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Forensic Science Curriculum: Reviews and Comparisons

October 18th, 2023 | 11 min. read

Joshua Witherspoon

Joshua Witherspoon

After serving as a Texas FFA state officer in 2018, Josh Witherspoon joined the iCEV team as a part-time employee for 3 years before taking on the role of content development specialist in 2022. Witherspoon holds a bachelor's degree in agricultural communications from Texas Tech University, in which his experience and proficiency in writing, marketing and CTE allow him to effectively communicate the successes of CTE educators and students and the value iCEV has to offer.

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As a forensic science teacher, you understand the value high-quality curriculum offers your students as it can turn their interests into a career. However, with all of the curriculum options out there, finding the right fit for your classroom can be a challenge.

As a passionate Career and Technical Education (CTE) provider, we’re often asked about the best forensic science resources available. In this article, you’ll explore some of the most popular providers and discover how they compare to iCEV: 

  • Cengage 
  • eDynamic Learning 
  • Savvas Learning 
  • TPS Publishing  

After reading this article, you’ll better understand each curriculum option, their benefits, drawbacks and who the curriculum is best suited for. 

iCEV’s Forensic Science Curriculum

As a comprehensive CTE solution, iCEV offers extensive resources and materials for teaching high school forensic science and other Law, Public Safety, Corrections, and Security (LPSCS) courses.

The Forensic Science course uses a structured, scientific approach to investigating crimes and the psychology of criminal behavior. Students will learn terminology and investigative procedures related to crime scenes, questioning, interviewing, criminal behavior characteristics, truth detection, and various scientific procedures used to solve crimes. 

The course comes complete with pre-built lesson plans, interactive activities, formative and summative assessments, and other materials to engage students in your classroom. In addition, teachers receive access to a robust learning management system to track student activity and report on their progress. 

The platform and courses are also customizable and allow you to combine multiple courses to build students’ knowledge and create a cohesive learning experience. 

What Are the Benefits of iCEV? 

iCEV provides an extensive curriculum for teachers to meet standards for forensic science and other LPSCS courses. With a single subscription, instructors receive access to a library of LPSCS courses complete with ready-to-use lessons, activities, and assessments.

Through engaging multimedia, students interact with a variety of instructional methods in a blended learning environment. With iCEV, teachers can tailor their instruction to the needs of every student, including special populations.

iCEV’s digital curriculum and platform are also continually updated to satisfy changes in standards and keep students prepared for future developments in family and consumer science.

What Are the Drawbacks of iCEV? 

While our forensic science curriculum is a great fit for many classrooms, it isn’t the right solution for everyone. Instructors who want to teach this course in a more traditional, text-focused format might prefer a print-based curriculum for their classes.

Likewise, educators who want to focus in great detail on a single facet of forensic science—like ethics—might consider a curriculum that focuses more heavily on individual concepts.

Finally, teachers who prefer to craft their own lesson plans from scratch might not utilize the full library of premade plans and materials available in the iCEV curriculum system. 

Who Should Consider iCEV? 

iCEV gives students a comprehensive introduction to forensic science concepts and skills in a blended learning environment. Through engaging multimedia content and interactive activities, your students will learn a wide variety of knowledge and skills to set them on a path for success. 

It’s a good choice for educators looking for a well-structured, engaging curriculum solution to support your course. It’s not for teachers who favor more traditional instruction methods like textbooks that offer less interactivity.

Cengage Forensic Science Curriculum 

Cengage is a curriculum provider that offers a robust introductory digital textbook,  Forensic Science Fundamentals & Investigations for teaching high school students. This dynamic text and supplemental resources are designed to engage students in active learning while integrating applied science into forensic concepts and skills. 

In addition to the eTextbook, educators can purchase access to the MindTap companion site that houses additional where activities, virtual labs, and assessments. From the companion site, educators can personalize learning experiences for students and integrate with your preferred LMS. 

What Are the Benefits of This Curriculum? 

Within the MindTap companion site, educators will find virtual lab activities that allow students to complete step-by-step instructions in various high-quality forensic science simulations. Simulations constitute a significant advantage to Cengage’s offering as they offer an innovative way for students to engage with forensic science concepts and skills.

Another advantage of this curriculum is that teachers can add activities from Google Drive, YouTube videos, and external website links to operate within the MindTap interface. This means you can incorporate other instructional elements you’ve created or acquired into your students' coursework through the platform.

The last benefit to using this curriculum option is that Cengage offers an additional digital textbook, Forensic Science: Advanced Investigations, to increase the rigor of your course or build upon what students learn in a more advanced class.   

What Are the Drawbacks of This Curriculum? 

One of the main drawbacks of Cengage’s forensic science offering lies in the lack of variety in activities and projects. The activities and projects are very similar from lesson to lesson, which can quickly cause student disengagement. 

Another substantial disadvantage to this option is that the digital textbooks, access to companion sites, and other materials associated with this curriculum must all be purchased separately. Educators with a tight budget may find buying this curriculum more complicated than an all-in-one curriculum solution.

Who Should Consider This Curriculum? 

Ultimately, Cengage is a high-quality resource that offers well-structured instructional materials and engaging simulations for students to practice what they’ve learned. It’s a solid choice for educators looking to incorporate more engaging activities supported by text-based instructional methods. 

It’s not a good choice for teachers looking for a cost-effective all-in-one solution as the components of this curriculum must all be purchased separately to create a cohesive learning experience. In addition, educators looking for a curriculum with a wide variety of interactive activities and projects may be disappointed by this option as many of the assignments and projects are similar.

eDynamic Learning Forensic Science: Secrets of the Dead Curriculum  

eDynamic Learning (eDL) is a popular CTE curriculum provider offering digital courses for middle and high school students. Within their wide variety of course options, forensic science educators will find the Forensic Science: Secrets of the Dead digital textbook.

In this in-depth resource, students will explore crime scene analysis and learn the techniques and practices applied during a crime scene investigation, including how clues and data are recorded and preserved.

What Are the Benefits of This Curriculum?  

The first advantage of this option is that the etextbook instructional materials are robust and well organized to progress through each topic in the course. In addition, videos, images, and text callouts complement the well-rounded book to meet the needs of various learning styles. A podcast is also available for an audio narration of each unit’s lessons.

The second significant benefit of this curriculum option is the capstone projects for students to complete. Capstone projects challenge students to think critically, solve complex problems, and demonstrate their readiness for work in a specific field. 

What Are the Drawbacks of This Curriculum? 

One of the biggest drawbacks to eDL’s forensic science curriculum is that it doesn’t have a wide variety of activities and projects to allow students to synthesize and apply what they’ve learned. In addition, the few activities found in each unit lack the hands-on components that make CTE impactful. Instead, the activities and checks for understanding assignments rely on more traditional methods to allow students to interact with content.  

When educators view the eDL platform, they’ll notice that there are no self-grading options for activities or quizzes, only for assessments. Without this feature, educators must manually grade these smaller assignments, taking valuable time away from students or cutting into after-school time. 

Who Should Consider This Curriculum? 

eDynamic Learning is best suited for an asynchronous learning environment. Educators looking to assign their students digital coursework and manage the course digitally will likely be successful with this option as it has less variety in how students engage with coursework. 

On the other hand, if you’re an educator looking to create a blended learning environment using a variety of instructional methods and interactive activities, you might be disappointed in this curriculum option. 

Savvas Learning Forensic Science, 4th Edition Resource  

Savvas Learning offers a clear introduction to the concepts and skills of modern crime investigation through its Forensic Science: An Introduction, Fourth Edition digital textbook.  

The eBook is robust and well-organized to progress through each topic, and includes images, text callouts, career highlights, and case files to complement the well-rounded text. Each chapter has an overview for the teacher with a briefing of the content, teaching tips, extension prompts, and discussion questions.

In addition, with an additional purchase, educators and students gain access to the curriculum companion site MyLab to complete interactive coursework. 

What Are the Benefits of This Curriculum? 

As a digital textbook Forensic Science provides many of the same advantages as print textbooks. The information it contains is robust, accurate, and well-organized, and it offers frequent career highlights so students can draw connections between what they’re learning and the actual forensic field. 

In addition, it offers valuable activity prompts to get students thinking more deeply about the course content. These prompts include discussion questions, bell ringers, critical thinking questions, and project suggestions. 

What Are the Drawbacks of This Curriculum? 

One of the biggest drawbacks of the Forensic Science etext is that it lacks many of the useful features that other products in this article provide. After all, this product is essentially a digital textbook, and therefore naturally won’t have some of the engaging assets of a true curriculum system. 

From a student perspective, Forensic Science may seem boring or otherwise unengaging because it lacks features like instructional videos and engaging interactive courseware. Instead, students will largely be forced to read from the textbook itself, which can turn into students disengagement.

From the teacher's perspective, Savvas Learning’s offering doesn’t provide helpful pedagogical resources like lesson plans, final assessments, self-graded components, or even a gradebook. When combined with the lack of Learning Management System (LMS) integrations, this means that more responsibility is put on the teacher to compose their own resources and keep track of student progress. 

Who Should Consider This Curriculum? 

Forensic Science would be a good fit for teachers who prefer using textbooks in their courses, or who otherwise have a more traditional style of teaching. For teachers like this, Savvas Learning’s book  is a strong choice that will help you train your students in the skills they need.

On the other hand, for teachers who want a more interactive digital experience for their students, Forensic Science probably wouldn't be a good fit. It lacks many of the time-saving and engaging features that other resources in this list provide, leaving the pressure on you to meet the curriculum where it falls short.

TPS Publishing’s Forensic Science CTE Resource 

TPS Publishing, Inc. is a small curriculum provider whose name stands for “Teachers, Parents, Students.” They offer content for high school forensic science through their Forensic Science CTE Edition resource

In this resource, students are introduced to the application of science to connect a violation of law to a specific criminal, criminal act, or behavior and victim. Educators can expect to find a variety of activities, projects, labs, and assessments on the platform.  

What Are the Benefits of This Curriculum? 

A major advantage of this resource offering is that TPS provides Archway, a phonics program, to assist individuals in learning to read, write, and speak in English along with tips to assist ELL/ESL students. 

Another benefit this curriculum is that TPS offers robust activity guides with a selection of activities, projects, and labs. While these activities and projects lack hands-on learning opportunities, they make up for it in the ways students interact with concepts and vocabulary. 

Finally, since the curriculum lacks true instructional materials, educators can easily take pieces of this curriculum to incorporate alongside a curriculum with more comprehensive teaching materials. 

What Are the Drawbacks of This Curriculum? 

The main drawback of the TPS Forensic Science: CTE Edition offering is that the curriculum lacks the extensive instructional content that other providers offer. There is informational content describing topics prior to the activities, but in order for students to have a comprehensive understanding, educators will need more substantial instructional materials to support learners.

Who Should Consider This Curriculum? 

Forensic Science CTE Edition would be a good fit for teachers looking to add supplemental activities and projects to support a more robust curriculum solution. While the activities and projects are well designed, this curriculum option lacks the instructional content students need to engage with concepts and skills.

On the other hand, for teachers who want a more interactive and comprehensive curriculum solution, Forensic Science: CTE Edition is not the best choice. It lacks the educational components as well as the engaging and time-saving features that other resources in this list provide, leaving the pressure on you to create your own lesson plans and instructional materials. 

Which Forensic Science Curriculum Is Best For My Students? 

Selecting the best forensic science curriculum for your classroom can be challenging. To ensure your students succeed, you need a comprehensive resource that covers core forensic science concepts while preparing learners for the future.

Which curriculum you choose will ultimately depend on your unique classroom needs. Which concepts and skills do you specifically need to cover in your course? Do your standards require that you teach specific material? Which curriculum will prepare your students to be successful in their careers?

Depending on how you answer these questions, you might prefer one of these curriculum solutions over the others.

But if you’re searching for a comprehensive forensic science curriculum to help students succeed, consider iCEV.  Sign up for a free trial and gain instant access to the iCEV platform and curriculum so you can decide if it's truly a good fit for your students.  

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