Using the following sequence of questions, examine several lessons in the student materials and the teacher's guide. (See Worksheet 3 on page 117 in the back of this chapter.)
Do the materials identify specific learning goals or outcomes for students that focus on one or more of the fundamental concepts of evolution and the nature of science?
Study the opening pages of a relevant chapter or section. Does the material on the opening pages of the chapter or section on evolution engage and focus student thinking on interesting questions, problems, or relevant issues?
Does the material provide a sequence of learning activities connected in such a way as to help students build understanding of a fundamental concept? Are suggestions provided to help the teacher keep students focused on the purpose of the lesson?
Does the teacher's guide present common student misconceptions related to the fundamental concepts of evolution and the nature of science? Are suggestions provided for teachers to find out what their students already know? Are there learning activities designed to help students confront their misconceptions and encourage conceptual change?
Assessment criteria in this section are grounded in the Assessment Standards.
Assessment Standards A to E, Chapter 5, pp. 78-87.
Examine several lessons in the student and teacher materials for evidence to answer the following questions. (See Worksheet 4 on page 118 in the back of this chapter.)
Is there consistency between learning goals and assessment? For example, if instruction focuses on building understanding of fundamental concepts, do assessments focus on explanations and not on vocabulary?
Do assessments stress application of concepts to new or different situations? For example, are the students asked to explain new situations with concepts they have learned?
Are assessment tasks fair for all students? For example, does success on assessment tasks depend too heavily on the student's ability to read complex items or write explanations as opposed to understanding the fundamental concepts?
Are suggestions for scoring criteria or rubrics provided for the teacher?
Examine several lessons in the teacher's guide to help answer the following questions:
Does the teacher's guide present appropriate and sufficient background on science?
Are the suggested teaching strategies usable by most teachers?
Are suggestions provided for pre- and post-investigation discussions focusing on concept development, inquiry, and the nature of science?
Does the teacher's guide recommend additional professional development?
Does the teacher's guide indicate the types of support teachers will need for the instructional materials?
A high degree of alignment with Standards content, pedagogy, and assessment criteria does not necessarily guarantee that instructional materials will be easy to manage. The Standards address the importance of professional development, and some aspects of the program standards apply as well.6
How many different types of materials must be managed and orchestrated during a typical chapter, unit, or teaching sequence (e.g., student text, teacher's guide, transparencies, handouts,