Posts Tagged "IMA"

Infographic: What are Districts Buying?

As Texas districts prepare for the 2015-2016 school year, we analyzed the IMA purchasing data* to identify trends that could offer valuable insights for districts and publishers alike.

Take a look a this infographic (click here to download the PDF version or here for a high-resolution PNG file) to see:

  • State-adopted vs. non-state adopted products purchased (by amount spent and by number of products purchased)
  • Price Variance for High School Math Products (cost/student)
  • Price Variance of Social Studies Products (cost/student)
  • Top High School Math Publishers (by dollars spent)
  • Top Social Studies Publishers (by dollars spent)
  • Top Publishers for all IM Purchased  (by dollars spent)

Conclusion: Districts are buying more non-adopted products than ever before, but spending more on state-adopted products. Product prices vary significantly within a grade and subject, even for products with similar alignment percentages. Smaller publishers are gaining market share in each of the subjects adopted, as more online products are being purchased. With reviews for well over 850 instructional materials from more than 85 publishers, Learning List makes comparison shopping easier to save districts significant time and money and help educators select the products that will best meet their students’ needs.

[Source: Learning List]

List of Statistics

What Products Are Districts Buying? (By Quantity)
57% = Non-state-adopted
43% = state-adopted
How Much $ Districts Spent
75% = state- adopted
25% = non-state adopted
Price Variance in High School Math Products
Geometry: $43 – $140/student (max. is over 3X price) – 8yr. Print and Online
Algebra: $59 – $103/student (max. is 74% higher) – 8yr. Print and Online
Price Variance in Social Studies Products
World History: $52 – $108/student (> 2X price) – 8Yr. Print and Online
Top Math IMs $ Purchased By Publisher
Big Ideas Learning
College Board
Cengage Learning
Math Learning Center
Mentoring Minds
(Top 5 are 85% of all purchases.)
Top Social Studies IM$ Purchased By Publisher
McGraw Hill
Studies Weekly
Teacher Created Materials
Firelight Books
Ramsey Solutions
UT Permian Basin
(Top 5 are 99% of all purchases.)
Top IM Purchases for ALL IMs by Publisher
McGraw Hill
Big Ideas Learning
College Board
Cengage Learning
Quaver Music
Studies Weekly
(Top 5 are 72% of all purchases.)

* Data Source: TEA Instructional Materials Allotment Expenditures (May 2015)

© 2015 Learning List

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Buyer Beware (Part 1): Sooner is Better

[Source: Seattle Edu.]

[Source: Seattle Edu.]

Caveat Emptor … a Latin phrase meaning, “Buyer Beware.” For centuries buyers have been held to a standard of due diligence; do your homework before you buy or suffer the consequences.

Purchasing instructional materials is the single largest annual purchase a school district typically makes. To put it in context: school districts spend more on instructional materials annually than you paid for your house. A purchase that large certainly merits careful due diligence.

Traditionally, reviewing instructional materials before the district makes its selection decisions has been delegated to overworked district staff who review the available materials at vendor fairs, in their “spare” time at school and at home, and during interminable selection committee meetings. Furthermore, the task of reviewing and comparing instructional materials has become increasingly difficult in a rapidly evolving marketplace. In a series of blog posts, we will explain some of the key mistakes we see districts making when it comes to purchasing instructional materials and some suggested solutions.

Mistake #1: Sooner is better.

I often hear districts rushing to complete their instructional materials selections process by early February or even early March. Some do so believing that the law requires boards to approve materials by March or April. There is no law in Texas requiring districts to approve local adoptions by any particular time. Districts are free to purchase materials whenever they need them. The state’s EMAT ordering system is available to districts starting in April of each year. Other states may impose a deadline for purchasing materials, but most states now give districts local control over when and what they purchase.

If you purchase early in the season, you likely are purchasing based on publishers’ promises. New-to-market products typically are not completed until a few months before they are to be delivered. Publishers who submit their materials for state adoption may submit the content of their materials for review, even though the product’s features and functionality have not yet been developed. Many more publishers do not submit materials for state adoption because their products are not ready in time for the adoption process. While publishers may intend to develop all of the functionality promised, impediments may arise at the 11th hour to prevent the final product from containing all of the promised features.


Bottom line: purchasing incomplete materials sets you up for disappointment and limits your choices.

Solution: To be an informed consumer, you should wait until products are fully developed and physically review the entire complete products before making your purchasing decisions. Waiting until spring (March – May) to make your selection decisions will likely result in less disappointment and more products to choose from.


For more information about how to avoid other mistakes made in selecting instructional materials, join Learning List at the TASBO Conference in Houston (Feb. 17-19) at the:

  • Session on Thurs., Feb. 19th at 12:00 – 12:30PM, Room 352C of the George Brown Convention Center and
  • Exhibit Hall booth # 1616.
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Districts Get New Title I Flexibility: Learning List Can Help

[Source: TEA]

[Source: TEA]

Recently, Texas Commissioner of Education, Michael Williams advised districts:

Texas school districts are no longer required to set aside 20 percent of their Title I federal dollars to provide Supplemental Educational Services (SES) for students at low-performing campuses. A district is now free to use those funds on academic intervention programs it deems most effective for its students.

Learning List’s detailed alignment reports help districts easily identify supplemental products that will meet their students’ academic needs.

Our detailed alignment reports verify the publisher’s correlation, identifying multiple citations (e.g., pages, lessons, videos, etc…) that are aligned to each student expectation and the citations in the publisher’s correlation that Learning List found not to be aligned. Moreover, for each non-aligned citation, Learning List’s alignment reports include a comment explaining the part of the student expectation (i.e., the content, context, or cognitive demand) the citation did not address.

[Source: HI. EDU]

[Source: HI. EDU]

If a school/district’s test scores across a class/grade level/subject show a pattern of low performance, the district’s IM – or the teacher’s use of the IM — may be the cause. Here’s how:

STEP 1: Are the district’s materials aligned to that (those) standard(s)?

Learning List’s alignment reports show whether the district’s IM is aligned to each student expectation. If the materials are not aligned to the standards the students missed on the test and the teachers did not know the material was not aligned, students likely were not taught the knowledge and skills required by that (those) standard(s).

STEP 2: Even if the materials are aligned to that/those standard(s), are there some citations in the publisher’s correlation that are not aligned to the standard(s)?

In many cases, Learning List’s alignment report reveals that some of the citations listed in the publishers’ correlation are aligned to a student expectation and others are not. If teachers were assigning the citations that are not aligned to the standard(s) the students missed on the test, students likely were not taught the knowledge and skills required by that (those) standard(s).

Moreover, if the district’s IM are not aligned to 100% of the TEKS standards in a grade/subject, Learning List’s “Fill-in-the-Gap” tool identifies other materials, both comprehensive and supplemental (including open education resources) that address the remaining standards.

As State Board of Education member Pat Hardy commented, “Learning List helps districts use their instructional materials instructionally.” Though Texas school districts must no longer set aside 20% of their Title I funding for SES, districts still have a legal and moral obligation to help all students learn what the standards require. Learning List helps districts choose and then also use their instructional materials effectively to help teachers teach and students learn what the State requires them to know and be able to do. Please click here to request a webinar or more information.

[All materials related to the state’s waiver request – including the latest letter from USDE – are available for viewing on the TEA website .]

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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 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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Look Into a Crystal Ball: How to Project Your District’s Instructional Materials Allotment Allocation

[Source: Opinion Lab]

[Source: Opinion Lab]

Today, the Texas State Board of Education adopted 89 social studies, 55 high school math and 172 fine arts materials. Learning List has reviewed all of the state-adopted social studies and high school math products that were adopted, as well as several materials in those subjects that were not submitted for state adoption.

The State Board took another less notorious vote today but one that significantly impacts the amount of state funding school districts and charter schools will receive to pay for instructional materials and technology over the next two school years. The Board set the percentage distribution rate from the Permanent School Fund (PSF) to the Available School Fund (ASF) at 3.5 percent for the 2015-2016 fiscal biennium. As a result of that action, approximately $1 billion a year will transferred from the PSF to the ASF and half of that (~$500M) will be set aside in the ASF for the state instructional materials fund (IMF).

[© 2014 Learning List]

[© 2014 Learning List]

Are you wondering how much IMA your district or charter school will receive to purchase new social studies and high school math materials? Learning List’s whitepaper will help you predict approximately how much IMA funding you can reasonably expect to receive in September of each year of the 2015- 16 biennium. However, as you will read, two important steps have yet to be taken before districts can know with certainty the amount of IMA funding they will have available for each year of the next biennium.

NOTE: Based upon our analysis with a 2013-14 TEA enrollment of 5.15 million students, districts can expect approximately $98/student per year in IMA funds for each of the next two years. You can read or download a copy of How to Project Your District’s Instructional Materials Allotment Allocation by clicking here.

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September 2021