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Criteria for Evaluating Instructional Materials

In Chapter 23, the History-Social Science Framework outlines five criteria for evaluating and selecting instructional materials in kindergarten through 8th grade. These criteria include:

  • History-social science content and alignment with standards
  • Program organization
  • Assessment
  • Universal access
  • Instructional planning and support

For kindergarten through 8th grade, the California Department of Education (CDE) conducted and extensive review of instructional materials to ensure alignment to the five criteria. The list of qualifying programs was submitted to and approved by the State Board of Education (SBE).

All of the board-approved instructional materials can be viewed through SDCOE's Learning Resources Display Center by contacting Oscar Ramirez

To assist districts develop an effective process for the selection of instructional materials, both the California History-Social Science Project and the California County Superintendents Education Services Association (CCSESA) have developed curriculum adoption toolkits. Individual templates can be download from the CCSESA toolkit.

Pursuant to Education Code 60210, districts may opt to utilize instructional materials that are not on the list approved by the State Board of Education. Districts that choose this option should carefully review and follow the policies and procedures described by the CDE. Special attention should be paid to the Social Content Review. This is particularly important for history-social science as some of the content touches on areas that may be particularly sensitive to some students and their families.

The San Diego County Office of Education recommends that districts participate in the adoption of instructional materials for history-social science. When making this discussion, districts should consider:

  • California Education Code, Section 60119 requires that district adopted instructional materials be aligned to both standards and the frameworks. Although the California History-Social Science Content Standards have not changed, the 2016 framework reflects pedagogical shifts, including the integration of California's ELA/ELD standards. Additionally, several changes to content were made as the result of state legislative action.
  • During both the framework and instructional materials adoption process, several community groups voiced strong concern regarding the way they have traditionally been portrayed in California's history-social science curriculum. Both the CDE and SBE considered and addressed many of these concerns during the instructional materials adoption process.


Download the Framework Resources Toolkit