This weekend, while I was walking with a teacher friend (keeping an appropriate social distance and wearing our masks), I asked how she is managing teaching her second grade class. She said she misses seeing her students every day, and lamented that she has had to rely on district-provided online materials a lot more than she ever did in the past. I asked her how well she liked using the online materials. The materials, she explained, use games to teach, and while her students found them engaging, she feared that the materials are not well aligned to the standards. I asked whether her district had reviewed the materials before she used them. She responded, “I doubt they had the time.”
About Learning List
At Learning List, we are often asked, “Which material is the best?” While some organizations rank and/or rate materials, we do not. We do not sum a review up in a number or set of numbers or tell you which materials will be best for your students, because many variables affect the efficacy of a material. For example, how the material will be used, whether the material has the adaptions your students need and whether the district’s technology will support the full implementation of the product are all variables that affect which product is “best” for your students.
Districts invest significant time, resources, and money into the development of curriculum and the purchase of instructional materials. A lack of consistency between the sequence of the curriculum and the sequence of instructional materials can be a hurdle to implementation of both.
Mapping instructional resources to the district curriculum will support teachers with planning so that lessons and activities from instructional materials are in sync with the curriculum.
Is your district looking for a material that provides integrated grammar and conventions instruction? Take a look at Learning List’s review of Patterns of Power.
Stenhouse’s Patterns of Power Inviting Young Writer into the Conventions of Language and Patterns of Power Plus are supplemental ELA programs for grades 1-5. The material is print-based. Patterns of Power Inviting Young Writer into the Conventions of Language is the teacher resource book for grades 1-5. Patterns of Power Plus consists of grade-specific kits that include a teacher’s guide with lessons, a Lesson Display Flip chart, Student Notebooks, Focus Phrase Cards, and access to the Companion Website.
Learning List’s editorial reviews reflect feedback from multiple Learning List reviewers. Our reviewers are highly qualified, experienced state educators who are certified to teach the courses and have experience teaching the standards of the products they review. Each editorial review aggregates feedback from multiple reviewers, as well as from Learning List’s Director of Editorial Review, who verifies the reviewers’ observations and adds additional information from her own reviews of the material.
A recent report from Curriculum Associates discusses the Every Student Succeeds Act’s (ESSA) requirement that federal education funds be used for evidence-based programs, interventions, and products. “ESSA and Evidence Claims: A Practical Guide to Understanding What ‘Evidence-Based’ Really Means” provides a primer for educators in understanding the four levels of evidence recognized by ESSA (e.g., moderate evidence), the type of study that exemplifies each level (e.g., quasi-experimental), and the five questions educators should ask when evaluating research-based evidence (e.g., “When was the study conducted?”).
One of five questions for evaluating evidence, in particular, caught Learning List’s attention: “Was the study based on current content and standards?”
ESSA assumes that the evidence base for a product, program, or service is based on the state’s current standards, but it is possible that the research is grounded in prior state standards or another state’s standards, altogether. It is the district’s responsibility to vet information to ensure products purchased with federal funds and the evidence supporting the products’ effectiveness are based on the appropriate standards.
A tall order but Learning List can help.
Learning List’s alignment reports clarify which set of standards a product addresses, such as the Common Core State Standards or the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills. Our alignment reports evaluate the product’s alignment, determining whether the material fully addresses the content, context, and cognitive demand of each of the relevant standards. Thus, Learning List’s alignment reports provide strong evidence about whether a product is grounded in the relevant standards. [Read more…]