Textbooks are a widely used educational intervention that can affect student achievement, and the marginal cost of choosing a more effective textbook is typically small. However, we know little about how textbooks get from the publisher to the classroom. The purpose of this paper is to investigate the ways mathematics textbook adoption practices vary and predict adoption decisions. We use interviews with district leaders in a stratified random sample of 34 California school districts. We find isomorphic, highly formalized adoption processes in most districts. However, we observe some differences along dimensions of district size, technological interest/infrastructure, and English learner concentration. We recommend states produce and update lists of high-quality materials early and often, and that they use a highly rigorous evaluation process. We also recommend states experiment with encouraging similar districts to partner on textbook evaluation and adoption to respond to district demands for information and capacity building around curricula.
The Formalized Processes Districts Use to Evaluate Mathematics Textbooks
Journal of Curriculum Studies