (both print and digital).
Because of this, many districts have not adopted math textbooks and materials since the last official math textbook adoption year in 2009. Teachers have supplemented outdated textbooks and curriculum with lessons and resources they have found from various sources. Many times teachers are spending their own money to get the lessons that best suit their needs to teach their students. The good news is that in 2021-22, schools and districts have the opportunity to change this practice. YES! This year is the math textbook and materials year to be highlighted here in Indiana.
If schools or districts decide to investigate the possibilities of a math textbook, program, or materials adoption, they need to go through a series of 6 steps to be prepared. If all the steps are followed and no shortcuts are taken, a school or district will end up with quality math textbooks, programs, or materials for their teachers and students to use.
6 Essential Steps for Textbook Adoption
Establish the process you will use to review and adopt
Set your goals for the math textbook, program, or materials you are adopting
Get all necessary stakeholders involved
Conduct a “Needs Assessment”
Determine your budget
Establish your decision-making tools
Set a timeline for your adoption process
Develop your priorities and considerations for the textbook adoption
Get all stakeholders on the same page
Determine your instructional vision
Analyze Indiana Academic Standard requirements
Establish review criteria
Determine possible math textbooks, programs, or materials to review
Attend publishers presentations
Check what other similar schools and districts are using
Search online to find additional options
Determine 3 – 5 good choices to start investigating and delve into more deeply
Investigate the choices you have narrowed down
Use the Decision Making Tools you established to review the textbook, program, or materials
Gather information from publishers and others using the materials
Do a “Needs Assessment” of professional development required to implement the textbook, program, or materials with fidelity
Make the decision
Compare strengths, weaknesses, gaps, and support necessary
Analyze feedback from all the stakeholders
Determine what is necessary to implement every choice
Using the established Decision-Making Tools supported by evidence found while investigating the textbooks, programs, or materials, narrow down the choices to your top 2 in order
Make the decision and get all necessary approvals
Plan for procurement
Start the implementation process
Arrange and perform all necessary and required professional development to use the adopted textbooks, programs, or materials
Distribute the textbook, program, or materials
Plan for ongoing support for implementation
Establish a feedback system or process so needs can be communicated for needed support
The good news is you have time to create and establish your six steps to make the adoption process as easy and seamless as possible. You do not have to reinvent the wheel for this. There are many Needs Assessment tools, Curriculum Evaluation tools, Textbook, Program, and Materials Evaluation tools, Professional Development Needs Assessment Tools, and other resources available to help you.
You can contact me, Bill Reed, at INcompassing Education, email@example.com. I can share with you many of these tools I have curated over the years. I collected some of them while I was the Secondary Math Specialist at the Indiana Department of Education. I collected others while I was reviewing and evaluating textbooks, programs, or materials when I was in the classroom as a teacher. There are many more resources available for you to use.
There will be a “Math Textbook Caravan” traveling through Indiana in January and February 2022. It will be stopping in 10 locations across Indiana. There will be 7 publishers presenting K – 6 materials, 9 publishers presenting 6 – 8 materials, 7 publishers presenting Algebra 1 and Geometry materials, and 4 publishers presenting Advanced Math materials. All publishers will have their math experts in attendance to answer questions and demonstrate their math textbooks, programs, and materials. Attending the Math Textbook Caravan presentations are either free or at a very minimal cost to the participants. Participants will be able to talk to the publisher representative and discuss procuring examination materials for their school or district.
If you are thinking about attending the Math Textbook Caravan or adopting math textbooks, programs, or materials a great place to start would be at EdReports. EdReports is an educator-led, grant and foundation-funded, independent reviewer of Math, E/LA, and Science educational textbooks, programs, and materials. They do not recommend educational textbooks, programs, and materials but they do review and evaluate educational textbooks, programs, and materials based on a very comprehensive process. You can learn more by going to their website. The place you want to start is here for any K – 8 math textbooks, programs, and materials or here for any high school math textbooks, programs, and materials.
I have compiled a list of possible textbooks, programs, and materials for you to consider at the various levels as a starting point. These lists are by no means exhaustive, but will help you with some of the more commonly used textbooks, programs, and materials. The list includes the publisher’s name, the name or title of the textbook or program, the website where you can find more information and resources to devolve deeper into the textbooks, programs, and materials.