What You Need to Know About Adopting Math Instructional Materials Early and Off-List


June 14, 2023

State Regulations for Adopting New Math Instructional Materials

This is the first blog in a new series about early and off-list math instructional materials adoption in California. 

Instructional materials are central to student learning. Studies have shown that the quality of instructional materials has a direct impact on student outcomes. Moreover, we know that in California, many districts have not updated their materials since 2014 when the last state adopted programs list was published, and consequently, many students and teachers are currently working with outdated guidance and materials or resorting to creating their own. 

The current California Mathematics Framework was adopted in November 2013, and per the most recently reviewed Mathematics Framework Revision Timeline, the State Board of Education (SBE) is set to take action on the revised framework sometime this year. As we approach the end of the school year, there has not been an update on the release date for the 2023 framework. 

After the adoption of the framework, publishers will then submit materials to the SBE for the instructional materials adoption process, which means that a list of state adopted programs will not be released until 2025 at the earliest. 

While the updated state adopted programs list is still two or more years away, 2022 Smarter Balanced test data shows that students across California can’t wait and deserve to have up-to-date high quality instructional materials now.   

In 2022, only 33% of California K-12 students met or exceeded mathematics standards, an approximately a 6 point decrease from 2019. As we look at the data more closely, we can see that the percentage of students that met or exceeded standards is even smaller for English Learners (9.7%), Black (16%), and socioeconomically disadvantaged students (21%). 

This data, coupled with the findings from a TNTP study that showed that low-income students and students of color have inequitable access to grade-level materials, highlight the urgency of adopting high-quality curricula. 

If Your District is Ready to Invest in Updated High-Quality Instructional Materials Now, What Options Do You Have? 

In California, LEAs have the option of adopting early and off-list, which means you can adopt and implement instructional materials that are not on the SBE list of approved instructional materials. You can read about the historical context that makes this possible in a previous blog we published.

State Guidelines for Early Off-List Adoption

California State Education Code details that districts may choose materials from the state adoption list or choose to adopt materials that have not been reviewed through the state process as long as:

  • The materials are aligned with state content standards 
  • A majority of the reviewers in the process are classroom teachers who are assigned to the grade level and content being considered

(see Education Code Section 60210)

Resources to Support Early Off-List Adoptions:

If your team is ready to begin an early or off-list adoption process for math instructional materials, CalCurriculum has further guidance for you here. You can also refer to the Math Materials Adoption section of our website. Selecting up-to-date, high-quality instructional materials is an important way to prioritize and propel all of our students to be successful. 

In the next blog in our series, we feature a California Charter Management Organization (CMO), Aspire Public Schools, that has led a successful early adoption process. Check out their story to learn why they adopted materials early.