Science Claims Attention in State K-12 Instructional Materials Adoptions in 2018

Press Release
May 14, 2019
Rockville (MD), May 14, 2019 — Getting up-to-date instructional materials for science was the prevalent theme running through instructional materials adoptions by U.S. schools in 2018—particularly in Florida and Tennessee, where science was the official subject of the adoptions.

Science accounted for the bulk of purchasing in North Carolina, where there was no official adoption. Some school districts in California also bought early, as the K-8 science adoption in that state officially began in January 2019.

Science thus became the focus of the newly released 2018 National Instructional Materials Adoption Scorecard and 2019 Outlook published by Simba Information.

“The widespread adoption of Next Generation Science Standards was the main driver of schools purchasing new science materials,” said Kathy Mickey, senior analyst and managing editor of the Education Group at Simba Information. “As more and more schools implement STEM and STEAM curricula and refocus instruction to include more science, social studies and the arts in addition to reading and math, getting updated materials became imperative.”

On Florida, for instance, the state last adopted science material in 2011, so updating materials and tools was necessary. Clay county schools, for instance, had not adopted new science materials for grades K-2 since 2002.

One takeaway from the Florida science adoption was the popularity of hybrid digital/print programs. For instance, Accelerate Learning’s STEMscopes program with a digital platform and a consumable handbook was the second-most popular program in the K-5 segment, Simba found.

Another takeaway from the Tennessee science adoption was the lure of open source materials. Williamson County schools, the sixth-largest district in the state, built their own K-12 science curriculum using open source materials, saving the district an estimated $3.3 million. The only exceptions are AP and International Baccalaureate classes.

Williamson teachers have been at work on an open source K-12 social studies curriculum to be in schools in fall 2019. The district expects to save almost $4 million from that work.

The caution about the spread of open source resources notwithstanding, publishers are expecting to see a real boost in the instructional materials adoptions in 2019 with big-state adoptions in reading and social studies and the beginning of an uptick in math adoptions. Moreover, the adoption market opportunity is expected to remain at a high level through 2022, as broken out in the Simba report.

The 2018 edition of the annual report provides a general grounding in the process of instructional materials adoptions with information on:

  • PreK-12 landscape conditions for lucrative adoptions;
  • Detailed descriptions of what publishers must consider before entering adoptions;
  • A state-by-state calendar of adoption market opportunities in 2019-2022;
  • Projected adoption highlights in 2019.

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