About Learning List

How Learning List Helps Districts Comply with ESSA’s “Evidence Based” Requirement

A recent report from Curriculum Associates discusses the Every Student Succeeds Act’s (ESSA) requirement that federal education funds be used for evidence-based programs, interventions, and products. “ESSA and Evidence Claims: A Practical Guide to Understanding What ‘Evidence-Based’ Really Means” provides a primer for educators in understanding the four levels of evidence recognized by ESSA (e.g., moderate evidence), the type of study that exemplifies each level (e.g., quasi-experimental), and the five questions educators should ask when evaluating research-based evidence (e.g., “When was the study conducted?”).

One of five questions for evaluating evidence, in particular, caught Learning List’s attention: “Was the study based on current content and standards?”

ESSA assumes that the evidence base for a product, program, or service is based on the state’s current standards, but it is possible that the research is grounded in prior state standards or another state’s standards, altogether. It is the district’s responsibility to vet information to ensure products purchased with federal funds and the evidence supporting the products’ effectiveness are based on the appropriate standards.

A tall order but Learning List can help.

Learning List’s alignment reports clarify which set of standards a product addresses, such as the Common Core State Standards or the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills. Our alignment reports evaluate the product’s alignment, determining whether the material fully addresses the content, context, and cognitive demand of each of the relevant standards. Thus, Learning List’s alignment reports provide strong evidence about whether a product is grounded in the relevant standards. [Read more…]

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How Learning List Assists Teachers in Developing and Achieving SLOs

Solid instruction begins with an analysis of student data followed by the development of targeted learning goals and instructional practices aimed at achieving them. Student Learning Objectives/Outcomes (SLOs) are growth targets set by teachers to help them plan instruction and drive learning throughout the year. SLOs provide schools and districts with a way to make best instructional practice a common expectation for all teachers and principals.

Here are five ways Learning List’s reviews and tools support teachers in creating high quality SLOs and achieving them:
Effective Practice
(1) After the focus of an SLO has been identified, Learning List’s alignment reports and alignment comparison tool make it easy for teachers to identify causal connections between students’ learning deficits and deficits in the alignment of the district/campus’ instructional materials.

(2) Learning List’s alignment comparison tool and alignment reports help teachers scaffold instruction using their existing materials to address students’ learning gaps that have persisted over multiple grade levels. [Read more…]

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The Role of Instructional Materials in Shaping Teacher Practice

In a recent op-ed appearing in The Hill, ThinkCerca’s founder and CEO, Eileen Murphy Buckley, describes the challenges she faced as a novice English teacher working at  Whitney M. Young Magnet High School, one of Illinois’ best high schools and Michelle Obama’s alma mater. Like many first-year teachers, she struggled with classroom management, planning relevant and engaging instruction, and mastery of her content area. She received sage advice from veteran colleagues, but she “confesses” that her strongest supports as an inexperienced teacher were the instructional materials she used in the classroom.

She writes:

So, there is my confession after all these years, but I make it to say that the products we use in schools matter. The quality of those resources matter so very much because they are what empower students, regardless of which teacher they end up with. The materials shape teachers and teacher practice, and they shape the teachers they raise through years of side by side work.

These products must answer to students and teachers as well as buyers — the admins and school boards who are the stewards of our future, our culture, our democracy. Products have material impact on the lives of our children and grandchildren — who will be caring for us and our country in the very near future.

Simply put, reading materials impact the quality of teaching in much more significant ways than you might know.

At Learning List, we understand the importance of high quality materials. We recognize that instructional materials influence how teachers teach as well as how and what students learn. And this understanding shapes how we review products.

Our editorial reviews examine the supports each material does or does not provide for teachers. Our reviewers explain whether teacher resources include background in content and pedagogy; provide pacing information, lesson plans, and guidance in differentiating instruction; and offer professional development opportunities and professional communities that facilitate collaboration and sharing with other teachers who use the same product. Our reviewers note when they feel a product is particularly appropriate for novice teachers. Such products include comprehensive discussions of the required content knowledge and pedagogy, and offer detailed, often scripted, lesson plans to support instruction. [Read more…]

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Trends in Advanced Placement: Increasing Supports for Students and Teachers

Increasing the available instructional supports for Advanced Placement (AP) teachers and students is one of the key themes that emerged from College Board’s AP Annual Conference 2017.  At the conference, the College Board announced that in 2019-20, it will roll out a new dashboard that enables AP teachers to create instructional materials tailored to their students’ individual needs. The dashboard will provide access to AP assignments, benchmark tests, unit guides, and related unit tests, as well as other materials to help teachers prepare their students for AP exams.

Learning List applauds the increased emphasis on supporting teachers in the College Board’s plan for new services. As our subscribers know, any material included on the College Board’s “Recommended List” must have been reviewed by Learning List. Our AP reviews consider how well each product is aligned to its respective course framework; the product’s instructional content and design, including supports for teachers; and the product’s technology specifications.  Taken together, our reviews provide a holistic view of a product that enables educators to understand whether a product will meet their students needs. [Read more…]

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What We’ve Observed: Trends in AP Materials

The College Board is engaged in several related initiatives to help teachers prepare a broader, more diverse group of students to succeed in AP courses.   AP courses in several disciplines are being redesigned and new courses are being introduced to create AP courses that strike a balance between depth of understanding and breadth of content coverage.

A critical next step in supporting AP teachers is ensuring that the instructional materials for AP courses address the knowledge and skills articulated in the new course frameworks.  To that end, the College Board partnered with Learning List™ to provide educators with independent, professional reviews of AP materials[1]. [Read more…]

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Use Learning List to Identify Gaps When Standards Change

As standards are revised, you may have to purchase new or supplemental instructional materials to align to 100% of the new standards.

When standards change, Learning List will review the alignment of materials already featured on our site against the new standards. The Learning List alignment reports will highlight changes in the standards to help you identify gaps in your current materials.

As publishers submit an updated correlation (i.e., identifying citations in their existing materials that align to the new standards), Learning List will verify those correlations, and the alignment reports will show citations in your existing materials that align to the new standards, as shown below.

Revised Standards

Contact us to find out how reviewing Learning List’s alignment reports for your current instructional materials helps to determine whether gaps exist before purchasing new materials.You may find that you can save a lot of money!

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