Posts Tagged "curriculum"

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.

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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.

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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.

 

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How to Align Resources Without Bias: Texas ASCD’s Ignite ’14

Ignite 14 logo

For the first time, the Texas ASCD* Ignite ’14 Conference is providing a marketplace area for conference attendees to review Exhibitors’ best practices for learning, teaching and leadership in education. Nearly 20 providers will be showcasing their solutions and services at Ignite ’14 from June 16 to June 18 at the Embassy Suites DFW in Frisco, Texas.

Walter McKenzie, a veteran educator and EdTech leader, is one of the attendees who encourages Texas ASCD attendees to visit Learning List at Ignite ’14. As he tweeted earlier today, Learning List is “working to align published and open resources for schools without bias.”

ASCD Tweet Walter

As the editor of the Actualization Blog, Walter regularly writes about topics and insights that he gleans through the transformation of education nationwide. You can read his latest topics here.

If you’re in the process of selecting instructional materials (IM) or looking ahead toward the upcoming adoption of IM for High School Math and K12 Social Studies for Texas’ schools/districts, we welcome you to speak with Jackie Lain, President of Learning List, at Texas ASCD’s Ignite 14 between June 16th and June 18th.

The conference is also a key venue for networking and learning from internationally recognized presenters in hands-on groundbreaking sessions designed to integrate technology in the curriculum. It’s a great way to provide the spark that teams need to develop innovative plans for curriculum development at schools and districts.

*Texas ASCD = Texas Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development

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JOIN US for a RECEPTION at ISTE

20140611 Blog ISTE grabberAs school leaders prepare for the 2014-2015 school year, one challenge remains in the forefront of Superintendents’ and Curriculum Directors’ minds: With thousands of instructional materials to choose from, how can we choose the right standards-aligned resources for our students’ needs?

Recently featured on NPR , Learning List is a low-cost, subscription-based instructional materials review service for schools and districts. Think of Learning List as a combination of Consumer Reports® and Angie’s List™ for K-12 instructional materials and online courses.

If you need a cost-effective way to select standards-aligned instructional materials, Learning List can help. We invite you to JOIN US at ISTE 2014 for a brief reception to learn more about how Learning List can simplify and expedite your district’s selection processat 5:30PM on Sunday, June 29 (see invitation below). The reception will include refreshments, snacks and Door Prizes. You can RSVP here.

If you can’t make it, request a webinar to see the reviews and tools on LearningList.com.

ISTE Reception

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