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Evaluation Criteria for EEI Instruction Materials

Criteria with slight modifications to the State Board of Education's Instructional Materials Criteria.

Education and the Environment Initiative Instructional Materials Evaluation Criteria

The ultimate goal of the Education and the Environment Initiative’s curriculum is to help students in kindergarten through grade twelve achieve mastery of the applicable Science and History–Social Science Content Standards simultaneously with the mastery of California’s Environmental Principles and Concepts. With these dual goals in mind, we propose the following evaluation criteria which encompass slight modifications to the State Board of Education’s Instructional Materials Criteria for Category 1 for science and history–social science, minor adjustments to Categories 2-5, Legal and Social Compliance review, and specific Education and the Environment Initiative evaluation elements.

A. Instructional Materials Criteria
Category 1: Science Content/Alignment with Standards

Education and the Environment Initiative instructional materials must provide:

  1. Content that is scientifically accurate.
  2. Teaching of the applicable California Science Content Standards at the intended grade level(s) as discussed in the California Science Framework, chapters 3 and 4. The only standards that may be referenced are the California Science Content Standards. There should be no reference to national standards or benchmarks or to any standards other than the California Science Content Standards.
  3. Examples, when directly supportive of the applicable California Science Content Standards and the Environmental Principles and Concepts, such as conservation of natural resources and pollution prevention. These examples should give direct attention to the responsibilities of all people to create and maintain a healthy environment and to use resources wisely.
  4. When investigations and experiments are included, they are integral to, and supportive of, the grade-appropriate physical, life, and earth sciences standards so that investigative and experimental skills are learned in the context of those content standards. The instructional materials must include clear procedures and explanations, in the teacher and student materials, of the science content embedded in hands-on activities.
  5. Explicit instruction in science vocabulary that emphasizes the usage and meaning of common words in a scientific context.
  6. Instructional materials shall use proper grammar and spelling.
Category 1: History–Social Science Content/Alignment with Standard

Education and the Environment Initiative instructional materials must provide:

  1. Teaching of the applicable History–Social Science Content Standards at the intended grade level(s) as discussed in the History–Social Science Framework. The only standards that may be referenced are the California History–Social Science Content Standards. There should be no reference to the national standards or benchmarks or to any standards other than the California History–Social Science Content Standards.
  2. Examples, when directly supportive of the applicable California History–Social Science Content Standards and the Environmental Principles and Concepts, such as humanity’s place in ecological systems and the necessity of the protection of the environment.
  3. Instructional materials shall use proper grammar and spelling.
  4. Instructional materials are historically accurate.
  5. Materials include sufficient use of primary sources appropriate to the age level and content standards. When only an excerpt of a source is included in the materials, the students and teachers are referred to the entire primary source.
  6. Throughout the instructional resources the importance of the variables of time and place, when and where, history and geography is included to help students recognize that events and changes occur in a specific time and place.
  7. As applicable, the history–social science units are enriched with various genres of fiction and nonfiction literature of and about the historical period.
  8. If included, materials on religious subject matter remain neutral; do not advocate one religion over another; do not include simulation or role playing of religious ceremonies or beliefs; do not include derogatory language about a religion or use examples from sacred texts or other religious literature that are derogatory, accusatory, or instill prejudice against other religions or those who believe in other religions.
Category 2: Program Organization (must demonstrate overall strength)

Based on the Education and the Environment Initiative Model Curriculum Plan, the sequence and organization of the Education and the Environment Initiative instructional units provide clear structure regarding what students should learn in relation to each of the identified content standards and a means for teachers to convey science and history–social science content efficiently and effectively while using the environmental principles and concepts as a context for instruction. The content is organized and presented in a manner that provides:

  1. A logical and coherent structure that facilitates efficient and effective teaching and learning within a lesson and unit, and works well in conjunction with the State’s adopted instructional materials in science and history–social science.
  2. Clearly stated student outcomes and goals that are measurable and are based on the Science and History–Social Science Content Standards and the Environmental Principles and Concepts.
  3. Explicit statements of the relevant grade-level content standards in the curriculum units.
Category 3: Assessment (must demonstrate overall strength)

Education and the Environment Initiative instructional materials must provide:

  1. Strategies and tools for continually measuring student achievement including both formative and summative strategies and instruments.
  2. Answer keys for all assessment tools.
Category 4: Universal Access (must demonstrate overall strength)

Education and the Environment Initiative instructional materials must provide:

  1. Guidance for teachers in providing access to the content standards and environmental principles and concepts for students below grade level in reading and writing skills, and for advanced learners.
  2. Evidence of adherence to the following design principles for “considerate text” (where applicable):
Category 5: Instructional Planning and Support (must demonstrate overall strength)

Instructional materials must contain a clear road map for teachers to follow when planning instruction. Education and the Environment Initiative instructional materials must provide:

  1. A checklist of program lessons in the unit materials, with cross-references to the content standards covered, and details regarding the instructional time necessary for all instruction and hands-on activities.
  2. Lesson plans, including suggestions for organizing resources in the classroom and ideas for pacing lessons.
  3. Clear, grade-appropriate explanations of scientific concepts and theories; history–social science themes; and environmental principals and concepts; as well as, important events, people, places, and ideas, presented in a form that teachers can easily adapt for classroom use.
  4. Lists of necessary equipment and materials for any hands-on activities, guidance on obtaining those materials inexpensively, and explicit instructions for organizing and safely conducting the instruction.
  5. If included, homework extends and reinforces classroom instruction and provides additional practice of skills that have been taught.
B. State Board of Education’s Standards for Evaluating Instructional Materials for Social Content

The Education and the Environment Initiative instructional materials must conform with the Standards for Evaluating Instructional Materials for Social Content, 2000 Edition, adopted by the State Board of Education.

Questions:   Curriculum Frameworks and Instructional Resources Division | CFIRD@cde.ca.gov | 916-319-0881
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