Aligning to Standards

Strategies for Reviewing Adaptive Materials

Over the last year, many of our subscribing districts requested reviews of adaptive materials. The concept behind adaptive materials is admirable: different content is presented to each student based upon the student’s performance on each task or assessment. In essence, these products offer the promise of an individualized instruction for each student.

However, districts should not assume that “adaptive” means “aligned to standards.” Many adaptive materials assign content based on skill mastery rather than mastery of the standards. Based on our experience, districts would be advised to carefully review the alignment of adaptive materials to the standards they are needed to support before using them.

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New Product: Education Galaxy Mathematics

New Product: Education Galaxy Mathematics

Are your teachers looking for ways to support students as they prepare for STAAR Math? Take a look at Learning List’s reviews of Education Galaxy for math.

Education Galaxy provides online test preparation for students in grades K-8. Learning List recently reviewed the content for grade 6 math. The intent of the program is to support student mastery of the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) and to provide practice for the State of Texas STAAR assessment. The program uses formative assessment to create personalized learning options based on the skills and concepts students need to learn.

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Alignment: Intervention & Test Prep Materials

As we near the end of the school year, your focus may be on intervention and testing. We offer three suggestions to help you prepare your students for end-of-year success.
Make sure your intervention materials are aligned to the standards you are reteaching. Using tightly aligned materials will reduce your workload and make intervention more effective. Many intervention materials are not designed to align to 100% of state standards. Make sure the material(s) you are using for intervention are aligned to the standards you are re-teaching. Verify that the citations (e.g., lessons, activities, assessments) you plan to use address both the content and rigor of the standards your students need to learn.
 

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The Importance of Using Standards-Aligned Materials

In a recent article titled, “Four Ways State Leaders Can Help Teachers Implement High Quality Curriculum,” the author discusses how state policymakers can support the reopening of schools for a successful school year. She encourages policymakers to “Provide clear and simple guidance to ensure all content is standards-aligned and offer examples of what that may look like for in-person and virtual settings.” 

Tablet computer

As districts searched for new online materials to support at-home learning, technology compatibility may have driven their purchasing decisions. Now that they are having to use the materials, alignment should be an important consideration. Here are three reasons why understanding the standards alignment of materials being used for at-home learning is critical to students’ academic success.

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A Seismic Shift in Science Materials

Over the last several years, we have reviewed hundreds of science materials aligned to state standards, Advanced Placement frameworks, and Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). Over the last two years, we have observed a significant design shift in science products. Using the 5E model and Project Based Learning (PBL), publishers are designing science instruction to engage students in doing science, rather than learning about science. Where traditional instructional materials might present information and ask students to respond through short-answer or multiple-choice questions, newer materials provide teachers with resources to facilitate inquiry-based science instruction. 

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Selecting Materials to Support Differentiated Instruction

As this school year resumes, teachers are going to need to differentiate and accelerate instruction to ensure that students are ready for their new grade level’s content. Whether you are selecting from your district/campus’ existing materials or purchasing new materials, we offer the following questions to help you identify materials that will support teachers in differentiating instruction to meet the needs of their students.

(1) Do the resources offer differentiated planning support for teachers?
Teachers need resources that will help them differentiate instruction to meet their students’ varied learning needs while simultaneously implementing the district curriculum. Here are three features to look for in teacher materials to support teachers in planning differentiated instruction.

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