Overview of Instructional Materials Review and Approval (IMRA) and House Bill 1605

ALI Staff | Published  June 07, 2024

In May 2023, Texas approved a transformative bill (House Bill 1605) that significantly impacts educational funding for instructional materials.

With this new legislation, districts can receive up to $60 in additional funding per student by selecting from a state-approved list of high-quality educational materials.

This initiative is overseen by the newly established Instructional Materials Review and Approval (IMRA) process, which ensures that only the best resources make it into classrooms.

We're here to help you understand how these changes can benefit your school and enhance the learning experience for both teachers and students.

 

An image with text showing Instructional Materials Review and Approval (IMRA) and House Bill 1605 and the STEMscopes Texas Math logo.

 

What is House Bill 1605?

House Bill 1605 (HB 1605) is a recent law in Texas that changes how schools acquire and use educational materials.

This bill, which went into effect on May 2, 2023, aims to provide learners with high-quality instructional materials and offers additional funding for schools that use these approved resources.

HB 1605 was designed to enhance the quality of education in Texas. It allocates more funds to help schools purchase these materials, making it easier to provide the best resources for their learners.

The bill introduces the Instructional Materials Review and Approval process, which sets new standards for instructional materials. This ensures that all materials are appropriate for each grade level, cover the necessary knowledge and skills, and are thoroughly reviewed before being used in classrooms.

Additionally, the new materials will help reduce the time teachers spend on planning, allowing them to focus more on teaching.

 

How Does HB 1605 Change the Approval and Review of Instructional Materials?

HB 1605 introduces some significant changes to how schools in Texas select and buy instructional materials. However, it's important to note that while some processes are changing, schools can continue using previously adopted materials.

Here's a breakdown of what is and isn’t changing:

What Isn't Changing

  • Use of Traditional IMTA Funds: The IMRA process and requirements do not impact the use of traditional Instructional Materials and Technology Allotment (IMTA) funds allocated by the state. Districts can continue to use these funds as before.

  • District Authority: Districts still have the final authority to adopt instructional materials that meet their local needs. They can continue using materials they have previously used, but they will not receive the additional funding provided by HB 1605 unless those materials are approved through the new IMRA process.

 

What Is Changing:

  • Additional Funding: Schools that adopt SBOE-approved materials can receive an additional $40 per student for these materials and an extra $20 per student for approved open education resources. This new funding helps schools afford high-quality instructional materials that meet the updated standards.

  • Enhanced SBOE Authority: The State Board of Education (SBOE) now has greater authority over the approval of instructional materials. They will review and approve materials based on stricter criteria, ensuring high quality, suitability for the grade level, and freedom from factual errors. These changes will only affect new funds provided under HB 1605.

  • Instructional Materials Review and Approval (IMRA) Process: The bill introduces the IMRA process, which ensures all instructional materials are thoroughly evaluated before being used in classrooms. The SBOE will collaborate with teams of teachers and curriculum experts to conduct these reviews and make recommendations.

  • Overall Instructional Improvements: The new requirements set by HB 1605 aim to improve the quality of instructional materials. For example, previously, materials only needed to cover at least 50% of the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS). Now, materials must provide full coverage of the TEKS, ensuring comprehensive educational content. Additionally, the new standards require materials to be free from factual errors, suitable for their grade level, and of high quality.

 

What is the IMRA Process?

The Instructional Materials Review and Approval process is a new system introduced by House Bill 1605 (HB 1605) to ensure that instructional materials used in Texas schools meet high standards of quality and suitability.

Here’s an overview of its purpose and the role of the State Board of Education (SBOE):

 

The Purpose of IMRA

The IMRA process was established to provide a comprehensive review and approval system for instructional materials.

Its primary purpose is to ensure that all educational resources used in classrooms are of high quality, suitable for the grade level, and fully cover the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS).

This process aims to improve the overall quality of education by ensuring that only the best instructional materials are used in Texas schools.

 

The Role of the State Board of Education (SBOE) in the IMRA Process

The State Board of Education (SBOE) plays a central role in the IMRA process.

The SBOE is responsible for reviewing and approving instructional materials based on the criteria set forth by HB 1605. This involves collaborating with teams of teachers and curriculum experts who conduct detailed reviews of the materials.

The SBOE then makes the final decision on whether the materials meet the required standards and can be approved for use in classrooms.

 

IMRA Process Overview

An image showing the dates of the IMRA review process

IMRA guides the SBOE in defining, identifying, and approving High-Quality Instructional Materials (HQIM).

Once the SBOE approves materials as meeting HQIM criteria, additional funding for districts will be unlocked. Schools can only spend these new funds when HQIM is approved.

Here’s a detailed look at the steps involved in the IMRA process:

  1. Materials Selection: The SBOE selects materials to be reviewed based on the needs and priorities identified in the educational landscape.

  2. Review Availability: Selected materials are made available for review. Feedback from educators and experts is solicited to ensure a comprehensive evaluation.

  3. Expert Review: The Texas Education Agency (TEA) uses teams of teachers and curriculum experts to review the materials thoroughly. These teams evaluate the materials against the criteria specified by HB 1605.

  4. Reporting: The TEA compiles the review findings and provides detailed reports to the SBOE. These reports include evaluations of how well the materials meet the established standards.

  5. Deliberation: The SBOE deliberates on the TEA reviews and considers public comments. This step ensures transparency and community involvement in the approval process.

  6. Approval or Rejection: The SBOE decides whether to approve or reject the materials based on the reviews and deliberations. If approved, the SBOE finalizes pricing and unit ordering details, making the materials available for district use.

  7. Funding Unlock: Once the materials are approved, the additional funding provided by HB 1605 is unlocked, allowing districts to purchase the newly approved HQIM.

 

High-Quality Instructional Materials and IMRA

An image showing what components make up High-Quality Instructional Material (HQIM)

High-Quality Instructional Materials are educational resources that meet specific standards of excellence.

These materials are designed to be comprehensive, engaging, and aligned with educational standards.

Research indicates that HQIM significantly impact student learning by providing structured, grade-level content and proven learning techniques.

The extra funding provided under House Bill 1605 (HB 1605) depends on using these specific HQIM materials, ensuring that schools have the financial support needed to implement the highest quality resources.

 

Criteria for HQIM as per the New Regulations

The criteria for HQIM under HB 1605 include:

  • Alignment with Best Practices: Materials must be aligned with evidence-based best practices.

  • Progress Monitoring: Materials must enable frequent progress monitoring through embedded and aligned assessments.

  • Implementation Supports: Materials must include supports for teachers to implement the curriculum effectively.

  • Lesson-Level Materials: Materials must provide both teacher and student-facing lesson-level resources.

  • Full Coverage of TEKS: Materials must comprehensively cover the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills for the relevant grade level and subject.

  • Support for All Learners: Materials must support all learners, including students with disabilities, English Learners, and students identified as gifted and talented.

 

Additional IMRA Review Criteria

In addition to the HQIM criteria, the IMRA review process includes specific requirements to ensure instructional materials are suitable for classroom use.

Some of these criteria are:

  • Free from Factual Errors: Materials must be accurate and free from any factual errors.

  • Compliance with Standards: Materials must meet all physical and electronic specifications required by the state.

  • No Obscene or Harmful Content: Materials must not contain any obscene or harmful content, ensuring they are appropriate for all students.

  • Parental Access: Approved materials must comply with requirements for parent access, ensuring transparency in the educational resources used in classrooms.

 

Benefits of HQIM for Students and Teachers

The benefits of High-Quality Instructional Material include:

For Students: HQIM provide learners with well-structured and comprehensive materials that make it easier to understand and master the subject matter.

These resources are designed to be engaging and interactive, helping students stay motivated and interested in their studies.

HQIM allow students to engage more deeply and meaningfully with the Texas standards.

 

For Teachers: HQIM reduce the time teachers need to spend on planning and preparing lessons.

With high-quality materials readily available, teachers can focus more on delivering effective instruction and supporting their students. This leads to a more efficient use of time and resources in the classroom.

HQIM provide teachers with a foundational resource that ensures all students have access to rigorous, grade-level content.

 

IMRA Timeline

An image showing the IMRA process timeline

 

Moving Forward with HB 1605

House Bill 1605 ensures that instructional materials meet high standards through the IMRA process, providing better resources for students.

The additional funding contained in the bill makes it easier for schools to access these top-quality materials, reducing the planning burden on teachers and allowing them to focus more on teaching.

While districts can still choose materials that fit their local needs and maintain their independence, the support from HB 1605 ensures that all students benefit from high-quality educational content.

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