By Jeff Crawford
Secondary Math Specialist, Mead School District, Spokane, Washington


Not long ago at this quaint Italian restaurant, I tried to pay my bill and the waiter told me that someone already took care of it. I was dumbfounded.  Someone I knew had pulled the waiter aside, took care of my tab, and asked only to tell me to “pay it forward.”

As a math reviewer, I consider the work I’m doing at EdReports as a way to "pay it forward."

A single report can impact thousands of teachers, which in turn benefits tens of thousands of students.

But the information in the reviews is only as powerful as the choices we make with with it. That’s why I’m sharing three ways to leverage these reviews in support of ensuring all students have access to high-quality instructional materials. That’s how every one of us can pay it forward.

1. Adopting New Materials

For states, districts, and schools adopting new materials, the reviews allow you to be careful and thoughtful.

Beyond ratings and colors, there is a lot of information in each report. Read the reports. Countless hours go into each report, and you can use this information as your own.

I’ve worked on a lot of curriculum adoption committees and know first-hand how difficult and time-consuming this work is. Developing or selecting a rubric, sifting through dozens – and thoroughly evaluating –  programs is difficult with limited time. reviews allow you to repurpose time from developing a rubric and sifting through materials toward using the detailed information and evidence to whittle down materials and make informed purchasing decisions that support standards implementation and ultimately student outcomes.

2. Implementing New Materials

Once states, districts, and schools have selected materials, use the reviews to inform instructional strategies and to support teachers. The reports can identify materials’ strengths and gaps and reveal places to beef up work at the unit and standard level. Our Making the Most of Your ELA and Math Materials resources are an excellent guides through this process.

Teachers can identify ways to make explicit connections between standards, instruction, and activities. In this sense, a single report can impact thousands of teachers, which in turn benefits tens of thousands of students.

3. Sharing Your Voice

Finally, for those using math and ELA materials that haven’t been reviewed by, please ask for reviews.

The more materials reviews, the more the field knows about what is being used and how.

With more reviews, we can better support the materials adoption process and cast additional light on how materials may support quality math and ELA instruction. Your input can prioritize the materials most being used and accelerate the rate at which educators read, use, and share this information.