Aligning to Standards

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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3 Critical Facts To Help You Get the Most Instructional Value from Your Materials

3 Critical Facts To Help You Get the Most Instructional Value from Your Materials

As you consider using unfamiliar materials, we offer these tips to help you get the most instructional value from your materials: 

  • If a material does not provide a correlation to your state’s standards, it probably was not designed with your state’s standards in mind. Thus, the material likely will not cover all of the content knowledge and skills your standards require students to learn. Using a material without a correlation will cause you more work in planning instruction to ensure that your students have the opportunity to learn everything the standards require. Consider using such resources for engagement or enrichment rather than as the primary resource for the course. 
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Trends in Materials Designed for NGSS

Trends in Materials Designed for NGSS

As of January 2020, twenty states have adopted the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), which are based on the National Research Council Framework for K-12 Science Education. An additional twenty-four states have adopted their own standards that are based on the National Research Council Framework for K-12 Science Education. Consequently, the standards are impacting science education for approximately 71% of United States students.

As teachers across the country have realized, NGSS changes the expectation for what science instruction looks like. NGSS moves students beyond just knowing science and demonstrating their knowledge through completing scripted science experiments and demonstrations to doing science and solving problems like scientists and engineers. This means the materials for science instruction have to change, too.

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Factors to Consider When Selecting Intervention Materials

Factors to Consider When Selecting Intervention Materials

When our Learning List team talks to district staff, we hear a variety of responses to the question, “How are you currently selecting resources to support Tier I intervention?” Answers range from systemic processes with district-wide solutions to teachers each selecting their own materials from multiple sources. The results of intervention are equally varied. Ensuring successful intervention requires consideration of multiple factors that can be addressed by answering the following questions:

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