What are the “Look fors” to Assess the Quality of Instructional Materials in Light of the NGSS?

Presenters: Jody Bintz, Daniel C. Edelson

Recently, the NRC released the Monitoring Progress report that called for action from the STEM education community to better assess progress toward successful STEM education. BSCS responded to this call through their project, Developing Guidelines for Assessing the Quality of Instructional Materials and the Extent to Which They Exemplify the NGSS. In this session, presenters explore the “look fors” in the draft guidelines by examining excerpts from sample instructional materials. We invite feedback on the Guidelines.


Jody Bintz, Director of Professional Learning, Biological Sciences Curriculum Study (BSCS)
Jody Bintz is a senior science educator and director of professional learning at BSCS. She works primarily in the areas of leadership development, teacher professional development, and related research. Bintz has designed and led a variety of leadership development programs to build teacher and district-level leadership capacity and to enhance the knowledge and skills of professional development providers in various sites across the country. She directs the BSCS National Academy for Curriculum Leadership (NACL), including a six-year partnership with Washington State LASER and involving nearly 30 secondary science leadership teams and approximately 20 statewide leaders. She is currently the PI on an NSF-funded research study to test the influence of the NACL model on student achievement. She is the PI on an NSF-funded project to study science and mathematics teacher leadership development and synthesize the relevant research literature and program descriptions. She is a member of the design team for the Champions for STEM Education leadership development program. Bintz serves as coPI for Developing Guidelines for Assessing the Quality of Instructional Materials and the Extent to Which They Exemplify the NGSS. Through this project, BSCS has summarized existing analysis tools and processes and synthesized research and the results of a summit of leaders in science education to describe the characteristics of measures to assess, and evaluative criteria for assessing, the quality of instructional materials in light of the NGSS.

Daniel C. Edelson, Executive Director, Biological Sciences Curriculum Study (BSCS)
Daniel Edelson joined BSCS as executive director and president in January 2015. He brings significant experience as a curriculum and educational software developer, educational researcher, and advocate for science and social studies education to this role. From 2007–14, Edelson was vice president for education at the National Geographic Society and executive director of the National Geographic Education Foundation. In these roles, he led National Geographic’s educational outreach and reform efforts. From 1993–2007, he was on the faculty at Northwestern University, where he had a joint appointment in education and computer science. At Northwestern, he conducted a program of integrated research and development focusing on earth and environmental science education. As a curriculum and software developer, Edelson is lead author of a high school environmental science course, Investigations in Environmental Science: A Case-Based Approach to the Study of Environmental Systems, and an author of units in two comprehensive middle school science programs, Project-Based Inquiry Science and Investigating and Questioning our World through Science and Technology (IQWST). He has also led the development of several educational software environments for visualizing and analyzing geographic data, including National Geographic FieldScope, My World GIS, and WorldWatcher. As a researcher and advocate, he has written extensively on the importance of geoscience, geography, and environmental science education, and has published numerous research papers on motivation, instructional design, educational technology, and teacher professional development. Edelson has a BS in Electrical Engineering from Yale University and a PhD in Computer Science (Artificial Intelligence) from Northwestern University.