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The Future of California Math: What Could Localized Math Curriculum Choices Mean for The State’s Curriculum Landscape?

Explore the implications of localized math curriculum choices in California. Discover how a significant number of districts are opting for 'off-list' products and what this means for the state's curriculum landscape. Gain valuable data on the prevalence of newer, high-quality materials for elementary and middle school math not included in California's official adoption lists.

The Center for Education Market Dynamics • February 26, 2024

A significant number of California districts select “off-list” products for math, according to data from CEMD’s report on the K-8 math curriculum landscape in California.

In California, where districts are not bound to purchase products from the state’s textbook adoption lists, about 43% of districts in CEMD’s sample chose products that are not on California’s 2014 list for elementary school, and about 40% did the same for middle school. As shown in the figures below, many of these selections are newer than those on the state’s adoption list, including high-quality materials rated as aligned by EdReports.

Most Commonly Selected Off-List Products for Elementary Math by Districts in California

Most Commonly Selected Off-List Products for Middle School Math by Districts in California

From seeking more support for MLLs to digitizing and modernizing during the COVID-19 pandemic, the reasons districts selected these products surely varied. Regardless of motivation, it is notable that these districts willingly took on the task of vetting and adopting curriculum on their own, ahead and outside of the formal state process.

This raises interesting questions about the future of California’s K-8 math curriculum landscape: Might past willingness to select off-list products be indicative of future willingness? After California’s next math adoption list is released, will a significant number of districts continue to initiate curriculum changes on their own, particularly in the years between adoption lists, as newer products are released? Or will purchasing trends in California look different in the coming years?

CEMD is keeping a close eye on how these questions play out. In the meantime, want more insights on the K-12 education market? Click to read CEMD’s latest reports and view resources to deepen your understanding of K-12 education nationwide.

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