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.

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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 11 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 11 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 11 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 11. Topics include the early American literature, Romanticism, Regionalism, Realism and Modernism. 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 Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne, a CCSS exemplar text. This excerpt uses formal language and gives students a view into the Puritan life. Connections can be made between the scorn Hester receives from her community and issues women face in modern society.
    • Students read The Declaration of Independence by Thomas Jefferson, a CCSS exemplar text. This text is worthy of a careful read as it is a founding historical document.
    • Students read “Letter to John Adams,” by Abigail Adams. These letters give students a glimpse into the life of a woman during the American Revolution. They were not written for public consumption, so students see and hear the real personality and voice of a person living in the late 1700’s.
  • In Unit 2, students read the following texts that are worthy of especially careful reading:
    • Students read Frederick Douglass’s “What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?,” a CCSS text exemplar. Douglass escaped from slavery and is known as one of the most respected abolitionist leaders.
    • Students read “Song of Myself” by Walt Whitman, a CCSS text exemplar. Whitman is often called the “father of free verse” and is one of the most influential American poets. His seminal work, Leaves of Grass, from which “Song of Myself” comes, is considered one of the foremost works of American poetry.
    • Students read an excerpt from Walden by Henry David Thoreau, a CCSS text exemplar. This is one of the most famous Transcendentalist works and is often included in literary anthologies.
  • In Unit 3, students read the following texts that are worthy of especially careful reading:
    • Students read The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, a CCSS text exemplar. This American novel delves deeply into the American Dream.
    • 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, so additional background knowledge will be needed. The speech spreads a message of peace.
    • Students read Brown v. Board of Education ruling of the U.S. Supreme Court. This ruling is important in American history as it set a precedent for more civil rights cases and victories.
  • In Unit 4, students read the following texts that are worthy of especially careful reading:
    • Students read “Sonnet 116” by William Shakespeare. Students study the form of a Shakespearean sonnet, and note how Shakespeare’s use of poetic elements creates a unique syntax.
    • Students read excerpts from Metamorphoses, a narrative poem by Ovid. Students are familiar with the modern interpretation of Cupid, and can compare and contrast that with the vengeful character in this poem.
    • Students read Cyrano de Bergerac, a drama by Edmond Rostand. There are numerous modern-day references to this famous plot of two men vying for one woman - one ugly but intelligent, the other handsome but dull - and the deception that ensues.

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 11 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 novels, drama, poetry and short stories. Informational texts include autobiographies, letters, essays, manifestos, U.S. Documents, speeches, primary sources, memoirs, and articles.

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

  • In Unit 1, students read The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Crucible by Arthur Miller, and “On Being Brought from Africa to America” by Phillis Wheatley.
  • In Unit 2, students read “Song of Myself” by Walt Whitman, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain, and “The Story of an Hour” by Kate Chopin.
  • In Unit 3, students read The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald and “Theme for English B” by Langston Hughes.
  • In Unit 4, students read “Sonnet 116” by William Shakespeare, Metamorphoses by Ovid, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare.

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

  • In Unit 1, students read The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, or Gustavus Vassa, the African by Olaudah Equiano, “Letters to John Adams” by Abigail Adams, The Crisis by Thomas Paine, The Declaration of Independence by Thomas Jefferson, and “Founding Documents of the United States of America” by Thomas Jefferson.
  • In Unit 2, students read Walden by Henry David Thoreau, “Society and Solitude” by Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Declaration of Sentiments by the Seneca Falls Convention” by Elizabeth Cady Stanton , et. al, “What to the Slave is the Fourth of July” by Frederick Douglass, and What They Fought for 1861-1865 by James M. McPherson.
  • In Unit 3, students read Plessy v. Ferguson by the U.S. Supreme Court, Hiroshima by John Hersey, The Woman Warrior: Memoirs of a Girlhood Among Ghosts by Maxine Hong Kingston, and “Take the Tortillas Out of Your Poetry” by Rudolfo Anaya.
  • In Unit 4, students read “Dumped” by Helen Fisher and “What is Love” in The Guardian.

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 11 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 11 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 11-12. Texts range from 480L to 1690L; most texts are appropriate for Grade 11 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 11 include but are not limited to:

  • In Unit 1, many of the texts are above the grade level band; however, they are foundational texts for American Literature. For example, Founding Documents of the United States of America has a Lexile of 1690, and has students reading an excerpt from the Declaration of Independence, the Preamble to the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.
  • In Unit 2, students read The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn with a Lexile of 950. Although this is below the grade band, it is a classic American work by a prominent writer. Students study Regionalism and compares what the idea of freedom means in “Song of Myself” and Huck Finn. Students also study Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Cask of Amontillado” with a Lexile of 790, which is below the grade band, but is included on the CCSS text exemplars. Also, the story and sentence structure is more complex with flashbacks, busts of dialogue and long sentences.
  • In Unit 3, students read an excerpt from Farewell to Arms, 480L. Although this excerpt falls far below the grade band, this novel is included on the CCSS text exemplars for 11th grade. Also, the excerpts contain almost entirely of dialogue that does not clearly identify the speaker, which makes comprehension slightly more difficult.
  • In Unit 4, students read the science article, “Dumped,” with a Lexile of 1190. This falls within the grade band, and will challenge students with the technical and informative nature of the text along with the domain-specific vocabulary included.

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 11 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 “Letters to John Adams” in Unit 1, students begin by accessing their prior knowledge of John and Abigail Adams and the Revolutionary War by creating a timeline of events and dates they identify. The Access Path offers more direction as students complete the “imagine” exercises “that ask students to consider what their own responses would be in a similar situate to Abigail Adams: married to a politician as war approaches.” 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 “asking and answering questions,” which is forming questions before, during and after reading to improve comprehension. Teachers model this strategy with a Think Aloud of the first paragraph by saying such things as, “In the first paragraph, Adams mentions "this much injured town." Is she referring to Boston? What has happened there that makes her describe it this way? How does she feel about it all?” 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, “At the start of the first letter, Abigail Adams feels ______ about the state of the town. She says that Boston is like_____.” 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 sentences about Boston in paragraph 1. How does Adams describe the town? What comparison does she make to describe the town?”
  • The Skill lessons in the Grade 11 curriculum get increasingly more in depth. Informational text elements is a skill learned and practiced in Units 1, 2 and 3. In Unit 1, the lesson objectives are that students will learn the definition of informational text structure and use strategies for identifying and analyzing these structures. First, students note the three kinds of informational texts discussed - historical and/or journalism, explanatory, and persuasive - and brainstorm what structure would be the best fit for each. Access Path students complete an exercise in which they match the type of text with the best structure. After reading the Model text, students are asked how the Model begins its analysis of Franklin’s writing, describes Franklin’s method of drawing in the reader, and describes Franklin’s purpose. They are also asked if the Model identified a single structure or multiple structures working together, and what the Model said about the effectiveness of the text structures. This lesson requires students to identify the structure of the text and what type of structure best fits different types of informational text. The Unit 3 lesson objectives are to reinforce the definitions and applications of various informational text elements - details, events, people, and ideas - and identify and analyze these elements. This lesson requires students to think about why and how they apply different reading skills and why you may need to evaluate the author’s perspective and point of view in memoirs, autobiographies and biographies.
  • 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 “Love is Not All” in Unit 4, 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 stanza 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, “Explain how the figurative language of lines three and four builds upon the first two lines. How does this progression further develop the theme of the poem?” Access Path students are given a Complete the Sentences exercise on the handout to aid them in this process. For example, “Lines 1 and 2 talk about things that people need to _____. Line 3 gives the example of a _____, which is something a drowning man would use to ____. The speaker extends this metaphor using the verbs ____ and ___. These verbs suggest that love has ___that cannot be escaped.” 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 and Skill: Figurative Language lessons. For “Love is Not All”, students answer the following: “Consider the figurative language of the sonnet and how it develops over the course of the poem. Based on your analysis, do you think that Millay considers love to be more of a physical or an emotional feeling? How does she address both aspects of love in the poem? Do you agree or disagree with her final opinion? Refer to strong and thorough textual evidence as you develop and support your argument.” Students brainstorm about the meaning of figurative language 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 11 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:

  • “Theme for English B” by Langston Hughes is a poem studied in Unit 3. Within the ACT Features field, teachers are given information on genre, connection of ideas, and prior knowledge. For Genre, teachers are told, “The author’s use of free verse facilitates a more authentic representation of the speaker’s contemplation about identity. The different stanza lengths and absence of a rhyme scheme help emphasize the speaker’s experience wrestling with his own identity and his relationship to others as he considers the significance of the assignment and attempts to complete it.’” Information in “Connection of Ideas” points out the “speaker’s user of binaries - ‘you’ and ‘I,’ and even ‘Harlem’ and ‘New York’ - and the different entities of ideas they represent - help convey that the relationships between things that seem so ‘separate’ are more complex than they may seem.” Prior Knowledge states that students “might benefit from a discussion about Harlem’s development as an African American neighborhood with its own unique culture separate from other parts of the city.“
  • The text complexity analysis in Unit 4 examines the literary texts in the unit that include works by Shakespeare and Ovid. The rationale states, “Nine of the eleven texts are literary texts. These include ‘Sonnet 18,’ ‘Sonnet 116,’ and an excerpt from. A Midsummer Night’s Dream by Shakespeare as well as ‘Love Is Not All,’ ‘On Her Loving Two Equally,’ and excerpts from Metamorphoses and Cyrano de Bergerac. The primary task demands for these texts are analyzing figurative language, tone, irony, story and dramatic elements, and story structure. Students are provided with ample support to meet these text demands, including models of text analyses provided through detailed skills lessons.”

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 11 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 11th grade students read a variety of genres and authors from the classics to modern texts with a heavy emphasis on American writers/American literature, and American sacred documents. Students read fiction (short stories and novels), poetry, and non-fiction (essays, articles, autobiographical excerpts, speeches). The authors are drawn from a mostly the United States, but some texts are drawn from a worldly pool, including authors from 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 Of Plymouth Plantation, in which they read and annotate the text and complete a skill lesson on textual evidence. Day three includes the skill lesson on author’s purpose and author’s point of view, in which students read both the definition and model sections associated with the skill. Students then complete a Close Read of Of Plymouth Plantation, including a detailed reading and annotation of the selection. On the final day, students complete a Blast that has them reading about public shaming, and the complete the first read of The Scarlet Letter excerpt.
  • In Unit 2, over the course of five weeks, students complete a full-text study of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and read twelve other partial texts, eight of which are informational. The texts are all related to the unit title of “The Individual.” Informational texts include Inventing Mark Twain, “Racism and Huckleberry Finn: Censorship, Dialogue, and Change,” Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, “Two Ways of Seeing the River,” Forty Years a Gambler on the Mississippi, “Mississippi Drift: River Vagrants in the Age of Wal-Mart,” “The Freedman’s Case in Equity,” and “Fenimore Cooper’s Literary Offenses.” Fiction texts include Rainbow’s Journey, “Song of Myself,” The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, and “Devin Anse Tells the True History.” 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 “Theme for English B” by Langston Hughes. Students also complete one skill lesson on textual evidence, then complete a Close Read of the poem to practice the skills. Students also complete a Blast in which they read about the development of blues music. In Unit 3, there are two full text studies: The Great Gatsby and Their Eyes Were Watching God. Throughout Unit 3, students read additional texts including “Any Human to Another,” Plessy v. Ferguson, Brown v. Board of Education, A Farewell to Arms, Hiroshima, The Road, The Woman Warrior, “Take the Tortillas Out of Your Poetry,” and “The Latin Deli: An Ars Poetica.”
  • In Unit 4, students complete a First Read and a Close Read of Metamorphoses by Ovid. Students also complete one skill lesson on story elements, then complete a Close Read of the myth to practice the skills. Students also complete a Blast in which they read about the dark side of love - stalking. In Unit 4, there are two full text studies: Midsummer Night’s Dream and The Namesake.. Throughout Unit 4, students read additional texts including “Sonnet 116,” “Sonnet 18,” “Love is Not All,” “On Her Loving Two Equally,” Cyrano de Bergerac, “Dumped!,” and “What is Love: Five Theories on the Greatest Emotion of All.”

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 11 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 11 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 Interesting Narrative of the LIfe of Olaudah Equiano, or Gustavus Vassa, the African, the following text-dependent questions are found in the teacher lesson plan:
    • “In the 4th paragraph, why might Equiano have included a description of the flogging of a white man? Cite evidence from the text to support your response.”
    • “In the 3rd paragraph from the end, Equiano describes his fascination with a quadrant, a tool that sailors use to see far away and measure distances. What can you infer about Equiano based on this passage? Does this passage make you feel differently about the slave traders? Provide textual evidence to support your response.”
    • “How is the last paragraph different from the rest of the narrative? Why do you think Equiano makes this change? Support your answer with evidence from the text.”
  • In Unit 2, “The Individual,” after the first read of “What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?,” the skill focus is on rhetoric. In the Your Turn section, students are asked the following two part selected response question, which requires them to consider a targeted section of the text when considering the rhetorical device of parallelism:
    • Part A - Which of the following provides an example of the rhetorical device of parallelism?
  1. What, to the American slave, is your 4th of July?
  2. I answer to him, your celebration is a sham; your boasted liberty, an unholy license; your national greatness, swelling vanity;
  3. There is not a nation on the earth guilty of practices more shocking and bloody.
  4. America reigns without a rival.
  • Part B - Which of the following provides the best explanation of why Douglass uses parallelism in the Part A passage?
  1. To compare the United States to other countries
  2. To list all the reasons American celebrate the Fourth of July
  3. To provide reasons why the audience should adopt the anti-slavery position
  4. To contrast two different views of the Fourth of July celebration
  • In Unit 3 after “Any Human to Another," text-dependent questions can be found in the Student Preview of the Close Read. Under the Read tab, students find Skills Questions. Below are questions from the poem “Any Human to Another” by Countee Cullen:
    • Consider the first stanza of the poem. What comparison does the speaker make in this stanza? What theme is suggested by the comparison? Highlight evidence from the text and make annotations to explain your choices.”
    • “The second stanza makes a connection between the speaker’s grief and the reader’s grief. How are the two related? What does this relation imply about the human condition? Support your answer with textual evidence and make annotations to explain your answer choices.”
  • In the Unit 4 lesson plan for “On Her Loving Two Equally” under the Skills Focus Questions and Sample Answers, teachers are directed to ask the students, “Consider the first stanza of the poem. Whom does the speaker blame for the situation in which she finds herself? How does this influence the tone at the start of the poem?” The sample answer states, "'Had not Alexis took his part' and 'without my Damon's aid' suggest that she blames the two men for this situation, at least in part. This establishes a somewhat defiant tone at the outset, an unwillingness to accept any guilt or responsibility. Likewise, her claim that her passion is 'divided equally' could be read more as excusing rather than explaining her unwillingness to choose between the two men."

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 11 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 1, the Extended Writing Project focuses on informational writing. Students are asked to write an essay that explains how “the events depicted in both the literature and historical documents you have read introduce and develop a theme related to colonial America’s identity?” In the Close Read of Of Plymouth Plantation, students are told to “Reread the final paragraph and think about the reports the Pilgrims sent back to England. What effect might these letters have had on their friends and relatives overseas? How might their reports have shaped America’s early identity? This question clearly has students thinking about the essential question and will help them gather evidence for their informative essay. The skill lesson for Benjamin Franklin’s “The Whistle” has students identifying and analyzing informational text structures. Learning about the different organizational patterns directly prepares them for writing their own informational essay.
  • In Unit 2, the Extended Writing Project focuses on literary analysis and addresses the following prompt: “What ideas do the texts in this unit express about individualism and the relationship between the individual and society, especially during a time of cultural turmoil? How do the texts from this unit reflect the ways Americans defined themselves as individuals in the 19th century?” In the Close Read lesson for “The Cask of Amontillado,” students are given a writing prompt that guides them closer to the Extended Writing project. “What insights about the dark side of human nature does ‘The Cask of Amontillado’ offer its readers? What themes emerge regarding pride and revenge? Consider the symbolism in the story, including the overall story structure of a journey into the underworld. Explain your response using strong and thorough evidence from the text.” This writing prompt has students look at the dark side of human nature, an element that they will later need to consider when synthesizing the three texts to answer the question of how Americans defined themselves as individuals during this time period.
  • In Unit 4, the Extended Writing Project focuses on the narrative form. Students write a narrative “that draws on themes and story elements in this unit to create a modern tale of love. As you do, reflect on whether you wish to show love as inspiring folly, wisdom, or both.” In the Extended Writing Project skill lesson,Narrative Techniques, 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, “Why might a writer use multiple narrative techniques to tell his or her story?” This will assist students in writing their own narratives for the culminating task. During the Close Read of Cyrano de Bergerac, students think about romantic love, “Do you think that this play suggests that romantic love leads to wisdom or folly? Explain your answer using examples and textual evidence from the play.” Before students have to write their own narrative about love, they are asked to analyze how love is portrayed in different texts.

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 11 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 Scarlet Letter, the students will watch the SyncTV video on The Scarlet Letter in a whole group setting. “With the class, view the SyncTV discussion of The Scarlet Letter. Stop the video at the times given below to ask questions about how the students in the video demonstrate collaborative discussion strategies. Ask your students to explain their reason for selecting each strategy: ‘02:55 Troy clarifies his reasoning about the narrator’s view of the townspeople by putting them in their historical context. After hearing his comments, Taylor begins to adjust her view by making a connection to the idea of teamwork. What two strategies does this mainly demonstrate?”
    • Another tool found in this handbook is the Collaborative Discussions Strategies handout that lists 10 different strategies that students can access and reference when preparing for or during a discussion. This helps them know how to keep a conversation that stalls going or how to extricate a discussion that has gotten off track.
  • 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 4, “Sonnet 116.” Students discuss the questions and inferences they made while reading. They are to refer to Collaborative Discussions in the Speaking and Listening Handbook and answer questions like: “How can rereading help you understand the intended definition of the multiple-meaning word ‘bears’ in line 12?”
  • 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 1, during the Skill: Technical Language section of The Federalist Papers: “No. 10” lesson, 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: “Have students read the definition of technical language. Use the questions below to spur small-group or whole-class discussions about the skill . . . What would be the most useful context in which to use technical language? What would be the least useful context in which to use technical language . . .” 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 identify and comprehend technical language.”
  • During the Close Read lesson in each unit and text, students are asked to write in response to the text. This provides another opportunity for students to use collaborative discussion strategies, and also encourages and models academic vocabulary. “Project these instructions for the peer review onto the board and review them with your class, so they know what they are looking for when they begin to provide their classmates with feedback. [1] Has the writer clearly expressed his or her central claim or argument in the opening sentences? [2] How well did the writer’s choice of figurative language support his or her main idea? [3] Did you agree with the writer’s interpretation of the figurative language? Why or why not? [4] Were you convinced or persuaded by the writer’s argument by the end of the response? Why or why not? [5] What additional suggestions can you offer that would help strengthen the writer’s response to the prompt?”

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 11 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 1, The Federalist Papers. The teacher is directed to separate students into small groups or pairs to research information about James Madison and assigns or has them self-select a guiding question like the following: “Why is James Madison considered ‘The Father of the Constitution’?” or “How did the Constitution build upon the U.S. Articles of Confederation?”
  • 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, “Theme for English B.”. 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: Irony lesson for “Story of an Hour.” Teachers are directed to have students discuss irony with the whole-class or in a small-group using questions such as: “Do you think that irony in a story is always intentional? Why or why not?” and “How might someone’s wrong perception of an event somehow convey the truth of the situation?”
  • 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 Sonnet 116”. Teachers are told to use the sample responses to the Skills Focus questions at the bottom of the lesson to discuss the reading and the process of analyzing figurative language with questions like: “Reread the first four lines of the poem. Explain why the speaker of the poem uses the word ‘love’ twice in the second line. How does the first use differ from the second use?” and “Reread lines 7 and 8 in the poem. To what or whom is the speaker referring with the clause ‘although his height be taken’? Explain how these words relate to other figurative language in the poem.”
  • 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 Whistle.” Teachers are instructed to lead a whole class discussion about the title and the driving question for the Blast, “What’s the best way to give advice?” 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 you think the writer begins with an example of the topic rather than a definition of the central term?” and “What do you think of the suggestions about when you should give advice?”. 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 1 of Grade 11, research what shaped America’s early identity. 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: “How did the role of religion change over the course of this period in time?” and “Keep in mind that not everyone agreed with every decision or declaration begin made during this revolutionary period of time. Where can you see evidence of conflict and disagreement?” 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: Thesis Statement lesson, there is a whole class or small group discussion about thesis statements with questions, such as “How does a clear thesis statement help the reader of a literary analysis essay?” During the Extended Writing Project: Plan lesson, the teacher is instructed to lead a whole class discussion that reviews the characteristics of literary analysis organizational structures. In the Blast: Audience and Purpose lesson, teachers are instructed to lead a whole class discussion about the title and the driving question, “Who is your audience and what is the purpose for your extended writing project essay?”

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 11 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 4, during the study of Metamorphoses, students complete an on-demand writing task via Blast: Cupids Dark Side. 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, “At what point does romantic attraction become unhealthy?”. 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 1, during the close read of “Song of Myself,” students engage in a multi-step constructed response to the following prompt: “Imagine that you were to write your own ‘Song of Myself.’ What would your themes be and what advice would you give you readers? How would the content of your poem compare with Whitman’s?” Students brainstorm about different themes and how some may be related as a whole-class. Next, the students write using a rubric to guide the process, and once finished, they participate in two peer reviews of each other’s writing.
  • In Unit 2 of the ELA Assessment PDF, students complete an Argumentative Performance Task: The joining together of individuals into groups is the basis for the progress of society as well as personal development and enjoyment. The group, however, can also threaten the individual’s identity, particularly as individuals give up autonomy and self-understanding as they feel pressure to conform to the conventions of their society. Imagine you are researching the complicated balance between the individual and society in nineteenth-century American literature. Consider how literary sources from the time period reveal the complex struggle between the individual and the group, and which options the authors present as ways to navigate successfully between the two. A literary analysis argument essay is a piece of writing that analyzes story elements and then argues a point of view about the writing. The argument could be on many different topics, such as a shared theme or a comparison of two characters. For this task, you will write a literary analysis argument essay related to the topic of the individual’s relationship to society. Before you write your essay, you will read three sources that reveal the insights of authors about the complicated interplay between the individual and society. 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 understanding and evidence you will need to answer the questions and write an essay. In Part 2, you will write a literary analysis argument essay examining how these sources discuss the complex relationship between the individual and society. Use evidence to formulate an argument about the three sources and then to support your point of view.”
  • In Unit 3, the Extended Writing Project focuses on argumentative writing. Students probe the unit’s essential question, “How did the nation’s impressions of itself and others lead people to redefine the word ‘American’ over the course of the 20th century?”, as they write an argumentative essay proving how an event, discovery or trend redefined the American identity. Other lessons on the Extended Writing Prompt include skills lessons on research and note-taking, thesis statements, organization of argumentative writing, supporting details, body paragraphs and transitions, and sources and citations. 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 the emphasis of “That’s American” in “Theme for English B,” evaluating rhetorical strategies in the arguments of Plessy v. Ferguson, and supporting a claim with textual evidence about the justices in Brown v. Board of Education.

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 11 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 11 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 informative/explanatory essay. Students “...probe the unit’s central question—What shaped America’s early identity?—as they write an informative/ explanatory essay that explains how events depicted in literature and historical documents of the unit introduce and develop a theme related to colonial America’s identity. In response to the EWP prompt, students will examine closely how the unit selections relate to the unit theme—We the People—and will reflect on a theme related to colonial America. The unit’s selections written by or written about the social, political, and personal events associated with early America provide a context for students as they select the theme they will explore and begin their informative/explanatory writing.” A rubric is provided to help monitor student progress.
  • In Unit 2, the Extended Writing Project focuses on literary analysis, a form of argumentative writing. Students write an essay that “...probe[s] the unit’s central question—How does one person find his or her place in society?—as they write a literary analysis that draws on the unit’s selections to reflect on individualism and the relationship between the individual and society, particularly during a time of cultural turmoil. In response to the EWP prompt, students will examine closely how the unit selections reveal different aspects of the unit’s theme—The Individual—and reflect on how Americans defined themselves as individuals during the 19th century. As students do so, they are helped to understand what a literary analysis is, and why it is an important writing form.”
  • In Unit 3, in the Extended Writing Project, students write an argumentative essay that “...probe[s] the unit’s central question—How was being American redefined in the 20th century?—as they write an argumentative essay about a major historical event, scientific discovery, or cultural trend. In response to the EWP prompt, students will select an event, a discovery, or a trend that enables them to relate to the unit theme—Modern Times—and to reflect on how it redefined the American identity. The unit’s fiction and nonfiction selections from 20th century America provide a context for students as they begin their essays.”

Indicator 1m

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 11 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 Of Plymouth Plantation, students are asked a short answer question that will require them to access the text in order to answer the question: “How do the Pilgrims demonstrate their values in their daily effort to survive in a harsh environment? Cite one example from the text and explain how this reflects the Pilgrims’ beliefs and values.” The question requires them to go back into specific areas of the text, use details to answer a basic comprehension question, and then 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 Walden, students are asked to identify and react to two central ideas: “Identify two central ideas in the excerpt from Walden and explain how they develop and interact over the course of the text. Then explain your reactions to these ideas. Do you agree or disagree with them? Do you think that Thoreau’s ideas are still relevant to life today?”
  • In Unit 3, in the Full Text Study of The Great Gatsby, at the conclusion of reading the text, the students read the companion texts: “The Road to West Egg” by Christopher Hitchens, H.L Mencken’s review of the novel, and one other critical essay they find on their own. They then write an essay in response to this prompt: “In a research project, investigate the meaning of the phrase ‘The Great American Novel’ . . . After exploring the critical discussion surrounding the novel, develop your own theory about whether The Great Gatsby should be considered a Great American Novel. Why or why not?”
  • In Unit 4, in the Close Read of “Love is Not All,” students respond to a prompt asking them to examine the figurative language in the sonnet. The prompt states, “Consider the figurative language of the sonnet and how it develops over the course of the poem. Based on your analysis, do you think that Millay considers love to be more of a physical or an emotional feeling? How does she address both aspects of love in the poem? Do you agree or disagree with her final opinion? Refer to strong and thorough textual evidence as you develop and support your argument.”
  • The Extended Writing Project in Unit 3 requires students to access the texts within the unit by having students write an argumentative essay. “You have been reading about the many rapid changes in America in the 20th century, some of which shaped entire generations. What major historical events, scientific discoveries, or cultural trends do you think had a significant impact on how Americans redefined themselves during that century? Choose two texts from this unit and write an essay arguing how an event, a discovery, or a trend redefined the American identity. (You may include one Blast as one of the texts.) Along with information from the selections, include research from at least three other credible print and/or digital sources to support your ideas. Remember to address at least one counterclaim to your central argument.”

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 11 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 11 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 4 Vocabulary and Spelling, Unit 13 focuses on vocabulary and spelling and includes lessons that cover learning from context, word roots, prefixes and suffixes, and basic spelling rules. 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 11 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 5 focuses on Verb Tenses and Voice and contains eight lessons that cover the principal parts of verbs, regular and irregular verbs, tense of verbs, perfect tenses, progressive and emphatic forms, consistency of tenses, voice of verbs and mood of verbs.. Students are given a pretest with four parts that asks students to “write the correct form of the verb in parentheses,” label the verb tense and rewrite sentences by correcting verbs that are in the wrong tense. Then the students go through the eight lessons practicing each skill. After the lessons, students take the posttest that has do the same as the pretest with new sentences.
  • The Key Grammar Skills under the Overview tab for Unit 4 shows that grammar lessons appear in the First Read lessons of Cyrano de Bergerac, “Dumped,” “What is Love: Five Theories on the Greatest Emotion of All,” and in the Extended Writing Project lessons Draft, Revise and Publish. The First Read of Dumped” by Helen Fisher has students complete a lesson on syntax and then has them “select a topic that they find interesting and have an emotional connection to. Challenge them to write two sentences about that topic . . . use formal and objective writing style . . . then vary the syntax of their sentences to make their writing more emotionally charged.” The Draft lesson in the Extended Writing Project focuses on commas and nonessential elements with interjections, parenthetical expressions, and conjunctive adverbs. Students learn about them, read the model sentences and complete exercises. Then, students reread their own essays “in order to insert or delete commas and resolve any usage problems where needed.”

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 11 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 first three units for Grade 11 are organized under a thematic umbrella focused on the American identity and how it has changed through different time periods. Unit 4 looks at the many aspects of love. The themes of the four units are as follows: “We the People,” “The Individual,” “Modern Times,” and “Seeking Romance.”

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 “We the People.” Students explore how America’s identity was shaped and formed by reading literary and informational texts about “Pilgrims and Puritans, enslaved Africans, Native Americans, and the Founding Fathers.” Many of the texts surround the founding of our nation, including “Letters to John Adams,” The Crisis by Thomas Paine, “The Whistle” by Benjamin Franklin, The Declaration of Independence, Founding Documents of the United States of America and The Federalist Papers: No. 10. Students learn about the many perspectives during the struggle for independence and think about how these views forged America’s identity.
  • Unit 2 studies the theme of “The Individual.” Students think about individuality and how a people find their place in society; students read poetry, nonfiction, essays, novel excerpts, short stories, speeches and primary sources. The first literary text in the unit are the opening lines of “Song of Myself,” Walt Whitman, which celebrates individualism and the idea that each person must create his/her own beliefs and experience life in his/her own way. Other selections share stories of people expressing their opinions and beliefs, often imparting the ideals of individualism, such as “What to the Slave is the Fourth of July,” an excerpt from Walden by Henry David Thoreau and “Society and Solitude” by Ralph Waldo Emerson.
  • Unit 3 combines several selections to build student knowledge around the theme “Modern Times.” Students explore how the word “American” was redefined in the 20th century. The unit begins with an introduction to the Modern Age (1910-1930) and from the Depression to the Cold War (1930s-1960s). The first text study is the novel The Great Gatsby, which has students thinking about the American Dream and what that really means. Other selections focus on civil rights and how war affected individuals. These include “Theme for English B” by Langston Hughes, Plessy v. Ferguson, Brown v. Board of Education, an excerpt from A Farewell to Arms and an excerpt from Hiroshima.
  • Unit 4’s theme is “Seeking Romance.” Students read texts that have them analyzing the many aspects of love. The unit begins with two sonnets by Shakespeare: Sonnet 116, which defines what love is and is not, and Sonnet 18, which describes the true fidelity of love. Other selections look at other facets of love, including, selections from Ovid’s Metamorphoses, A Midsummer Night’s Dream by Shakespeare, and the poem “On Her Loving Two Equally” by Aphra Behn.

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 11 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.

For example, in Unit 1, while completing the Close Read of “The Whistle,” students show their knowledge of rhetoric by highlighting “examples of grammatical parallelism in the sentences that Franklin uses to describe people who have ‘paid too much for their whistles.’ Explain how these examples of parallelism help to emphasize Franklin's points.”

A detailed example from Unit 1, We the People, is shared below:

In Unit 1. “We the People,” one of the texts is The Federalist Papers: No. 10 by James Madison. 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 to discuss questions they identified while reading. The following questions are included in the teacher’s edition to help facilitate discussions:

  • “Based on the title, what kind of text might we be about to read?”
  • “To whom is Madison writing this?”
  • “As you reread the third paragraph, what kinds of words hint at the strategy that Madison is about to use to develop his argument?”

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:

  • “Reread the first paragraph. What are the three undesirable effects of factions?”
  • “Reread the paragraph that begins “The effect of the first difference is.” Why does Madison believe that chosen government representatives can control the effects of factions?”

In the Skill portion of this lesson, students learn two different skills: comprehending technical language and analyzing arguments, claims and persuasive techniques. 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. A detailed example is explained here from the Skill: Arguments and Claims (part 2) lesson. Students are taught in the Identification and Application section about rhetoric, rhetorical appeals, inductive reasoning and deductive reasoning. Then they are asked to read and annotate the Model text by highlighting key points, asking questions, 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 are the two types of logical reasoning identified by the Model?”
  • “What are the two parts of inductive reasoning?”
  • “What are the two parts of deductive reasoning?”

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 the passage, what conclusion is drawn about a republic form of government?”
  • “Part B: Which sentence or phrase from the passage states this conclusion?”

During the Close Read portion of the lesson, students are given the opportunity to explore the texts arguments, claims, persuasive reasoning, and technical language more thoroughly. 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: The Federalist Papers: No. 10,” include:

  • “Highlight any passages that present an analogy about disease and cure. How does this analogy relate to Madison’s central argument?”
  • “Reread the paragraphs that begin ‘The second expedient is…’ and ‘The latent causes of faction.’ What do these paragraphs suggest about human nature? Do you agree with Madison’s assessment of human nature? Highlight evidence in the text that will help you respond to these questions, and comment on that evidence.”
  • “Reread the paragraph that begins ‘The effect of the first difference is…’ What is Madison’s opinion of elected representatives? Does he provide any evidence to justify this opinion? Is his characterization of elected representatives consistent with his earlier observations about human nature? Highlight evidence in the text that will help you respond to these questions, and comment on that evidence.”
  • “Reread the paragraph that begins ‘The influence of factious leaders…’ Highlight the analogy related to fire in that paragraph. Explain this analogy. Do you think the point that Madison is making is still true today?”

The text-dependent writing prompt for this lesson is:

  • “Do you think Madison’s arguments are still relevant today? For example, do you think that factions, or groups that represent people who share the same interests and have a common political cause, are necessarily a threat to the public good? Do you agree with Madison’s descriptions about human nature and the natural formation of factions? Do you agree that elected politicians are enlightened individuals who can be trusted to make decisions for the public good? Do you think that Madison was right in saying that the larger the society, the less likely a faction will unite members across the country? Select two points from Madison’s essay and write a response in which you explain whether you think the points are still valid in today’s society.”

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 11 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 1, students read "We the People" and are asked to “Reread the paragraph that begins ‘The other point of difference is…’ What is Madison saying about small democracies versus larger republics? Highlight evidence in the text that will help you respond to this question, and comment on that evidence.”
  • In Unit 2, students read “What to the Slave Is the Fourth of July?” by Frederick Douglass. After the First Read, the Think Question 1 asks, “What is Frederick Douglass’s opinion of the Founding Fathers and the Declaration of Independence? Why does he feel that he cannot celebrate the Fourth of July? Cite evidence from the text to support your response.”
  • In the middle of Unit 3, students analyze the supreme court case “Plessy v. Ferguson” and the coordinating supreme court case Brown v. Board of Education. Students are asked to analyze the arguments separately. As the student move toward a final analysis, they are told to “Compare and contrast the arguments in Justice Brown’s majority opinion with Justice Harlan’s dissenting opinion in Plessy v. Ferguson. Which rhetorical strategies does each use most effectively in their arguments? Which arguments or instances of legal reasoning don’t seem to have withstood the test of time? Explain your response using thorough and relevant evidence from each part of the text.”
  • In Unit 4, students Sonnet 18 and are asked to illustrate their understanding of the sonnet form when asked, “Where in “Sonnet 18” do you sense such a change? Explain how the poet uses language and tone to suggest a shift or development in the central theme of the poem. Remember to provide relevant and thorough textual evidence to support your response.”

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 11 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, 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: “How do the events depicted in both the literature and historical documents you have read introduce and develop a theme related to colonial America’s identity?” 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 11 “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 interpretation of figurative language and theme in the Phillis Wheatley’s poem ‘On Being Brought from Africa to America’ or the evaluation of informational text structure in Benjamin Franklin’s letter ‘The Whistle.’ The prompts also enable students to develop their thinking about events related to early America as they select as the subjects of their essay” The unit Blasts also support this writing assignment by looking at topics such as the causes of people behaving irrationally.
  • In Unit 2, students study classic works of literature and informational texts as they think about when following the rules is not always the “right” decision. The culminating task asks students to write a literary analysis essay that requires them to analyze three texts from this unit and examine how the “texts from this unit reflect the ways Americans defined themselves as individuals in the 19th century.” The lesson plan for the Extended Writing provides structured supports to help the students complete this writing.Discussion questions like the following are offered: “What question(s) should you answer about each of the texts?” These questions will provide the teacher with information needed to determine the students’ readiness to complete the assignment.
  • In Unit 4, the Extended Writing Project focuses on the narrative form. Students write a modern tale of love. In preparation for the culminating writing activity, students practice skills necessary for narrative writing. For example, in the Skill: Narrative Sequencing lesson, students are given characteristics of introductions and a student model. In small or whole group, students take notes on the elements of narrative sequence. Questions, such as “Is the Model's description of the story's resolution supported by the text? How so?” are included in the teacher edition to activate thinking. After reading the model, students are instructed to complete the “Narrative Sequence Diagram” handout and share with a peer for feedback.

Indicator 2e

Materials include a cohesive, consistent approach for students to regularly interact with word relationships and build academic vocabulary/ language in context.
4/4
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 11 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 7 of the Grade 11 Vocabulary Workbook, there are four lessons: Lesson 25: Using Context Clues, Lesson 26: Word Usage, Lesson 27: Prefixes that Show Direction or Position, and Lesson 28: Using Reading Skills: Learning from Context. The words in Lesson 25 “will help [students] express the different directions that [they] encounter, whether they are in literature or in real life”; in Lesson 26, all are related to the different “ways people respond to new situations”; in Lesson 27, all words contain the prefixes ex-, e-, ab-, a-, abs-, ad-; in Lesson 28, students look for cause and effect clues to understand a word in context (61-67).
  • On the Unit 4 Overview Page, the Academic Vocabulary heading has two links: Academic Vocabulary Lesson 59 and Lesson 60. Lesson 60 contains ten words that will “have multiple meanings,” like adhere, digest and critical. Students read the definitions on the Define page, such as “acute, adj, having or demonstrating ability to recognize or draw fine distinctions; deeply perceptive; adj: having a rapid onset and short but severe course; adj: extremely sharp or intense.” Then they read the words in example sentences on the Model page - “Because the therapist showed empathy and an acute understanding of his situation, the patient let down his guard and spoke freely to her” and “Scott rushed to the doctor when he felt acute pain in his abdomen, since he knew this might indicate appendicitis.” 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 sentence that explains how the two sentences are similar. Then esxplain how the meanings are different”
  • In the Unit 1 First Read lesson of “Letters to John Adams,” 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 “iniquitous” by thinking aloud and asking questions - “The position of the word ‘iniquitous’ in front of the noun ‘scheme’ suggests that it is an adjective. This makes sense, since most words ending in the suffix ‘-ous’ are also adjectives. I can also recognize ‘in-’ as a possible prefix that means ‘not’ or ‘opposite.’ That would leave a base word of ‘iquit,’ which doesn't make sense. I'll look for more context clues before I determine a possible meaning.” Students then predict the rest of the words on their own, with a partner or in small groups.
  • The Skill Lesson for the excerpt from The Road in Unit 3 includes a Concept Definition video that defines plot, character and setting. After the video, there is a small group or whole class discussion about the terms with questions like, “How can a close analysis of descriptions and other details help a reader make inferences about story elements that an author leaves unclear?” Students are then taken to the model and asked to look for the following on their own - “comment on what readers learn about certain story elements from the excerpts reprinted in the Model.” While students read the Model, the teachers uses questions to guide their understanding, like “The Model briefly mentions that the description of the setting in the first excerpt is written in the third person. Why is this important to note?” Finally, students are asked a comprehension question to assess their understanding of the domain specific vocabulary - “Which of the following statements best describes a relationship between two or more story elements in this paragraph?”
  • The Unit 2 Close Read of “Song of Myself” 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 11 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 is an informative piece. It provides a Student Model that contains the essential features of the informative/explanatory form 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 essay, to identify and label the six features of informative writing (clear thesis, clear organizational structure, supporting details, precise language and domain specific vocabulary, citations of sources, and an effective concluding statement), and to think about how they can apply these ideas to their own writing. Direct instruction is provided on audience and purpose, thesis statements, organization, supporting details, introductions, sources and citations, body paragraphs and transitions, style, and conclusions.
  • In Unit 2, 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 2, students are asked to consider the following: “How does a person find his or her place in society?” 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. At the start of the unit students are asked to read the poem in which the speaker describes himself and what makes him who he is. At the end of the First Read students are asked to respond to the following prompt: “What do you learn about the speaker of the poem? How would you describe the speaker? Cite evidence from the text to support your response.” This question supports the students beginning to think about individuals and how people find their individuality within their society. Students are also reminded to use strong textual evidence to support their answer. This is the first prompt in a series of short answer prompts that support them in developing a more thorough understanding. At the end of the text in the Close Read, students are asked to reflect on what Whitman is saying and then to comment on what they would say about themselves in a reflective essay. “What do you learn about the speaker of the poem? How would you describe the speaker? Cite evidence from the text to support your response.” This supports the students in developing, through writing, a stronger understanding of the individual and their role within society. At the end of the unit, students are asked to write an argument about the role of the individual in society, which builds on the student’s previous work and study in the unit.
  • In Unit 3, 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 organizational structure, body paragraphs with supporting details and evidence, precise and compelling language and rhetoric, proper citations, and a conclusion), and to think about how they can apply these ideas to their own writing. Direct instruction is provided on research and note-taking, thesis statements, organization, supporting details, body paragraphs and transitions, and sources and citations.
  • In Unit 4, the Extended Writing Project focuses on narrative writing. Analysis of story elements, irony and tone are key task demands giving students ample scaffolding as the unit’s analysis becomes more sophisticated.The Unit 4 model texts for this project, an excerpt from Metamorphoses and an excerpt from Cyrano de Bergerac, emphasize the analysis of story structure and irony. Other texts express thoughts and feelings about the idea of love. By the time students have reached the final writing project, they will be prepared to include the story elements studied within the unit and address the idea of love in their own modern tale.

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 11 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 11 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 4 has students considering the unit’s essential question, “How can we try to define love when it encompasses so many different emotions and outcomes?” Included in this are research links that have the students explore different perspectives of love, including “Four Centuries of Love” by Maria Popova, “The Psychology of Love” by Lisa Cohen and a video by Brad Troeger and Chris Boyle.
  • An example of Build Background can be found in the Unit 2 First Read of “Theme for English B” by Langston Hughes. The students work in pairs or small groups to “research different aspects of Harlem and the Harlem Renaissance for class discussion.” Each group or pair is assigned a topic from the following: The Great Migration, Paul Laurence Dunbar, W.E.B. Du Bois, Zora Neale Hurston, Jazz music, Coleman Hawkins, Bessie Smith, Bop (or be-bop) music.
  • The Research Project in Unit 1 has students researching “What shaped American’s identity? . . . students will research how various people, places, events, and beliefs contributed to a growing need for a new identity separate and distinguishable from Europe—and Great Britain in particular.” 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 an informative essay about “how events depicted [in the texts from Unit 1] introduce and develop a theme related to colonial America’s identity.”

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 11 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 1, the StudySync Library includes several additional texts related to the theme We the People. Additional texts include A Narrative of the Captivity and Restoration of Mrs. Mary Rowlandson, by Mary Rowlandson, The Earth Is Precious, by Chief Seattle, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie, Upon the Burning of Our House, by Anne Bradstreet, Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God, by Jonathan Edwards. 1776, by David McCullough, The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin, by Benjamin Franklin, Poor Richard’s Almanack, by Benjamin Franklin. For each of these texts, there is a mini unit that includes an “Overview”, an “Introduction” to the text, “Vocabulary” found in the text, an excerpt to “Read,” “Think” questions to aid comprehension, and “Write” prompts that require deeper analysis and practice with skills taught in the unit.
  • In Unit 2, the pacing guide offers outside reading selections related to the theme, The Individual and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. “ Some of the texts, like the Declaration of Sentiments, Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address, and “Lee Surrenders to Grant, April 9th, 1865”, are actual historic documents, while others, like Walden, “What to the Slave is the Fourth of July,” and “Society and Solitude” link to specific periods in history and present readers with ideas and arguments that are representative of that time period. Still others, like Adventures of Huckleberry Finn or the short story “The Story of an Hour,” present readers with a fictionalized account of a very specific moment in time, allowing readers to understand the concerns of the time, but also a representation of life in that era. Finally, What they Fought for, 1861–1865 uses primary sources to instruct and inform readers about a specific historical event, the Civil War” (15). These independently read comparative texts are specifically referenced in the Teacher’s Reading Guide for the full text study of he Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, which is divided into sections covering different chapters of the novel. At the end of the reading guide are two writing prompts that revisit The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and reference the comparative texts.
  • In Unit 3, the theme is Modern Times. 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 any texts by Zora Neal Hurston, Nella Larsen, James Baldwin, Claude McKay and Richard Wright. Other novels mentioned are The Catcher in the Rye by JD Salinger, The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath, In Search of Our Mother’s Gardens by Alice Walker, The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende, and Kindred by Octavia Butler.
  • In Unit 4, students are encouraged to read texts on the theme of Seeking Romance during independent reading. 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.

Gateway Three

Usability

Meets Expectations

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Gateway Three Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 11 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 11 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 11 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 11 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 3 First Read of The Great Gatsby, the lesson plan is separated into four sections: introduction, read, SyncTV and Think. The Introduction of the lesson has students watch a video preview of The Great Gatsby. Students then read the introduction for The Great Gatsby. Students join small groups to discuss their prior knowledge of the early decades of twentieth-century America, and the teacher provides them with information about Fitzgerald. The Read portion of the lesson begins with students reading the text with the purpose of predicting the definition of the eight bold vocabulary words. Included in this are directions for how the teacher can model how to use the overall structure and meaning of the sentence and the sentences around it, the word's position, and other contextual clues to define the unfamiliar vocabulary word 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 The Great Gatsby students will use making, confirming, and revising predictions. The lesson plan again has a possible script for the teacher, “As I think more about this, I can reason that young people need advice to protect them from harm or injury. With that in mind, I might predict that ‘vulnerable’ means…” After the modeling, 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. The SyncTV segment of the lesson has the class watch the eight minute SyncTV video within the lesson, which shows real teens having a discussion that focuses on comprehension. While watching, the lesson indicates particular points when the teacher should stop and ask questions, like, “02:40 – The students have just discussed whether Nick ‘comes from money’ and has ‘class-based’ judgments. Whose inferences on this topic do you think are best supported by the text?” 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. Students are reminded to model their discussion after the model they watched.

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 The Jungle is to take place on Day 2. According to this pacing guide, students are to complete multiple group discussions, watch two videos, read The Great Gatsby at least twice, practice a comprehension strategy, and answer eight 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 11 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 compare and contrast 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 11 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 1, students study the skill of Dramatic Elements while reading The Crucible. 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 11 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 3, in the First Read of “Theme for English B,” students answer Think questions that are aligned to Common Core State Standards. For example, students answer the following question: “Use two or more details from the text to describe the speaker of the poem. What detail distinguishes him from other people mentioned in the poem?” This question aligns to CCSS.RL.11-12.1. In the Close Read of “Any Human to Another,” students answer the following writing prompt: “The poem ‘Any Human to Another’ and ‘Theme for English B’ treat similar topics: the nature of human connection. How is Countee Cullen’s treatment of this topic similar to Langston Hughes’s treatment? How is it different? What similarities and differences do you see in the themes of the poems? How is the influence of the Harlem Renaissance reflected in the themes? Support your response with evidence drawn from both poems.” This prompt aligns to RL.11-12.1, RL.11-12.9, W.11-12.1.A, W.11-12.1.B, W.11-12.10, W.11-12.4, W.11-12.5, W.11-12.6, W.11-12.9.A.

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 11 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 11 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 11 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 First Read of Plymouth Plantation, the teacher is provided with the following extended Tech Infusion activity: “Tech Infusion Beyond Evaluate Point of View. Pair students and ask them to think about how the Native Americans are described in Of Plymouth Plantation. Have students write a series of short journal entries from Samoset's point of view about the Native Americans' experience with the Pilgrims. Students with access to tools such as Penzu (https://penzu.com/) may enjoy using them to create more engaging journal entries.”
  • In Unit 2, in the Skill Lesson: Informational Text Elements for Walden, teachers is provided with guided questions for a classroom discussion: “Either in small groups or as a whole class, use these questions to engage students in a discussion about informational text elements. What different types of informational texts can you identify? What reason might a reader have to read each type? What are some pros and cons of different types of informational texts in presenting information about ideas, events, or individuals (such as a biography versus a newspaper article about a famous person)? What similar features might informational texts share with fictional texts? Why would a writer of an informational text use storytelling techniques or figurative language, for example? When you read an informational text, what reading strategies might you use to identify main ideas and trace their development?”
  • In Unit 3, in the Close Read of Farewell to Arms, the teacher is provided with the following extended Tech Infusion activity: “Extend Tech Infusion Draw. Ask students to draw a picture or comic strip that illustrates the meaning of each vocabulary word. If available, students can use computer software or apps on their digital devices to create, animate, or add other media such as music to their artwork. Provide students with an opportunity to share and discuss their work with the class.”
  • In Unit 4, in the Close Read for Cyrano de Bergerac, teachers are given the following detailed instructions in the lesson plan: “Read the Skills Focus questions as a class so your students know what they should pay close attention to as they read. Then have students read and annotate the excerpt. Ask students to use the annotation tool as they read to: respond to the Skills Focus questions, ask their own questions about Roxane's changes in attitude in Act III, scene IV, note similarities and differences in Cyrano's behavior across each of the scenes, identify key details, examples, and themes, note unfamiliar vocabulary, and express their reactions to the ideas and examples in the text. As they reread the text, remind students to use the comprehension strategy of visualizing that they learned in the First Read.”

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 11 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 titled, 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 Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, or Gustavus Vassa, the African, the teacher is provided with the following information in the lesson plan to help students access complex text: “To help students understand Equiano's plight, use the following ideas to provide scaffolded instruction for a first reading of the more complex features of this text: Purpose - The text is an autobiography in which Equiano describes what actually happened to him years before. His purpose, made clear in the final paragraph of the excerpt, is to expose the horrors of the slave trade. Sentence Structure - Like many older texts, this one contains very long sentences. Many clauses are connected with semicolons, which may present a challenge to some readers. Specific Vocabulary - Equiano often uses flowery and figurative language, such as "The first object which saluted my eyes" rather than "The first thing I saw." Students may need help breaking down the figurative language. Prior Knowledge - Students may be surprised at Equiano's ignorance of the world, including his idea that the ships move by magic or his amazement at seeing a rider on a horse. Remind students that Equiano was only eleven when kidnapped, had not traveled, and did not have access to mass media like encyclopedias.”
  • In Unit 2, in the Close Read of “Song of Myself,” the teacher is provided with the following information in the lesson plan to help students access complex text: “In this excerpt from "Song of Myself,"Walt Whitman tackles themes such as individualism, connection to others and nature, American democracy, and the cycle of life and death. Whitman uses metaphors, close observation and description, personal experiences, and direct calls to action in his poetry to guide the reader through his own philosophies.”
  • In Unit 3, in the Grade 11 ELA Overview, the teacher is provided with the following context to help students access the complex text, The Woman Warrior: Memoirs of a Girlhood Among Ghosts: “Although The Woman Warrior is considered a memoir, Kingston’s writing offers a blend of perspectives which students may not expect from this genre. For example, in this excerpt, the use of a limited-third person narrator focuses on Brave Orchid instead of the author. This narrative choice helps readers understand Kingston’s feelings about the di erences between the traditional Chinese point of view and her own perspective as a rst-generation Chinese-American woman.”
  • In Unit 4, in the Grade 11 ELA Overview, the teacher is provided with the following information to help access complex text in “Love Is Not All.” For example, teachers are given the following purpose: “Since the poet starts out by explaining what love is not, readers may not be able to grasp the purpose of the poem immediately, as the message might be more implicit than explicit.”

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 11 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 11 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 entitled, “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 11 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 11 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 11 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 11 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 3, in the First Read of Hiroshima, students answer the following questions: “How much time has elapsed between the atomic bomb explosion and Miss Sasaki’s observation of Hiroshima in the first paragraph? How does this relate to the description of the plant life at the end of the paragraph?” and “Use context to determine the meaning of the word verdancy. Write your definition here and explain how you inferred its meaning.” These questions serve as a summative assessment and support teachers to identify mastery of RI.11-12.1 and L.11-12.4.A.

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 11 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
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 11 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
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Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Grade 11 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 and Thematic Units for Adventures of Huckleberry Finn offer a diverse array of reading opportunities, particularly for students who are interested in the world that Huck Finn inhabited. Rainbow’s Journey was a popular children’s novel in the 19th century, and while it also grounds its tale in race relations, those relations are decidedly less complex than Twain’s, whose goal, rather than simply entertainment, was to address racism in a novel written for an adult audience. Students who read Rainbow’s Journey will see the difference between the two texts and understand why Twain’s writing was so controversial in its time. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, also written by Twain, features some of the same characters as Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, but probably has more in common with Rainbow’s Journey in terms of purpose and content. Students who want to learn more about life on the river can pick up Twain’s autobiography about becoming a riverboat captain in Old Times on the Mississippi. The Thematic Unit also contains several texts which students can further explore. Henry David Thoreau’s account of the two years he lived in solitude on Walden pond, Walden, has inspired readers to “suck out the marrow of life” for over 150 years, while Whitman’s “Song of Myself,” along with the collection it was published in, Leaves of Grass, celebrates both the individual and the connectedness of humanity.”
  • In Unit 3, the Core Program Guide suggests that “Readings outside the Full-text Unit are really quite extensive, particularly since the unit’s driving question of “How was being American rede ned in the 20th century?” opens the door to pretty much any text written by an American author in the 20th century. Students who enjoyed “Theme for English B” can further explore the poetry of Langston Hughes, like “Mother to Son,” “I, Too,” and “A Dream Deferred” (just to name a few). Additionally, students who are interested in other authors from the Harlem Renaissance and the tradition that came out of it, like Zora Neale Hurston, Nella Larsen, James Baldwin, Claude McKay, and Richard Wright, can read any of the novels, short stories, essays and poems from that time period. Novels like The Catcher in the Rye by JD Salinger and The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath both tell stories of people who feel like outsiders, much like Nick Carraway. There are a variety of female and minority authors whose works could connect to this unit, especially as their stories of what it means to be an American were presented with greater frequency in the later years of the 20th century. In Search of Our Mothers’ Gardens by Alice Walker, The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende, Kindred by Octavia Butler, and the short stories “A Good Man is Hard to Find” or “The Life You Save May Be Your Own” by Flannery O’Connor all give readers a different perspective of life as an American. Similarly, students can investigate the work of male authors who presented an equally diverse characterization of life as an American in the 20th century. Texts like Welcome to the Monkey House by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., In Cold Blood by Truman Capote, Fences by August Wilson (or any of the plays in his “Pittsburgh Cycle”), or The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz, are all options for students. Additionally there are a multitude of other American authors from the 20th century, and students can nd authors and works who truly grab their attention and allow them to consider the unit’s driving question in a new context.”

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
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Criterion Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 11 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 11 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
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 11 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
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 11 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 1, the Access Path’s Beyond section for "The Whistle" offers students an Extend the Search. Advanced students are asked to work in pairs or small groups and “make a list of compound words—of all types, and both nouns and adjectives—that could be used to describe or summarize ‘The Whistle,’ and note which single idea each compound word expresses.”

Indicator 3r

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 11 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/
+
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 11 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/
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 11 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/
+
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 11 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/
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 11 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 11 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/
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 11 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/
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 11 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 1, in the Blast for the Founding Documents of the United States of America, students imagine that they are in Eleanor Roosevelt’s place as she prepared to join delegates from around the world to draft and finalize the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and answer the following questions: “What specific research might you do in advance of attending the first meeting? What basic ideas or values would you put forward as most important? What kinds of compromises would you be willing to make with others? What ideas or concepts would you NOT be willing to compromise on?”
  • In Unit 2, in the Blast for The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, students consider censorship in the context of other forms of artistic expression, and the teacher is directed to ask students the following questions: “Do students feel that movies, paintings, sculpture, theater, or music would be more or less likely than books to provoke controversy due to their treatment of sensitive topics? Can they think of recent examples from the news to support their ideas or predictions? Invite pairs or small groups to research and discuss one form of artistic expression in more detail using online reference sources. Then reconvene as a class to compare and contrast the levels of censorship associated with each one. What do the results say about the ability of individuals to express themselves freely in society?”

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 11 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 11 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 11 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 11 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 11 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 11 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 11 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 1, in the Blast for the Founding Documents of the United States of America, students imagine that they are in Eleanor Roosevelt’s place as she prepared to join delegates from around the world to draft and finalize the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and answer the following questions: “What specific research might you do in advance of attending the first meeting? What basic ideas or values would you put forward as most important? What kinds of compromises would you be willing to make with others? What ideas or concepts would you NOT be willing to compromise on?”
  • In Unit 2, in the Blast for The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, students consider censorship in the context of other forms of artistic expression, and the teacher is directed to ask students the following questions: “Do students feel that movies, paintings, sculpture, theater, or music would be more or less likely than books to provoke controversy due to their treatment of sensitive topics? Can they think of recent examples from the news to support their ideas or predictions? Invite pairs or small groups to research and discuss one form of artistic expression in more detail using online reference sources. Then reconvene as a class to compare and contrast the levels of censorship associated with each one. What do the results say about the ability of individuals to express themselves freely in society?”

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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