What is the Texas Resource Review and what are the Instructional Material Reviews?
A growing body of research demonstrates that the quality of instructional materials teachers use has a significant impact on student achievement. Local Education Agencies (LEAs) across Texas are eager to purchase the best materials for their teachers and students, but free information about the quality of materials can be disorganized, unreliable, and difficult to access. Additionally, reviewing instructional materials is a time-consuming process for the teachers who serve on their LEA's review committees.
What does it mean to evaluate the quality of instructional materials?
TEA contracts with a private entity to conduct an independent analysis of each instructional material to evaluate its quality. As a part of this process, the agency ensures that the definition of quality is transparently communicated via rubrics that are used to assess all instructional materials.
While the quality evaluation rubrics are customized based on content area and grade band, there are commonalities across all rubrics. For example, all quality evaluation rubrics include:
What is the process for developing the rubric?
The goal of the TRR rubrics is to provide LEAs with helpful information about the quality of instructional materials. The rubrics are customized based on content area and grade band with some commonalities across all rubrics. The first rubrics to be developed are for English Language Arts and Reading, grades K-12.
ELAR rubric development occurred in three phases:
How many districts or people have been included in feedback opportunities?
In preparation for a pilot project concluded in May 2019, the agency conducted 24 presentations, 17 focus groups, and 46 individual phone calls, representing targeted outreach to over 400 stakeholders and 12 different organizations and associations. In addition, the rubric was distributed on multiple TEA email lists that included more than 43,000 subscribers with a request for feedback. TEA requested all education service centers hold presentations and focus groups with all districts in their regions.
Who has provided feedback on the reviews and the review process?
TEA has received feedback from hundreds of stakeholders including but not limited to Texas teachers, district and campus administrators, SBOE members, regional education service centers, numerous Texas associations, and publishers.
How does the Texas Resource Review work with the TEKS review process? Are they different?
The agency is engaged in ongoing conversations with the State Board of Education (SBOE) to ensure TRR will complement and augment the established TEKS-coverage review process. This is demonstrated in the TRR rubrics where the first measure of quality reflects the results of the SBOE’s review process to report the percentage of standards covered. All materials reviewed for quality will also be reviewed through the SBOE’s TEKS-coverage review process, and the results of the SBOE process will be featured as a part of the quality reviews on the TRR website.
How does this align with the State Board of Education's Long-Range Plan?
The State Board of Education adopted a new Long-Range Plan for Public Education that establishes an overall goal of “access and equity so that all children receive what they need to learn, thrive, and grow.” To achieve this vision, one specific recommendation from the SBOE is that TEA “provide a greater array of no-cost or low-cost resources to support high-quality, aligned curriculum and instruction for all educators.”
How did the Texas Resource Review come about?
This project is required by statute in SB 810, 85(R) and companion legislation in HB 3526, 85(R). These bills require TEA to develop and maintain a web portal that includes: a) general information such as price, technology requirements, etc. for each material on the state adoption list or submitted by a publisher, b) a quality evaluation of the material conducted by a private entity, and the extent to which materials cover the TEKS, and c) a repository of open educational resources accessible at no cost, including state-developed materials.
Who conducts the reviews?
All reviewers are Texas educators who use the rubric developed for Texas. Each review team consists of five reviewers. At least two review team members are current classroom teachers. Other reviewers may be Texas district and campus administrators who demonstrate comprehensive understanding of the TEKS, rigorous expectations for high-quality instructional materials, and deep knowledge of effective curriculum implementation.
What are the financial benefits to Texas?
The Texas Resource Review, including all published quality reviews, will be available at no cost to districts across Texas. Feedback from some districts indicates that increased access to free, user-friendly information will help improve their local review and adoption processes which for some may result in cost savings.
Are there incentives or consequences related to this project?
No. Using the reviews is completely optional. There are no incentives or penalties associated with using or not using the reviews.
How does this affect local purchase decisions?
TEA believes deeply that LEAs are best positioned to decide which curricula best fit the needs of their teachers and students. The TRR website is designed to complement and strengthen each LEA’s local review process by providing clear and transparent information about the quality of curricula. The TRR does not impact a district's ability to make their own local review and adoption decisions.
When will the reviews be published?
The agency is planning to publish the first set of reviews on the Texas Resource Review website in November 2019.
Once published, do districts have to use the information?
No. LEAs will maintain complete local control over purchasing decisions. LEAs will continue to have complete autonomy to decide if and how they use the reviews as part of their local decision-making processes.
My district already uses certain programs or subscriptions. Does this project just replace that?
LEAs should use the resources that best meet their local needs. The goal of the Texas Resource Review is to ensure that all LEAs across Texas have access to valid and reliable information about the quality of instructional materials, not to supplant other resources that LEAs find helpful.
Which other grades and content areas will be reviewed in the future?
The Texas Resource Review is intended to be a continuous process where teams of Texas educators conduct quality reviews of materials that meet the needs of districts. Therefore, additional content areas, grade levels, and supplemental materials will likely be reviewed in the future.
How is this different from other state who are doing similar projects?
The Texas Resource Review is designed specifically for Texas. All rubrics are based on the TEKS and created specifically for Texas educators. The reviews incorporate the SBOE’s TEKS alignment results into the quality rating, and Instructional Materials Reviews are completed by teams consisting exclusively of Texas educators.
What resources are being devoted to this project?
Each district and open-enrollment charter school is entitled to a technology and instructional materials allotment (TIMA). The amount of the TIMA is determined biennially by the Commissioner of Education and is based on legislative appropriation. For the 2018–2019 biennium (school years 2017-18 and 2018–2019), the allocation for each LEA was based on total enrollment and bilingual enrollment. A total of $1,008,997,073.19 was allocated directly to districts.