IQC suggests changes to local instructional materials adoption guidance

At the Sept. 20 meeting of the Instructional Quality Commission, members opted to push off a vote on approving proposed revisions to the “Guidance for Local Instructional Materials Adoptions” until November to allow for additional updates and another public comment period.

First drafted in 1989, the document, formerly known as “Guidelines for Piloting Textbooks and Instructional Materials,” includes recommendations for determining what instructional materials to pilot, information on piloting and other considerations. Playing a key role in informing California educators about legislation and regulations concerning instructional materials, it has been periodically updated with the last revisions taking place in 2015.

In March, the IQC reviewed the document and offered comments and recommendations for changes. Though keeping the original intent of the document intact is important — including references to legislation, regulations, guidance and links to California Department of Education resources — suggested adjustments included changes to the guide’s introduction, the addition of tools for capturing findings and facilitating decision making, and including information on ways to support family and community engagement and student voice in the process. Additionally, the updated document will incorporate updated English learner guidance, social content standards guidance and additional resources throughout the document and appendix.

Those modifications, as well as others like the new title, links to current subject matter toolkits and added guidance for decision making and implementation, were included in the draft the IQC weighed at its latest session.

The guidance includes an introduction, overview and sections on identifying instruction materials (pointing to available instructional programs), reviewing instruction materials (which explains considerations and steps in reviewing curricula), piloting instructional materials (including suggestions aligned to proven practices), implementing instructional materials (such as publisher and content development considerations and implementation plan considerations) and resources (like links to general guidance) as well as an appendix with editable versions of tools covered throughout the document.

According to staff, some of its highlights are reference toolkits for various content areas, guidance on selection of non-State Board of Education (SBE) adopted K-12 instructional materials and details of the benefits of selecting SBE-approved materials.

The draft guidance can be viewed in item K of the agenda.

“In light of [Assembly Bill] 1078 being in the process of going to the Governor’s desk, I think that this is especially timely to have this updated guidance,” said Commissioner Jennifer Hicks, who also serves as assistant superintendent of Educational Services, Placer County Office of Education. “I also really appreciated seeing the references to the social content standards throughout the document. I think that’s something that a lot of [local educational agencies] are really taking into consideration right now.”

Commissioners suggested further revisions such as adding examples of best practices around parental involvement in the pilot process, more references to education code and ensuring instructional materials are aligned with standards, the inclusion of specific guidance on improving education for multilingual and English learners as well as students with dyslexia and professional learning opportunities to prepare educators and school staff to engage with guiding documents like frameworks.

Once the new round of revisions are made to reflect feedback gathered at the meeting, a 10-day public comment period on the document will precede the commissioners Nov. 15-16 convening.

Following approval by the IQC, the document will go to the SBE for consideration.

Other developments from the meeting include:

  • IQC student member Ethan Chen started his year-long term in the position by taking the oath of office. According to an article published by Patch, Chen is a senior at San Ramon Valley Unified School District’s Monte Vista High School.
  • The commission approved a revision to its 2024 schedule. Next year, the IQC is anticipated to meet on Jan. 24-25, March 20-21, May 15-16, July 17-18, Sept. 18-19 and Nov. 20-21.