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Instructional Materials Implementation

Implementation of Instructional Materials Not Adopted by California.

Implementation of Instructional Materials Not Adopted by California

The California State Board of Education (SBE) reviews and adopts instructional materials programs for kindergarten through grade eight, pursuant to the California Constitution and various state laws and regulations. However, pursuant to California Education Code (EC) Section 60210, a school district may utilize instructional materials not adopted by the SBE, so long as the materials are aligned to state standards and a majority of the participants of any review process conducted by the district are classroom teachers who are assigned to the subject area or grade level of the materials being reviewed.

The process of selecting and implementing new instructional materials should be thoroughly planned, conducted publicly and well documented. At every step a district should adhere to EC Section 60002 which states the following: “Each district board shall provide for substantial teacher involvement in the selection of instructional materials and shall promote the involvement of parents and other members of the community in the selection of instructional materials.”

Initial Selections Process

The SBE-adopted curriculum framework for the respective subject will provide extensive information regarding initial selection of instructional materials, and its review should be the first step in any curriculum development and instructional materials selection process.

A district should establish a committee charged with recommending instructional materials for local governing board adoption. The committee should involve representatives of all populations in the district including, parents, administrators, teachers at all grade levels, English learner programs, and programs to support students with special needs. The committee should:

  • Review criteria for evaluation of instructional resources as outlined in the most recent SBE-approved curriculum framework for the subject area under consideration. These criteria include alignment with the SBE-adopted content standards, program organization, assessment, universal access, and instructional planning with teacher support.

  • Review, as appropriate, the Toolkit for Evaluating Alignment of Instructional and Assessment Materials developed by Achieve, the Council of Chief State School Officers, and Student Achievement Partners located at
    Chief Council of Chief State School Officers Resources External link opens in new window or tab..

  • Review the SBE or district adopted grade level content standards for the specific subject area under consideration.

  • Review the district’s Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP) in order to remain aware of district goals.

  • Identify student strengths and weaknesses using district or site level data as appropriate. Disaggregate measures of student achievement in mathematics and language arts from statewide tests results. Review results from district assessments in the content area for which materials are being adopted. District assessment data would be especially useful for the content areas that do not have CAASPP results.

  • Identify student diversity/universal access issues that instructional materials need to address—above grade level, below grade level, English learner populations, and special needs populations. Ensure that the instructional materials being considered provide equitable access to all areas of the curriculum for all students. The federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) requires a district to provide accessible instructional materials to students who need them for participation and achievement. While SBE-adopted materials are available in accessible formats from the CDE, a district utilizing non-adopted materials will need to obtain digital files and have them converted to accessible formats, such as braille and large print books.

A district should define and prioritize evaluation criteria, and develop an evaluation instrument. The evaluation instrument should reflect criteria from the State, but it should also reflect district or site specific concerns, such as, organization of teacher materials, management/availability of supplemental materials, required level of teacher knowledge, preparation time, etc.

Additionally, the district must ensure that instructional materials comply with the state laws and regulations for social content. Instructional materials must meet EC Sections 60040–60045 as well as the SBE guidelines in the Standards for Evaluating Instructional Materials for Social Content. These laws and the SBE guidelines require that instructional materials used in California public schools reflect California’s multicultural society, avoid stereotyping, and contribute to a positive learning environment. Instructional materials that are adopted by the SBE meet the social content requirements. If a district is not purchasing state-adopted instructional materials, the district must ensure that the review for social content review is done at the state or local level. Information about the review process and the CDE’s searchable database can be found on the CDE Social Content Review Web page at Social Content Review.

The next step in the instructional materials selection process is the piloting of materials. For more information, please refer to the Guidelines for Piloting Textbooks and Instructional Materials (DOC), adopted by the State Board of Education in January 2015, on the CDE Instructional Materials Adoption Web page at Instructional Materials Adoption.

Instructional Materials Sufficiency

In selecting new instructional materials, a district must remain vigilant in its compliance with EC Section 60119, commonly known as Williams for instructional materials sufficiency. This law in part requires that every pupil in the school district has sufficient textbooks or instructional materials, or both, that are consistent with the content and cycles of the curriculum framework and aligned to the SBE-adopted content standards adopted. All students must have access to the materials both in the classroom and to take home.

If using materials from more than one source to provide content aligned to the SBE-adopted standards, a district should develop a curriculum map to identify the materials which will provide complete coverage of the standards. Such documentation is important for determining whether or not the district is in compliance with EC Section 60119 by having actual instructional materials, print and or digital, and that they in fact are aligned to the content standards and consistent with the content and cycles of the curriculum framework adopted by the SBE.

For more information please visit the CDE’s Instructional Materials Frequently Asked Questions Web page at Instructional Materials FAQs.

Questions:   Curriculum Frameworks and Instructional Materials Division | cfird@cde.ca.gov | 916-319-0881
Last Reviewed: Thursday, August 23, 2018