Posts Tagged "alignment"

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.

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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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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.

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Where Do You Stand? The Great Homework Debate

As the school year begins, so does the debate over homework. Educators, parents, and researchers have differing opinions about how much (if any) homework is appropriate. Some people believe homework is useless, if not harmful.  Others favor homework in some cases but not all, depending on the age of the child, the type of homework assigned, and the time it takes to complete. Homework

Whether or not you agree with the concept of assigning of homework, students’ time spent interacting with instructional materials (during the school day or as homework) will lead to improved academic performance only if the materials used are aligned to the standards.

As you plan homework, review the instructional material you plan to use to make sure that it addresses, and is aligned, to the standards you want students to learn. Here’s why: after hearing many teachers complain that they were not getting the promised results from a widely used supplemental material, Learning List reviewed it. Our alignment report revealed the problem:

  • The material was not aligned to 100% of the state standards, which was not surprising because few supplemental materials intend to cover 100% of the standards.
  • Teachers were (unintentionally) using the material to help students practice standards the material did not cover. In fact, the publisher’s correlation did not list those standards as being addressed in the material at all.

In order for homework to be effective it must be aligned to the standards you want students to learn. Otherwise, you are giving students false confidence that they have learned what they need to be successful.

For more information about using instructional materials efficiently and effectively, read these previous posts:

Are You Discussing Instructional Material Alignment in Your PLC?

Are Your Resources Supporting Your Efforts to Close the Achievement Gap?

 

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Introducing Learning List Spec Sheets and Explorer Tool

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For Immediate Release

Contact: Cindy Ryan 512-852-2132

Learning List’s New Spec Sheets and Explorer Tool Help Districts Transition Successfully to a Blended Learning Environment

Austin TX, October 1, 2015 – Learning List launches new Spec Sheet reviews and Explorer tool at the TASA/TASB Convention in Austin, Texas.

According to the Texas Education Agency, Texas school districts have already spent over $250 million this school year on new instructional materials. If history serves as a guide, many of those products will go unused because they will not live up to the publisher’s claims.

The challenge of finding high quality instructional materials is exacerbated as districts increasingly transition to a blended learning environment with either 1:1 or Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) initiatives. Now, not only must administrators find instructional materials that meet their students’ academic needs, but the materials must also work with multiple devices, browsers and operating systems. District staff seldom has the time and/or expertise to thoroughly review the academic attributes and technology requirements of instructional materials before the district decides which products to buy.

Learning List’s new Spec Sheets and Explorer tool help districts meet that challenge. The Explorer tool helps educators navigate the vast (and expanding) universe of K-12 instructional materials to find products the meet their academic and technical specifications. The new Spec Sheet, Learning List’s two-page checklist of a product’s key academic attributes and technology requirements, will help curriculum and technology teams quickly narrow the list of available products they need to review themselves.

For each material, the Spec Sheet includes several criteria within each of the following categories:

blog chart

“We have found that reviewing the technology specs of a product is just as critical as reviewing the academic side of materials. If your district’s technology is not compatible with the specs of the product, your teachers won’t be able to use it.  So regardless of how good a product is instructionally, if the square peg doesn’t fit in the round hole then you are just wasting money. Learning List’s new Spec Sheets are going to make shopping for instructional materials much less time consuming and will give districts of all sizes greater confidence in the products they select,” Matt Tyner, Textbook Manager for Dallas ISD and Executive Board Member of the Instructional Materials Coordinators’ Association of Texas (IMCAT).

The Spec Sheets are consistently formatted to make it easy for educators to compare critical product features. These at-a-glance reviews complement Learning List’s more in-depth Alignment Reports and Editorial Reviews. Subscribers now get three independent, professional reviews to help inform their buying decisions.

Learning List is an instructional materials review service for schools and districts. With subscribing districts in five states serving over a million students, Learning List has reviewed more than 1,000 preK-12 products in the four core subjects. Learning List reviews both textbooks and digital instructional materials upon subscribers’ requests.

“Learning List is a service for schools and districts. Our subscribers asked us for help verifying and comparing products’ technology requirements. The Spec Sheet and Explorer tool are our latest response to districts’ need for high-quality, transparent information in the rapidly evolving K-12 instructional materials marketplace,” said Jackie Lain, Learning List’s President.

 

About Learning List –Learning List is the industry-leading instructional materials review service for schools and districts. Like Consumer Reports®, Learning List provides independent reviews of preK-12 instructional materials to help administrators choose and teachers use materials effectively.

For further information about Learning List’s Spec Sheets and/or new Explorer tool, contact Cindy Ryan at Learning List 512-852-2132 or CindyR@LearningList.com.

 

 

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