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Update on Instructional Materials Adoptions

The adoption market segment remains in flux. A number of trends affect instructional materials development and the adoption of those materials:

  • personalized and competency-based learning
  • the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA)
  • implementation of Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)
  • continual disruption of digital learning
  • the need for critical thinking and civics lessons
  • the movement of states away from the Common Core State Standards (CCSS)

Let’s review those issues affecting the adoption market. The adoption market revenue potential is forecasted to be $7 to 8 billion, so it remains an essential source of revenue for learning companies.

Personalized and Competency-Based Learning

The trends of personalized and competency-based learning affect the kinds of instructional materials that districts and states are currently looking for to meet the changes in their pedagogy and learning goals. To answer the needs of personalized learning, there has been a surge in the development of online courses. The majority of these courses use universal design to create the materials and pedagogy. This is the same approach that Victory used to create its Critical Thinking Tool digital lesson. These courses are designed to engage students and allow for independent work so that students can plan their own learning experience. Competency-based project learning and assessment are often linked to personalized learning because the assessment of competency within a subject area shows that students fully understand the subject and provides feedback to both the teacher and students as to what and how students should move on to their next phase of learning. See the map from iNACOL that shows which states are moving towards competency-based education policies.

Adoption market update

Source: iNacol


Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA)

ESSA also has an affect on adoption materials. ESSA reduces the authority of the federal Department of Education and allows the states to make critical decisions regarding standards, assessments, school turnarounds, and teacher evaluations. Under ESSA, many states are reviewing the type and manner in which students, and in turn teachers, are assessed. And this affects the type of instructional materials that have to be developed to meet the states’ adoption requirements. For more information on ESSA, see our blog update.

NGSS and Adoptions

Since science is a major adoption curriculum, NGSS continues to affect the instructional materials that are developed for the adoption market. While not all states have officially adopted the NGSS, the standards affect and influence the development of science instructional materials, including the topics of robotics and coding. (See Victory’s blog on NGSS and implementation.) The map below shows where states stand on NGSS.

The map shows the states that have adopted NGSS or have revised their science standards based on NGSS (Next Generation Science Standard)

States that have adopted NGSS

Washington, Oregon, California, Nevada, New Mexico, Kansas, Arkansas, Iowa, Illinois, Michigan, Kentucky, Delaware, New Jersey, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Vermont, New Hampshire, Hawaii

Educational Technology

Educational technology remains a disruptor in the adoption market as many tech start-ups are entering the market. They are creating products that meet the needs of personalized learning curriculum and formative assessment.  These new players are forcing the Big Three (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Pearson, and McGraw Hill) to be more agile and flexible in the products they create for the adoption market. Further, the movement toward curriculum that enfolds artificial intelligence, robotics, and coding is also affecting the development of science materials. Technology learning companies are using digital lessons to teach the skills students need to learn for the 21st century workplace.

Civics and Adoptions

Civics is another curriculum subject that has become important in districts and states. The “fake news” that is invading the Internet is of great concern to social studies educators. Currently, social studies educators believe there is a need for civic lessons to help students become responsible and well-informed citizens. Educators are also looking for materials that will help teach critical thinking skills so that students learn how to effectively analyze data, judge the veracity of information, clearly identify opinion versus fact, and behave as responsible citizens.

An Update on CCSS

States continue to either move away from the CCSS or to revise and adapt current standards in the subject areas of English language arts (ELA) and mathematics. These are two core curriculum areas in the adoption market, and thus the movement to change or reject the CCSS affects product development. Legacy products will have to be customized for states that have adapted or revised their standards, or new products will have to be produced to meet new standards in states that have abandoned the CCSS.

According to, state alignment with the CCSS is as follows:

  • 35 kept CCSS adoption (34 states and District of Columbia)
  • 11 announced a major rewrite or replacement of CCSS
  • 4 never adopted CCSS
  • 1 adopted CCSS only in English language arts (ELA)

Common Core

Thus, publishers have many issues to balance and juggle as they move toward upcoming adoptions. From 2020 to 2022, there are major adoptions in key states in ELA, mathematics, social studies, and science.


Staying on Top of the State Adoptions

Victory used Microsoft PowerBI to create the map below. It is a valuable tool that helps us stay on top of state adoptions. However, adoption schedules change frequently, so we strongly recommend visiting each state’s department of education website for the latest information.

Here at Victory, we have spent time analyzing and researching the adoption market. We know what districts and states want, we know how to develop innovative products that transform current trends into solid pedagogy, and how to customize legacy products to align with evolving state standards. Let us help you succeed in the adoption market.


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