Thursday, March 7, 2013

Improving The Textbook Selection Process

At this week's Hillsboro School District Curriculum Committee meeting, district staff presented the status of the middle school textbook adoptions.   As you may recall from this blog, this topic has been under discussion since last year.   Previously I had been a bit skeptical of the process, because a committee of teachers was being told they would have to make a decision based on looking at the textbooks in the office + hearing a presentation from each vendor... without ever using the texts to teach a class!

But this week we found out that the district had been trying a new piloting process:  each of the candidate textbooks was used for 2 weeks in real classes, and the teachers were asked for impressions afterwards.   It's good to see that there will be some real teaching experiences feeding into the process now.   This helps fill an important gap.   No matter how good a text seems in theory, there's really no substitute for actually using it.

Before we get too excited, I'm sure it's occurred to you that this is still a bit thin.  2 weeks of experience to decide on a text that we may be stuck with for most of the next decade?   However, I am glad to see that at least some classroom experience will be feeding into the decision.   As I see it, the new piloting process in a positive development in the district's textbook adoption procedures, and I hope to see further efforts in this direction.

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