First, why is alignment so important? Teachers rely on their instructional materials for 80 percent of their curriculum. They expect that the materials the district purchases will be aligned to 100% of the standards. If the material is not aligned to the depth and rigor of each standard, and the teacher is not aware of the material’s deficits, he/she will not supplement with additional products or adjust his/her instructional strategies to ensure that the students fully learn all of the standards. If students are not taught the knowledge and skills required by the state’s standards, they will not do well academically.

Here’s a snapshot of a few instructional materials that show the contrast between the “Publisher Submitted Alignment Percentage” vs. the  “Learning List Alignment Percentage” for the TEKS standards (Texas Education Knowledge and Skills) for ELA/R (English Language Arts and Reading) and Math across various grade levels:

[Source: Learning List]

[Source: Learning List]

Similarly, here’s a snapshot of a few instructional materials that show the contrast between the “Publisher Submitted Alignment Percentage” vs. the  “Learning List Alignment Percentage” for the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) for ELA/R and Math across various grade levels:

[Source: Learning List]

[Source: Learning List]

Bottom line: the alignment of your district’s instructional materials will inevitably impact your students’ scores, which in turn, will impact your teachers’ evaluations and campus and district accountability ratings.

Solution: Have two or three teachers carefully check the citations in the publisher’s correlation to make sure that the citations listed are aligned to the content, context and cognitive demand of each standard. Why more than one teacher? Determining alignment is an inherently subjective endeavor; having a few teachers work together to check the material’s alignment is necessary to reduce the subjectivity of alignment determinations.

At Learning List, three and sometimes four subject matter experts (experienced teachers certified in the grade and subject of the products they review) check the alignment of each instructional material. On average, we spend about 14 hours reviewing the alignment of each instructional material featured on Learning List.

Support your teachers and students’ success by ensuring that the materials you purchase (either individually or in the aggregate) are truly aligned to 100% of the standards in each grade and subject.