Posts Tagged "alignment"

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.

Read More

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.

 

Read More

The Myth of 100% Alignment

Learning List has reviewed the alignment of over 2500 materials.  After reviewing a material’s alignment, we calculate the percentage of standards to which the material is aligned.

When you log into LearningList.com, you will see that several products have an alignment percentage of 100%. An alignment percentage of 100%, does NOT mean that every citation (e.g., page, lesson, video) listed in the publisher’s correlation was found to be aligned to the relevant standard. Rather, 100% alignment means that Learning List’s subject matter experts found that every standard was fully addressed at least once in the material.* aligned_nonalignedv2

 

Learning List’s subject matter experts review multiple citations for alignment to each standard.** As this table reflects, typically one or two of the citations reviewed are found to be aligned to the standard; several others are found not to be aligned. In order to be sure that students will learn all the knowledge and skills the standards require, teachers must know which citations are aligned to the standards and which are not.

Learning List’s detailed alignment reports show (1) which citations (from the publisher’s correlation) were reviewed for alignment to each standard, (2) which of those were found to be aligned to the standard, and (3) which were found to not to be aligned. Moreover, a reviewer’s comment accompanies each non-aligned citation to explain precisely which part of the standard the citation failed to address.

These alignment reports make it easier for teachers to assign citations that have been verified to be aligned to each standard. If teachers want to assign a non-aligned citation, the reviewer’s comment explains how they should adjust their instruction to make up for the material’s deficit(s). This quick video provides an example.

Preparing your students for success requires you to be a critical consumer of the instructional materials you are using. The alignment percentage of a material alone does not tell the whole story. Even when a material has an alignment percentage of 100%, there are likely citations in the publisher’s correlation that are not aligned to the standards. The alignment reports on LearningList.com provide the critical information you need to use your instructional materials effectively in your instruction.

*Learning List recognizes that a single “aligned” citation may not be instructionally sufficient to help students “master” the standard.  Some level of repetition is typically required for students to understand, internalize, and master content and skills. That is the reason Learning List reviews multiple citations for alignment to each standard.

**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.

Read More

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!

Read More

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.

ELAR TEKS 2A

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:

ELAR TEKS 2A

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:

ELAR TEKS 2A

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.

Read More

Subscribe!

Click here to subscribe for weekly updates.

Connect with us

Categories

Blog Calendar

March 2017
M T W T F S S
« Feb    
 12345
6789101112
13141516171819
20212223242526
2728293031