Posts Tagged "TEA"

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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Complying with the 100% Rule

100 percentOn March 24, Superintendents received TEA’s “To the Administrator Addressed” letter regarding ordering instructional materials and certifying their district’s compliance with the 100% Rule. The commissioner of education may require districts to submit supporting documentation about the instructional materials on which the certification is based.

State-adopted, non-adopted, comprehensive and supplemental materials may be considered when certifying that the district’s materials align to 100% of the TEKS for each grade/subject.  Can you prove that your district’s instructional materials, individually or in the aggregate, are aligned to 100% of the TEKS for each grade/subject?

Learning List has reviewed over 800 comprehensive and supplemental materials in all four core subjects. For each state-adopted and non-adopted material, Learning List provides an independent alignment report showing to which standards the material is aligned and the alignment percentage.

Subscribing districts can access all completed reviews and can also request reviews of additional materials, including materials the district is using, at no additional cost.

Please contact us for more information about how our service can provide confidence that your district is in compliance with the 100% Rule.

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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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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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October 2021