The Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education does not set local school district instructional materials, explains Cindy Bryant, a math consultant with MoDESE.
Instead, it leaves those decisions in the hands of the school districts.
says there is a bigger question - "Is it a guaranteed and viable curriculum?
- that the state addresses during Missouri School Improvement curriculum reviews.
In other words, Bryant
says, the state looks at the instructional materials and asks if there is ample time for all students to learn the important mathematics content.
Instruction materials have become a controversial issue in the Camdenton School District
in the ongoing debate over "Investigative math".
The state also looks at the activities that go along with the curriculum and the forms of assessment to see if they provide maximum learning opportunities for all students.
As long as school districts meet testing scores, the state does little to intervene.
If they don't, changing instructional materials is usually one of the last options that is considered.
When looking at new materials, Bryant
said districts should look at both instruction and assessment.
Research conducted through the National Mathematics Advisory Panel does not support either entirely "student centered" nor "teacher directed" learning.
Instead, research indicates that some forms of particular instructional practices can have a positive impact under specified conditions.
also added that textbooks are designed for sales in as many school districts as possible.
The textbooks end up containing much more material than a teacher can cover fully in a year, especially in math and science, she