Reviews: College Board’s SpringBoard Mathematics

The College Board’s SpringBoard Mathematics is a comprehensive mathematics curriculum for students in grades 6-12 available in print and online formats. Across grade levels, lessons have a consistent structure and focus on developing math literacy through active learning.  SpringBoard Courses 1-3 address middle school grades 6-8, respectively. At the high school level, SpringBoard offers courses for Algebra 1, Geometry, Algebra 2, and Precalculus.  Across grades, SpringBoard prepares student for success in college and careers by incorporating Advanced Placement (AP) instructional strategies.  Learning List has verified the alignment of courses to Texas, Common Core and Florida standards.

math-engaging-students

[Source: SpringBoard]

Each SpringBoard course is structured using the “Understanding by Design” instructional model. Students “get ready” for learning by examining the types of assessment questions they will experience when instruction is complete. Lessons balance conceptual understanding and procedural fluency and provide opportunities for individual and collaborative learning experiences. Content is presented clearly and includes relevant visual elements, such as graphs and tables that support student understanding but do not distract from content. Problems are framed in terms of meaningful, real-world applications and examples provide step-by-step guidance toward solutions. The complexity of problems increases progressively allowing students to deepen and extend their learning.

SpringBoard teacher editions include planning and pacing guides and point-of-use correlations to standards (e.g., CCSS, MAFS, TEKS), support in implementing AP strategies, and guidance in meeting the needs of English language learners (ELLs) and struggling and advanced students. Teacher resources provide extra practice problems, lessons in prerequisite skills, and mini-lessons (instructional support for concepts related to the lesson).

SpringBoard_Logo

[Source: College Board]

About College Board*

The College Board is a mission-driven not-for-profit organization that connects students to college success and opportunity.

Founded in 1900, the College Board was created to expand access to higher education. Today, the membership association is made up of over 6,000 of the world’s leading educational institutions and is dedicated to promoting excellence and equity in education.

Each year, the College Board helps more than seven million students prepare for a successful transition to college through programs and services in college readiness and college success — including the SAT and the Advanced Placement Program. The organization also serves the education community through research and advocacy on behalf of students, educators and schools.

*The content in this section is provided by or adapted from College Board.

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EdNext Poll on Testing

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[Source: The 2015 EdNext Poll on School Reform
WINTER 2016 / VOL. 16, NO. 1]

Over the last few months, the national conversation about public education seems to have shifted from a debate over the Common Core State Standards to a debate over state testing.  Daily, newspapers feature stories about states dropping out of the Common Core testing consortia, PARCC or Smarter Balanced; states abandoning long-standing state testing contracts; and parents opting [their children] out of taking state tests.  Increasingly, state legislatures are examining ways to reduce the number of tests students have to take.

A new poll by Education Next suggests that there may be less hostility towards testing than the media would have us believe.  The nationally representative survey solicited responses from approximately 4,000 members of the general public, parents and teachers.

When asked:  “Do you support or oppose the federal government continuing to require that all students be tested in math and reading each year in grades 3-8 and once in high school?” respondents answered as follows:

Members of the public:  67% supported vs. 21% opposed continuing the federal requirements for annual testing (contained in the federal  No Child Left Behind Act)
Parents:  66% supported vs. 23% opposed continuing the federally-mandated testing;
Teachers:  47% supporting vs. 46% opposed continuing the federally mandated testing.

In answer to the question, “Do you support or oppose letting parents decide whether to have their children take state math and reading tests?” The responses were as follows:

Members of the public:  25% supported vs. 59% opposed giving parents the right to “opt-out” of state tests;
Parents:  32% supported vs. 52% opposed giving parents the right to “opt-out” of state testing;
Teachers:  32% supported vs. 57% opposed giving parents the right to “opt-out” of state testing.

While federal and state policymakers may change the type, number and timing of tests students have to take, testing will remain an indispensable part of our education system.  Learning List’s independent alignment reports help educators understand how the instructional materials they use may be affecting their students’ test results.  If students repeatedly missed test questions associated with a particular standard or group of standards, teachers can refer to Learning List’s alignment report(s) to determine (1) whether the district’s instructional material(s) is/are aligned to those standards, and (2) more specifically, whether the specific citations (e.g., page numbers, lessons) they assigned are aligned to those standards.  If either the material or the citations were not aligned to those standards, students likely did not learn what those standards required them to know.  Either situation is easily fixed by providing supplemental materials aligned to those standards or by assigning other citations listed in the publisher’s correlation that have been verified to be aligned to those standards.

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New Reviews: McGraw-Hill’s SRA FLEX Literacy

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[Source: McGraw-Hill Education]

McGraw-Hill’s SRA FLEX Literacy is a comprehensive reading and language arts intervention program for grades 3-8. Some content may be appropriate for students in grades K-2. Instruction incorporates print and online materials and is designed for blended learning environments.  Resources support Response to Intervention (RtI) programs and the needs of students at Tiers 2, 3, and 4. Learning List has recently completed reviews of the materials for grades K-8.

 SRA FLEX Literacy focuses on developing independent readers through the use of culturally diverse texts at the appropriate level of complexity.  Reading passages range in complexity from Beginning Reader (BR) through 1,100 Lexiles. Lessons are organized using the gradual release model that includes modeling (I do), guided practice (we do), and independent practice (you do), as well as assessment and review. Instruction incorporates teacher-led and computer-led lessons that develop close reading and writing skills.  

flex_literacy_video

Click image to view video [Source: McGraw-Hill Education]

Content is presented in three “Experiences”: The Digital Experience, the Print Experience, and the Project Experience. The Digital Experience provides individualized online instruction focused on building reading comprehension and fluency. The Print Experience is structured in teacher-led activities for small group and whole group instruction.  The Project Experience focuses on developing students’ writing, technology, and collaboration skills.

About McGraw-Hill Education*

McGraw-Hill Education (MHE) believes that their contribution to unlocking a brighter future lies within the application of their deep understanding of how learning happens and how the mind develops. It exists where the science of learning meets the art of teaching.

Educators have been and always will be at the core of the learning experience. The solutions they develop help educators impart their knowledge to students more efficiently.  MHE believes that harnessing technology can enhance learning inside and outside of the classroom and deepen the connections between students and teachers to empower greater success.

By partnering with educators around the globe, their learning engineers, content developers and pedagogical experts are developing increasingly open learning ecosystems that are proven to improve pass rates, elevate grades and increase engagement for each individual learner while improving outcomes for all.

Why? Because learning changes everything.

*The content in this section is provided by or adapted from McGraw-Hill Education.

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