Florida – Instructional Materials
In a study of 15 Southern Regional Education Board (SREB) states, researchers at SREB identified the degree to which the Florida Department of Education provided leadership and support for the statewide use of high-quality instructional materials that aligned to the state’s K-12 college- and career-readiness standards in English language arts (ELA) and math.
SREB developed a list of actions that demonstrate state leadership and support in each of the three areas listed below. These actions, or “look-fors,” guided data collection and the analysis of state efforts. Read about the look-fors in the full report, located to the right. State efforts in each area fell into one of three levels of implementation: minimal, essential or strong. In some cases, SREB researchers also designated a state action as notable. Below is a detailed description of this state’s efforts.
Table of Contents
- Strong efforts to establish clear and consistent conventions to assess the quality of instructional materials and their alignment to state college- and career-readiness standards. The Florida Department of Education established consistent criteria based on nationally recognized tools to review textbooks, benchmark and formative assessments, and online, on-demand instructional materials. The department established a rigorous and inclusive process for selecting items for the Collaborate Plan Align Learn Motivate Share (CPALMS) website. Trained teachers, university faculty and department specialists reviewed items multiple times before selecting them for posting. Items were reviewed on an ongoing basis. This process helped provide educators with access to standards-aligned tools to meet emerging needs and build instructional capacity on the Language Arts Florida Standards and Mathematics Florida Standards, which educators began implementing in 2014-15.
- Strong support for local efforts to align instructional materials. The department provided extensive guidance and instructional materials for on-demand access by educators. SREB researchers found the CPALMS website to be particularly user-friendly. The department also offered multiple types of professional learning and technical assistance to educators statewide and in select districts. These support services included the Lesson Plan Development Initiative and the Lesson Study Support Initiative, provided in partnership with the Florida Center for Research in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (FCR-STEM).
- Strong use of data to guide continuous improvement. The department regularly gathered multiple types of data. Data included trends in educator use of the state’s online guidance and instructional materials; and educator perceptions of the quality of the online offerings gathered through an external evaluation of CPALMS. The department also gathered information on local curriculum selection practices, through annual district reporting. To analyze the data to inform continuous improvement of the state’s efforts, a CPALMS advisory group met every two weeks. The group was comprised of members from all levels of the department, staff at FCR-STEM, and an external evaluator when appropriate.
Did the department establish clear criteria and a clear process for identifying high-quality instructional materials aligned to the state’s college- and career-readiness standards?
Florida provided strong leadership and support in this area.
The department established consistent criteria, based on nationally recognized tools, to assess the quality of instructional materials and their alignment to the state’s college- and career-readiness standards—the Mathematics Florida Standards and Language Arts Florida Standards. The department used these criteria to review and adopt textbooks and to select online, on-demand instructional materials. The department worked with educators, national experts, higher education faculty and partner organizations to review and select online instructional materials. To ensure that its online instructional materials always addressed emerging needs, the department’s selection process allowed for submitted items to be reviewed on an ongoing basis.
Table 1: State Criteria and Processes for Reviewing Textbooks and Online, On-Demand Instructional Materials
|State authority and role in developing and selecting instructional materials
|Criteria the state used to develop and select materials
|Process the state used to develop and select materials
|In accordance with state law:
The department developed the Instructional Materials Evaluation Tool for state textbook reviewers based on the Publishers’ Criteria for the Common Core State Standards. These criteria are nationally recognized as clear, detailed and accurate for assessing the quality and alignment of textbooks to college- and career-readiness standards.
State textbook reviewers included state and national content area experts appointed by the commissioner of education, and teachers and district leaders from each district nominated by their superintendents. Reviewers were responsible for reviewing and recommending items for adoption. The department provided training for reviewers. ELA and math textbooks were adopted every five years. K-5 textbooks were most recently adopted in 2012-13, followed by grades six through 12 in 2013-14.
|Online, On-Demand Instructional Materials
|The department provided the CPALMS repository, which included model lesson plans and formative assessment tasks. Educators could use the items to inform their planning.
|Achieve’s Educators Evaluating the Quality of Instructional Products (EQuIP) rubrics. These rubrics (documents that outline expectations, guidelines and procedures) are nationally recognized as clear, detailed and accurate tools to assess the quality and alignment of instructional materials to college- and career-readiness standards.
|The department led an online review process through which trained teachers, university faculty and department content specialists reviewed items that were either developed by teachers and FCR-STEM, or submitted by vendors. Each item received an average of five reviews before posting. Items were developed and reviewed on an ongoing basis, as they were submitted.
Did the department provide guidance, instructional materials, professional learning and technical assistance to build local knowledge and skills, and support educator use of aligned materials?
Florida provided strong leadership and support in this area.
The department provided extensive guidance and instructional materials for on-demand access by educators. SREB researchers found the CPALMS website to be particularly user-friendly. The department also offered multiple types of professional learning and technical assistance. These efforts included guidance and training on how to apply the nationally recognized criteria the department used to review and select online, on-demand instructional materials (described above). Additionally, the department funded local projects by select districts and partners. Examples of the department’s efforts include the following.
Guidance could include information about the standards and aligned teaching strategies, rubrics for gauging alignment of instructional materials, templates for designing aligned instruction, lists of adopted textbooks and online professional learning resources. Florida provided the following guidance documents.
- List of department-adopted textbooks
- Archived training materials from the department’s summer 2014 Professional Development Action Projects (PDAP) on developing aligned curriculum, using the EQuIP rubrics and differentiating instruction for diverse learners
- Math course maps, pacing guides and grade-level progression charts
- ELA professional development toolkit, videos and online modules to support local implementation of the Lesson Study process (see description below)
- CPALMS collection of more than 150 self-paced, on-demand professional learning courses and videos on selecting and developing aligned curricula, including for students with disabilities and English learners
- We Can Do This, Florida library of videos modelling instructional activities for key math standards
- Extensive guidance for differentiating instruction for diverse learners, including a Response to Intervention toolkit with videos of model instruction, gifted education frameworks and a handbook on designing lessons for diverse classrooms
Instructional materials could include a variety of tools and resources that educators use to plan and deliver instruction, such as model lesson and unit plans, sample formative assessments, textbooks, student workbooks and manipulatives, recommended texts and videos, and multimedia learning tools. Florida provided the following types of instructional materials.
- CPALMS extensive collection of more than 11,500 items, including 1,000 model ELA and math lesson plans, Lesson Study toolkits that included information on supporting English learners and students with disabilities, sample formative assessment items and rubrics to differentiate instruction, and the iCPALMS application for personalizing CPALMS functionalities
Professional Learning and Technical Assistance
- Lesson Plan Development Initiative training for teachers on developing aligned lesson plans. Approximately 2,700 teachers participated, representing all 75 districts in the state.
- Lesson Study Support Initiative assistance for teachers implementing the Lesson Study process, provided in partnership with FCR-STEM. The Lesson Study processes involved regular, job-embedded, collaborative professional learning and assistance for teachers on planning instructional units. Approximately 150 teachers participated in developing Lesson Study kits, which were piloted by more than 700 teachers. As of 2015-16, teacher teams across the state had engaged in more than 10,000 lesson study cycles based on the kits.
- Funding for local professional learning initiatives, awarded to districts and postsecondary institutions through an application process. Funded initiatives were made available to educators statewide. Awards included
- PDAP training for ELA and math teachers, provided in 2014 by districts
- Professional learning for districts on aligning curricula, the Lesson Study process and formative assessment, provided by postsecondary institutions in 2014-15
- Training for teachers on aligning curricula for students with disabilities, provided by districts
Did the department regularly gather and use multiple types of data in order to continuously improve its leadership and support for the statewide alignment of instructional materials to college- and career-readiness standards?
Florida provided strong leadership and support in this area.
The department regularly gathered four of the five types of data that SREB deemed key for helping states continuously improve, including information on local curriculum alignment practices. Leaders and staff at the agency, as well as key partners, educators, and an external evaluator, participated in analysis and discussion of the data. The department used the data in two ways to inform its work.
Table 2: Data the Department Gathered to Inform its Efforts
|Key types of data
Educator use of state guidance and instructional materials, and educator participation in the professional learning and technical assistance the department offered
Educator perceptions of the quality of the state’s offerings
Educator emerging needs
Impact of state offerings on measurable teacher or student outcomes
Local curriculum alignment practices
The department used this data to improve two of its supports for local instructional materials alignment:
- CPALMS content and design, and communication with educators to increase use of the platform
- Instructional materials
The department established the following routines to analyze data, discuss findings and determine actions to address identified needs:
- The CPALMS advisory group met every two weeks to analyze data, including data from system users. The group was comprised of members from all levels of the department and FCR-STEM staff, as well as an external evaluator as appropriate.
As Florida strives to continuously improve, state leaders may wish to consider the following recommendations.
- Explore ways to enhance and expand the reach of the state department of education’s professional learning and technical assistance initiatives. This will continue to build local capacity to select, develop and implement high-quality, standards-aligned instruction for all students. See professional learning and technical assistance initiatives that were intensive, integrated and sustained, and that reached large numbers of districts, schools or educators described in the Alabama, Kentucky and Louisiana profiles.
- Continue and enhance the department’s strong use of data for continuous improvement. For example, examine how the use of state materials and services impacts educator practice and student learning. See other strong state efforts to use data, including impact data, described in the Arkansas, Delaware, Tennessee and West Virginia profiles.