Effective Practice

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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5 Ways Learning List’s Alignment Reports Help You Get the Biggest “Bang for Your Buck” from Your Materials

Learning List’s alignment reports help teachers select materials that are aligned to the standards they need to teach.  Then, like a GPS through the product, our alignment reports show teachers specific citations in the material that they can use to address each standard fully.GPS

Learning List’s Alignment Reports

Our alignment reports show (a) the percentage of standards to which the material is aligned, (b) the standards to which the material is aligned and is not aligned, and (c) specific citations (e.g., pages, lessons videos) that have been independently verified to be aligned to each standard.[1]  [Read More …]

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A Timesaving Strategy for Effective Lesson Planning

My son and daughter attend a rural school district where most teachers wear multiple hats.  For example, my son’s math teacher is also a football, basketball, and baseball coach requiring him to stay at school until at least 7:00 pm most nights, and on game day he’s there until the team returns, which is often after 10:30 pm. Then, he’s back at school by 7:00 the next morning.

The challenges in this rural school are not unique; in every rural district, teachers juggle many professional responsibilities unrelated to the courses they teach.  writingWhen, then, do they have time to ensure that their lessons implement the state standards with fidelity? The materials used in a lesson will either help students learn the knowledge and skills the standards require or distract them, undermining the lesson’s effectiveness. [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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2 Considerations: Planning for Interventions

If you’ve concluded your Beginning of Year (BOY) assessments, then you’re probably planning RtI for struggling students. When selecting instructional materials for intervention support, these two questions are critical to your students’ success:

  1. Is the material aligned to the standards students are struggling with?
  1. Does the instructional material provide sufficient practice for students to master those skills?

Imagine that your assessments show that a 2nd grade student needs help decoding multiple syllabic words (a) in context and (b) independent of context by applying common letter sound correspondences.


The table below shows a popular intervention material’s alignment to the Elements of the Standard that addresses decoding words in context.  The material is aligned to each Element of the Standard; in fact, all 3 of the citations Learning List reviewed* were aligned to each Element.

Standard 2.A.1: Decoding words in context:


In contrast, the table below shows the material’s alignment to the Elements of the Standard that addresses decoding words independent of context.  One of the citations Learning List reviewed was aligned to each Element of the Standard, but five other citations reviewed were not aligned.

Standard 2.A.2: Decoding words independent of context:


While the instructional material is aligned to both of the standards the student is struggling with, this material would provide only one opportunity for the student to learn/practice each Element of the second standard, decoding multisyllabic words independent of context.

Some level of repetition is typically required for students to understand, internalize, and master content and skills. If this is an adaptive material, this material’s single “aligned” citation may not be instructionally sufficient to help the student “master” decoding multisyllabic words independent of context.

If this were your student, you would be advised to look for a different material that contains more citations aligned to each Element of these two standards, or use the reviewer’s comments in the alignment report to adjust instruction to match the full intent of the standard.

Learning List’s alignment reports make it easy to identify materials that are aligned to the standard your students are struggling with and help you determine whether the material provides sufficient practice for your students to master those standards.

*If the publisher’s correlation lists fewer than three citations as aligned to a standard, Learning List’s subject matter experts review all of the citations listed. If the publisher’s correlation cites more than three citations as being aligned to a standard, Learning List employs a “spot check” verification methodology – at least three and up to eight citations are reviewed for alignment to the standard. If teachers want to use a citation that Learning List has not reviewed, they would be advised to check the alignment of the citation themselves. However, Learning List’s alignment report serves as a guide as to how likely it is that any additional citation would be aligned to that standard.

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5 Essentials in Teaching Pre-AP

We are often asked whether we review materials for Pre-AP courses. Pre-AP courses are grade level courses with embedded strategies to provide knowledge, concepts, and skills needed to prepare students for AP courses. While we will review any instructional materials aligned to the TEKS, CCSS, NGSS, and certain state-specific standards, districts may not need to purchase specific “Pre-AP texts”.

Supporting students in these five essentials will better prepare them for more rigorous AP coursework to come.writing

  1. Reading advanced texts is a large component of AP courses. Students access learning from college level texts and must be able to read independently for understanding. Pre-AP courses can support this skill development by including instruction in note-taking, key vocabulary terms, as well as reading college texts and primary source documents.
  2. Higher level thinking should be embedded in all classes and is essential for Pre-AP. Teacher developed lessons should include questions that challenge students to analyze, synthesize, evaluate, and create. Students should also be encouraged to create higher level questions and participate in class discussions where conversations are between student and teacher, as well as student and student.
  3. In addition to promoting higher level thinking, Pre-AP courses should focus on depth and complexity. Students should be looking for big ideas, details, trends, patterns, rules, unanswered questions, and using subject-specific vocabulary..
  4. Pre-AP students benefit from exposure to a variety of resources. Challenging Pre-AP students to use a variety of materials to connect and apply their learning supports the skills previously discussed. Teachers can include resources such as high school texts, college texts, studies by experts in the field, and online resources.
  5. Writing in Pre-AP is important for AP test preparation. Moreover, students benefit from writing in the context of the discipline, using the language of the discipline to express higher level thinking through depth and complexity is a skill that will support students in all future endeavors.
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