As more states move through the digital transition and acquire digital resources for teachers and students, it is more important than ever to establish clear-cut processes to obtain high-quality materials.

Now, a new resource from SETDA offers a look at different state-level procurement models to demonstrate how various states have implemented policies and procedures to procure digital resources, instructional materials and devices.

State Procurement Case Studies: Spotlight on Digital Materials Acquisition was developed in collaboration with state and district digital learning leaders, instructional materials directors, procurement offices and academic officers.

Because the process for the acquisition and implementation varies widely from state to state, the case studies provide detailed information about the process in each state. The in-depth studies of California, Indiana, Louisiana and Utah provide road maps for other states that are moving forward to implement digital learning materials policies and procedures.

(Next page: Procedures from 4 states highlighted in the report)

“This paper shows that there is no one-size fits all for the procurement process,” stated Dr. Tracy Weeks, Executive Director, SETDA. “However, this important work provides strategies that states can leverage to provide leadership for their LEAs.”

“As content shifts to digital, now more than ever state leadership is critical to help ensure students have access to quality materials that are aligned to standards,” said Dr. Lou Maynus, Assistant Superintendent of Teaching and Learning, West Virginia Department of Education. “This resource can support state and district leaders in West Virginia and across the country implement quality materials.”

California uses an 8-year adoption cycle per academic subject and considers both print and digital formats for instructional materials. Those materials must meet 100 percent of adopted state standards in addition to other evaluation criteria. Districts are not required to adopt the instructional materials reviewed by the state, however–they are charged with determining their own local needs and can adopt and implement materials in formats they choose. And as of 2014, a publisher or manufacturer submitting a printed instructional material for adoption by the state or local board must also ensure that the material is available in an equivalent digital format.

Indiana doesn’t have an adoption policy for digital instructional materials and does not procure resources for schools or districts on a statewide level. Instead, each district has the authority to procure and use digital resources and innovative educational technologies as they see fit to meet educational goals and requirements. The state does offer some guidance and resources for districts to use in their instructional materials procurement, and state funding that was available for textbooks is now also available for digital instructional materials.

Louisiana has enacted a state statute encouraging the adoption of digital instructional materials to include digital resources, and it requires the state board of education to make every effort to ensure that electronic versions are available for every title approved for placement on the state list of approved instructional materials.

Utah‘s state board of education approves a recommended list of instructional materials twice a year, but districts are free to select other materials. The state also holds several statewide contracts for instructional materials, including contracts with the Utah Education Network and the Utah Online Library.

About the Author:

Laura Ascione

Laura Ascione is the Managing Editor, Content Services at eSchool Media. She is a graduate of the University of Maryland's prestigious Philip Merrill College of Journalism. When she isn't wrangling her two children, Laura enjoys running, photography, home improvement, and rooting for the Terps. Find Laura on Twitter: @eSN_Laura http://twitter.com/eSN_Laura