Date came into force or revised
July 1, 2017
Boards of education may only use educational resource materials (i.e., learning resources) that the board considers appropriate, specified in an educational program guide, or are recommended by the Minister of Education from time to time. Boards must have policies and procedures for approving the learning resources chosen for use in schools.
Rationale or purpose of the policy
This policy explains changes in how learning resources are chosen and approved in British Columbia school districts. It clarifies the roles and responsibilities of the Ministry of Education and boards with respect to the evaluation and selection of learning resources.
Under the authority of the School Act (PDF)
Section 168 (2): The minister may make orders for the purpose of carrying out any of the minister's powers, duties or functions under this Act and, without restriction, may make orders…
(e) … governing educational resource materials in support of educational programs
See Ministerial Order 333/99, the Educational Program Guide Order; section 5.
Policy in full
Boards of education have responsibility for determining how learning resources are chosen for use in schools. Boards must have policies and procedures for choosing learning resources. For curricula implemented from 2016 onwards, most educational program guides will not include a list of Ministry recommended resources. Boards may continue to use learning resources specified in educational program guides published before 2016, as appropriate. For certain courses or grades, the Ministry may still recommend the use of specific learning resources from time to time.
The Ministry of Education no longer conducts evaluation processes to recommend learning resources. This responsibility now rests with boards. Board policies and procedures should include a process for ensuring the list of recommended learning resources is up to date and aligned with changes in curriculum. This would include adding and removing resources from the list.
Any concerns or challenges to the use of a learning resource should be dealt with at the district level. Boards/authorities should also develop policy and procedures to challenge the use of a learning resource.
Boards may choose to use the services of the Educational Resource Acquisition Consortium (ERAC) to assist them in choosing or approving learning resources. ERAC maintains a collection of evaluated K-12 resources for the B.C. school system.
Procedures related to policy
Local policies and evaluation procedures for selecting learning resources should involve practicing educators.
The evaluation procedures should establish criteria to ensure that learning resources chosen for use in schools
- support the learning standards or learning outcomes of the curriculum
- assist students in making connections between what they learn in school and real life applications
- are developmentally and age appropriate
- have effective instructional and technical design
- meet the requirements set by copyright and privacy legislation
- are suitable based on social considerations.
Evaluating resources from the perspective of social considerations can be one of the most challenging aspects of the evaluation process. It must take into account many considerations within a context of community, societal values and standards, to determine the suitability of the resource for instructional use in B.C. schools. Factors to consider may include approaches to multiculturalism, First Nations learning, gender and gender identity, among others.
Educators are best suited for determining the resources that are most appropriate for use in their classrooms. Boards should ensure that their educators are informed of board policy and criteria for the selection of learning resources.
For more information on evaluating learning resources, districts and independent schools may wish to consult with Educational Resource Acquisition Consortium (ERAC).