It’s axiomatic: students can’t learn what they are not being taught. As the song (above) suggests, if your instructional materials (IMs) are not well aligned to the state’s standards, your students’ test scores will likely reflect it.
– Studies have shown that teachers rely on their IMs for 80% of their curriculum. They expect that the IMs their district has purchased are aligned to the standards.
– If the IMs are not aligned to 100% of the standards and teachers don’t know where the deficits are, they will not adjust their instruction (with supplemental materials and/or instructional strategies) to make up for the materials’ deficits.
– If students are not taught the knowledge and skills the standards require them to know, they won’t ace the state tests.
– Teachers, campuses and districts are evaluated based on their students’ performance.
Bottom line: If your students have underperformed on a standard or group of standards, the first step to remediating the problem is to examine the alignment of your instructional materials. A simple way to improve your students’ test scores is to go through this analysis:
Step 1: Are the IMs your teachers are using aligned to those standards?
If the IMs are not aligned to those standards, your teachers should either (a) incorporate into their lesson plans supplemental resources that are aligned to that/those standard(s); or (b) adjust their instructional strategies (e.g,, questioning) to make up for the deficit(s) in the material’s coverage of the standards.
Step 2: If the material is aligned to those standards, you must determine whether all of the citations for that/those standard are aligned or whether there are some citations that are not aligned.If some citations are not aligned and your teachers assigned the non-aligned citations, students were not being taught everything those standards require them to know; thus, they did not master the test questions covering those standards.
Bottom line: The degree to which your instructional materials are aligned will likely be reflected in your students’ test results. If your district subscribes to Learning List, our alignment reports make this analysis easy. Under Training Resources, see the step-by-step guidance on “Analyzing your Test Results.”
If you want to set your students (and teachers) up for success, make sure the materials you are using (either individually or in the aggregate) are aligned to each standard. If you use a product series that spans multiple grade levels, you need to review the alignment of the product at each grade level because the alignment may vary greatly from grade level to grade level.
The “hip bone’s connected to the thigh bone, the thigh bone’s connected to the ….” Your instructional materials will impact your students’ and teachers’ success.