Instructional Materials Center

Utah's Instructional Materials Review Process

A Brief History and Overview of the Instructional Materials Commission in Utah

In 1907 the Utah State Legislature enacted a law creating the Utah State Textbook Commission thereby giving the jurisdiction for the choice of textbooks neither to the Utah State Board of Education nor the Utah State Legislature, but to a separate group of appointed educators and lay citizens. However, when the constitutional revision took place in 1987, the Utah State Textbook Commission was placed under the Utah State Board of Education to more properly align all of those working with education under one governing body. From the outset, making the choice of which instructional materials to use has been a large and arduous task, but has always helped to guarantee quality instructional materials for Utah's students. In 2001, the name was changed to the Utah State Instructional Materials Commission.

Instructional Materials Adoption Procedures

The purpose of state adoption of instructional materials is to provide for the schools of the state recommendations regarding the best available instructional materials and cautions against those of inferior or undesirable quality.

Instructional materials mean textbooks or materials used as, or in place of, textbooks and which may be used within the state curriculum framework for courses of study by students in public schools to include: textbooks, workbooks, computer software, online or Internet courses, CDs, DVDs, and multiple forms of communication media. These materials shall be designed for student use, may be accompanied by or contain teaching guides and study helps, and shall appear on the online, searchable database (RIMs) of state-recommended instructional materials.

Instructional materials are considered for most curriculum content areas once a year, with the review of career and technical education titles in the spring and academic titles in the fall. An official announcement of the review of instructional materials is sent to publishers in June and December. An intent to submit materials is made by the publisher and samples of each title are received by the Instructional Materials Center. These materials are evaluated by the Instructional Materials Advisory Committees and the recommendations of the committees are then sent to the Utah State Instructional Materials Commission during their semiannual adoption meetings. The recommendations are then sent to the State Board of Education for final approval.

The following advisory committees are currently functioning:

Academic Courses

Applied Technology Courses

Bilingual Education/ESL
Elementary and Secondary

Agricultural Business

Character Education

Agricultural Education

Driver Education and Safety

Agricultural Mechanics

Early Childhood Education

Agricultural Science

Educational Technology
Elementary and Secondary

Business Education

Fine Arts
Elementary and Secondary

Composite Agriculture

Foreign Language
Elementary and Secondary

Family and Consumer Science

General Financial Literacy
12th Grade

General Financial Literacy
12th Grade

Health Education and Fitness
Elementary and Secondary

Health Science and Technology

Information Technology
Elementary and Secondary


Elementary and Secondary

Marketing Education

Language Arts
Elementary and Secondary

Natural Resources

Elementary and Secondary

Plant and Animal Science

Physical Education
Elementary and Secondary

Technology Education

Elementary and Secondary

Trade and Technical Education

Social Studies
Elementary and Secondary


Special Education/Resource Materials
Elementary and Secondary


Instructional materials are adopted for a five-year period (effective Fall 2001 Adoption Cycle). School districts are requested to discontinue, at the earliest possible date, the use of instructional materials which have expired from the recommended instructional materials list (RIMs).

Districts are encouraged to use funds designated for state instructional materials for materials on the recommended instructional materials list, or for advanced placement, International Baccalaureate, concurrent enrollment, and college-level course materials. Use of these materials may require parental permission consistent with R277-474.

Responsibilities and Functions

With the statute change in 1987, the responsibility for the adoption of instructional materials at the state level changed to accommodate the law. The following responsibilities rest with the Utah State Board of Education (refer to Utah Code, Chapter 53A-14-101-106):

  1. Recommend instructional materials for public schools after receiving adoption recommendations from the Utah State Instructional Materials Commission.
  2. Award contracts for instructional materials to instructional materials publishers.
  3. Set policies for instructional materials adoption procedures after receiving recommendations from the Utah State Instructional Materials Commission.
  4. Appoint members of the Utah State Instructional Materials Commission and set the term of office of each member.

The Utah State Instructional Materials Commission has these responsibilities:

  1. Review instructional materials and make recommendations to the Utah State Board of Education.
  2. Accept proposals (bids) from publishers for instructional materials to be state adopted.
  3. Appoint Instructional Materials Advisory Committees to evaluate instructional materials.
  4. Recommend policies for instructional materials adoption procedures to the State Board of Education.
  5. Review requests for renegotiation of instructional materials contracts and requests for instructional materials to be removed from contract.

Membership and Terms of Office of the Utah State Instructional Materials Commission

The members of the Instructional Materials Commission are appointed by the Utah State Board of Education to serve one four-year term, and may apply for a second term. The membership of the Instructional Materials Commission shall be as follows:

  1. The state superintendent of public instruction, or the superintendent's designee;
  2. The dean of the college of education of one of the state owned schools on a rotating basis;
  3. One school district superintendent;
  4. One secondary school principal;
  5. One secondary school teacher;
  6. One elementary school principal;
  7. One elementary school teacher;
  8. Five persons not employed in public education.

Current Commissioners

Instructional Materials Adoption Categories

The adoption categories have been revised, effective July 2002. The new categories will be used beginning with the Fall 2002 Adoption Cycle.

Recommended Primary
Instructional Materials that are in alignment with content, philosophy and instructional strategies of the Core; may be used by students as principle sources of study, provide comprehensive coverage of course content; and support U-PASS requirements.

Recommended Limited
Instructional materials that may be used or purchased and are in limited alignment with the Core or U-PASS requirements or are narrow or restricted in their scope and sequence. If school districts or schools select and purchase materials recommended under this category, it is recommended that they have a plan for using appropriate supplemental materials assuring coverage of Core requirements.

Recommended Teacher Resources
Instructional materials that may be used or purchased for or by teachers for use as resource material only.

Recommended Student Resource
Instructional materials aligned to the Core that are developmentally appropriate, but no intended to be the primary instructional resource. These materials may provide valuable content information for students.

Reviewed, But Not Adopted
Instructional materials that may not be aligned with the Core, may be inaccurate in content, include misleading connotations, contain undesirable presentation, are in conflict with existing law and rules, or are unsuitable for use by students. School districts are strongly cautioned against using these materials.

Not Sampled
Instructional materials that were included in the publisher bid but were not sampled to the USOE or the commission.

Not Reviewed
The following materials are not reviewed, but may be purchased consistent with the law and Rule 277-469-6: Advanced Placement materials, International Baccalaureate materials, concurrent enrollment materials, library or trade books, reference materials, teachers' professional teachers' materials which are not components of an integrated instructional program. Galley proofs or unfinished copies are not reviewed.


The Instructional Materials Adoption Process in Utah maintains local autonomy in the choice of instructional materials by providing a general list of approved materials. The adoption process also establishes, by contracting with each publisher, a price for instructional materials to be maintained throughout the adoption period, thus providing equality for each school district. This system provides the best instructional materials at the lowest price for Utah's students.