Posts Tagged "aligned to standards"

How Learning List Helps Districts Comply with ESSA’s “Evidence Based” Requirement

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…]

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The Role of Instructional Materials in Shaping Teacher Practice

In a recent op-ed appearing in The Hill, ThinkCerca’s founder and CEO, Eileen Murphy Buckley, describes the challenges she faced as a novice English teacher working at  Whitney M. Young Magnet High School, one of Illinois’ best high schools and Michelle Obama’s alma mater. Like many first-year teachers, she struggled with classroom management, planning relevant and engaging instruction, and mastery of her content area. She received sage advice from veteran colleagues, but she “confesses” that her strongest supports as an inexperienced teacher were the instructional materials she used in the classroom.

She writes:

So, there is my confession after all these years, but I make it to say that the products we use in schools matter. The quality of those resources matter so very much because they are what empower students, regardless of which teacher they end up with. The materials shape teachers and teacher practice, and they shape the teachers they raise through years of side by side work.

These products must answer to students and teachers as well as buyers — the admins and school boards who are the stewards of our future, our culture, our democracy. Products have material impact on the lives of our children and grandchildren — who will be caring for us and our country in the very near future.

Simply put, reading materials impact the quality of teaching in much more significant ways than you might know.

At Learning List, we understand the importance of high quality materials. We recognize that instructional materials influence how teachers teach as well as how and what students learn. And this understanding shapes how we review products.

Our editorial reviews examine the supports each material does or does not provide for teachers. Our reviewers explain whether teacher resources include background in content and pedagogy; provide pacing information, lesson plans, and guidance in differentiating instruction; and offer professional development opportunities and professional communities that facilitate collaboration and sharing with other teachers who use the same product. Our reviewers note when they feel a product is particularly appropriate for novice teachers. Such products include comprehensive discussions of the required content knowledge and pedagogy, and offer detailed, often scripted, lesson plans to support instruction. [Read more…]

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What to Expect From and Look For When Buying Comprehensive Materials

Comprehensive Materials Checklistcomprehensive material is designed to support students in learning all of the knowledge and skills for a grade and subject. Thus, a comprehensive resource should be highly aligned to the standards for the grade level and subject. It should provide both direct instruction and practice opportunities to support students in achieving the depth of knowledge and understanding the standards expect by the end of the grade level.

Comprehensive materials differ in their level of rigor, coherence, adaptions provided for special student populations and instructional resources included for students and teachers. For example, more robust comprehensive materials contain resources to support direct instruction, guided and independent practice, formative and summative assessment, re-teaching and progress monitoring. Teacher’s guides may include resources for planning differentiation and intervention. [Read more…]

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The Importance of Developing Teachers: Part Two Using Learning List’s Resources to Support Teacher Growth

This is Part Two of a post in response to the recent report Leadership Perspectives on Public Education: The Gallup 2017 Survey of K-12 School District Superintendents.  As discussed in our first post, the superintendents who participated in the Gallup 2017 Survey identified teacher quality as the most important element in student success, but noted the difficulty in hiring talented teachers. In particular, superintendents said that the quantity and quality of new teachers is decreasing and that districts need to become more effective in training teaching staff.

In Part One of this post, we explored how districts can use the resources embedded in instructional materials to support teacher professional development. In this post, we examine how the tools on LearningList.com can facilitate training by enhancing teachers’ understanding of state standards and how standards shape day-to-day instruction.

Learning List features a detailed alignment report for each product we review.  The alignment reports reflect our independent verification of the alignment of citations listed in the publisher’s correlation. In order for Learning List to consider a citation to be aligned to the standard, the citation must address the content, context, and cognitive demand specified in the standard. [Read more…]

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Are You In a New Role This Year?

Are you teaching a new grade level or subject this year? If so, have you had time to investigate the instructional materials provided by the district for the grade or course you are teaching? Sometimes when we have short notice of a change of assignment there just doesn’t seem to be enough time to plan. Elementary Classroom
Three years into my teaching career I moved between campuses and inherited a book cart full of materials for my new assignment. I had no idea which materials were current or most aligned to the standards for the course I would be teaching!  To make things more difficult, I was a singleton teacher and had no one to ask.  It took me a long time to wade through what I had and I am quite sure that I was missing components of the material that came with the original purchase.
If you are in a similar position consider the following as you navigate your new role and review the materials you have.

  1. What types of materials do you have?

Are your materials comprehensive or supplemental?

A comprehensive material is one that supports instruction for a course’s full curriculum and is provided for all students. Such materials would include broad, deep discussions of content; remediation and enrichment activities; formative and summative assessments; as well as teacher resources.

 Supplemental resources are not designed to be the sole instructional resource for a course. Instead, supplementary materials complement, enrich, or extend the content of comprehensive resources. It seems reasonable that supplemental products will vary in terms of their alignment to standards. Some products may focus on a narrow set of standards, while others, such as test preparation resources, may provide a brief review of all standards.

  1. What other instructional resources are included with those materials? For example, do you and/or your students have access to additional web resources, or consumables that may engage them or help extend their learning? Hopefully you were left a list, or someone else on your team can provide this information to you. If not, it may be worth your time to research the material on the publisher’s website in order to understand all of the components you have at your fingertips.
  1. Is the material aligned to the standards you are teaching? Sometimes we have older materials that were purchased prior to a standards revision cycle. Those may not address all the current standards students are responsible for learning. How would you know?
  • Compare the material’s publication date to the date the new standards were implemented.
  • If provided, use the publisher’s correlation to identify which standards are addressed in the instructional material.
  • When planning your instruction check that the citation(s) (page, lesson, video, etc.) you plan on using  is aligned to the content, context, and cognitive demand of the standards you are teaching. Students won’t learn what they are not taught.  So make sure the materials you are using address the entire standards you are teaching.

Thinking back to my third year teaching I would have been a far more effective teacher if I had known to check my materials.  I didn’t.  I hope this helps you avoid the same mistake so that your students have the best opportunity for success.

 

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