Overview of NASA Product Review Process

The NASA education products review process is a mandatory component to publishing NASA-funded materials and has been created to establish the highest quality standards for curricular materials that will be distributed by NASA and bear the NASA stamp of approval. The review includes panels of teachers, curriculum and design specialists, teacher trainers, and science content specialists. The NASA Office of Education has created two formal review cycles per year, spring/summer and fall/winter, when products may be submitted for review. Each mission directorate and the Office of Education (which also creates educational material) can submit two panels of materials per cycle. In addition to the formal review cycle, an interim approval process has been created to avoid hindering product developers and delaying production of time-dependent materials. During the interim approval process developers can receive temporary approval to produce limited quantities of materials until the next formal product review process occurs. After a product is received, review panels are identified and selected according to the education audience, grade level, and content area of the submitted product. A panel has from 5-7 reviewers, including grade-appropriate classroom teachers, education specialists who are familiar with current trends and needs in science education, informal educators, and scientists with relevant background in the materials being reviewed.

The Office of Education has developed evaluation instruments for education and science content reviewers. The instruments were designed to evaluate key areas of importance for NASA educational material, such as content accuracy, effective integration into classrooms, and alignment of national education standards. Using two evaluation forms developed by the Office of Education, reviewers assess each of the evaluation criteria using a 1-5 scale:

  • 5 – outstanding

  • 4 – very good

  • 3 – good

  • 2 – fair

  • 1 – poor

The reviewer then selects a recommendation for each product using the following categories:

  1. Broad distribution. The product does not need special training or instruction to use. It is an excellent candidate for national distribution.

  2. Recommended as is, with revisions. The product is an excellent candidate for national distribution; however, it will need revisions before reprinting.

  3. Distribution through professional development/teacher workshops. These products are recommended for distribution through NASA educator workshops. Most educators would require some introduction or training for effective use.

  4. Needs revisions. These products have potential but need work before NASA can release them. Depending on the extent to which revisions must be made, the product might need to be resubmitted through the full product review cycle.

  5. Not recommended. These products are disapproved for release because their quality is poor, the material is dated, or they aren’t relevant to NASA’s mission and/or education program.

NASA Review Criteria Checklist

The following checklist summarizes the evaluation criteria used to score submitted products. Use this checklist as a guide when developing new products and when conducting internal evaluations before submitting for formal review.

  1. Quality and Appropriateness

    1. Materials emphasize effective instructional practices.

    2. Materials are appropriate, complete, and effectively presented for targeted audiences.

    3. Materials support science, geography, mathematics, or technology education standards.

  2. Partnerships/Sustainability

    1. The materials take advantage of appropriate partnerships within or outside of NASA.

    2. The projected shelf life is defined, and the product is sustainable beyond initial NASA funding.

  3. Evaluation/Assessment

    1. Materials present opportunities to develop fundamental understandings of key scientific concepts, principles, theories, and laws.

    2. Materials promote student assessment.

  4. Content

    1. Information presented is accurate.

    2. The product is based on scientific and technical activities and education goals and objectives that demonstrate scientific research.

  5. Pipeline

    1. The product provides information on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) careers.

  6. Diversity

    1. Material conforms to federal regulations.

    2. The product is customer focused and reaches diverse audiences.

  7. Design

    1. The resource is easy to use and free from technical difficulty.

    2. Materials effectively integrate learning technologies.

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