As the new school year approaches, schools across the country are in a hiring frenzy. The layoffs from 2008-12, an increasing population of limited English speaking students and college graduates wary of going into teaching because of the uncertainty in that traditionally stable employment market, are just a few reasons why districts are scrambling to fill vacancies. The California Department of Education estimates that California districts have 21,500 slots to fill while fewer than 15,000 new teacher certificates are issued annually.
How are districts filling the gap? As one rural Texas principal told me recently, “We’re having to rely on online courses more heavily than ever before. High school math teachers are hard to come by in small Texas towns. So, smaller districts like ours are using self-paced online courses when we can’t find a teacher for the course. What’s scary is that we don’t really know how good the courses are.”
Students can’t learn what they’re not taught. A material’s alignment to state standards becomes even more crucial when there’s not a certified teacher in the classroom to act as a safety net for a material’s deficits. In such cases, students have to rely exclusively on the online course for the knowledge and skills he/she needs to master the state tests. If the material is not well aligned, the district is setting the student up to fail.
Learning List gives districts peace of mind that the materials they are using are teaching their students what they need to know to be successful. For each material, Learning List provides three types of reviews, including an independent review of the material’s alignment to state standards. Our detailed alignment reports show specifically where the material (e.g., page numbers, lesson titles) is aligned to each standard and where necessary, which standards the material is not aligned to at all. If a material is not aligned to 100% of the state’s standards for a grade and subject, our Fill-in-the-Gap tool recommends additional materials – supplemental and/or comprehensive; publisher-produced and/or open educational resources – that fill in the gap to ensure that students are getting materials that teach 100 percent of the state’s standards.
With reviews for over 1000 of the most popular materials, Learning List has reviewed many online, self-paced courses (e.g., Compass, Edgenuity, Khan Academy, Think Through Math, US History.org, and Vschoolz) that can help districts fill in their gaps. Subscribe today to find the materials that will propel your students to success!