Alignment: Overall Summary

The Grade 5 Fishtank ELA materials meet the expectations for alignment. The materials include high-quality texts, questions, and tasks that provide strong learning opportunities in most areas.  

Students engage in writing opportunities spread across all text types and genres called for in the standards, including daily, on-demand writing. Process writing is found primarily in end-of-unit tasks. The materials include explicit grammar instruction of all grammar standards and consistent application of the grammar standards in context. Vocabulary instruction within the program do not fully align to the expectations of the standards. There is limited instruction and opportunities to practice grade-level phonics, word analysis, and word recognition that follows a research-based progression. Instruction and practice opportunities for oral and silent reading fluency are present, however, support for reading of prose and poetry with attention to rate, accuracy, and expression, as well as direction for students to apply reading skills when productive struggle is necessary is minimal. There is no evidence of assessments for phonics and word recognition beyond the opportunities provided to inform instructional adjustments. Materials do include multiple assessments in fluency.

Alignment

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Meets Expectations

Gateway 1:

Text Quality and Complexity

0
20
37
42
37
37-42
Meets Expectations
21-36
Partially Meets Expectations
0-20
Does Not Meet Expectations

Gateway 2:

Building Knowledge

0
15
28
32
30
28-32
Meets Expectations
16-27
Partially Meets Expectations
0-15
Does Not Meet Expectations

Usability

|

Partially Meets Expectations

Not Rated

Gateway 3:

Usability

0
15
23
25
18
23-25
Meets Expectations
16-22
Partially Meets Expectations
0-15
Does Not Meet Expectations

Gateway One

Text Quality and Complexity and Alignment to the Standards with Tasks and Questions Grounded in Evidence

Meets Expectations

+
-
Gateway One Details

The Grade 5 materials include high-quality, full-length appropriately complex anchor texts as well as routines, monitoring support, and a recommended list of texts for independent reading that work together to move students toward mastery of grade-level reading expectations.

Text-centered questions and tasks, including evidence-based writing, speaking, and listening, engage students in meaningful literacy experiences. Students engage in writing opportunities spread across all text types and genres called for in the standards, including daily, on-demand writing. Process writing is found primarily in end-of-unit tasks.The materials include explicit grammar instruction of all grammar standards and consistent application of the grammar standards in context. The materials include robust and regular routines for the introduction of vocabulary in the context of instruction; however, the vocabulary may not always be reinforced in writing or speaking and may not be applied across multiple texts. 

Within the program, students receive limited instruction and opportunities to practice grade-level phonics, word analysis, and word recognition that follows a research-based progression. There is an included structural analysis routine designed to help teachers support students with multisyllabic words, but the materials lack daily lesson plans in this area with targeted words for teachers to use for instruction. Students receive instruction and practice opportunities for oral and silent reading fluency; however, support for reading of prose and poetry with attention to rate, accuracy, and expression, as well as direction for students to apply reading skills when productive struggle is necessary is minimal. There is no evidence of assessments for phonics and word recognition beyond the opportunities provided to inform instructional adjustments. Materials do include multiple assessments in fluency.

Criterion 1a - 1e

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.

18/18
+
-
Criterion Rating Details

The Grade 5 materials include high-quality, full-length anchor texts, including mythology, fables, realistic fiction, novels, informational science, history, and social studies texts. The texts are appropriately complex for instruction and provide increasingly challenging opportunities for students to grow their literacy skills over the course of the year. Additionally, routines, monitoring support, and a recommended list of texts for independent reading work together to encourage a volume of reading that will help students grow toward grade level reading mastery.

Indicator 1a

Anchor texts are of high quality, worthy of careful reading, and consider a range of student interests.

4/4
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Grade 5 meet the criteria for Indicator 1a. 

The materials incorporate an assortment of informational and literary texts that are of publishable quality. The literary units feature full-length published texts of high quality by award-winning authors. Throughout the science and social studies units, there are a multitude of published texts that are informative and of high-interest for students. Texts are diverse, well-balanced, and accessible for multiple purposes. Anchor texts encompass a variation of genres and range of topics that would be appealing and engaging to students. Several texts contain engaging pictures, vivid illustrations, character relationships and motives, and rich vocabulary.

Anchor texts are of high-quality and consider a range of student interests, are well-crafted, content-rich, and engage students at their grade level. For example:

  • In Literature Unit 1, students read Seedfolks by Newbery Medal winner, Paul Flesichman. This text brings together perspectives from a variety of cultures.  

  • In Literature Unit 3, students read the anchor text Return to Sender by Julia Alvarez. This unit and text deepen students' understanding of immigration and immigrant rights. 

  • In Literature Unit 5, students read One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia. This Newbery Honor novel addresses themes of the Black Panthers and the Civil Rights movement and is of high-interest and appropriate for students in Grade 5.  

  • In Literature Unit 6, students read the award-winning text A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle.

  • In Science and Social Studies Unit 1, students read the text Trash Vortex: How Plastic Pollution is Choking the World’s Oceans by Danielle Smith-Llera. In this text, students learn about the problems associated with plastic and examine solutions to reduce plastic waste. 

  • In Science and Social Studies Unit 2, students read the published book La Cause: The Migrant Farmworkers' Story by Dana Catharine de Ruiz and Richard Larios. This text describes the efforts in the 1960s of Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta. 

  • In Science and Social Studies Unit 3, students read the texts Witnesses to Freedom: Young People Who Fought for Civil Rights by Belinda Rochelle, Freedom’s Children: Young Civil Rights Activists Tell Their Own Stories by Ellen S. Levine, Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice by Phillip Hoose, Turning 15 on the Road to Freedom: My Story of the 1965 Selma Voting Rights March by Lynda Blackmon Lowery, and Selma, Lord, Selma: Girlhood Memories of the Civil Rights Days by Frank Sikora. This unit uses multiple anchor texts to help students understand the Civil Rights Movement through the eyes of the youth. 

  • In Science and Social Studies Unit 4, students read the published text The Mighty Mars Rovers: The Incredible Adventures of Spirit and Opportunity by award-winning freelance author Elizabeth Rusch.

Indicator 1b

Materials reflect the distribution of text types and genres required by the standards at each grade level.

4/4
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Grade 5 meet the criteria for Indicator 1b. 

The materials contain an even distribution of literature and informational texts across Grade 3. Implementation of both the Literature and the Science and Social Studies Units must occur in order for there to be a 50/50 distribution. There is a variety of text types found throughout the year including articles, novels, factsheets, graphic novels, science fiction, realistic fiction, informational science, history, and social studies texts.

Materials reflect the distribution of text types/genres required by the grade-level standards.

  • Examples of literary texts include, but are not limited to:

    • In Literature Unit 1, students read the realistic fiction text Seedfolks by Paul Fleischman.

    • In Literature Unit 3, students read the realistic fiction novel Return to Sender by Julia Alvarez.

    • In Literature Unit 4, students read the realistic fiction novel Hatchet by Gary Paulsen and the poem “The Road Not Taken” by Robert Frost.

    • In Literature Unit 6, students read the science fiction text A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle and the graphic novel of the same text.

  • Examples of informational texts include, but are not limited to:

    • In Science and Social Studies Unit 1, students read the informational text Trash Vortex: How Plastic Pollution is Choking the World’s Oceans by Danielle Smith-Llera. 

    • In Science and Social Studies Unit 2, students read the informational text La Causa: The Migrant Farmworkers; Story by Dana Catharine de Ruiz and Richard Larios and the biography Cesar Chavez: A Photographic Essay by Ilan Stavans.

    • In Science and Social Studies Unit 3, students read the informational text Witnesses to Freedom: Young People Who Fought for Civil Rights by Belinda Rochelle. Students also read the article “American Slavery: Separating Fact from Myth” by Daina Ramey Berry from The Conversation. 

    • In Literature Unit 3, students read multiple excerpts from The Black Panther - Vol. 2 and Vol. 3.

    • In Science and Social Studies Unit 4, students read the informational text The Mighty Mars Rovers: The Incredible Adventures of Spirit and Opportunity by Elizabeth Ruch.

Materials reflect a 50/50 balance of informational and literary texts. For example:

  • There are six Literature units. Over the course of the 164 instructional days for these units, there are eight texts, including five novels.

  • There are four Science and Social Studies units. Over the course of 134 instructional days for these units, there are eight texts. 

  • According to the Pacing Guide, the Science and Social Studies Units are taught in tandem with the Literature Units to ensure that students receive a balance of literary and informational texts throughout Grade 5.

Indicator 1c

Core/Anchor texts have the appropriate level of complexity for the grade according to documented quantitative analysis, qualitative analysis, and relationship to their associated student task. Documentation should also include rationale for educational purpose and placement in the grade level.

4/4
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Grade 5 meet the criteria for Indicator 1c.

The materials include texts that are at the appropriate level of complexity based on the quantitative levels, qualitative analysis, and associated task. Some texts are outside of the quantitative grade band; however, the qualitative features make them appropriate for Grade 5 students and/or their task and/or purpose make them complex for Grade 5. In each unit, there is a list of core texts, which contains the Lexile level. In addition, the publisher also provides a Text Selection Rationale for each unit. This rationale justifies placement in the grade as well as a detailed analysis of qualitative features. In addition, it provides information on why the text was selected. 

Anchor texts have the appropriate level of complexity for the grade according to quantitative and qualitative analysis and relationship to their associated student task. For example:

  • In Literature Unit 1, students read the core text Seedfolks by Paul Fleischman (710L). The publisher acknowledges this lower quantitative level and explains that “the qualitative analysis, specifically the complex levels of meaning and text structure, suggest that the novel is more appropriate in the 4–5 grade band.” The text is used to prepare students to use narrative structure as they write their own chapter using imagined experiences similar to the text. 

  • In Literature Unit 5, students read the core text One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia (750L). The publisher justifies that this text is appropriate for Grade 5 because of the qualitative measures, “particularly the knowledge demands and vocabulary/sentence structure.” In addition, this core text is supported by a series of moderately complex poems and informational documents centered on the Civil Rights Movement. Tasks focus on determining theme in core and supporting texts, comparing unit texts, and analyzing the development of theme.

  • In Science and Social Studies Unit 1, students read Trash Vortex: How Plastic Pollution is Choking the World’s Oceans by Danielle Smith-Llera (1120L). Qualitative measures of the text, including the engaging and relevant topic, make it moderately complex for the grade level. The text builds knowledge of world ocean pollution, including the history of plastic and how it ends up in the ocean. 

  • In Science and Social Studies Unit 3, students read several texts including Witness to Freedom: Young People Who Fought for Civil Rights by Belinda Rochelle (1040L),, Freedom’s Children: Young Civil Rights Activists Tell Their Own Stories by Ellen S. Levine (760L), Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice by Phillip Hoose (1000L), and Turning 15 on the Road to Freedom: My Story of the 1965 Selma Voting Rights March by Lynda Blackmon Lowery (780L). These texts have a variety of qualitative features including heavy knowledge demands, first person accounts, and simple text structures. The texts build knowledge of the Civil Rights movement including motivation and leaders. 

Anchor texts and series of texts connected to them are accompanied by an accurate text complexity analysis and a rationale for educational purpose and placement in the grade level. For example:

  • In Literature Unit 2, students read The Breadwinner by Deborah Ellis (710L). The Text Selection Rationale acknowledges that the text is in the 2-3 grade band but explains that “the qualitative analysis, specifically the complex knowledge demands, suggest that the novel is more appropriate in the 4-5 grade band.”  

  • In Literature Unit 5, students read several texts including Julie of the Wolves by Jean Craighead George (860L) and Hatchet by Gary Paulsen (1020L). According to the Text Selection Rationale “the majority of the texts in the unit have moderately complex conventionality, vocabulary, and sentence structure.” 

  • In Science and Social Studies Unit 2, students read La Causa: The Migrant Farmworkers’ Story by Dana Catharine de Ruiz and Richard Larios (no Lexile); however, the Text Selection Rationale explains that the “qualitative measures support the text’s placement as part of the unit.” It explains that the text structure is straightforward but the knowledge demands are very complex.

  • In Science and Social Studies Unit 4, students read the book The Mighty Mars Rovers: The Incredible Adventures of Spirit and Opportunity by Elizabeth Rusch (950L). The Text Selection Rationale explains that the text is appropriate: “With a Lexile of 950, the quantitative measures place the core text in the fifth-grade band level. Additionally, the qualitative measures, particularly the text structure, illustrations and graphics, vocabulary and sentence structure, and content knowledge, make the text worthy of study.”

Indicator 1d

Series of texts should be at a variety of complexity levels appropriate for the grade band to support students’ literacy growth over the course of the school year.

4/4
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Grade 5 meet the criteria for Indicator 1d. 

The materials include units that build upon the next with increasing demands for knowledge and application as students master the content, and the texts increase in complexity. The complexity of anchor texts and supporting texts offer students the opportunity to grow their literacy skills across the year. Scaffolds are provided for more complex texts including key questions to support comprehension and graphic organizers. Toward the end of the year, students engage more independently with texts. In addition, in the Teacher Tools section, there is a general guidance document under Providing Access for Complex Texts, that provides guidance for how to recognize and address complexity in fiction and nonfiction texts as well as provide student support and scaffolds.  

The complexity of anchor texts students read provides an opportunity for students’ literacy skills to increase across the year, encompassing an entire year’s worth of growth. For example:

  • In the beginning of the school year, students read one core text that has a Lexile of 710 in Literature Unit 1. The text allows students to compare and contrast two or more characters and describe how the narrators’ point of view influences how events are described. In Science and Social Studies Unit 1, students read several texts including a core text with a Lexile of 1120. Students build knowledge in this unit as well as focus on science standards including explaining the relationship between two or more scientific ideas. 

  • In the middle of the school year, students read several texts, including one core text in Literature Unit 3 that has a Lexile of 890. The purpose of this unit is for students to begin learning about the topic of immigration, specifically undocumented immigrants. In Science and Social Studies Unit 3, students read several texts with Lexiles that range from 760 to 1040. Students use these texts to analyze point of view and describe how point of view influences what and how information is presented to a reader. 

  • At the end of the year, students read one core text that has a Lexile of 740 in Literature Unit 6. While the Lexile is lower than the beginning of the year, it is the first science fiction text that students read in the program. In Science and Social Studies Unit 4, students read several texts including the core text, which has a Lexile of 950. Students use the texts to practice explaining the connection between two or more scientific ideas or concepts in a text. 

As texts become more complex, appropriate scaffolds and/or materials are provided in the Teacher Edition (i.e., spending more time on texts, more questions, repeated readings). For example:

  • The Teacher Tools digital platform provides general ways teachers can support students when accessing complex texts. The general supports are “temporary and adjustable, removed gradually” and “used to scaffold content, task, or materials.” The purpose for these general supports are for teachers to determine “what supports to provide students, either as a whole-glass, small-group, or individually” as texts get more complex. 

  • In Science and Social Studies Unit 1, Lesson 7, to help students comprehend the text, students annotate for details to show how plastic is bad for the ocean and humans. 

  • In Literature Unit 2, Lesson 10, students partner read and independently read Chapters 11 and 12. Key Questions are provided to help students comprehend the complex text. 

  • In Literature Unit 3, Lesson 11, students engage in shared reading in the beginning and then finish independently. There is a lot of figurative language in the text selection, so the lesson plan points out instances of figurative language that students may need help making sense of. 

  • In Science and Social Studies Unit 4, Lesson 9, the teacher begins by reading two pages aloud and doing a close-read and then students finish the selection independently and annotate for details about how people responded to the Mars Rover’s landing and discoveries. 

Indicator 1e

Materials 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, including accountability structures for independent reading.

2/2
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Grade 5 meet the criteria for Indicator 1e.

The materials contain a wide range and volume of daily reading throughout both the Literature and Science and Social Studies lessons. Students read the texts independently, in pairs, and in group settings. Students read books (both literary and informational), articles, and websites. Additionally, students participate in daily independent reading that can be structured in a number of ways outlined in the Teacher Tools section of the materials. The materials highlight teachers having the option to exercise flexibility within the framework to establish routines most suitable for their classroom. There is an emphasis on the independent reading time being an essential facet of the program, and there is a recommended list of independent reading books per unit that align with the topic/theme. Multiple reading logs are included and permit teacher flexibility for independent reading opportunities. In the Independent Reading Routines, there are general recommendations for monitoring the students’ comprehension of independent reading and establishing independent reading goals. Decisions about the implementation and monitoring of independent reading are made at the teacher’s discretion using the universal tools provided. 

Instructional materials clearly identify opportunities and support for students to engage in reading a variety of text types and genres. For example: 

  • Students read a total of 16 Core Texts across Grade 5.

  • In the Literature Units, students read novels, graphic novels, poems, articles and myths.

  • In the Science and Social Studies units, students read nonfiction books, articles, websites, posters, photos, and watch videos.

  • The program also provides a recommended list of texts for students to independently read that align with each unit. For example, in Literature Unit 1, students read Seedfolks and there are two recommended informational texts to build knowledge and eight recommended literary texts about community.

Instructional materials clearly identify opportunities and support for students to engage in a volume of reading. For example: 

  • Each daily lesson plan includes the section, Engaging with the Text, where students have direct interaction with the text including independent, partner, and group reading. Teacher guidance is provided each day for how to have students engage with the text. For example, in Science and Social Studies Unit 3, Lesson 12, teacher directions state: “Read and engage with pages 30-32 using a combination of shared reading and read aloud.”

  • According to the Pacing Guide, students spend 60 minutes in the Literature Block each day, 60 minutes in the Science & Social Studies Block each day, and 45 minutes in the Independent Reading Block each day. In a typical Literature and Science and Social Studies block, the first five minutes is spent building knowledge and skills, the next 30 minutes is where students engage with the text, and the last 25 minutes is where students build deeper meaning of the text.

There is sufficient teacher guidance to foster independence for all readers (e.g., independent reading procedures, proposed schedule, tracking system for independent reading). For example:

  • In the Teacher Tools, there is a section called Independent Reading that provides a detailed plan for supporting students’ independent reading in the classroom including an Independent Reading Targeted Mini Lesson Planning template, an Independent Reading Weekly Planning template, and a Parent/Guardian letter template.

  • In the Teacher Tools, there is a section on Independent Reading, which recommends that teachers do the following before any lesson: “When internalizing a Fishtank lesson, decide if and when you may be able to include independent reading. (This will most often be noted in Enhanced Lesson Plans, but you may also decide to use one at additional moments depending on student needs.)

    • Solidify what sections of the text students should read independently. 

    • Solidify how you will check for understanding while students are reading independently.

    • Decide which students you want to check in with during independent work time.” 

  • Materials call for students to have a minimum of 45 minutes of independent reading time daily as described in the Course Overview Pacing guide. 

  • In the Independent Reading (3-5) Teacher Tools, there is a minimum number of independent reading benchmarks for each quarter of the school year. It also provides a chart of the portion of each ELA block reading time that should be independent reading. 

  • There are three printable forms for tracking student independent reading: an Independent Reading Journal (Writing Prompts), Independent Reading Journal (Summary), and an Independent Reading Log. 

Criterion 1f - 1m

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

15/16
+
-
Criterion Rating Details

The questions and tasks throughout the Grade 5 materials are text-specific and text-dependent, continually moving students back to the text to provide and substantiate responses. The enhanced lesson plans support additional review and checks for understanding. Academic discourse is supported throughout the program through the use of clearly-outlined discussion protocols and frequent discussion opportunities. Students frequently engage in partnered, grouped, and whole-class discussions regarding the texts under study. The Grade 5 materials provide daily on-demand writing prompts connected to the anchor texts. While there is some sentence and paragraph-level instruction throughout, the bulk of process writing occurs at the end of each unit, generally over a four-day span. Students engage in writing opportunities spread across all text types and genres called for in the standards. Additionally, students engage in evidence-based writing across the majority of units.

The materials include explicit grammar instruction of all grammar standards and consistent application of the grammar standards in context. The materials include robust and regular routines for the introduction of vocabulary in the context of instruction; however, the vocabulary may not always be reinforced in writing or speaking and may not be applied across multiple texts.

Indicator 1f

Most questions, tasks, and assignments are text-specific and/or text-dependent, 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
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Grade 5 meet the criteria for Indicator 1f. 

The materials include lessons with a variety of text-dependent questions.across the Literature and Science & Social Studies units. This includes both open-ended and multiple choice questions. There are numerous opportunities for students to respond to questions both orally and in writing and support their responses with textual evidence. Embedded within each unit is evidence of writing tasks that require students to interact with the text. Students answer both explicit and implicit questions and are required to offer explanations for their responses. In the Enhanced Lesson Plan, each question is accompanied by an exemplar answer to guide teachers. 

Text-specific and text-dependent questions and tasks support students in making meaning of the core understandings of the texts being studied. For example:

  • In Literature Unit 2, Lesson 6, students read Chapter 6 of The Breadwinner by Deborah Ellis and answer questions: “Compare and contrast Parvana’s, Nooria’s, and Mother’s responses to Parvana dressing as a boy. How do their responses help build a deeper understanding of character? Analyze Nooria and Parvana’s relationship. In what ways does their relationship contribute to the plot of the story?”

  • In Social Studies and Science Unit 2, Lesson 5, after reading La Causa: The Migrant Farmworker’s Story by Dana Catharine de Ruiz, students answer questions: “Compare and contrast life on the grape farm with life in Yuma. How and why did things change for the Chavez family? In what ways were Cesar and his family’s human rights violated? Despite challenging circumstances, the Chavez family was able to maintain a positive attitude. Agree or disagree.” 

  • In Literature Unit 4, Lesson 9, students read an excerpt of Endangered by Eliot Schrefer and answer Key Questions: “Did Sophie use more physical or mental strength to survive? Defend. What key character traits enabled Sophie to survive her first few days in the enclosure?”. 

  • In Social Studies and Science Unit 4, Lesson 1, after reading The Mighty Mars Rover: The Incredible Adventures of Spirit and Opportunity by Elizabeth Rusch students answer questions: “Look at the image on pp 2-3. Based on this image, what do you think the surface of Mars is like? How does this image match with what you visualized Mars to look like? Based on the image on pp. 2-3, what challenges might robots visiting Mars encounter?”

Teacher materials provide support for planning and implementation of text-based questions and tasks. For example:

  • In the Internalizing an ELA Lesson in Teacher Tools, questions are provided for the teacher to consider when lesson planning: “What do students need to know/understand to answer this question? What do students need to do to answer this question? What key moments do students need to understand in order to answer the question correctly?”

  • Most lessons include a Target Task, which is a text-specific or text-dependent question that indicates to the teacher if the objective was mastered or not. For example, in Science and Social Studies Unit 3, Lesson 8, after reading Witnesses to Freedom: Young People Who Fought for Civil Rights by Belinda Rochelle, students complete the Target Task writing prompt: “Read the quote from Martin Luther King Jr. below. ‘It was the high school, college and elementary school young people who were in the front line of the school desegregation struggle. Lest it be forgotten, the opening of hundreds of schools to Negroes for the first time in history required that there be young Negroes with the moral and physical courage to face the challenges and, all too frequently, the mortal danger presented by the mob resistance.’ How does the author use reasons and evidence to support the points made by Martin Luther King Jr.?” The lesson plan includes a sample response to help the teacher evaluate student responses. 

  • Enhanced lesson plans include language support, quick review questions, and opportunities for enrichment. Examples include, but are not limited to:

    • In Literature Unit 5, Lesson 3, students complete a task: “Analyze how Delphine’s point of view influences the way events are described and what Delphine wants a reader to understand about her sisters and Cecile.” The teacher is provided both an example of a “Mastery Response” and “key moments to analyze” to support the teacher’s understanding of the type of response expected. 

    • In Science and Social Studies Unit 1, Lesson 7, after reading Trash Vortex: How Plastic Pollution is Choking the World’s Oceans by Danielle Smith-Llera, students answer Key Questions. The lesson plan states, “depending on student needs, students can answer the questions orally, annotate in the margins, or write their answers.” 

Indicator 1g

Materials provide frequent opportunities and protocols for evidence-based discussions.

2/2
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Grade 5 meet the criteria for Indicator 1g. 

The materials include frequent opportunities and protocols for students to engage in evidence-based discussions. There is a whole section in the Teacher Tools page that describes the purpose and the processes of Academic Discourse in Match Fishtank. This section outlines the three types of Academic Discourse and provides several protocols for each. In addition, this section provides information on the three tiers of Academic Discourse to help further develop student thinking and speaking and listening skills. Some lessons specify exactly which protocols to use, while others identify the type of discussion (i.e., whole-group, small-group, or partner), and teachers use their judgement to decide on the best protocol. To facilitate this, there is a series of questions for the teacher to consider to help them identify which Tier to focus on and which protocol. 

Materials provide varied protocols to support students’ developing speaking and listening skills across the whole year’s scope of instructional materials. For example:

  • In the Teacher Tools, there is a whole section on Academic Discourse that outlines discussion protocols for whole class discussions, small group discussions, and partner discussions.

  • For Whole Class discussions, the materials outline the steps for the Take a Stand protocol which gives a question and students need to take a side and students work together to convince others to agree with them. In addition, there is a four-step procedure for a Fishbowl discussion, which allows for the whole class to hear the ideas of other classmates. 

  • There are four protocols provided for small group discussion including Simultaneous Round Table, Rally Coach, Talking Chips, and Numbered Heads Together. Each of the protocols give the purpose and the steps. 

  • Partner discussions contain five protocols, including four that are various types of think-pair-shares. 

  • The Teacher Tools also provides an explanation of three tiers of discourse. In each tier, there are discourse strategies, key teacher talk moves, and a variety of sentence frames to help with each discourse tier. For example, Tier II is students engaging with the thinking of others. A discourse strategy is paraphrasing what other students say. A key teacher talk move is to give students an opportunity to turn and talk. Sentence frames are provided to help students build on a classmate’s ideas and to question or clarify the ideas of others. 

  • Lessons utilize a variety of discussion topics and formats. For example:

    • In Literature Unit 4, Lesson 4, students write a summary of the excerpt from Julie of the Wolves and then work in partners to orally retell what happened. Teachers can decide what discussion protocol to use. 

    • In Science and Social Studies Unit 2, Lesson 14, students work with a partner to “create a list of reasons the strike was successful and a list of reasons why the strike was not successful.” Then students are assigned a side and debate. 

Speaking and listening instruction includes facilitation, monitoring, and instructional supports for teachers. For example:

  • In the Teacher Tools, the Academic Discourse section contains an Academic Discourse Rubric and a Discussion Recording Form for Grades 3-5.

  • In the Teacher Tools, the Academic Discourse section includes general information on how to facilitate students in speaking and listening skills. There are supports to help students, such as “have students use a graphic organizer to gather ideas”; supports during discussions, such as “provide sentence frames for students to use”; and ways to ensure students synthesize understanding during discussions, such as “model how to revise and refine thinking.” 

  • In Literature Unit 2, Lesson 21, students participate in a discussion that has three focus points, such as “Students learn how to prepare for academic discussions. Students provide evidence or examples to justify and defend their point clearly. Students use vocabulary that is specific to the subject and task to clarify and share their thoughts.” Students discuss and debate an essential question selected by the teacher using the text, Kids of Kabul: Living Bravely through a Never-Ending War by Deborah Ellis. The teacher encourages students to support their ideas with evidence and key vocabulary from the unit. Teachers use the Discussion Recording Form to assess and track student participation.

  • In Literature Unit 4, Lesson 15, students discuss the similarities and differences in the way Brian, Sophie, and/or Miyax approached survival from the several excerpts read in the unit. Teachers push students to support their ideas with evidence and key vocabulary from the unit. Teachers use the Discussion Recording Form to assess and track student participation.

  • In Science and Social Studies Unit 2, Lesson 22, students use an excerpt of La Causa: The Migrant Farmworkers' Story by Dana Catharine de Ruiz and Richard Larios and the supporting materials in the unit to participate in a group discussion to analyze how the core values of courage, unity, and hope fueled the farmworkers movement. Students begin by brainstorming individually and take notes on a Discussion Graphic Organizer. 

  • In Science and Social Studies Unit 3, Lesson 7, students work with a partner to orally summarize each person’s experience with school integration in the text, Freedom’s Children: Young Civil Rights Activities Tell Their Own Stories by Ellen S. Levine. Then students participate in a whole-class discussion. 

Indicator 1h

Materials support students’ listening and speaking about what they are reading and researching (including presentation opportunities) with relevant follow-up questions and evidence.

2/2
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Grade 5 meet the criteria for Indicator 1h.

The materials include opportunities for evidence-based discussions in pairs, small groups, and whole class settings in the majority of lessons.Through discussions, students build knowledge, explain their thinking, and support their reasoning. The majority of discussions pertain to the unit texts or topics and ask students to provide evidence to support their ideas. Materials provide some guidance for teachers in the enhanced lesson plans to build student discussion skills. The Teacher Tools also provide guidance for developing and implementing student discussion protocols across the curriculum and include ways to monitor student discussions. Lessons provide sentence stems for students and recommendations for ways that teachers can model speaking and listening skills.

Students have multiple opportunities over the school year to demonstrate what they are reading through varied speaking and listening opportunities. For example: 

  • In Literature Unit 1, Lesson 11, students participate in a class discussion after collecting evidence to support their agreement or disagreement with the following statement: “People with different cultural identities can come together to form a strong community.”

  • In Science and Social Studies Unit 1, Lesson 5, students engage in a discussion of the Target Question: “How did plastic become such a large part of everyday life.”

  • In Literature Unit 3, Lesson 21, students collect evidence to defend their position on whether or not Mari is a brave and noble young lady after reading a portion of Return to Sender by Julai Alvarez. Then the teacher uses the Take a Stand Protocol to facilitate a discussion. 

  • In Science and Social Studies Unit 3, Lesson 14, students participate in a class discussion centered on why the author would put the words “uncontrollable,” “emotional,” and “profane” in italics. They then participate in a discussion on if they agree with the decision that Claudette was not right for the movement based on what they have read to this point in the unit. Students are instructed to “Defend why or why not using details from the text.”

Speaking and listening work requires students to utilize, apply, and incorporate evidence from texts and/or sources. For example:

  • In Literature Unit 5, Lesson 2, students participate in a discussion based on the Target Question, “Why is the chapter titled ‘Secret Agent Mother’?” Students gather evidence from the text to support their position for how Delphine, Vonetta, and Fern perceive Cecile as well as how Cecile feels about the girls.

  • In Science and Social Studies Unit 4, Lessons 16 and 28, students debate and analyze the unit's essential questions using information gathered from the core text, The Mighty Mars Rovers: The Incredible Adventures of Spirit and Opportunity, and supporting texts.

Indicator 1i

Materials include a mix of on-demand and process writing (e.g., multiple drafts, revisions over time) and short, focused projects, incorporating digital resources where appropriate.

2/2
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Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Grade 5 meet the criteria for Indicator 1i. 

The materials include opportunities in each unit for students to complete on-demand and process. Both types of writing tasks are connected to the unit topic and texts and assist students with building knowledge of the unit topic. Throughout each unit, students have almost daily opportunities to respond to the Target Task in writing, which provides students with opportunities in on-demand writing. In addition, each Literature and Science and Social Studies unit ends with a process writing task that requires multiple instructional days to complete. Process writing is the focus of most end of unit tasks, with a few focused lessons occurring across each unit. Occasionally on-demand writing tasks prompt students to revise or edit their work whereas the end of unit process tasks include time for revision and multiple drafts. Some tasks include opportunities for students to use information from digital sources such as videos or websites. Occasionally, materials prompt teachers to use the internet as enrichment but technology is not required for use in completing tasks or presentations. Most task sheets for student writing can be loaded into Google Classroom for students to engage in writing on a technical platform. This is optional and not required to utilize the materials. 

Materials include a mix of BOTH on-demand and process writing, including opportunities for students to revise and/or edit, that covers a year’s worth of instruction; however, the bulk of process writing occurs in the end-of-unit tasks.

  • Examples of on-demand writing include:

    • In Science and Social Studies Unit 1, Lesson 13, students respond to the writing prompt, “Shelby’s actions show that a ‘single person, one lone voice’ can make a difference. Describe how Shelby’s actions made a difference.” 

    • In Literature Unit 3, Lesson 3, after reading the text, students describe what a specific sentence in Return to Sender means. 

    • In Science and Social Studies Unit 3, Lesson 2, students respond to the prompt, “Describe the racism and oppression black people in the South faced on a daily basis.”

    • In Literature Unit 5, Lesson 19,  while reading One Crazy Summer, students respond to the writing prompt, “In what ways are Delphine Cecile changing? What is causing the change? Give specific examples for both Delphien and Cecile.” 

  • Examples of processing writing include:

    • In Literature Unit 1, Lesson 16, students use the writing process across multiple days to write their own chapter in Seedfolks by using a narrative structure to develop imagined experiences based on the events of the text.

    • In Science and Social Studies Unit 1, Lesson 9, students use the writing process over three days to  write, revise, and edit to educate other classrooms around the school about why there is a plastic problem and how the plastic problem is impacting the ocean.

    • In Science and Social Studies Unit 3, Lesson 33, students use the writing process over five days to create a report that teaches others about an event from the Civil Rights Movement. 

    • In Literature Unit 5, Lesson 30, students use the writing process over three days to write a story about what the girls should do the next time they see Cecile in the text, One Crazy Summer

Materials include some use of digital resources with writing tasks. Most of the resources are optional. Each Target Task writing prompt can be sent to Google Classroom, enabling students to type responses directly on the worksheet. This also allows students to publish final copies of process writing tasks digitally. In addition, some lessons include videos that students need to watch in order to complete a writing task. For example, in Science and Social Studies Unit 2, Lesson 12, students read an article and watch a video clip, “Chicano! - Struggle in the Fields”, to complete the writing prompt, “Using details from the video and pictures, describe the conditions for farm workers in California.”

Indicator 1j

Materials provide opportunities for students to address different text types of writing that reflect the distribution required by the standards.

2/2
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Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Grade 5 meet the criteria for Indicator 1j. 

The materials include sufficient opportunities for writing the three text types required by the standards. The Literature and Science and Social Studies units address informational, opinion, and narrative writing. The majority of narrative and opinion writing take place in the Literature units. Informative writing is found in both Literature and Science and Social Studies units. Students regularly respond to a prompt after reading a text in both units and direct instruction is provided in Science and Social Studies for informational writing, typically in the form of a research project. Students receive explicit, sequenced instruction to assist in developing grade-level writing techniques in narrative, informational, and opinion styles of writing. 

Materials provide multiple opportunities across the school year for students to learn, practice, and apply different genres/modes/types of writing that reflect the distribution required by the standards. 

  • In Science and Social Studies Unit 2, Lesson 19, students write a summary about what happened on the march to Sacramento.

  • In Literature Unit 3, Lesson 10, students write a multiple-paragraph essay describing what life was like for undocumented workers in Vermont.

  • In Science and Social Studies Unit 4, Lesson 26, students answer the question, “What word would you use to describe Spirit’s future after reading the section from The Mighty Mars Rovers? Why? What word would you use to describe Spirit’s future after reading the press release? Why? Compare and contrast the words you brainstormed. How did the structure and point of view of the text influence your word choice?”

  • In Literature Unit 5, Lesson 21, students “rewrite the scene on page 168-169 from Cecile’s point of view.”

Different genres/modes/types of writing are distributed throughout the school year. 

  • Students have opportunities to engage in opinion writing. Opinion writing happens in 29% of all writing opportunities. For example:

    • In Social Studies and Science Unit 3, Lesson 7, students read a quote from the text and then answer, “Would the children interviewed in this section agree or disagree with this statement? Defend why or why not?”

    • In Literature Unit 5, Lesson 19, students read A Wrinkle in Time and answer the question, “Are Meg’s thoughts towards her father justifiable? Defend why or why not.”

  • Students have opportunities to engage in informative/explanatory writing. Informative writing happens in 39% of all writing opportunities. For example:

    • In Literature Unit 1, Lesson 4, students “compare and contrast how the garden influences Leona versus how the others are influenced by the garden.”

    • In Science and Social Studies Unit 3, Lesson 11, students summarize the key events of the Montgomery Bus Boycott. 

  • Students have opportunities to engage in narrative writing. Narrative writing happens in  32% of all writing opportunities. For example: 

  • In Literature Unit 1, Lesson 16, students write their “own chapter in Seedfolks by using a narrative structure to develop imagined experiences based on the events of the text.” 

  • In Literature Unit 4, Lesson 18 , after reading several survival stories, studentswrite a continuation of one of the stories in the unit. Your narrative should include a logical sequence of events and specific details that describe the characters, action and setting.”

Where appropriate, writing opportunities are connected to texts and/or text sets (either as prompts, models, anchors, or supports). Examples include:

  • In Social Studies and Science Unit 1, Lesson 2, students respond to the writing prompt, “What happens to plastic trash once it is in the ocean? Use the diagram on page 9 to support your answer.”

  • In Literature Unit 5, Lesson 2, students respond to the prompt, “Why is the chapter titled ‘Secret Agent Mother’? Does the title adequately describe Cecile and the way the girls perceive her? Defend why or why not.”

Indicator 1k

Materials include frequent opportunities for evidence-based writing to support careful analyses, well-defended claims, and clear information.

2/2
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Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Grade 5 meet the criteria for Indicator 1k. 

The materials include evidence-based writing tasks in the majority of lessons in the Literature units and Science and Social Studies units. Writing prompts are specific to the texts and help students build knowledge on each unit topic. Writing assignments are designed for students to construct meaningful responses and to think critically about new knowledge and themes in the unit. Each lesson includes a Target Task question, which requires students to answer, in writing, based on the reading from that day. Some of these tasks require students to complete a close read of a particular piece of text and use detailed evidence to support their responses to writing prompts. The Teacher Tools provide a variety of instructional strategies for direct instruction and support for facilitating student practice needed to provide students with explicit, sequenced instruction to help them develop grade-level writing techniques, though none are specific to evidence-based writing. 

Materials provide frequent opportunities across the school year for students to learn, practice, and apply writing using evidence. For example:

  • In Literature, Unit 1, Lesson 5, students “Describe Sam’s perspective on the garden. Make sure to include details that show how his perspective changed.” Prior to answering the question, students close read and then use sentence frames to reflect on Sam’s perspective, such as “When Sam first saw the garden he thought it was a place of paradise, but ________.”

  • In Social Studies and Science Unit 1, Lesson 11, students write about the strategies the author recommends to help reduce the amount of plastic in the ocean and the pros and cons of each strategy. Students discuss the strategies with a partner before writing. 

  • In Literature Unit 6, Lesson 17, students “Identify two or three quotations from the novel that highlight Meg’s response to being reunited with her father. Analyze and explain the significance of each quotation.” Students discuss various quotations as a class before writing independently. 

  • In Social Studies and Science Unit 3, Lesson 3, students use details from the text to “describe the racism and oppression black people in the South faced on a daily basis.” Students close read prior to this Target Task. 

Writing opportunities are focused around students’ recall of information to develop opinions from reading closely and working with evidence from texts and sources. For example:

  • In Social Studies and Science, Unit 3, Lesson 17, students read part of Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice and use the text evidence to support a claim for the opinion writing prompt, “Claudette’s actions during the trial proved that she was able to have a larger impact on the movement and that she could have been the ‘right’ individual. Agree or disagree.”

  • In Literature Unit 4, Lesson 8, students respond to the prompt, “The author includes multiple different interactions between Anastasia and Sophie. Explain how each interaction contributes to the structure of the story.” 

  • In Science and Social Studies Unit 4, Lesson 22, students compare and contrast the points of view from which the Mighty Mars Rovers and the press releases are written by analyzing multiple accounts of the same topic. 

  • In Literature Unit 5, Lesson 17, students read an excerpt from One Crazy Summer prior to completing the Target Task: “Read the following quotations from Sister Mukumbu and Delphine. Sister Mukumbu said, ‘We look out for each other. The rally is one way of looking out for all of our sisters. All of our brothers. Unity, Sister Delphine. We have to stand united.’ ‘I was thinking, Alive. We have to be alive. Wouldn’t little Bobby rather be alive than remembered? Wouldn’t he rather be sitting out in the park than have it named after him? I wanted to watch the news. Not be in it.’ What do these quotations show about how each character views the Black Panther movement? Why do they have different points of view? Who do you agree with?”

Indicator 1l

Materials include explicit instruction of the grade-level grammar and usage standards, with opportunities for application in context.

2/2
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Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Grade 5 meet the expectations of Indicator 1l.

The materials include explicit instruction in all grammar standards. Materials include instruction during the Literature and Science and Social Studies units primarily using the core anchor text and example sentences. Students have multiple opportunities to practice crafting sentences using the newly learned grammar skill, as well as additional opportunities for continuous practice. Materials also include opportunities for students to demonstrate the application of skills in the context of student writing. 

Materials include explicit instruction of all grammar and usage standards for the grade level.  For example:

  • Explain the function of conjunctions, prepositions, and interjections in general and their function in particular sentences. 

    • In Literature Unit 1, Lesson 1, the teacher introduces students to the coordinating conjunctions and, but, so, or. As a class, the teacher and students work together to complete sentences provided about the story. 

    • In Literature Unit 1, Lesson 2, if students are struggling to understand coordinating conjunctions, the teacher is prompted to pull from the Supplemental Language Less: Conjunction, “and,” “but,” “or” Language lesson to help students build a deeper meaning. Students review a sentence and then state what they notice about it. 

  • Form and use the perfect (e.g., I had walked; I have walked; I will have walked) verb tenses.

    • In Literature Unit 5, Lesson 4, the teacher is prompted that if students are struggling with the verb tenses when writing they should use any of the protocols. One of the protocols is the Supplemental Language Correcting verb tense protocol. The teacher asks students to review a paragraph and then identify what they notice. Then they identify what tense the verbs are in, and what changes need to be made for the correct verb tense.

  • Use verb tense to convey various times, sequences, states, and conditions.

    • In Literature Unit 5, Lesson 9, the teacher tells students that they are going to work on using precise verbs and adverbs to describe how a character speaks. The teacher displays sentences, and students notice the difference between each sentence. The teacher asks students how changing the verb helped the reader better understand how Cecile spoke.

  • Recognize and correct inappropriate shifts in verb tense.

    • In Literature Unit 2, Lesson 14, the teacher explains that when students choose a verb tense, they need to make sure they do not shift the verb tense unexpectedly. Together, the teacher and the students read a paragraph and check to make sure the sentences are written in the same tense. When students edit their work, they go back and check that they have not changed the verb tense they are using. 

    • In Literature Unit 4, Lesson 18, the teacher reviews with students the difference between simple verb tenses, the progressive verb tense, and the perfect verb tense. The teacher uses “Understanding Verb Tenses” as a guide. If needed, the teacher is prompted to provide students with a practice paragraph that they edit together. 

  • Use correlative conjunctions (e.g., either/or, neither/nor).

    • In Literature Unit 3, Lesson 29, the teacher tells students that they are going to learn another strategy for using transitions in their writing. The teacher explains that correlative conjunctions are used to join words or phrases of equal weight. The teacher introduces either/both, and neither. 

  • Use punctuation to separate items in a series.

    • In Science and Social Studies Unit 1, Lesson 5, students use mentor sentences from the text to notice how authors use commas in a series. Students then craft sentences in response to the Target Task question that include a series and a comma.

  •  Use a comma to separate an introductory element from the rest of the sentence.

    • In Literature Unit 4, Lesson 18, the teacher is prompted to have students edit their work for correct comma usage. The teacher reviews with students that they can use commas to separate introductory elements from the rest of the sentence. The teacher is prompted based on the needs of the students and to model how to notice and edit misused or missing commas. 

  • Use a comma to set off the words yes and no (e.g., Yes, thank you), to set off a tag question from the rest of the sentence (e.g., It’s true, isn’t it?), and to indicate direct address (e.g., Is that you, Steve?).

    • In Literature Unit 2, Lesson 12, the teacher explains to students that sometimes when they state an opinion they start with the words yes and no. If they do, the yes and the no need to be set off by a comma. 

  • Use underlining, quotation marks, or italics to indicate titles of works.

    • In Science and Social Studies Unit 3, Lesson 30, Day 2, students learn how to indicate the title of a work in their writing and practice doing so in their writing. Teacher directions state: Launch by explaining to students that when they are writing about multiple different texts, they need to include the title of the work. When they include the title of the work, they can either underline the title, put the title in quotation marks, or italics.

  • Spell grade-appropriate words correctly, consulting references as needed.

    • In Literature Unit 1, Lesson 14, materials state that if students are struggling to notice words that are spelled incorrectly in their writing, the teacher should model one of the strategies. One of the strategies listed is using a dictionary or using a word wall to look up words. 

  • Expand, combine, and reduce sentences for meaning, reader/listener interest, and style.

    • In Science and Social Studies Unit 1, Lesson 9, students learn how to expand sentences to include more details using prepositions to tell when and where. 

  • Compare and contrast the varieties of English (e.g., dialects, registers) used in stories, dramas, or poems.

    • In Literature Unit 1, Lesson 13, students analyze the structure of Seedfolks including the different dialects the author uses for each perspective.

Materials include opportunities for students to demonstrate application of skills in context, including applying grammar and convention skills to writing.  For example:

  • In Literature Unit 2, Lesson 11, students write a scene from their brainstorms, and the teacher encourages students to use the “Using Precise Adjectives” handout to describe how characters are feeling and why they are feeling that way. 

  • In Literature Unit 3, Lesson 29, students brainstorm their examples of sentences with correlative conjunctions. Then they write two sentences using correlative conjunctions in their paragraph writing.

  • In Literature Unit 5,  Lesson 28, students write a multi-paragraph essay to answer one of the unit’s essential questions. The teacher provides students additional support with any of a variety of elaboration strategies, such as using coordinating or subordinating conjunctions and combining sentences. When students are finished, they edit their writing.

Indicator 1m

Materials include a cohesive, year-long plan for students to interact and build key academic vocabulary words in and across texts.

1/2
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Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Grade 5 partially meet the criteria for Indicator 1m.

The materials include digital Teacher Tools with a Vocabulary section that provides guidelines and strategies for teaching vocabulary within each unit. Additionally, the teacher is given protocols for how to explicitly and implicitly teach vocabulary; however, those protocols are general to the entire program rather than lesson or text-specific. While vocabulary is addressed within units to build student knowledge and support text comprehension, the vocabulary does not intentionally build over the academic year. The lessons are limited in providing specific instruction for teaching the vocabulary words in each lesson. While some Key Questions, Target Tasks, and assessment questions require the use of academic vocabulary from the text, vocabulary words are rarely addressed in context. There is also limited explanation for instructing students on how to incorporate the vocabulary words into their writing and speaking. While there is a vocabulary package that includes a list of words for each unit, as well as documents for the student to use as a resource, the vocabulary is infrequently integrated across multiple texts or embedded in writing instruction.   

Materials provide limited teacher guidance outlining a cohesive year-long vocabulary development component. For example:

  • The digital Teacher Tools provide guidance for vocabulary instruction that is general for the whole program K-12.  This document is not connected or referred to within the daily lessons. The guidance indicates that teachers should choose 7-15 words per unit to emphasize in instruction. The Teacher Tools also share routines to teach vocabulary both implicitly and explicitly. According to the materials in Teacher Tools, the vocabulary instruction is based on Doug Lemov’s “Examples of Active Vocabulary Practice from our New Curriculum” in Teach Like a Champion.

  • Each unit contains a Vocabulary Package. In this bundle, there are worksheets for students to determine the part of speech and define the words in the unit. There are PDF files that include vocabulary definition worksheet, flashcards, and a student glossary included in each unit. Lessons in both Literature Units and Science and Social Studies Units have a Vocabulary section that lists and defines the words that will be read during that lesson. It is at the teacher’s discretion which words to choose for explicit and implicit vocabulary instruction. Limited additional instruction or guidance is given within the lessons. 

Vocabulary is occasionally repeated in contexts (before texts, in texts) and across multiple texts. For example:

  • In Literature Unit 2, Lesson 18, students read an excerpt of The Breadwinner. The vocabulary word for the lesson is illiteracy. Key Questions for the lesson focus on that word: “Why does Afghanistan have high rates of illiteracy? Why is it worse for women? The author says it has been an ‘uphill struggle’ to raise literacy levels. Why?” 

  • In Science and Social Studies Unit 2, Lessons 5-8, students read texts that share the story of Cesar Chavez and the conditions for migrant farmers. In Lesson 5, students learn the vocabulary phrase labor unions. Lessons 5-7 build student knowledge of the need for unions and the advocacy work of Chavez. In Lesson 8, students do a Stop and Jot to answer “Why was it important for farm workers to have a union?”

Attention is paid to vocabulary essential to understanding the text and to high-value academic words (e.g., words that might appear in other contexts/content areas). For example:

  • In Literature Unit 1, Lesson 5, the vocabulary word paradise is key to understanding a chapter in Seedfolks. Students answer questions: “In what ways did the name “Paradise” fit the garden? In what ways was it not a good fit? Defend.”

  • In Science and Social Studies Unit 4, Lesson 14, students read about why math was a critical component of space exploration and engineering. Students learn the vocabulary words slope and replica, which help them understand that the team of scientists created a replica of both the rover and the Martian slope. 

Criterion 1n - 1p

Materials in reading, writing, speaking, listening, and language targeted to support foundational reading development are aligned to the standards.

4/8
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Criterion Rating Details

Within the program, students receive limited instruction and opportunities to practice grade-level phonics, word analysis, and word recognition that follows a research-based progression. There is an included structural analysis routine designed to help teachers support students with multisyllabic words, but the materials lack daily lesson plans in this area with targeted words for teachers to use for instruction. Students receive instruction and practice opportunities for oral and silent reading fluency; however, support for reading of prose and poetry with attention to rate, accuracy, and expression, as well as direction for students to apply reading skills when productive struggle is necessary is minimal. There is no evidence of assessments for phonics and word recognition beyond the opportunities provided to inform instructional adjustments. Materials do include multiple assessments in fluency.

Indicator 1n

Materials, questions, and tasks address grade-level foundational skills by providing explicit instruction in phonics, word analysis, and word recognition that demonstrate a research-based progression.

2/4
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Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Grade 5 partially meet the expectations of indicator 1n.

The materials include limited explicit instruction in phonics, word analysis, and word recognition that demonstrate a research-based progression. Materials include some syllabification pattern work through suffixes and prefixes. In the Teacher Tools, materials include a Structural Analysis Routine and a Syllabication Routine. There are references for teachers in the Enhanced Lesson Plans for when these routines might be beneficial to use with students. A list of common prefixes, derivational suffixes, and Latin suffixes is also provided in the teacher tools; however, there are no lessons on identifying and knowing the meanings of them. There is no evidence of assessment opportunities over the course of the year giving instructional adjustments for phonics and word recognition for students. There is also no evidence of materials containing letter-sound correspondences or work with unfamiliar multisyllabic words out-of-context of the stories. 

Materials contain limited explicit instruction of irregularly spelled words, syllabication patterns, and word recognition consistently over the course of the year. For example:

  • Use combined knowledge of all letter-sound correspondences, syllabication patterns, and morphology (e.g., roots and affixes) to read accurately unfamiliar multisyllabic words in context and out of context.

    • In Literature Unit 3, Lesson 2, students access the Structural Analysis Routine to break down the words generalization and diversity using the suffix -tion and -ity. 

    • In Teacher Tools, English Language Arts, Foundational Skills, Morphology and Syllabication Routine, teachers use the Structural Analysis Routine to teach students how to decode words with a variety of affixes and word parts. A Syllabication Routine is also found in this teacher tool. In Grade 5, whole-class syllabication review should only happen if the entire class is struggling with a particular syllable pattern. Otherwise, syllabication and decoding work should take place in small-groups. In the Enhanced Lesson Plans, there are notes of when a teacher may want to refer to these routines.

Multiple assessment opportunities are not provided over the course of the year to inform instructional adjustments of phonics and word recognition to help students make progress toward mastery. 

  • No evidence found.

Indicator 1o

Materials include opportunities for students to practice and apply grade-level phonics, word analysis, and word recognition skills.

1/2
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Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Grade 5 partially meet the indicator for 1o.

The materials include limited opportunities for students to learn, practice, and apply word analysis skills using the Vocabulary Routines, as well as the Syllabication Routine. Within some unit lessons, students have opportunities to learn, practice, and apply word analysis in texts that they are reading and in writing tasks. Additionally, materials include a Structural Analysis Routine during small groups when reading certain text. Teachers are reminded to refer to these tools if they notice students struggling with multisyllabic words while reading, but materials do not include specific lesson plans for these skills in the daily lessons. Materials do not include a word analysis assessment to monitor student progress on these skills during the year. 

Limited opportunities are provided over the course of the year in core materials for students to learn, practice, and apply phonics, word recognition, and word analysis skills in connected tasks. For example:

  • In Literature Unit 4, Lesson 5, the teacher uses the Explicit Instruction of Vocabulary Routine with the poem, “The Road Not Taken.” Students highlight the word part and then help to determine the word’s meaning.

  • In Literature Unit 6, Lesson 3, students use the Structural Analysis Routine to break down the words inadvertently and compulsion. They identify the meaning of the prefix -in and suffix -sion. 

Materials include limited tasks and questions that provide opportunities for students to access different foundational skills within the anchor text and supporting texts. For example:

  • In Literature Unit 1, Lesson 6, students read the book, “Seedfolks.” At the beginning of Lesson 6, students complete the Explicit Instruction of Vocabulary Routine with the words, coincidence and wilt. The words are introduced and the students say them three times. The students also complete the Syllabication Routine if there are words they are struggling with in a small group.

Indicator 1p

Instructional opportunities are frequently built into the materials for students to practice and achieve reading fluency in order to read with purpose and understanding.

1/2
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Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Grade 5 partially meet the expectations of Indicator 1p.

The materials include multiple opportunities for students to receive explicit instruction in fluency and practice fluent reading. The majority of lessons in each unit include fluency activities, such as teacher modeling, student self-assessment of their fluency, and partner reading for fluency practice. The use of teacher modeling, think aloud, or using examples and non-examples is provided at least once in every unit. Materials also include Norms for Oral Reading Fluency. Materials also include multiple assessment opportunities within each unit including Cold Read Assessments and Fluency Assessments. Materials provide the teacher with guidance for the next steps through Fluency Assessment Guidance and Fluency Assessment Trackers. Materials also include Additional Fluency Instruction and Support for students who need extra support in fluency. Materials do not include opportunities for students to learn and use self-correction of word recognition. 

Multiple opportunities are provided over the course of the year in core materials for students to demonstrate sufficient accuracy and fluency in oral and silent reading. For example:

  • Read grade-level text with purpose and understanding.

    • In Literature Unit 1, Lesson 2, students learn how reading with proper expression and volume helps a reader better understand what is happening in the text.

    • In Literature Unit 4, Lesson 5, students practice reading poems fluently and answer the following prompts: “How does reading a poem fluently help a reader better understand the message of the poem? How does the way the author structures the poem help a reader better understand how to read the poem with the correct intonation or expression?”

Materials support reading of prose and poetry with attention to rate, accuracy, and expression, as well as direction for students to apply reading skills when productive struggle is necessary. For example:

  • Read grade-level prose and poetry orally with accuracy, appropriate rate, and expression on successive readings.

    • In Literature Unit 1, Lesson 2, the teacher models reading with proper expression and volume. The teacher reads character dialogue in a way that matches characters' feelings and motivations. After the teacher reads a section aloud, students read the remainder of the text with partners or independently, using proper expression and volume.

    • In Literature Unit 3, Lesson 3, the teacher models reading with fluency using different sentence structures particularly with sentences that have multiple commas. 

    • In Literature Unit 4, Lesson 14, the teacher models fluent reading using expression and intonation to emphasize the particular emotion of a particular poem. If needed, the teacher can include non-examples of how to read a poem to emphasize the difference between reading a poem fluently and not. Students should read the poem once with partners, or as a repeated read, to practice reading with fluency. 

Materials provide limited support in students’ fluency development of reading skills (e.g., self-correction of word recognition and/or for understanding, focus on rereading) over the course of the year (to get to the end of the grade-level band). For example:

  • Use context to confirm or self-correct word recognition and understanding, rereading as necessary. 

    • In Literature Unit 3, Lesson 5, students learn how to self-correct when faced with a difficult word. Materials state, “Pick a section of text to read aloud and monitor how to self-correct when faced with a difficult word. After reading aloud and modeling, prompt: What strategies does a fluent reader use to self-correct when reading difficult words? How does self-correcting help a reader better understand the text? What does it sound like for a reader to read smoothly?”

Assessment materials provide teachers and students with information of students’ current fluency skills and provide teachers with instructional adjustments to help students make progress toward mastery of fluency. For example:

  • In the Assessment Reading Fluency Overview, the teacher uses a baseline fluency assessment at the beginning of the year, informal assessments during the unit to evaluate prosody, rate, and accuracy using fluency rubrics. If a student scores a two or lower on the baseline assessment, they should use the additional fluency instruction and support. The teacher is prompted to also give formal assessments at the end of every unit using a passage from the core text that encompasses fluency demands. 

    • In Literature Unit 3, Unit Summary, a cold-read assessment is provided for teachers to use. There are no directions provided about administering it or using the information to make instructional adjustments to help students make progress toward mastery of fluency; however, teachers can refer to the information provided in the Teacher Tools, Foundational Skills, Fluency for norms to determine which students need additional work in the area of rate.

Gateway Two

Building Knowledge with Texts, Vocabulary, and Tasks

Meets Expectations

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Gateway Two Details

The Grade 5 science and social studies units build strong content knowledge, engage students in deep text analysis, and invite synthesis of ideas within and across texts through the use of high-quality questions and tasks. Culminating tasks which frequently double as research tasks, provide opportunities for students to engage in a deep analysis of the topic under study and to demonstrate standards-aligned knowledge and skills obtained from the unit. Most literary units are aligned to a theme and may not serve to build knowledge in the same way as the science and social studies units. 

The materials include frequent opportunities for writing and integrate writing as a tool for examination of texts and discussions. Though the program contains strong tools, an end-of-unit process writing task, and integrates language standards into lessons throughout the unit, the opportunities for direct instruction and practice of process writing, editing, and revision may not be enough for students to master all grade level expectations in writing. 

The bulk of instructional time and tasks see students engaged daily in discussions, text analysis, writing about texts and/or unit topics, and engaged in grade-level, standards-aligned work. Materials can be completed within the recommended times and calendaring allotted. Optional activities do not move the materials out of standards alignment and meet the objectives of each unit.

Criterion 2a - 2f

Materials build knowledge through integrated reading, writing, speaking, listening, and language.

22/24
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Criterion Rating Details

The Grade 5 science and social studies units are topically connected; however most literature units are thematically connected, and may not serve to build knowledge on a topic. 

High-quality questions and tasks throughout the units engage students in analysis of the key ideas, details, craft, and structure of texts. Additionally, these questions and tasks provide the opportunity to examine knowledge and ideas both within and across texts. The culminating tasks found across the units require students to demonstrate the knowledge and skills gained in the unit as well as their progress toward mastery of the grade level standards. Additionally, some of these culminating tasks, primarily found in the science and social studies units, provide research opportunities where students engage in a deep analysis of the topic under study. 

The materials include frequent opportunities for writing and integrate writing as a tool for examination of texts and discussions. Though the program contains strong tools, an end-of-unit process writing task, and integrates language standards into lessons throughout the unit, the opportunities for direct instruction and practice of process writing, editing, and revision may not be enough for students to master all grade level expectations in writing.

Indicator 2a

Texts are organized around a cohesive topic(s)/theme(s) to build students’ ability to read and comprehend complex texts independently and proficiently.

2/4
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Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Grade 5 partially meet the criteria for Indicator 2a.

The materials contain texts that are organized around a cohesive topic in the Science and Social Studies units; however, in the Literature Units, some of the units are organized around a theme and do not necessarily help build knowledge. The Science and Social Studies units are organized around a topic to enhance students’ knowledge of particular subject matter. Anchor texts and supporting materials build students’ acquisition of knowledge through reading, discussions, research, and text-based questions. The units introduce essential questions with knowledge goals for students that build knowledge of each topic.

All of the Science and Social Studies unit texts are connected by grade-level appropriate topics. A few of the Literature units are connected by a topic and build knowledge and the ability to read and comprehend complex texts across a school year. For example:

  • In Science and Social Studies Unit 1, students explore how plastic pollution is harming the oceans and ways to reduce plastic waste, especially what ends up in the ocean. To build knowledge, students read from Trash Vortex: How Plastic Pollution Is Choking the World's Oceans Danielle Smith-Llera (informational text) and additional articles on single use plastics, microplastics, and no-plastic solutions. Students answer the following Essential Questions:

    • Why do we have a plastic pollution problem? 

    • How is plastic pollution hurting the world’s oceans? 

    • What steps can be taken to lessen the amount of plastic pollution in the ocean?

  • In Literature Unit 2, students read several texts including The Breadwinner by Deborah Ellis (fictional text) centered around the topic of the Taliban’s influence on the Middle East. Students answer the following Essential Questions:

    • How can family relationships and dynamics influence a person's actions? 

    • How did the Taliban regime impact life for residents of Kabul? 

    • Feminism advocates for women's rights and equality of the sexes. What can be done to improve women's rights and equality in both Afghanistan and Pakistan? 

    • How can one person impact a community? 

  • In Science and Social Studies Unit 2, texts are organized around the topic of the California migrant farm workers’ fight for justice, including La Causa: The Migrant Farmworkers’ Story by Dana Catharine de Ruiz and Richard Larios (informational text). Students answer the following Essential Questions:

    • What was life like for migrant farm workers in the 1960s? What barriers did they face in order to obtain better working conditions? Wages? 

    • What were some of the key moments in the migrant farm workers' fight for justice? 

    • Who were Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta? What strategies did they use to make meaningful, long-lasting change?

    • How did the farm workers use different types of nonviolent protest to educate the public and push for change? 

  • In Literature Unit 3, students explore the complexity of immigration and stereotypes including learning about what life is like for undocumented workers. Students read the core text Return to Sender by Julia Alvarez (fictional text) along with additional videos and articles on migrant workers and perspectives on immigration. Students answer the following Essential Questions:

    • How do people develop stereotypical ideas? How can stereotypes lead to prejudice and discrimination? 

    • How can friendships and learning across lines of difference help build empathy and stop the spread of stereotypes? 

    • What is life like for undocumented Mexican laborers and their families? 

  • In Science and Social Studies Unit 3, students read multiple biographical texts on the Civil Rights Movement including Witnesses to Freedom: Young People Who Fought for Civil Rights by Belinda Rochelle, Freedom’s Children: Young Civil Rights Activists Tell Their Own Stories by Ellen S. Levine, Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice by Phillip Hoose, Turning 15 on the Road to Freedom: My Story of the 1965 Selma Voting Rights March by Lynda Blackmon Lowery, and Selma, Lord, Selma: Girlhood Memories of the Civil Rights Days by Frank Sikora. This unit explores the Civil Rights Movement through the eyes of the children who experienced it. Students answer the following Essential Questions:

    • What role did children and teens play in the civil rights movement? 

    • What nonviolent tactics and strategies were used during the civil rights movement to influence change and overturn systems of oppression? 

    • What types of violence, racism, oppression, and opposition did black people and other civil rights activists face during the civil rights movement? 

    • What were some of the key events in the civil rights movement? 

    • How did the persistence of racism and racist attitudes fuel the opposition to the civil rights movement?

  • In Literature Unit 4, students read excerpts from the fictional texts, Julie of the Wolves by Jean Craighead George; Endangered by Eliot Schrefer; and Hatchet by Gary Paulsen, and several poems. These texts are connected to the topic of survival. Students answer the following Essential Questions:

    • What steps can be taken to prepare for a wilderness emergency? 

    • What strategies are necessary for surviving a wilderness emergency? 

  • In Science and Social Studies Unit 4, texts are organized around the Mars rovers, Spirit and Opportunity, and their mission to Mars. Students read The Mighty Mars Rovers: The Incredible Adventures of Spirit and Opportunity by Eliabth Rusch and various articles including, “Mars Rovers Advance Understanding of the Red Planet” (no author). Students answer the following Essential Questions:

    • What is the engineering and design process? How do scientists use the engineering and design process to plan for and execute missions to Mars?

    • What challenges did the rovers face on Mars? How did scientists and the rovers respond?

    • What goals did scientists have for the rover expeditions? Were the goals met? 

The Literature unit texts are primarily connected by a theme and therefore are not organized around a cohesive topic. For example:

  • In Literature Unit 1, students read Seedfolks by Paul Fleischman (fictional text) which explores the theme of community. Students answer the following Essential Questions:

    • How can one person impact a community?

    • In what ways can prejudice impact the way people treat one another? 

    • What steps can be taken to overcome prejudice?

  • In Literature Unit 5, students read the novel, One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia, and several supporting materials including poems such as “I, Too” by Langston Huges and excerpts from “The Black Panther”. The unit is connected by both the topic of the Black Panther movement and the themes of community, identity, and revolution. Students answer the following Essential Questions:

    • Who were the Black Panthers? What did they believe in? 

    • How can relationships cause people to change and grow? 

    • How can names and labels influence our identities? 

  • In Literature Unit 6, students read A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle (fantasy), which focuses on the theme of good versus evil. Students answer the following Essential Questions:

    • What characteristics and traits help people succeed in the face of challenge? 

    • What are the characteristics of sci-fi/fantasy texts and how do these apply to A Wrinkle in Time

Indicator 2b

Materials require students to analyze the key ideas, details, craft, and structure within individual texts as well as across multiple texts using coherently sequenced, high quality questions and tasks.

4/4
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Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Grade 5 meet the criteria for Indicator 2b.

The materials include opportunities for students to respond to high-quality questions and tasks in writing or discussion. Many questions and tasks focus on main idea and details, as well as word choice and structure of the text. In each lesson, text-dependent questions are sequenced to increase an in-depth knowledge base of the key ideas and themes presented in texts. The majority of the text-dependent question sequences occur in the Engaging with the Text sections in each lesson. All of the texts, questions, and associated tasks build student knowledge to answer the Essential Questions that guide each unit.

For most texts, students analyze key ideas and details according to grade-level standards. For example:

  • In Literature Unit 2, Lesson 18, students read a section of Kids of Kabul and answer Key Questions about ideas and details: “Why does Afghanistan have high rates of illiteracy? Why is it worse for women? Why is teacher training a priority for many organizations helping to rebuild Afghanistan? Based on what you know, why is this important?” 

  • In Social Studies and Science Unit 2, Lesson 3, after reading La Causa: The Migrant Farmworkers’ Story, students answer Key Questions about key ideas and details: “Compare and contrast Dolores’s life with the life of the farm workers. What impact did the man have on Dolores? Compare and contrast Dolores’ childhood with Cesar Chavez’s.”

  • In Science and Social Studies Unit 4, Lesson 1, after reading The Mighty Mars Rover: The Incredible Adventures of Spirit and Opportunity, students describe the gadgets on the rovers and then explain why each gadget was important. 

  • In Literature Unit 6, Lesson 5, students answer a series of questions: “How does Calvin feel when he is at the Murry house? Why? Calvin pushes Meg to process lots of difficult realities. How does Meg respond? How does Calvin respond to her responses?” 

For most texts, students analyze craft and structure (according to the grade-level standards). For example:

  • In Literature Unit 4, Lesson 3, students describe the significance of the last sentence the author writes and explain why it is important for the main character. 

  • In Science and Social Studies Unit 3, Lesson 13, the Target Task states: “How does Claudette’s account of what happened on March 2, 1955, differ from the account in the police report? Why does the author include both versions? Which account do you think is more reliable? Why?” Prior to this task students answer questions: “Why does the author include the police report on page 35? Why does the author end with the quote from Reverend Johnson?”

  • In Social Studies and Science Unit 4, Lesson 12, students prepare to write about the accomplishments of the Mars rovers. Prior to that, students analyze the craft and structure of the text and answer questions: “Why does the author include the image on p. 38? How does it help a reader better understand how a mini-TES works?”

  • In Literature Unit 6, students read A Wrinkle in Time and a graphic novel version of the text. Students have multiple opportunities to analyze and compare both texts. In Lesson 8, students answer the writing prompt, “Pick an event that was represented in both the novel and the graphic novel. Compare and contrast the two representations of the event. Which features contribute most to the meaning, tone, or beauty of the text?” To prepare students for the prompt, teachers ask students sequenced questions while reading the novel and graphic novel: “How does Madeleine L’Engle use sentence structure to help the reader better understand what it is like to tesser? How does the illustrator use genre features to help the reader better understand what it is like to tesser? What features contribute most to the meaning, tone, or beauty of the text?” 

Indicator 2c

Materials require students to analyze the integration of knowledge within individual texts as well as across multiple texts using coherently sequenced, high quality text-specific and/or text-dependent questions and tasks.

4/4
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Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Grade 5 meet the criteria for Indicator 2c.

The materials contain questions and tasks that require students to analyze individual and multiple texts. In both Literature and Science and Social Studies units, lessons include a set of Key Questions to build knowledge around the unit topic. As the units progress, questions build to support various tasks and, by the end of most units, students compare the unit texts. The majority of questions are text-dependent or text-specific. Furthermore, tasks enhance the students’ knowledge base of the unit topic through questions, discussions, writing prompts, and at times, research. Within most units, there are multiple texts that offer varying perspectives and viewpoints while continuing to build knowledge of the unit topic or theme. Most questions are aligned to the standards, and the majority of units provide opportunities for students to gather information and analyze across multiple texts. 

Most sets of questions and tasks support students’ analysis of knowledge and ideas. For example:

  • In Science and Social Studies Unit 1, Lesson 10, students answer the prompt, “What strategies does the author recommend to help reduce the amount of plastic in the ocean? What are the pros and cons of the strategies? What impact do the strategies have?” Before answering this question, students answer questions, such as “What are decomposers? Why are they an important part of an ecosystem? What does it mean to biodegrade?”

  • In Literature Unit 2, Lesson 22, after reading I am Malala: How one Girl Stood up for Education And Changed the World by Malala Yousafai and Patricia McCormick, students answer the questions, “According to Malala, what does terrorism feel like? Why? Compare and contrast Malala’s point of view with Parvana’s and the kids from Kids of Kabul.” Students answer several questions before answering the writing prompt including, “How did Radio Mullah change society? What is Malala’s point of view on the Taliban bombing schools? Why?” 

  • In Science and Social Studies Unit 4, Lesson 1, after reading some of The Mighty Mars Rovers: The Incredible Adventures of Spirit and Opportunity by Elizabeth Rusch, students answer the question, “What was the goal of the Mars exploration rover mission? Why was the goal important?” Questions leading up to this task include: “Look at the image of pp. 2-3. Based on this image, what do you think the surface of Mars is like? Why does the author start by asking questions? What questions does the author ask?” 

  • In Literature Unit 5, Lesson 6, students read the website, ”Ten-Point Platform” by PBS.org and answer the writing prompt, “Based on the Ten-Point Platform, summarize what the Black Panthers believed.” Before this writing prompt, students are split into groups and each group summarizes the key ideas of each platform and explains the importance of the platform. 

Sets of questions and tasks provide opportunities to analyze across multiple texts. For example:

  • In Literature Unit 2, students explore the Taliban’s influence on the Middle East. In Lesson 27, students read the texts, Kids of Kabul: Living Bravely through a Never-Ending War by Deborah Ellis, I am Malala: How One Girl Stood Up for Education and Changed the World by Malala Yousafzai and Patricia McCormick, and The Breadwinner by Deborah Ellisdebate. After reading, students analyze the essential questions from the unit including, “How did the Taliban regime impact life for residents in Kabul? What can be done to improve women’s rights and equality in both Afghanistan and Pakistan?” In Lesson 28, students write a paragraph to answer one of the essential questions. 

  • In Science and Social Studies Unit 2, Lesson 6, students watch the video, “Chicago! Struggle in the Fields”, and read the article, “Bitter Harvest: LIFE with America’s Migrant Workers, 1959” by Ben Cosgove. Students answer the prompt, “Using details from the video and pictures, describe the conditions for farm workers in California.” After watching the video, students answer, “What did the farm workers demand? Why?” After reading the article, students answer, “What do the pictures show about the conditions for farm workers in California?”

  • In Science and Social Studies Unit 3, Lesson 30, the writing task requires that students synthesize across multiple texts: Witnesses to Freedom: Young People who Fought for Civil Rights by Belinda Rochelle. Selma, Lord, Selma: Girlhood Memories of the Civil Rights Days by Frank Sikora and Turning 15 on the Road to Freedom: My Story of the 1965 Selma Voting Rights March by Lynda Blackmon Lowery, which all describe the events of Bloody Sunday and the march from Selma to Montgomery. Students answer questions: “What similarities and differences exist in the points of view they represent? Why? How does the point of view of each affect what a reader knows about Bloody Sunday and the march? What perspectives are missing from the three accounts?” 

  • In Literature Unit 5, Lesson 18, students “compare and contrast the narrator’s views and understanding of the revolution with Delphine and her sisters” after reading poems in the book, Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson. Students answer questions to help them answer this question after each poem. For example, after reading the poem, “Each World” students answer, “What message is the narrator trying to convey in the poem?” Similarly, in the poem “Revolution” students answer, “What does the narrator think of when she hears the word ‘revolution’?”

Indicator 2d

Culminating tasks require students to demonstrate their knowledge of a unit's topic(s)/theme(s) through integrated literacy skills (e.g., a combination of reading, writing, speaking, listening).

4/4
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Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Grade 5 meet the criteria for Indicator 2d.

The materials include culminating tasks at the end of each unit that requires students to demonstrate knowledge of the unit topic and mastery of the unit skills. To prepare students for the culminating task, similar tasks or questions are provided throughout the unit. Culminating tasks are varied across the school year. While the majority of culminating tasks include a writing component, they also give students the opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge of the unit topic and understanding of multiple standards through integrated skills including reading, researching, speaking, and listening. Most, but not all, culminating tasks require students to utilize information from unit texts or sources across the unit for completion. Some culminating tasks ask students to write about their own experience or beliefs, though students study literature and character development and use that knowledge to complete the culminating task. 

Culminating tasks are multifaceted, requiring students to demonstrate mastery of several different standards (reading, writing, speaking, listening) at the appropriate grade level, and comprehension and knowledge of a topic or topics through integrated skills (reading, writing, speaking, listening). For example:

  • In Social Studies and Science Unit 1, students study the effects of plastic pollution. In Lesson 15, the culminating task prompts students to write and create a visual aid to educate other schools and convince them to take part in reducing the use of plastic in classrooms. The task incorporates speaking, listening, reading, and writing. 

  • In Literature Unit 2, Lesson 27, students write a magazine article that teaches others around the world about the theme of the unit. Students must include details and reasons from at least two of the unit texts.

  • In Science and Social Studies Unit 2, Lesson 24, students research a topic related to the unit such as Filipino workers and Larry Itilong or Chicago art and the role of murals in the movement and write an informational text to inform others of their topic. The task incorporates reading and writing. 

  • In Literature Unit 5, Lesson 30, after reading One Crazy Summer, students complete a culminating task where they write a story describing what will happen the next time the girls see Cecile as a continuation of the text. The task incorporates reading and writing. 

Indicator 2e

Materials include a cohesive, year-long plan for students to achieve grade-level writing proficiency by the end of the school year.

4/4
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Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Grade 5 meet the criteria for Indicator 2e.

The materials in both Literature and Science and Social Studies units provide opportunities to help students achieve grade-level proficiency in writing by the end of the year. The Teacher Tools includes instructional strategies for teachers to utilize when providing explicit instruction and facilitating student practice throughout each stage of the writing process; however, opportunities for students to participate in the writing process is limited to periodic skill activities and focused writing at the end of each unit for approximately four to five days. Writing lessons incorporate a myriad of instructional strategies outlined in the Teacher Tools document. In each unit, the demands increase exponentially. At the onset of the academic year, the units focus on quality sentences and paragraph writing and gradually build throughout the year toward proficiency with essays. The use of evidence also evolves from students using direct quotations to citing and paraphrasing evidence. The Enhanced Lesson Plans ensure that students receive explicit and sequenced instruction to aid in developing grade-level writing techniques followed by ample time for practice. 

Materials include writing instruction that aligns to the standards for the grade level and supports students’ growth in writing skills over the course of the school year. For example:

  • In the Literature Units, writing instruction aligns to the standards for Grade 5. All Literature Units include W.5.1 and W.5.3 as core writing standards as students regularly receive opinion and narrative writing instruction and complete tasks. Opinion writing is also included as a core writing standard in Science and Social Studies Units 1 and 2.  Science and Social Studies Units 2-5 feature W.5.2 and W.5.7 as core writing standards as students focus on research in order to effectively write an informative piece. Students engage in on-demand writing throughout the unit in response to their reading that prepares them for the final writing task for the unit. All writing standards are covered over the course of the year.

  • In Literature Unit 1, Seedfolks, the main writing focus of the unit is on brainstorming and drafting strong single paragraphs and lessons build over the course of the unit. In Lesson 6 students review how to brainstorm evidence, draft topic sentences, and then create a single paragraph outline. In Lesson 10, students learn how to revise their initial theories based on additional evidence from the text and they continue to work on drafting topic sentences and picking the right evidence to support a topic sentence. In Lesson 14, students participate in a 3-day writing task that builds on the work they did in Lesson 6 and Lesson 10. On Day One, students gather additional evidence from the text and revise their topic sentences from earlier in the unit, on Day Two students learn how to use conjunctions to expand on the details they put in their outlines, and on Day Three students edit their writing for complete sentences and spelling. There are 5 days of process writing in this unit, 2 within the unit and 3 at the end. 

  • In Science and Social Studies Unit 2, Lesson 12, students use all unit texts to write a paragraph describing the characteristics of an influential leader. Over two days, students complete an outline; write a draft using elaboration strategies; and revise and edit the final paragraph for complete sentences, correct spelling, and appropriate verb tenses. After several other writing tasks like this, students complete the unit by selecting a topic from the list and using the recommended sources to gather information in Lesson 24. Students then use a Two Paragraph Outline to write their informative essay, revise, edit, and publish over a period of five days.

  • In Literature Unit 3, the Unit Focus Key Writing and Language Standards provides guidance for teachers to focus instruction on stating an opinion, providing reasons and details to support an opinion including transition words and phrases, and providing a concluding statement. Teacher guidance also includes information on how the current unit connects to previous units and that this is the second opinion piece written by students as well as where teachers can build upon previously taught skills. 

  • In Science and Social Studies Unit 3, the Unit Focus Key Writing and Language Standards provides guidance for teachers including specific sentence level, paragraph level, and Informational writing focus areas. At this point in the curriculum, there are no new sentence focus areas, and, instead, instruction focuses on outlining and drafting multiple paragraph essays, organizing ideas into paragraphs, and using direct quotations. This shows a growth from the beginning of the year since Units 1 and 2 require one paragraph; this is the first unit where students begin writing multiple paragraphs. 

  • In Literature Unit 4, the Key Writing Standards indicate that the teacher will review the sentence-level and paragraph-level writing skills and focus on narrative writing with a focus on brainstorming a logical sequence of events, orienting the reader by introducing characters and setting, and providing a logical conclusion. In addition, students have 16 opportunities to respond to the text in writing, though no direct instruction is provided. 

  • In Science and Social Studies Unit 4, students continue to work on drafting strong paragraphs and writing informational texts with a focus on revision. In multiple lessons, students write an answer to a Target Task and then revise their answer in the next lesson using information from another text. For example, in Lesson 6 students write an answer to the Target Task, and then in Lesson 7, students learn how to revise and add additional details based on watching a video and reading an additional text. Students repeat a similar process in lessons 11 & 12 and lessons 20 & 21. In Lesson 17, students spend two days writing and revising essays to answer the unit essential questions. In Lesson 29, students return to the writing they did about the essential questions, revise, rewrite, and then edit across two days. In Lesson 31, students spend 5 days writing an informational piece, using what they reviewed about how to construct strong essays during the unit. There are 12 days dedicated to process-based writing across the unit. 

Materials include a variety of well-designed guidance, protocols, models, and supports for teachers to implement and monitor students’ writing development. For example:

  • The ELA Teacher Tools includes a link to a variety of guidance and support for teachers to implement writing in Grade 4. These include: 

    • Monitoring Student Writing Progress provides guidance on determining what skills should be taught by looking at previous lessons and student data. Teacher guidance includes maintaining a tracking system of student progress in writing throughout the year from assignment to assignment.

    • Writing Structures and Frameworks provides teacher guidance and protocols for teaching specific writing structures and frameworks including brainstorming and note-taking organizers, such as a Narrative Writing Brainstorm Template,  a Single Paragraph Outline, and Multiple Paragraph Outline. In addition, this section outlines that sentence level instruction is based off of The Writing Revolution by Judith C. Hochman and Natalie Wexler. 

    • Instructional Strategies for Writing Lessons provides multiple instructional strategies that teachers can use in implementing writing lessons. These strategies include Think Aloud, Teacher Model Writing, Analysis of an Exemplar, Analysis of a Non-Exemplar, Group Practice, Quick Practice, Analysis of Student Work, and Independent Practice.

    • Giving Writing Feedback provides information on how feedback should be given to students in each lesson including conferences, whole-class feedback, and peer feedback. There are also guides for how teachers can respond to common challenges at the sentence level, the paragraph level, for narrative writing, and informational writing.

    • Writing Rubrics provides rubrics for teacher use for each type of writing.

Indicator 2f

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.

4/4
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Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Grade 5 meet the criteria for Indicator 2f.

The materials include opportunities for students to analyze topics, through research by using reading, writing, speaking and listening, and language skills throughout the academic year. The majority of short and extended research tasks occur in the Science and Social Studies units. A few lessons in the Literature units require students to analyze informational texts or multimedia sources to learn more about topics addressed in the texts. Students perform research tasks based on single and multiple texts and are encouraged to take notes or utilize graphic organizers. Students use the research to write, debate, discuss, or illustrate their learning. 

Research projects are sequenced across a school year to include a progression of research skills that build to mastery of the grade-level standards. For example: 

  • In Science and Social Studies Unit 1, Lesson 9, students write two paragraphs educating other classrooms around the school about why there is a plastic problem and how it is impacting the ocean. Students begin by collecting evidence from multiple sources. 

  • In Science and Social Studies Unit 2, Lesson 24, students conduct research on a topic of their choice related to the unit topic of the migrant worker’s movement. Teachers provide students a list of topics related to migrant farm workers and activists. This project is designed to build student research skills with teacher support. Students create a research question, gather details from a variety of sources, and write an informational text. 

  • In Science and Social Studies Unit 3, Lesson 33, students pick an event from the Civil Rights Movement to research. The lesson begins with a review of finding reliable sources online, categorizing information, outlining and drafting multiple paragraphs, and including text features. 

Materials support teachers in employing projects that develop students’ knowledge of different aspects of a topic. For example:

  • In Science and Social Studies Unit 2, Lesson 9, students spend two days reading Chapters 1-2 of “A Union in the Community” by Cesar Chavez in order to describe three or four strategies that Cesar Chavez or Dolores Huerta used to organize a strong movement and union. 

  • In Literature Unit 5, students read One Crazy Summer. In Lesson 6, students build knowledge of the Black Panthers by researching the website, “The Ten-Point Platform” by PBS.org. After researching various ideas, students write to the prompt, “Based on The Ten Point Platform, summarize what the Black Panthers believed.”

Materials provide opportunities for students to conduct research projects that synthesize and analyze content tied to the topics under study as a part of the research process. For example:

  • In Science and Social Studies Unit 2, Lesson 9, in small groups, students read multiple sections of the text, A Union in the Community. The teacher opens the lesson by discussing how to use primary sources and model gathering key details. Then, students research sections of the text, gather key details, and write how Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta used specific strategies to create a strong union and movement.

  • In Science and Social Studies Unit 4, Lesson 12, students use an excerpt from the core text, The Mighty Mars Rovers: The Incredible Adventures of Spirit and Opportunity, and the website, “Spacecraft: Surface Operations: Instruments”, to gather more information on the Mars rovers. In pairs, students answer a series of questions as they are researching and select two instruments shown on the website to explain their uses and benefits. 

  • In Science and Social Studies Unit 3, Lesson 1, students begin the unit with a small group research activity to build background knowledge of events that led up to the Civil Rights Movement. Each group reads an article and then creates a mini-poster presentation for the class. The activity guides students to create a timeline of events leading up to the movement. 

  • In Social Studies and Science Unit 3, Lesson 33, students spend five days on a research project. On Day 1, they “pick another event from the Civil Rights Movement to research” and create a report to teach others about the event. The report includes multiple paragraph essays that explains the key aspects of the event, concrete facts, details, and quotations, and text features and graphic elements to help aid comprehension. After researching from unit texts and other potential sources, students write a rough draft, revise their work, and add graphic elements. 

Criterion 2g - 2h

Materials promote mastery of grade-level standards by the end of the year.

8/8
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Criterion Rating Details

The bulk of instructional time and tasks see students engaged daily in discussions, text analysis, writing about texts and/or unit topics, and engaged in grade-level, standards-aligned work. Materials can be completed within the recommended times and calendaring allotted. Optional activities do not move the materials out of standards alignment and meet the objectives of each unit.

Indicator 2g

Materials spend the majority of instructional time on content that falls within grade-level aligned instruction, practice, and assessments.

4/4
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Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Grade 5 meet the criteria for Indicator 2g.

The materials include instructional activities, student activities, assessments, and questions that are focused on grade level standards. Instructional activities encompass grade level standards and are the focus for the majority of instructional time. Students are engaged daily in discussions, text analysis, writing about texts or unit topics, or mid- and end-of-unit assessments, all of which align to Grade 3 standards. At the bottom of each lesson, it lists the core standards and the supporting or spiral standards. In addition, the lesson map lists the core standard. Every question on assessments indicates alignment to the appropriate standard. Materials also include a Standards Map that indicates when standards are addressed and spiraled in. 

Over the course of each unit, the majority of instruction is aligned to grade-level standards. For example:

  • In Literature Unit 1, the majority of instruction is aligned to grade-level standards. RL.5.2, RL.5.3, RL.5.5, and RL.5.6 are the focus reading standards. Writing instruction is aligned to W.5.1 and W.5.3. Speaking and listening standards are also a focus in this unit, including SL.5.1 and SL.5.5. Students also focus on language standards in this unit, including L.5.1 and L.5.2. 

  • In Science and Social Studies Unit 4, the majority of instruction is aligned to grade-level standards. Reading instruction focuses on RI.5.2, RI.5.3, RI.5.5, RI.5.8, and RI.5.9. Students also focus on the writing standards W.5.2, W.5.7, W.5.8, and W.5.9. 

Over the course of each unit, the majority of questions and tasks are aligned to grade-level standards. For example:

  • In Science and Social Studies Unit 1, Lesson 12, while reading the article, “Ten ‘Stealth Microplastics’ to Avoid if you Want to Save the Oceans”, the teacher leads students in a group discussion on Key Questions about the text, such as “What are microplastics? What microplastics are we using daily? How does each microplastic impact the environment? What voluntary actions could people take to stop the use of microplastics? What education is needed? What policy changes are needed?” These questions align to standard RI.5.3. 

  • In Science and Social Studies Unit 3, Lesson 14, students read about Claudette Colvin. The writing prompt is text-specific and states, “Read the quotation from page 61. ‘If they were branded ‘uncontrollable’ or ‘emotional’ or even ‘profane,’ so be it. Claudette and now Mary Louise Smith had shown through their courage that at least some young people were ready to act.’ Why does the author put the words ‘uncontrollable,’ ‘emotional,’ and ‘profane’ in italics? What does this quote reveal about the author’s point of view of Claudette? How does the author support this message throughout the entire chapter?” These questions align to standards RI.5.6 and RI.5.8. 

  • In Literature Unit 4, Lesson 9, students summarize the reading and “compare and contrast the way Miyax from Julie of the Wolves and Sophie from ‘Endangered’ approached survival”. These questions and tasks align to  standards RL.5.2 and RL.5.9.

  • In Literature Unit 6, Lesson 6, students read an excerpt from A Wrinkle in Time to complete a Target Task writing prompt that states, “Describe what it was like to tesser. What details does the author include to help the reader visualize what it was like to tesser?” To build knowledge for the prompt, students answer, “What does it mean to tesser? What details does the author include to show what it was like to tesser? Where did Meg, Charles Wallace, and Calvin tesser to? Describe the new setting. How do the events of the chapter deepen the readers' understanding of Mrs. Who, Mrs. Which, and Mrs. Whatsit? Support your answer with two to three specific examples”. These questions and tasks are aligned to standards RL.5.3. 

Over the course of each unit, the majority of assessment questions are aligned to grade-level standards. For example:

  • In Science and Social Studies Unit 2, Cold Read Assessment, students answer several questions including, “How were African Americans treated right after the end of the Civil War? Include at least two to three examples from the text” which is aligned to RI.5.3. 

  • In Science and Social Studies Unit 3, Content Assessment, a student task includes: “Pick one key event from the civil rights movement. Describe what happened and why.” This writing prompt aligns to RI.5.2, RI.5.6, RI.5.8, RI.5.9, and L.5.6. 

  • In Literature Unit 4, Cold Read Assessment, questions include: “How do paragraphs 9-10 of the excerpt contribute to the development of the plot?” which is aligned to RL.5.5. 

  • In Literature Unit 5, Content Assessment, students pick a character from A Wrinkle in Time and analyze “how faith, trust, courage, or love helped the character overcome multiple challenges.” This assessment question is aligned to RL.5.2, RL.5.3, W.5.1, L.5.1, L.5.2, and L.5.6. 

By the end of the academic year,  standards are repeatedly addressed within and across units to ensure students master the full intent of the standard. For example:

  • RL.5.1, RL.5.2, RL.5.3, RL.5.4, RL.5.5, and RL.5.6 are covered as either core standards or supporting standards in almost all six Literature units. RL.5.2, RL.5.3, RL.5.5, and RL.5.6 are found in the majority of Literature units. 

  • RI.5.1, RI.5.2, RI.5.3, RI.5.4, and RI.5.9 are covered in almost every Science and Social Studies unit. RI.5.1, RI.5.3, RI.5.6, RI.5.7, and RI.5.9 are also core standards in various Literature units. 

  • W.4.1 is a core standard in all Literature units and one Science and Social Studies unit.. W.4.2 is in every Science and Social Studies unit and W.4.3 is in all but one Literature unit. W.4.10 is a spiraled standard in every unit.  

  • Speaking and listening standards are addressed in every unit, especially SL.5.1 which is covered in every Literature and Science and Social Studies unit. 

  • Language standards are core and supporting standards across the year. L.5.1, L.5.2, and L.5.4 are in every unit. 

Indicator 2h

Materials regularly and systematically balance time and resources required for following the suggested implementation, as well as information for alternative implementations that maintain alignment and intent of the standards.

4/4
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Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Grade 5 meet the criteria for Indicator 2h.

The materials include an implementation schedule that allows sufficient time to complete all components of the lessons and every unit in a given year. A schedule with time suggestions for each lesson is provided in the unit pacing guide. The plans explicitly state that there is time allowed for teachers to adjust lessons to meet the needs of their individual classrooms. Moreover, the total number of lessons can be completed in a traditional school year. Optional activities are present in the form of additional support to build knowledge, and enrichment activities align to the standards and enhance the daily objective. 

Suggested implementation schedules and alternative implementation schedules align to core learning and objectives. For example:

  • The materials include an article with a sample daily schedule from 8:00-3:00 that includes the literature block, a math block, a specials block, a science and social studies block, another block for science or enrichment, independent reading, and time for a morning meeting and closing circle. Writing instruction is embedded within all Literature and Science and Social Studies units. 

  • The Literature and Social Studies and Science lessons have three parts. According to the materials, the Building Knowledge and Skills section takes about 5 minutes, the Engage with the Text section takes about 30 minutes, and the Build Deeper Meaning section takes about 25 minutes. 

  • The materials recommend that students participate in a 45 minute independent reading block each day. 

Suggested implementation schedules can be reasonably completed in the time allotted. For example:

  • In Literature, there are 149 lessons with 164 instructional days. 

  • In Social Studies, there are 105 lessons with 134 instructional days. 

  • The materials specifically state, “we intentionally did not account for all 180 school days to allow teachers to fit in additional review or extension, teacher-created assessments, and school-based events.” 

Optional tasks do not distract from core learning. Optional tasks are for either remediation or enrichment and can be integrated into the existing lesson plan. For example:

  • In Science and Social Studies Unit 4, Lesson 9, students are studying the Mars rover, Opportunity. The lesson includes an Opportunities for Enrichment section: “Display some of the photos Opportunity took when landing on Mars. Have students analyze the photos the way scientists did in this section of text.”

  • In Literature Unit 6, Lesson 5, students read A Wrinkle in Time and write a paragraph explaining what happened to the character, Murray. The Additional Supports section states, “If there is time after students have written an answer to the Target Task question, have students close read the last paragraph on page 63... How does the sentence structure add to a reader’s understanding of characters and events? Why does Madeleine L’Engle end the chapter with this sentence?”

Optional tasks are meaningful and enhance core instruction. For example:

  • In Science and Social Studies Unit 1, Lesson 10, the objective is to “explain what strategies the author recommends to help reduce the amount of plastic in the ocean and the pros and cons of the strategies”. There are several optional tasks including the use of sentence stems, unpacking specific sentences from the text that contain figurative language, and using a graphic organizer to keep track of the problems and solutions. 

  • In Literature Unit 4, Lesson 2, students read an excerpt from Julie and the Wolves. The Language Supports section provides recommendations to increase student understanding of the text including four complex sentences that students may need help unpacking in order to understand the reading. The lesson plan also provides the article, “Why You Shouldn’t Say Eskimo”, from NPR to help build background knowledge. 

Gateway Three

Usability

Partially Meets Expectations

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Gateway Three Details

The Fishtank 3-5 materials provide useful teacher guidance to support each unit and lesson. There are extensive resources to assist educators as they work with more complex pieces of the materials. There are clearly-delineated resources to demonstrate the relationship between the materials and the grade-level ELA standards as well as information on the instructional approaches of the program and the research undergirding these approaches. The materials lack explicit strategies and supports for communicating with all stakeholders. All supplies needed, including texts that are necessary for implementation are easily accessed through the Fishtank website.

The materials are clearly labeled to demonstrate which standards are being assessed throughout. While there are multiple opportunities for assessment found throughout each unit, there is minimal guidance for teachers to interpret student performance or next steps following unit assessments or culminating tasks. Students have the opportunity to demonstrate mastery of some, but not all standards for the grade level. 

The materials provide some generalized opportunities and information to support students in special populations, students working above grade level, and English Language Learners. There is more specific support provided for supporting English language learners. Though there is not a wide variety of activities or strategies provided throughout. 

The materials include representations of a wide variety of individuals with various demographic and physical characteristics in both the texts and unit topics. There is some guidance to support teachers to encourage students to draw upon their home language to facilitate instruction. Additionally, the materials provide extensive information to support equity and diversity in both the content and activities in the materials.

Criterion 3a - 3h

The program includes opportunities for teachers to effectively plan and utilize materials with integrity and to further develop their own understanding of the content.

9/9
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Criterion Rating Details

The Fishtank 3-5 materials provide useful teacher guidance including extensive unit preparation sections, well-delineated lesson plans, and a variety of annotations to support each unit and lesson. There are extensive resources to assist educators as they work with more complex pieces of the materials. There are clearly-delineated resources to demonstrate the relationship between the materials and the grade-level ELA standards as well information on the instructional approaches of the program and the research undergirding these approaches. The materials lack explicit strategies and supports for communicating with all stakeholders, including families, to advise on student progress or to offer ways to support the student in their work. All supplies needed, including texts that are necessary for implementation are easily accessed through the Fishtank website.

Indicator 3a

Materials provide teacher guidance with useful annotations and suggestions for how to enact the student materials and ancillary materials, with specific attention to engaging students in order to guide their literacy development.

2/2
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Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Grade 5 meet the criteria for Indicator 3a. 

Materials provide comprehensive guidance that will assist teachers in presenting the student and ancillary materials.

  • The materials include a summary of each unit with a list of texts and materials that accompany the unit, recommended texts for independent reading, assessments for the unit, a vocabulary glossary, and a lesson map that includes the lesson objective and standards. 

  • Each lesson plan includes the objective and the text. It also includes the Target Task and a sample response. 

  • The lessons also include key questions to support students in comprehending the text and Tier II vocabulary necessary to understand the text. 

  • Additionally, the Preparing to Teach an ELA Unit section provides detailed, step-by-step considerations for the teacher as they prepare to teach the unit. This includes two sections-- Internalizing the Content and Create a Plan. These two sections provide detailed considerations and questions for the teacher

Materials include sufficient and useful annotations and suggestions that are presented within the context of the specific learning objectives.

  • In the Enhanced Lesson Plan, there is a section on building background knowledge, a section on engaging with the text, and a section on building a deeper meaning of the text. 

  • Each of the sections include additional support to help students with literacy development including language support and enrichment opportunities. 

  • When applicable, there are hyperlinks available for student materials, such as graphic organizers. 

  • There are also hyperlinks available for teachers to click on to get information on different aspects of literacy instruction, such as strategies for explicit and implicit vocabulary instruction.

Indicator 3b

Materials contain adult-level explanations and examples of the more complex grade/course-level concepts and concepts beyond the current course so that teachers can improve their own knowledge of the subject.

2/2
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Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Grade 5 meet the criteria for Indicator 3b.

The materials include the Teacher Tools section for all grade levels that provides teachers with the information needed to prepare to teach an ELA unit, internalize an ELA lesson, and understand the components of each lesson. There is also guidance related to planning and executing writing lessons, analyzing texts, and exploring strategies to help all learners interact with complex texts. Teachers can use the resources in Teacher Tools to learn how to prepare for and lead discussions and facilitate student engagement with a text. There is also support for independent reading. For example: 

Materials contain adult-level explanations and examples of the more complex grade/course-level concepts so that teachers can improve their own knowledge of the subject.

  • The Providing Access to Complex Texts section of the Teacher Tools explains the two measures of text complexity: quantitative text complexity and qualitative text complexity. It also introduces the Text Complexity Rubric which breaks qualitative text complexity into four features: text structure, language, knowledge demands, and meaning/purpose. Teachers can use that content knowledge to learn how to choose the appropriate types of text complexity support for their students. 

  • The Reading Structures and Routines section of the Teacher Tools explains the two types of reading structures: routines for engaging with the text and routines for active reading. Teachers use content knowledge to consider which reading routines will help students tackle the complex texts in a unit. There are detailed plans provided for each grade level explaining what teachers and their students should be doing before and during reading.

  • The Independent Reading section of the Teacher Tools inspires teachers to create a vision for what independent reading will look like in the classroom and also provides suggestions for monitoring student comprehension and pushing intellectual accountability. Within this section, there is a suggested amount of time for independent reading per grade level and templates to plan for weekly independent reading.

  • The Writing section of the Teacher Tools gives teachers the content knowledge they need to plan and execute writing lessons and strategies to provide feedback. It focuses on two main types of writing structures: brainstorming and note-taking structures, and sentence structures. The instructional strategies provided for teachers to use when providing direct instruction and facilitating student practice during each stage of the writing process include Think Aloud, Teacher Model Writing, Analyze a Non-Exemplar, and Group Practice. All writing lessons within a unit will include a variety of these instructional strategies.

Materials contain adult-level explanations and examples of concepts beyond the current course so that teachers can improve their own knowledge of the subject.

  • The Vocabulary section of the Teacher Tools provides guidance regarding the structure of vocabulary in the units, different methods for teaching vocabulary, and how to support a range of learners during vocabulary instruction. Teachers learn to identify priority vocabulary and how to incorporate it into their lessons and how to use implicit and explicit instruction for vocabulary instruction.

  • The Academic Discourse section of the Teacher Tools provides guidance on speaking and listening in the classroom. It includes a variety of protocols for whole-group, small group, and partner discussions and breaks discussions into three tiers. 

Indicator 3c

Materials include standards correlation information that explains the role of the standards in the context of the overall series.

2/2
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Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Grade 5 meet the criteria for Indicator 3c.

The materials include the Foundations of Fishtank ELA page that clearly maps how the standards and instructional shifts in ELA provide the frame for the curriculum. A Course Summary for each grade level that includes a Standards Map that lists the literature, informational, writing, and speaking and listening standards that the course materials address. The Course Overview highlights the specific standards the unit addresses and the spiral standards. Additional guidance for teachers regarding the key standards of a particular lesson can be found in the Unit Launch and Enhanced Lesson Plans for each unit. In addition, the unit plan includes a Lesson Map, which lists the standards for each individual lesson. 

Correlation information is present for the ELA standards addressed throughout the grade level/series. 

  • Reading Standards Key Understandings shows what standards are taught in each unit and what spiral standards are revisited in the unit. 

  • Sentence Level and Paragraph Level Focus Areas include what both language and writing standards and how they build over the course of the year. 

  • Genre-Based Writing Focus Areas connect process-based writing assignments among the units. 

  • Speaking and Listening Focus Areas provide an explanation for the speaking and listening standards and how the tasks progress and build from unit to unit.

  • Fluency Focus Areas lists the places where the Enhanced Lesson Plans and Fluency Package for each unit provide this support. 

  • Vocabulary Focus Areas display how vocabulary instruction is used in all units. The program states, “The vocabulary focus of a unit varies depending on the vocabulary demands of the particular text(s). We do not identify priority focus areas for vocabulary in each unit.” 

Explanations of the role of the specific grade-level/course-level ELA standards are present in the context of the series.

  • Under the Curriculum tab for ELA, the Foundations of FIshtank ELA page offers links to more detailed information on the role of the standards and shifts in the materials and clearly outlines the guiding principles and research that undergirds the program.

Indicator 3d

Materials provide strategies for informing all stakeholders, including students, parents, or caregivers about the program and suggestions for how they can help support student progress and achievement.

Narrative Evidence Only
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Indicator Rating Details

The materials contain no methods to inform stakeholders information about the program and suggestions on how families can help support student progress and achievement. 

Families can log into the Fishtank curriculum online and access information on their own, but this is not something that is required or provided. In addition, there is a sample letter that teachers can send home about independent reading. In the sample, it states the unit topic, essential questions, and ways to support at home. However, there is only one sample, so teachers would have to create their own letter for each unit. 

Indicator 3e

Materials provide 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 5 meet the criteria for Indicator 3e.

The materials provide explanations of instructional approaches in the Fishtank Guiding Principles document. The authors explain the approach taken by the program in text selection, prioritizing texts over the teaching of individual skills, the teaching of writing and discussion, a focus on social justice, and teacher autonomy in making instructional decisions. Included in the document is a bibliography of resources referenced in the Match Fishtank creation. According to the Principles, students have frequent opportunities for writing and discussion, building knowledge, critical thinking, and generating a lifelong love of learning. Each course includes multiple units that focus on social justice topics in which students learn about respecting people and cultures different from their own and articulating the ways they can fight social injustice. 

Materials explain the instructional approaches of the program.

  • The core beliefs of the Literature units include:

    • Text First vs. Skills First: Rich and nuanced texts spark students’ thinking.

    • Content Selection: Selected texts that both affirm the various cultures represented in classrooms while simultaneously exposing the students to great literature.

    • Writing Instruction: Teach students to construct persuasive arguments and express their own voices.

    • Discussion: A powerful tool for testing out ideas and strengthening thinking.

    • Word Knowledge: Building word knowledge through both explicit instruction and exposure to content knowledge.

    • Lifelong Learning: Cultivate inquisitive readers, writers, and thinkers.

  • The core beliefs of the Social Studies and Science Curriculum beliefs include:

    • Content Knowledge: In order to become active citizens and make sense of the world around them, students need to develop deep background knowledge about key historic events, scientific concepts, and their own and other cultures.

    • Informational Texts: Read, analyze, and write about a broad range of informational texts.

    • Project-Based Learning: Hands-on projects, labs, and activities engage students with the content and teach important thinking and problem-solving skills.

    • Discussion: Powerful tool for testing ideas out and strengthening thinking.

    • Word Knowledge: Build word knowledge through both explicit instruction and exposure to content knowledge.

Materials include and reference research-based strategies.

  • The research used in the creation of the curriculum is referenced throughout the document, including a study by the ACT that found “performance on complex texts is the clearest differentiator in reading between students who are more likely to be ready for college and those who are less likely to be ready for college” (ACT, Inc. 2006). 

  • Gloria Ladson-Billings’ work in “Toward a Theory of Culturally Relevant Pedagogy” is listed as one of the resources used in the creation of Match Fishtank. It describes the culturally relevant response/social justice focus of the curriculum.

Indicator 3f

Materials provide a comprehensive list of supplies needed to support instructional activities.

1/1
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Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Grade 5 meet the criteria for Indicator 3f.

Materials include a comprehensive list of supplies needed to support the instructional activities. Examples include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Texts are hyperlinked to a major online retailer for purchase. 

  • A “Purchase Books” button on the website lists all of the texts and a way for educators to directly purchase the necessary quantity of books. 

  • A list of supporting materials for each unit, including necessary articles (hyperlinked) and suggestions for independent reading books. 

  • Fishtank Plus provides links where educators can directly create worksheets for each unit and lesson, including a vocabulary package, which includes student-friendly definitions, word cards for display in the classroom, and vocabulary worksheets. 

Indicator 3g

This is not an assessed indicator in ELA.

Narrative Evidence Only

Indicator 3h

This is not an assessed indicator in ELA.

Narrative Evidence Only

Criterion 3i - 3l

The program includes a system of assessments identifying how materials provide tools, guidance, and support for teachers to collect, interpret, and act on data about student progress towards the standards.

6/10
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Criterion Rating Details

The materials are clearly labeled to demonstrate which standards are being assessed throughout. While there are multiple opportunities for assessment found throughout each unit, there is minimal guidance for teachers to interpret student performance or next steps following unit assessments or culminating tasks. Most follow-up recommendations are general in nature and do not provide specifics related to tasks and questions. Students have the opportunity to demonstrate mastery of some, but not all standards for the grade level.

Indicator 3i

Assessment information is included in the materials to indicate which standards are assessed.

2/2
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Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Grade 5 meet the criteria for Indicator 3i.

The materials include assessment information in each Literature and Science and Social Studies unit in the Content Assessment section. Most units also include a Cold Read Assessment. Each comes with an Assessment Key. The Cold Read Assessment Key indicates the standards assessed by each question that is clearly labeled for ease in progress monitoring. Open response questions also include potential responses that demonstrate if students met the standard(s). Questions on the student copy of the assessment also include the standard in parentheses. 

Materials consistently identify the standards and practices assessed for formal assessments. Examples include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • In Literature Unit 2, the Cold Read Assessment Question 6 states, “When the narrator states that Parvana ‘wasn’t sure whether to kick him or cover him,’ what does it show about her point of view towards Asif? (RL5.6).”

  • In Literature Unit 3, the Content Assessment requires students to complete an open-ended response measuring four standards (RL.5.2, RL.5.3, W.5.9, and L.5.6): “Determine a theme of the book Return to Sender.”

  • In Science and Social Studies Unit 2, the Cold Read Assessment Questions 1 & 2: “Part A-What is the best definition of the phrase indentured servant as used in paragraph 4? (RI.5.4, L.5.4) and Part B-Identify two quotations from the text that support the answer to Part A (RI.5.1).”

  • In Science and Social Studies Unit 4, the Content Assessment requires students to complete an open-ended response question measuring six standards (RI.5.3, RI.5.8, W.5.1, L.5.1, L.5.2, and L.5.6): “Spirit and Opportunity faced many challenges during their mission to Mars. Describe a challenge either Spirit or Opportunity faced and how they overcame the challenge.”

Indicator 3j

Assessment system provides multiple opportunities throughout the grade, course, and/or series to determine students' learning and sufficient guidance to teachers for interpreting student performance and suggestions for follow-up.

2/4
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Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Grade 5 partially meet the criteria for Indicator 3j.

The materials include multiple opportunities throughout the grade to determine students’ mastery and support is provided to determine next steps, both for students and teachers. Guidance for follow-up specific to essential tasks is interspersed occasionally throughout a unit. It is important to note that there is minimal guidance for teachers to interpret student performance or next steps following assessments or culminating tasks. Most follow-up recommendations are general in nature and do not provide specifics related to tasks and questions. 

Assessment system provides multiple opportunities to determine students' learning and sufficient guidance to teachers for interpreting student performance. Examples include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Answer Keys and Rubrics for the Content Assessments and Cold Read Assessment items 

  • Rubrics to assess the idea development and language of students’ responses

  • Assessment and data analysis information on the Progress Monitoring page of the ELA section of Teacher Tools

  • Rubrics for Target Tasks and process writing 

Assessment system provides multiple opportunities to determine students' learning but limited/generalized suggestions to teachers for following-up with students. Examples include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • A data analysis template and a protocol for teachers to engage in a Data Meeting is included. However, the program indicates that “Data Analysis should be a space where teachers can use student work to reflect on their own practice. Data Meetings give teachers and teams a space to analyze student work, look for class wide trends, and plan next steps. The focus of data meetings is not to identify discrete skills that need to be retaught, rather to identify ways in which the teacher can improve their own practice in upcoming units”

  • Essential Task Key Guidance which identifies key understandings that students must know, potential misconceptions, and detailed guidance on how to provide additional support based on specific misconceptions. If a large portion of the class is struggling with a specific aspect of an Essential Task, they recommend pausing the unit to build that understanding. 

  • The guidance for writing feedback includes the following general information: “Include targeted conferences; Include additional mini-lessons; and Use our Sentence-Level Feedback and Support Guide, Paragraph Level Feedback and Support Guide, Narrative Writing Feedback and Support Guide, and Informational Writing Feedback and Support Guide to provide feedback and additional support. These can be found in our Teacher Tool about Giving Writing Feedback.” 

Indicator 3k

Assessments include opportunities for students to demonstrate the full intent of grade-level/course-level standards and practices across the series.

2/4
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Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Grade 5 partially meet the criteria for Indicator 3k.

The materials include assessment opportunities where students can demonstrate the depth and rigor of most, but not all, grade level standards and provide feedback on what students can read and analyze independently. Assessment opportunities include, but are not limited to cold reads, embedded formative assessments, content assessments, and end-of-unit writing culminating writing tasks.

Assessments include opportunities for students to demonstrate the full intent of some grade-level/course-level standards and shifts across the series. Examples include, but are not limited to the following:

  • The Cold Read and Content Assessments include a variety of item types and tasks for students to demonstrate their skill. The Cold Read Assessments tests students’ ability to read an unfamiliar text and answer multiple choice questions. Each Literature unit contains a Cold Read Assessment for students to demonstrate knowledge of core standards in the unit, while most, but not all of the Science and Social Studies units contain a Cold Read Assessment.    

  • Throughout each unit, students also have the opportunity to complete formative assessments to help teachers monitor progress for the summative assessments.

  • Students have more opportunities to synthesize texts in assessment during the Science and Social Studies Units than in the Literature units. 

  • Students also complete content assessments for each unit. Multiple choice questions and written response items are typically aligned to a focused set of standards addressed in the unit. The Content Assessments give students the opportunity to synthesize unit content knowledge or unit essential questions in writing and demonstrate mastery of unit standards.

  • The final culminating writing tasks in each unit covers the breadth of the standards for narrative, informative, and opinion writing tasks. 

  • The publisher indicates on the Standards Map for Grade 5 that the standards covered in most of the units and on assessments are considered core standards. For example, RL 5.2, RL.5.3, and RL.5.6 are covered often on the Literature unit assessments. For Science and Social Studies, RI.5.3 and RI.5.4 are widely covered across all the assessments. RL.5.9 and RI.5.9 are covered in several assessments especially in the final writing prompt on the Cold Read Assessments. RL.5.1 and RI.5.1 are considered spiral standards by the publisher and are still assessed. RI.5.1 is assessed more frequently than RL.5.1. However, RL.5.7, RI.5.4, RI.5.5, RI.5.7, and RI.5.8 are assessed very few times in assessments. The breadth of the language standards are also minimally assessed.It should be noted that some writing prompts could be attributed to more than one standard. For example, in Science and Social Studies Unit 2 Cold Read Assessment, Question 9 states, “The mistreatment of farmworkers began during the Migrant Farmworkers movement. Agree or disagree. Defend your answer using multiple details from the text.” This is tagged to W.5.2, informative writing, but it could also be considered W.5.1, opinion writing. 

Indicator 3l

Assessments offer accommodations that allow students to demonstrate their knowledge and skills without changing the content of the assessment.

Narrative Evidence Only
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Indicator Rating Details

Assessments offer accommodations that allow students to demonstrate their knowledge and skills without changing the content of the assessment.

  • No evidence found for this indicator.

Criterion 3m - 3v

The program includes materials designed for each child’s regular and active participation in grade-level/grade-band/series content.

3/6
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Criterion Rating Details

The materials provide some generalized opportunities and information to support students in special populations, students working above grade level, and English Language Learners. There is more specific support provided for supporting English language learners. Though there is not a wide variety of activities or strategies provided throughout. 

The materials include representations of a wide variety of individuals with various demographic and physical characteristics in both the texts and unit topics. There is some guidance to support teachers to encourage students to draw upon their home language to facilitate instruction. Additionally, the materials provide extensive information to support equity and diversity in both the content and activities in the materials.

Indicator 3m

Materials provide strategies and supports for students in special populations to work with grade-level content and to meet or exceed grade-level standards that will support their regular and active participation in learning English language arts and literacy.

1/2
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Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Grade 5 partially meet the criteria for Indicator 3m.

The materials include some in-lesson support and teacher guidance documents to assist with meeting grade-level standards; however, the support is limited. The materials do not directly address Special Education, Gifted & Talented, or any other populations other than English Language Learners. 

Materials provide some non-targeted strategies, supports, and resources for students that could be applied to students in special populations to support their regular and active participation in grade-level literacy work. Many of these strategies are used multiple times across units. However, many of the lesson-embedded suggestions are a sentence or two that do not include explicit directions or guidance. Examples include, but are not limited to the following:

  • In Science Unit 1, Lesson 4, students are learning about inventors and their inventions. The Building Background and Accessing Prior Knowledge section states, “Students may need help understanding the different materials described in the chapter. Gather a collection of objects to show students what rubber is and to help them understand how rubber started. Also bring in examples of celluloid (eyeglass frames would be the easiest example). Have students compare the different materials. To understand how plastic is made, students will need a preview of coal and resin.” The Language Supports section states, “The author uses a lot of descriptive and figurative language to help readers understand what is happening. Unpack the following pieces of language:

    • “The gyre’s polluted center ‘moves around like a big animal without a leash. When it gets close to an island, the garbage patch barfs, and you get a beach covered with this confetti of plastic.” (p. 14)

Have students use context to determine the meaning of the following words. 

  • "'Every little piece of plastic manufactured in the past 50 years that made it into the ocean is still out there somewhere because there is no effective mechanism to break it down." (p. 15) 

    • What is a mechanism? 

    • Why is it a problem that there is no effective mechanism to break down plastic? 

  • "Europeans exploring the region in the 16th century were intrigued by this new material and learned how to plant, harvest, and use rubber." (p. 16) 

    • What does it mean to be intrigued? 

    • Why were they intrigued? 

  • "The journey from naturally occurring materials to synthetic ones begins with pumps drawing crude oil from underground." (p. 20) 

    • What is a synthetic material? 

There are also Additional Supports that suggest, “Create a timeline for students to keep track of the sequence of events introduced in this section. If needed, also provide students with cause-and-effect graphic organizers to break down the different inventions.”

  • In Literature Unit 4, Lesson 5, the lesson plan includes language support and additional support. For language support, students use sentence frames when discussing in order to help build on their classmates' answers and ask clarifying questions. For additional support, students use the Take a Stand protocol in the Guide to Support English Learners to help with the discussion. 

  • In Social Studies Unit 3, Lesson 15, students are reading and responding to questions to  “ Explain why Claudette and Rosa Parks were perceived differently by the community and if Claudette could have been the face of the movement.” The Additional Supports Section states, “If needed, review with students the different types of evidence the author includes and why. Have students find examples of each and explain how they help the reader better understand events. 

    • Direct quotations from primary sources

    • Photographs 

    • First-person accounts from Claudette

Indicator 3n

Materials regularly provide extensions to engage with literacy content and concepts at greater depth for students who read, write, speak, and/or listen above grade level.

1/2
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Grade 5 partially meet the criteria for Indicator 3n. 

The materials include some extension opportunities for students above grade level. The Enhanced Lesson Plan section of some lessons includes Opportunities for Enrichment. Opportunities for Enrichment are posed as possible activities for students and are not specifically set aside for students working above grade level. 

Materials provide some opportunities for advanced students to investigate the grade-level content at a higher level of complexity, though the opportunities are not specifically for students working above grade level. The Opportunities for Enrichment tasks appear to be in addition to the tasks assigned for all students, therefore, students could end up doing more assignments than their classmates. Examples include, but are not limited to the following:

  • In Literature Unit 2, Lesson 19, the Opportunities for Enrichment section offers two options: 

    • “To learn more about the Women's Garden have students read the following article from the New York Times. 

    • To learn more about the Afghan women's soccer team after the war read this article from the New York Times. 

  • In Science Unit 4, Lesson 9, the Opportunities for Enrichment section states, “Display some of the photos Opportunity took when landing on Mars. Have students analyze the photos the way scientists did in this section of text. A large number of Opportunity’s photos are available from NASA here.”

  • In Literature Unit 4, Lesson 4, the Opportunities for Enrichment section states, “Encourage students to read the rest of Julie of the Wolves during the independent reading block. When they have finished reading the book, create a way for students to share with the class what happens to Miyax.”

Indicator 3o

Materials provide varied approaches to learning tasks over time and variety in how students are expected to demonstrate their learning with opportunities for for students to monitor their learning.

Narrative Evidence Only
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The materials engage students across the year in writing, reading, speaking, and listening as required by the standards; however, the approaches to learning tasks and the types of tasks assigned do not vary widely. Each lesson is organized in three parts: Building Knowledge and Skills, Engaging with the Text, and Building Deeper Meaning. The reading expectations, discussion structures, Language Supports, and overall lesson format are similar across most lessons. The references to guidance documents and supplemental materials are similar across lessons and grades. Teachers have a lot of flexibility within the curriculum leading to the possibility that approaches to learning tasks are the same across the year. For example, there are several protocols for speaking and listening, but they are rarely required in a specific lesson. 

In writing, teachers are provided a K-5 Writing and Feedback Support guide for each type of writing genre, which offers suggestions on how to help students who are struggling. Guidance is teacher facing and completely dependent on teacher choice.  

Many instructional tasks and supports are the same across Grades 3-5. For example, Language Supports such as sentence stems for students to use in discussion are the same sentence stems used in each grade and remain the same across the year. 

Materials provide few multi-modal opportunities for students to question, investigate, sense-make, and problem-solve using a variety of formats and methods. The units frequently employ the same routines, strategies, and discussion formats. Examples include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • In Literature Unit 2, Lesson 12, students defend if a character from the text was right to be losing hope in her situation and what advice they would give her. In addition to a variety of questions and some time spent revisiting events from the story, the teacher engages students in the following activity: “Lead the students in a close read of the following sentences. 

    • "Parvana was fresh out of hope." 

    • "Part of her wanted to slip away from everything, but another part wanted to get up and stay alive and continue to be Shauzia's friend." 

    • "But she moved through her days as though she were moving through an awful nightmare -- a nightmare from which there was no release in the morning." 

What do the following sentences show about Parvana? What nightmare is Parvana moving through? How has it impacted her? 

After the close read, have students debate if they think Parvana should or should not be losing hope. Once students have solidified their opinion, have them write an answer to the Target Task question.

Students have some opportunities to share their thinking, however there are limited opportunities for them to demonstrate changes in their thinking over time, and to apply their understanding in new contexts. Examples include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • In Literature Unit 4, Lesson 8, students analyze how the interaction between two characters contributes to the overall structure of the story. Students work in pairs to annotate a section of story, answer the Key Questions from the lesson. Then, after they have completed their analysis, the students pick one piece to analyze in writing. 

Materials occasionally leverage the use of a variety of formats and methods over time to deepen student understanding and ability to explain and apply literacy ideas. Examples include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • In Literature Unit 3, Lesson 25, students compare and contrast two characters from a text and the way their relationship impacts both of their lives by stating a theory and supporting it with evidence from the entire text.

  • In Literature Unit 5, Lesson 15, students analyze and debate unit-essential questions by stating a claim and then using evidence from the entire text and unit to support the claim.

Materials provide for some ongoing review, practice, self-reflection, and feedback. Materials provide multiple strategies, such as oral and/or written feedback, peer or teacher feedback, and self-reflection. Examples include, but are not limited to, the following: 

  • The Teacher Tools section provides general guidance for writing feedback that can be used with students. This includes a variety of generalized formats and types. These suggestions are not embedded in the lessons. 

Materials provide a clear path for students to monitor and move their own learning. Examples include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • No evidence found.

Indicator 3p

Materials provide opportunities for teachers to use a variety of grouping strategies.

Narrative Evidence Only
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The materials include guidance for grouping strategies in the Teacher Tools provided on the website. The documents provide explanations for how to conduct various groupings and advantages provided by each of the groupings. The guidance provides protocols for partner discussions, small groups discussions, and whole class discussions. Individual lesson plans include suggestions for when to use each type of discussion, but teachers have flexibility in which specific grouping protocol best meets the needs of their class, allowing the potential for the same grouping strategy to be used throughout the year. However, materials do not provide guidance on how to determine which students should be paired together or how to mix groups. 

Materials provide grouping strategies for students. Materials provide for varied types of interaction among students. Examples include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • In Literature Unit 4, Lesson 2, students read the text with a partner before participating in a whole class discussion.

  • In Social Studies and Science Unit 4, Lesson 10, students brainstorm with a partner a list of strategies used by Elizabeth Rusch to engage the reader. Then they create a class list during a whole class discussion. 

  • In Literature Unit 6, Lesson 23, teacher directions state, “Split the class into groups. Assign each group a thematic topic present in A Wrinkle in Time. Topics include: good vs. evil, love vs. hate, faith, trust, courage, and believing in yourself. Have each group identify evidence from the entire novel that supports the development of the thematic topics. Once students have enough evidence, students should analyze the evidence to craft thematic statements. Each group should create a presentation to share with the rest of the class. The presentation should explain the thematic statement and how the particular theme was developed.”

Materials provide limited guidance for the teacher on grouping students in a variety of grouping formats. Examples include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • The “Preparing for Academic Discourse” section of the materials presents information about group students for discussions. The materials state, “There are three main types of academic discourse: partner discourse, small-group discourse, and whole-group discourse, each with their own respective protocols.Over the course of a lesson, students may engage in all three types of academic discourse as they grapple with and explore key unit texts and content.” 

  • This same section also provides information about selecting tasks for discourse and provides extensive information on how to support discourse including a wide variety of rubrics, graphic organizers, and recording forms, however it does not include information about how to select students to participate in this wide variety of discussion formats.

  • The “Types of Academic Discourse Section provides a wide variety of small group and partner discussion opportunities, including protocols and benefits, but there is no information included about how to select students for these groupings. 

Indicator 3q

Materials provide strategies and supports for students who read, write, and/or speak in a language other than English to meet or exceed grade-level standards to regularly participate in learning English language arts and literacy.

1/2
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Grade 5 partially meet the criteria for Indicator 3q. 

The materials include specific guidelines for supporting English Learners in the Teacher Tools, but support is not provided in specific lessons. In the Teacher Tools, the guidance is separated by the amount of support that is required for students. Teachers are provided with information on what approaches are best in situations and then directed to determine which scaffold to use in their own classroom. Many lessons have specific guidance for providing language support, but these are not directed specifically to English learners. 

Materials provide some strategies and supports for students who read, write, and/or speak in a language other than English to meet or exceed grade-level standards through regular and active participation in grade-level literacy work. Examples include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • The materials include a guidance document called A Guide to Supporting English Learners which includes additional guidance on planning and providing supports. Some protocols include both light and heavy EL support. Included in this document are: 

    • Ways to internalize units and lessons

    • Scaffolds

    • Oral language protocols and ways to support English learners

    • Graphic organizers

  • Some of the guidance documents, such as Oral Language Protocols, give a brief overview of English Learner needs and then recommend a list of the same discourse protocols provided for all students across Grades 3-5. Guidance includes information on how a teacher should preview the unit to identify complexity issues, identify skills that students need to succeed, and identify any prerequisite knowledge students need to succeed with the unit; however, that guidance is provided universally and is not specific to differentiating within individual lessons.

Indicator 3r

Materials provide a balance of images or information about people, representing various demographic and physical characteristics.

Narrative Evidence Only
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The materials include information about people that represent a wide variety of demographic and physical characteristics in both the texts and unit topics. There are no printed images that accompany the program other than graphic organizers, therefore all images would be contained in the texts and articles selected for the units. 

A stated focus of the curriculum is inclusive education and that students can build an understanding and appreciation of cultures and civilizations that may be different from their own by reading a variety of culturally relevant and diverse texts. On the About Us page of the Fishtank website, the publishers share their rationale for being culturally relevant in choosing texts and topics: “We are committed to developing curriculum that resonates with a diversity of students’ lived experiences. Our curriculum is reflective of diverse cultures, races and ethnicities and is designed to spark students’ interest and stimulate deep thinking. We are thoughtful and deliberate in selecting high-quality texts and materials that reflect the diversity of our country.”

Materials and assessments depict different individuals of different genders, races, ethnicities, and other physical characteristics. Depictions of demographics or physical characteristics are portrayed positively across the series. Examples include, but are not limited to, the following: 

  • The Grade 3 units include texts and topics on African American and Hispanic folktales, Native American perspectives on Thanksgiving, world religions, and Indigenous peoples.

Materials and assessments balance positive portrayals of demographics or physical characteristics. Materials avoid stereotypes or language that might be offensive to a particular group. Examples include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • In Literature Unit 1, Lesson 2, students read the text, Make Way for Dyamonde Daniel by Nikki Grimes. The Target Task writing prompt asks students to respond to the writing prompt: “What is Dyamonde like? How do you know?” The sample response indicates information about Dyamond that portrays here as an average student who is observant, but judgmental and explores the complexities of internal thought-- thus providing depth to her character and making her relatable to third grade students. The text also describes Dyamonde as having a “can-do attitude”. The teacher discusses what this means with the class. 

  • In Social Studies Unit 2, Lesson 11, students read “Notes from a Wampanoag Child” (Letters 1 and 2). Throughout the reading, students are asked questions that examine the position of the Wampanoag and why they viewed the Pilgrims as potentially harmful to their people. They also explore the perspectives of the settlers and the Wampanoag. The Wampanoag are portrayed as individuals who are seeking to understand the intentions of the other group who has come to their land and trying to assure the safety of their families and their livelihood. 

Materials provide representations that show students that they can succeed in the subject, going beyond just showing photos of diverse students not engaged in work related to the context of the learning. 

  • This element is not present in the materials as there are not photographs included in the student materials. 

Indicator 3s

Materials provide guidance to encourage teachers to draw upon student home language to facilitate learning.

Narrative Evidence Only
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The materials provide some support for teachers to draw on students’ home languages during instruction. General suggestions and strategies are included in the Supporting English Learners section of the program. Specific, lesson-level guidance is not available. 

Materials provide minimal suggestions and strategies to use the home language to support students in learning ELA.  

The materials include the Teacher Tools section of the website with minimal guidance for teachers to draw upon students’ home language to facilitate learning. In the program, teachers are encouraged to consider the home languages of students when grouping them for partner or small group work. Suggestions include, but are not limited to:

  • When planning for instruction, teachers are encouraged to consider the role that English learners will play in grouped settings and how they will be grouped. 

  • The materials suggest that English Learners should interact with a variety of speakers in a variety of situations based on the demands of the task. 

Materials present multilingualism as an asset in reading, and students are explicitly encouraged to develop home language literacy and to use their home language strategically for learning how to negotiate texts in the target language. Teacher materials include guidance on how to garner information that will aid in learning, including the family’s preferred language of communication, schooling experiences in other languages, literacy abilities in other languages, and previous exposure to academic or everyday English. Examples include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • The Supporting English Learners materials encourage teachers to allow students to complete assignments in either English or their home language, to allow graphic organizers and other tools to be completed in their home language, and to show students how the English word is a cognate of the word in their home language during vocabulary instruction. However, these are general recommendations and are not explained further or supported within the individual lessons. 

Indicator 3t

Materials provide guidance to encourage teachers to draw upon student cultural and social backgrounds to facilitate learning.

Narrative Evidence Only
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The materials provide a Guiding Principles document where the publisher states that they believe selected texts must “both affirm scholars’ cultures and expose them to great literature.” To engage students, teachers are expected to hold high expectations that ensure academic success. This includes teachers helping students develop positive ethnic and cultural identities along with helping them achieve academically. Teachers are encouraged to support students’ ability to recognize, understand, and critique current events and social inequalities. 

Materials make connections to the linguistics, cultures, and conventions used in learning ELA. Materials make connections to the linguistic and cultural diversity to facilitate learning. Examples include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • The publisher provides minimal guidance on how teachers can accomplish this, and they primarily recommend that individual schools engage in their own equity and antiracism work in order to ensure the curriculum is brought to life in a way that honors and represents the students in their classrooms. 

  • According to the program, in order for a classroom to be truly culturally responsive, teachers need to know their students and customize units and lessons to be inclusive. 

  • The publisher includes links to resources from Teaching Tolerance as a guide for teachers to initiate critical conversations with students to facilitate these relationships. 

  • The Preparing to Teach and ELA Unit section provides deep dives for teachers as they examine all lessons and the unit as a whole to consider the students in their classroom, the texts and other resources that will be used, historical and social contexts, any biases that may come into play (e.g., those of the author, the teacher, the class), and a variety of other considerations that will allow the teacher to prepare for rigorous conversations. 

Indicator 3u

This is not an assessed indicator in ELA.

Narrative Evidence Only

Indicator 3v

This is not an assessed indicator in ELA.

Narrative Evidence Only

Criterion 3w - 3z

The program includes a visual design that is engaging and references or integrates digital technology (when applicable) with guidance for teachers.

0/0
+
-
Criterion Rating Details

The materials make use of Google Classroom in order for the teacher to manage certain handouts related to the program. The materials do not include any additional interactive technology tools. 

The design of the materials is very straightforward and does not distract from the content.

Indicator 3w

Materials integrate technology such as interactive tools, virtual manipulatives/objects, and/or dynamic software in ways that engage students in the grade-level/series standards, when applicable.

Narrative Evidence Only
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

Materials integrate technology such as interactive tools, virtual manipulatives/objects, and/or dynamic software in ways that engage students in the grade-level/series standards, when applicable.

  • No evidence found for this indicator

Indicator 3x

Materials include or reference digital technology that provides opportunities for teachers and/or students to collaborate with each other, when applicable.

Narrative Evidence Only
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

Materials include or reference some digital technology that provides opportunities for teachers and/or students to collaborate with each other, when applicable. 

  • The materials allow teachers to utilize the Student Handouts through Google Drive in order to use Google Classroom, but no guidance or recommendations for digital tools to collaborate are present. There are no additional digital platforms referenced beyond Google. Students are generally collaborating in discussion, small groups, or pairs but not digitally.

Indicator 3y

The visual design (whether in print or digital) supports students in engaging thoughtfully with the subject, and is neither distracting nor chaotic.

Narrative Evidence Only
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The visual design (whether in print or digital) supports students in engaging thoughtfully with the subject, and is neither distracting nor chaotic. 

  • The materials follow the same format across Grades 3-5. The set color scheme is a variety of soft blues and all downloadable materials include the logo for Fishtank.

  • Graphic organizers are constructed simply with tables and text that are easily readable for students. 

  • The majority of materials follow a very standard format organized in boxes or tables. 

  • All texts are actual books that schools need to purchase and include a variety of novels and nonfiction texts with colorful and detailed images.

Indicator 3z

Materials provide teacher guidance for the use of embedded technology to support and enhance student learning, when applicable.

Narrative Evidence Only
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

Materials provide some teacher guidance for the use of embedded technology to support and enhance student learning, when applicable.

  • The materials are housed in a digital format online. Entire units and student worksheets are downloadable, and links to supplemental materials are available to download, such as the Vocabulary Package or additional student tasks. 

  • There is limited inclusion of technology use as the materials do not provide digitally interactive elements beyond the student handouts, though some lessons include websites or videos as supporting materials. For example, in Science and Social Studies Unit 2, Lesson 8, students watch the video, “The Farm Worker Movement” by PBS Learning Media, to supplement their reading. Materials state, “After reading and analyzing the chapter, show students 0:00–6:10 of the video. The first three minutes are a review of previous content from the unit, but the second part of the video shows Cesar and Dolores beginning to form the union.” Students use the downloadable Farm Worker Movement Notecatcher with guiding questions to take notes as they watch the video.

  • The handouts for each lesson are embedded so they can be printed, altered, or connected to Google Classroom. Each lesson that uses a handout has a rectangular yellow icon labeled, Create Student Handouts. The text box next to the button reads: “With Fishtank Plus, you can easily turn the Target Task for this lesson into student handouts. And within our Student Handout Editor, you can customize them with your personal touches, or send them directly to Google Classroom.” Once the teacher clicks the button, the lesson handouts appear as digital text boxes and three blue icons at the top of each indicate where teachers can Download Target Task, Edit Target Task, or Send to Google Drive.

abc123

Report Published Date: 2022/01/12

Report Edition: 2021

Title ISBN Edition Publisher Year
One Crazy Summer 978‑0060760908 HarperCollins Publishers 2011
Julie of the Wolves 978‑0064400589 HarperCollins; First Edition 2016
Seedfolks 978‑0064472074 Harper Trophy 2004
Witnesses to Freedom: Young People Who Fought for Civil Rights 978‑0140384321 Puffin Books 1993
Turning 15 on the Road to Freedom: My Story of the 1965 Selma Voting Rights March 978‑0147512161 Speak, Reprint edition 2016
A Wrinkle in Time 978‑0312367541 Square Fish, Reprint edition 2007
Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice 978‑0312661052 Square Fish, Reprint edition 2010
Return to Sender 978‑0375851230 Yearling 2010
The Mighty Mars Rovers: The Incredible Adventures of Spirit and Opportunity 978‑0544932463 HMH Books for Young Readers; Reprint edition 2017
Endangered 978‑0545165778 Scholastic Paperbacks; Reprint edition 2014
Freedom's Children: Young Civil Rights Activists Tell Their Own Stories 978‑0698118706 Puffin Books 2000
Trash Vortex: How Plastic Pollution Is Choking the World's Oceans 978‑0756557492 Compass Point Books 2018
La Causa: The Migrant Farmworkers' Story 978‑0811480710 STECK-VAUGHN, 1 edition 1993
Selma, Lord, Selma: Girlhood Memories of the Civil Rights Days 978‑0817308988 University Alabama Press, 1st Edition 1997
Hatchet 978‑1416936473 Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers 2006
The Breadwinner 978‑1554987658 Groundwood Books 2015

Please note: Reports published beginning in 2021 will be using version 1.5 of our review tools. Version 1 of our review tools can be found here. Learn more about this change.

ELA 3-8 Review Tool

The ELA review criteria identifies the indicators for high quality instructional materials. The review criteria supports 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 review criteria evaluates 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 review criteria 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.

The EdReports rubric supports a sequential review process through three gateways. These gateways reflect the importance of alignment to college and career ready standards and considers other attributes of high-quality curriculum, such as usability and design, as recommended by educators.

Materials must meet or partially meet expectations for the first set of indicators (gateway 1) to move to the other gateways. 

Gateways 1 and 2 focus on questions of alignment to the standards. Are the instructional materials aligned to the standards? Are all standards present and treated with appropriate depth and quality required to support student learning?

Gateway 3 focuses on the question of usability. Are the instructional materials user-friendly for students and educators? Materials must be well designed to facilitate student learning and enhance a teacher’s ability to differentiate and build knowledge within the classroom. 

In order to be reviewed and attain a rating for usability (Gateway 3), the instructional materials must first meet expectations for alignment (Gateways 1 and 2).

Alignment and usability ratings are assigned based on how materials score on a series of criteria and indicators with reviewers providing supporting evidence to determine and substantiate each point awarded.

Alignment and usability ratings are assigned based on how materials score on a series of criteria and indicators with reviewers providing supporting evidence to determine and substantiate each point awarded.

For ELA and math, alignment ratings represent the degree to which materials meet expectations, partially meet expectations, or do not meet expectations for alignment to college- and career-ready standards, including that all standards are present and treated with the appropriate depth to support students in learning the skills and knowledge that they need to be ready for college and career.

For science, alignment ratings represent the degree to which materials meet expectations, partially meet expectations, or do not meet expectations for alignment to the Next Generation Science Standards, including that all standards are present and treated with the appropriate depth to support students in learning the skills and knowledge that they need to be ready for college and career.

For all content areas, usability ratings represent the degree to which materials meet expectations, partially meet expectations, or do not meet expectations for effective practices (as outlined in the evaluation tool) for use and design, teacher planning and learning, assessment, differentiated instruction, and effective technology use.

Math K-8

  • Focus and Coherence - 14 possible points

    • 12-14 points: Meets Expectations

    • 8-11 points: Partially Meets Expectations

    • Below 8 points: Does Not Meet Expectations

  • Rigor and Mathematical Practices - 18 possible points

    • 16-18 points: Meets Expectations

    • 11-15 points: Partially Meets Expectations

    • Below 11 points: Does Not Meet Expectations

  • Instructional Supports and Usability - 38 possible points

    • 31-38 points: Meets Expectations

    • 23-30 points: Partially Meets Expectations

    • Below 23: Does Not Meet Expectations

Math High School

  • Focus and Coherence - 18 possible points

    • 14-18 points: Meets Expectations

    • 10-13 points: Partially Meets Expectations

    • Below 10 points: Does Not Meet Expectations

  • Rigor and Mathematical Practices - 16 possible points

    • 14-16 points: Meets Expectations

    • 10-13 points: Partially Meets Expectations

    • Below 10 points: Does Not Meet Expectations

  • Instructional Supports and Usability - 36 possible points

    • 30-36 points: Meets Expectations

    • 22-29 points: Partially Meets Expectations

    • Below 22: Does Not Meet Expectations

ELA K-2

  • Text Complexity and Quality - 58 possible points

    • 52-58 points: Meets Expectations

    • 28-51 points: Partially Meets Expectations

    • Below 28 points: Does Not Meet Expectations

  • Building Knowledge with Texts, Vocabulary, and Tasks - 32 possible points

    • 28-32 points: Meet Expectations

    • 16-27 points: Partially Meets Expectations

    • Below 16 points: Does Not Meet Expectations

  • Instructional Supports and Usability - 34 possible points

    • 30-34 points: Meets Expectations

    • 24-29 points: Partially Meets Expectations

    • Below 24 points: Does Not Meet Expectations

ELA 3-5

  • Text Complexity and Quality - 42 possible points

    • 37-42 points: Meets Expectations

    • 21-36 points: Partially Meets Expectations

    • Below 21 points: Does Not Meet Expectations

  • Building Knowledge with Texts, Vocabulary, and Tasks - 32 possible points

    • 28-32 points: Meet Expectations

    • 16-27 points: Partially Meets Expectations

    • Below 16 points: Does Not Meet Expectations

  • Instructional Supports and Usability - 34 possible points

    • 30-34 points: Meets Expectations

    • 24-29 points: Partially Meets Expectations

    • Below 24 points: Does Not Meet Expectations

ELA 6-8

  • Text Complexity and Quality - 36 possible points

    • 32-36 points: Meets Expectations

    • 18-31 points: Partially Meets Expectations

    • Below 18 points: Does Not Meet Expectations

  • Building Knowledge with Texts, Vocabulary, and Tasks - 32 possible points

    • 28-32 points: Meet Expectations

    • 16-27 points: Partially Meets Expectations

    • Below 16 points: Does Not Meet Expectations

  • Instructional Supports and Usability - 34 possible points

    • 30-34 points: Meets Expectations

    • 24-29 points: Partially Meets Expectations

    • Below 24 points: Does Not Meet Expectations


ELA High School

  • Text Complexity and Quality - 32 possible points

    • 28-32 points: Meets Expectations

    • 16-27 points: Partially Meets Expectations

    • Below 16 points: Does Not Meet Expectations

  • Building Knowledge with Texts, Vocabulary, and Tasks - 32 possible points

    • 28-32 points: Meet Expectations

    • 16-27 points: Partially Meets Expectations

    • Below 16 points: Does Not Meet Expectations

  • Instructional Supports and Usability - 34 possible points

    • 30-34 points: Meets Expectations

    • 24-29 points: Partially Meets Expectations

    • Below 24 points: Does Not Meet Expectations

Science Middle School

  • Designed for NGSS - 26 possible points

    • 22-26 points: Meets Expectations

    • 13-21 points: Partially Meets Expectations

    • Below 13 points: Does Not Meet Expectations


  • Coherence and Scope - 56 possible points

    • 48-56 points: Meets Expectations

    • 30-47 points: Partially Meets Expectations

    • Below 30 points: Does Not Meet Expectations


  • Instructional Supports and Usability - 54 possible points

    • 46-54 points: Meets Expectations

    • 29-45 points: Partially Meets Expectations

    • Below 29 points: Does Not Meet Expectations