Posts Tagged "Curriculum"

Models Matter

Instructional ModelsWhen selecting materials, one important criterion educators should consider is the instructional model on which the material is based. Resources should mirror and support the model the district uses or else instruction may become disjointed.

Over the next few months, Learning List’s blog will discuss the instructional models most frequently implemented in the products we review. Our discussion will seek to highlight the key attributes of each model and clarify where a particular model may or may not be an appropriate structure for content.

Learning List has reviewed more than 1,000 instructional materials in the four core content areas and Technology Applications. In the process of our reviews, we have become familiar with products that incorporate a variety of instructional models. We’ve reviewed products that organize instruction using well-known models, such as 5E, Universal Design, and Understanding by Design (UbD), as well as lesser known models targeted to particular subject areas and specific learning needs.

Generally speaking, each model presents a recognizable structure that seeks to order content in a way that supports engagement and helps students make sense of what they are learning. Models compress the learning cycle into a predictable set of routines that may be effectively implemented in classroom schedules at the elementary, middle, and/or high school levels. Each model provides an underlying framework for instruction that provides consistency and coherence within and across grade levels, structuring learning experiences in ways that enable teachers to plan effective lessons and allow students to purposefully explore content.

Read More

Join Learning List at ASCD

[source: ASCD]

[source: ASCD]

If you’re attending the national ASCD conference , visit Learning List’s booth #540.

Come see how our detailed alignment reports and researched-based reviews can help you choose the best materials for your students and use the materials you have more efficiently.Learn more about what our service can do for your district by clicking here .

Here’s a glimpse of the 70th Annual ASCD Conference by the numbers:

  • ~ 5000 attendees from across the US,
  • ~ 300 Exhibitors
  • > 350 Sessions and
  • 28 Pre-conference institutes

With industry-leading speakers such as Sara Lewis and Nicholas Negroponte, the ASCD conference also features a  free sing-along concert with Peter Yarrow, formerly of Peter, Paul and Mary.

 

 

Read More

Learning List and Publishers Collaborate to Benefit Educators and Students

Source: U.S. Govt. wk (CC)

Teaching and Learning [source: classroom picture via U.S. Govt. work (CC)]

As the industry-leading instructional materials review service for schools and districts, Learning List has designed a robust review process specifically intended to inform educator choice. As one curriculum director observed:

“Learning List was built from the ground up to respond specifically to educators’ needs. And it does.”

Learning List is a standards-neutral, independent review service accountable only to subscribing schools and districts. However, the service creates value for publishers, as well.

Learning List’s reviews are descriptive, not critical. The reviews do not rate products or determine which materials are best or most appropriate. Learning List believes that educators are the most qualified to determine which materials would be best for their students. The reviews help each school or district select the standards-aligned instructional materials that will lead to the greatest success of their particular students.

Though our reviews are independent, Learning List partners with publishers to provide rigorous, clear, and complete assessments of instructional materials. Publishers preview the editorial reviews before they are published to ensure their factual accuracy. Publishers are also afforded an opportunity to respond to Learning List’s alignment decisions before alignment reports are posted. By working together, Learning List and publishers ensure that the reviews are more valuable to educators and the instructional materials are more valuable to students.

Today, anyone with a rudimentary knowledge of information technology and no actual content knowledge can publish materials and claim alignment to standards. Conversely, in today’s world of high-stakes testing, districts have a greater need than ever before for instructional materials that are truly aligned to the content, context, and cognitive demand of their state’s chosen curriculum standards. Through collaboration, Learning List and publishers can help educators navigate the increasingly chaotic instructional materials market by providing districts with the timely and accurate information they need to find the instructional materials that are best for their students. For more information about the benefits of Learning List, you can schedule a webinar via this link.

Read More

Tasha Barker Joins Learning List As Director of Alignment

Barker,TashaWe are pleased to announce that Tasha Barker has joined Learning List as the Director of Alignment. Prior to joining our team, Tasha served seven years as the Director of Curriculum and Instruction with Lindale ISD and has held several leadership roles in the area of curriculum and instruction, elementary education, and teaching. She also serves on the Board of Directors of the Texas chapter of the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD).

Being the wife of an active duty Army soldier resulted in many moves throughout her career. Having worked in school districts as large as Austin ISD and Lake Travis ISD, Tasha recently joined Learning List from a small school district. She noted, “As a result of working in a wide range of districts with a diversity of size, location and demographics, I look forward to leveling the playing field across the country to enable all districts to access instructional materials resources that will best meet their students’ needs.”

Having used the service in her most recent district, she also shared how Learning List can make a difference, “As a subscriber of the Learning List service, our team quickly recognized the benefits it provided as we were making decisions because it saved us time and costs by streamlining the selection process for instructional materials. It was a nice complement to our standardized process, for it enhanced the credibility and objectivity required to select standards-aligned materials.”

Tasha received her Associates of Arts degree from Trinity Valley Community College in Athens, Texas and her Bachelors of Science in Political Science and History from the University of Texas at Tyler.  She also earned her Masters in Education from the University of Mary-Hardin Baylor.

About Learning List

Based in Austin, Texas, Learning List is the industry-leading K-12 instructional materials review service for schools and districts. Our subscribing districts serve over half a million students and our library of reviews include instructional materials from over forty publishers. Think of Learning List as a combination of Consumer Reports® and Angie’s List™ for K-12 instructional materials and online courses.

Read More

To Be or Not to Be: Are Publishers Aligned to Standards?

Today, Learning List released market insights drawn from hundreds of alignment verifications we have completed.  Although Learning List reviews both comprehensive and supplemental instructional materials, this analysis only included materials that publishers claimed to be aligned to 100% of the relevant standards.  Learning List’s Subject Matter Experts (experienced educators) found that, on average, those materials were aligned to:

To Be or Not2B jpeg

(c) 2014 Learning List

  • 87% of Common Core State Standards; and
  • 88% of the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS).

Thus, there was an average gap of 13 percentage points between publishers’ claimed alignment percentage and the alignment percentage determined by Learning List’s independent reviews. The largest gap was 50 percentage points for Common Core materials and 32 percentage points for TEKS materials.

Why the discrepancy?  One reason is that publishers and educators may be using different definitions of “alignment”.  The impetus for Learning List was the need to address a common frustration among school board members, superintendents, and curriculum directors. District and School executives asserted that publishers often say that their materials are aligned to 100% of the standards, but once districts purchase them and teachers start using the products, they find that the materials are only “superficially” aligned. One plain-spoken superintendent explained it this way, “Publishers align to the nouns of the standards, but our students are tested on the verbs.”

Learning List reviews instructional materials from the educators’ perspective, looking for alignment to the content, context and cognitive demand (or performance expectation) of each standard.  Having already reviewed hundreds of instructional materials for alignment to both the Common Core and Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills, our experience corroborates that most publishers do a good job of aligning their materials to the content of the standards (what students are expected to know), but do not routinely ensure that the material also addresses the cognitive demand of each standard (how the students are expected to demonstrate their knowledge) at the requisite level of rigor for the grade level.  Hence, that is the most significant reason for the discrepancy between the publisher’s claimed alignment percentage and the percentage determined by Learning List. So, prior to purchasing any instructional materials that span multiple grade levels, it would be wise for schools and districts to review the material’s alignment to each grade level’s standards.

 

Read More

Subscribe!

Click here to subscribe for weekly updates.

Connect with us

Categories