Shopping for AP Materials?

The College Board recently announced the 2017 AP® Example Textbook Lists.  Only materials that Learning List reviewed were eligible for inclusion on the Example Textbook Lists for the courses listed here. CoursesThe College Board used our reviews to select the materials included on those Lists.
To date, we have reviewed almost 100 publisher-produced and OER AP materials. To ensure that the reviews are of the highest caliber, we collaborated with The College Board to design the review methodology, and we hired as our reviewers many of the AP teachers who helped the College Board design the AP course frameworks.
Here are three important ways our reviews help teachers choose and use AP materials most effectively. Alignment of Materials

(1) Alignment to the course frameworks  A material’s inclusion on an Example Textbook list, does not mean that a material is aligned to 100% of the Learning Objectives (LO) or Practices/Skills contained in the course framework. As this table shows, materials on the Example Textbook lists range significantly in their alignment to the course frameworks. Our alignment reports not only show the standards to which each material is/is not aligned, but more importantly, specific citations that are/are not aligned to each standard.

(2) Enhanced correlations: Our alignment reports provide more guidance than the publisher’s correlation.  Quote from AP TeacherWe review AP materials for alignment to each LO, Essential Knowledge (EK) and Skill/Practice contained in the relevant course framework.


(3) Instructional design and supports: Beyond alignment, our editorial reviews help teachers determine which materials will provide the best instructional resources and support to help prepare their students for success in the course. The editorial reviews describe how closely each material follows the design of the course framework. They highlight the number and type of instructional supports provided for teachers and students. And, they explain how well the material fulfills the pedagogical shift in the redesigned course frameworks (e.g., whether assessment questions are structured similarly to the AP exam questions, whether the material offers hand-on learning experiences, etc…). Quote from AP Teacher


This 3-minute video explains the types of reviews and tools available on Learning List.com. We offer campus-wide, district-wide or AP-only subscriptions to make our reviews accessible to all AP teachers. Contact us for more information.


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Thank You! Learning List Wins 1776 People’s Choice in Education: @1776 Challenge Cup

[Source: 1776]

[Source: 1776]

Dear supporters,

We won … now it’s on to Washington, D.C. for the 1776 Challenge Cup Finals!

THANK YOU for helping Learning List become the People’s Choice education candidate in the 1776 Challenge Cup. We are overwhelmed not only by your votes but also by notes like the ones below from subscribers who shared how Learning List is helping them improve instruction for their students:

“I’ve just spent my first day really working in the website, and WOW, I am amazed by the information that it provides!  Not only am I going to be able to sign the TEA Certification with confidence, but more importantly, I am also going to be able to provide tools to my principal and teachers which will vastly improve our instructional program.  You have made my job as superintendent infinitely easier!  I can’t say it enough:  THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!

Our district is a tiny school district (just over 200 in PreK-12), and the principal and I sometimes feel overwhelmed with the task of providing high quality resources to our teachers and for our kids. We sometimes feel very alone out here in the rural Texas Panhandle, but your email reminded us that we are part of a bigger team and that there ARE people out there like us who truly care about being of service to others. Clearly, that is what you and your company are about. When I saw all that Learning List offered, it became apparent that you could charge far more for a Learning List subscription….but you don’t.”

[Source: 1776]

[Source: 1776; Twitter @1776]

To publishers who sent the link around their companies to help us move forward in this competition:

THANK YOU for helping us get the word out so that more districts/schools and publishers will hear about Learning List and have the opportunity to benefit from the service we provide.

With my deepest gratitude,



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5 Key Features that Make Learning List Unique

[Source: Learning List]

[Source: Learning List]

(1) Learning List is a service: Learning List is not just a review site. Subscriber requests drive our review process. Subscribers can access the over 800 reviews we’ve already completed; and, if we haven’t reviewed a product of interest to them, they can request a review:

·    Campus/district selection committees can request reviews of materials;

·    Principals can request reviews of materials their teachers want the campus to buy; and

·    Teachers can request reviews of materials they hear about from colleagues in other districts.

Then, teachers/curriculum teams can use our alignment reports on an ongoing basis to help them assign only the portions of their districts’ materials that are truly aligned to the depth and rigor of each standard.  Thus, Learning List functions as an extension the school/district’s curriculum department.

“In order to be good stewards of taxpayer money, we’ve partnered with Learning List to make better educated purchasing decisions.” Misty Swanger, Director of Curriculum & Instruction, Jonathan Alder School District

“Learning List helps districts use their instructional materials instructionally.” Pat Hardy, Texas State Board of Education member.

(2) Learning List reviews comprehensive (year-long) and supplemental materials (specialized): We review instructional materials of all types in all formats, English and Spanish versions. In order to expand subscribers’ choices and help them make cost- and instructionally-effective purchases, we purposefully review products offered at different prices from major and specialty publishers, as well as open-educational resources. The table below lists the Learning List-verified alignment percentages and prices of five of the products reviewed in 6th grade math:


While alignment is critical to student success, Learning List also provides an editorial review addressing equally important attributes of each material’s instructional content and design, including focus, coherence, rigor, ease of use and adaptions for special populations. 

“Most teachers don’t have the time, expertise or experience Learning List’s reviewers have to review instructional materials. This is a very valuable service for districts.”  John Lopez, Former Managing Director for Instructional Materials and Ed Tech, Texas Education Agency

“Our teachers often ask us to buy products, and we don’t know if they’re any good. Learning List’s independent reviews will help us figure out what to buy.” Shelley Reavis, Director of Curriculum, Burnett CISD

(3) Learning List is standards agnostic: Learning List has no allegiance to any particular set of standards. Developed in response to requests from educators who were tired of purchasing materials that failed to live up to publishers’ alignment (and other) claims, Learning List reviews materials aligned to a variety of standards, including state-specific,  Common Core  and Advanced Placement. Reviews for Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)-aligned materials will be released in summer 2015.

“Learning List is an invaluable tool for educators, especially those in small and mid-sized districts.  Their objective reviews, absent of political influences, benefit students, parents and school districts.  I cannot recommend them highly enough.” Thomas Ratliff, Texas State Board of Education member

(4) Learning List empowers choice. Teachers and students have different needs and capabilities; therefore, each district/campus looks for different attributes in instructional materials. For that reason, Learning List does not rank or recommend materials.  Rather, we provide thee distinct types of reviews to help educators determine which materials will best meet their students’ (and teachers’) needs:

  • a detailed alignment report verifying the material’s alignment to each standard for the applicable grade/subject. Learning List then calculates the percentage of the standards to which the material is aligned;
  • an editorial review describing the material’s instructional content and design using a research-based protocol with over 100 criteria; and, 
  • educator ratings and reviews based on specified criteria consistent with effective teaching practices. Thus, the only “ratings” provided are those of educators who have used the products with students.

All products are completely reviewed and reviewed against the same criteria for each of the 3 types of reviews to make it easy for subscribers to compare materials on an equal playing field. Learning List’s reviews are accompanied by a completed publisher questionnaire, in which the publisher presents their product directly to our subscribers; Learning List does not edit the publisher’s responses. 

“By using Learning List, our district identified a supplemental math resource that helped raise scores across all elementary grade levels in one year. We couldn’t have done this without your reviews.” Rick Howard, Superintendent, Comanche ISD

(5) Learning List is subscription-based. We offer our service for a low, annual subscription rate. Campus- or district-wide annual subscriptions are based on student enrollment with rates starting at $1/student and decreasing as enrollment increases. After all, if a campus/district is going to spend $75+/per student on new instructional materials this year, doesn’t it make sense to spend $1 or less per student to choose and then use their instructional materials more effectively?

A nimble company with a sustainable business model, Learning List responds quickly to educators’ evolving needs in a rapidly changing marketplace.

“I can’t imagine why any district that heard your presentation would not want to subscribe to your service. Your reviews are awesome.” Doug Rawlins, Principal, Panhandle ISD

“Your detailed alignment reports alone would have saved our urban district tens of thousands of dollars in overtime and staff stipends.” Dr. Yolanda Rey, Executive Director, Texas ASCD 

More information about Learning List’s Features and Methodology is available here.

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Three of the Five Largest Texas School Districts Subscribe to Learning List

[Source: IMCAT]

[Source: IMCAT]

Following the recent release of the State Board of Education’s adoption list, three of the five largest school districts in Texas have subscribed to Learning List for independent reviews of instructional materials. Learning List, the industry-leading instructional materials review service for schools and districts, has reviewed the state-adopted materials, as well as many other products not submitted for state adoption in all four core subjects. This announcement today was shared at the Instructional Materials Coordinators  Association of Texas (IMCAT) conference in Fort Worth, Texas (Learning List is at Booth 315).

“We need to make sure that we’re being good stewards of the taxpayer’s funds,” said Matt Tyner, Textbook Manager for Dallas Independent School District. “Learning List’s reviews provide our selection committees with the information they need to help them decide if a material will meet our students’ needs. We’ve told publishers that Dallas ISD won’t consider purchasing materials that are not either on the state-adopted list or reviewed by Learning List.”

Learning List reviews comprehensive as well as supplemental products which are designed for a specific niche. Three types of reviews are featured for each instructional material: a detailed alignment report to state standards; an editorial review and educator ratings and reviews.

“We must ensure that we are purchasing the best materials for our students. Learning List expands the selection of materials we can consider. Their reviews then help us narrow our choices so that teachers spend less time in selection committees and have more time to teach,” said Dr. Linda Mora, Deputy Superintendent for Curriculum & Instruction for Northside ISD.

Not only can subscribing districts access Learning List’s completed reviews, they can also request reviews of additional materials. In that way, Learning List becomes an extension of the district’s curriculum department.

Austin ISD was one of the first subscribing districts. According to Dr. Suzanne Burke, Associate Superintendent for Academics for Austin ISD, “Our district used Learning List last year and found the service to be well worth the subscription price. With so many product choices these days, we simply don’t have the staff or time to review materials as thoroughly as Learning List does. Their reviews provide a great starting point for our selection process and give us greater confidence in our purchasing decisions.”

Stretch-Your-BudgetVisit LearningList.com for more information about the service or schedule a free webinar to see the reviews/tools on the site and qualify for a free trial. Learning List is exhibiting at IMCAT on Monday, December 8th and Tuesday, December 9th. Jackie Lain, President of Learning List, will be presenting at 2:15PM on Tuesday, Dec. 9, at 2:15PM at the Omni Texas I conference room. The session is “Learn How to Project Your IMA & Strategies for Stretching Your IMA Funds.”

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January 2022