Posts Tagged "Edweek"

Read, Reflect, Plan: How Planning Makes Us Better

[First Day of Summer," Paul Bica, Flickr Creative Commons]

[First Day of Summer,” Paul Bica, Flickr Creative Commons]

This week, Ed Week Teacher had a great article explaining “3 Things You Can Do This Summer to Be a Better Teacher in the Fall.” The second point the article makes is “Read, Reflect, Plan,” with an emphasis on the importance of planning. In that regard, the article suggests:

  • Map out your school year with a month-by-month instructional plan. Framing your monthly goals will help you to launch an organized year of learning and teaching.
  • Identify the resources you will need and make a list so you can begin to gather what you need over the summer.

Learning List helps teachers streamline their planning and make their instruction more effective.

In order to succeed academically, students must learn the knowledge and skills the state’s standards require. With so many standards and so little class time, teachers have to be instructionally efficient.

One way to be instructionally efficient is to use only the portions of your instructional materials that are truly aligned to the standards. For each material, Learning List’s reviews the citations listed in the publisher’s correlation for alignment to the three c’s of each standard: content, context and cognitive demand. The alignment report lists the citations Learning List found to be aligned to each standard, as well as the citations found not to be aligned, along with a Reviewer’s Comment explaining which of the three c’s each non-aligned citation failed to address.

By referencing Learning List’s alignment reports when creating lesson plans, teachers can easily identify the citations that will teach students what the standards require them to learn, thus saving teachers hours of work both during the summer and the school year.

One last point, if your district subscribes to Learning List, and we have not yet reviewed the materials you are planning to use next fall, simply Request a Review. Let us work for you.

Teachers, we hope you enjoy your summer! You’ve certainly earned it.

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Which Products Are Least Aligned to CCSS Mathematics Standards?

[Source: Education Week]

[Source: Education Week]

Last week, Education Week hosted a webinar addressing the mathematics standards that were most challenging for students to master. The webinar identified broad groups of standards in measurement, modeling with mathematics, fractions, and statistics and explained how these concepts build on one another. The presentation illustrated a trajectory in which elementary students who did not master early concepts continued to struggle with more advanced concepts in later grades. For example, students who did not master concepts such as length in elementary school also struggled with line graphs and coordinate grids in middle school.

[Video courtesy of CoreStandards.org]

[Video courtesy of CoreStandards.org]

This analysis prompted Learning List to think about the Common Core mathematics products we’ve reviewed. In particular, we wondered which mathematics standards were least aligned in the products we’ve reviewed. We analyzed our data to identify the CCSSM standards that were not addressed in at least half (50%) of the products for which we’ve verified CCSS alignment.

Our analysis did not identify any standards at grades K-5 for which 50% or more of products were not aligned. Individual products were not aligned to some standards, but no one standard in any grade level was consistently not aligned in 50% or more of the products.

At the middle school level, our analysis identified two standards that 50% or more of products did not address:

  • At grade 6, we have reviewed 12 products; 58.3% of these products did not address CSCCM 6.SP.5: Summarize numerical data sets in relation to their context.
  • At grade 8, we have reviewed 12 products ; 50% of these products did not address CCSSM 8.G.5: Use formal arguments to establish facts about the angle sum and exterior angle of triangles, about the angles created when parallel lines are cut by a transversal, and the angle-angle criterion for similarity of triangles.

At the high school level, we identified four standards for Algebra I and three standards for Algebra II that were not addressed by 50% of products:

  • For Algebra I, of the eight products we have reviewed:
    • 50% did not address CCSSM A-REI.4: Solve quadratic equations in one variable.
    • 50% did not address CCSSM F-IF.7: Graph functions expressed symbolically and show key features of the graph, by hand in simple cases and using technology for more complicated cases.
    • 50% did not address CCSSM F-IF.8: Write a function defined by an expression in different but equivalent forms to reveal and explain different properties of the function.
    • 50% did not address CCSSM F-LE.1: Distinguish between functions that can be modeled with linear functions and with exponential functions.
  • For Algebra II, of the four products we have reviewed:
    • 50% were not aligned to CCSSM A-SSE.1: Interpret expressions that represent quantity in terms of its context.
    • 50% were not aligned to CCSSM A-REI.11: Explain why the x-coordinates of the points where the graphs of y=f(x) and y=g(x) intersect are the solutions of the equation f(x)=g(x); find the solutions approximately, e.g., using technology to graph the functions, make tables of values, or find successive approximations. Include cases where f(x) and/ or g(x) are linear, polynomial, rational, absolute value, exponential, and logarithmic functions.
    • 50% were not aligned to CCSSM F-IF.7: Graph functions expressed symbolically and show key features of the graph, by hand in simple cases and using technology for more complicated cases.

The results of our analysis indicate that publishers have greater difficulty meeting the CCSSM in high school algebra courses.  If a specific instructional material does not align to 100% of the CCSM standards, Learning List has a key feature, Fill-in-the Gap™,  that identifies other products that align to the remaining standards. If needed, this enables educators to use at least two instructional materials that, in the aggregate, would align to 100% of the CCSM standards.

In a subsequent post, we will examine our TEKS data to identify the least aligned mathematics standards in the products we’ve reviewed. We welcome your comments or questions about this topic; please send comment/question to info@learninglist.com.

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Reason to Celebrate: Districts Gain More Freedom in the Instructional Materials Selection Process

20150218 edweek

[Source: Education Week]

[Source: Education Week]

In today’s EdWeek, Catherine Gewertz discusses how some states have relaxed their control over instructional materials and are providing districts with more freedom in choosing their classroom resources. Increasingly, states are stepping away from textbook adoption processes in which state-appointed panels review instructional materials and provide lists of state “approved” resources from which districts were required to purchase.

The increased freedom in selecting instructional materials has been a reason to celebrate in many districts. But administrators are quick to acknowledge that the new freedom comes with some challenges, particularly as so many new instructional materials designed to address the Common Core State Standards flood the market. With less state guidance on what to choose and more instructional materials to choose from, districts bear a greater burden to ensure the materials they select are aligned to standards and appropriate for students. This is a time-consuming task and requires resources that many districts do not have.

Learning List’s mission is to help districts choose and then use high-quality, standards-aligned materials. For each product, Learning List features three types of independent reviews:

(1) Learning List’s alignment reports verify the citations listed in the publisher’s correlation from the educator’s perspective. The reports show whether and where the material addresses the content, context, and cognitive demand of each standard;

(2) Our research-based editorial reviews assess the material’s instructional content and design to help educators understand whether the product will meet their students and teachers’ needs; and,

(3) Educators can rate and review the products to explain how the materials affected teaching and learning in their classrooms.

In the aggregate, Learning List’s reviews provide districts with the information they need to ensure that a product is aligned to standards and contains the features and functionality that their students’ need. The detailed alignment reports also help educators integrate the instructional materials into their curriculum more effectively.  Our service saves districts time and money and provides the documentation required to certify that instructional materials meet state standards.

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