Last week, EdWeek ran an article about a study by two professors evaluating whether commonly used K-12 textbooks are aligned to the CCSS. Though the study has not yet been released, the article seems to suggest that the professors found none of the textbooks to be suitably aligned.
I applaud the authors of the study and the article for cautioning educators to examine carefully instructional materials claiming to be aligned to the CCSS. While some publishers may be putting “lipstick on a pig,” Learning List has found that most of the publishers whose products we’ve reviewed are working hard to align their content to the CCSS standards. In fact, our reviewers have found several products to be highly aligned to the CCSS, some even 100 percent aligned to the content, context and cognitive rigor of the CCSS. However, in some product lines we found dramatic discrepancies in alignment from grade to grade, suggesting that educators must review carefully the alignment of the product for the grade level they are teaching.
One reason our experience may be different from the professors’ experience is that we are likely reviewing more current product editions. That’s good news for educators, as it shows that publishers are either constructing new or enhancing older versions their products to more closely align with the CCSS. In response to our alignment verifications, some publishers have added new content to align their products more closely with the rigor required of the CCSS or have changed their correlations to eliminate citations that we found not to be aligned to the standards. Thus, an ancillary but critically important benefit of our service has been to help publishers strengthen the alignment of their products. That’s good news for publishers, for educators and for students, alike