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Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Exploring Correlating for the Education Market

What is Correlating?
In educational publishing, correlating is the science (art?) of matching the content to the various state education standards. Good correlating skills are vital to the industry. Some states say that textbooks have to meet 90% of the state grade-level standards to be approved, other states, like Texas, require 100%. And all 50 states have different standards. Yikes!

Before the age of the internet, freelance correlators would receive masses of books and gigantic charts and would have to meticulously write in page numbers next to the standards as they were met. Now, we have electronic spreadsheets and the most wonderful invention in the world… Ctrl-F, the Find function. (My pinky and forefinger of my left hand automatically assume the keyboard position at the word find, which is mildly awkward when the reference is “Mom, can you help me find my other shoe?” – But I digress.)

Since each state has its own set of standards, educational publishers need to make sure they cover as many states as they can with their material. It’s cost effective that way. So, sometimes a correlation job will be one book with more than one set of state standards (Can you imagine the size of that chart on paper?!)

How do I know if I can do it?
Those of you who have been teachers have done this. You might have had to turn in lesson plans with objectives and standards clearly marked for the lesson. I know that some years we’ve had huge charts of the state grade and subject-level standards posted and we were required to mark them as we taught them, each time we taught them. Yes, it’s those numbers.

If you’ve ever written lesson plans, you’ve correlated. It helps a great deal to know your subject area standards for your state. If you know them like the back of your hand, they transfer easily to other state’s standards.

How can I get a job in that area?
Correlating is not for everyone. It’s tedious and the print is small and often in large quantities. If you are truly interested in giving it a go, take a look at your resume. What correlating experiences did you have that you can highlight as a strength?

I’ve listed a few companies that do correlating. Take a look around, maybe send in your resume and cover letter. And as always, let us know how it goes.

Waterloo Education
Inside Edge Publishing
EdGate Correlation Services Go to the About Us page and click on the EdGate Staff tab for contact information (bottom of the page) [Laura's update: EdGate likes their correlators to be near their office in the Gig Harbor, Washington area.]
Academic Benchmarks Employment page

Tell us about your correlating experiences, paid or otherwise.


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