Aligning to Standards

Looking for a Way to Boost AP Scores?

In order to help students succeed in Advanced Placement (AP) courses, instructional materials must address the knowledge and skills articulated in the new AP course frameworks.  To that end, the College Board partnered with Learning List™ to provide educators with independent, professional reviews of AP materials[1].

As part of the review process, Learning List verifies a material’s alignment to each of the Learning Objectives (LO), Essential Knowledge statements (EKs) and Skills/Practices in the relevant course framework.  The alignment reports identify the “citations” (e.g., pages, lessons, videos) listed in the publisher’s correlation that Learning List verified to be aligned and not aligned to each LO, EK and Skill/Practice for the course.

The College Board used these reviews to decide which materials to include on the 2016 and 2017 Example Textbook Lists for each of these courses. However, educators should be aware that a material’s inclusion on an Example Textbook List does not mean that the material is aligned to 100% of the Learning Objectives or Skills/Practices of the course.  [Read More]

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Five Tips for Reviewing the Alignment of Materials

Over the summer, many educators engage in instructional planning, including verifying the alignment of the materials they intend to use during the upcoming school year. Reviewing the alignment of materials is great professional development for educators. Team Meeting

Having reviewed well over 2000 materials for alignment to various state and Advanced Placement standards, we share these five pointers to assist in your alignment reviews: [Read More …]

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Use Your Learning List Resources for T-TESS Coaching Support

Individual coaching conversations, professional learning communities, grade level team planning, and other informal learning situations are perfect opportunities for linking Learning List tools to support just-in-time learning.

In Administrators, Are You Using Learning List to Plan for Observations?, we provided sample coaching questions related to the T-TESS Dimensions for planning and instruction. As you continue to provide coaching support, you may want to leverage Learning List’s resources once again.  Accessing these tools takes only a few moments, and more importantly, saves you time in researching additional resources.  Below are the T-TESS Dimensions for planning and the Learning List tools that will assist you and the teachers you are supporting. Goals, Plan, Success

T-TESS Planning Dimension 1.1: The teacher designs clear, well organized, sequential lessons that reflect best practice, align with standards and are appropriate for diverse learners.

  • Learning List’s Alignment Comparison tool assists teachers in determining which of the district’s resources are aligned to the standards that they will address in the lesson(s) they are planning.
  • Learning List’s Spec Sheets and Editorial Reviews provide information about any adaptions the instructional materials provide to help teachers plan instruction for students with diverse learning needs.
  • Learning List’s Spec Sheet helps you identify materials that work on your district’s technology and the Spec  Sheet helps you quickly understand the technology requirements of materials you are considering or using. Both inform technology integration.

Planning Dimension 1.2: The teacher uses formal and informal methods to measure student progress, then manages and analyzes student data to inform instruction.

  • Learning List’s Spec Sheets and Editorial Reviews contain information about the assessments and monitoring tools provided in each instructional material.
  • Learning List’s Alignment Comparison tool and detailed Alignment Reports identify the citations in each material (e.g., lessons, pages, videos) that Learning List has verified to be aligned to each standard. When planning for differentiation or RtI, teachers can use these resources to identify materials aligned to standards students are struggling with.

Planning Dimension 1.3: Through knowledge of students and proven practices, the teacher ensures high levels of learning, social-emotional development and achievement for all students.

  • Learning List’s Spec Sheets and Editorial Reviews provide information about the adaptions each instructional material provides to assist teachers in planning for diverse learning needs.
  • Learning List’s search filters and Product Comparison tool make it easy to assess the vertical alignment of a material across grade levels.  Comparing the vertical alignment of a product across grade levels can assist teachers in planning intervention support.

Planning Dimension 1.4: The teacher plans engaging, flexible lessons that engage higher-order thinking, persistence and achievement.

  • Learning List’s Alignment Comparison tool assists teachers in determining which of the district’s resources are aligned to the standards they intend to address in the lesson they are planning.
  • Learning List’s Spec Sheets and Editorial Reviews provide information about the adaptions each instructional material provides to assist teachers in planning for diverse learning needs.

Coaching is an important part of your work as an educational leader. Leverage Learning List’s resources to save time, enhance teaching and accelerate learning in your district.

While the descriptors of practice may be different, suggestions for use of Learning List resources will likely fit any model of teacher evaluation and support.

 

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Reviews of Materials for CTE and Languages Other Than English (LOTE)

The Texas State Board of Education recently released this state adopted list of materials for Career & Technology Education (CTE) and Languages Other than English (LOTE) courses. As part of the Texas state adoption process, panels of educators review the alignment of each material to the relevant state standards for the course and develop a detailed evaluation report showing the citations in the panel verified to be aligned to each state standard.

The Texas Education Agency (TEA) does not publish the state panel reports on the Agency’s website, though they are available through a public information request.

Learning List has reviewed materials for these CTE courses.  For each of those materials, the state panel evaluation report will be posted along with Learning List’s Spec Sheet and Editorial Review on LearningList.com.

For state-adopted materials for the remaining CTE courses and for LOTE materials, Learning List will make the state evaluation reports available to subscribers upon request. Requests may be made using the Chat, Contact Us or Request a Review features of our site.

We hope that making these state evaluation reports available will help not only Texas subscribers but also subscribers in other states who may want to evaluate CTE and LOTE materials.  An explanation of how to read (and understand) a state evaluation reports is provided below.
How to Read a State Panel Evaluation Report

  • The first page of the report provides the state’s calculation of the material’s alignment percentages to the TEKS and the English Language Proficiency Standards.  At the bottom of the page, there may be Reviewer’s Comments about the material.
  • The “meat and potatoes” of the alignment report is contained in section (b) Knowledge and Skills,in a table like the one below that begins on pg. 2 or pg. 3 of the report.

State Alignment Report

  • The first three columns of the table contain a TEKS statement, Student Expectation (SE) and Breakout. Materials submitted for state adoption are reviewed for alignment to the Breakouts of each SE.

Note: SEs are generally compound and complex sentences. To facilitate the review of the alignment of each material, at the inception of each state adoption process, TEA staff breaks down each SE into its component parts, called “Breakouts.” The state panels review each material for alignment to the Breakouts. Each Breakout is listed on a separate row of the table.

  • The four middle columns of the table identify the citations (e.g., the pages, lessons, videos) in the material that the state panel reviewed for alignment to each Breakout.
  • The last two columns (furthest right) show whether (Yes/No) any of the citations reviewed were aligned to the Breakout and whether the material is aligned to that SE (which is only shown on the row of the first Breakout of the SE).
    • The material must be aligned to all of the Breakouts of a SE in order for the material to be considered “aligned” to the SE.
    • The Comments column may contain state reviewers’ comments about any citation that they found not to be aligned to the Breakout.

 

Subscribe to Learning List for access to the spec sheet, full editorial review and detailed alignment report for this material, and thousands of other widely used Pk-12 resources.

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Build Your Own …

This post is the second in the series, “Three Critical Trends in Instructional Materials.”

An increasing number of districts are forgoing comprehensive textbooks in favor of building their own resources. In fact, a California superintendent told us that he had put aside $7 million to pay his teachers to develop their own materials. Administrators in favor of building their own resources say the exercise will engender greater buy-in among teachers and produce better resources for students.  Others question whether the skills that make a person a great teacher are the same skills necessary to design instructional materials. As one person suggested, “I’m a good driver, but I couldn’t build a car.”

Having reviewed almost 2500 resources, Learning List staff have seen and learned much about instructional materials. If your district is considering or developing instructional resources, we share the following observations to help inform your methodology:
Magnifyer

  • Focus – Materials should focus on the major work of the grade.  Distracting content should be limited and the materials should include multiple citations (e.g., pages, lessons, videos) aligned to each priority standard. For example, if you’re in a Common Core state, do you have multiple citations for teachers to use to teach each Major, Supporting, and Additional standard or each of the Critical Areas of Focus? If you are in Texas, do you have at least a few citations addressing each Readiness, Supporting and Process standard?
  • Coherence – Citations should build and reinforce (within and across grades and subjects) a deeper understanding of concepts and skills articulated in the standards and their application in the real world. Does your material contain real world examples and activities to engage your students and show the relevance of the content and skills they are learning?
  • Rigor – The citations should be grade-level appropriate and rigorous, as opposed to difficult.
  • Horizontal and Vertical Alignment – Citations should be verified to be aligned to the standards. Alignment is a unique skill set.  Very accomplished teachers are not necessarily adept at doing alignment work.  Moreover, alignment is an inherently subjective endeavor. In order to ensure that the material your district is developing is aligned to the standards: (1) have at least two teachers, who are good at aligning material to standards, review the alignment of each citation incorporated in the material, and (2) have a method of reconciling differences of opinion among those teachers.
  • Adaptions/Instructional Resources – The material your teachers develop must be “accessible” to all students and teachers.  Consider whether/how the material will help teachers differentiate instruction for students with differing abilities. Consider also whether all teachers have the skills and knowledge to use the materials you are creating effectively.  For example, will professional development be necessary? Does the material have content supports and notes to help all teachers present the content in a similar way?
  • Maintenance –Teachers will quickly get frustrated if links in the material do not work and will lose faith in the material. It is imperative to the success of your Build Your Own initiative to have a regular maintenance schedule to ensure that the embedded links are working.

Building your own materials will be a time consuming and painstaking process. But, if done well, it is likely to produce resources that your teachers will use and that will prepare your students with the knowledge and skills the standards require them to learn.  Hopefully, the observations provided above will help you build an efficient and effective “Build Your Own” methodology.

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The Three Cs of Alignment

One of the topics we are often asked to present at conferences is how to align a material to state standards. Before you begin the hard work of aligning materials, you must ensure that teachers understand the knowledge and skills each Student Expectation requires students to learn.

Each Student Expectation contains three parts, which we call the “Three Cs of the Standard”: the content, context and cognitive demand.

  • The Content of the Expectation states what students are required to learn. The content is typically the noun(s) of the Student Expectation.Three Cs
  • The Context of the Expectation is where/when the learning should be taking place.
    • In the Common Core State Standards, the context may be articulated in the Expectation itself, or the Cluster or Domain may articulate the context for the Expectation.
    • In the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS), the context may be articulated in the Student Expectation or in the Knowledge and Skills Statement.
    • In ELA, for example, the context of an Expectation is a particular genre. In social studies, the context for an Expectation is often the time period or type of history (e.g., US history, World history, Texas history, etc.). For science, the context is where the learning should be taking place (e.g., in the laboratory, in field investigations, on the Earth’s surface).
  • The Cognitive Demand is what the Expectation requires students to be able to do. The cognitive demand is typically the verb(s) of the Student Expectation.

To determine whether a citation (i.e., a page, unit, lesson) in the material is aligned to a Student Expectation, you have to make sure that the citation addresses all three Cs of the Student Expectation. This may be more difficult than it sounds, because Student Expectations are often both compound and complex sentences. Thus, an Expectation typically contains several nouns and several verbs.

If a single citation does not address all of the nouns and verbs contained in an Expectation, teachers must be aware of the citation’s deficit or else their students may not learn all of the knowledge and skills the Expectation requires. Teachers can adjust their instruction to make up for the material’s deficit or assign multiple citations that align to different portions of the Expectation to ensure that students are exposed the entire Expectation.

 

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