Alignment to College and Career Ready Standards: Overall Summary

The StudySync instructional materials meet expectations for alignment in all three gateways. The materials include rich and rigorous texts used with reading, writing, speaking, and listening work that builds students' knowledge while developing their overall literacy. The materials include support for students to practice and apply research skills, integrating multimodal texts throughout the year. The materials include supports for teachers to implement for specific classrooms. In addition to being delivered entirely online, teachers can customize texts, lessons, and activities directly through the site based on classroom and individual students’ needs.

See Rating Scale
Understanding Gateways

Alignment

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Meets Expectations

Gateway 1:

Text Quality

0
15
28
32
32
28-32
Meets Expectations
16-27
Partially Meets Expectations
0-15
Does Not Meet Expectations

Gateway 2:

Building Knowledge

0
15
28
32
32
28-32
Meets Expectations
16-27
Partially Meets Expectations
0-15
Does Not Meet Expectations

Usability

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Meets Expectations

Not Rated

Gateway 3:

Usability

0
23
30
34
32
30-34
Meets Expectations
24-29
Partially Meets Expectations
0-23
Does Not Meet Expectations

Gateway One

Text Quality & Complexity and Alignment to Standards Components

Meets Expectations

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Gateway One Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 10 meet the criteria for anchor texts being of publishable quality and worthy of especially careful reading and consider a range of student interests. Students engage in a range and volume of reading in service of grade level reading proficiency, and consistent opportunities are provided for textual analysis. Materials include both text-dependent and text-specific questions and tasks that help prepare students for each unit’s Extended Writing Task. Each unit provides frequent and varied opportunities for students to engage in whole class, small group, and peer-to-peer discussion that reference the text under study and incorporate the understanding and use of academic vocabulary and syntax. The materials provide for a variety of writing tasks across the school year that vary in length and depth, tie to classroom texts and Big Ideas, and represent equally narrative, informative/explanatory, literary analysis, and argumentative writing. The Grammar and Composition Handbook focuses specifically on grammar and usage, with each chapter focusing on a specific grammar or usage skill. The lessons provide instructions, practice, and review, and the lessons and tasks build in complexity.

Criterion 1a - 1f

Texts are worthy of students' time and attention: texts are of quality and are rigorous, meeting the text complexity criteria for each grade. Materials support students' advancing toward independent reading.
16/16
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Criterion Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 10 meet the criteria for anchor texts being of publishable quality and worthy of especially careful reading and consider a range of student interests. Students engage in a range and volume of reading in service of grade level reading proficiency, and consistent opportunities are provided for textual analysis. The materials meet the criteria for text complexity and for support materials for the core text(s) provide opportunities for students to engage in a range and volume of reading to support their reading at grade level by the end of the school year.

Indicator 1a

Anchor/core texts are of publishable quality and worthy of especially careful reading.
4/4
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 10 meet the criteria for anchor texts being of publishable quality and worthy of especially careful reading and consider a range of student interests.

Texts consider a range of topics that are high-interest and age-appropriate for Grade 10. Topics include the will to survive against all odds, whether following the rules is always the right thing, the price of technology, and interactions affect characters. Many of the core texts are CCSS exemplar texts, written by award-winning authors, and contain rich vocabulary, both academic and content-specific. Texts are worthy of careful reading. Examples of these texts include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • In Unit 1, students read the following texts that are worthy of especially careful reading:
    • Students read the empowering poem “Invictus” by William Ernest Henley. The students study the element of anaphora and the connotation and denotation of words in this short, but powerful, poem.
    • Students read Macbeth by Shakespeare, a CCSS text exemplar. Students are tasked with analyzing complex language while studying one of Shakespeare’s most famous plays.
    • Students read Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer, which explains what happened to a young man, Chris McCandless. The structure of this text, connecting events to imagined motivations, may challenge students, while the content may engage them as it is about a young man who just finished college.
  • In Unit 2, students read the following texts that are worthy of especially careful reading:
    • Students read Patrick Henry’s “Speech to the Second Virginia Convention,” a CCSS text exemplar. Students read this famous Revolutionary speech which is filled with longer sentences and academic vocabulary.
    • Students read Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury, a CCSS text exemplar. This novel is set in a future dystopian society with themes surrounding freedom and choice.
    • Students read Antigone by Sophocles, a Greek tragedy. Students can relate to the main character, a young woman rebelling against the rules of her uncle. Students also note the elements of Greek drama and are challenged with difficult language.
  • In Unit 3, students read the following texts that are worthy of especially careful reading:
    • Students read Frankenstein by Mary Shelley. This text contains rich sensory details and descriptions of the setting and the monster. Students may be familiar with the story as it has been interpreted in many different ways, such as film, comics, and graphic novels.
    • Students read Ronald Reagan’s speech,“Address to Students at Moscow State University, a CCSS exemplar text. Students read about social, political and economic ideas and events of the 1980’s, and additional background knowledge may be needed. The speech spreads a message of peace.
    • Students read The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot. This excerpt is about the sixteen-year-old Rebecca Skloot and her research into “immortal” cells. Students can relate to age of the author when she made her discovery and how age does not affect a person’s ability to succeed.
  • In Unit 4, students read the following texts that are worthy of especially careful reading:
    • Students read Julius Caesar by Shakespeare. Shakespeare is a timeless classic and contains rich language and important and relevant themes, such as the powerful effect betrayal may have on an individual.
    • Students read The Book Thief by Markus Zusak, a CCSS exemplar text. Students are presented with an unusual narrative structure and rich figurative language as they read the story of a young woman who is an orphan living in Nazi Germany.
    • Students read Night by the Nobel Peace Prize winning author, Elie Wiesel. Wiesel describes his experience as a teenager in a Nazi concentration camp.

Indicator 1b

Materials reflect the distribution of text types and genres required by the standards at each grade level.
*Indicator 1b is non-scored (in grades 9-12) and provides information about text types and genres in the program.
0/0
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 10 meet the criteria for materials reflecting the distribution of text types and genres required by the standards at each grade level.

Texts include a mix of informational and literary texts. There is a wide array of informational and literary anchor texts for every unit. Additional supplementary texts are included, resulting in a wide distribution of genres and text types as required by the standards. Literary texts include poems, dramas, novels, myths, scripts and short stories. Informational texts include articles, biographies, essays, speeches, op-eds, letters, and memoirs.

The literary texts found within the instructional materials include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • In Unit 1, students read “Invictus ” by William Ernest Henley, Macbeth by William Shakespeare, and “Fate slew Him, but He did not drop” by Emily Dickinson.
  • In Unit 2, students read Animal Farm by George Orwell, Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury, and “The Ballad of Birmingham” by Dudley Randall.
  • In Unit 3, students read “Prometheus: the Friend of Man” by Logan Marshall, “Counter-Attack” by Siegfried Sassoon, and Frankenstein by Mary Shelley.
  • In Unit 4, students read Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare, “A Civil Peace” by Chinua Achebe, Hotel Rwanda script by Kier Pearson and Terry George, and “Dover Beach” by Matthew Arnold.

The informational texts found within the instructional materials include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • In Unit 1, students read “The Sports Gene” by David Epstein, Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell, Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer, “The Iraq War Blog: An Iraqi Family’s Inside View of the First Year of the Occupation” by Faiza al-Araji, and “Introduction to Oedipus the King” by Bernard Knox.
  • In Unit 2, students read “Introduction to Antigone” by Bernard Knox, “Speech to the Second Virginia Convention” by Patrick Henry, Texas v. Johnson by the U.S. Supreme Court, and “Impassioned Arguments Mark High Court Flag-Burning Decision” op-ed from the Houston Chronicle.
  • In Unit 3, students read “Worship the Spirit of Criticism: Address at the Pasteur Institute” by Louis Pasteur, Silent Spring by Rachel Carson, “Einstein’s Letter to the President” by Albert Einstein, and “Address to the Students at Moscow State University by Ronald Reagan.
  • In Unit 4, students read Plutarch’s Lives by Plutarch, Night by Elie Wiesel, and An American Childhood by Annie Dillard.

Indicator 1c

Texts have the appropriate level of complexity for the grade level (according to quantitative analysis and qualitative analysis).
4/4
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 10 meet the criteria for texts having the appropriate level of complexity for the grade according to quantitative analysis, qualitative analysis, and relationship to their associated student task.

The instructional materials for Grade 10 meet the criteria for texts having the appropriate level of complexity for the grade. Most texts fall within either the Current Lexile Band or the Stretch Lexile Band for grades 9-10. Texts range from 550L to 1550L; most texts are appropriate for Grade 10 according to quantitative analysis, qualitative analysis, and relationship to their associated student task. Some texts do exceed these bands but the tasks are designed to make them accessible. Examples of texts that have the appropriate level of complexity for Grade 10 include but are not limited to:

  • In Unit 1, all but one of the texts falls within the grade band. The Iraq War Blog has a Lexile of 810, which is below the band; however, the entries require prior knowledge of Iraqi history that begins in 2003. Students are also completing the higher level skill of analyzing the entries to find the author’s purpose and point of view. Into Thin Air, Lexile 1180, is also in Unit 1 and falls within the Current Grade Level Band. Students read to understand rhetoric, author’s purpose and point of view.
  • In Unit 2, students read “Speech to the Second Virginia Convention” by Patrick Henry with a Lexile of 950. Although this is below the grade band, the speech demands a level of historical knowledge, and students are asked to write a speech that uses similar techniques to Henry’s.
  • In Unit 3, students read Albert Einstein’s ”Letter to the President.” The Lexile level is 1550 which exceeds the Current Lexile Band; however, as this is a formal letter, it clearly shows Einstein’s point of view and concerns.
  • In Unit 4, students read The Book Thief, which has Lexile far below the grade band, 580. This lower readability allows students to grapple with the complex qualitative features, including an unusual narrative structure. In addition, this text is included in the CCSS text exemplars.

Indicator 1d

Materials support students' literacy skills (understanding and comprehension) over the course of the school year through increasingly complex text to develop independence of grade level skills (Series of texts should be at a variety of complexity levels).
4/4
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 10 meet the criteria for supporting students’ increasing literacy skills over the course of the school year. (Series of texts should be at a variety of complexity levels appropriate for the grade band.)

The instructional materials provide a variety of texts appropriate for the grade band. These texts increase in complexity as the units progress, and while some texts fall at the high end of the grade level, students are also provided more reachable texts as they learn how to analyze texts. Along with increasing text complexity, the students’ writing also increases in complexity.

In order to increase students’ literacy skills, each text has students complete a First Read lesson, Skill lesson(s), a Close Read lesson which includes a constructed response for each text.

  • The First Read has specific protocols for students to follow in order to develop the reading skills necessary to read that type of text as well as to gain a basic understanding of what the text states and how it is conveying that information.
  • The Skill lessons contain specific skills activities that will help students read deeper into the text. These lessons include videos that allow students to see models of other students practicing that skill. The students are then lead through the process of applying that skill to the reading selection through both a model and a practice session. The Skill lessons that students are exposed to throughout the year get increasingly more in-depth as appropriate to the literature. Students may practice the same skill multiple times; however, they are practicing those skills with different reading materials and the skills change slightly according to the material and the skill level of the students. This also offers students the opportunity to go back to previous skill videos to see how they used the skill in the past compared to how they are being asked to use it in the current unit. There may be only one skill per lesson or there may be several depending on the complexity of the text and what skills that text specifically offers practice in for the students.
  • The Close Read lessons provide students with an opportunity and the structure to read the selection for a second time. There are guided reading practices for the teacher to walk the students through and specific questions for the students to answer in order to increase their reading skills. Students are expected to go deeper into the text during these readings to look at what the reading means and what that reading causes students to think. The questions and activities accompanying these close reads support students in doing this. After the close read, students complete a constructed response which “asks students to synthesize their work in First Read, Skill, and Close Read lessons by providing textual evidence to support analysis of the text.”

To ensure student success and support literacy growth, each type of lesson contains four Access Paths in which teachers can find resources scaffolded for English Language Learners as well as differentiated for different levels of learners. Access 1 are the emerging learners; Access 2 are the immediate learners; Access 3 are the advanced learners, and Access 4 are the approaching learners. These Access Paths provide handouts that offer support for handling text complexity in the areas of purpose, genre, organization, connection of ideas, sentence structure, specific vocabulary, and prior knowledge. The lower level Access Paths also supply Sentence Frames for the Think Questions in the First Read, Guided Reading prompts for the Skill lessons, and a detailed planning outline for the constructed response after the Close Read.

There are multiple assessment opportunities throughout the year for teachers to assess student learning and performance in order to adjust instructional strategies as needed. Teachers use the Placement and Diagnostic Assessments at the beginning of the year. According to the StudySync Core Program Guide, “The placement and diagnostic assessments associated with the program help you decide on an appropriate instructional level for the student; help determine a student’s knowledge of a skill and/or a literacy level.” In addition, there are summative assessments that will help teachers track students progress. “The expectation is for students to score 75% or higher on each summative assessment, with the same benchmark expected for the skill focus areas - Comprehension, Vocabulary, and so on. For students who are below these benchmark levels, refer to Modifying Instruction IF/THEN charts that are part of the Assessment documents specific to each grade level.” The formative assessments vary “in type and duration . . . [and] help teachers adjust instructional strategies, measuring individual student progress at strategic points over regular intervals.”

Each unit focuses on the use of textual evidence to support student analysis. This literacy skill helps students evaluate information within texts, organize ideas, make inferences, create claims, and use evidence within their own writing. By the end of the year, students are using textual evidence in independent writing assignments such as argumentative essays.

Examples of increasing literacy skills over the course of the school year include but are not limited to:

  • The First Read lessons focus on comprehension and vocabulary. In the First Read lesson for Fahrenheit 451 in Unit 2, students begin by accessing their prior knowledge of “people and groups who have stood up against repressive regimes or societies in dystopian fiction they have read.” The Access Path offers more direction as students complete the Dystopian Fiction Chart that has them brainstorm characteristics of dystopian fiction and dystopian protagonists. The Access Path has students paired with more proficient readers and has them do additional practice with each vocabulary word and provides a Text Glossary chart on the handout that allows students to note the definition of the bold words as well as any other unfamiliar words or idioms they find in the text. Before students read the text, they are taught a comprehension strategy. In this particular lesson, students learn visualizing, which is creating a mental picture of what is read. Teachers model this strategy with a Think Aloud of the first paragraph by saying such things as, “When I read the opening paragraph, I can easily visualize a man both exerting himself and enjoying it at the same time. Bradbury describes the hose as a "great python" spitting "venomous kerosene" on the world. I know that a python is an extremely large snake, and this description helps me to picture a giant writhing hose, pulsing in someone's hands and almost out of control.” After modeling, students read independently and annotate the excerpt. Core students are given general instructions like, “ask questions about passages of the text that may be unclear or unresolved.” Access Path students are provided more support. They listen to the audio of the text and follow the detailed Annotation Guide on the Access handout, which contains instructions like, “Highlight at least two sentences or passages that you have questions about. Enter your questions as annotations.” After reading, students talk in a small group or in a partner discussion about their questions, their answers and the text evidence they found to support their answers. Finally, students answer the “Think” questions. Core students answer the questions and use a rubric to complete two peer reviews. Access Path students are given “Sentence Frames” on the handouts, “Fahrenheit 451 is set in the ___________. Evidence of this includes the fact the ‘brass_____________________’ on Montag’s hose spits ‘venomous_____________’ rather than water. Firemen are responsible for burning _______ rather than putting out ______.” (First Read Fahrenheit 451 Access 1). Approaching students on the Access Path are provided a “Find the Evidence” chart that gives them specific tips for how to answer the “Think” questions, “Look for evidence of the time period in paragraph 2 and in paragraphs 25–27. How does Clarisse's description of the role of firemen "a long time ago" fit with what firemen do in the story? What does this evidence tell you about when the story takes place?”
  • The “Skill” lessons in the Grade 10 curriculum get increasingly more in depth. Informational text elements is a skill learned and practiced in Units 2 and 3. In Unit 2, the lesson objectives are that students will learn the different types of organizational structures that writers use and practice concrete strategies for identifying these structures. After reading the Model text, students are asked how the Model begins to identify the passage’s organizational structure; which strategy does the model use to identify the organizational structure; what type of evidence is used to say that Creon was somewhat justified, and what type of evidence supports Antigone’s position. The Unit 3 lesson objectives are to learn the definitions of informational elements - details, events, people, and ideas - and practice analyzing these elements. This lesson asks students to identify development of events and then analyze how that organization connects different ideas.
  • The Close Read lessons have students looking deeper into the text at what it means and makes the reader think as well as synthesize their learning from the First Read and Skill lessons. In the Close Read lesson for Into the Wild in Unit 1, students begin by comparing their prediction of the bold vocabulary words with the precise meaning. Then, the teacher models a close reading of the first paragraph by modeling annotation strategies that ties the text to the focus skill and shows students what they looking for while they read. Students are then to read and annotate the rest of the text after reading the “Skills Focus” questions, which ask the students to not only find the skill focus but also explain it. For example, “At the end of the selection, the author uses rhetoric that hints at his opinion of Chris McCandless’s actions. What specific phrases does the author use? What do they tell you about the author’s opinion of McCandless? Highlight your evidence and annotate to explain your ideas.” Access Path students are given a “Complete the Sentences” exercise on the handout to aid them in this process. For example, “In paragraph 1, the author illustrates an important belief of Chris’s, which is that ______. Then, in the third paragraph, Chris tells his parents that____.” After reading and annotating, teachers lead a whole class discussion about the Skills Focus questions. Access Path students work in small groups or pairs to share and discuss their annotations. The final element to the “Close Read” lesson is the constructed response, which has students synthesize their learning from the “First Read,” “Skill: Textual Evidence,”and “Skill: Rhetoric” lessons. For Into the Wild, students answer the following: “How does the author use rhetoric to convey his ideas and attitudes in Into the Wild? What are those ideas and attitudes? Use your understanding of rhetoric and of author’s purpose and point of view to help you infer the answers. Be sure to include plentiful evidence from the text to support your inferences.” Students brainstorm about the use of rhetoric as a whole class or in small groups, and then begin planning their essays. Access Path students complete the prewriting activity on the handout that helps them shape the response with sentence starters and labels to make sure all requirements are met. After planning, students read through the rubric and write their final response.

Indicator 1e

Anchor texts and series of texts connected to them are accompanied by a text complexity analysis and rationale for purpose and placement in the grade level.
2/2
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 10 meet the criteria that anchor texts and series of texts connected to them are accompanied by a text complexity analysis and rationale for purpose and placement in the grade level.

Most texts include instructional notes and text notes. These are all found in the ELA Grade Level Overview booklet. At the beginning of each unit, there is an overall explanation of the unit. This includes the balance of literary to informational texts, the essential question, and an analysis of the text complexity of particular texts. In response to texts that are above the recommended Lexile band, the publisher provides scaffolds to assist all students in accessing the text. After this report, each text in the unit gets detailed instructional notes that include information on the author, qualitative features, quantitative features, and reader and tasks. The Author section includes the name, gender, nationality and, if needed, translator. The Qualitative Features component contains the publication date, genre, Scaffold Instruction to Access Complex Text (ACT), which is a short summary of the text, and ACT features, which is broken down into three subjects that vary depending on the text, but includes such things as organization, prior knowledge, specific vocabulary, sentence structure and purpose. The Quantitative Features provides the Excerpt Lexile, Full-text Lexile, and Word Count. The Reader and Tasks lists the skill lessons for that text, the close read prompt and the writing form.

Examples of texts being accompanied by text complexity analysis and rationale for purpose and placement include but are not limited to:

  • In the text complexity analysis for Unit 2, one of the texts it discusses is Animal Farm. For this text, students use textual evidence to identify and explain literary elements like theme, symbolism and allegory. The full text Lexile is 1170. The Grade 10 ELA Grade Level Overview states, “The recommended full-text read for this unit is Animal Farm, a dystopian novel by George Orwell and also a stinging critique of the history and rhetoric of the Russian Revolution. While the quantitative dimensions of this excerpt are somewhat lower than others in the unit, this selection serves as an accessible, familiar introduction to the concepts of power and its limits that are the focus for the rest of the unit. The Skill lesson on Theme that accompanies Animal Farm addresses the development of class tyranny and the human tendency to maintain and re-establish class structures and rules even in societies that allegedly stand for total equality. This task demand, combined with using textual evidence to support analysis and the identification of literary elements such as symbolism and allegory, makes this an important, challenging selection for students.”
  • “Shading the Earth” by Robert Kunzig is an article studied in Unit 3. Within the ACT Features field, teachers are given information on organization, specific vocabulary, and sentence structure. For “Organization,” teachers are told, “For most of the article, Kunzig presents both sides of the geoengineering debate, presenting claims and counterclaims with clear attribution. However, students may be challenged in a few places, such as the last paragraph, where it is unclear whether Kunzig is stating his own claim or someone else’s.’” Information in “Specific Vocabulary” points out words that may be challenging for readers, “Some students may be challenged by the numerous technical terms in the article, such as silicon nitride, fossil fuels, recession, carbon dioxide, emissions, and ozone layer.” “Sentence Structure” includes “Some students may be challenged by some of the longer and more complex sentences and by the author’s liberal use of em dashes and semicolons to break up these sentences."

Indicator 1f

Anchor and supporting texts provide opportunities for students to engage in a range and volume of reading to achieve grade level reading proficiency.
2/2
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 10 meet the expectations for the anchor and supporting texts to provide opportunities for students to engage in a range and volume of texts to achieve grade level reading.

Each unit exposes students to high-quality texts that cover a variety of genres, time periods, and cultures with a balance of literary and informational texts. Reading is done independently, as a whole class, aloud, and silently. All of the anchor texts and supporting materials revolve around a central theme and essential question for each unit. Reading materials increase in complexity as the year progresses, and teacher supports are gradually released in order to enable the students to achieve grade-level reading independently.

In 10th grade students read a variety of genres and authors from the classics to modern texts. Students read fiction (short stories and novels), poetry, and non-fiction (essays, articles, autobiographical excerpts, speeches). The authors are drawn from a worldly pool including authors from the United States, Iraq, Europe, and the United Kingdom. Diverse authors are included within materials.

Examples of students engaging in reading a range of texts include, but are not limited to:

  • In Unit 1, students begin the first week’s first lesson by reading the Blast background and materials included in several research links. The next day the students participate in the First Read of The Sports Gene, in which they read and annotate the text. Day three includes the skill lesson on central or main idea, in which students read both the definition and model sections associated with the skill. Students then complete a Close Read of The Sports Gene, including a detailed reading and annotation of the selection. On the final day, students complete a Blast that explores different aspects of performance-enhancing drugs.
  • In Unit 2, over the course of five weeks, students complete a full-text study of Animal Farm and read seven other partial texts, five of which are informational. The texts are all related to the unit title of “Taking a Stand.” Informational texts include Founding Documents of the United States of America, The Communist Manifesto, Ten Days That Shook the World, Hitler Youth: Growing Up in Hitler’s Shadow, Stalin: An Appraisal of the Man and His Influence, The Whisperers: Private Life in Stalin’s Russia, Stalin’s Folly: The Tragic First Ten Days of World War II, The Tehran Conference, November 28-December 1, Why I Write,and The Good Good Pig: The Extraordinary Life of Christopher Hogwood. Fiction texts include “The Internationale,” and The Book of Exodus. Students have opportunities to interact with these texts through whole class read-alouds, individual silent reading, First Reads, and Close Reads.
  • In Unit 3, students complete a First Read and a Close Read of “Shading the Earth” by Robert Kunzig. Students also complete one skill lesson on arguments and claims then complete a Close Read of the article to practice the skills. Students also complete a Blast in which they read information to make them think about what responsibility we have over what we create. In Unit 3, there is one full text study: Frankenstein. Throughout Unit 3, students read additional texts including “Prometheus: The Friend of Man,” “Worship the Spirit of Criticism: Address at the Pasteur Institute, The Immortal LIfe of Henrietta Lacks, Silent Spring, A Civil Action, “Einstein’s Letter to the President,” “Address to the Nation on the Explosion of the Space Shuttle Challenger,” “Address to Students at Moscow State University,” and “De-Extinction: The Science and Ethics of Bringing Lost Species Back to Life.”
  • In Unit 4, students complete a First Read and a Close Read of “Catch the Moon.” Students also complete a skill lesson on character, and then complete a Close Read of the poem to practice the skills. Students also complete a Blast in which they read information about the the impact of family. In Unit 4 there is a full text study on Night.. Throughout Unit 4, students read additional texts, including Plutarch’s Lives, Julius Caesar, “Civil Peace,” The Book Thief, Hotel Rwanda, “Dover Beach,” An American Childhood, and “Those Winter Sundays.

Criterion 1g - 1n

Materials provide opportunities for rich and rigorous evidence-based discussions and writing about texts to build strong literacy skills.
16/16
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Criterion Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 10 meet the criteria that most questions, tasks, and assignments are text dependent/specific, requiring students to engage with the text directly. Materials include both text-dependent and text-specific questions and tasks that help prepare students for each unit’s Extended Writing Task. Each unit provides frequent and varied opportunities for students to engage in whole class, small group, and peer-to-peer discussion that reference the text under study and incorporate the understanding and use of academic vocabulary and syntax. A Speaking and Listening Handbook provides teachers with explicit instructions on teaching and modeling collegial discussions, and strategies and handouts to guide students as they practice and assess evidence-based discussions. Students engage in on-demand writing via Blasts, constructed response questions that accompany the Close Read lesson of each text, as well as in the ELA Assessment PDF that is part of each grade level. The materials provide for a variety of writing tasks across the school year that vary in length and depth, tie to classroom texts and Big Ideas, and represent equally narrative, informative/explanatory, literary analysis, and argumentative writing. The materials provide students with writing activities that vary in length and purpose in response to a variety of texts. The Grammar and Composition Handbook focuses specifically on grammar and usage, with each chapter focusing on a specific grammar or usage skill. The lessons provide instructions, practice, and review, and the lessons and tasks build in complexity.

Indicator 1g

Most questions, tasks, and assignments are text dependent/specific, requiring students to engage with the text directly (drawing on textual evidence to support both what is explicit as well as valid inferences from the text).
2/2
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 10 meet the criteria that most questions, tasks, and assignments are text dependent/specific, requiring students to engage with the text directly (drawing on textual evidence to support both what is explicit as well as valid inferences from the text; this may include work with mentor texts as well).

The materials provide a consistent format for students to engage with text-dependent questions and/or tasks. Questions, tasks, and assignments are evident in each of the unit’s three sections: First Read, Skill, and Close Read. Within the units, each text begins with a First Read in which the teacher is modeling reading and thinking aloud using comprehension text-dependent questions. Then students do the first read using text dependent provided either individually or in a small group. Then the teacher completes the Skill lesson using text-dependent questions. Finally, during the Close Read, the teacher models how to do a close read of the text using text-dependent questions that are focused on the skills taught and require students to analyze the text at a deeper level. Some of the text-dependent questions are to be completed verbally and some are intended to be answered in the student’s journal. Each unit is designed in this manner to provide a scaffold-approach to text-dependent and text-specific questioning. Students are required to provide support from the text in most of the work they complete within the unit.

Examples of questions, tasks, and assignments that meet the criteria for this indicator include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • In Unit 1 during the first read of the excerpt The Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell, the following text-dependent questions are found in the teacher lesson plan:
    • “What similar patterns emerged in the groups of musicians—both violinists and pianists—that psychologist K. Anders Ericsson and his colleagues studied? Use several examples of evidence from the text to support your.”
    • “What did neurologist Daniel Levitin discover after examining many different studies of expertise? Support your answer with evidence from the text.”
    • “Aside from discovering how many hours of practice it takes to achieve true mastery in a field of endeavor, what other striking thing did Ericsson's study uncover? Support your answer with evidence from the text.”
  • In Unit 2 during the “Skill” lesson of “The Ballad of Birmingham,”, the focus is on “Connotation and Denotation.” Within this section, teachers use the following questions to direct students to look for examples of textual evidence:
    • “In the first stanza, which group of words has a more positive connotation, "out to play" or "march the streets"? Why?”
    • “How does the phrase Freedom March have both a positive and negative connotation in the model excerpt?”
  • Further text-dependent questions can be found in the “Student Preview” of the “Close Read.” Under the “Read” tab, students find “Skills Questions.” The following are examples from Unit 3’s “Shading the Earth” by Robert Kunzig:
    • “What reasons from supporters of geoengineering does Kunzig present in the second paragraph? What counterclaim, reasons, and evidence from critics of geoengineering does he present afterward? On what point are both sides united, according to Kunzig? How does paragraph 2 alert you to Kunzig's purpose in writing this article?”
    • “What claim does Kunzig present in the opening of the third paragraph? What evidence does he supply to support this claim? What evidence does he provide to support the claim he presents later that the sunshade would work? How might this evidence be considered fallacious?”
    • “Select one technical word or phrase from the fourth paragraph and one from the fifth paragraph of "Shading the Earth." Identify the terms' meanings, using context clues and, as necessary, reference materials. What effect do such technical words have on the tone and impact of the article?”
  • In Unit 4, after reading “Dover Beach”by Matthew Arnold, students are asked the following questions:
    • Explore the metaphorical significance of the ocean tides in the first two stanzas of the poem. For what are the waves a metaphor? How do words with strong connotations help develop the metaphor?
    • How do the speaker's religious beliefs—or lack of them—influence the way he looks upon and reacts to the scene on Dover Beach? How does the speaker view the human condition?
    • Describe the denotations and connotations of the words in the final stanza. Tell how they are used to develop the overall theme of the poem.

Indicator 1h

Materials contain sets of sequences of text-dependent/ text-specific questions with activities that build to a culminating task which integrates skills to demonstrate understanding
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 10 meet the criteria for having sets of high-quality sequences of text-dependent/specific questions and tasks build to a culminating task that integrates skills (may be writing, speaking, or a combination).

Materials include both text-dependent and text-specific questions and tasks that help prepare students for each unit’s Extended Writing Task. These culminating tasks integrate writing, speaking, or both. There are questions that prompt thinking, speaking, and writing tasks that focus on the central ideas and key details of the text. Reading and writing (and speaking and listening) are taught as integrated skills. The Extended Writing Tasks ask students to explore the theme and essential question of the unit in more depth as they reconsider what they have learned through analyzing texts, conducting research, and contemplating their own life experiences. Each unit has a different mode of writing so that over the course of the year, students demonstrate proficiency in constructing long-form argumentative, argumentative literary analysis, informative/explanatory, and narrative works. Once submitted, these writing assignments can be adapted and delivered as oral presentations. Examples of text-dependent/specific questions and tasks that build to a culminating task include but are not limited to:

  • In Unit 2, the Extended Writing Project focuses on literary analysis and addresses the following prompt: “What the rules are, why they matter, how they are broken, and why some people feel they must break them are central concerns in many texts from this unit, which seeks to answer the essential question, When is it appropriate to challenge the rules? Write a literary analysis of two selections you have read during the unit, examining how the authors explore the issue of when it is appropriate to challenge the rules.” The students must draw upon what they learned about breaking the rules throughout the unit to make a claim about when it is right to do the “wrong” thing. Tasks throughout the reading help students build to the culminating task. While completing the Close Read of Antigone, students are asked, “Why does Antigone believe she is right to challenge Creon’s rule? Highlight textual evidence that points out the causes of their cultural clash, and then write annotations to explain your ideas.” This directly relates to the essential question of the unit and has the students thinking and finding evidence that will ultimately support their literary analysis essay at the end of the unit.
  • In Unit 3, the Extended Writing Project focuses on the informative/explanatory form of writing. Students probe the unit’s central question, “What responsibility do we have for what we create?” by writing an informative/ explanatory essay using evidence from the texts in the unit and at least three other credible sources. In one of the skill lessons for the excerpt from Silent Spring, students are provided with a modeled discussion among students where they break down the informational text structure to help students apply text structure to their understanding of the text. In the Close Read for that text, students are asked, “What does the language in the third paragraph suggest has caused the changes that are taking place in the town? Why do you think Carson uses this kind of language here, and how does it still resemble a fable? Why might Carson have chosen not to identify the specific cause of the blight in the opening chapter of the book, except to say in the second-to-last paragraph that “the people brought it on themselves?” This relates to the essential question of the unit and will aid students in having textual evidence for their informational essay.
  • In Unit 4, the Extended Writing Project focuses on the narrative form. Students write a narrative about an “unusual interaction that takes place between a character and someone or something else.. In the Extended Writing Project skill lesson, Narrative Techniques and Sequencing, students, either individually or as a class, read the Define section of the lesson. In small groups or as a class, they use these questions to spark discussion with classmates about narrative techniques. One example of a question provided is, “The definition explains that writers manipulate the pacing of a narrative to slow down or speed up the action at certain parts of a story. What does that mean? How can a writer change the speed of written words?” This will assist students in writing their own narratives for the culminating task. During the Close Read of The Book Thief, students analyze the interactions between Death and survivors, “How do Death’s interactions with survivors affect him? How might his interactions with the Book Thief define and shape him as the story progresses? Highlight textual evidence and make annotations to explain your ideas.” Before students have to write their own narrative about interactions, they are asked to analyze how unusual interactions affect characters in a model text.

Indicator 1i

Materials provide frequent opportunities and protocols to engage students in speaking and listening activities and discussions (small group, peer-to-peer, whole class) which encourage the modeling and use of academic vocabulary and syntax.
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 10 meet the criteria for materials providing frequent opportunities and protocols for evidence-based discussions (small groups, peer-to-peer, whole class) that encourage the modeling and use of academic vocabulary and syntax.

Each unit provides frequent and varied opportunities for students to engage in whole class, small group, and peer-to-peer discussion that reference the text under study and incorporate the understanding and use of academic vocabulary and syntax. A Speaking and Listening Handbook provides teachers with explicit instructions on teaching and modeling collegial discussions, and strategies and handouts to guide students as they practice and assess evidence-based discussions. Checklists and graphic organizers are offered to students to use in preparation for the discussions and rubrics are provided for peers and teachers to assess the academic conversations. Examples of how materials meet the criteria of this indicator include but are not limited to:

  • Teachers are provided with language, structures, protocols, graphic organizers, and clear connections to the CCSS in The Speaking and Listening Handbook. This is found as a link that appears on each grade level under the heading Additional Resources. The handbook provides aid for teachers as they support students’ speaking and listening skills. The tool provides videos of model discussions and opportunities for students to practice different discussion skills.
    • In Unit 1, during the study of The Outliers: The Story of Success, the students will watch the SyncTV video on The Outliers in a whole group setting. Teachers will distribute the Collaborative Discussion Strategies handout, then the teacher will pause the video at key moments to reflect on how the students in the video demonstrate collaborative discussion strategies. Then teachers as students to explain the reason for selecting each strategy. For example, at 01:03 “After Nicole focuses the discussion by reading the prompt, Brandon quotes from the text to show that Gladwell believes innate talent exists. What two strategies does this mainly demonstrate?”
    • In the 10th grade version of the handbook, students are encouraged to analyze and evaluate the purpose of both establishing the rules in order to establish a truly collaborative discussion environment in which students are speaking and listening in order to increase understanding and not to “argue”. An example of this is: “Remind students that collaborating isn’t only about sharing their own ideas. It is just as important to listen to others’ ideas. This give and take allows the group to enhance its understanding and construct meaning together. To accomplish a discussion where everyone’s ideas are heard, it is important to set up and maintain an open and respectful environment. Have students brainstorm a list of rules for the discussion. Ask students to explain why each rule can help establish a respectful and productive discussion. Then agree on which rules to keep. Rules can be posted in a prominent location for all students to refer to. Rules can be updated as needed.”
  • The First Read lesson in each unit provides teachers with opportunities for students to conduct numerous discussions either in small groups, as a whole group, or with a partner. This happens continuously through the process of preparing to read through the first read. Students are given numerous opportunities to explore the ideas and the texts through speaking and listening with their peers and the model discussions provided. An example of this can be found in Unit 2, Fahrenheit 451. The teacher is guided through a process of having students work in small groups in order to access prior knowledge about dystopian literature. An example of this is: “Find out what your students already know about people and groups who have stood up against repressive regimes or societies in dystopian fiction they have read.” After students have read the text, the teacher is directed to have them work in pairs to discuss the questions and inferences they developed during their reading and to answer some guided questions together.
  • Throughout the skill sections of each lesson, students are provided with at least two or more opportunities to discuss how the skills they are learning can be applied to the text. They either apply it to a discussion around the skill itself, or they apply it to a discussion of how the skill is applied to the model text. In Unit 3, during the Skill: Informational Text Structure lesson of Silent Spring, students apply their understanding of the skill with reasons and evidence in small or whole group discussion. An example of a discussion that focuses on the skill is the following: “After watching the Concept Definition video, have students read the definition of informational text structure. Either in small groups or as a whole class, use these questions to engage students in a discussion about informational text structure... What clues can readers use to identify a text’s structure...” An example of a whole group discussion that focuses on the modeled text is: “As students read the Model, use these questions to guide their understanding of how to analyze the author’s use of text structure to convey a message...What sentence does the Model identify as one that signals a change...”

Indicator 1j

Materials support students' listening and speaking (and discussions) about what they are reading and researching (shared projects) with relevant follow-up questions and supports.
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 10 meet the criteria for materials supporting students’ listening and speaking about what they are reading and researching (including presentation opportunities) with relevant follow-up questions and supports.

Students are given frequent and varied opportunities to engage in speaking, listening, and presenting activities surrounding their study of texts and the associated reading, writing, and research tasks. The opportunities for speaking, listening, and presenting can be found throughout the unit in the Blasts, First Reads, Skills, and Close Reads.

Speaking and listening are also important aspects of the Research Project students complete in each unit. After sharing and discussing the results of individual members’ research findings, each group plans and then delivers a formal presentation in either the narrative, argumentative, or informative mode using multimedia elements such as videos, graphics, photos, and recordings to reinforce its main ideas.

The Speaking & Listening Handbook is utilized during the Research project by students, who will be required to respond critically and constructively to the work of their peers. This handbook also provides teacher support in the form of lesson plans, handouts, checklists, rubrics, and formative assessments that help them teach and assess the Speaking and Listening standards.

In addition to those, the Extended Writing Project at the end of each unit contains various opportunities for whole group, small group and/or peer to peer discussions throughout the different lessons: Extended Writing Project, lessons that cover the writing process (prewrite, plan, draft, revise, edit, proofread and publish); Skill/Skills, lessons that incorporate elements students will need to include within their project; and Blasts, lessons that have a driving question focused on a technique.

Examples of speaking and listening tasks, relevant follow-up questions, and supports include but are not not limited to:

  • The First Read lesson for each text contains an introduction to the text prior to the First Read. Students are asked to participate in different types of discussion, sometimes small group, sometimes whole group, sometimes peer to peer, in order to help them activate prior knowledge that will best support them in accessing the text being read and analyzed in that particular set of lessons. This changes throughout but always includes a discussion element. An example of this is found in Unit 2, Fahrenheit 451. The teacher is directed to separate students into small groups and ask them to consider the following questions: “Ask each group to generate a list of features that are common to dystopian fiction. What kinds of repressive measures do these societies often implement?” and “Then discuss the protagonists in these novels, such as Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark in The Hunger Games, or Jonas in Lois Lowry's The Giver. Compare and contrast their motivations, desires, and the way they go about solving the problems that confront them.”
  • After the first reading in the First Read section of the lesson, students are then asked, again to work in some group arrangement that will require them to verbally process through what they have just read and to pinpoint some specific information that is imperative to understanding the text more deeply. An example of this is found in Unit 3, Silent Spring. The teacher lesson plan directs the teacher to discuss students’ questions and inferences they made while reading. Under the heading “Discuss,” teachers are provided with the following suggestion: “In small groups or pairs, have students discuss the questions they asked and inferences they made while reading. To help facilitate discussions, refer to Collaborative Discussions in the Speaking & Listening Handbook.”
  • During the Skill lesson for each text, students are introduced to a new skill they will practice with the text. There is a video explanation of the skills, a written explanation that supports the video, and a model discussion of a group of students discussing how that skill is applied to the text they are studying. Students are asked to participate in different types of discussion, sometimes small group, sometimes whole group, sometimes peer to peer, in order to think about different aspects of the skill. An example of this is found in Unit 2, during the Skill: Character lesson for Antigone. Teachers are directed to facilitate a whole-group discussion that helps students understand how to infer and analyze the cultural context of the passage with questions such as: “What clues does the Model use to determine that the play is set long ago?” and “What clues about the power structure of the culture are clear from the dialogue?”
  • Students then engage in a Close Read of the text being studied. The text offers extensive support for the teacher to model how to apply the skill to the text being read and follow up questions are provided in the lesson plans. Students are offered the opportunity to work in different types of collaborative situations in order to discuss their close read of the text and to delve deeper into their findings. This is seen in the Unit 4 Close Read for Hotel Rwanda. Teachers are told to use the sample responses to the Skills Focus questions at the bottom of the lesson to discuss the reading and begin identifying story structure in a selection. Questions like: “A very general rule in filmmaking is that a page in the screenplay should equal about a minute of screen time. Make a print out of the screenplay excerpt on your computer. How many pages is it? Then reread the excerpt and determine how many scenes and locations it contains. How much real time does the excerpt cover in the story, and how long would it actually last in screen time?” and “In what way does the radio broadcast that Paul and Benedict listen to at the end of the excerpt reinforce what Mr. Tillens had told Paul earlier?”
  • The Blasts lessons contain short informational passages, research links to deepen content knowledge and a driving question that students respond to in one hundred and forty characters or less. Students discuss the driving question and context in different collaborative situations: large group, small group and/or peer to peer. An example of this is found in Unit 1, The Sports Gene. Teachers are instructed to lead a whole class discussion about the title and the driving question for the Blast, “What are the effects of performance-enhancing drugs?” After students draft their initial responses to the driving question, they are separated into pairs and given questions like the following to discuss: “Why do many athletes turn to performance-enhancing drugs?” and “What are some of the risks associated with performance-enhancing drugs?”. Then students look at the “Number Crunch” section of the Blast. The teacher breaks them into pairs and has them make predictions about “what they think the number is related to.” After they click on the number, the students discuss in a large group “if they are surprised by the revealed information.”
  • Further opportunities for speaking and listening are also found in the Research Tab within each unit. In Unit 4 of Grade 10, research how our interactions define us. As students research they determine if they want to present their research as an informative or argumentative presentation. Depending on their choice, students are directed to resources from the Speaking and Listening Handbook. As students consider and plan their research, the teacher reviews the Big Idea Blast and Unit Trailer, and leads a large group discussion about the subject of the research in relation to the unit texts with questions like: “What is the most interesting or surprising lesson this unit has taught you about interaction?” and “How have elements such as an emphasis on specific details or the physical or verbal interaction of the characters been used to communicate the ways that interaction defines characters and key players in the texts?” Once students have reviewed and discussed the subject, they are separated into small groups and are either assigned or self-select a topic. While researching, students are given the opportunity to review and discuss their sources and research in order to amalgamate their information into one presentation.
  • In Unit 3, the Extended Writing Project is Informative Writing. In the Skill: Research and Note-Taking lesson, there is a whole class or small group discussion about the elements of note-taking with questions such as, “Why is outside research important?” and “Why is note-taking an essential component of research?”. During the Extended Writing Project: Draft lesson, the teacher is instructed to lead a whole class discussion that reviews the prompt, directions and peer review criteria. In the Extended Writing Project: Edit, Proofread, and Publish lesson, teachers pass out the StudySync handout on parallel construction; then, they lead a class discussion that examines the second paragraph of the Student Model with questions like: “Why is parallel construction important?” and “How could the parallelism be corrected?”

Indicator 1k

Materials include a mix of on-demand and process writing grade-appropriate writing (e.g. grade-appropriate revision and editing) and short, focused projects.
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Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Grade 10 meet the criteria that materials include a mix of on-demand and process writing and short, focused projects. Each unit of study asks student to engage in both on-demand writing and process writing in a variety of forms, including full-length essays, short constructed responses, peer reviews and Blasts.

Students engage in on-demand writing via Blasts, constructed response questions that accompany the Close Read lesson of each text, as well as in the ELA Assessment PDF that is part of each grade level. The Blasts are 140 character writing responses to modern media connections to the literature and themes students are studying. The constructed response questions demonstrate students’ understanding of the reading and language skills and additional experience with the featured mode of writing. Within the ELA Assessment PDF, teachers are provided with multiple on demand writing opportunities that students can complete in correlation with each unit in the year. These assessments include all three modes of writing (explanatory, narrative and argumentative) in a format that mimics the on-demand writing expectations of the state required tests.

Process writing is found in the Extended Writing Project at the end of each unit. Each of the four units covers one of these essential writing forms: narrative, informative/explanatory, literary analysis, and argumentative writing. These Extended Writing Projects take students through the writing process including the following: prewriting, planning, drafting, revising, and editing/proofreading/publishing. Students explore different aspects of the writing process and are given a variety of writing practice opportunities to hone their skills and enhance their understanding of each unit’s particular writing form.

Examples of on-demand and process writing include but are not limited to:

  • In Unit 2, during the study of “The Ballad of Birmingham,” students complete an on-demand writing task via Blast: The Price of Justice. Students are given some information in regards to the blast to think about and discuss as a class or in small groups; then they are asked to use that discussion information to draft their initial response to the driving question, “What are the costs of challenging the rules?”. After further research and discussion, students are to write their own blast using the draft they wrote in their notebook. They will revise or rewrite it based on the research and discussion that has happened throughout the lesson.The Blast is 140 characters or less linking it to modern media.
  • In Unit 3 of the ELA Assessment PDF, students complete an Explanatory Performance Task: “Task You have been learning about explanatory writing in class. Explanatory, or informative, writing tells a central idea about a subject and supports the information with details. For this task, you will be writing an explanatory essay related to the topic of technology and its effects. Before you write your essay, you will review two sources on technology topics. After you have reviewed these sources, you will answer some questions about them. Briefly scan the sources and the three questions that follow. Then, go back and read the sources carefully to gain the information you will need to answer the questions and write an essay. In Part 2, you will write an explanatory essay on a topic related to the sources.”
  • In Unit 4, the Extended Writing Project focuses on narrative writing. Students probe the unit’s essential question, “How do our interactions with those around us and with the larger world make us who we are?,” as they write a fiction or nonfiction narrative about an unusual interaction between a character and something or someone that reveals something about the character or affects the character in an important way. Other lessons on the Extended Writing Prompt include skills lessons on organization, introductions, narrative techniques and sequencing, dialogue, conclusions, and body paragraphs and transitions. Short constructed responses that accompany all Close Read lessons in the unit help students demonstrate understanding of the specific reading and language skills developed in conjunction with the texts, such as explaining how transformations enhanced the development of characters and themes in Julius Caesar, Some examples include, and explaining how a character develops through his interactions with other characters in “Catch the Moon.”

Indicator 1l

Materials provide opportunities for students to address different types/modes/genres of writing that reflect the distribution required by the standards. Writing opportunities incorporate digital resources/multimodal literacy materials where appropriate. Opportunities may include blended writing styles that reflect the distribution required by the standards.
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 10 meet the criteria for materials providing opportunities for students to address different text types of writing that reflect the distribution required by the standards.

The materials reviewed for Grade 10 meet the criteria that materials provide opportunities for students to address different text types of writing. The materials provide for a variety of writing tasks across the school year that vary in length and depth, tie to classroom texts and Big Ideas, and represent equally narrative, informative/explanatory, literary analysis, and argumentative writing.

Students engage in writing activities throughout each unit. Students write short constructed responses as part of each Close Read lesson for each text in the unit. This informal writing allows students to demonstrate understanding of the specific text while practicing the featured type of writing. Students engage in informal writing through the annotations that students create as they closely read the various units in the text.

In addition to these shorter, less formal writing opportunities, each of the four units of study contains an Extended Writing Task that takes place at the end of the unit. These writing prompts are linked to the unit texts; throughout the units, students are given opportunities across the school year to learn, practice, and apply writing types addressed in the standards. StudySync also provides guidance and support from peers and adults to develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach. Students are given opportunities to use digital sources for research and presentation. Examples of opportunities to address different text types include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • In Unit 1, in the Extended Writing Project, students write an argumentative essay that “... probe[s] the unit’s central question—How much of what happens in our lives do we actually control?—and then choose two selections from the unit in order to write an argumentative essay in which they state a claim, identifying the text that most convincingly answers this question. In order to find information and provide validity for their argument, students are asked to present text evidence from both sources to support their claim.” A rubric is provided to help monitor student progress.
  • In Unit 3, in the Extended Writing Project, students write an informative essay that “... probe[s] the unit’s central question—What responsibility do we have for what we create?—as they write an informative/explanatory essay that considers both the positive and the negative outcomes that may result from new technology. While it can help people and the world around us, it can also have detrimental effects on communities and their natural surroundings. In response to the EWP prompt, students will examine closely how the unit selections relate to the unit theme—Technical Difficulties—and reflect on reasons why technological advancements sometimes create moral dilemmas. The selections in this unit, which explore both the positive and the negative effects of technological progress throughout history from a variety of perspectives, through fiction, nonfiction narratives, articles, speeches, letters, and poetry, provide a context for students as they select the subjects of their work and begin their informative/explanatory writing.”
  • In Unit 4, the Extended Writing Project focuses on narrative writing. Students write a narrative in response to the prompt, “How do our interactions define us?—as they write a fictional narrative about an unusual interaction that takes place between a character and someone or something else (such as another person, animal, object, entity, or environment) that reveals the character’s true nature or affects the character in a meaningful way. In response to the EWP prompt, students will imagine an interaction or encounter that enables them to relate to the unit theme—The Human Connection—and to reflect on reasons why such interactions can be meaningful. The unit’s fiction and nonfiction selections about characters and real people that explore the struggle for connection, and how meaningful interactions can change people’s lives for better or worse, provide a context for students as they begin their narratives.”

Indicator 1m

Materials include frequent opportunities for evidence-based writing to support sophisticated analysis, argumentation, and synthesis.
2/2
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 10 meet the criteria for materials including frequent opportunities for evidence-based writing to support careful analyses, well-defended claims, and clear information appropriate for the grade level.

The materials provide students with writing activities that vary in length and purpose in response to a variety of texts. The First Read lesson for each text requires students to complete short answer questions that are text-dependent. The Close Read lessons at the end of each text include an extended writing prompt that requires students to synthesize all of the close reading and skills work that they have done with the text. At the conclusion of each Full-Text Unit, there are two opportunities for long-form writing responses that are connected to an anchor text. One of these is always analytical in nature and requires an argumentative or informative/explanatory response to the whole text. Lastly, the Extended Writing Project requires students to return to the texts they have read over the course of a thematic unit in order to draw evidence from and analyze these mentor texts. Examples of evidence-based writing to support careful, well-defended analyses include but are not limited to:

  • In Unit 1, in the First Read of “Outliers,” students are asked a short answer question that will require them to access the text in order to answer the question: “Aside from discovering how many hours of practice it takes to achieve true mastery in a field of endeavor, what other striking thing did Ericsson’s study uncover? Support your answer with evidence from the text.” The question requires them to go back into specific areas of the text and apply that information to an analysis question that cannot be directly found in the text, but which builds on discussions had throughout the first read of the text.
  • In Unit 2, in the Close Read of Texas vs Johnson, students are asked whether they agree or disagree with the Supreme Court’s ruling: “To decide, think about which justice made the stronger argument about whether or not flag burning is an “expressive conduct” protected by freedom of speech under the First Amendment? Do you agree with Justice Brennan, who delivered the Supreme Court ruling and overturned Mr. Johnson’s conviction? Or do you agree with Chief Justice Rehnquist, who wrote the minority, or dissenting, opinion upholding Johnson’s conviction for flag burning? Write an argumentative essay about which judge’s argument you found more convincing. State your claim clearly and support it with arguments, using strong reasons and evidence from the text. Be sure to state the claim and counterclaim of the two justices. ”
  • In Unit 3, in the Full Text Study of Frankenstein, at the conclusion of reading the text, students are assigned to watch a theatrical version of Frankenstein and compare and contrast it with the novel. “What similarities and differences between the book and the film can you find? In what ways does the adaptation work with the same themes and how are these themes developed to fit a new form, time, or genre? Pretend you are Mary Shelley attending the premiere of the film. Write a letter as Shelley to the director of the film that reacts to the adaptation, noting favorite scenes, specific moments that differ from the text, and the impact the film’s revisions have on the original work.”
  • In Unit 4, in the Close Read of “Catch the Moon,” students respond to a prompt asking them to examine how a character develops. The prompt states, “How does Luis develop over the course of the story through his interaction with other characters? What do these interactions reveal about the theme of the story? Write a response to these questions. Cite evidence from the text to support your response.”
  • The Extended Writing Project in Unit 3 requires students to access the texts within the unit by having students write an informative essay. “Mankind has always sought to advance its knowledge of the world and to make life easier and better for its citizens. However, some scientific breakthroughs have led to unintended consequences. Consider both the positive and the negative outcomes that may result from new technology. Recall the selections you have read in this unit and how they explore moral dilemmas posed by technological advancements or possibilities. Choose two selections from the unit and write an informative essay that answers this question: What responsibility do people have when developing new technology? Along with information from the unit selections, include research from at least three other credible print and/or digital sources to support your ideas."

Indicator 1n

Materials include instruction and practice of the grammar and conventions/language standards for grade level as applied in increasingly sophisticated contexts, with opportunities for application in context.
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 10 meet the criteria for materials including explicit instruction of the grammar and conventions standards for grade level as applied in increasingly sophisticated contexts, with opportunities for application both in and out of context.

The materials include a student edition and an annotated teacher edition of the Grammar, Language, and Composition Guide. The guide is separated into two parts: Grammar and Language Workbook and the Grammar and Composition Handbook. The Grammar and Language Workbook offers lessons to provide additional instruction and practice of specific grammar or language needs and can be used by the teacher for whole class, small group, or individual practice depending upon students’ needs. The lessons can be used for pre-teaching or reteaching. The Grammar and Composition Handbook focuses specifically on grammar and usage, with each chapter focusing on a specific grammar or usage skill. The lessons provide instructions, practice, and review, and the lessons and tasks build in complexity.

Grammar and usage instruction and practice is also embedded in each of the units of study. Under the Overview tab, there is a section called Key Grammar Skills which lists all of the in-context grammar lessons contained in each text in the unit and where they can be found. Not only can students practice specific grammar/language convention skills, they have opportunities to apply them in context in both reading (First Read) and in writing (Extended Writing Project).

The teaching of grammar, usage, and mechanics happens throughout the Core Program and is designed to help students develop a complex understanding of language that they can use to enhance their comprehension of texts. The grammar strand is structured around instruction, practice exercises, and student application. After receiving direct instruction and completing a practice handout on the lesson’s grammar, usage, or mechanics concept, students are prompted to analyze the use of this concept in a given text and answer questions about the purpose and effect of the concept. They may also be prompted to practice the skill through short revision tasks. Core concepts are revisited with opportunities for application throughout a grade level. Language instruction is also provided strategically throughout a unit’s Extended Writing Project, which gives students the immediate opportunity to apply grammar, usage, and mechanics concepts to their own writing, by revising their drafts to incorporate the concept and editing their drafts to apply it correctly. Examples of explicit instruction of the grammar and conventions standards include but are not limited to:

  • The Grade 10 StudySync Grammar and Language Workbook is divided into five parts: grammar, usage, mechanics, vocabulary and spelling and composition. Each part has units that cover specific skills. For example, in Part 1 Grammar, Unit 3 focuses on phrases and includes five lessons that cover prepositional, appositive, participial, gerund and infinitive phrases. Part 5, Composition, “contains lessons on basic writing skills such as writing effective sentences, building paragraphs, and paragraph ordering, areas some students may benefit from additional instruction as they develop their writing” (StudySync Core Program Overview 6-12. 59)
  • The Grade 10 StudySync Grammar and Composition Handbook is divided into four parts: ready reference, grammar, usage and mechanics, composition, and resources. Each part has chapters that are “targeted to a specific grammar or usage skill. The chapter begins with a pretest, is followed by instruction and practice, then ends with a post test” (StudySync Core Program Overview 6-12 59). For example, in Part 2, Grammar, Usage and Mechanics, Chapter 12 focuses on “Sentence Combining” and contains five lessons on tips for sentence combining, combining by inserting words, combining by inserting phrases, combining by using coordination, and combining by using subordination. Students are given a pretest and told to “combine the sentences in the way that seems best to you.” Then the students go through the five lessons practicing each skill. After the lessons, students take the posttest that has them again “combine the sentences in the way that seems best to you” with 20 new sentences.
  • The Key Grammar Skills under the Overview tab for Unit 2 shows that grammar lessons appear in the First Read lessons of Candide, Fahrenheit 451, and “Remarks to the Senate, and in the Extended Writing Project lessons Draft, Revise and Publish. The First Read of Candide by Voltaire has students complete a lesson on semicolons and colons and then has them analyze “the use of semicolons and colons in Candide." The Revise lesson in the Extended Writing Project focuses on commas in introductory phrases, adverb clauses and antithetical phrases. Students learn about them and then analyze their usage in the student model essay. Then, students reread their own essays “to make sure that clauses and phrases have been properly punctuated.”

Gateway Two

Building Knowledge with Texts, Vocabulary, and Tasks

Meets Expectations

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Gateway Two Details

The instructional materials are organized around themes and build student’s reading comprehension of complex texts. Most questions are higher order and ask students to engage with the text directly. The materials provided students multiple opportunities, through questions and tasks, to analyze the integration of knowledge and ideas across both individual and multiple texts. Materials include models and protocols for teachers to implement and monitor students’ writing development. Materials provide multiple opportunities for students to engage in research activities and present their findings. Students regularly engage in a volume of independent reading either in or outside of class, and an accountability system is provided as an additional support.

Criterion 2a - 2h

32/32

Indicator 2a

Texts are organized around a topic/topics or themes to build students' knowledge and their ability to comprehend and analyze complex texts proficiently.
4/4
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 10 meet the criteria that texts are organized around a theme to build students’ ability to read and comprehend complex texts independently and proficiently.

The instructional materials are organized around themes and build student’s reading comprehension of complex texts. The curriculum for Grade 10 is organized under a thematic umbrella focused on control and if we ever truly have it over our lives, and how we learn and benefit from our interactions with others. The themes of the four units are as follows: “Destiny,” Taking a Stand,” “Technical Difficulties,” and “The Human Connection.”

Each unit provides both fiction and nonfiction selections to build student content knowledge; students are required to read and comprehend the complex texts independently and proficiently. At the beginning of each unit, students consider the Big Idea or essential question of the unit, and when they read and analyze the texts in the unit, they face further questions and discussions about this essential question. The reading, writing, and discussion tasks ultimately lead to a culminating task that requires students to synthesize what they have learned about the texts as they relate to the overarching idea of the unit. Examples of texts centered around themes to build student’s ability to read and comprehend complex texts include but are not limited to:

  • Unit 1 combines several selections to build student knowledge around the theme “Destiny.” Students explore the idea of fate versus free will as they read fiction, poems, a play, and informational text. Students read an excerpt from Outliers: The Story of Success, which looks at “innate talent versus hours of practice on musical achievement.” The poem “Invictus, which has the speaker stating he controls his fate. Act I, Scene III of Macbeth has Macbeth struggling with the witches’ predictions.
  • Unit 2 studies the theme of “Taking a Stand.” Students explore the when breaking the rules is the “right” decision. Students read fiction, an epic poem, a graphic novel, a sonnet, novel excerpts and informational texts. The unit begins with the short story, “The Lady, or the Tiger,” which has the students considering the power held by both the king and the princess. Other selections share stories of leaders in history, including two seminal U.S. documents in the 9-10 complexity band, the epic poem The Odyssey, and informational texts about ancient Greece and Pericles. Throughout this unit, students explore how power can be used both positively and negatively.
  • Unit 3 combines several selections to build student knowledge around the theme “Technical Difficulties.” Students review a variety of perspectives through various genres to understand the positive and negative effects of the technological progress that has been made throughout history. The Unit begins with fictional excerpts from “Prometheus: The Friend of Man” and Frankenstein to “frame the dilemma humans face when wielding the power of technology.” Students read numerous nonfiction and personal accounts to understand real-life scenarios within which individuals and communities have been impacted through the use of technology. Students will also engage in a study of the various debates that the rise and implementation of new technology has sparked throughout the world.
  • Unit 4 combines several selections to build student knowledge around the theme “The Human Connection.” Students explore how their interactions with one another along with the larger community impact the world and their understanding of themselves. Students study texts of a variety of genres and lengths including excerpts from plays, autobiographies, poetry and nonfiction. The Unit begins with excerpts from Plutarch’s Lives, which provide “three separate accounts of Julius Caesar’s funeral in order to explore what two famous leaders’ interactions with citizens reveal about their characters.” Students also view the scope of human connection, both the possibility and the struggle, through texts such as The Book Thief, Night, and Catch the Moon. Each of these texts explore human nature and how the characters are impacted, and make an impact, through their interactions with one another.

Indicator 2b

Materials contain sets of coherently sequenced higher order thinking questions and tasks that require students to analyze the language (words/phrases), key ideas, details, craft, and structure of individual texts in order to make meaning and build understanding of texts and topics.
4/4
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 10 meet the criteria that materials contain sets of coherently sequenced higher order thinking questions and tasks that require students to analyze the language (words/phrases), key ideas, details, craft, and structure of individual texts in order to make meaning and build understanding of texts and topics.

The materials offer students several opportunities to use evidence pulled directly from the text as well as make inferences while reading in order to help make meaning of the of the texts provided. Most discussion questions and tasks cover comprehension, summarizing, clarifying, drawing conclusions, making inferences, evaluating, synthesizing ideas, and analyzing and identifying literary devices. Most questions are higher order and ask students to engage with the text directly. The materials do include a range of text dependent questions and tasks throughout each unit, and questions and tasks cover a wide continuum of standards and strategies. Each text in the unit has a sequence of reading opportunities- guiding students in how they should approach each reading of the text. Approaches to reading individual texts within each unit include, but are not limited to: First Read, Skill, Close Read. The First Read is a reading of the text with very little front loading and is more of a surface read of the text and might include tasks and questions that ask students to make inferences and predictions and/or summarize. The Skill reading focuses on a particular skill to think about while re-engaging with the text. Questions and tasks covered in the Skill sections vary and include, but are not limited to: figurative language, argumentation, rhetorical analyses, and technical language. The Close Read brings the student back to the text and often includes questions and tasks that require students to re-engage with the text deeply- citing textual evidence, synthesizing ideas, and/or analyzing author’s purpose/craft.

  • In Unit 1, students analyze the poem, “If” by Rudyard Kipling. During the Close Read they need to display their knowledge and understanding of different poetic elements, including imagery, meter and form, by answering the following question: “Do you feel that Kipling’s choice of poetic elements effectively conveys the poem’s theme about what it takes to become a fully realized person? Reread the poem and write about how the poetic elements - imagery, meter, and form - contribute to the theme. If you don’t feel that these elements successfully portray Kipling’s theme, what poetic elements might you have chosen instead? In either instance, support your ideas with evidence from the text. Use at least one or two vocabulary words to show that you understand their meaning in the context of the poem.”
  • In Unit 2, “Taking a Stand,” one of the texts is “Introduction to Antigone,” an excerpt from Bernard Knox’s introduction to the play. The following text dependent tasks/questions can be found in the “First Read: Discuss.” In this part of the lesson, students are put into small groups or pairs to discuss questions they identified while reading. The following questions are included in the teacher’s edition to help facilitate discussions:
    • “What has happened to Antigone's brothers?”
    • “What is the difference between Creon's treatments of the brothers?”
    • “What is the effect of this on Antigone?”

After students discuss the text in small groups or pairs, they move onto the “First Read: Think,” in which they answer short answer questions like the following:

  • “According to Knox, what is the difference between Creon’s beliefs and Antigone’s beliefs regarding the burial of Polynices’ corpse? How does this difference help set up the action of the play? Explain how ancient Greeks would have regarded the conflict, as opposed to modern theatergoers. Cite evidence from the text to support your answer.”
  • “Briefly summarize Antigone’s argument that as Plynices’ sister, she has a right to demand that he be buried. Cite evidence from the text to support your answer

In the Skill portion of this lesson, students learn the skill Informational Text Structure. Within this section, a skill is defined; a model of how a text is analyzed for that skill is shown; and, finally, students answer text dependent questions that illustrate their understanding of the skill. Students are taught in the Identification and Application section how to identify informational text structure: looking at the form in which the information is presented; looking for key details that explain the author’s ideas or claims; asking how the ideas and claims are developed; and looking for how a key individual, event, or idea is introduced. Then they are asked to read and annotate the Model text by highlighting key points, asking questions, and identifying the places where the Model is applying the strategies laid out in the “Identification and Application” section. After reading the Model text, teachers lead a whole-group discussion using the following questions:

  • “What’s the first step this Model uses to begin identifying the passage’s organizational structure?”
  • “Which strategy from the Identification and Application section of this Skill lesson does the Model uses to determine the organization structure that the author uses?”
  • “In paragraphs 3-5, what type of evidence does Knox use to support the idea that Creon was somewhat justified in decreeing that Polynices’ body should not be buried?”
  • “What type of evidence does Knox offer to support Antigone's position that she has the sacred duty and the right to bury her brother Polynices' body?”

At the end of the discussion, students are told to answer a multiple choice question which will assess their understanding of the skill. A section of the text is written on the left side of the screen, and the following questions are on the right:

  • “Part A: In comparing and contrasting the views of Antigone and Creon, what claim is the author making in this paragraph?”
  • “Part B: Which sentence or phrase from the passage best supports your answer?”

During the Close Read portion of the lesson, students are given the opportunity to focus on how an author develops key ideas and provides details to support them. Students begin by working with vocabulary found in the text. Then, the teacher models how to close read the text using annotation strategies provided. After modeling, the teacher reads over the Skills Focus question, so the students understand what they should pay close attention to while reading. Then students read and annotate the rest of the text; discuss the Skills Focus question in a large group; and, finally, answer a writing prompt. The Skills Focus questions from this lesson, “Close Read: Introduction to Antigone,” include:

  • “According to Knox, what is the cause of Antigone’s anger toward Creon? What are the possible effects of this on herself and those around her? Highlight textual evidence in the excerpt to support your ideas. Write annotations to explain your choices.”
  • “How does compare-and-contrast text structure of the essay help readers understand the different points of view in the play Antigone? Highlight evidence in the text and write annotations to explain your choices.”
  • “What connections does Knox draw between Antigone’s personality, her beliefs, and her actions? How does he develop his claims? Highlight textual evidence and write annotations to explain your idea.”
  • “Knox states that Antigone believes that Creon’s decision not to let Polynices be buried is aimed at her and her sister personally. How does his analysis support his ideas? Highlight your evidence and make annotations that support your understanding.”
  • “Based on the ways Knox compares and contrasts the points of view in the play Antigone in this excerpt, does he think that Antigone has the right to challenge the rule of law set down by Creon? Highlight textual evidence in the paragraph and use the annotation tool to support your answer.”

The text-dependent writing prompt for this lesson is:

  • “Use your understanding of key ideas, organizational structure, and point of view to explain how Knox’s “Introduction to Antigone” might enhance your reading of the library excerpt from the play, Antigone. How does Bernard Knox’s analysis of the play and explanation of cultural history help you understand the central conflict of Antigone, as well as the characters? Cite textual evidence to support your response.”

Indicator 2c

Materials contain a coherently sequenced set of text-dependent and text-specific questions and tasks that require students to build knowledge and integrate ideas across both individual and multiple texts.
4/4
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 10 meet the criteria that materials contain a coherently sequenced set of text-dependent questions and tasks that require students to analyze the integration of knowledge and ideas across both individual and multiple texts.

The materials provided students multiple opportunities, through questions and tasks, to analyze the integration of knowledge and ideas across both individual and multiple texts. Each unit contains texts that are represented in more than one format, several texts that explore/represent one theme, and several argumentative prompts that give students the opportunity to state and claim and use evidence from the various texts to support their claim.

The reading, writing, research, and discussion tasks throughout the four units of study require students to complete a thorough, detailed examination of every reading selection. The culminating task for each unit is an Extended Writing Project; the prompts for the informational, argument, and literary analysis writing tasks demand that students cite evidence from multiple texts in the unit. Each unit contains a Research Project that requires that the students put the skills of reading and analyzing texts that they learned throughout the unit into practice. Each unit also contains a Full Text Study which comes with companion texts. This text set becomes the resource for the final activity for the Full Text Study, where students are asked to complete sustained writing tasks in response to prompts that require them to compare and contrast two or more of the texts in the set. Examples of coherently sequenced set of text-dependent questions and tasks that require students to analyze the integration of knowledge and ideas across both individual and multiple texts include but are not limited to:

  • In Unit 3, there is the full text study of Frankenstein by Mary Shelley. After reading Chapter 22, students read an excerpt from the biography American Prometheus by J. Robert Oppenheimer. After reading, students write an essay that analyzes ”how the authors of each work draw on and transform the mythical figure of Prometheus. What does it mean to apply this label in a manner as conspicuous as the title of a book? Can you think of any other historical or literary figures that could be labeled as promethean?”
  • In Unit 4, students read “Those Winter Sundays,” a poem by Robert Hayden. The writing prompt in the Close Read lesson refers them back to the essential question of the unit: “The Essential Question for this unit is, “How do our interactions define us?” In 300 words, describe how the narrator’s interactions with his father, both as a youth and as an adult, define him. What important lessons did his upbringing ultimately teach him? Identify the poem’s theme. Include details about how the tone of the poem helps to reinforce the theme.”

Indicator 2d

The questions and tasks support students' ability to complete culminating tasks in which they demonstrate their knowledge of a topic through integrated skills (e.g. combination of reading, writing, speaking, listening).
4/4
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 10 meet the criteria that the questions and tasks support students’ ability to complete culminating tasks in which they demonstrate their knowledge of a theme through integrated skills (e.g. combination of reading, writing, speaking, listening).

The materials provide questions and tasks that support students’ ability to complete each unit’s Extended Writing Project in which they demonstrate their knowledge of a topic or theme through a combination of skills; this culminating activity is designed to deepen content knowledge as students return to texts they have already analyzed. The materials achieve this goal by tying the questions that are asked in the Extended Writing Project to the essential questions and theme of the unit. Each unit provides questions that prompt thinking, speaking and writing that focus on the central ideas and key details of the text. Reading and writing (and speaking and listening) are taught as integrated skills. Students are required to read, annotate, argue, discuss, write about, and share their thoughts about each of these texts in multiple ways. Examples of questions and task that support student’s ability to complete culminating tasks include but are not limited to:

  • In Unit 1, students read informational text, poetry, and drama that feature different human experiences that explore the essential question: how much of what happens in our lives do we actually control? The unit’s Extended Writing Project requires students to write an argumentative essay that makes a claim about which text from the unit “most convincingly answers the unit’s essential question.” The questions and tasks for each of the texts in the unit support this ultimate goal. As stated in the ELA Grade Level Overview for Grade 10 “Short constructed responses that accompany all Close Read lessons in the unit help students demonstrate understanding of the specific reading and language skills developed in conjunction with the texts. These include an evaluation of the speaker’s final assertion in the poem ‘Invictus’ . . . as well as the ideas about fate, power, and human nature that Shakespeare explores in Macbeth, and how point of view in The Iraq War Blog helps to express the author’s particular attitude toward the role of fate in the events she describes.” The prompts also get the students thinking about which of the texts in the unit best answers the essential question.
  • In Unit 3, the Extended Writing Project requires students to write an informative/explanatory essay that has students choose two texts from the unit to answer the following questions: “What responsibility do people have when developing new technology?” The questions and tasks for each of the texts in the unit support this ultimate goal. As stated in the ELA Grade Level Overview for Grade 10 “Short constructed responses that accompany all Close Read lessons in the unit help students demonstrate understanding of the specific reading and language skills developed in conjunction with the texts, such as the use of textual evidence to analyze Louis Pasteur’s point of view in ‘Worship the Spirit of Criticism’ or assessing the arguments, claims and evidence presented in ‘Shading the Earth’ to determine whether geoengineering is a good solution to the problem of climate change.” The unit Blasts also support this writing assignment by looking at topics such as “the pros and cons of pesticides and how new technologies change our language.”
  • In Unit 4, the Extended Writing Project focuses on the narrative form. Students write a narrative about an unusual interaction between a character and something or someone else. In preparation for the culminating writing activity, students practice skills necessary for narrative writing. For example, in the Skill: Writing Dialogue lesson, students take notes on the elements of dialogue. In small or whole group, students read the model and identify the different components of the introduction. Questions, such as “What qualities can indirect dialogue add to a narrative?” are included in the teacher edition to activate thinking. After reading the model, students are instructed to write a passage for their narrative that includes direct and indirect dialogue.

Indicator 2e

Materials include a cohesive, consistent approach for students to regularly interact with word relationships and build academic vocabulary/ language in context.
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 10 meet the criteria that materials include a cohesive, year-long plan for students to interact with and build key academic and domain-specific vocabulary words in and across texts.

Language instruction in the StudySync core program provides systematic vocabulary instruction, as well as repeated opportunities for practice and application in reading, writing, speaking, and listening. Students will encounter vocabulary-building opportunities in the Vocabulary Workbook, the Academic Vocabulary link on the Unit Overview page, and across all three lesson types: First Reads, Skill lessons, and Close Reads.

Students are also provided with a Vocabulary Workbook. This gives “students additional opportunities to build and expand their vocabulary” (Study Sync Core Program Guide: Grades 6-12 60). There are twelve units; each unit contains three to four lessons; each lesson consists of ten words related by a concept or theme. The lessons are on topics such as using context clues, prefixes, word families, synonyms, Latin roots, suffixes, Greek Roots, reference skills like using a thesaurus, and reading skills like word parts. Lesson structure, practice activities and assessments are included for each unit.

On the Unit Overview page of each unit, there are a list of readings, key skills and Common Core standards which the unit covers. Within this list, is the heading Academic Vocabulary, which contains links to two to three academic vocabulary lessons. Each lesson contains ten words that are related topically. The lesson is separated into three sections: Define, Model, Your Turn. Define lists the words, their form, their meaning and other meanings in a chart. The Model lesson gives students a sample context and then uses the words in sentences. Your Turn has the students complete an assessment that is self-assessed.

In the First Reads, students are exposed to the challenging vocabulary in the text. They are given opportunities to use context clues and analyze word parts in order to understand the meaning of the words, and teachers are encouraged to model these types of strategies. The materials focus on language development by having students use context clues, word placement, and common Greek and Latin affixes and roots to figure out the meaning of words.

The Skill Lessons focus on domain-specific vocabulary, and students are exposed to these vocabulary words through a variety of media. The vocabulary words are explained by other teens through a video, and there is a written explanation and examples for each term below the video.

The Close Read lesson has students look at the precise meaning of the academic vocabulary and compare it with their initial predictions from the First Read. Misunderstood words are reviewed and students discuss why the context clues or other tools did not help them define the word. Students are then to complete the vocabulary worksheet associated with the lesson.

Examples of opportunities for students to interact with and build key academic vocabulary words in and across texts include but are not limited to:

  • In Unit 4 of the Grade 10 Vocabulary Workbook, there are four lessons: Lesson 13: Using Context Clues, Lesson 14: Using Multiple-Meaning Words, Lesson 15: Prefixes Meaning “For” and “Against,” Lesson 16: Using Reading Skills - Learning from Context: Examples. The words in Lesson 13 are all related to the question “what does it take to meet life’s challenges?” ; in Lesson 14, all are related to helping students “to understand and express [their] feelings about changes in [their] life”; in Lesson 15, all words contain the prefixes couter-, contra- or con-, anti-, and ob- or op-; in Lesson 16 students use the technique of looking for examples of the unknown word that will give a hint to its meaning (41-47).
  • On the Unit 3 Overview Page, the “Academic Vocabulary” heading has three links: Academic Vocabulary Lesson 46, Lesson 47and Lesson 48. Lesson 47 contains ten words that will “help you think about and discuss rules,” like conform, guideline and reinforce. Students read the definitions on the “Define” page, such as “reinforce, verb, to strengthen and support with rewards; verb: to make stronger.” Then they read the words in example sentences on the “Model” page - “The town will take additional measures to reinforce the law.” Finally, they complete three questions in the “Your Turn” section that can show immediate feedback, like question one that asks students to “drag and drop the the word that correctly completes the sentence.”
  • In the Unit 1 First Read lesson of “Invictus,” students are told to make predictions about the five vocabulary words found in the text based on context clues. The teacher models this skill with the word “fell” by thinking aloud and asking questions - “Look at the structure of the sentence that contains the word "fell" and that incorporates the first two lines of the stanza. What part of speech is the word "fell" in this sentence?” Students then predict the rest of the words on their own, with a partner or in small groups.
  • The Skill Lesson for “The Ballad of Birmingham” in Unit 2 includes a Concept Definition video that defines connotation and denotation. After the video, there is a small group or whole class discussion about the words with questions like, “When describing your favorite foods, what words might you use to give the description a positive connotation?” Students are then taken to the model and asked to look for the following on their own - “comment on the effect the poet's choice of words with strong connotations has on the poem's meaning.” After an individual analysis, the teacher leads a whole group discussion that helps “students understand how to analyze connotation and denotation.” Finally, students are asked a comprehension questions to assess their understanding of connotation and denotation - “Which of the following statements best describes an important effect achieved by words with powerful connotations in these two stanzas?”
  • The Unit 4 Close Read of “Catch the Moon” has the teacher “project the vocabulary words and definitions onto the board or provide students with a handout so they can copy the vocabulary into their notebooks . . . [have] students compare the precise meaning of a specific word with their vocabulary predictions from the First Read. Review words defined incorrectly to understand why students were unable to use context clues or other tools to develop usable definitions.” Once this exercise is completed, the student complete the vocabulary worksheet attached to the lesson.

Indicator 2f

Materials contain a year long, cohesive plan of writing instruction and practice which support students in building and communicating substantive understanding of topics and texts.
4/4
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 10 meet the criteria that materials support students’ increasing writing skills over the course of the school year, building students’ writing ability to demonstrate proficiency at grade level at the end of the school year.

The materials supports students’ growth in writing skills over the course of the school year. To achieve this goal, instructional materials include well-designed lesson plans, models, and protocols for teachers to implement and monitor students’ writing development. Direct instruction on the writing process builds as the year progresses. Within the unit, students write in response to driving questions in Blasts, comprehension questions in First Reads, and discussion questions in Close Reads. These informal writing opportunities prepare students to write more formally as part of each unit’s Extended Writing Project and Research assignments. For Research, students discuss, plan, research, write, and deliver presentations. In the Extended Writing Project, students complete a writing project in one of the three primary modes of writing with the help of a student model, graphic organizers, rubrics, and extensive scaffolding of writing skills. The students engage in all phases of the writing process. Examples of materials supporting students’ increasing writing skills over the school year include but are not limited to:

  • In Unit 1, the Extended Writing Project focuses on argumentative writing, and instruction focuses on an introduction to this form. The Extended Writing Project provides a Student Model that contains the essential features of the argumentative essay and offers an example of a structured academic grade-level response to the prompt. The Student Model is used to help students better understand how the elements work together to create an effective argument, to identify and label the six features of argumentative writing (clear thesis, clear organization structure, supporting details/valid reasoning/textual evidence, effective transitions, formal style and objective tone, and a concluding statement), and to think about how they can apply these ideas to their own writing. Direct instruction is provided on writing thesis statements, organization, supporting details, introduction, body paragraphs and transitions, and conclusions.
  • In Unit 2, the Extended Writing Project focuses on a literary analysis argumentative writing, and instruction focuses on an introduction to this form. The Extended Writing Project provides a Student Model that contains the essential features of the literary analysis essay and offers an example of a structured academic grade-level response to the prompt. The Student Model is used to help students better understand how the elements work together to create an effective literary analysis, to identify and label the six features of literary analysis writing (clear thesis, clear organizational structure, supporting details/textual evidence, effective transitions, formal style and objective tone, and a concluding statement), and to think about how they can apply these ideas to their own writing. Direct instruction is provided on writing thesis statements, organization, supporting details, introduction, body paragraphs and transitions, conclusions, and sources and citations.
  • In Unit 3, the Blasts, comprehension questions in First Reads and writing prompts in the Close Reads scaffold throughout the texts as students are asked to complete more advanced understanding of the topics and texts throughout their writing. The unit begins with a Blast that introduces students to the ideas of the unit. In the case of Unit 3, students are asked to consider the following: “What responsibility do we have for what we create?” Students are asked to discuss, investigate through some research, and then respond to the question in a Blast post of their own using 140 characters or fewer. Mid-way through the unit, students are asked to read a poem, “Counter-Attack,” that is about the horrors of World War I, or the Great War, and then they are asked to do the following in the First Read: “Refer to one or more details from the text to support your understanding of who the speaker of the poem is and what the speaker describes in the first six lines of the poem. Base your answers on evidence that is directly stated or that you have inferred from clues in the text.” This question leads the students through the process of analyzing the start of a complex text in order to explain what is happening in the text. This is the first prompt in a series of short answer prompts that support them in developing a more thorough understanding. After the Close Read of the text, students are asked to consider the theme of the the poem, which is not provided, and then use their skills in analyzing the text to explain that theme. This is an example of explanatory writing, which is the focus of writing for this unit, and it is building on the skills they have been learning throughout by not supplying the theme, but in giving the students some hints through the content of the text, to figure out how to find it. An example of this is: “How the poetic structure and the tone help to convey the theme (or message) of the poem and the poet’s attitude toward the war.” They are told to include in their conclusion the answer to the following question: “Can a poem about a century-old war have the same impact today as it did when it was written?” In unit three, students have multiple opportunities to write in all of the modes and to have written multiple full essays. This is a helpful scaffold for supporting students in learning how to write thorough and thoughtful concluding paragraphs and especially concluding statements, a skill students struggle with consistently.
  • In Unit 4, the Extended Writing Project focuses on narrative writing. Analysis of point of view, character, tone, and figurative language are key task demands. Since this is the last unit of the school year, these skills are more advanced than simply identifying elements of a narrative, but they build on the knowledge students have gained about narrative writing through the earlier units. For example, lessons focus on theme or central idea in the study of the Unit 1 text Macbeth, but advance to tone and figurative language in the study of Unit 2’s Fahrenheit 451. This illustrates the ample scaffolding as the analysis becomes more sophisticated across the units. The recommended Unit 4 model text for this project, an excerpt from The Book Thief, which is also one of this unit’s Common Core Appendix B exemplar texts, emphasizes the analysis of point of view and character. By the time students have reached the final literary selections in the unit, they will be prepared to address the more complex ideas of theme, tone, word choice and complex characters and begin to incorporate these elements into their own writing.

Indicator 2g

Materials include a progression of focused, shared research and writing projects to encourage students to develop and synthesize knowledge and understanding of a topic using texts and other source materials.
4/4
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 10 meet the criteria that materials include a progression of focused research projects to encourage students to develop knowledge in a given area by confronting and analyzing different aspects of a topic using multiple texts and source materials.

Each of the four units in the Grade 10 materials include multiple opportunities for students to engage in research activities and present their findings. Each unit begins with a Big Idea Blast that gives students their first opportunity to draft a response to the driving question of the unit. The Blast includes multi-media research links that are related to the theme, and as students interact with the research links in the Blasts throughout the unit, they formulate a broader understanding of the theme, the texts in the unit, and the issues that surround them. The First Read of many selections in the unit includes a Build Background activity that asks students to work collaboratively on a small scale research inquiry that complements the text they are reading.

Each unit also includes an extensive, multi-step Research Project that is related to the unit’s theme and is a culmination of the skills that the students have practiced over the course of the unit and the knowledge they have gained. After sharing and discussing the results of individual members’ research findings, each group plans and then delivers a formal presentation in either the narrative, argumentative, or informative mode using multimedia elements such as videos, graphics, photos, and recordings to reinforce its main ideas.

If students are working on a topic that is informative, they present evidence to develop the subject matter. If students are working on a topic that involves presenting an argument in support of a claim, they use evidence that both supports their opinion and answers opposing viewpoints, or counter arguments. The Speaking & Listening Handbook is provided during this phase of the Research project both for speakers and for listeners, who are required to respond critically and constructively to the work of their peers. Each unit provides suggested topics for each research project. Examples of focused research projects to encourage students to develop knowledge in a given area include but are not limited to:

  • The Big Idea Blast in Unit 1 has students considering the unit’s essential question, “To what extent do we determine our own success or failure?” Included in this are research links to texts that have the students explore the concept of civilization like “Enthusiastic Praise,” “Peace On Earth,” “Good Will Toward Men,” and “Revenge!” and “Good Manners.” This research has students think about how and why we react to different situations and people.
  • An example of Build Background can be found in the Unit 3 First Read of “Worship the Spirit of Criticism: Address at the Pasteur Institute” by Louis Pasteur. The students work in pairs or small groups to “investigate Louis Pasteur’s most significant achievements.” Each group or pair is assigned a topic from the following: germ theory of disease, pasteurization, rabies vaccine, and anthrax vaccine.
  • The Research Project in Unit 2 has students researching “an event from history in which one group or individual rose up against authority.” There is a suggested list of topics for the small-group research project and provided links are found in the Blasts throughout the unit. This is a multi-step project that includes reviewing and discussing the topic, conducting the research, presenting the research and responding to the presentations.This research can be used as a resource for the Extended Writing Project, which is a literary analysis essay about when it is appropriate to challenge the rules.

Indicator 2h

Materials provide a design, including accountability, for how students will regularly engage in a volume of independent reading either in or outside of class.
4/4
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 10 meet the criteria that materials provide a design, including accountability, for how students will regularly engage in a volume of independent reading either in or outside of class.

The Core Program Overview includes a structured guide titled “Building an Independent Reading Program.” This section provides an overview of why independent reading is important, and it gives details on how to set up such a program in the classroom. Teachers are also given a five step plan to implement an independent reading program that provides choice for students to select texts and read independently at home and at school. This includes referring students to the StudySync Library where they can explore other titles in the library that share the same themes as addressed by the units.

Suggestions for accountability include reading logs, notebooks, online reflections, and informal conversations; having students do end-of reading activities such as filling out a Google Form, pitching books, producing movie trailers, writing reviews on GoodReads, designing movie posters, and participating in a book club style chat. Examples of opportunities for students to regularly engage in a volume of independent while being held accountable include but are not limited to:

  • In Unit 2, the pacing guide offers outside reading selections related to the theme, Taking a Stand and full text study Animal Farm. “The Founding Documents of the United States of America provide students with a glimpse at the rationale behind the revolution, and the creation of a set of core values to guide the formation of a new government. The Communist Manifesto, written in 1848 by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, outlines the history behind and the principles of the Communist League, promoting the rights of the working class over the power and wealth of the middle class. Hitler Youth: Growing Up in Hitler’s Shadow by Susan Campbell Bartoletti illustrates what life was like for children under Nazi rule and describes the Nazis’ use of schools to further their goals. George Orwell’s essay “Why I Write” explores his development as a writer and his need to take a strong political stance in his writing. Students that prefer fiction may appreciate “The Internationale” by Eugene Pottier, a poem composed by a French worker in 1871, which was later set to music and adopted in 1918 as the anthem of the Soviet Union” (15). These independently read comparative texts are specifically referenced in the Teacher’s Reading Guide for the full text study of Animal Farm, which is divided into sections covering chapters of the novel. At the end of the reading guide are two writing prompts that revisit The Lord of the Flies and reference the comparative texts.
  • In Unit 3, the theme is Technical Difficulties. Students are expected to read independently both in school and at home. The Core Program Guide states, “In addition to the time you spend reading in class, it’s important to set clear expectations for independent reading outside of the classroom. Students should read outside of class for a set amount of time each day. As students become stronger readers, the time spent reading outside of class should also increase.” Teachers are encouraged to request parent signatures on a reading log or ask students to keep an ongoing log of their reading in their notebooks or online where they reflect on their reading each week. Questions should be provided to direct student reflections. The Core Program Guide stresses that it is important for a teachers to decide on an amount of time appropriate for independent home reading for their student population, then communicate that expectation clearly to both students and parents.
  • In Unit 4, students are encouraged to read texts on the theme of The Human Connection during independent reading. The Core Program Guide states, “Your independent reading program should be ongoing, so it’s important to set up a system for recording what students are reading. This can be easily done using a Google Form to create an online reading log. As students finish each book, they should complete a form providing basic information about their book, a rating and a written review.” The pacing guide gives suggestions for further and independent reading including texts such as The Endless Steppe by Esther Hautzig, Farewell to Manzanar by Jeanne Wakatsuki, Girls at War by Chinua Achebe, and A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier by Ishmael Beah.

Gateway Three

Usability

Meets Expectations

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Gateway Three Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 10 are clearly designed and include detailed lesson plans for the teacher, as well as online materials for students. The pacing guide is designed for 50-minute instructional days and divides each unit into forty-five days in order to be able to complete the curriculum in an 180-day school year. Digital features are interactive and simple. In each lesson plan, teachers are provided full explanations and examples of the more advanced literary concepts in the following sections of the Teacher’s Edition section titled, Instructional Path.

The Core Program Guide explains that assessments available in StudySync ELA allow for monitoring student progress, diagnosing possible issues, and measuring student achievement in relation to their understanding of previously-taught skills. In the Core Program Guide, the publisher provides components for a successful independent reading program. Along with the scaffolds that differentiate instruction for English learners in the Access Path, teachers locate differentiation suggestions for beyond grade-level learners that stretch their thinking, adding more opportunities for collaborative and creative engagement.

In addition to being delivered entirely online, teachers can customize texts, lessons, and activities directly through the site based on classroom and individual students’ needs. Teachers can customize digital materials for local use according to student interests and abilities. StudySync digitally delivers instruction in reading, writing, speaking and listening, and language, and several features of the program were designed to model the communication style utilized on social media.

Criterion 3a - 3e

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6/8
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Criterion Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 10 are clearly designed and include detailed lesson plans for the teacher, as well as online materials for students. The pacing guide is designed for 50-minute instructional days and divides each unit into forty-five days in order to be able to complete the curriculum in an 180-day school year. The materials, through an integrated approach that combines reading, writing, speaking, listening, viewing, and presenting, along with instructional routines that are predictable and easily understandable, provide students with activities and opportunities to practice what they are learning. The materials offer resources that connect the Common Core State Standards to the elements of curriculum, instruction, and assessment. Digital features are interactive and simple. The layout is consistent throughout the materials, following the same format depending on the type of activity and assessment the students complete.

Indicator 3a

Materials are well-designed (i.e., allows for ease of readability and are effectively organized for planning) and take into account effective lesson structure (e.g., introduction and lesson objectives, teacher modelling, student practice, closure) and short-term and long-term pacing.
1/2
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 10 partially meet the expectation that materials take into account effective lesson structure and pacing. While the materials are well-designed, the amount of time taken to complete what is identified as a year's worth of material in Grade 10 would clearly take more days than are allocated.

The materials are clearly designed. Each lesson is designed for a fifty-minute period. The year-long instruction is broken into four units. Each unit is broken into forty-five lessons, totaling 180 days of instruction. Each unit follows a similar structure, and a Full Text Study is provided for each unit. Most lessons begin with a First Read, then a Skill lesson, followed by a Close Reading activity. Each lesson includes detailed lesson plans for the teacher, as well as online materials for students. Each lesson plan has clear guidelines for a core path as well as an access path that may include categories for beginner, approaching, intermediate, and advanced. Units 1 and 3 contain an alternative pacing guide that incorporates core instructional units with English language development lessons.

Each unit also includes a Pacing Guide that helps teachers utilize the resources offered in each StudySync Core ELA and English Learner unit. The pacing guide weaves lessons from every segment of this Core ELA unit: the Instructional Path, Extended Writing Project, Research Project, and Full-Text Study. An additional column helps the teacher align Core ELA unit content with lessons from its companion English Learner unit.

For example, each text begins with the First Read, which emphasizes comprehension and vocabulary. As seen in the Unit 1 First Read of Into the Wild, the lesson plan is separated into three sections: introduction, read, and Think. The Introduction of the lesson has students watch a video preview of Into the Wild. Students then make predictions about the central ideas they would expect to encounter in this text. The Read portion of the lesson begins with students reading the text with the purpose of predicting the definition of the five bold vocabulary words. Included in this are directions for how the teacher can model using context clues to define unfamiliar words with a script included, “Look at the structure of the sentence. What part of speech is the word used in the sentence?” Next, students read for comprehension. Again, the teacher models a specific comprehension skill; for Into the Wild students will use visualizing. The lesson plan again has a possible script for the teacher, where the teacher can state that visualizing is “forming a mental picture of something as you read, and using new details from the text to add to or change the mental images you have created” After the modeling, the students read and annotate the text on their own with the focus on comprehension and vocabulary, and then discuss their questions and inferences in a small or large group. After this, the teacher moves on to the Think portion of the lesson. Students answer the Think question and complete two peer reviews. Then, the teacher separates the students into heterogeneous small groups and gives them a prompt to discuss.

The Pacing Guide that is included with each unit states that the pacing of each lesson is based on a 50-minute instructional day. The First Read lesson described above for Into the Wild is to take place on Day 10. According to this pacing guide, students are to complete multiple group discussions, watch a video, read Into the Wild at least twice, practice a comprehension strategy, and answer five Think questions. This is not a reasonable amount of time for the expectations of the lesson.

Indicator 3b

The teacher and student can reasonably complete the content within a regular school year, and the pacing allows for maximum student understanding.
1/2
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 10 partially meet the criteria that the teacher and student can reasonably complete the content within a regular school year, and the pacing allows for maximum student understanding. Daily lessons identify daily time that is unreasonable for the average fifty minute block; rather, most lessons would need two or three days to complete. There are some supports for materials to trip the materials, but they are not comprehensive to support teachers easily.

The pacing guide for each unit divides the unit into forty-five days in order to be able to complete the curriculum in an 180-day school year. Instructional days often contain more than a single task. Pacing is based on fifty-minute instructional days, but teachers may need to modify the suggested pacing to fit their scheduling needs. This can be accomplished by selecting ten to twelve of the texts available in each unit. Examples of pacing that allows for maximum student understanding and the ability to complete the content within a regular school year include but are not limited to:

  • A Shortcuts section, which highlights areas where teachers can trim the unit to ensure they cover the most important sections.
  • Suggestions for for shortening a unit include the following: “Replace the Research Project with a Crowdsourcing Activity: Instead of a 9 day research project, you can make the research component of this unit an informal exploration using a crowdsourcing activity, and eliminate repeated textual evidence, theme, poetic elements, dramatic elements and/or author’s purpose and author’s point of view skill lessons. Each unit focuses on developing specific skills. Some of these skills are repeated throughout the unit to ensure students have plenty of practice with those skills...if you are in a rush and looking to cut some of the content in a unit, you can eliminate one or two of these skill lessons and feel confident your students will still be exposed to the information they need about story elements or informational text elements.”

Indicator 3c

The student resources include ample review and practice resources, clear directions, and explanation, and correct labeling of reference aids (e.g., visuals, maps, etc.).
2/2
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 10 meet the criteria that the student resources include ample review and practice resources, clear directions, and explanation, and correct labeling of reference aids (e.g., visuals, maps, etc.)

The materials, through an integrated approach that combines reading, writing, speaking, listening, viewing, and presenting along with instructional routines that are predictable and easily understandable, provide students with activities and opportunities to practice what they are learning.

Unit components offer clear explanations and directions, teacher and student models, and a variety of instructional routines and opportunities to practice and apply skills. Student writing and text annotations can be saved to an electronic binder where students can receive peer and teacher feedback. With more than 40 short, constructed responses over the course of a grade level, the materials provide frequent opportunities for on-demand writing practice.

The teacher’s lesson instructions are clear, and the lessons are detailed. For example, in Unit 4, students study the skill of Story Structure while reading Book Thief. As an introduction to the skill, students are provided with a definition of the skill, both in written form and through an informational video. Next, students dive deeper by observing the application of the skill through further explanation and a model using an annotation tool. As a last step, students have the opportunity to practice what they learned through the Your Turn section. In this section, students read a short passage, analyze the text, and answer two multiple-choice questions.

Indicator 3d

Materials include publisher-produced alignment documentation of the standards addressed by specific questions, tasks, and assessment items.
2/2
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 10 meet the criteria that materials include publisher-produced alignment documentation of the standards addressed by specific questions, tasks, and assessment items.

The materials offer resources that connect the Common Core State Standards to the elements of curriculum, instruction, and assessment. The Scope and Sequence document provides a grid that shows where all of the informational and literature standards are covered within each unit; specifically where they are introduced as practice/application only or instruction along with practice and application. There is information at the bottom of the page that connects the task to the Common Core Standard being addressed every assignment that students complete. Each lesson comes with a detailed lesson plan that outlines the objectives and lists the Common Core Standards addressed in the lesson. Each step of the lesson plan is detailed, and mentions the relevant connections to the CCSS.

All of the sections and handouts in the Speaking and Listening Handbook contain references to the Common Core State Standards being addressed, as well. For example, in Unit 2, in the First Read of Fahrenheit 451, students answer Think questions that are aligned to Common Core State Standards. For example, students answer the following question: At what point in time is this novel set, and how can you tell? Cite textual evidence to explain your answer.” This question aligns to CCSS.RL.9-10.1. In the Close Read of “The Ballad of Birmingham,” students answer the following writing prompt: “Dudley Randall wrote “Ballad of Birmingham” after the real-life bombing that occurred in 1963 in Birmingham, Alabama, during the period of the Civil Rights Movement. Research details about the bombing and its historical context. Then use your research findings to analyze how the poem includes both facts from the historical record about actual events that took place in Birmingham, Alabama as well as literary dramatizations of these events. Which details can be confirmed by source materials? How does the fictionalized material enhance the description of the real-life events and their impact on readers? Finally, explain how the poet’s word choices in the poem, and the connotations of many of those words, may suggest Randall’s point of view and message about the protests, the bombing, and the impact of the violence on families. How does his choice of words differ from those used in the factual accounts you found? Be sure to include specific examples from the text as well as information obtained from research to support your analysis.” This prompt aligns to RL.9-10.1, RL.9-10.4; W.9-10.5, W.9-10.9.A; L.9-10.5.B

Indicator 3e

The visual design (whether in print or digital) is not distracting or chaotic, but supports students in engaging thoughtfully with the subject.
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 10 meet the criteria that the visual design (whether in print or digital) is not distracting or chaotic, but supports students in engaging thoughtfully with the subject.

Digital features are interactive and simple. The layout is consistent throughout the materials, following the same format depending on the type of activity and assessment the students complete. There is space for the students to record their answers. The font, media size, and type are easy to read. There is blank space on each page, and margins are of adequate size. The graphic organizers and handouts provided for students are easy to navigate.

The First Read of each text shows the title of the story with a small visual. Underneath, tabs to access additional information for each phase of the assignment, Intro, Read, and Think, are available. Some texts have another tab for StudySync TV. Each activity has an associated symbol that can be found throughout the materials. The font size, titles, and media are easy to see and read. There is sufficient space for the students to write their short answer responses to the text questions.

Criterion 3f - 3j

Materials support teacher learning and understanding of the Standards.
8/8
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Criterion Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 10 meet the criteria that materials contain a teacher’s edition with ample and useful annotations and suggestions on how to present the content in the student edition and ancillary materials. In each lesson plan, teachers are provided full explanations and examples of the more advanced literary concepts in the following sections of the Teacher’s Edition section entitled, Instructional Path. The materials meet the criteria that materials contain a teacher’s edition that explains the role of the specific ELA/literacy standards in the context of the overall curriculum. The materials provide a document in the Core Program Guide titled, "Research-Based Alignments." The document provides a summary of key research findings and recommendations for best practices of instruction in English Language Arts, focused on Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening, Language, Media and Technology. Educators are encouraged to provide parents with a general overview of StudySync, as well as send home the Student User Guide, Grade Level Overview documents to familiarize caregivers with StudySync, and individual student reports.

Indicator 3f

Materials contain a teacher's edition with ample and useful annotations and suggestions on how to present the content in the student edition and in the ancillary materials. Where applicable, materials include teacher guidance for the use of embedded technology to support and enhance student learning.
2/2
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 10 meet the criteria that materials contain a teacher’s edition with ample and useful annotations and suggestions on how to present the content in the student edition and ancillary materials. Where applicable, materials include teacher guidance for the use of embedded technology to support and enhance student learning.

Detailed lesson plans are provided for each text within the units. Access Paths, Blasts, First Reads, Close Reads, and Skill Lessons are provided along with detailed instructions, activities, and answer keys for each task suggested in the lesson plans. Embedded technology includes Tech Infusions, which are extension activities that incorporate technology such as Padlet, Diigo, PollEverywhere, etc. Another technological feature is Blast activities. This feature allows students to participate in a classroom version of social media, beginning with a driving question and a shared reading of background on a topics. Students then response to the driving question in a public forum. They participate in a poll, and review live research links to learn more about the Blast’s topic. Blast responses go live in real time, providing an opportunity for students to give each other feedback, select favorite responses, and reflect on the driving question again in response to ideas shared by their peers. Examples include but are not limited to:

  • In Unit 1, in the Close Read for Outliers, the teacher is provided with the following extended Tech Infusion activity: “Extend Tech Infusion Outlines. Create a Write Assignment asking students to organize their ideas in an outline in preparation for their writing assignment. Require students to peer review 3 of their peers' outlines providing complementing strong points, noting any areas of confusion, and respectfully suggesting improvements.”
  • In Unit 2, in the First Read of Animal Farm, the teacher is provided with guided questions for a classroom discussion: “In small groups or pairs, have students discuss the questions and inferences they made while reading. To help facilitate discussions, refer to Collaborative Discussions in the Speaking & Listening Handbook. Summarize Snowball's key points in favor of the windmill. Why were the animals willing to side with Snowball? Why didn't Napoleon give reasons against the windmill? Why were the animals unable to respond to Napoleon's grab for power?”
  • In Unit 3, in the Skill Lesson: Technical Language for The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, the teacher is provided with the following extended Tech Infusion activity: “Extend Tech Infusion Mock Interview. Pair students and have them work together to write a mock interview with Rebecca Skloot. Students should include questions about the HeLa cells and Skloot's interest in Henrietta Lacks. Guide them to use technical language from the prologue excerpt in both the questions and answers. After they have written their interviews, they may wish to act them out and record them using audio visual equipment, iPads, or mobile devices.”
  • In Unit 4, in the Skill Lesson: Story Structure for The Book Thief , teachers are given the following detailed instructions in the lesson plan: “Either in small groups or as a whole class, use these questions to spur discussion among your students about story structure in literature. Can you think of a time when you determined the structure of a novel or short story? Which clues did you use to identify it? What are some of the structures of short stories or novels we've read in class already this year? Think of a movie or television show you like. How are the stories you like usually structured? Do they vary? Which kind of story structure do you like the best?”

Indicator 3g

Materials contain a teacher's edition that contains full, adult-level explanations and examples of the more advanced literacy concepts so that teachers can improve their own knowledge of the subject, as necessary.
2/2
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Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Grade 10 meet the criteria that materials contain a teacher’s edition that contains full, adult-level explanations and examples of the more advanced literacy concepts so that teachers can improve their own knowledge of the subject, as necessary.

In each lesson plan, teachers are provided full explanations and examples of the more advanced literary concepts in the following sections of the Teacher’s Edition section entitled, Instructional Path. The Access to Complex Text section includes information to access the complex text by providing actual literary concepts and examples found in the featured text. The Overview section provides a summary of the text, and identifies the literary concepts included in the featured text. Answer Keys are provided with all activities, along with Access to Complex Text features for each text. This assists the teacher is scaffolding instruction for the students, so that they all may access the complex text. A Teacher’s Glossary is included in each unit which includes linguistic, grammatical, comprehension, and literary terms. Examples of explanations and examples include but are not limited to:

  • In Unit 1, in the First Read of The Sports Gene, the teacher is provided with the following information in the lesson plan to help students access complex text: “To help students understand the author's use of athletic and anatomical terminology, the level of detail in the descriptions, and the complexity of some sentences, use the following suggestions to provide scaffolded instruction for a close reading of the more complex features of this text: Connection of Ideas - Author David Epstein examines causes and effects first through narrative evidence and then through a summary of scientific study. Students will need to connect the ideas between the two sections. Specific Vocabulary - A variety of athletic and anatomical terms may challenge some readers. Sentence Structure - Sentences with multiple phrases and clauses and figurative language may challenge some readers. Paying careful attention to subjects and their actions may help students read the text. In addition, students should determine common traits when the author makes figurative comparisons.”
  • In Unit 2, in the Close Read of Antigone, the teacher is provided with the following information in the lesson plan to help students access complex text: “Antigone has been translated into English many time through the ages. Each translator has had to strike a balance between honoring the meaning and tone of the original Greek and making the play accessible to audiences far removed from the culture and language of ancient Greece. In this translation, the translator has chosen a more formal structure and tone and employs many archaic words.”
  • In Unit 3, in the Grade 10 ELA Overview, the teacher is provided with the following connection of ideas to help students access the complex text, Silent Spring: “Students may be puzzled by the seventh paragraph, in which Carson writes, ‘In the gutters under the eaves and between the shingles of the roofs, a white granular powder still showed a few patches; some weeks before it had fallen like snow upon the roofs and the lawns, the elds and the streams.’ Explain that the ‘white granular powder’ is a pesticide that has been released throughout the town, and in succeeding chapters Carson goes into more detail on what it is and why it is dangerous.“
  • In Unit 4, in the Grade 10 ELA Overview, the teacher is provided with the following information to help students access complex text in Plutarch’s Lives. For example, teachers are given the following connection of ideas: “This text presents information from three different chapters in Plutarch’s Lives, a compilation of biographies of Greek and Roman leaders, to highlight a central or main idea about the events chronicled in the original text. To understand this selection, students will need to make inferences and synthesize information throughout the text to connect ideas in the excerpts from each volume.”

Indicator 3h

Materials contain a teacher's edition that explains the role of the specific ELA/literacy standards in the context of the overall curriculum.
2/2
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 10 meet the criteria that materials contain a teacher’s edition that explains the role of the specific ELA/literacy standards in the context of the overall curriculum.

StudySync’s Program Overview states, “The core program was built from the ground up to fully align with the Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts. The program’s instruction targets requirements of these standards.” The program offers a variety of high-quality texts. The selections presented in each unit and grade offer a balance of literary and informational texts. These texts offer complex themes and ideas as well as compelling characters and language. Alignment is evident in the Scope and Sequence. In this chart, texts are listed in order by unit. For each text, the materials identify which standards are being practiced and which ones are being taught and practiced. This is indicated by an “o” and an “x” respectively. At a glance, teachers can tell which Reading Literature, Reading Informational Text, Writing, Speaking and Listening, and Language standards are being addressed by each text.

Indicator 3i

Materials contain explanations of the instructional approaches of the program and identification of the research-based strategies.
2/2
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Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Grade 10 meet the criteria that materials contain explanations of the instructional approaches of the program and identification of the research based strategies.

The materials provide a document in the Core Program Guide titled, “Research-Based Alignments.” In this document, the publisher provides an overview of the research upon which the instruction in StudySync was built. The document provides a summary of key research findings and recommendations for best practices of instruction in English Language Arts, focused on Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening, Language, Media and Technology. The document summarizes key research findings and research-based recommendations related to effective reading instruction from several key sources. Some of the key sources are as follows:

  • Reading Next-A Vision for Action and Research in Middle and High School Literacy: A Report to Carnegie Corporation of New York 2nd Edition (Biancarosa & Snow, 2006). Written in conjunction with staff from the Alliance for Excellent Education, this document describes 15 key elements of effective adolescent literacy programs. Designed to improve adolescent achievement in middle and high schools, the elements are subdivided into instructional improvements and infrastructural improvements.
  • Improving Adolescent Literacy: Effective Classroom and Intervention Practices: A Practice Guide (Kamil, Borman, Dole, Kral, Salinger, & Torgesen, 2008). This report provides clear and evidence-based recommendations for enhancing literacy skills in the upper elementary, middle, and secondary levels. An analysis of the quality of the evidence supporting each claim is provided.
  • Reading for Understanding: Toward an R&D Program in Reading Comprehension (2002). This review of the research on reading comprehension instruction was conducted by the Reading Study Group for the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Education Research and Improvement.
  • Writing to Read: Evidence for How Writing Can Improve Reading. A Report from the Carnegie Corporation of New York (Graham & Herbert, 2010). This document provides a meta-analysis of research on the effects of specific types of writing interventions found to enhance students’ reading skills.
  • Writing Next: Effective Strategies to Improve Writing of Adolescents in Middle and High Schools. A Report from the Carnegie Corporation of New York (Graham & Perin, 2007). This report provides a review of research-based techniques designed to enhance the writing skills of students in grades 4-12. Additionally, specific findings have been incorporated from other recent, reputable related research.

Indicator 3j

Materials contain strategies for informing all stakeholders, including students, parents, or caregivers about the ELA/literacy program and suggestions for how they can help support student progress and achievement.
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Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Grade 10 meet the criteria that materials contain strategies for informing all stakeholders, including students, parents or caregivers about the ELA/literacy program and suggestions for how they can help support student progress and achievement.

Educators are encouraged to provide parents with a general overview of StudySync: the philosophy behind the program, the types of assignments and assessments students will complete, skills they will learn, the expectations for students using a digital program, and how caregivers can support students at home. Teachers may choose to conduct a StudySync curriculum night to introduce parents to the program, as well as send home the Student User Guide and Grade Level Overview documents to familiarize caregivers with StudySync. In order to view and analyze their child’s progress, parents should receive individual student reports. These printable reports contain every StudySync assignment given and completed by the student, including student’s responses, average review scores from peers, and specific feedback and scores from teachers. Student reports can inform teachers and caregivers areas in which students need additional support.

Criterion 3k - 3n

Materials offer teachers resources and tools to collect ongoing data about student progress on the Standards.
8/8
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Criterion Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 10 regularly and systematically offer assessment opportunities that genuinely measure student progress. The Teacher Introduction portion of the Core ELA Assessments document describes the assessments’ key areas of focus. At the culmination of each unit, students are assessed on key instructional concepts and their ability to write to prompts. The information that these assessments reveal informs future instruction, leveling and grouping, and the need for remediation and/or reteaching. The Core Program Guide explains that assessments available in StudySync ELA allow for monitoring student progress, diagnosing possible issues, and measuring student achievement in relation to their understanding of previously-taught skills. In the Core Program Guide, the publisher provides components for a successful independent reading program; instructions to utilize the StudySync library; suggestions on taking a trip to the library; methods to set up time to read, reflect, and discuss; ways to stay organized using a reading log and Google forms; and ideas for students to share their independent reading books with others.

Indicator 3k

Materials regularly and systematically offer assessment opportunities that genuinely measure student progress.
2/2
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 10 meet the criteria that materials regularly and systematically offer assessment opportunities that genuinely measure student progress.

The materials contain formative and summative assessments that can be used to measure student progress. There is a placement test that can be given at the beginning of the unit. Each unit has a summative assessment that tests comprehension, skills, vocabulary, and writing. Teachers use the responses in the First Read, the Skills lessons, Close Reads, Blasts, and Extended Writing Projects to conduct ongoing formative assessments. These formative assessments contain a variety of assessment types including multiple choice, short answer, discussion, and extended response. Formative assessments are found throughout the unit, and the End of Unit summative assessments are found in the Core ELA Assessment materials.

The materials provide Placement and Diagnostic Assessments, which are typically given at the beginning of the school year. These assessments focus on fluency and spelling, including an upper-level spelling inventory. The materials also provide oral reading and maze fluency assessments.

In the final portion of a Skills lesson, students respond to two short questions about a different passage of text from the First Read. These assessments provide teachers with immediate feedback on student performance, and the program contains guidance to teachers on how to alter instruction based on that performance.

Throughout each unit, students are assessed on their understanding of key instructional content along with their ability to write to sources. The results of these summative assessments provide teachers with data to track year-long progress and inform instructional decisions.

Indicator 3l

The purpose/use of each assessment is clear:
0/0

Indicator 3l.i

Assessments clearly denote which standards are being emphasized.
2/2
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 10 meet the criteria that assessments clearly denote which standards are being emphasized.

Formative assessments are built into each unit through Blasts, First Reads, Close Reads, and Skills Activities. Each formative assessment includes notations of the standards that are being addressed. The Teacher Introduction portion of the Core ELA Assessments document describes each assessment's key areas of focus. The answer key at the end of each downloadable paper copy of the assessments provides item-specific information such as content focus/skill, Common Core State Standard, and Depth of Knowledge (DOK) level. The online version of the assessments offers the same metadata for each item along with tech-enhanced item functionality.

For example, in Unit 2, in the First Read of Candide, students answer the following questions: “Candide’s name comes from the Latin word candidus, meaning ‘white,’ to connote purity and innocence. Describe what qualities the main character has that make his name, ‘Candide,’ appropriate. What textual evidence supports your answers?” and “Based on your knowledge of Greek and Latin roots, what do you think someone who studies metaphisico-theologico-cosmolo-nigology knows a lot about? Explain how you determined your answer. Why do you think Voltaire created such a subject in this novel?” These questions serve as a summative assessment and support teachers to identify mastery of RL.9-10.1 and L.9-10.4.D.

Indicator 3l.ii

Assessments provide sufficient guidance to teachers for interpreting student performance and suggestions for follow-up.
2/2
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 10 meet the criteria that assessments provide sufficient guidance to teachers for interpreting student performance and suggestions for follow up.

At the culmination of each unit, students are assessed on key instructional concepts and their ability to write to prompts. The information that these assessments reveal informs the teacher about grouping, future instruction, and the need for remediation and/or reteaching. End-of-unit assessments also generate reports for students and parents on strengths, deficiencies, standard and skill proficiency levels, and across-unit growth. End-of-year assessments also indicate students' readiness for state testing.

The Core ELA Assessments component is an integral part of the complete assessment program aligned with StudySync Core ELA instruction and the California Common Core State Standards (CCSS). The component contains four Unit Assessments, an End-of-Year Assessment, an End-of-Year Performance Task Assessment, scoring rubrics, and charts that point to possible instructional modifications based on student assessment results. The Core ELA Assessments report on the outcome of student learning.

As students complete each unit of the reading program, they will be assessed on their understanding of key instructional content and their ability to write to source texts/stimuli. The results serve as a summative assessment by providing a status of current achievement in relation to student progress through the CCSS-aligned curriculum. The results of the assessments can be used to inform subsequent instruction, aid in making leveling and grouping decisions, and point toward areas in need of reteaching or remediation. Student performance in the end-of-year assessments can act as a signal of student readiness for the demands of high-stakes testing, as well as provide a snapshot of student progress toward end-of-year goals.

The goal of each assessment is to evaluate student mastery of previously-taught material. The expectation is for students to score 80% or higher on the assessment as a whole. Within this score, the expectation is for students to score 75% or higher on each section of the assessment (and 7+ on the PT full-write).

Indicator 3m

Materials should include routines and guidance that point out opportunities to monitor student progress.
2/2
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 10 meet the criteria that materials should include routines and guidance that point out opportunities to monitor student progress.

The StudySync materials provide for ongoing review, practice, and feedback. The Core Program Guide explains that assessments available in StudySync ELA allow for monitoring student progress, diagnosing possible issues, and measuring student achievement in relation to their understanding of previously taught skills. Assessments included within the program help teachers gather data to address students’ instructional needs. They also measure the critical components of reading. Assessment options are grounded in research. Each unit has a Research and an Extended Writing Project, which include routines and guidelines that help teachers monitor student progress in writing. Routines and guidance include but are not limited to:

  • Placement and diagnostic assessments to support decision-making about appropriate instructional levels for students. The assessments serve as a baseline and help teachers to monitor student progress throughout the school year.
  • Each Unit provides teachers with lesson plans that “point teachers toward minute-to-minute formative assessment opportunities.” First Reads, Skills, Close Reads, and Extended Writing Projects offer “medium cycle assessment opportunities for students and teachers to chart progress toward key learning outcomes. End of unit assessments and performance tasks test key skills and measure progress summatively.”
  • Each chapter of the Language and Composition Handbook focuses on a specific grammar or usage skill. Each chapter begins with a pretest, followed by instruction and practice, and ends with a post test.

Indicator 3n

Materials indicate how students are accountable for independent reading based on student choice and interest to build stamina, confidence, and motivation.
0/0
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Grade 10 meet the criteria that materials indicate how students are accountable for independent reading based on student choice and interest to build stamina, confidence, and motivation.

In the Core Program Guide, the publishers offer a general plan for an independent reading program. In this section, the publisher provides components for a successful independent reading program: instructions to utilize the StudySync library, suggestions on taking a trip to the library, methods to set up time to read, reflect, and discuss, how to stay organized using a reading log and Google forms, and ideas for students to share their independent reading books with others. In each Unit’s pacing guide, a “Suggestions for Further and Independent Reading” section is provided to offer suggestions for texts related to the Core ELA program texts by theme, author, setting, etc. Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • In Unit 2, the Core Program Guide suggests that “Books excerpted in the Full-text Unit for Animal Farm o er a diverse array of reading opportunities, particularly for students who are interested in exploring the formation of governments and political ideology. The Founding Documents of the United States of America provide students with a glimpse at the rationale behind the revolution, and the creation of a set of core values to guide the formation of a new government. The Communist Manifesto, written in 1848 by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, outlines the history behind and the principles of the Communist League, promoting the rights of the working class over the power and wealth of the middle class. Hitler Youth: Growing Up in Hitler’s Shadow by Susan Campbell Bartoletti illustrates what life was like for children under Nazi rule and describes the Nazis’ use of schools to further their goals. George Orwell’s essay “Why I Write” explores his development as a writer and his need to take a strong political stance in his writing. Students that prefer fiction may appreciate “The Internationale” by Eugene Pottier, a poem composed by a French worker in 1871, which was later set to music and adopted in 1918 as the anthem of the Soviet Union.”
  • In Unit 3, the Core Program Guide suggests that “Readings outside the Full-text unit provide a myriad of options and directions for students to further their study. Some may want to continue with Milton’s Paradise Lost and Plutarch’s Lives, the other two books read by Frankenstein’s monster, or with additional works from Edgar Allan Poe. Students interested in similar classic thrillers may be drawn to The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson or Franz Kafka’s Metamorphosis. The rst echoes Frankenstein’s cautionary tale of an overzealous scientist and his monstrous creation, while the second reminds readers of how quickly society will judge and cast out a “creature” based on their appearance. Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man plays with the story of the exiled and outcast monster, but uses it to draw attention to issues of race and segregation in the early to mid-1900s. Students interested in reading more female authors, particularly those who excelled and the spooky and supernatural, should be introduced to the works of Edith Wharton and Shirley Jackson. Edith Wharton was an expert at the short story form and used this talent to create a number of harrowing tales, many of which are collected in The Ghost Stories of Edith Wharton. Shirley Jackson was similarly gifted at engaging readers in psychological thrillers, and students may enjoy her novel The Haunting of Hill House.”

Criterion 3o - 3v

Materials provide teachers with strategies for meeting the needs of a range of learners so that they demonstrate independent ability with grade-level standards.
10/10
+
-
Criterion Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 10 meet the criteria that materials provide teachers with strategies to meet the needs of range of learners so content is accessible to all learners and supports them in meeting or exceeding grade-level standards. The materials provide access supports for the reading of texts such as Audio Options, Audio Text Highlight Tool, Audio Speed controls, Video Content with Closed Captioning, Text Enlargement, and Keyboarding. The materials provide supports for students who are full English language learners, and they provide supports for students who are learning Standard English. Along with the scaffolds that differentiate instruction for English learners in the Access Path, teachers locate differentiation suggestions for beyond grade-level learners that stretch their thinking, adding more opportunities for collaborative and creative engagement. Throughout each instructional unit, students are encouraged to learn in groups.

Indicator 3o

Materials provide teachers with strategies for meeting the needs of a range of learners so the content is accessible to all learners and supports them in meeting or exceeding the grade-level standards.
2/2
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 10 meet the criteria that materials provide teachers with strategies to meet the needs of range of learners so content is accessible to all learners and supports them in meeting or exceeding grade-level standards.

Throughout each instructional Unit, differentiated lessons are provided for teachers to use. This Access Path provides differentiated lessons classified as emerging, intermediate, advanced, and approaching. The lesson plans include a column of suggestions to help teachers adequately differentiate the lesson. Student grouping is suggested in many lessons. Differentiated worksheets are provided. ELL students may be provided with additional sentence frames while receiving access to the same materials.

Each lesson includes a full set of Access Handouts. Access Handouts are differentiated through the use of sentence frames, graphic organizers, glossaries, and many other activities. Access handouts provide students with support to complete core assignments alongside their on-grade level classmates.

Teachers can create multiple online classes and custom learning groups. This allows teachers to assign texts and the weekly Blast based on Lexile levels. Teacher can customize the directions and requirements for entire classes, smaller groups, or individual students. Teachers can “modify prompts, turn on audio readings, and extend due dates” to help students meet learning goals.

Indicator 3p

Materials regularly provide all students, including those who read, write, speak, or listen below grade level, or in a language other than English, with extensive opportunities to work with grade level text and meet or exceed grade-level standards.
4/4
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 10 meet the criteria that materials regularly provide all students, including those who read, write, speak, or listen below grade level, or in a language other than English, with extensive opportunities to work with grade level text and meet or exceed grade-level standards.

Students read grade-level texts through the support of teacher modeling and scaffolded instruction. Students work as individuals, in small groups, and as a whole class. Student Models are provided via multimedia introductions. These show students how to interact with the text. Reading skills are supported by explicit grammar and vocabulary instruction. The instructional materials include ways teachers can adapt instruction to meet the needs of diverse learners.

For each Unit, teachers may choose the Core unit or EL Unit. The EL Unit includes materials and assessments for beginner, intermediate, and advanced learners. All lessons contain a Core Path and an Access Path for teachers along with Access handouts for students to support instruction in the Access Path. The program provides instructional materials that may be used for pre-teaching, reteaching, remediation, and small group instruction. Documents include the following: Grammar, Language, and Composition Workbook, Vocabulary Workbook, Spelling Workbook, Standard English Learners Handbook, and Foundational Skills.

The materials provide supports for reading texts, such as Audio Options, Audio Text Highlight Tool, Audio Speed controls, Video Content with Closed Captioning, Text Enlargement, and Keyboarding. The materials include supports for English language learners and for students learning Standard English, with tools such as Contrastive Analysis Drills, Translative Drills, and Discrimination Drills.

Indicator 3q

Materials regularly include extensions and/or more advanced opportunities for students who read, write, speak, or listen above grade level.
2/2
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 10 meet the criteria that materials regularly include extensions and/or more advanced opportunities for students who read, write, speak, or listen above grade level.

There are activities specific to students reading beyond grade level in the Access path for each unit. These activities aim to guide high ability students further into the core path content should they complete the activity before other students. Along with scaffolds that differentiate instruction for English learners in the access path, suggestions are provided that stretch learners' thinking. For example, students may have additional opportunities for collaborative and creative engagement. Core path questions support the use of reading comprehension strategies, inference techniques, and the application of textual evidence. The beyond-level activity may, for example, ask students to brainstorm how two characters might talk their way out of trouble. Technology may also be leveraged to support these students.

For example, in Unit 4, the Access Path’s Beyond section for "Civil Peace" offers students an Extend the search. Advanced students are asked to work in pairs or small groups and “find at least three examples of semicolons in Achebe's story, and to note how and why they are used.”

Indicator 3r

Materials provide opportunities for teachers to use a variety of grouping strategies.
2/2
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 10 meet the criteria that materials provide opportunities for teachers to use a variety of grouping strategies.

Throughout each instructional unit, students are encouraged to learn in groups. Students participate in collaborative conversations about texts, and receive instruction in whole group, small group, and one-on-one settings. Students also watch StudySyncTV group discussions, which serve as models,

Throughout every instructional unit, the lesson plans include a column with suggestions for the teacher to differentiate the lesson. Differentiated worksheets are included. Grouping suggestions are provided in many lesson plans. ELL students may utilize additional sentence frames and still receive access to the same materials. Examples of scaffolds and differentiation include:

  • In the Close Reads for each text, students express their ideas in collaborative conversation groups before planning and writing a short constructed response.
  • The Access Path guides teachers to leverage technology tools, such as Closed Captioning and Audio Text Highlight to engage and instruct learners. Additionally, the Access Path guides provide suggestions for alternating between whole group, small group, and one-on-one instruction.
  • At each grade level, the Speaking and Listening handbook is divided into four sections: Collaborative Discussions, Critical Listening, Research Using Various Media, and Presentation Skills. Each section is comprised of a comprehension lesson plan, including student handouts, checklists, and rubrics. Each section contains formative assessments that can be used and repeated for the following activities: engaging in small or large-group discussions, listening critically and responding to information and ideas shared by others, conducting research and assembling findings, and presenting in the narrative, informative, and argumentative modes using multimedia elements.

Indicator 3s

0/
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 10 meet the criteria that digital materials (either included as supplementary to a textbook or as part of a digital curriculum) are web-based, compatible with multiple internet browsers (eg. Internet Explorer, Firefox, Google Chrome, etc.), “platform neutral” (ie., Windows and Apple and are not proprietary to any single platform), follow universal programming style, and allow the use of tablets and mobile devices.

The StudySync materials are accessible online and can be printed for student use. Teachers can log in to StudySync from any computer with Internet access. The program is compatible with multiple Internet browsers, such as Internet Explorer, Safari, and Google Chrome. The program is well-adapted to the use of tablets and mobile devices.

The materials include a “complete and comprehensive cross-curricular English Language Arts literacy curriculum in an easy-to-use digital format.” StudySync uses technology to create a digital learning environment that is available from any desktop, tablet, or mobile device.

Indicator 3s3v

0/
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 10 meet the criteria that digital materials are web-based, compatible with multiple internet browsers, “platform neutral,” follow universal programming style, and allow the use of tablets and mobile devices. In addition to being delivered entirely online, teachers can customize texts, lessons, and activities directly through the site based on classroom and individual students’ needs. Teachers can customize digital materials for local use according to student interests and abilities. This digital customization of assignments allows teachers to customize assignments for the whole class, small groups, and/or individuals. StudySync digitally delivers instruction in reading, writing, speaking and listening, and language, and several features of the program were designed to model the communication style utilized on social media.

Indicator 3t

0/
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 10 meet the criteria that materials support effective use of technology to enhance student learning, drawing attention to evidence and texts as appropriate.

In addition to being delivered entirely online, many components of the program provide multimedia experiences to promote increased engagement for students. Teachers may customize the learning experience of students based on their needs. They do this by customizing texts, lessons, and activities directly through the site.

Texts include digital tools, such as annotation and audio tools. This enhances the reading process and makes it more accessible for students. Each Unit contains video and audio features to support text accessibility and comprehension. StudySyncTV and SkillsTV videos provide models of students engaged in collaborative discussion. Students may integrate multimedia components into presentations.

Within Blast activities, students complete social-media style activities, such as writing a 140-character response to a guiding question or participating in a digital poll. Students may view and interact with the results from their blasts and their classmates’ blasts along with poll participation.

In First Reads, students have access to technology tools that allow them to digitally annotate text. Digital annotations are saved in each student’s reading and writing binders. Students have access to audio recordings of text for additional support with fluency and in building phonological awareness.

Indicator 3u

0/

Indicator 3u.i

0/
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 10 meet the criteria that digital materials include opportunities for teachers to personalize learning for all students, using adaptive or other technological innovations.

The materials reviewed for Grade 10 include opportunities for teachers to personalize learning for all students, using adaptive or other technological innovations. Teachers can adapt learning experiences for students based on individual needs.

  • Teachers use technology to scaffold assignments based on students’ interests and reading abilities. They may assign one of four digital Access Handouts depending on a student’s ability. Teachers can also customize the directions, expectations, and due dates for a whole class, a small group, or an individual student.
  • Teachers have access to a library of content, texts, and excerpts. This allows teachers to target specific skills and choose texts based on Lexile levels.
  • The materials include audio, closed captioning, and vocabulary support for students.

Indicator 3u.ii

0/
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 10 meet the criteria that materials can be easily customized for local use.

Materials can be easily customized for local use. Teachers can customize digital materials for local use according to student interests and abilities. The Core Program Guide states that every lesson contains resources and guidance for teachers to both scaffold instruction for three levels of English learners and approaching grade-level learners, and enrich and extend activities for beyond grade-level learners. Every lesson plan is divided into two parts: the Core Path, for core instruction and for scaffolded instruction, the Access Path.

Assignments can be customized. Teachers choose which Access Handout to include, add teacher notes or directions, decide whether or not to include audio, limit the number of Think questions, and select a suggested writing prompt or include their own. This digital customization of assignments allows teachers to customize assignments for the whole class, small groups, and/or individuals.

For example, in Unit 3, the Pacing Guide states, “The pacing guide presents a suggested plan to cover all content in this unit. You may cover all of these lessons in class, or you may decide to divide the assignments between in-class work and homework. Of course, no one understands your students’ needs like you do, and one of the key benefits of StudySync is the ease with which you can adapt, alter, eliminate, or re-organize lessons to best meet the needs of your students. The Shortcuts and Additional Activities section at the end of this pacing guide contains recommendations to help in that regard. The pacing guide presents a suggested plan to cover all content in this unit. You may cover all of these lessons in class, or you may decide to divide the assignments between in-class work and homework. Of course, no one understands your students’ needs like you do, and one of the key benefits of StudySync is the ease with which you can adapt, alter, eliminate, or re-organize lessons to best meet the needs of your students. The Shortcuts and Additional Activities section at the end of this pacing guide contains recommendations to help in that regard.”

Indicator 3v

0/
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 10 meet the criteria that materials include or reference technology that provides opportunities for teachers and/or students to collaborate with each other (e.g. websites, discussion groups, webinars, etc.)

StudySync digitally delivers instruction in reading, writing, speaking and listening, and language. Teachers have the option to print materials. To ensure student are engaged in learning, “several features of the program were designed to mimic the style of communication on social media.” Students complete Think questions, Skills Focus questions, and writing prompts online; this allows for peer review where students are encouraged to provide and receive feedback. For example:

  • In Unit 2, in the Blast for Animal Farm, students imagine that a local political group is trying to get citizens to follow a rule that is clearly morally objectionable, and students “write one example of the political group's propaganda on the issue and one response the citizens at the meeting might give.”
  • In Unit 3, in the Blast for “Shading the Earth,” students imagine that it is the year 2055, and the teacher states, “It is the year 2055. You are a great scientist who has just won the Nobel Prize. An interviewer asking you about your life mentions that he heard you loved science fiction when you were young. The interviewer asks, 'How has science fiction affected your path as a professional scientist?' Answer the interviewer's question."

Criterion 3s - 3v

Materials support effective use of technology to enhance student learning. Digital materials are accessible and available in multiple platforms.
0/0
+
-
Criterion Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 10 meet the criteria that digital materials are web-based, compatible with multiple internet browsers, “platform neutral,” follow universal programming style, and allow the use of tablets and mobile devices. In addition to being delivered entirely online, teachers can customize texts, lessons, and activities directly through the site based on classroom and individual students’ needs. Teachers can customize digital materials for local use according to student interests and abilities. This digital customization of assignments allows teachers to customize assignments for the whole class, small groups, and/or individuals. StudySync digitally delivers instruction in reading, writing, speaking and listening, and language, and several features of the program were designed to model the communication style utilized on social media.

Indicator 3s

Digital materials (either included as supplementary to a textbook or as part of a digital curriculum) are web-based, compatible with multiple Internet browsers (e.g., Internet Explorer, Firefox, Google Chrome, etc.), "platform neutral" (i.e., are compatible with multiple operating systems such as Windows and Apple and are not proprietary to any single platform), follow universal programming style, and allow the use of tablets and mobile devices. This qualifies as substitution and augmentation as defined by the SAMR model. Materials can be easily integrated into existing learning management systems.
0/0
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 10 meet the criteria that digital materials (either included as supplementary to a textbook or as part of a digital curriculum) are web-based, compatible with multiple internet browsers (eg. Internet Explorer, Firefox, Google Chrome, etc.), “platform neutral” (ie., Windows and Apple and are not proprietary to any single platform), follow universal programming style, and allow the use of tablets and mobile devices.

The StudySync materials are accessible online and can be printed for student use. Teachers can log in to StudySync from any computer with Internet access. The program is compatible with multiple Internet browsers, such as Internet Explorer, Safari, and Google Chrome. The program is well-adapted to the use of tablets and mobile devices.

The materials include a “complete and comprehensive cross-curricular English Language Arts literacy curriculum in an easy-to-use digital format.” StudySync uses technology to create a digital learning environment that is available from any desktop, tablet, or mobile device.

Indicator 3t

Materials support effective use of technology to enhance student learning, drawing attention to evidence and texts as appropriate and providing opportunities for modification and redefinition as defined by the SAMR model.
0/0
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 10 meet the criteria that materials support effective use of technology to enhance student learning, drawing attention to evidence and texts as appropriate.

In addition to being delivered entirely online, many components of the program provide multimedia experiences to promote increased engagement for students. Teachers may customize the learning experience of students based on their needs. They do this by customizing texts, lessons, and activities directly through the site.

Texts include digital tools, such as annotation and audio tools. This enhances the reading process and makes it more accessible for students. Each Unit contains video and audio features to support text accessibility and comprehension. StudySyncTV and SkillsTV videos provide models of students engaged in collaborative discussion. Students may integrate multimedia components into presentations.

Within Blast activities, students complete social-media style activities, such as writing a 140-character response to a guiding question or participating in a digital poll. Students may view and interact with the results from their blasts and their classmates’ blasts along with poll participation.

In First Reads, students have access to technology tools that allow them to digitally annotate text. Digital annotations are saved in each student’s reading and writing binders. Students have access to audio recordings of text for additional support with fluency and in building phonological awareness.

Indicator 3u

Materials can be easily customized for individual learners.
0/0

Indicator 3u.i

Digital materials include opportunities for teachers to personalize learning for all students, using adaptive or other technological innovations.
0/0
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 10 meet the criteria that digital materials include opportunities for teachers to personalize learning for all students, using adaptive or other technological innovations.

The materials reviewed for Grade 10 include opportunities for teachers to personalize learning for all students, using adaptive or other technological innovations. Teachers can adapt learning experiences for students based on individual needs.

  • Teachers use technology to scaffold assignments based on students’ interests and reading abilities. They may assign one of four digital Access Handouts depending on a student’s ability. Teachers can also customize the directions, expectations, and due dates for a whole class, a small group, or an individual student.
  • Teachers have access to a library of content, texts, and excerpts. This allows teachers to target specific skills and choose texts based on Lexile levels.
  • The materials include audio, closed captioning, and vocabulary support for students.

Indicator 3u.ii

Materials can be easily customized by schools, systems, and states for local use.
0/0
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 10 meet the criteria that materials can be easily customized for local use.

Materials can be easily customized for local use. Teachers can customize digital materials for local use according to student interests and abilities. The Core Program Guide states that every lesson contains resources and guidance for teachers to both scaffold instruction for three levels of English learners and approaching grade-level learners, and enrich and extend activities for beyond grade-level learners. Every lesson plan is divided into two parts: the Core Path, for core instruction and for scaffolded instruction, the Access Path.

Assignments can be customized. Teachers choose which Access Handout to include, add teacher notes or directions, decide whether or not to include audio, limit the number of Think questions, and select a suggested writing prompt or include their own. This digital customization of assignments allows teachers to customize assignments for the whole class, small groups, and/or individuals.

For example, in Unit 3, the Pacing Guide states, “The pacing guide presents a suggested plan to cover all content in this unit. You may cover all of these lessons in class, or you may decide to divide the assignments between in-class work and homework. Of course, no one understands your students’ needs like you do, and one of the key benefits of StudySync is the ease with which you can adapt, alter, eliminate, or re-organize lessons to best meet the needs of your students. The Shortcuts and Additional Activities section at the end of this pacing guide contains recommendations to help in that regard. The pacing guide presents a suggested plan to cover all content in this unit. You may cover all of these lessons in class, or you may decide to divide the assignments between in-class work and homework. Of course, no one understands your students’ needs like you do, and one of the key benefits of StudySync is the ease with which you can adapt, alter, eliminate, or re-organize lessons to best meet the needs of your students. The Shortcuts and Additional Activities section at the end of this pacing guide contains recommendations to help in that regard.”

Indicator 3v

Materials include or reference technology that provides opportunities for teachers and/or students to collaborate with each other (e.g. websites, discussion groups, webinars, etc.)
0/0
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 10 meet the criteria that materials include or reference technology that provides opportunities for teachers and/or students to collaborate with each other (e.g. websites, discussion groups, webinars, etc.)

StudySync digitally delivers instruction in reading, writing, speaking and listening, and language. Teachers have the option to print materials. To ensure student are engaged in learning, “several features of the program were designed to mimic the style of communication on social media.” Students complete Think questions, Skills Focus questions, and writing prompts online; this allows for peer review where students are encouraged to provide and receive feedback. For example:

  • In Unit 2, in the Blast for Animal Farm, students imagine that a local political group is trying to get citizens to follow a rule that is clearly morally objectionable, and students “write one example of the political group's propaganda on the issue and one response the citizens at the meeting might give.”
  • In Unit 3, in the Blast for “Shading the Earth,” students imagine that it is the year 2055, and the teacher states, “It is the year 2055. You are a great scientist who has just won the Nobel Prize. An interviewer asking you about your life mentions that he heard you loved science fiction when you were young. The interviewer asks, 'How has science fiction affected your path as a professional scientist?' Answer the interviewer's question."

Additional Publication Details

Report Published Date: Thu Apr 12 00:00:00 UTC 2018

Report Edition: 2017

Title ISBN Edition Publisher Year
StudySync ELA Grades 6-12 Student Subscription, 1-year 978-0-0767-8473-8 McGraw-Hill Education 2017
StudySync ELA Grades 6-12, Teacher Subscription, 1-year 978-0-0767-8474-5 McGraw-Hill Education 2017
StudySync ELA Grades 6-12 Student Subscription, 2-years 978-0-0790-0308-9 McGraw-Hill Education 2017
StudySync ELA Grades 6-12 Student Subscription, 3-years 978-0-0790-0311-9 McGraw-Hill Education 2017
StudySync ELA Grades 6-12 Student Subscription, 4 years 978-0-0790-0314-0 McGraw-Hill Education 2017
StudySync ELA Grades 6-12 Student Subscription, 5-years 978-0-0790-0316-4 McGraw-Hill Education 2017
StudySync ELA Grades 6-12 Student Subscription, 6-years 978-0-0790-0319-5 McGraw-Hill Education 2017
StudySync ELA Grades 6-12 Student Subscription, 7-years 978-0-0790-0321-8 McGraw-Hill Education 2017
StudySync ELA Grades 6-12 Student Subscription, 8-years 978-0-0790-0324-9 McGraw-Hill Education 2017
StudySync ELA Grades 6-12, Teacher Subscription, 2-years 978-0-0790-0385-0 McGraw-Hill Education 2017
StudySync ELA Grades 6-12, Teacher Subscription, 3-years 978-0-0790-0388-1 McGraw-Hill Education 2017
StudySync ELA Grades 6-12, Teacher Subscription, 4-years 978-0-0790-0390-4 McGraw-Hill Education 2017
StudySync ELA Grades 6-12, Teacher Subscription, 5-years 978-0-0790-0393-5 McGraw-Hill Education 2017
StudySync ELA Grades 6-12, Teacher Subscription, 6-years 978-0-0790-0395-9 McGraw-Hill Education 2017
StudySync ELA Grades 6-12, Teacher Subscription, 7-years 978-0-0790-0398-0 McGraw-Hill Education 2017
StudySync ELA Grades 6-12, Teacher Subscription, 8-years 978-0-0790-0401-7 McGraw-Hill Education 2017

About Publishers Responses

All publishers are invited to provide an orientation to the educator-led team that will be reviewing their materials. The review teams also can ask publishers clarifying questions about their programs throughout the review process.

Once a review is complete, publishers have the opportunity to post a 1,500-word response to the educator report and a 1,500-word document that includes any background information or research on the instructional materials.

The publisher has not submitted a response.

Educator-Led Review Teams

Each report found on EdReports.org represents hundreds of hours of work by educator reviewers. Working in teams of 4-5, reviewers use educator-developed review tools, evidence guides, and key documents to thoroughly examine their sets of materials.

After receiving over 25 hours of training on the EdReports.org review tool and process, teams meet weekly over the course of several months to share evidence, come to consensus on scoring, and write the evidence that ultimately is shared on the website.

All team members look at every grade and indicator, ensuring that the entire team considers the program in full. The team lead and calibrator also meet in cross-team PLCs to ensure that the tool is being applied consistently among review teams. Final reports are the result of multiple educators analyzing every page, calibrating all findings, and reaching a unified conclusion.

ELA HS Rubric and Evidence Guides

The ELA review rubrics identify the criteria and indicators for high quality instructional materials. The rubrics support a sequential review process that reflect the importance of alignment to the standards then consider other high-quality attributes of curriculum as recommended by educators.

For ELA, our rubrics evaluate materials based on:

  • Text Quality and Complexity, and Alignment to Standards with Tasks Grounded in Evidence

  • Building Knowledge with Texts, Vocabulary, and Tasks

  • Instructional Supports and Usability

The ELA Evidence Guides complement the rubrics by elaborating details for each indicator including the purpose of the indicator, information on how to collect evidence, guiding questions and discussion prompts, and scoring criteria.

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