Posts Tagged "RtI"

New Review: Apex Learning’s Texas Geometry

LApex Learning's Texas Geometryearning List has reviewed Apex Learning’s Texas Geometry. This is a comprehensive, online geometry product for Texas students. Core content is presented online and includes some printable materials. The course focuses on developing students’ conceptual understanding, computational skills, and proficiency in solving problems. Resources support instruction in self-paced, remediation, and credit-recovery programs.

Texas Geometry is organized in two semesters. The first semester’s content is presented in five units that cover the foundations of geometry, triangles, right triangles, quadrilaterals and other polygons, and circles without coordinates. The second semester presents content in four units that address coordinate geometry, constructions and transformations, three-dimensional solids, and applications of probability. Across semesters, students learn to reason mathematically and to use mathematical models and tools to solve real-world problems.

Each unit begins with a short video introduction that frames the real-world applications of what students will learn and connects new content to prior learning. Subsequent instruction is provided through a set of online activities and, where appropriate, accompanying worksheets. Each unit and semester ends with two versions of a unit/semester exam—one version presents open-ended questions and the second is made up of multiple choice items.

About Apex Learning*

Apex Learning’s digital curriculum is designed to support all students in achieving their potential, from those struggling with grade-level content to those capable of accelerating their learning. The curriculum is designed to actively engage students in learning—combining embedded supports and scaffolds to meet diverse student needs, actionable data to inform instruction, and success management, to ensure students get the outcomes they need.

*Information in this section is provided by or adapted from Apex Learning.

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Three Critical Trends in Instructional Materials: #1 Observations about RtI Materials

We recently gave a presentation about three trends we are seeing in instructional materials. This blog post discusses the first: trends we are seeing in RtI materials.

RtI Process The goal of Response to Intervention (RtI) is to bridge the gap between the breakdown in a student’s understanding of concepts or skill development and current grade level expectations.

We have observed that while RtI materials do a good job of spiraling instruction back to lower grades where the student’s knowledge deficit began, the materials do not always bring the student up to the current grade level.

Another observation is that materials designed for RtI typically do not address all grade level standards.   Teachers must know which standards a material does not address so that they do not inadvertently use that material to reteach those standards.

Our next observation:  “adaptive” does not necessarily mean “aligned.” Some RtI materials are “adaptive,” meaning that the material customizes instruction with built-in flexibility to permit students to take various routes to, and the amounts of time for, individualized learning (Wang & Lindvall, 1984). The path of learning is prescribed according to the students’ learning needs, as indicated by their responses to questions, tasks and experiences most often determined in a diagnostic assessment.

We commonly find that lessons listed in RtI materials (i.e., the lessons that make up students’ customized learning pathways) are not aligned to the standards they intend to teach.  Students cannot learn what they’re not taught. If an adaptive RtI material is not aligned to the standards a student is struggling with, the material will not help the student learn the knowledge and/or skills he or she is lacking.

The bottom line: When using an adaptive RtI material, don’t set and forget. If you want that material to effectively remediate your students’ learning gaps, you must ensure that the lessons in each student’s pathway are aligned to the standards the student is struggling with.specsheetexrti

Lastly, “adaptive” does not mean that the material has adaptions for each of the special student populations.  Here, for example is the section of our Spec Sheet for a popular adaptive RtI material showing that this product does not have leveled readers.

We hope these observations, as well as our prior blog post on the same topic; will help you use your RtI materials most effectively to remediate your students learning gaps.

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

On August 15th The Texas Education Agency released 2016 accountability ratings. Student achievement, student progress, closing performance gaps, and postsecondary readiness are all part of the Texas performance index framework. Many states use the same, or similar, accountability measures. If closing performance gaps is an area of concern, a good place to start is by checking the alignment of instructional materials. 

Students won’t learn what they are not taught. For your students to learn the knowledge and skills the standards require, then your materials (either independently or in the aggregate) must be aligned to 100% of the standards for the grade/subject. You may not have considered that your instructional materials could be part of the problem, particularly if you used state adopted materials. However, keep in mind in Texas, as in other states, “state adopted” does not necessarily mean aligned to 100% of the standards. Moreover, if you are using supplemental or RtI products, are the materials you are using aligned to the standards you are using them to teach? Supplemental products are often not designed to address 100% of the standards. For further information about the importance of alignment see “New (Free) Whitepaper: Why Alignment Matters”.

ebook
Another issue to consider is access to the core instruction in your instructional materials. If you are using online materials do they have internet access to access the core instruction outside of the school day? Publishers often claim that their online materials are downloadable or printable for students who do not have internet access at home. But is the core instruction or are only the supplemental activities available offline?  More often than not, we find that only the supplemental activities are available offline but the core instructional content is not. This can lead to gaps in student learning particularly for economically disadvantaged students who have access to fewer high quality instructional resources and learning opportunities outside of the school day.   

As your district works to close the achievement gap, Learning List’s detailed alignment reports, comparison tools, and technology reviews can assist your work. Call us to find out more.

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New Review: McGraw Hill’s Reading Mastery, Signature Edition

thumb_Reading_Mastery

[Source: McGraw Hill]

Learning List has reviewed McGraw Hill’s Reading Mastery, Signature Edition, which is a comprehensive resource to support reading and language arts instruction in grades K-5. The program emphasizes structured direct instruction, rapid intervention, and ongoing support for struggling learners. Resources are available in print and online formats and addresses the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) for each grade level.

Reading Mastery provides carefully sequenced direct instruction in the concepts, skills, and strategies students need to become proficient readers. Content is presented at a controlled pace that ensures students have the requisite skills and knowledge to master increasingly complex reading and language arts content. The reading and language arts strands of the program are presented separately. Reading lessons integrate phonemic and phonological awareness, vocabulary skills, reading comprehension strategies, and fluency. Language arts lessons focus on developing oral language and writing skills. Lessons for both strands provide opportunities for guided and independent practice with scaffolded support, and for students to apply what they have learned.

Content follows a logical progression and builds on students’ prior learning when introducing new skills. Instruction focuses on preventing the misunderstandings and frustration that may discourage struggling readers. Resources for each Response to Intervention (RtI) tier are provided and Reading Mastery: Fast Cycle is available for high performing students.

About McGraw Hill*
McGraw-Hill-Education

[Source: McGraw Hill]

At McGraw-Hill Education, we believe that our contribution to unlocking a brighter future lies within the application of our deep understanding of how learning happens and how the mind develops. It exists where the science of learning meets the art of teaching.

Educators have been and always will be at the core of the learning experience. The solutions we develop help educators impart their knowledge to students more efficiently. We believe that harnessing technology can enhance learning inside and outside of the classroom and deepen the connections between students and teachers to empower greater success.

By partnering with educators around the globe, our learning engineers, content developers and pedagogical experts are developing increasingly open learning ecosystems that are proven to improve pass rates, elevate grades and increase engagement for each individual learner while improving outcomes for all.

*The content provided here was provided by or adapted from McGraw Hill.

Subscribe to Learning List for access to the spec sheet, full editorial review and detailed alignment report for this material.

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