Instructional Materials Evaluation Tool (IMET)

Designed by some of the lead writers of the Common Core, the IMET is a free tool that states and districts are using to evaluate the alignment of instructional materials to the Common Core

For those embarking on a curriculum review, choosing a Common Core-aligned review tool is a daunting decision that must be made right up front. The tool will determine the structure of the reviews, the information the reviews surface, and ultimately, the textbooks that do (or don’t) end up in front of students. An effective tool is one that will keep the Shifts and Standards at the center of the review while allowing enough flexibility to accommodate local needs and priorities.

One of the benefits of having shared Standards is that we don’t need to reinvent the wheel when it comes to rubrics for instructional materials reviews. One review tool many districts are successfully using is the Instructional Materials Evaluation Tool (IMET) developed by Student Achievement Partners.

Why was the IMET created?

The IMET was created in response to the need of states and districts for specific criteria to determine if textbooks were making the changes the Standards demand. Doing a “crosswalk” of the old standards to the new ones or matching lessons with standards to measure coverage could no longer sufficiently identify alignment. Reviewing for Common Core-alignment requires deeper analysis that will surface whether textbooks are making broader changes like linking math topics coherently across a grade or including literary texts of appropriate complexity for each grade.

Who should use the IMET?

Review teams and decision makers at the state, district or school level should use the IMET to evaluate comprehensive textbooks or textbook series (to review individual lessons, see the EQuIP rubric produce by Achieve).

You can use the IMET to:

  • Evaluate textbook options you are considering purchasing
  • Evaluate your current textbooks to determine where they should be supplemented or amended to better support Common Core instruction

How does the IMET work?

The IMET guides reviewers to find and record evidence that certain criteria are present in the materials they are investigating. The IMET criteria fall into three categories:

  • Non-Negotiable Criteria
  • Alignment Criteria
  • Indicators of Quality

Each criterion includes a set of metrics that help the reviewer zero in on evidence that the criterion is present. Each Non-Negotiable must be met completely for the curriculum to be considered aligned.

The Alignment Criteria section as a whole must also be “Met”, but this can happen in a variety of ways. There is a point-based scoring system for the Alignment Criteria, and instructional materials must exceed a certain overall score to be considered aligned.

Finally, the Indicators of Quality section suggests additional items that could be included in a review, but are not directly related to alignment to the Shifts.

The review tools used historically are not likely to give you the information you need to identify Common Core-alignment; most fail to take into account key instructional changes teachers are being asked to make. As reviewers and decision makers, you’ll need a tool that puts the Common Core Shifts – the work teachers are doing in classrooms – at the center of the review. As you continue reading the blog, you’ll see examples of states and districts that did just this and learn more about how they’ve used the IMET in a variety of different ways to meet their needs.

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About the Author: Student Achievement Partners is a non-profit organization dedicated to improving student achievement through evidence-based action. Founded by some of the lead writers of the Common Core State Standards, the organization works closely with educators and other partners in the education field ensure the promise of the Common Core is realized in classrooms across the country.