Texas Resource Review

The Texas Resource Review (TRR), formerly known as Instructional Materials Quality Evaluation (IMQE) and Instructional Materials Portal (IMP), provides Texas educators with free access to comprehensive and user-friendly information about the quality of materials.

About the Texas Resource Review

Top performers in many fields note that the best way to increase productivity is to improve tools. For Texas school districts and schools, this means selecting high-quality instructional materials is critical to improving student achievement. This notion is backed by a growing body of research showing that using high-quality instructional materials is one of the most successful and cost-effective ways to improve student outcomes. Districts often find that determining the quality of materials that are the best fit for their students is a time intensive and uncertain process. This leaves many districts asking, “How can we give our classrooms better resources?”

To help districts answer this question, in 2017, the Texas legislature instructed the Texas Education Agency to facilitate an independent analysis of the quality of instructional materials (Texas Education Code § 31.081 and § 31.082). This process, called the Texas Resource Review (TRR), will empower and strengthen local decision-making and make it easier for educators at all levels to attend to the specific, unique needs of their students. Local Education Agencies (LEAs) will have complete autonomy to decide if and how they use the reviews as part of their local review and adoption processes.

Overview of the Process

A series of steps will be completed to ensure reviews provide districts free access to comprehensive and user-friendly information about the quality of instructional materials. A high-level overview of the steps is included in the graphic below: 

TRR Process Overview

Reviews in Progress

Quality Reviews in progress. English Language Arts and Reading (ELAR) K-12 instructional materials are currently being reviewed for quality. The Texas Resource Review website will launch in November 2019 with the results of the quality reviews of English Language Arts and Reading (ELAR) K-12. Additional ELAR product quality reviews will be available on the website as follows:

  • All remaining English I and II products on the 2020 state adoption list will be available January 31, 2020.
  • ELAR K-2 products on the 2019 state adoption list will be available March 31, 2020.

Access the quality review rubrics for ELAR instructional materials. Rubrics were created specifically for Texas with feedback from Texas educators, Texas educator organizations, publishers, the public, and TEA content experts.

Future Review Cycles

Rubrics posted for public comment. TEA worked with content experts and educators across the state to develop rubrics for Pre-K Systems, ELAR Supplemental (Foundational Literacy), and K-8 Math instructional materials. Reviews are scheduled to begin summer 2020 with release of reports in November 2020. Rubrics are open for public comment until November 19, 2019. If you would like to comment on any of the proposed rubrics, please submit a Public Comment Submission Form.  Comments will be considered when revising rubrics for final publication.

Texas Resource Review Staff

Melissa Lautenschlager, Director, Instructional Materials Quality: melissa.lautenschlager@tea.texas.gov

Kenneth Whiteside, Operations Manager, Instructional Materials Portal: kenneth.whiteside@tea.texas.gov

Dana Moyer, Manager, Instructional Materials Quality: dana.moyer@tea.texas.gov

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1: What is the Texas Resource Review and what are the Instructional Material Reviews?

Q2: What does it mean to evaluate the quality of instructional materials?

Q3: How did the Texas Resource Review come about?

Q4: When will the reviews be published?

Q5: Once published, do districts have to use the information?

Q6: How does this impact local control?

Q7: How does this align with the State Board of Education's Long Range Plan?

Q8: How does the Texas Resource Review support the SBOE process? Are they different?

Q9: Who has been involved in providing feedback opportunities?

Q10: How many districts or people have been included in feedback opportunities? 

Q11: What is the process for developing the rubrics?

Q12: Who is conducting these reviews?

Q13: What are the financial benefits to Texas?

Q14: What resources are being devoted to this project?

Q15: My district already uses certain programs or subscriptions. Does this project just replace that?

Q16: Are there incentives or consequences related to this project?

Q17: How is this different from other states who are doing similar projects?

Q18: Will instructional materials for other grades and content areas be reviewed in the future? What about supplemental materials?

Contact TexasResourceReview@tea.texas.gov with additional questions related to the Texas Resource Review.

 

Q1: What is the Texas Resource Review and what are the Instructional Material Reviews?

A growing body of research demonstrates that the quality of instructional materials teachers use has a significant impact on student achievement. Local Education Agencies (LEAs) across Texas are eager to purchase the best materials for their teachers and students, but free information about the quality of materials can be disorganized, unreliable, and difficult to access. Additionally, reviewing instructional materials is a time-consuming process for the educators who serve on their LEA's review committees.

Written into statute in 2017 (Texas Education Code §31.081 and §31.082), TEA conducts an independent analysis of each instructional material to evaluate its quality. An Instructional Material Review is a completed quality evaluation for a set of materials. By completing these reviews, TEA aims to support and strengthen LEAs' local review process by providing clear and user-friendly information about the quality of instructional materials using a 100% transparent process.

The Texas Resource Review is a website, open to the public at no cost, where all completed Instructional Materials Quality Reviews are published. The website is designed so instructional materials are easily comparable across specific quality criteria and enables districts to sort materials based on their local needs and preferences.

 

Q2: What does it mean to evaluate the quality of instructional materials?

TEA contracts with a private entity to conduct an independent analysis of each instructional material to evaluate its quality. As a part of this process, the agency ensures that the definition of quality is transparently communicated via rubrics that are used to assess all instructional materials.

While the quality evaluation rubrics are customized based on content area and grade band, there are commonalities across all rubrics. For example, all quality evaluation rubrics include:

  • The percentage of Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) coverage as determined by the State Board of Education (SBOE) process
  • An assessment of supports for diverse learners
  • A determination of how easy materials are for teachers to use in the classroom
  • Information about technology requirements, program cost, professional development, and additional language supports.

Examples of criteria unique to English language arts and reading (ELAR) evaluation rubrics are the variety and complexity of texts, how students are required to respond to the texts, and whether materials support the development of foundational literary skills.

 

Q3: How did the Texas Resource Review come about?

This project is required by statute in SB 810, 85(R) and companion legislation in HB 3526, 85(R). These bills require TEA to develop and maintain a web portal that includes: a) general information such as price, technology requirements, etc. for each material on the state adoption list or submitted by a publisher, b) a quality evaluation of the material conducted by a private entity, and the extent to which materials cover the TEKS, and c) a repository of open educational resources accessible at no cost, including state-developed materials.

Additionally, this initiative came about to increase districts’ access to high quality materials. A growing body of research demonstrates that the quality of instructional materials teachers use has a significant impact on student achievement. LEAs across Texas are eager to purchase the best materials for their teachers and students, but free information about the quality of materials can be unorganized, unreliable, and difficult to access. Additionally, reviewing instructional materials is a time-consuming process for the teachers who serve on their LEAs’ review committees. Smaller LEAs, especially, can find the process especially daunting without access to third-party evaluation resources. The TRR website will make this process easier for LEAs by providing free, clear, transparent, user-friendly information about the quality of materials which can be used as part of their local adoption process if desired.

 

Q4: When will the reviews be published?

The agency is planning to publish the first set of reviews on the Texas Resource Review website in November 2019.

 

Q5: Once published, do districts have to use the information?

No. LEAs will maintain complete local control over purchasing decisions. LEAs will continue to have complete autonomy to decide if and how they use the reviews as part of their local decision-making processes.

 

Q6: How does this impact local control? 

TEA believes deeply that LEAs are best positioned to decide which curricula best fit the needs of their teachers and students. The TRR website is designed to complement and strengthen each LEA’s local review process by providing clear and transparent information about the quality of curricula. The TRR does not impact a district's ability to make their own local review and adoption decisions.

 

Q7: How does this align with the State Board of Education's Long-Range Plan?

The State Board of Education adopted a new Long-Range Plan for Public Education that establishes an overall goal of “access and equity so that all children receive what they need to learn, thrive, and grow.” To achieve this vision, one specific recommendation from the SBOE is that TEA “provide a greater array of no-cost or low-cost resources to support high-quality, aligned curriculum and instruction for all educators.”

The Texas Resource Review directly addresses this recommendation. Quality instructional materials are an equalizer in the classroom, so increasing access to free information about the quality of materials will increase equity for students across Texas. Additionally, all quality reviews published on the TRR website will be free to access for all districts. This will increase equity for small and rural districts that have limited resources to review all instructional materials on their own.

 

Q8: How does the Texas Resource Review Support the SBOE process? Are they different?

The Texas Resource Review of instructional materials supports and enhances the establish TEKS-coverage review process. This is demonstrated in the TRR rubrics where the first measure of quality reflects the results of the SBOE’s review process to report the percentage of standards covered. All materials reviewed for quality will also be reviewed through the SBOE’s TEKS-coverage review process, and the results of the SBOE process will be featured as a part of the quality reviews on the TRR website. 

 

Q9: Who has been involved in providing feedback opportunities?

TEA has received feedback from hundreds of stakeholders including but not limited to Texas teachers, district and campus administrators, SBOE members, regional education service centers, numerous Texas associations, and publishers.

 

Q10: How many districts or people have been included in feedback opportunities?

In preparation for a pilot project concluded in May 2019, the agency conducted 24 presentations, 17 focus groups, and 46 individual phone calls, representing targeted outreach to over 400 stakeholders and 12 different organizations and associations. In addition, the rubric was distributed on multiple TEA email lists that included more than 43,000 subscribers with a request for feedback. TEA requested all education service centers hold presentations and focus groups with all districts in their regions. Similar levels of feedback were achieved during the initial full review cycle begun in June 2019.

 

Q11: What is the process for developing the rubric?

The goal of the TRR rubrics is to provide LEAs with helpful information about the quality of instructional materials. The rubrics are customized based on content area and grade band with some commonalities across all rubrics. Rubric development occurs in three phases:

  • Phase I: Draft 1. TEA begins with the TEKS to develop a draft of the content specific rubric. Working group sessions are held to gather feedback from Texas educators and leaders. TEA revises rubrics based on working group feedback.
  • Phase II: Draft 2. TEA posts rubrics for public comment for 30 days. Once the public comment period closes, feedback is reviewed, and the rubric is revised.
  • Phase III: Final Rubric. The finalized rubrics is published on the TRR website and sent out on listservs. The final rubric is kept constant to provide transparency during the review process.

 

Q12: Who will be conducting these reviews?

All reviewers are Texas educators who use the rubric developed for Texas. Each review team consists of five reviewers. At least two review team members are current classroom teachers. Other reviewers may be Texas district and campus administrators who demonstrate comprehensive understanding of the TEKS, rigorous expectations for high-quality instructional materials, and deep knowledge of effective curriculum implementation.  Texas reviewers represent all geographic areas of the state and a significant number have expertise serving students with special needs, English learners, and classrooms with high percentages of students receiving free and reduced-price lunch.

All reviewers complete a rigorous selection process and ongoing training to ensure that they have the knowledge and skills to write valid and reliable reviews that are helpful to Texas LEAs.

 

Q13: What are the financial benefits to Texas?

The Texas Resource Review, including all published quality reviews, will be available at no cost to districts across Texas. Feedback from some districts indicates that increased access to free, user-friendly information will help improve their local review and adoption processes which for some may result in cost savings.

 

Q14: What resources are being devoted to this project?

Each district and open-enrollment charter school is entitled to a technology and instructional materials allotment (TIMA). The amount of the TIMA is determined biennially by the Commissioner of Education and is based on legislative appropriation. For the 2018–2019 biennium (school years 2017-18 and 2018–2019), the allocation for each LEA was based on total enrollment and bilingual enrollment. A total of $1,008,997,073.19 was allocated directly to districts.

In addition to the amount allocated directly to districts, the Texas Legislature reserves funds to be used for statewide initiatives. Written into statute in 2017 (Texas Education Code §31.0211), money in the state technology and instructional materials fund shall be used to pay the expenses associated with the instructional materials web portal developed under Section 31.081. During the 2018–2019 biennium, TEA has allocated an average of $2.5M per year to develop the TRR.

 

Q15: My district already uses certain programs or subscriptions. Does this project just replace that?

LEAs should use the resources that best meet their local needs. The goal of the Texas Resource Review is to ensure that all LEAs across Texas have access to valid and reliable information about the quality of instructional materials, not to supplant other resources that LEAs find helpful.

 

Q16: Are there incentives or consequences related to this project?

No. Using the reviews is completely optional. There are no incentives or penalties associated with using or not using the reviews.

 

Q17: How is this different from other state who are doing similar projects?

The Texas Resource Review is designed specifically for Texas. All rubrics are based on the TEKS and created specifically for Texas educators. The reviews incorporate the SBOE’s TEKS alignment results into the quality rating, and Instructional Materials Reviews are completed by teams consisting exclusively of Texas educators.

 

Q18: Will instructional materials for other grades and content areas be reviewed in the future? What about supplemental materials?

The Texas Resource Review is intended to be a continuous process where teams of Texas educators conduct quality reviews of materials that meet the needs of districts. Therefore, additional content areas, grade levels, and supplemental materials will likely be reviewed in the future.

The agency seeks to align the timing of quality reviews with the general adoption and purchasing timelines followed by most districts based on the proclamation schedule. For instance, the SBOE is expected to release its list of approved English I-IV materials in November of 2019. TEA expects to release the quality reviews for English I-IV at the same time. This will allow LEAs to use both resources in their local adoption processes as they see fit.

Rubrics for ELAR supplemental materials and Pre-K Systems are being developed. Reviews are scheduled for summer 2020.

Note: The agency may not review all materials districts are interested in purchasing. The agency will, however, consider LEA preferences when prioritizing materials to be reviewed. So, we recommend that districts nominate materials they would like to be reviewed. Click here to submit a nomination.

Contact Information

Texas Education Agency

Texas Resource Review (203)

1701 North Congress Avenue

Austin, Texas 78701

 

Email: TexasResourceReview@tea.texas.gov