Dear Participating Publishers of Mathematics Instructional Materials:
CHANGES TO THE 2012 MATHEMATICS SUPPLEMENTAL INSTRUCTIONAL MATERIALS REVIEW
It is with regret that the California Department of Education (CDE) and the State Board of Education (SBE) must announce a temporary suspension of the Category 2 component of the 2012 Supplemental Instructional Materials Review (SIMR) in mathematics. Category 2 is for general submissions that can supplement any mathematics program currently being used by school districts.
The review of mathematics materials in Category 1, submissions to supplement current state-adopted programs, will continue. The review of English language arts materials is not affected.
We received 42 submissions of supplemental instructional materials programs in mathematics by the May 16, 2012 deadline. Of those 42 submissions, 34 were in Category 2. In addition to the publishers of currently-adopted instructional materials, a large number of smaller publishers submitted programs for a wide range of grade levels.
However, our recruitment of reviewers did not keep pace with the demand posed by that dramatic turnout of publishers. Generally, a successful review panel has between seven and ten members, including at least one Content Expert with a doctorate in the subject area under review. Panels typically review one, two, or (rarely) three programs. We received just over 60 applicants for the mathematics review, but only five Content Experts. We attempted to create panels to review the 42 submissions, assigning five or six reviewers to each panel. Seven of the twelve panels did not have a Content Expert assigned to them. Since the mathematics reviewers were approved by the SBE in March, a number of reviewers have dropped out, citing personal or professional hardship, leaving us with only 54 confirmed reviewers. The state law that authorizes this process required that all reviewers be approved by the State Board of Education, a requirement that precluded us from recruiting more reviewers without missing our project deadlines. Faced with the prospect of panels of only four or five reviewers, with three or four programs assigned to each, we have had no choice but to limit the scope of the review by temporarily suspending the Category 2 review component.
The low number of prospective reviewers in mathematics demonstrates the strain upon LEAs, which have been our primary source of applicants in the past. Reviewers do not receive any stipend for their service, and volunteer their time. In addition to the days of training and deliberations, the review of submitted programs can often take a hundred hours or more for just one program. For the SIMR process the mathematics panels would have had by necessity three or four programs per panel assigned to them, which would have meant a very high workload.
We will continue the scheduled training of mathematics reviewers on June 28–29, 2012, at the Orange County Department of Education. The already-approved reviewers will be grouped into a smaller number of panels that will review the Category 1 mathematics submissions. While we regret that we cannot accommodate the publishers who provided submissions in Category 2, we will continue our work with the Legislature to try to gain authorization for a full adoption in mathematics prior to the scheduled 2014–15 implementation of assessments based upon the CCSS. In addition, we will seek a remedy to allow for the Category 2 review to occur.
Publishers of Category 2 submissions may still continue to market their instructional materials to LEAs. LEAs have the authority to adopt supplemental instructional materials that meet their specific local needs at any time, as long as those materials meet the requirements for social content in the Education Code sections 60040–60045 and 60048, as well as the SBE guidelines in the document Standards for Evaluating Instructional Materials for Social Content (2000 Edition), available on the CDE Social Content Review Web page at http://www.cde.ca.gov/ci/cr/cf/lc.asp. The CDE conducts social content reviews for kindergarten through grade eight instructional materials. School districts may also conduct their own reviews. For grades nine through twelve, local governing boards have the responsibility for ensuring that the social content standards are met. If you would like to submit your supplemental program(s) for social content review, the Web page linked above includes all necessary information.
Additionally, the California Learning Resource Network, located at the Stanislaus County Office of Education, is currently reviewing digital materials for alignment to the recently adopted Common Core State Standards. They post the results of their reviews and further information on their Web site at www.clrn.org .
If you have any questions regarding this bulletin, please contact Kenneth McDonald, Lead Consultant, Curriculum Frameworks Unit, by phone at 916-319-0447 or by e-mail at email@example.com. You may also contact David Almquist, Publisher Liaison, Instructional Resources Unit, by phone at 916-319-0444 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thomas Adams, Director
Curriculum Frameworks and Instructional Resources Division
cc: The Honorable Alan Lowenthal, California State Senate
The Honorable Julia Brownley, California State Assembly
Michael Kirst, President, State Board of Education
Dale Shimasaki, Association of American Publishers
David Gomez, President, Association of California School Administrators.