History-Social Science Instructional Materials

Article excerpt

California through its lists of adopted instructional materials for kindergarten through grade eight has brought about Standards-based reform in the classroom. By reviewing instructional materials according to the Standards, curriculum Frameworks, and criteria for evaluation, the state of California adopts instructional programs or puts them on a list of state-approved materials that allows school districts to use state funds. The first round of Standards-based adoptions was between 1999 and 2002 when the state of California conducted five adoptions in four years: history-social science in 1999, special adoptions of mathematics and language arts in 1999, science in 2000, mathematics in 2001, and reading/ language arts in 2002. The next round of Standards-based adoptions will occur between 2005 and 2008 and once again there will be five adoptions in four years but with the addition of visual and performing arts: history-social science in 2005, science in 2006, visual and performing arts in 2006, mathematics in 2007, and reading/language arts in 2008. The focus of this article will be on the upcoming 2005 history-social science adoption and the criteria that will be used for evaluating materials.

The State Board of Education adopted "Criteria for Evaluating Instructional Materials History-Social Science: Kindergarten through Grade Eight" in January 2003, available at http://www.cde.ca.gov/cflr. Under Education Code section 60200(c)(6),criteria must be issued at least 30 months prior to action by the State Board of Education. Noteworthy is that the criteria for Standards-based adoptions have followed a similar format of five categories: content/alignment with Standards, program organization, assessment, universal access, and instructional planning and support. In Standards-based adoptions, the category of content/alignment with Standards is the gatekeeper. Materials that are not aligned Standards are not adopted. The categories for the 2005 history-social science adoption criteria will be following the format found in other Standards-based adoptions but have been shaped to according the needs of the subject area:

1. History-Social Science Content/Alignment with Standards: The content as specified in the Education Code, the History-Social Science Content Standards, and the History.Social Science Framework (2001 Updated Edition)

2. Program Organization: The sequence and organization of the history-social science program

3. Assessment: The strategies presented in the instructional materials for measuring what students know and are able to do

4. Universal Access: Instructional materials that are understandable to all students, including students eligible for special education, English learners, and students whose achievement is either below or above that typical of the class or grade level

5. Instructional Planning and Support: The instructional planning and support information and materials, typically including a separate edition specially designed for use by teachers in implementing the History-Social Science Content Standards and History-Social Science Framework

The role of these categories is explicitly stated and the emphasis, as in other subject areas, is on content: "To be adopted, materials must first meet in full Category 1, History-Social Science Content/Alignment with Standards. Materials will be evaluated holistically in the other categories of Program Organization, Assessment, Universal Access, and Instructional Planning and Support." Category 1 has the important role of ensuring that instructional materials have the necessary Standards-aligned content. Because of its importance, History-Social Science Content/Alignment with Standards invites greater discussion.

Standards

There are twenty-five elements list under the category of content. These different elements may be grouped in the following way: Standards, Framework, geography and ecology, economics, civics, religion, local option, and accuracy. …

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