Instructional Materials Reviews by OSPI
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Teaching and Learning

Instructional Materials Reviews and Supports

OSPI periodically conducts formal instructional materials reviews in various subjects as a service to school districts. Washington is not a state-mandated instructional materials adoption state; the cycle by which the state reviews materials is largely dependent on the availability of state resources.

The results of state-led reviews are meant as resources for school districts undergoing their own local review and/or adoption processes. State law requires school districts to have policies and procedures in place that guide their selection and adoption of instructional materials for use in classrooms.

+ What to consider when adopting instructional materials

State and federal rules that govern district selection and approval processes:


+ How to get approved for an online learning course or as an online provider

OSPI Digital Learning Department provides all school districts in the state with equal access to hundreds of online courses available through an easy registration system that saves time and money. This ease of access is further enhanced by ongoing orientations and course support. Visit Digital Learning Department to learn more.


+ How to use Open Educational Resources in your classroom

Open Educational Resources are free and openly licensed educational materials that can be used for teaching, learning, and research. Learn more about OSPI's OER Project.


+ Where to go for more information about instructional materials

Northwest Educational Resources Association (NWERA) - OSPI collaborates with NWERA to help their members understand current education issues and considerations affecting instructional materials at the state and local levels.

Northwest Textbook Depository- Districts can access a wide array of published instructional materials as part of district adoption processes.

State Instructional Materials Review Association (SIMRA) - OSPI collaborates with other states through SIMRA to learn from and access tools and resources related to identifying aligned, accessible, and high-quality instructional materials.


Guidance for Conducting an Instructional Materials Review


These tabs provide resources for reviewing existing instructional materials: General guidance for districts in conducting review and adoption processes; subject-specific review instruments; and, if applicable, results of past Washington state instructional materials reviews.

Guidance for Selection of Instructional Materials

General Review Resources:

Examples of other districts' materials adoption policies and processes

Open Educational Resources


Common Core

Common Core State Standards

Washington adopted the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) for English Language Arts and Mathematics in July 2011. These standards replace the previous 2005 Reading, Writing, and Communication Grade Level Expectations (GLEs) and the 2008 Mathematics Learning Standards.

Through the intentional development and sequencing within the CCSS, it is critical that educators and curriculum developers consider new and existing instructional materials through a new lens when looking at their "alignment" with student learning standards. Traditionally, judging alignment has been approached as a crosswalking exercise. But crosswalking can result in large percentages of "aligned content" while obscuring the fact that the materials in question do not align with the spirit of the standards.

There are several emerging resources for educators and materials developers that attend to the intentional structure of the CCSS. When considering existing or new instructional materials for alignment with the Common Core, OSPI will use the following instruments in any process we facilitate and/or recommend:

ELA and Mathematics Publisher Criteria
The CCSS Publishers Criteria guides publishers and curriculum developers as they work to ensure alignment; and serves as a resource for teachers to be purposeful and strategic in utilizing new and existing instructional materials. The criteria concentrate on the most significant elements of the Common Core State Standards and lay out their implications for aligning materials with the standards. These criteria attempt to make alignment and misalignment more visible. 

EquipReview Process and Rubrics
Criterion-based rubrics and review processes have been developed to evaluate the quality of lessons and units intended to address the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics and ELA/Literacy. Washington has joined with over 20 states to learn about and consider how this process and rubrics can be used for considering instructional materials.

Other States' Reviews of Materials for CCSS Alignment
Louisiana Dept. of Education - Message and ELA and Math Curriculum Review (2012-13)

Tennessee Dept. of Education, K-8 ELA Review, Sample Rubric (Handout)


English language arts (reading, writing, and speaking and listening) instructional materials considerations:

As of July 2011, Washington's 2005 K-10 Reading and Writing Grade Level Expectations (State Learning Standards) have been replaced by the K-12 Common Core State Standards for English language arts. Districts considering new adoptions and review of existing materials should base these reviews on the CCSS using resources found under the Common Core tab.

For questions about prior OSPI reading instructional materials reviews and results, contact the English Language Arts office at 360-725-6064.


Science information for districts/schools

2009 K-12 Science Core/Comprehensive Instructional Materials Reviews

K-12 Core Review and Recommendations, September 2009

Evaluation Instruments

2009 K-12 Supplemental Instructional Materials Review

Science Instructional Materials Review Presentations
For information about the Science Instructional Materials Review the following presentations (WMVs) and PPTs are available as resources for districts and schools that are interested in learning more about the review process and program alignment data collected as a result. The materials are meant to support professional development, materials selection decisions, and to provide general information about the instructional materials review process. As the WMVs are large files, we advise that you save them to your computer if you plan to use them in presentations.
Background (WMV)
Core (WMV)
Supplemental (WMV)
Science IMR Background and Recommendations (PPT)
Science IMR Core Results (PPT)
Science Supplemental Results (PPT)

What's New

2017 Sexual Health Education Curriculum Review
New interactive version of the report, with tables and links to easy-to-read individual curriculum information pages.

OSPI's Open Educational Resources (OER) Library-2015 Review Results available

Useful Tools for Your Instructional Materials Reviews: has released an analysis of math textbooks' alignment to the Common Core State Standards.

Michigan State University's Dr. William Schmidt released the Textbook Navigator Journal, a tool that enables educators to locate the lessons in 34 mathematics textbook series that align to particular Common Core math standards. Click the links to learn more!

Note: OSPI does not accept materials for review outside of specific review announcements.


   Updated 8/30/2017

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