Posts Tagged "Learning List"

Learning List and Publishers Collaborate to Benefit Educators and Students

Source: U.S. Govt. wk (CC)

Teaching and Learning [source: classroom picture via U.S. Govt. work (CC)]

As the industry-leading instructional materials review service for schools and districts, Learning List has designed a robust review process specifically intended to inform educator choice. As one curriculum director observed:

“Learning List was built from the ground up to respond specifically to educators’ needs. And it does.”

Learning List is a standards-neutral, independent review service accountable only to subscribing schools and districts. However, the service creates value for publishers, as well.

Learning List’s reviews are descriptive, not critical. The reviews do not rate products or determine which materials are best or most appropriate. Learning List believes that educators are the most qualified to determine which materials would be best for their students. The reviews help each school or district select the standards-aligned instructional materials that will lead to the greatest success of their particular students.

Though our reviews are independent, Learning List partners with publishers to provide rigorous, clear, and complete assessments of instructional materials. Publishers preview the editorial reviews before they are published to ensure their factual accuracy. Publishers are also afforded an opportunity to respond to Learning List’s alignment decisions before alignment reports are posted. By working together, Learning List and publishers ensure that the reviews are more valuable to educators and the instructional materials are more valuable to students.

Today, anyone with a rudimentary knowledge of information technology and no actual content knowledge can publish materials and claim alignment to standards. Conversely, in today’s world of high-stakes testing, districts have a greater need than ever before for instructional materials that are truly aligned to the content, context, and cognitive demand of their state’s chosen curriculum standards. Through collaboration, Learning List and publishers can help educators navigate the increasingly chaotic instructional materials market by providing districts with the timely and accurate information they need to find the instructional materials that are best for their students. For more information about the benefits of Learning List, you can schedule a webinar via this link.

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Tasha Barker Joins Learning List As Director of Alignment

Barker,TashaWe are pleased to announce that Tasha Barker has joined Learning List as the Director of Alignment. Prior to joining our team, Tasha served seven years as the Director of Curriculum and Instruction with Lindale ISD and has held several leadership roles in the area of curriculum and instruction, elementary education, and teaching. She also serves on the Board of Directors of the Texas chapter of the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD).

Being the wife of an active duty Army soldier resulted in many moves throughout her career. Having worked in school districts as large as Austin ISD and Lake Travis ISD, Tasha recently joined Learning List from a small school district. She noted, “As a result of working in a wide range of districts with a diversity of size, location and demographics, I look forward to leveling the playing field across the country to enable all districts to access instructional materials resources that will best meet their students’ needs.”

Having used the service in her most recent district, she also shared how Learning List can make a difference, “As a subscriber of the Learning List service, our team quickly recognized the benefits it provided as we were making decisions because it saved us time and costs by streamlining the selection process for instructional materials. It was a nice complement to our standardized process, for it enhanced the credibility and objectivity required to select standards-aligned materials.”

Tasha received her Associates of Arts degree from Trinity Valley Community College in Athens, Texas and her Bachelors of Science in Political Science and History from the University of Texas at Tyler.  She also earned her Masters in Education from the University of Mary-Hardin Baylor.

About Learning List

Based in Austin, Texas, Learning List is the industry-leading K-12 instructional materials review service for schools and districts. Our subscribing districts serve over half a million students and our library of reviews include instructional materials from over forty publishers. Think of Learning List as a combination of Consumer Reports® and Angie’s List™ for K-12 instructional materials and online courses.

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Compass Learning Launches New Suite of Accelerated Learning Products at ISTE

image001This past weekend at ISTE*, Compass Learning unveiled its new suite of accelerated learning software to help teachers tackle some of today’s biggest education challenges. The new offerings focus on blended learning, intervention and credit recovery with software that includes:

  • Pathblazer a reading and math intervention program for elementary and middle school students,
  • Hybridge a blended learning solution for elementary and middle school, and
  • Gradbound, a credit recovery program for high school.

Compass Learning is also launching new professional development courses, including its Leveraging Data course, which will support educators in implementing data-driven instruction. While these products are new, Compass Learning has been building on more than 40 years of innovation by providing rigorous products to support accelerated learning experiences that enable K-12 students to succeed.

Last year, Learning List reviewed Compass Learning’s comprehensive Odyssey program.  Odyssey provides interactive, accelerated, online instruction in mathematics and English language arts/reading for K-12 students. Across grade levels, Odyssey’s flexible resources support a range of instructional needs, including self-paced learning, remediation, tutorials, and credit-recovery programs.  Lessons are highly customizable and use video, audio, text-based, and interactive learning experiences to accommodate differences in student learning styles. At each grade level, Odyssey’s multimedia content illustrates and explains concepts in humorous, visually appealing segments appropriate to students’ age and attention spans.

Each Odyssey course is structured to facilitate easy access to lessons and associated content. Lessons are indexed by sequence, skill, and learning standard, and lessons titles include accurate and thorough descriptions of content and activities. Teachers may customize instruction by adding offline or other web-based resources to existing course materials. Odyssey’s Test Builder tool allows teachers to develop customized assessments using test bank items indexed by learning objective. Teachers may set mastery levels, timed testing windows, and other testing criteria.

Like the new suite of products, Odyssey’s reporting tools support data-driven instruction by providing teachers with detailed reports in more than 20 formats. Report data may be aggregated by class, grade, school, and multiple schools and disaggregated for particular student groups, such as English language learners. You can look forward to reviewing the resources on Learning List  after the resources become available for the new school year.

*International Society for Technology in Education

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How to Save Time Creating Standards-Aligned Lesson Plans

best_Time_-_good.305184206_stdHaving attended almost 10 years of legislative hearings, I’ve heard countless educators lament that with so many demands on teachers’ time, lesson planning is often relegated to a last-minute “to do”. They recount relying on lesson plans from prior years or hastily scribbled notes as a substitute for a lesson plan. Moreover, though educators realize the need, few have the time to make sure that the materials they assign to the students are aligned to the standards and reinforce their lessons. I thought to myself, how can students be successful when teachers don’t have lesson plans to help them cover the knowledge and skills students need to learn? It’s like driving to a destination without a map or at very least, a good sense of direction.

Helping teachers overcome that challenge was one our motivations in designing Learning List’s detailed alignment reports. For each instructional material reviewed, Learning List provides an independent verification of the publisher’s correlation, checking that the citations (e.g., page numbers, units, activities, videos, etc…) the publisher lists as aligned to each standard truly are aligned to the standard’s content, context and cognitive demand (i.e., “performance expectation”). If a citation is not aligned to all three dimensions of the standard, Learning List provides a comment explaining which part of the standard is not addressed.

Subscribing educators can consult Learning List’s alignment report for the instructional material their district uses to ensure that they assign the portions of the material that will help their students master the standards.

Just as our alignment reports and editorial reviews help districts and campuses streamline their selection processes, educators can use Learning List’s independent alignment reports to create standards-aligned lesson plans more efficiently and effectively. Most importantly, Learning List’s alignment reports help give educators confidence that their lessons are preparing their students for success.

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Teachers Credit Positive Classroom Culture to Bridges in Mathematics


Bridges in Mathematics, 2nd Ed.

Bridges in Mathematics, 2nd Ed.

The Math Learning Center recently released the second edition of Bridges in Mathematics for grades K-5, and Learning List has just reviewed the new set of products.  Bridges is a comprehensive, inquiry-based program that creates a cooperative community of learners in the elementary mathematics classroom by blending teacher-led instruction, structured investigation, and open exploration of math concepts. The Bridges program includes three key components:

  1. Problems & Investigations prompt students to think independently about a teacher-posed problem and to share and evaluate strategies to reach a solution in whole class and partner discussions.
  2. Work Places are station-based activities that engage students in games and other activities that develop and practice new skills.
  3. Number Corner is a calendar-based skills program of short daily activities (20 minutes) that promote understanding of key concepts and develop computational fluency.

Each component includes engaging, age-appropriate content, resources for intervention and support, as well as enrichment activities. The use of increasingly complex visual models and hands-on instructional tools moves students from the understanding of concrete concepts to more abstract thinking about mathematics. Family resources help parents understand learning goals and engage parents as partners in supporting students’ home learning.

Visual Models

Visual Models

Educators enjoy sharing their experiences working with this program: see video here. At each grade level, Bridges focuses on developing students’ ability to reason mathematically, communicate their reasoning, model with mathematics, and critique the reasoning of others. Educators who provided feedback about Bridges to Learning List said the product helped them create classroom cultures in which students work independently and interact positively when discussing problem-solving strategies with classmates. Educators stressed the importance of using teacher resources and overviews to plan and guide daily instruction. They said that teachers needed to trust Bridges’ sequencing and pacing of instruction, explaining that instruction is mapped to how students learn mathematics and activities build on one another to ensure deep understanding of content.

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