All eyes are on Texas as it adopts reading programs, first for grades K–8 and then the following year for grades 9–12.
The textbook adoption market has changed over the last five years. While in past adoptions the major purchase was reading and language arts textbooks, the definition of what is a core purchase has evolved.
“Core” still refers to the main resources used to teach language arts. But now the core resources include digital modules and online courses. And many of these core materials come from publishers other than the Big Three (McGraw-Hill, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, and Pearson). While the Big Three still dominate, technology companies with digital platforms have come on the scene to disrupt the textbook adoption market.
Why Is Texas Reading So Important?
For many years, Texas was a force that shaped the national textbook market, in part because Texas has over five million students. In 2017, Texas will spend roughly $7,584 per student. The potential revenue for textbook sales is huge. Along with California, Texas leads the way in the market share of instructional dollars spent.
Because Texas did not adopt the Common Core, many pundits feel its impact on the national textbook market has weakened. However, publishers hoping to capture sales in Texas still have to meet all of the TEKS standards. They also must customize content to address the conservative values of the Texas school board. While school districts can buy products that are not on the state-approved list, most use the list as their main source, so getting on the approved list is still a top priority for publishers.
Addressing the Needs of ELL Students
Texas has the second largest enrollment of ELL students in the United States. Materials submitted in Texas must address the needs of this critical student population. Lessons need to:
- be scaffolded,
- address the language barrier, and
- maintain a focus on critical thinking and literacy skills.
The percentage of ELL students in grades 6–12 is growing, and programs must utilize strategies and skills that help these students succeed. Digital lessons offer opportunities to create visual learning experiences that help level the playing field and build background knowledge for ELL students. The programs for Texas reading must have a strong, flexible, and coherent ELL strand.
The Role of Gap Analysis
Most publishers have recently created programs to match the Common Core standards, so these national programs must be customized to meet the TEKS standards. While the TEKS are similar to the Common Core, there are also differences that must be addressed in the development of the lessons. Because all of the TEKS must be covered within the year, this is a daunting task for publishers. Publishers will have to use gap analysis to see where TEKS apply to current programs and identify gaps where TEKS are not yet addressed. This is an essential first step in developing a plan for the Texas curriculum.
Proceeding Ahead Despite Disruption
Google, Amazon, and Apple have made huge inroads into the school market, and many districts use their devices and platforms. Publishers hoping to be listed in Texas will need to create flexible programs that:
- can be used on different platforms,
- can be structured to allow for sharing, independent, and group work, and
- have formative assessments and performance tasks.
With all the changes and disruptions in the adoption market, eyes will be focused on Texas to see how publishers meet the market needs, answer the call for ELL materials, incorporate digital experiences in meaningful ways, and develop assessments that truly measure critical thinking. Which of the Big Three will be most successful? Will this be the year in which a technology company wins the lion’s share? The publishers that best meet the Texas requirements will gain a pot of gold.
At Victory, we have the marketing, reading, and ELL expertise to ensure products meet the needs of the Texas reading market. Let us help you secure that pot of gold.
See our blog on the ELL market for more data and useful links.
See our earlier blog on gap analysis for more insight.