Quality Content for Learning Resources

AAP's PreK-12 Learning Group believes that all children deserve and require a world-class education. As the global economy grows increasingly competitive, a top-notch education has become an increasingly important prerequisite for success. 

Delivering an effective education to all students is a shared responsibility. To achieve success publishers, schools, and all levels of government must work together to ensure that every teacher and student has access to a range of high-quality instructional materials. Engaging, effective, and diverse educational resources that promote learning, foster skills, and accelerate student achievement are central to the core themes listed above.

The Learning Group believes that students deserve to be taught with the best of instructional resources, and educators deserve professional-quality publications, development opportunities, and digital materials for use in their classrooms. Educators, parents, and students should expect and demand only the highest quality of standards-based instruction.

Whether the products are print, digital, visual or web-based, educators and administrators hold educational publishers responsible and accountable for accurate, up-to-date content that meets state, district, and curriculum standards and learning goals and addresses the different cultural backgrounds of today’s students. Instructional resources must have developmentally appropriate reading levels, language and exercises, differentiated lessons for the various ability levels, comprehensive teacher guides, qualitative and quantitative assessment, and high-level learning goals. In addition, these materials must be evidence-based, objective driven, and designed to engage both today’s students and teachers.

Checklist for Quality Instructional Materials

Professional standards of quality and consistency should be the baseline for all instructional resources. Quality benchmarks include:

  • Clearly articulated learning goals and objectives
  • Appropriate grade and reading levels
  • Clearly stated reputable sources
  • Engaging, relevant, and up-to-date content
  • Highly vetted content that is accurate, objective, and reliable
  • Differentiated learning opportunities
  • Standards- and evidence-based lessons/learning aligned with high-quality assessments
  • Well-designed and attractive materials for students, teachers, and other education professionals
  • Adaptable materials for individual learning styles and needs
  • Comprehensive teacher guide or instructional support materials

Quality Assurance Process for Instructional Materials*

In order to ensure the quality of their materials, learning resource creators employ an extensive product development process focused on the needs of the learner.

Step 1 — Determine Content

  • Consult state curriculum committees, authors, digital media experts, independent experts/reviewers, national standards organizations, national advisory groups.
  • Study established research base and new research findings.
  • Establish plan for customized correlations to state standards.
  • Develop preliminary plan for content.

Step 2 — Research & Planning

  • Identify content experts.
  • Survey educators.
  • Develop preliminary plan for organization and design.
  • Build out plan for customized correlations to state standards.
  • Develop and produce prototype.
  • Review prototype with authors, digital media experts, and educators.
  • Revise development plan to reflect input from content authors, digital media experts, and educators.
  • Develop and test new prototype.

Step 3 — Early Development

  • Form development team, including authors, content experts, graphic artists, digital media developers, and other specialists.
  • Begin development of customized correlations to state standards.
  • Develop detailed outlines and make assignments.
  • Establish project schedule.
  • Authors , digital media developers, and content area experts create and evaluate first draft.
  • Design plan for special features and assign development teams.
  • Create design for main products and all ancillary materials.
  • Plan teacher editions/interface and ancillary materials.

Step 4 — Editing and Review

  • Update as necessary customized correlations to state standards.
  • Document all facts from at least two independent sources.
  • Edit student and teacher content as well as ancillary materials.
  • Review for accuracy (academic reviewers, independent readers, evaluators, master teachers) and usability (for digital materials).
  • Copy edit, fact-check, prove formulas and equations, proofread.
  • Incorporate changes from authors, editors, digital media developers, and reviewers.
  • Create pages, produce digital content, develop art, prepare charts and graphs, choose photographs.
  • Check revised content.
  • Repeat content checks until all content is correct.
  • Check proofs.
  • Produce first version or go to first printing (intended for use only as marketing samples).
  • Distribute first printing or beta test (digital materials).

Step 5 — Quality Reviews of First Version/Printing

  • Send student and teacher editions to independent reviewers for complete content read and to test usability (for digital materials).
  • Solicit comments from teachers and state review committees.
  • Research and verify accuracy of error reports through authors and independent content authorities.
  • Correct errors and create proof of corrected content.
  • Correct technical issues.
  • Proofread and test corrections.
  • Repeat process until all errors are addressed.
  • Check proofs of final versions.
  • Produce second digital version or print second printing (which will be sold for classroom use).

Step 6 — Continuing Quality Reviews

  • Receive and review comments from students, teachers, academics and review committees.
  • Correct text, photographs, charts & graphs, art and digital interface for errors or clarifications.
  • Prepare and distribute errata/updates if errors found.

Step 7 — Subsequent Editions/Versions

  • Research clarifications, including public comments.
  • Hold discussions among authors, developers, and editors.
  • Complete entire preparation process—productions, documentation, verification, editing.
  • Reprint (if edition is print) or distribute new versions (for digital materials).

* NOTE: This process is for classroom curriculum products. Home and informal learning products will not need to correlate to standards and have teacher instructions, but they must still make sure that the content and graphics are developmentally appropriate, employ proven learning strategies, and contain effective learner and parent instructions in order for the goal to be reached.