Posts Tagged "Questions"

Publishers: Meet Learning List (Part 3)

Books shelf ebooksOver the past few weeks, we have been working our way through a series of 15 questions that are most commonly asked of Learning List by those who develop and deliver content. The series began with Part 1: the first five questions and answers; that was followed by Part 2 – the answers to the second five. In this final installment, we’ll address the remaining questions.

  1. Who are Learning List’s reviewers?

Learning List’s reviewers, called Subject Matter Experts (SMEs), are experienced, certified educators with prior standards-alignment experience. To be eligible for selection as an SME for Learning List, a candidate must meet the following criteria:

  • He or she must have at least five years of teaching experience, though most are far more experienced;
  • He or she must be certified in the grade and subject related to the product(s) assigned for review; and
  • He or she cannot have been employed by a publisher or K-12 online content provider for at least two years immediately preceding his or her relationship with Learning List.

2. How does Learning List protect the security of materials that are submitted?

Learning List is acutely aware of and respects publishers’ security concerns. Publishers upload all product data and access information directly into Learning List’s secure database. Products are accessible only to the subject matter experts assigned to review the material through the database; materials are not emailed during the review process.  Six weeks after product reviews are published on, the product access information is deleted from Learning List’s database.

3. How many districts does Learning List have as subscribers?

The number of Learning List’s subscribing districts is continuously growing, with over 500,000 students now served through the districts that subscribe to our service. While Learning List’s subscribers include very large urban and suburban districts, there are many small rural districts and private schools located inside and outside of Texas.

4. Can publishers subscribe to Learning List? What features are included in a publisher subscription?

Yes. Publishers may subscribe to Learning List. With a subscription, publishers have full access to all of Learning List’s reviews and have all but two of the same privileges as subscribing districts. The two exceptions are: 1) publishers cannot request the review of a product published by another company and 2) publishers are not able use the educator ratings feature. Subscribing publishers have commented that Learning List is an incomparable source of market intelligence (identifying gaps in the market) and competitive intelligence (better understanding competitors’ products). We offer a 15% discount for publishers that have submitted materials to Learning List for review. For more information about publisher subscriptions or submitting content, contact Christopher Lucas, Director of Publisher Relations, via

5. Can we get a trial subscription to to see what the reviews look like?

Learning List does not offer trial subscriptions for publishers. However, we are happy to schedule a webinar to introduce our service and enable the publisher to see how product information and the reviews are presented  on

If you enjoyed this article, you may be interested in reading:

Publishers: Meet Learning List (Part 1)

Publishers: Meet Learning List (Part 2)

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Before Buying Instructional Materials, What Would You Ask?

Question YieldIn the July 15th issue of Education Week, there was a tech-related article about personalized learning titled: “Before Buying Technology, Asking ‘Why?’ ” The same can be asked about the K-12 instructional materials selection process. Before you purchase anything, ask “Why?” Why is your proposed selection the best choice?

Yet there are other key questions that must be asked. When we sampled school districts to better understand the cost of the selecting instructional materials (IM), we found that there are hidden costs. We learned more about the cost of selecting IM that remained unused within each district. Our sampling showed the value of unused materials sitting in district warehouses ranged from $50,000 to well over $1 million. Of course, this range was not a yearly total, but one that was a cumulative effect over a period of several years.

So how can you best optimize a standards-aligned selection process that will use every dollar of the IM budget toward resources that your teachers will use  for the next 6-8 years? Ask the critical  questions before you buy.

Districts often ask us which questions they should be asking publishers. Our editorial reviews answer the key questions the research suggests that differentiate high quality instructional materials. We also provide publishers’ answers to the 12 most commonly asked questions from district RFPs across the country.

Since the value of collaborating across school districts is far greater than the knowledge of any one school district, we ask you:

Before Buying Instructional Materials, What Are the Key Questions You Ask Publishers?

We look forward to your responses via the comment field of this blog or through Twitter via @LearningList using #IMkeyQs (hashtag for Instructional Materials Key Questions). All answers will be compiled anonymously in an upcoming blog post by the end of July. Thank you for participating.

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Asking Key Questions

One of the keynote presentation speakers at the recent Texas ASCD Conference was Dr. Jackie Walsh.  Her presentation was, “Questioning for Thinking:  Helping Students make Connections”.  Dr. Walsh talked about the importance of asking quality questions and developing effective questioning strategies to activate, support, and sustain student thinking.

Dr. Walsh shared the impact that teachers have on student learning when they think of the types of questions they want to pose while developing their lesson plans instead of thinking of them spontaneously while teaching.  As a teacher of teachers, I have observed how the quality of questions asked by teachers increased when they took the time to think of effective questions before teaching the lesson.  Their questions became more open-ended and required responses that were at a much higher level of thinking.  Students were more engaged and the discussions became much more in-depth.  Teachers would comment on how difficult it was to think of effective questions at first, but then the more they practiced, the easier it got.  They began to help students ask questions of each other and that’s when teachers really started seeing student progress increase.  Students were taking responsibility for their own learning!

As with any new learning, teachers need to reflect on the questions asked after the lesson to analyze the responses given by students and how the questions could be improved.  Teachers not only need to carefully think of the questions they ask of their students, but they also need to analyze the type of questions presented in instructional materials before making any purchase. can help educators be assured that the type of questions asked in instructional materials align with the level of thinking required in the standards.

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October 2021