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 Explanation of Review Procedures 


SB&F reviewers are scientists in academia and industry, teachers, librarians, and media specialists. They are experts in their fields and have a strong interest in science education. Reviewers are asked to

  • Write a critical evaluation emphasizing the merits and/or demerits of the material.
  • Describe and critique the content, technical quality, and instructional value.
  • Assess the accuracy and clarity of scientific facts presented in the material.
  • Take special note of the overall quality of the presentation of facts, theories, and processes of science and their interrelationships.
  • Indicate for which audience(s) the material is most appropriate and why.

Reviewers are also asked to mention how the material could be used (classroom, general awareness, reference, etc.).

SB&F reviewers summarize their overall opinion of materials in terms of quality and level of difficulty by choosing ratings and symbols from the list below. 

Appraisal and Level of Difficulty Codes

SB&F reviewers assign appraisal codes and levels of difficulty to the books they review. The codes for appraisal ratings and levels are outlined below.

Appraisal Codes

++     Highly Recommended: The material contains no serious errors or deficiencies, and the reviewer thought the content and presentation were excellent.  

+      Recommended: The material contains no serious errors or deficiencies, and the reviewer thought the content and presentation were above average. 

Ac     Acceptable: The material contains no serious errors or deficiencies, and the reviewer thought the content and presentation were average. 

      Questionable: The material contains errors of fact, deficiencies in development, and/or the reviewer thought the content and presentation were below average. 

NR     Not RecommendedThe material contains serous errors of fact and/or deficiencies in development.  

Level of Difficulty Codes

K         Preschool or kindergarten

EP        Elementary grades 1 & 2

EI         Elementary grades 3 & 4

EA       Middle grades 4 & 6

JH        Junior High grades 7 & 8

YA       Young Adult grades 9 – 12

C         College

T          Teaching professionals

GA       General audience 

SB&F evaluations are the personal appraisals of the reviewers or of the staff and do not represent official recommendations or decisions of the reviewers’ affiliations or of AAAS.