Alignment to College and Career Ready Standards: Overall Summary

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

See Rating Scale
Understanding Gateways

Alignment

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Meets Expectations

Gateway 1:

Text Quality

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

Gateway 2:

Building Knowledge

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

Usability

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Meets Expectations

Not Rated

Gateway 3:

Usability

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

Gateway One

Text Quality & Complexity and Alignment to Standards Components

Meets Expectations

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Gateway One Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 12 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 12 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 12 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 12. Topics include the epic heroes, the English Renaissance, Puritanism and the Enlightenment and Romanticism. 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 Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer, a CCSS exemplar text. This text was one of the first major works written in English.
    • Students read Beowulf, an epic poem and heroic narrative. This is the oldest English poem from the Anglo-Saxon period and gives students a look into the foundation of British Literature.
    • Students read “The Once and Future King” by T.H. White, a famous retelling of the legend of King Arthur and the Round Table, with which students may have familiarity.
  • In Unit 2, students read the following texts that are worthy of especially careful reading:
    • Students read Shakespeare’s Hamlet, a CCSS exemplar text. Students gain insight into the many modern-day references to characters, plotlines and quotes, as this text is one of Shakespeare’s most familiar plays and has numerous interpretations through film and other genres.
    • Students read “The Passionate Shepherd to His Love” by Christopher Marlowe. This pastoral style of British poetry includes rich, descriptive language.
    • Students read an excerpt from Brave New World by Aldous Huxley. This dystopian novel highlights prescient topics and themes, such as the dangers of technology controlling society and the dangers of totalitarianism.
  • In Unit 3, students read the following texts that are worthy of especially careful reading:
    • Students read “A Model of Christian Charity,” a sermon by John Winthrop. Students note the ideals of Puritan society within this text, along with how modern society reflects these ideals.
    • Students read Second Treatise of Government by John Locke. Students are exposed to writing by an English philosopher who is referred to as the “Father of Liberalism.”
    • Students read Democracy in America by Alexis de. Tocqueville, a detailed study of how democracy was implemented in the United States.
  • In Unit 4, students read the following texts that are worthy of especially careful reading:
    • Students read “Rime of the Ancient Mariner” by Samuel Taylor Coleridge. The theme of crime and punishment and the frequent allusions to the “albatross” make this a worthy text.
    • Students read The Glass Menagerie, a drama by the Pulitzer Prize winning playwright Tennessee Williams. This play is one of Williams's most famous plays and led him to become one of the most well-known and respected American playwrights.

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 12 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, romance, epic poems, epic fantasies, poetry, dramas, songs, and short stories. Informational texts include Christian History, interviews, non-fiction, speeches, sermons, political theory, founding document, and essays.

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

  • In Unit 1, students read Beowulf, Grendel by John Gardner, The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer, The Once and Future King by T.H. White, and Le Morte d’Arthur by Sir Thomas Malory,
  • In Unit 2, students read “Sonnet 29” by William Shakespeare, Hamlet by William Shakespeare, “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” by T.S. Eliot, and Utopia by Sir Thomas More.
  • In Unit 3, students read “To My Dear and Loving Husband” by Anne Bradstreet, “To His Excellency, General Washington” by Phillis Wheatley, and Gulliver’s Travels (Part I) by Jonathan Swift.
  • In Unit 4, students read “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner” by Samuel Coleridge, “Young Goodman Brown” by Nathaniel Hawthorne, Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen,The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams, and “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

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

  • In Unit 1, students read The Ecclesiastical History of the English People by Venerable Bede, “Conversation with Geoffrey Ashe” by Geoffrey Ashe, and DC Comics: Sixty Years of the World’s Favorite Comic Book Heroes by Les Daniels.
  • In Unit 2, students read Shakespeare: The World as Stage by Bill Bryson, and “Speech to the Troops at Tilbury” by Elizabeth I.
  • In Unit 3, students read “A Model of Christian Charity” by John Winthrop, American Jezebel by Eve LaPlante, Second Treatise of Government by John Locke, The Declaration of Independence by Thomas Jefferson, United States v. The Amistad by U.S. Supreme Court, and “A Vindication of Rights of Women” by Mary Wollstonecraft.
  • In Unit 4, students read ”Be Ye Men of Valour” by Winston Churchill and “D-Day Prayer” by Franklin D. Roosevelt.

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 12 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 12 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 720L to 1740L; 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 12 include but are not limited to:

  • In Unit 1, many of the texts are below the grade level band; however, the qualitative elements make them appropriate. For example, The Once and Future King has a Lexile of 870, which is in the 6-8 grade grand. This text is paired with texts from different cultures that discuss the legend of King Arthur. Students are comparing and contrasting, not only the texts, but also the ideas of national heroes across multiple cultures.
  • In Unit 2, students read Sir Thomas More’s Utopia, Lexile 1740, which is above the recommended grade band. The lesson plan for the Utopia tells teachers to scaffold the reading and instruction of this text by looking at purpose, organization, and specific vocabulary. In regard to “Purpose,” teachers tell students that More’s purpose can be inferred through his tone. “He subtly makes fun of Utopian customs that seem perfectly logical when explained, such as the comparison of inspecting a potential spouse to buying a horse . . . .” “Organization” has the teacher explain the different structures, like cause and effect, comparison, and problem and solution, to help students make sense of the argument. There is also an “Annotation Guide” on the Access handout that guides students through their reading, with directions like, “Highlight at least one passage that connects with something you already know and use the annotation tool to explain the connection.” For “Specific Vocabulary,” teachers encourage students to paraphrase when necessary. Teachers model how to use context clues to understand difficult vocabulary with the five bold vocabulary words chosen for further study. Students are also given a “Text Glossary” in the Access handouts on which are listed unfamiliar words or idioms and their definitions as well as additional blanks so students may add more. . In addition to that, students are given sentence frames to aid them in answering the Think Questions.
  • In Unit 3, there are three texts slightly above the grade band - Second Treatise of Government, 1430L, The Declaration of Independence, 1470L, and A Vindication of the Rights of Women, 1440L. These texts are necessary as students “learn about the political and philosophical ideas that led to the creation of the United States.” Students are also given substantial background information in the lesson, “British Literature & History: Puritans to the Enlightenment (1640-1780), to prepare them for the difficult texts.
  • In Unit 4, three of the texts are below the grade band. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, 770L, Wuthering Heights by Charlotte Bronte, 780L, and Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf, 880L. Pride and Prejudice is a CCSS text exemplar for 11th and 12th grade. The others are classic pieces of literature that give students a view into the 19th and 20th century woman’s view of marriage and society.

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 12 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 led 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 the 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 “Young Goodman Brown” in Unit 4, students begin by accessing their prior knowledge of colonial Massachusetts or the Puritans. The Access Path offers more direction as students create a concept map about colonial Massachusetts, including the Salem Witch trials, and discuss challenges community members may face. 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 “making, revising, and confirming predictions,” which can help students set a purpose for reading and make inferences. Teachers model this strategy with a Think Aloud of the first three paragraphs by saying such things as, “When I read the first two paragraphs, I learn that a young man is setting off on a journey, and he is leaving his wife at home in Salem village. What kind of journey will he be making?” 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, “Young Goodman Brown is a married man who lives in ____. When he walks into the woods for an ‘evil purpose,’ he meets a___ who is carrying a ___and seems to look 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 details in paragraph 1 that tell about Young Goodman Brown. Then look for details in paragraphs 8–10 that describe his journey into the woods. What is his purpose of his journey? Whom does he meet on the road?”
  • The Skill lessons in the Grade 12 curriculum get increasingly more in depth. Informational text elements is a skill learned and practiced in Units 1 and 3. In Unit 1, the lesson objectives are that students will learn the definition of informational text elements - details, events, people and ideas - and use strategies for analyzing these elements. First, students define informational text elements and discuss which are easiest or hardest to identify, how elements support an author’s purpose, and what order they feel is most helpful. After reading the Model text, students are asked what the Model looked at first, what the author of the Model learned from the title, what the Model identified in the first paragraph, why the Model thought Coifi’s evidence was most convincing, and what inference the Model made about the author and how he/she supported it. This lesson requires students to describe the development of the elements and how this affected the central idea of the text. The Unit 3 lesson objectives are to learn the definition of informational text elements - details, events, people, and ideas - and use strategies for analyzing these elements. This lesson requires students to think more deeply about the elements as they think about how a text’s purpose affects the elements used in the text and how a complex set of ideas or sequence of events develops, interacts and affects people. This lesson requires students to analyze the interconnectedness of these elements.
  • 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 “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” in Unit 2 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, “The title tells a reader that this poem is a “love song.” What is the role of women in the poem? What seems to be Prufrock’s relationship to them? How does the author use figures of speech to describe women, and how do those choices imply a theme? Highlight evidence to support your ideas and write annotations to explain your responses.” Access Path students are given a Complete the Sentences exercise on the handout to aid them in this process. For example, “In lines 21-28, Prufrock compares the fog to a ____. In lines 29-31 Prufrock responds to an accusation that he is stalling by saying ____.” After reading and annotating, teachers lead a whole class discussion about the Skills Focus questions. Access Path students work in small groups or pairs to share and discuss their annotations. The final element to the Close Read lesson is the constructed response, which has students synthesize their learning from the First Read, Skill: Theme and Skill: Figurative Language lessons. For “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock”, students answer the following: “Determine two or more themes in “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” and analyze how they are developed over the course of the text. How does T. S. Eliot use figures of speech–including hyperbole, understatement, metaphors, and allusions–to develop theme in the poem? How do the themes interact with or support each other? Support your response with textual evidence.” Students brainstorm about figures of speech and theme in the poem 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 12 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:

  • The text complexity analysis for Unit 2 contains the following rationale for the literary works of the Renaissance, such as Hamlet by Shakespeare and “A Valediction Forbidding Mourning by John Donne. “The unit contains substantial background information to help students better understand and appreciate the ideas and the literary works of the Renaissance. For instance, students will read a Literary History about the development of the sonnet form before beginning their study of Shakespeare by reading “Sonnet 29.” The will also read a Literary History on the metaphysical poets before analyzing John Donne’s “A Valediction Forbidding Mourning” and a Literary History on the cavalier poets before Richard Lovelace’s “To Lucasta, Going to the Wars.”
  • Students read the sermon, “A Model of Christian Charity” by John Winthrop with a Lexile of 1210 in Unit 3. Within the ACT Features field, teachers are given information on purpose, sentence structure, and specific vocabulary. For Purpose, teachers are told, “The tone of this sermon is formal, serious, and somber. Students need to know that Winthrop was determined to achieve the goal of building a new community to be an example to the world, ‘a city upon a hill,’ in which the colonists led exemplary lives.” Information in Sentence Structure points out the “The sermon was written in 1630 in a style typical of the period. Students may need support with the long, complex sentence structures. Remind them that breaking the sentences into smaller parts will make the meaning easier to understand. Point out that the commas and semicolons are clues to pauses in thought, and attending to the punctuation will help in understanding the text.” Specific Vocabulary points out that reading this may be challenging, because “Winthrop’s writing is filled with words and phrases no long in common use such as ‘abridge ourselves of our superfluities.’ Encourage students to use context, word parts,k and a dictionary when they come to unfamiliar words they need to know to understand Winthrop’s ideas.“

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 12 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 12th grade, students read a variety of genres and authors from the classics to modern texts. Students read fiction (short stories and novels), poetry, and non-fiction (essays, articles, autobiographical excerpts, speeches). The 12th grade includes classic texts of British Literature, spanning from the Anglo-Saxon Period to the Modern Age. Paired with the British classics are canonical pieces of American Literature. 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 read background information about the Anglo-Saxon Period and Middle Ages on which the read and annotate, complete Think questions, and answer a prompt with a constructed response. Day three students learn about the epic, epic hero and the development of English. Here they read and annotate, complete Think questions, and answer a prompt with a constructed response. Day four is the First Read of Beowulf, in which they read and annotate the text. On the final day, students complete a skill lesson on story elements.
  • In Unit 2, over the course of five weeks, students complete a full-text study of Hamlet and read nine other partial texts, seven of which are informational. The texts are all related to the unit title of “The Human Condition.” Informational texts include For the Love of Spirit: A Medium Memoir, “Of Studies,” “Hamlet and His Problems,” Ten Days in a Mad-House, “Disputation on the Power and Efficacy of Indulgences,” Reviving Ophelia: Saving the Selves of Adolescent Girls, and “Final Letter of Mary, Queen of Scots.” Fiction texts Falling for Hamlet and Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead 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 American Jezebel by Eve LaPlante. Students also complete one skill lesson on informational text elements, and then complete a Close Read of the excerpt to practice the skills. Students also complete a Blast in which they read about religious freedom. In Unit 3, there is one full text study, Gulliver’s Travels. Throughout Unit 3, students read additional texts including “A Model of Christian Charity,” “To My Dear and Loving Husband,” Second Treatise of Government, “To His Excellency, General Washington,” “Liberty Tree,” The Declaration of Independence, The United States v. the Amistad, Democracy in America, A Vindication of the Rights of Woman, Woman in the Nineteenth Century, and “Remarks Concerning the savages of North America.”
  • In Unit 4, students complete a First Read and a Close Read of “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner” by Samuel Taylor Coleridge. Students also complete one skill lesson on tone, and then complete a Close Read of the poem to practice the skills. Students also complete a Blast in which they read about how human behavior has impacted the stratosphere. In Unit 4, there is one full text study, Pride and Prejudice. Throughout Unit 4, students read additional texts including “Young Goodman Brown,” “The Masque of the Red Death,” The Glass Menagerie, Wuthering Heights, The House of MIrth, O Pioneers!, Mrs. Dalloway, “The Star-Spangled Banner,” “Be Ye Men of Valour,” and “D-Day Prayer.”

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 12 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 12 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 Beowulf, the following text-dependent questions are found in the teacher lesson plan:
    • “Note in chronological order the two acts of revenge that Hrothgar describes in section XX. For each act, explain who killed whom and why they did it, and supply the textual evidence from Hrothgar's speech that confirms the event.”
    • “Supply three examples of imagery from section XX that support the inference that the region where Grendel and his mother live is a sinister place.”
    • “Explain what Beowulf is preparing to do at the beginning of section XXI, and describe what values underlie his decision to do so. Cite textual evidence in your response.”
  • In Unit 2 during the Skill lesson of “On Monsieur's Departure, the focus is on “Figurative Language.” Students encounter practice questions such as the following:
    • Part A - Which of the following states a role of the paradox in the third stanza?
      • The speaker wants Love to either kill her or wants to find a new love, rather than living the double life she is now.
      • The speaker wants to continue to live a double life so her pain can die and she can live.
      • The speaker is weak and knows that she will never be able to reveal her true self to the rest of the world.
      • The speaker will one day find a new Love, but then will die and it will all have been pointless.
    • Part B - Which line or lines from the poem support your answer?
      • Since from myself another self I turned.
      • No means I find to rid him from my breast, / Till by the end of things it be supprest.
      • Some gentler passion slide into my mind, / For I am soft, and made of melting snow;
      • Or let me live with some more sweet content, / Or die, and so forget what love e’er meant.
  • The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” by T.S. Eliot in Unit 2 includes the following questions in the Close Read section of the teacher lesson plan:
    • “What is the role of the ocean imagery in "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock"? How does it relate to other figures of speech in the poem? Highlight examples of ocean imagery and annotate to explain your ideas and how this imagery might contribute to theme.”
    • “What is the speaker's tone in the first four stanzas of the poem? What kinds of words and phrases does the speaker use, and what connotations do those words have? What effect does the tone have on the reader? Highlight textual evidence and write annotations to explain your ideas.”
    • “Choose one allusion in the poem and explain its meaning. What is the role of the allusion in the poem? What inferences about theme can be made from the allusion? Highlight textual evidence to support your answer.
  • During the close read of “The Declaration of Independence” in Unit 3, students answer the following text-dependent questions:
    • “Analyze the structure of the three sections of the Declaration of Independence. What is the purpose of each section, and how do these purposes represent the logical sequence of an argument? Annotate where one section ends and another begins.”
    • “After the introductory section of the Declaration, Jefferson presents a long list of complaints against Great Britain. The first six of these complaints involve the British king's actions toward American legislatures. Why might Jefferson have chosen to place so much emphasis on this aspect of Britain's relations with its American colonies? Highlight evidence from the text and make annotations to support your explanation.”
    • “When the Declaration of Independence was read aloud in American cities, people responded enthusiastically. Jefferson used literary elements such as hyperbole to make his manifesto more engaging. Highlight examples of hyperbole, and explain its role in persuading readers to take action.”

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 12 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 the narrative form. Students write a narrative about “a hero (or heroine) modeled on the style of Le Morte d’Arthur or Beowulf. [They] can write about a real, heroic person [they] know, or [they] can write about a fictional character.” In the Extended Writing Project skill lesson, Introductions, 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 to compare and contrast the three introduction examples and identify the different techniques used. This will assist students in writing their own narratives for the culminating task. During the Close Read of Le Morte d’Arthur, students write a constructed response that makes a claim about which traits make Arthur an archetypal hero. They are told to use their “understanding of story elements to build your analysis.” Before students have to write their own narrative about a hero, they are analyzing the traits of the archetype and how different story elements affect it.
  • In Unit 3, the Extended Writing Project focuses on the argumentative form of writing. Students make a claim about how one text from the unit best embodies one of the key ideas of the United States today, like self-sufficiency and individuality. They will use evidence from the texts in the unit as well as from credible outside sources. Within this unit, students study the skills of argumentative writing with different texts. For example, the skill lesson for A Vindication of the Rights of Woman has students learning about different types of rhetoric and identifying them within the text. The Close Read lesson of that text has the following question, “What is Wollstonecraft’s view of marriage? How does it differ from the view of marriage suggested by Anne Bradstreet’s poem “To My Dear and Loving Husband”? What do these differing viewpoints suggest about how attitudes about marriage changed from the mid-17th century to the late 18th century? Highlight textual evidence and make annotations to explain your ideas.” This is directly related to the Extended Writing Project prompt as students begin thinking about American ideas and how they change over time.
  • In Unit 4, the Extended Writing Project focuses focuses on informational writing. Students are asked to write a formal research paper about one author from the unit. They need to include biographical information, explain the literary movement with which the author is associated, and explain how the author’s writing is representative of that movement. The first lesson of the unit “provides historical, social, and cultural background information for the study of British and American Literature written between 1750 and 1837.” Within this lesson, they learn the central ideas of Romanticism. In the Close Read of “The Masque of the Red Death,” students are told to Recall that romantics focused on nature, extreme emotions, the exotic, the monstrous, and the influence of folklore and medieval history. How well does “The Masque of the Red Death” fit into this category? Why might readers today still be drawn to stories like this one? Highlight elements of the story related to romanticism and explain why you found them particularly captivating.” This question clearly has students thinking about the how this Poe’s writing is representative of the movement and will help them gather evidence for their informative research paper. Other lessons include historical, social and cultural background information about The Victorian Age and The Modern Age. Each movement has four to five texts included to enable students to identify and evaluate the characteristics of each movement.

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.
2/2
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 12 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 Beowulf, the students will watch the SyncTV video on Beowulf in a whole group setting. “Distribute the Collaborative Discussion Strategies handout. With the class, view the SyncTV discussion of Beowulf. 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: ‘01:57 01:57 Rebecca then challenges Liam’s assertion that Beowulf’s code of conduct is ridiculous and primitive. After Liam attempts to justify his judgment, Jessica and Rebecca try to change his mind by referring to the historical context. What two strategies does this mainly demonstrate?”
    • There is also a tool within this resource that illustrates how teachers can support students in learning about Formality of Speech. Teachers are directed to give the students the Formality of Speech handout. This resources explains that the type of language students use depends on their audience and purpose. Some will require formal language while others will require informal language. The directions then have students practice by doing the following: “Tell students to imagine that one of their good friends (audience) has asked for their opinion (purpose) about something, such as the latest movie they watched. What would they say to their friend? Have them turn to a partner and briefly give their opinion in casual conversation. Then change the audience and the purpose of the speaking situation. Tell students to imagine a teacher asking them to give the class (audience) a brief summary (purpose) of the movie. What would they say to the class? Have students turn to a partner and briefly provide a summary of the movie in more formal language appropriate for the classroom. Then ask them to reflect on the differences in the formality of their use of language in each scenario.”
    • One of the many documents that teachers are provided with is the Handout: Discussion Evaluation in which students are provided with questions that they can ask themselves as they reflect on the discussion in which they just participated. An example of this is under “Goals and Deadlines”: “Did my discussion group achieve the goal of the discussion? What did we accomplish in relation to the goal? If we need to meet again, what more do we need to accomplish?”
  • 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 3, The United States vs The Amistad: “In small groups or pairs, have students discuss the questions and inferences they made while reading. To help facilitate discussions, refer to Collaborative Discussions in the Speaking & Listening Handbook.” An example of the questions from this lesson is “Why does John Quincy Adams mention Thomas Hobbes in his oral argument?”
  • 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 4 during the Skill: Theme lesson of Wuthering Heights, students apply their understanding of the skill with reasons and evidence in small or whole group discussion: “After watching the Concept Definition Video, have students read the definition of theme. Either in small groups or as a whole class, use these questions to engage students in a discussion about theme.” An example of students applying an understanding of the skill to the model text is: “After students read the Model text, use these questions to facilitate a whole group discussion that helps students understand how to determine and analyze the theme of the passage: How does the Model for this passage start to go about finding the theme?”
  • 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 12 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.

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 4, “The Masque of the Red Death." The teacher is directed to separate students into small groups or pairs to research different facets of the plagues that affected medieval Europe and assigns or has them self-select a topic like the following: “The Black Death of the 1300s” or “Italy in the 1300s.”
  • 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 1 Close Read for The Canterbury Tales. 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: “One theme of the Wife of Bath’s tale involves true love. What can you infer about her attitude toward true love?” and “In the Wife of Bath's tale, what can you infer about the Wife’s attitude toward the connection between people’s social rank and how well they behave and how wise they are?”
  • 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 2, Hamlet. Teachers are instructed to lead a whole class discussion about the title and the driving question for the Blast, “What impact have Shakespeare’s plays had on the English language?” After students draft their initial responses to the driving question, they are separated into pairs and given questions like the following to discuss: “Are you surprised to learn that Shakespeare didn’t attend college? Does it matter?” and “Do the words and phrases listed in the Background sound like words you think of when you think about Shakespeare? Why or why not?”. 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.”

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.
2/2
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Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Grade 12 meet the criteria that materials include a mix of on-demand and process writing and short, focused projects. Each unit of study asks student to engage in both on-demand writing and process writing in a variety of forms, including full-length essays, short constructed responses, peer reviews and Blasts.

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

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

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

  • In Unit 2, during the study of Hamlet, students complete an on-demand writing task via Blast: Word Whiz. Students are given some information in regards to the blast to think about and discuss as a class or in small groups; then they are asked to use that discussion information to draft their initial response to the driving question, “What impact have Shakespeare’s plays had on the English language?”. 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 4, during the close read of “Young Goodman Brown,” students engage in a multi-step constructed response to the following prompt: “Discuss how Hawthorne uses descriptions of the setting to create an increasingly frightening mood in ‘Young Goodman Brown,’ up until the last three paragraphs of the story. Support your writing with at least five pieces of evidence from the text?” Students brainstorm about the setting 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 1 of the ELA Assessment PDF, students complete an Narrative Performance Task: “In your world history class, you are reading about how European explorers interacted with the indigenous peoples who lived in the lands the explorers visited on their travels. Your teacher tells you that some of these explorers, such as Marco Polo, maintained a respectful attitude as they observed new cultures. Others, such as the Spanish conquistador Hernán Cortés, sought to spread their own values and religious beliefs to the New World. Your teacher has assigned you to write a fictional historical narrative in which you imagine what might have happened if Marco Polo had visited an Aztec civilization that Hernán Cortés describes in a letter to his patron, King Charles V. For this task, you will be writing a fictional narrative based on details about these explorers and their personal experiences. Before you write your narrative, you will read sources from Marco Polo and Hernán Cortés that provide autobiographical accounts of their experiences. After you review these sources, you will answer some questions about them. Briefly scan the sources and the three questions that follow. Then, go back and read the sources carefully to gain the information you will need to answer the questions and write a narrative.”
  • In Unit 3, the Extended Writing Project focuses on argumentative writing. Students probe the unit’s essential question, “How did a diversity of views transform American society?”, as they write an argumentative essay proving why a specific text from the unit is the best representation of a key ideal of the United States today. Other lessons on the Extended Writing Prompt include skills lessons on thesis statements, supporting details, organization of argumentative writing, introductions, body paragraphs and transitions, conclusions, 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 discussing the arguments in the Declaration of Independence, evaluating the effectiveness of the structure of Democracy in America, and explaining how Mary Wollstonecraft used rhetoric to develop her central idea in A Vindication of the Rights of Woman.

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 12 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 12 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 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 do we express the complexities of being human?— as they write a literary analysis that focuses on the use of figurative language to reveal the feelings and actions of a speaker or character in a literary work. In response to the EWP prompt, students will examine closely how the unit selections reveal different aspects of the unit’s theme—The Human Condition—and reflect on life’s complexities. As students work through the Extended Writing Project, they are helped to understand what a literary analysis is, and why it is an important writing form. The unit’s selections provide an opportunity for students to analyze poetry, drama, novels, and nonfiction that treat comparable topics, themes, and characters. In writing a literary analysis, students must closely examine these texts to frame an argument about the works and their relationship to one another as well as their ongoing significance in the modern world.”
  • In Unit 3, in the Extended Writing Project, students write an argumentative essay that “...builds on what students previously learned about the writing form when they crafted a literary analysis in Unit 2. Students probe this unit’s central question—How did a diversity of views transform American society?—as they write an argumentative essay about a key ideal of the United States and the text from the unit that in the writer’s opinion best embodies that ideal. In responding to the EWP prompt, students examine closely how the unit selections provide information about the unit theme—An Exchange of Ideas—and reflect on ideals generally thought to be representative of American society. The unit’s fiction and nonfiction selections provide context for students as they begin their argumentative essays."
  • In Unit 4, the Extended Writing Project focuses on informative/explanatory writing. Students write a research paper that requires them to “...probe the unit’s theme and central question—Emotional Currents: How have the literary movements of the last two centuries affected us?—as they write a research paper about an author from the unit, providing information about the author’s life, work, and times. In their research papers, students will explain how the author’s text."

Indicator 1m

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 12 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 The Canterbury Tales, students are asked a short answer question that will require them to access the text in order to answer the question: “Why might the time of year that the pilgrims are traveling, as identified in the Prologue, be meaningful? Use textual evidence to support your answer.” 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 “On Monsieur’s Departure,” students are asked to think about the views of the speaker: “What can you infer about the speaker based on what is not said in the poem? How do the figures of speech shape your view of the speaker? What do the emotions of the speaker tell you about the human condition? Support your writing with textual evidence.”
  • In Unit 3, in the Full Text Study of Gulliver’s Travels, at the conclusion of reading the text, the students are to watch one or both of the movie adaptations. They then complete an essay in response to the prompt: “Write an essay discussing some of the challenges of adapting Swift’s epic novel to the screen, using evidence from one or both of the adaptations you watched. Which elements of Gulliver’s Travels are more difficult to translate to a visual medium? Which parts or sections of the novel do film and/or TV adaptations draw from more heavily? Why do you think this is so? Your essay should reference the film(s) as well as the text.”
  • In Unit 4, in the Close Read of “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner,” students respond to a prompt asking them to examine the mariner’s motivation. The prompt states, “Write at least 300 words explaining why the mariner is compelled to repeat his story. What is he trying to release by retelling it? Will he succeed? In your answer, cite examples of tone that support your explanation. Also touch on the role of the wedding guest.”
  • The Extended Writing Project in Unit 4 requires students to access the texts within the unit by having students write an informative essay. “Choose one author from this unit whom you’d like to know more about. Conduct a research project and write a formal research paper in which you provide information about the author’s life or the time period in which he or she lived, and the literary movement with which he or she is associated. Then explain how the author’s text from the unit is representative of the time period and literary movement as a whole.”

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 12 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 12 StudySync Grammar and Language Workbook is divided into five parts: grammar, usage, mechanics, vocabulary and spelling and composition. Each part has units that cover specific skills. For example, in Part 1 Grammar, Unit 3 focuses on phrases and includes lessons that cover learning about prepositional, participial, absolute, gerund, appositive, and infinitive phrases. Part 5, Composition, “contains lessons on basic writing skills such as writing effective sentences, building paragraphs, and paragraph ordering, areas some students may benefit from additional instruction as they develop their writing.”
  • The Grade 12 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.”. For example, in Part 2, Grammar, Usage and Mechanics, Chapter 9 focuses on “Diagramming Sentences” and contains lessons that cover different parts and types of sentences, including subjects and verbs, compound subjects and verbs, and direct and indirect objects. Students are given a pretest and told to “diagram each sentence.” Then the students go through the lessons practicing each type of diagram. After the lessons, students take the posttest that has them again “diagram sentences” with 20 new sentences.
  • The “Key Grammar Skills” under the Overview tab for Unit 3 shows that grammar lessons appear in the First Read lessons of Second Treatise of Government, Declaration of Independence, and Gulliver’s Travels and in the Extended Writing Project lessons Draft, Revise and Publish. The First Read of Second Treatise of Government by Helen Fisher has students complete a lesson on complex and compound-complex sentences and then has them “apply what they have learned by analyzing Locke’s syntax and sentence structure in the first paragraph Second Treatise of Government.” The Revise lesson in the Extended Writing Project focuses on syntax. Students learn about them and complete exercises. Then, students reread their own essays “and note any paragraphs or sections in which they use the same sentence structure or beginning words repeatedly. In the margin next to that section, have students write what effect that repetition has.”

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
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Criterion Rating Details

The instructional materials are organized around themes and build student’s reading comprehension of complex 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. 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.

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 12 meet the criteria that texts are organized around a theme to build students’ ability to read and comprehend complex texts independently and proficiently.

The instructional materials are organized around themes and build student’s reading comprehension of complex texts. The curriculum for Grade 12 is includes British and American literature so students make connections between British and American history, literature and culture. The themes of the four units are as follows: “Epic Heroes,” “The Human Condition,” “An Exchange of Ideas,” and “Emotional Currents.”

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 topic “Epic Heroes.” Students explore the characteristics of epic heroes as they read epic poetry, excerpts from novels, nonfiction, poems, and historical texts. Students read about the heroes in Beowulf, The Once and Future King, Le Morte d’Arthur and Lord of the Rings. Texts of different cultures are paired so “students not only better understand the Anglo-Saxon Period and the Middle Ages but also trace the continuity of ideas regarding national heroes and legends from the earliest English literature to the present time” (StudySync ELA Grade Level Overview Grade 12).
  • Unit 2 studies the topic of “The Human Condition” and how we express being human. Many of the texts are works from the English Renaissance, so historical information is shared to help students comprehend the more difficult texts, like Hamlet, in the unit. The unit begins with Sonnet 29 by Shakespeare, which shows how a person can have a positive impact on a person’s life and self-worth. Other selections include “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” by T. S. Eliot, two poems by Queen Elizabeth I, “The Passionate Shepherd to his Love” by Christopher Marlow and “The Nymph’s Reply to the Shepherd by Sir Walter Raleigh.
  • Unit 3 combines several selections to build student knowledge around the theme “An Exchange of Ideas.” Students “read literary works primarily from 17th and 18th century England and America, representing Puritanism and the Enlightenment, in order to learn about the political and philosophical ideas that led to the creation of the United States” (StudySync ELA Grade Level Overview Grade 12 29). Texts include, “A Model of Christian Charity” by John Winthrop, an excerpt from American Jezebel by Eve LaPlante, “To My Dear and Loving Husband” by Anne Bradstreet, and excerpts from the Second Treatise of Government by John Locke.
  • Unit 4’s theme is “Emotional Current.” Students “read literary works primarily from 19th and 20th century England and America, representing Romanticism, the Victorian Age, and the Modern Age, in order to learn about various literary movements and how they have affected our view of the world” (StudySync ELA Grade Level Overview Grade 12 43). The unit begins with Dark Romanticism and then moves into texts about marriage and society. Included in these are “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner” by Samuel Tayler Coleridge, “Young Goodman Brown” and “The Masque of the Red Death” by Nathaniel Hawthorne, and excerpts from Pride and Prejudice, The Glass Menagerie and Wuthering Heights.

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 12 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.

A detailed example from Unit 4, Emotional Currents, is shared below:

In Unit 4, “Emotional Currents” one of the texts is “Young Goodman Brown” by Nathaniel Hawthorne. 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:

  • “What is the reason for Young Goodman Brown's journey to the wooded area? Why might the devil be dressed in "decent attire" when he meets Brown?”
  • “If you stop reading three paragraphs before the end of the story, what information can help you predict how the night in the woods will change Young Goodman Brown?”

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:

  • “How does Goodman Brown change after his night in the woods? Support your answer with textual evidence.”
  • “Remembering that the prefix ir- is a variant of the Latin prefix in-, meaning “not,” and the Latin adjective suffix -ible means “capable of,” use the context clues provided in the passage to determine the meaning of irrepressible. Write your definition of “irrepressible” here and tell how you got it.”

In the Skill portion of this lesson, students learn how to understand setting. 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. In this lesson, students are taught in the “Identification and Application” section how the setting may be described explicitly or implicitly; that they need to look at key details of the story to determine the setting; and that the setting affects the mood and characters in the story. 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, and commenting on the effect the setting has on the text’s meaning. After reading the Model text, teachers lead a whole-group discussion using the following questions:

  • “How does the Model analyze the impact of the setting on the mood of the story?”
  • “Aside from the mood of the story, what else does the Model say may be affected by the sinister setting?”
  • “In the second part of the Model, what type of imagery is discussed as it relates to the description of the setting?”
  • “Based on the points made in the Model, what can you infer is an unusual element of the setting in ‘Young Goodman Brown’?”

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: What conclusion does Goodman Brown likely draw based on details of the setting in this section?”
  • “Part B: Which excerpt from the section supports the correct answer to Part A?”

During the Close Read portion of the lesson, students are given the opportunity to analyze the setting of a story. 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: Young Goodman Brown", include:

  • “Identify those aspects of the setting that Young Goodman Brown perceives to be realistic and those aspects that he perceives to be magical or otherwise peculiar. Why do you think the two are intermixed in the same story? How do they relate to the plot? Highlight evidence from the text and make annotations to explain your answers.”
  • “Analyze the role of trees as part of the setting of the story. Consider how Hawthorne describes them in various paragraphs. What might the trees represent, and what might the forest as a whole stand for? Support your answer with textual evidence and make annotations to explain your answer choices.”
  • “Compare and contrast Goodman Brown’s attitude and behavior when he is in Salem village at the start of the story with his attitude and behavior in the forest in the paragraphs that follow. Highlight evidence from the text and make annotations to explain your response.”
  • “Discuss how the setting in “Young Goodman Brown” helps to create the mood of the story and how the setting affects the protagonist. Support your answer with textual evidence and make annotations to explain your answer choices.”
  • “Recall the unit’s Essential Question: How have the literary movements of the last two centuries affected us? In what kinds of contemporary stories do we typically see a struggle between good and evil, similar to the one in “Young Goodman Brown”? How does the setting help develop this struggle, in both “Young Goodman Brown” and these contemporary stories? Highlight similar elements in Hawthorne’s story and these contemporary books or movies.”

The text-dependent writing prompt for this lesson is:

  • “Discuss how Hawthorne uses descriptions of the setting to create an increasingly frightening mood in ‘Young Goodman Brown,’ up until the last three paragraphs of the story. Support your writing with at least five pieces of evidence from the text.”

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 12 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, in the Close Read lesson of Le Morte d’Arthur, students write a constructive response analyzing the character of King Arthur. Within their answer they need to explain how “his actions reflect heroes from other stories,” and then “make a claim as to which traits make Arthur an archetypal hero.”
  • In Unit 2, towards the middle of the unit students encounter the poem “The Passionate Shepherd to His Love” and the coordinating poem “The Nymph’s Reply to the Shepherd.” In these two poems, students are asked to analyze each poem separately and then apply that understanding to a question that relates to both poems: “Analyze how Christopher Marlowe and Sir Walter Raleigh created different interpretations of the same story in each of their poems. How does Raleigh’s poem challenge the meaning and tone of Marlowe’s poem? Evaluate which poem is a more effective interpretation. Support your writing with textual evidence from both poems.”
  • In Unit 3, students study the poem “To My Dear and Loving Husband” by Anne Bradstreet. While completing their Close Read, students are told to “Recall the Essential Question: How did a diversity of views transform American society? From reading Bradstreet’s poem, what can you infer about Puritan colonial women’s views of marriage and God? What do you think Bradstreet’s fellow (or sister) colonists may have gained from reading her poems? Support your answer.”
  • In Unit 4, students read “D-Day Prayer,” a speech by President Franklin Roosevelt. During the Close Read lesson, students read and annotate the speech. One of the questions asks them to explain how the “‘D-Day Prayer’ [is] a rejection of the ideals of modernism?"

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 12 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 focuses on the narrative form. Students write a narrative about a hero or heroine modeled on the style of Le Morte d’Arthur or Beowulf. In preparation for the culminating writing activity, students practice skills necessary for narrative writing. For example, in the Skill: Narrative Techniques lesson, students read the definition and then have a small group or whole class discussion about narrative techniques. Questions, such as “Why would an author adjust the pacing of a story? How do authors achieve pacing and what effect can it have?” are included in the teacher edition to activate thinking. After reading the model, students are instructed to write a short scene that shows the point of rising action in their narrative.
  • In Unit 2, students study classic works of literature and informational texts as they think about how we express the complexities of being human. The culminating task asks students to write a literary analysis essay that requires them to analyze two to three texts from this unit and examine how the “author uses figurative language and figures of speech to help readers understand a speaker’s or character’s feelings and actions.” The lesson plan for the Extended Writing provides structured supports to help the students complete this writing. Discussion questions like the following are offered: “Is there an example text that will help you write your essay?” These questions will provide the teacher with information needed to determine the students’ readiness to complete the assignment.
  • In Unit 3, students read informational text, poetry, and drama that feature different human experiences that explore the essential question: how did people redefine the word ‘American’ during the 20th century? The unit’s Extended Writing Project requires students to choose two texts and then write an argumentative essay that makes a claim about how a diversity of views transforms American society. 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 12 “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 analyzing the text structure and the metaphor ‘a city on a hill’ in John Winthrop’s sermon ‘A Model of Christian Charity’ and evaluating Benjamin Franklin’s argument in ‘Remarks Concerning the Savages of North America.’ The prompts also enable students to develop their thinking about American ideals in preparation for their argumentative essays.” The Unit Blasts also support this writing assignment by looking at topics such as “what does it mean to be a feminist today?”
  • In Unit 4, the Extended Writing Project requires students to write an informative/explanatory essay that has students write a formal research paper on one author from the unit. The paper needs to “provide information about the author’s life or the time period in which he or she lived, and the literary movement with which he or she is associated. Then explain how the author’s text from the unit is representative of the time period and literary movement as a whole.” 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 12 “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 analyzing how Hawthorne uses descriptions of setting to create an increasingly frightening mood in ‘Young Goodman Brown’ or formulating an argument about whether the Bergson boys should stay on the prairie or leave for Chicago in O Pioneers! The prompts also enable students to develop their understanding and appreciation of the literary selections before they select an author to research.” The unit Blasts also support this research paper by looking at topics such as “what mistakes from previous generations are we still paying the price for today?”

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 12 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 12 of the Grade 12 Vocabulary Workbook, there are three lessons: Lesson 44: Word Usage, Lesson 45: Prefixes that Show Quantity or Size, Lesson 46: Words from Technology. The words in Lesson 44 “will help [students] gain a perspective on modern life, with all its excitement, opportunity, and uncertainty”; in Lesson 45, all words contain the prefixes macro-, pan-, omni-, oli-, ambi-, and poly-”; in Lesson 46, the words are “technological words that everyone needs to know and understand” (110-114).
  • On the Unit 1 Overview Page, the Academic Vocabulary heading has two links: Academic Vocabulary Lesson 61 and Lesson 62. Lesson 61 contains ten words that will “help [students] describe time relationships,” like forthcoming, cease and suspend. Students read the definitions on the Define page, such as “forthcoming, adj, of the relatively near future; adj: at ease in talking to others.” Then they read the words in example sentences on the Model page - “They asked for patience and said the wait wouldn’t be long since the release of the documents was forthcoming.” 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 an example and a non-example of each vocabulary word.”
  • In the Unit 2 First Read lesson of “Sonnet 29,” 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 “beweep” by thinking aloud and asking questions - “I know the word "weep"means "to cry," so "weep"may mean something similar.” Students then predict the rest of the words on their own, with a partner or in small groups.
  • The Skill Lesson for “United States v. the Amistad” in Unit 3 includes a Concept Definition video that defines reasons and evidence. After the video, there is a small group or whole class discussion about the terms with questions like, “What are some words and phrases that relate to reasons?” Students then watch a SkillsTV video that has teens discussing the domain specific vocabulary. While watching, the teacher stops periodically and asks discussion questions like, “Katie notes the power of Adams's reasoning. Describe the type of reasoning discussed here in your own words.” Students are then taken to the model and asked to identify where the Model applies the strategies of reasons and evidence. After an individual analysis, the teacher leads a whole group discussion that helps students understand how to analyze and evaluate reasons and evidence with questions like, “The Model notes Adams's use of deductive reasoning. How does this type of reasoning make an argument "hit home"? Finally, students are asked a comprehension question to assess their understanding of the domain specific vocabulary - “What reasoning leads Justice Story to the conclusion that the Africans should be freed?”
  • The Unit 4 Close Read of an excerpt from Mrs. Dalloway 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 12 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 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 1, students are asked to consider the following: “Where does history end and legend begin?” Students are asked to discuss, investigate through some research, and then respond to the question in a Blast post of their own using 140 characters or fewer. Mid-way through the unit, students are asked to read a selection from Le Morte d’Arthur and then they are asked to do the following in the First Read: “At the end of the selection, the author says that King Arthur gets on a barge and goes ‘into the Vale of Avalon.’ What is really happening in this scene? How do you know?” This question leads the students through the process of analyzing a complex text in order to explain what is happening in the text. 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 analyze the character of King Arthur. “What words and phrases does the author use to describe his words and actions? In what way do his actions reflect heroes from other stories? Then make a claim as to which traits make Arthur an archetypal hero. Use your understanding of story elements to build your analysis.” This supports the students in developing, through writing, a stronger understanding of the hero, and continue to explore history and legends. At the end of the unit, students are asked to write a narrative about a hero modeled on the style of Le Morte d’Arthur or Beowulf, which builds on the student’s previous work and study in the unit.
  • In Unit 2, the Extended Writing Project focuses on a literary analysis argumentative writing, and instruction focuses on an introduction to this form. The Extended Writing Project provides a Student Model that contains the essential features of the literary analysis essay and offers an example of a structured academic grade-level response to the prompt. The Student Model is used to help students better understand how the elements work together to create an effective literary analysis, to identify and label the seven features of literary analysis writing (clear thesis, logical organizational structure, supporting details/textual evidence, cohesive relationships between ideas that build an argument, rhetorical devices to support assertions, citations and sources, and a conclusion), and to think about how they can apply these ideas to their own writing. Direct instruction is provided on writing thesis statements, organization, supporting details, introductions, body paragraphs and transitions, conclusions, and sources and citations.
  • 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 eight features of argumentative writing (logical organization, clear thesis, relevant supporting details, transitions, rhetorical devices that support assertions, formal style, citations of sources, and a conclusion), and to think about how they can apply these ideas to their own writing. Direct instruction is provided on writing thesis statements, supporting details, organization, introductions, body paragraphs and transitions, conclusions, and sources and citations.
  • In Unit 4, 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 nine features of informative writing (clear thesis, credible sources with formal citations, relevant facts, analysis of the details, logical organization, precise language and domain-specific vocabulary, formal and objective style, conclusion, and a works cited page), 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, introductions and conclusions, body paragraphs and transitions, and sources and citations.

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 12 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 12 materials include multiple opportunities for students to engage in research activities and present their findings. Each unit begins with a Big Idea Blast that gives students their first opportunity to draft a response to the driving question of the unit. The Blast includes multi-media research links that are related to the theme, and as students interact with the research links in the Blasts throughout the unit, they formulate a broader understanding of the theme, the texts in the unit, and the issues that surround them. The First Read of many selections in the unit includes a Build Background activity that asks students to work collaboratively on a small scale research inquiry that complements the text they are reading.

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

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

  • The Big Idea Blast in Unit 1 has students considering the unit’s essential question, “Where does history end and legend begin?” Included in this are research links that have the students explore different the impact of myths, including the clips “Joseph Campbell on the Importance of Mythology” and “George Lucas on Mentors and Faith, and the text “The Use of Myth in U.S. History.”
  • An example of Build Background can be found in the Unit 4 First Read of “The Masque of the Red Death” by Edgar Allan Poe. The students work in pairs or small groups to “research different aspects of the plagues that affected medieval Europe.” Each group or pair is assigned a topic from the following: The Black Death of the 1300s, Italy in the 1300s, Medieval medical practices, Depictions of the plague in literature.
  • The Research Project in Unit 3 has students research “How did we get to where we are today? What do you think was the most significant factor in the path we’ve taken? Choose one event, person, or idea and argue why it had the most significant impact on making American society what it is today.” 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 argumentative essay that argues why a particular text in the unit is the best embodiment of one of the “key ideals of the United States today, such as equality, self-sufficiency, individuality, and so on.”

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 12 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 Epic Heroes. Additional texts include The Myths and Legends of Ancient Greece and Rome: Theseus, by E.M. Berens, The Odyssey, by Homer, Ulysses, by Alfred Lord Tennyson, Epic of Gilgamesh, Ozymandias, by Percy Bysshe Shelley, Idylls of the King, by Alfred Lord Tennyson, Self-Made Men, by Frederick Douglass, Into Thin Air, by Jon Krakauer, Richard III, by William Shakespeare 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 The Human Condition and Hamlet. “The Young Adult novel Falling for Hamlet presents Ophelia’s perspective in an updated telling of her involvement with Hamlet and the royal family. Meanwhile, the nonfiction book Reviving Ophelia: Saving the Selves of Adolescent Girls, emblemizes [sic] Hamlet’s tragic heroine in an analysis of the social pressures faced by young women in a post-feminist age. Tom Stoppard’s absurdist 1966 play, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, sees the events of Hamlet from the ill-informed perspective of two of the more minor characters in Shakespeare’s tragedy. To further delve into the world inhabited by Hamlet’s deceased father, students will find an intriguing and engaging viewpoint in the full text of Liz Winter’s For the Love of Spirit: A Medium Memoir” (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 Don Quixote by Cervantes, The Time Machine by H.G. Wells, The Chronicles of Narnia series by C.S. Lewis, The Lost Horizon by James Hilton, and The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams.
  • 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 12 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 12 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 12 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 12 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 4 First Read of “Young Goodman Brown,” the lesson plan is separated into three sections: introduction, read, and Think. The Introduction of the lesson has students read the introduction to “Young Goodman Brown,” as the introduction provides the context for the story. Students then brainstorm in a small group what they know about already know about colonial Massachusetts or the Puritans. The Read portion of the lesson begins with students learning the meaning of archaic and specialized expressions that might interfere with student comprehension. Students then read the text with the purpose of predicting the definition of the ten bold vocabulary words. Included in this are directions for how the teacher can model using context clues to define unfamiliar words with a script included, “When I first look at this sentence, I can see that its structure is different from what I am used to seeing.” Next, students read for comprehension. Again, the teacher models a specific comprehension skill; for “Young Goodman Brown” students will use making, revising, and confirming predictions. The lesson plan again has a possible script for the teacher, ”When I read the first two paragraphs, I learn that a young man is setting off on a journey, and he is leaving his wife at home in Salem village. What kind of journey will he be making?” After the modeling, the students read and annotate the text on their own with the focus on comprehension and vocabulary, and then discuss their questions and inferences in a small or large group. After this, the teacher moves on to the “Think” portion of the lesson. Students answer the Think question and complete two peer reviews. Then, the teacher separates the students into heterogeneous small groups and gives them a prompt to discuss. 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 “Young Goodman Brown” is to take place on Day 7 along with a couple of group presentations of the Research Project. According to this pacing guide, students are to complete multiple group discussions, read “Young Goodman Brown” at least twice, practice a comprehension strategy, and answer five Think questions. This is not a reasonable amount of time for the expectations of the lesson.

Indicator 3b

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 12 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 tone, setting, compare and contrast, character, and/or author’s purpose and author’s point of view skill lessons. Each unit focuses on developing specific skills. Some of these skills are repeated throughout the unit to ensure students have plenty of practice with those skills...if you are in a rush and looking to cut some of the content in a unit, you can eliminate one or two of these skill lessons and feel confident your students will still be exposed to the information they need about story elements or informational text elements."

Indicator 3c

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 12 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 3, students study the skill of Dramatic Elements while reading “Liberty Tree.” 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 12 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 4, in the First Read of Pride and Prejudice, students answer Think questions that are aligned to Common Core State Standards. For example, students answer the following question: ”What event has Mrs. Bennet so excited at the beginning of the excerpt and why? What does she want Mr. Bennet to do in response to this event? Cite textual evidence to support your response.” This question aligns to CCSS.RL.11-12.1. In the Close Read of Mrs. Dalloway, students answer the following writing prompt: “How does the tone of Mrs. Dalloway help readers better understand the thoughts and actions of Mrs. Dalloway and the other characters in the novel? How does the author use tone to convey different points of view? Use your understanding of tone, point of view, and characterization to analyze the excerpt. Support your writing with evidence from the text.” This prompt aligns to RL.11-12.1, RL.11-12.3, RL.11-12.4, W.11-12.10, W.11-12.2.A, W.11-12.2.B, 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 12 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 12 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 12 meet the criteria that materials contain a teacher’s edition with ample and useful annotations and suggestions on how to present the content in the student edition and ancillary materials. Where applicable, materials include teacher guidance for the use of embedded technology to support and enhance student learning.

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

  • In Unit 1, in the Close Read for The Canterbury Tales, 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 section, ask questions about how textual evidence leads to making inferences, identify examples of figurative language and explain how they relate to themes in the text, note unfamiliar vocabulary, and capture their reaction to the ideas and examples in the text. As they reread the text, remind students to use the comprehension strategy of summarizing that they learned in the First Read.”
  • In Unit 2, in the First Read of "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock,” the teacher is provided with the following embedded Tech Infusion activity: “Build Background. In pairs or small groups, ask students to use devices to research modernism and changes in the early 20th century that prompted it. Assign each group a topic to investigate: Modernism in visual art (cubism, Dadaism, surrealism), Modernism in poetry, and Technological changes between 1890 and 1930, and Literature and World War I.”
  • In Unit 3, in the Skill Lesson: Media of United States v.The Amistad, the teacher is provided with the following extended Tech Infusion activity: “Extend Tech Infusion Comparing Media. Have students think of a recent event or activity for which they have digital photographs on a computer or device. First, have them write a brief summary of the event or activity. Then, have them create a brief, 30-second film using Animoto (http://animoto.com). Have students compare their written summary with their brief video and discuss their findings. How are the messages in each different? How does the medium influence or cause the differences?”
  • In Unit 4, in the Skill Lesson: Theme for Wuthering Heights, the teacher 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 theme. Why do fables often state the theme at the end of the text? How are fables different from novels? How can analyzing the structure of a text help you determine its theme? When is it important to rely on textual evidence to determine theme? Think about another text you have read in this class. Ask yourself, What is the text really about? What factors help you determine the answer to this question?”

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.
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Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Grade 12 meet the criteria that materials contain a teacher’s edition that contains full, adult-level explanations and examples of the more advanced literacy concepts so that teachers can improve their own knowledge of the subject, as necessary.

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

  • In Unit 1, in the First Read of Grendel, the teacher is provided with the following information in the lesson plan to help students access complex text: “To help students understand the main character of Grendel and the internal and external conflicts he faces, use the following ideas to provide scaffolded instruction for a first reading of the more complex features of this text: Genre - This is a narrative retelling of the epic poem Beowulf. Students who are already familiar with the events and characters of Beowulf may be confused by the change in these story elements in this excerpt. In this version, Grendel is not the cruel beast he is in the epic, and Hrothgar's men are not the epic heroes readers may expect them to be. Connection of Ideas - The characterization of Grendel as the first-person narrator of this retelling is complex. He can be seen as both a protagonist and an antagonist in the text. He is the main character, but he is also critical of and trapped by his own monstrousness. For example, he says "My heart was light with Hrothgar's goodness, and leaden with grief at my own bloodthirsty ways." This juxtaposition may be challenging for readers who expect Grendel to be a cold-hearted villain. Specific Vocabulary - Complex vocabulary, such as belligerent and posturing, and figurative language, such as "the thought took seed in Hrothgar's mind," may present a challenge to some readers. Prior Knowledge - Students who are not familiar with the characters and plot of Beowulf may struggle to understand the characters and plot of Grendel. Encourage these students to revisit Beowulf, or provide them with a short summary.”
  • In Unit 2, in the Close Read of Utopia, the teacher is provided with the following information in the lesson plan to help students access complex text: “This excerpt from Utopia discusses the marriage customs of that society, along with those of the author Sir Thomas More's society. More presents the "absurdities" of Utopia, which in truth, point out the absurdities of his own society.”
  • In Unit 3, in the Grade 12 ELA Overview, the teacher is provided with the following context to help students access the complex text, A Vindication of the Rights of Woman: “Students may be surprised that an essay billed as feminist would acknowledge that women are physically weaker than men and focus on women as wives and mothers. Explain that this text was written for a male audience and that Wollstonecraft needed to convince those in power that improvements in women’s education would also benefit them.”
  • In Unit 4, in the Grade 12 ELA Overview, the teacher is provided with the following context to help students access the complex text, The Glass Menagerie: Some students may wonder why Amanda wants Laura to nd a husband rather than a job and why meeting men is limited to receiving “gentleman callers.” Explain that Amanda was raised in the South in the early 1900s and has traditional views about marriage and gender roles.”

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 12 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 9 meet the criteria that materials contain explanations of the instructional approaches of the program and identification of the research based strategies.

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

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

Indicator 3j

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

The materials reviewed for Grade 12 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 12 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 12 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 12 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 4, in the First Read of O Pioneers!, students answer the following questions: “Highlight and annotate pieces of textual evidence from Part I, Chapter IV that suggest many settlers wished they hadn’t moved west. Do these details support the inference that no one should have moved to the frontier? Why or why not?” and “Use context to determine the meaning of demoralized as it is used in O Pioneers! Write your definition of ‘demoralized’ and tell how you arrived at it.” 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 12 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 12 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.
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Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Grade 12 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 “The Full-text Unit of Hamlet includes several opportunities for further reading in the complete texts of excerpted books. The Young Adult novel Falling for Hamlet presents Ophelia’s perspective in an updated telling of her involvement with Hamlet and the royal family. Meanwhile, the non ction book Reviving Ophelia: Saving the Selves of Adolescent Girls, emblemizes Hamlet’s tragic heroine in an analysis of the social pressures faced by young women in a post-feminist age. Tom Stoppard’s absurdist 1966 play, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, sees the events of Hamlet from the ill-informed perspective of two of the more minor characters in Shakespeare’s tragedy. To further delve into the world inhabited by Hamlet’s deceased father, students will nd an intriguing and engaging viewpoint in the full text of Liz Winter’s For the Love of Spirit: A Medium Memoir.”
  • In Unit 3, the Core Program Guide suggests that “Independent reading linked to Gulliver’s Travels can draw on a wealth of classic travel adventures as well as more recent satirical works. The travels of Voltaire’s title character in Candide are not as fantastic as Gulliver’s, but just as instructive and sharply satirical. The similarly naive and uniquely eccentric hero of Cervantes’s Don Quixote encounters giants of his own making in his self-glori ed, knight-errant travels. Not as much satire as a different sort of travel adventure drives H.G. Wells’s classic story of brutish Warlocks and gentle Eloi in the distant future, The Time Machine. Aiming more for moral instruction than social lampooning are the Chronicles of Narnia series by C.S. Lewis and the elusive utopia of Shangri-La in James Hilton’s Lost Horizon. Current books mixing travel fantasy and satire abound. British author Terry Pratchett has written a series set in a fanciful, archaic, near-Earth called Discworld (it’s at), and uses it to skewer any number of earthly targets, from death (Mort) to the postal system (Going Postal). Another modern classic follows a pair of Gulliveresque voyagers around the Milky Way in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams. Occupying a slyly entertaining niche of their own are the satirical novels of Kurt Vonnegut, notably Slaughterhouse-Five and The Sirens of Titan.”

Criterion 3o - 3r

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 12 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
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 12 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 12 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 12 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 2, the Access Path’s Beyond section for Brave New World offers students a Thoughts vs. Actions. Advanced students are asked to work in pairs or small groups and “complete the Thoughts vs. Actions chart on the Access 3 handout, referring to the SyncTV video as needed to clarify their answers. Sample answers appear at the end of this lesson plan.”

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 12 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.

Criterion 3s - 3v

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 12 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
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 12 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
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 12 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
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 12 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 12 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
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 12 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
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 12 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 3, in the Blast for A Vindication of the Rights of Woman, students consider what it means to be a feminist today, and the teacher is directed to ask the students to “make three columns, one for the Blast Background, one for themselves, and one for someone they know. Start with the Background and have them fill in what the Blast suggests feminism means. After they've finished that, have them apply the question to themselves to begin developing a definition of what feminism means to them. Lastly, have them think about someone specific they know and what that person would say about feminism.”
  • In Unit 4, in the Blast for “The Masque of the Red Death," students consider why people enjoy supernatural stories, and the teacher is directed to ask the students to: “make three columns and label them "Character/Creature," "Frightening," and "Fascinating." Start with the first column, and have students fill in the name of a specific supernatural character (e.g., Dracula) or a type of supernatural creature (e.g., vampires). Then have them list reasons why that creature is both frightening and fascinating.”

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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