Alignment: Overall Summary

The materials for Grade 9 partially meet the expectations of alignment to standards. The texts and tasks partially meet the demands to support students' development of literacy skills in reading, writing, speaking and listening, and language. Materials partially support students in building their knowledge of topics and themes as well as growing vocabulary. Materials include some support for comprehensive writing and research instruction.

Alignment

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Partially Meets Expectations

Gateway 1:

Text Quality

0
15
28
32
25
28-32
Meets Expectations
16-27
Partially Meets Expectations
0-15
Does Not Meet Expectations

Gateway 2:

Building Knowledge

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

Usability

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Not Rated

Not Rated

Gateway 3:

Usability

0
23
30
34
N/A
30-34
Meets Expectations
24-29
Partially Meets Expectations
0-23
Does Not Meet Expectations

Gateway One

Text Quality & Complexity and Alignment to Standards Components

Partially Meets Expectations

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Gateway One Details

The instructional materials for Grade 9 partially meet the expectations of Gateway 1. Texts are at the right level of quality and at the appropriate level for students to grow their literacy skills. The materials include a range of texts that are appropriately rigorous from a quantitative lens, although the qualitative factors vary. The placement of materials for students to get exposure to increasingly rigorous materials of the course of the year is inconsistent, and the teacher may need to supplement to attend to students' access to robust range and depth of reading. Most questions, tasks, and assignments are text dependent/specific, and culminating tasks represent the demands of the standards. Speaking and listening work is limited and does not include comprehensive supports for teachers to employ practice with academic vocabulary and discussion work over the course of the school year.

Criterion 1a - 1f

Texts are worthy of students' time and attention: texts are of quality and are rigorous, meeting the text complexity criteria for each grade. Materials support students' advancing toward independent reading.
12/16
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Criterion Rating Details

The instructional materials for Grade 9 partially meet the expectation that texts are at the right level of quality and at the appropriate level for students to grow their literacy skills. The materials include a range of texts that are appropriately rigorous from a quantitative lens, although the qualitative factors vary. The placement of materials for students to get exposure to increasingly rigorous materials of the course of the year is inconsistent, and the teacher may need to supplement to attend to students' access to robust range and depth of reading.

NOTE: Indicator 1b is non-scored and provides information about text types and genres in the program.

Indicator 1a

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 9 meet the criteria for anchor texts being of publishable quality and worthy of especially careful reading and consider a range of student interests.

The texts are high quality and worthy of students’ attention due to literary richness, rhetorical technique, and/or topical relevance. A large number or texts come from authors that are well-known, award-winning or iconic. A number of undisputed classic texts are present, including works for male, female, and multicultural authors. There is sufficient effort to include texts on topics of current interest or select older texts that have a potential to resonate with contemporary students.

Examples include but are not limited to:

  • In Unit 2, “The Necklace” by Guy de Maupassant, a short story rich with symbolism, characterization, and irony that invites careful analysis.
  • In Unit 3, “Wilderness Letter” by Wallace Stegner, an informational/persuasive text with a complex and nuanced argument worthy of close analysis. The author is well-known and has won a Pulitzer Prize and US National Book Award. The topic of nature and wilderness preservation will appeal to interests of some students.
  • In Unit 6, Testimony Before the Senate: Speech by Michael J. Fox to a congressional subcommittee on the need for more funding for Parkinson’s research. This research-based persuasive text is worth of careful reading and the topic will be of interest to students with interest in public policy, advocacy, and medical research.
  • In Unit 8, “Where Have You Gone, Charming Billy” by Tim O’Brien, is a short story that is gritty, cynical, and includes a jaded view of war that may resonate with students and is written by an acclaimed and well-known author.
  • In Unit 10, Romeo and Juliet by Shakespeare, written by a canonical author, and is an iconic text/story. The text is rich in theme, character, plot, and a wide range of literary devices, contains archaic language and poetic syntax which invite careful and repeated reading. The topics of teenage romance, failed communication, and doomed love resonate with teenagers.
  • In Unit 11, Excerpts from The Odyssey by Homer, is rich in theme, character, plot, and literary devices. This iconic text with an adventure theme and episodic structure will interest students.

Indicator 1b

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 9 reflect the distribution of text types and genres required by the standards at each grade level.

Materials reflect the distribution of text types and genres required by the standards at each grade level and consider a range of student interests. Over the course of a year, students are exposed to a variety of text types including, short stories, poems, drama, and essays. The materials provide a Table of Contents per unit that lists the text titles, authors, and text type.

Examples of the distribution of text types to meet the criteria for this indicator include, but are not limited to:

  • Unit 1: Narrative Structures
    • Short Story: “The Most Dangerous Game” by Richard Connell
    • Film Clip: From The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Rings by Peter Jackson
    • AutoBiography: “The Rights to the Streets of Memphis” from Black Boy by Richard Wright
    • Narrative Poem:The Raven by Edgar Allen Poe
    • Non-fiction: From On Writing by Stephen King
  • Unit 5: Author’s Purpose
    • Descriptive Essay: “Island Morning” by Jamaica Kincaid
    • Biographical Essay: “Georgia O’Keefe” by Joan Didion
    • Magazine Article: “Who Killed the Iceman?” National Geographic
    • Process Description: “Skeletal Sculptures” by Donna Jackson
    • Web News Report: “All Nine Pulled Alive from Mine” CNN.com
    • Short Story: “The Open Window” Saki
    • Technical Directions: “Adding Graphics to Your Website”
  • Unit 10: The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet
    • Drama: The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare
    • Myth: “Pyramus and Thisbe” by Ovid
  • Unit 11: The Odyssey
    • Epic: From the Odyssey
    • Poem: “Penelope” by Dorothy Parker

Indicator 1c

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 9 meet the criteria for texts having the appropriate level of complexity for the grade according to quantitative analysis, qualitative analysis, and relationship to their associated student task.

The materials include a variety of texts that are appropriate for 9th grade students and range in complexity. Texts that are moderate in complexity are accompanied by tasks that increase the level of rigor by demanding higher order thinking skills and analyses. Texts that are exceedingly complex are accompanied by a variety of scaffolds such as graphic organizers and discussion questions. Texts range in quantitative measure from Lexile 660 to Lexile 1420 as well as challenging texts such as excerpts from The Odyssey.

Texts that fall below the Grade 9 quantitative band include qualitative features or reader and task considerations that make them appropriate for Grade 9 students. For example:

  • In Unit 2, students read the short story, “The Necklace” by Guy de Maupassant. It has a quantitative measure of Lexile 920. The tasks require students to connect personal experiences with those of the characters, therefore deepening their understanding. Qualitatively students will encounter fairly complex vocabulary, and language use that requires students to infer and use context clues. Following this reading, the autobiography, from I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” by Maya Angelou measures at a Lexile 910. Students are to to connect to life experiences, intertextuality and cultural knowledge.
  • In Unit 8, students read “Where Have You Gone, Charming Billy?” by Tim O’Brien Difficulty which measures at Lexile 930. The mature topic, content knowledge necessary, and the the task for students to compare multiple texts makes this text appropriate for Grade 9.

Texts that rise above the Grade 9 quantitative band include qualitative features or reader and task considerations that make them appropriate for Grade 9 students. For example:

  • In Unit 11, The Odyssey is presented as “perhaps one of the most famous of epics,” alongside the concept that the “journey can be even more important than the destination.” To introduce the the more challenging text, students are provided with vocabulary and a list of descriptions of important characters in the poem.Before reading the epic, students are taught the language of Homer. In addition, students are provided with guidelines on reading the Epic and a model with close reading questions.

Indicator 1d

Materials support students' literacy skills (understanding and comprehension) over the course of the school year through increasingly complex text to develop independence of grade level skills (Series of texts should be at a variety of complexity levels).
2/4
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 9 partially meet the criteria for materials supporting students’ increasing literacy skills over the course of the school year. (Series of texts should be at a variety of complexity levels appropriate for the grade band.)There is a clear variety and appropriate leveling of texts. The complexity of texts varies from passage to passage with each unit representing a range of text types and complexity levels.

Questions increase in rigor throughout the year for some literacy skills. For example, the first three units study literary elements. Students work through the narrative structure, characterization and point of view, and setting, mood and imagery. In Unit 1 students are asked to compare and contrast two characters. In Unit 2 students analyze characters to describe them as either static or dynamic. In Unit 3 students discuss how the setting impacts characters. Towards the end of the year, students study author’s craft. Students work through the the language of poetry, author’s style and voice, and the impact of history and culture on an author. In Unit 9 students draw conclusions about a character and analyze character motives using details from the text. However, questions placed alongside the text and after the text prompt students to identify and comment on the effect or meaning of focus text features. The level of questions does not increase significantly over the course of the year, and tasks are scaffolded and passages labeled consistently across the year. Students do not become prepared to execute these skills on their own.

Also, both writing and speaking and listening tasks are also not sequential and are all heavily scaffolded with supports and structures. Students are not growing towards independence with these skills. It is important to note that even the last two process-writes of the year, are fully outlined and supported, not allowing students more autonomy or an increase in their skills. For example, in Unit 1 students prepare for a timed writing during Writing Workshop. Students are asked to analyze the writing task. The writing task is modeled for students with the topic and purpose underlined. The audience is circled for students. Students are then given a list of questions to help them identify the main conflict of the text before responding, revising, and editing. At the end of the year, during Unit 5, the same process is included. Students are still being given the writing task with annotated topic, purpose, and audience as well as specific questions about literary movements to answer as they begin to write before continuing through the writing process. Speaking and listening workshops introduce a new topic/skill each time. Skills rarely build off of previous assignments and are not practiced during the lesson.

Indicator 1e

Anchor texts and series of texts connected to them are accompanied by a text complexity analysis and rationale for purpose and placement in the grade level.
1/2
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 9 partially meet the criteria that anchor texts and series of texts connected to them are accompanied by a text complexity analysis and rationale for purpose and placement in the grade level.

The materials provide text complexity analysis for texts throughout the materials. Lexiles, Fry, and Dale-Chall readability are provided in the unit overview at the beginning of each unit. There are no qualitative measurements, nor are any reader and task considerations included to create a complete text analysis. There is also no rationale included for the purpose or placement in each grade level. Examples include:

Unit 1: The Plot Thickens: Narrative Structure

  • “The Most Dangerous Game” at the beginning of the unit is at a lexile of 740, Dale-Chall readability of 6.1 and a Fry at 6.
  • “The Gift of the Magi” at 950 Lexile, Fry 7 and Dale-Chall 6.4.

Unit 3: A Sense of Place: Setting, Mood, and Imagery

  • “A Christmas Memory” Lexile 830, Fry 7, Dale-Chall 6.6
  • “The Cask of Amontillado” Lexile 830, Fry 11, Dale-Chall 7.5
  • From “A Walk in the Woods” Lexile 1140, Fry College, Dale-Chall 6.6

Unit 6: Taking Sides: Argument and Persuasion

  • “I have a Dream” Lexile 1120, Fry 10, Dale-Chall 7.3
  • “How Private is your Private Life?” Lexile 1390, Fry College, Dale-Chall 8.2

Unit 10: Shakespearean Drama: The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet

  • No text complexity analysis is available since the text is a drama. The text however coordinates with the Unit’s theme.

Indicator 1f

Anchor and supporting texts provide opportunities for students to engage in a range and volume of reading to achieve grade level reading proficiency.
1/2
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 9 partially meet the criteria that anchor and supporting texts provide opportunities for students to engage in a range and volume of reading to achieve grade level reading proficiency. Students will read a range of texts and a variety of genres but reviewers noted that additional guidance may be needed to help students develop stamina for long complex texts. Texts (in the print edition) are generally short works, or very short excepts (1-4 pages) of longer works, meaning students do not have ample opportunities to engage in reading large volumes.

While materials offer support via NovelWise, “a Website that helps students choose a novel or other book-length work to read.” There is no tracking or monitoring of independent reading in these materials and lack explicit instructions on implementation. Students are provided a variety of supports through the NovelWise site, including “study guides, reading strategies and literary elements instruction, presentations to introduce classic novels, and project ideas.” Some of the suggested independent reading texts are as follows:

Unit 1: The Plot Thickens

  • The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman by Ernest J. Gaines
  • And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie
  • In These Girls, Hope is a Muscle by Madeleine Blais
  • Shoeless Joe by W.P. Kinsella
  • All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque
  • Bad Boy: A Memoir by Walter Dean Myers
  • The Natural by Bernard Malamud
  • The Miracle Worker by William Gibson

Unit 7: The Language of Poetry

  • The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway
  • The Hot Zone by Richard Preston
  • The Big Year: A Tale of Man, Nature, and Fowl Obsession by Mark Obmascik
  • About This Life by Barry Lopez
  • 19 Varieties of Gazelle by Naomi Shihab Nye
  • Spoon River Anthology by Edgar lee Masters
  • We Die Alone: A WWII Epic of Escape and Endurance by David Howarth
  • Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
  • In the Shadow of Man by Jane Goodall

The materials contain a range of texts, including by not limited to:

  • Contemporary informational text (including magazine articles)
  • Historical informational texts
  • Short stories
  • Excerpts from novels
  • Poetry
  • Film clips
  • Autobiographies and biographies
  • Timeline
  • Teleplay
  • Advertisement

Criterion 1g - 1n

Materials provide opportunities for rich and rigorous evidence-based discussions and writing about texts to build strong literacy skills.
13/16
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Criterion Rating Details

The instructional materials partially meet the expectations of the criteria around alignment to the standards. Most questions, tasks, and assignments are text dependent/specific, and culminating tasks represent the demands of the standards. Speaking and listening work is limited and does not include comprehensive supports for teachers to employ practice with academic vocabulary and discussion work over the course of the school year. Writing lessons are many and include connections to the types and on-demand requirements put forth by the standards, and the materials include support for teaching revision. The grammar instruction included partially prepares students for the needs of the grade level.

Indicator 1g

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 9 meet the criteria that most questions, tasks, and assignments are text dependent/specific, requiring students to engage with the text directly (drawing on textual evidence to support both what is explicit as well as valid inferences from the text; this may include work with mentor texts as well).

The materials include a range of text dependent questions and tasks throughout each unit. Questions and tasks cover a wide continuum of standards and strategies. Each unit offers many opportunities for students to engage in evidence-based discussions and activities. Most of the questions and tasks are text-dependent and ask students to engage with the text directly. Students are given opportunities to use evidence pulled directly from the text as well as make inferences.

Before each text, students are directed to take notes in the Reader/Writer Notebook as they read. Most questions in the margins of the text require students to note and interpret grammatical, literary, and rhetorical features. Each excerpt has close read questions which are on the page next to the text itself for students and teachers to reference directly. Key passages are outlined in a red box with text-dependent questions for the teacher. At the end of each selection or compared groups of selections there is a section of three to five questions sub-headed Text Analysis Questions. These questions guide students directly back to the text. Questions and tasks cover comprehension, summarizing, clarifying, drawing conclusions, making inferences evaluating, synthesizing ideas, and analyzing and identifying literary devices.

Students engage with and draw evidence from the texts through Tiered Discussion Prompts, After Reading Questions, Analyzing Visuals and Reading-Writing Connection questions and tasks. Examples of these include but are not limited to:

  • In Unit 2, questions following “Richard Connell’s “The Most Dangerous Game” are text dependent/specific, directing students to details of character, plot, and setting: “Find at least three examples of foreshadowing in the story. How does this technique add to the suspense of the story? Cite evidence.”
  • In Unit 4, students are asked to make a chart in their Reader/Writer Notebooks to record “signal words” indicating the use of comparison and contrast and chronological order in Jamaica Kincaid’s “Island Morning.” The activity is text-specific, directing attention to particular organizational strategies in the text.
  • In Unit 6: Taking Sides student answer the question, “How Private is Your Private Life?” by answering the following tiered discussion prompts:
    • Connect: Where have you seem surveillance devices?
    • Analyze: How does the author contrast the use of hidden cameras on the corner of 45th street and Fifth Avenue with surveillance cameras used by the police?
    • Evaluate: How does the quotation from John Pike influence your views on the use of surveillance cameras?
  • In Unit 7, the question connected to Theodore Roethke’s short lyric “My Papa’s Waltz,” is text specific and dependent: “How does the speaker feel about his bedtime waltz with his father? Use details from the poem to help explain why you think as you do.”
  • In Unit 9, after reading Angela’s Ashes, students analyze visuals by answering, “What does this class photograph tell you about the time period and subject of this memoir?”
  • In Unit 10, students study Romeo and Juliet. On p. 1067, “question B asks students to analyze a soliloquy; “to whom is Romeo speaking in lines 2 through 25? Explain what this soliloquy tells you about Romeo's thoughts.” On p. 1069, question C, “reread lines 75 to 78 and explain what Romeo means. Do you think he is seriously thinking of death here, or is he just exaggerating because he's head over heels in love? Explain.”

Indicator 1h

Materials contain sets of sequences of text-dependent/ text-specific questions with activities that build to a culminating task which integrates skills to demonstrate understanding
2/2
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Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Grade 9 meet the criteria for having sets of high-quality sequences of text-dependent/specific questions and tasks that build to a culminating task that integrates skills (may be writing, speaking, or a combination).

The materials provide opportunities for rich and rigorous evidence-based discussions and writing about texts and integrates strategies to help students build literacy skills. The materials contain sets of high-quality sequences of text-dependent/specific questions and activities which build to a variety of tasks, including, but not limited to: short, on-demand written responses, longer (processed) essays, storyboards, re-writing in the author’s style, and movie scripts. These tasks and activities often ask students to compare/contrast works that have been presented as sets or series or synthesize the meaning, themes, or central ideas of the text sets.

Additionally, tasks often connect to a non-traditional text form such as a news report or movie scene.

At the end of majority of the texts or text sets, a culminating activity is provided. Each of the culminating activities within the unit lead to a larger culminating task for the unit. At the end of each unit there is a Writing Workshop, including a Timed Writing Practice, along with a Multiple Choice Assessment Practice. While these culminating activities seem to build off of each other, the standards associated with the writing and speaking activities are not well-supported throughout the entire unit; either through other writing tasks nor the reading questions aligned with core passages . The questions in the end of unit assessment (based on the two new texts) are mostly aligned with the reading skills presented throughout the unit but do not represent a true assessment as they appear to be printed in the student edition along with the new selections to read.

  • In Unit 2, students write a literary criticism at the end of the unit. Building to the literary analysis, culminating activities within the unit connect to the final writing assessment. For example on page 267, the Reading-Writing Connection states, Extended Constructed Response: Character Analysis: Think about the most important character traits Mrs. Flower’s exhibits. Then review the word web you created detailing the qualities a mentor should possess. Write three to five paragraphs describing Mrs. Flower’s traits and analyzing how these traits compare with the qualities you listed. Another task that prepares students within the unit is on page 236 for the story, The Necklace. The Teacher Edition states, “How would you characterize the relationship between Monsier and Madame Loisel at the beginning of the story? Use examples from the text, write one or two paragraphs to describe their marriage. Include details that show how they treat one another.” On page 301, there is a writing assessment that culminates in a comparison analysis across genres. Prompt: Compare how two authors treat the same subject. The final culminating writing activity for the unit is a literary analysis, students will take through the writing process. The Teacher Edition states,”Write a work of literary criticism in which you evaluate the believability of a specific character from literature. Use relevant evidence from the text to justify your claim.”
  • In Unit 10, the text criticism questions at the end of each Act are culminating tasks for the Act that build to a Critical Review Writing Assignment at the end of the play. A few examples of text criticism questions provided are:
  • On page 1087, after Act Two, the prompt reads “Shakespeare is often praised for his mastery of figurative language, or language that communicates ideas beyond the ordinary, literary meaning of words. Find two examples of particularly striking figurative language in Act Two and discuss what makes each example effective.
  • On page 1129, the prompt culminates the reading of Act Four by asking, “How might older and younger audiences differ in their assessment of Romeo’s and Juliet’s actions? Explain your opinion, citing specific actions and interactions in the play.”

The Writer’s Workshop selection for this unit is: “Write a critical review of a key scene in a theater or movie adaptation of The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet. Assert a claim, supported by evidence, that states whether the adaptation does justice to the original play.”

Indicator 1i

Materials provide frequent opportunities and protocols to engage students in speaking and listening activities and discussions (small group, peer-to-peer, whole class) which encourage the modeling and use of academic vocabulary and syntax.
1/2
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Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Grade 9 partially meet the criteria for materials providing frequent opportunities and protocols for evidence-based discussions (small groups, peer-to-peer, whole class) that encourage the modeling and use of academic vocabulary and syntax.

Within the teacher’s edition of the text, a focusing question is posed, which is general and broad. The “big” question is used direct students to major themes. This question is repeated with supporting discussion questions throughout the sets of texts. Additionally teachers are provided “Tiered Discussion Prompts” that are text specific and connect to the big question. For example, “The Big Question” found on page 58 states: “Brainstorm in a group to identify a situation that could be a test of survival. This could be as dramatic as a raging flood or as personal as losing a parent. Discuss the qualities and abilities that a person would need to meet the test, and provide reasons for each choice. Then list all traits you generated and rank the top four, placing them in a diagram like the one shown.”

Although some evidence of developing discussion protocols is present, it is not frequent throughout the teacher’s guide. Tiered Discussion Prompts, accompanying texts appear in the teacher edition which provide some protocols for discussion. There is limited guidance for small-group or peer-to-peer discussions or student-led conversation. The Speaking and Listening Handbook placed after the main units outlines basic principles and strategies for discussing and listening. For example, on page 534, the text states, “speaking and listening workshop task: participate in a panel discussion based on an analysis of a recent school or community event. (this may require some research)”. Then page 535, the student text outlines some tips on the process, “Build on each other's ideas for example give others the opportunity to respond and listen while another speaker summarizes your ideas and add his or her own viewpoint. Evaluate the reasons and evidence presented, and then decide whether this new information changes or modifies your opinion.” Also, on page 454, “What's the Connection? In “Marigolds,” Miss Lottie's garden is the only bright spot in her difficult life. In the North Lawndale neighborhood of Chicago, Illinois, a garden has also become a great spot for residents. To find out more about this garden and it's impact read “Sowing Change.” There is no discussion prompt here. There is a follow-up in the teacher edition margins which states, “What's the Connection, use a comparison matrix to prepare students for the selection. Have students notice aspects of Miss Lottie's garden: who created it, who maintained it, what it looks like, what plans are contained, and what it meant to people. Then have them fill in details about the African heritage garden as they read. Discuss comparisons and contrasts. This prompt, does require evidence to support, academic language or give a protocol.

Throughout the unit, there are opportunities for discussion prompted by the teacher in whole class instruction. However, there are few noted opportunities for students to discuss in a variety of groupings. Only a few mentions of small group discussion are present in the materials. For example, in the teacher’s edition, on the side panel, questions are provided for discussions that revisit the big question in the unit. For example, on page 450, for the short story, “Marigolds,”: How does regret influence the way the Lizabeth see Miss Lottie’s house in lines 256-259? What role does regret play in Lizabeth’s bad mood in lines 188-191? Also, on page 292, “Discuss: with a small group, generate a list of real people, living or dead, as well as characters in books, movies, or TV shows, whom you consider to have dignity. Then discuss whether dignity comes mainly from within or from approval of others.”

Modeling of academic vocabulary is limited. The function of most of the discussion questions is as an ice-breaker and/or interest grabber before reading rather than an evidence-based discussion encouraging the use of academic vocabulary. For example, in the Introductory Unit, Student Guide (FM65): Teacher directed to have students “work in groups of three or four to brainstorm lists of specialized vocabulary related to subjects with which they are familiar.

Indicator 1j

Materials support students' listening and speaking (and discussions) about what they are reading and researching (shared projects) with relevant follow-up questions and supports.
1/2
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 9 partially meet the criteria for materials supporting students’ listening and speaking about what they are reading and researching (including presentation opportunities) with relevant follow-up questions and evidence.

Activities requiring students to listen and speak to share information are embedded across the year’s instruction. Some activities include discussion about what has been read and research, and require students to prepare for group involvement. However, most activities, especially those placed at the beginnings of units, rely on opinion or life-experiences rather than research or textual evidence. Fewer activities involve gaining understanding from multiple sources or include follow-up questions.

Examples include but are not limited to:

  • In Unit 3, before reading the short story “Through the Tunnel” by Doris Lessing, students are instructed to “Think about a time when you or someone you know took a risk to prove something. Create a balance scale like the one shown to weigh that risk. In the base of the scale, write down the dangerous or risky activity. Jot down the risks in one box and the possible benefits in the other. Share your balance scale with your classmates, and discuss with them whether the possible benefits outweighed the risks of the behavior.” (354) This activity allows for sharing and listening to ideas, but is not necessarily text-based and invites opinions rather than text evidence discussion.
  • In Unit 5, students are to discuss with a partner the following question before reading an article titled “The Lost Boys” by Sara Corbett. “What might it be like to be forced to leave your home, your friends, your family and everything familiar to you? Describe the one thing you would take with you if you had to leave quickly and explain what you think you would miss most.” After reading the article, student are directed to lines 27-41. Three tiered discussion prompts are provided in the teacher’s edition (194) to help students grasp the gravity of the refugees’ circumstances.
  • In Unit 7, students are instructed to adapt a written literary analysis as a class presentation. Students are guided through the process of revising for optimal oral delivery, as well as verbal and nonverbal techniques. Students in the audience are given directions for listening, “Evaluate the presentation. Listen carefully to identify the controlling ideas. Then, think about whether the speaker effectively supports the controlling idea with clear textual evidence and quotations. Note whether the speaker’s eye contact, rate, volume, enunciation, and gestures are appropriate and effective for the context and purpose of this presentation.”
  • In Unit 8, before reading the essay “A Few Words” by Mary Oliver, students are to jot down with a group of classmates what comes to mind when they think of something cute. They are then to answer the question “Would you want to be described this way?” After discussion, students are to form two teams and square off to settle the question of whether or not cute is a complement. Have students complete the debate activity. Then discuss which team won and why.

Indicator 1k

Materials include a mix of on-demand and process writing grade-appropriate writing (e.g. grade-appropriate revision and editing) and short, focused projects.
2/2
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 9 meet the criteria for materials including a mix of on-demand and process writing (e.g. multiple drafts, revisions over time) and short, focused projects, incorporating digital resources where appropriate.

The Grade 9 materials offer opportunities for students to write in both process and on-demand formats and incorporates technology when appropriate. Throughout the units, short-constructed, on-demand writings are found. In addition, the end of units provide a processed writing task in a Writing Workshop strategy. The Writing Workshop strategy provides guidance in the steps of the writing process. The process writing assignments include segments on: planning, drafting, revising and editing, publishing with several opportunities for publishing. Digital publishing is often encouraged. There are a variety of Short Constructed Responses and Extended Constructed Response at the end of text sets that are on-demand writing assignments. These responses connect to one or more selections in the previous text sets. The responses vary in mode and do offer revision tips and direct the students to the thinkcentral.com site for interactive support. The quick writes are placed at the beginning of text sets and connect to the Big question that focuses the students and provides a common theme to consider while reading the texts.

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

  • In Unit 1, on page 183 students, “Write a personal narrative about a time you were nervous about an upcoming event and demonstrated courage that you may not have known you possessed. Use your narrative to describe a meaningful experience to classmates.”
  • In Unit 2, on page 309, students are given an opportunity to complete a technology/multimedia extension, “publish your writing: in addition to other methods of publishing writing the book does suggest post your criticism on a blog and invite other classmates to post their viewpoints. It was it others opinions on the character in your claim.”
  • In Unit 3, on page 388, students write on-demand, “With a small group, generate a list of adventures you’ve had or would like to have. Then select one adventure and write a short paragraph explaining how you would prepare for it”.
  • In Unit 6, on page 697, the viewing guide for public service announcements provides the following prompt, “Evaluate emotional appeal: the PSA's in this lesson uses emotional appeal to persuade viewers. Choose one of the PSA’s and make a list of the techniques that are used to create emotional appeal. In your opinion, which of these elements is most effective? Produce your own media, create a PSA. The PSA shown in the professional model is from the national crime prevention council. It is part of the campaign that encourages teens to get involved by taking an activity day, enjoy it and using it to help others in their community. Your job is to create a PSA like the one shown that presents your own distinct point of view on an issue.”
  • In Unit 7, on page 807 students, “Write an analysis of a haiku poem by explaining the effects of stylistic elements. Make sure to include textual evidence and quotations in your analysis. You will post your essay as a blog for fans of haiku poetry.”

Indicator 1l

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 9 meet the criteria for materials providing opportunities for students to address different text types of writing (year long) that reflect the distribution required by the standards. May include “blended” styles.

The 9th grade curriculum provides opportunities to meet the variety of writing styles mandated by the standards. These styles include: argumentative, explanatory, and narrative writing. Some of the styles could be considered “blended” writing styles.

Examples of opportunities for students to address the different types of writing reflected by the standards include, but are not limited to:

  • Blended Style: In Unit 1 on p. 125, a blend of argumentative and explanatory writing is found. “Mrs. Wright left her two your sons alone during the day. She ordered Richard to bring home groceries even if he has to fight a gang to do so. Why did she act as she did? Write a three-to-five paragraph response, describing her actions and explaining her motives.”
  • Argumentative: In Unit 3 on p.405, and example of argumentative writing is found. “Bill Bryant and Wallace Stegner, each in his own way, have written in favor of wilderness areas. How are the pieces similar in this regard? How are they different? Support your response with specific quotations, idea, and faces from Stegner’s letter and Bryson’s account.”
  • Explanatory: In Unit 5 on p.551, an example of explanatory writing is found. “On the basis of the information in the textbook diagrams and Diane Ackerman’s essay, explain (1) the process of photosynthesis, (2) the reason leaves are green in summer, and (3) the reason leaves turn color in the fall. Define scientific terms in your explanation.To respond to this prompt, you will need to synthesize information from multiple sources having to do with photosynthesis and the color of leaves. Then you will need to paraphrase this information.”
  • Narrative: In Unit 8 on p.839, an example of narrative writing is found. “Think about Paul Berlin’s deep desire to please his father and the fear he grapples with in this story. Using details from the text, pretend you are Paul and handwrite a one-or-two paragraph letter home. Describe your experience as a soldier, and be sure to write the letter legibly so that it can be easily read and understood.”

Indicator 1m

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 9 meet the criteria for materials including frequent opportunities for research-based and evidence-based writing to support analysis, argument, synthesis and/or evaluation of information, supports, claims.

Throughout the materials, a variety of writing tasks provide opportunities for short response research-based, evidence-based writing. Materials include opportunities for formal and informal writing to support analysis of poetry and prose as well as composition of arguments in which students find evidence and research to support claims. Examples include but are not limited to the following:

  • In Unit 2, an example of analytical writing is found. Materials state,“Both ‘Marigolds’ and ‘Sowing Change’ feature gardeners and their work. Write a brief analysis of the benefits of gardens. Use details from the short story and the article to support your ideas.”
  • In Unit 4, an example of analytical writing involving evidence from multiple texts is found. Both Marigolds and Sowing Change feature gardeners and their work. Students are to “write a brief analysis of the benefits of gardens using details from the short story and the article to support your ideas.”
  • In Unit 10, materials provide opportunities to develop an argument. Materials state, “In your opinion, is Zefferelli’s film version of the balcony scene appealing, believable, and complete? Why or why not? Cite specific examples from the clip to support your views.” In the same unit, students are to “Write a critical review of the key scene in a theater or movie adaptation of the tragedy of Romeo and Juliet. Assert a claim, supported by evidence, that states how the adaptation does justice to the original play.”
  • In Unit 6, an example of synthesis is found. Materials state, “Write a letter to one of the author’s in which you explain how his or her piece could be made more convincing. In your critique, write three to five paragraphs describing your reaction to the article and your suggestions for improvement. Make sure your critique goes beyond a mere summary and includes your feelings and observations about the piece.”

Indicator 1n

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 9 partially meet the criteria for materials including instruction of the grammar and conventions/language standards for grade level. Over the course of the year’s worth of materials, grammar/convention instruction is provided, however it does not increase in sophisticated contexts.

The materials offer grammar instruction and support over the course of the year. The Essential Course of Study (ECOS) table at the beginning of the Teacher’s Edition identifies grammar and language instruction and exercises present in each unit. (T23-T28) This page shows the progression of skills and language standards, starting with Latin roots, and moving on to dialect and language devices (such as alliteration), and ending the unit with the mechanics of excerpting poetry and punctuating quotations. Some grammar, mechanics, and conventions are taught explicitly (e.g., use alliteration) providing opportunities for students to grow their fluency through practice and application.The materials offer a “Language Coach” and “ Grammar and Style” notation embedded in most texts as well as a “Grammar and Style” practice activity at the end of some selections. Additionally, the materials offer “Grammar in Context” support with samples in the “Writing Workshop” section of each unit as well as a “Grammar Handbook,” along with other support resources, at the end of the text.

Examples include but are not limited to:

  • Unit 2, Writing Workshop, page 309 the teacher is prompted to, “Explain to students that adjectival and adverbial phrases can help them support the claim they are making in their literary criticism. Using these types of phrases provides additional detail that will strengthen their writing and help their readers understand specific ideas. Have students read their final drafts and identify ideas that are not clear. Encourage them to add adjectival and adverbial phrases to these ideas.”
  • Unit 5, “Island Morning” margin page 564, the students are prompted to, “Reread lines 93-99. Which pattern of organization does the author use to highlight the differences between Antigua and Manhattan? Identify the word or phrase that signals the change in subject.”
  • Unit 9, “Blues Ain’t No Mockin’ Bird” teacher’s edition margin page 961, the teacher is instructed to, “Explain that vivid verbs can energize writing and allow readers to visualize the scene. Point out that the scene where the hawk attacked the farm is easy to visualize because the author effectively uses vivid verbs. After discussing the model, write these sentences on the board. (The men stepped bumbled onto the flower bed, breaking smashing pedals and bumping into crushing stalks. Their heels dug into gouged the soil leaving deep holes among the flowers.) Have students replace common verbs with vivid verbs.”

Gateway Two

Building Knowledge with Texts, Vocabulary, and Tasks

Partially Meets Expectations

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Gateway Two Details

The materials for Grade 9 partially meet the expectations of Gateway 2. The materials include texts organized around themes and topics to build knowledge, although the questions and tasks accompanying them only partially support students' literacy development. Vocabulary, writing, and research work may need supplementing by the teacher to ensure student profiency in these areas by the end of the school year.

Criterion 2a - 2h

16/32

Indicator 2a

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 9 partially meet the criteria that texts are organized around a topic/topics to build students’ knowledge and their ability to read and comprehend complex texts proficiently.

The materials are divided by units with sets of text that focus on a literary element and include a title and subtitles. The subtitle notes which aspect of literacy is being addressed for the text selections. In Units are further divided by genre. Each text set provides “big questions” that address a theme or “big idea”. The big question, text analysis, and reading skill suggestions provide opportunities for students to build knowledge and to read and comprehend texts proficiently. Texts do not build knowledge of a topic or theme.

Examples include but are not limited to:

  • In Unit 2, Characterization and Point of View: The unit is titled People Watching and focuses on characterization and point of view. The Big Question is, “How important is status?” The text analysis skill is character motivation and the reading skill is making inferences. Students read the short story “The Necklace” by Guy de Maupassant (224), a magazine article “Spending Spree” (237) and a flier “Is Debt Dragging you Down?” (238). Another Big Question in this unit is, “What is a teacher?” The text analysis skill is characterization in an autobiography and the reading skill is analyzing perspectives. Students read an autobiography excerpt from I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou (256) and the poem: “Caged Bird” by Maya Angelou (264)
  • In Unit 4, Theme and Symbol: The unit is titled Getting the Message and focuses on theme and symbols. The Big Question is, “What if life had a reset button?” The text analysis skill is theme and setting and the reading skill is drawing conclusions. Students read a short story “Marigolds” by Eugenia Collier (442), a newspaper article: “Sowing Change” by Donna Freedman (455) and a book cover: “In Our Hands” (458). Another Big Question in this unit is, “Where do you go to get away from it all?” The text analysis skill is universal theme and the reading skill is reading poetry for theme. Students read the poems “Poem on Returning to Dwell in the Country” by T’ao Ch’ien (502), “My Heart Leaps Up” by William Wordsworth (503) and “The Sun” by Mary Oliver (504).
  • In Unit 8, Author’s Style and Voice: The unit is titled A Way with Words and focuses on style and voice. The Big Question is, “Is fear our worst enemy?” The text analysis skill is realism and the reading skill is analyzing sequence. Students read a short story “Where Have You Gone, Charming Billy?” by Tim O’Brien (828) a magazine article “The Naked Soldier” by Tim O’Brien (836) and a recruitment Poster “Be a Marine” (840).



Indicator 2b

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 9 partially meet the criteria that materials contain sets of coherently sequenced higher order thinking questions and tasks that require students to analyze the language (words/phrases), key ideas, details, craft, and structure of individual texts in order to make meaning and build understanding of texts and topics.

The materials offer students opportunities to use evidence pulled directly from the text as well as make inferences while reading in order to help make meaning of the texts provided. Most discussion questions and tasks include analysis of language, key ideas, details and craft and structure. In the margins of the student text there are questions to call out specific details to note in the text. The sequenced questions allow for making meaning and building understanding of texts. Within the Tiered Discussion Prompts, there are questions labeled evaluate or analyze. The materials include a range of text dependent questions and tasks throughout each unit. However, questions are not scaffolded to build knowledge. The rigor of what students are being asked does not increase through the year. Examples include:

Examples of questions and tasks in Unit 1 after reading the text, “The Most Dangerous Game” include:

  • Use a Venn diagram to compare and contrast Rainsford and Zaroff. Start by listing each man’s character traits in the appropriate circle. Then note their similarities where the circles overlap.”
  • “Connell makes use of foreshadowing to help readers predict future events in the story. Find at least three examples of foreshadowing in the story. How does this techniques add to the suspense of this story? Cite evidence.”
  • “Remind students that tangible refers to real, concrete things that can be touched or felt. The opposite is intangible- concepts or abstracts that do not have substance or form, such as emotions. Have students create a pair of related statements that show how a tangible item can be related to an intangible concept.”
  • “In lines 111-128, how does Rainsford demonstrate that he has survival skills?”

Examples of questions and tasks in Unit 3 after reading the text, “The Cask of Amontillado” include:

  • “What is the overall mood, or atmosphere, of this story? In your opinion, what contributes most to the mood-- the setting, the rhythm, the tone of the language, or the descriptions of Montresor’s thoughts, feelings, and actions? Provide details form the story to support your opinion.”
  • “In lines 56-63, the narrator puts on a mask and wraps himself in a cloak. He also explains that he was able ’to insure’ there would be ‘no attendants at home.’ What do these actions suggest about his plan for revenge?”
  • “How does the change in setting contribute to the mood of the story?”
  • “Poe uses several words and phrases from other languages in this story. “For example, “in pace requiescat” (line 219) is a Latin phrase meaning “Rest in peace.” Identify the foreign word in line 204 and look up its origin and meaning in a dictionary.”

Examples of questions and tasks in Unit 9 after reading the text, Angela’s Ashes include:

  • “Frank develops two friendships in the hospital. What is the basis of each friendship? Give reasons to support your response.”
  • “What motivates Sister Rita to forbid Frank to talk to Patricia? Considering Patricia’s fate, were Sister Rita’s actions justified? Cite details to support your response.”
  • “Based on their conversation, how do you think Frank feels talking to Patricia?”
  • “Sister Rita doesn’t want Patricia and Frank to talk to each other. What do her restrictions reveal about her character?”

Indicator 2c

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 9 partially meet the criteria that materials contain a coherently sequenced set of text-dependent and text-specific questions and tasks that require students to build knowledge and integrate ideas across both individual and multiple texts.

Anchor texts are accompanied by linked activities and questions before, during, after reading, which are text-dependent and text-specific. The threads of questions connected to anchor texts are coherently sequenced due to a repeated three-part structure: Test Analysis and Reading Skill tasks, which students are directed to complete in their Reader/Writer Notebooks, introduce skills and topics such as reading folk literature, analyzing structure, rhetorical devices, diction, satire, imagery, figurative language. Questions placed alongside the text and after the text prompt students to identify and comment on the effect or meaning of focus text features. However, the level of questions does not increase significantly over the course of the year, and tasks are scaffolded and passages labeled consistently across the year. Students do not become prepared to execute these skills on their own.

There is no clear explanation of how integration of skills builds from unit to unit, with limited guidance available for teachers. While questions may support a general understanding of the texts themselves, they do not support building students’ knowledge about the content or topics/themes introduced by the texts. There are some opportunities for students to build knowledge between multiple texts.

For example, the Unit 2 focus is Characterization and Point of View. Students read the text “Hamadi” by Naomi Shihab Nye and answer questions such as:

  • “Think of someone you know who is unusual but admirable. How would you make those traits clear to someone who had never met that person?”
  • “How does this description of Hamadi’s outlook on life make him seem remarkable?”
  • Reread lines 21-31. “What important character traits of Susan’s does the narrator reveal in this paragraph?”

Students also read the text,“Blind to Failure” by Karl Taro Greenfeld and “A Different Level of Competition” by Anna Stein. At the end of the second text, students will respond to the following prompt integrating ideas across texts:

  • Compare and contrast: What do the athletes described in this article (A Different Level of Competition) have in common with Erik Weihenmayer (Blind to Failure)? Are they different from him in any way? Give examples to support your comparison.

While the questions and tasks included support students comparing texts and support a general understanding of the texts themselves, they do not support building students’ knowledge about the content or topics/themes introduced by the texts. The focus of students’ work may need support from the teacher to focus on characterization and point of view which is the stated focus of the unit.

The Unit 6 focus is Argument and Persuasion. Although the questions in Unit 6 refer to the texts, reviewers noted that additional questions could may assist students in close reading to analyze the text. Students read the text, “How Private is Your Private Life?” and answer the following discussion questions:

  • Tiered Discussion Prompts: “Use these prompts to help students link surveillance with technology focusing on text in lines 49-59:
    • Where have you seem surveillance devices?
    • How does the author contrast the use of hidden cameras on the corner of 45th street and Fifth Avenue with surveillance cameras used by the police?
    • How does the quotation from John Pike influence your views on the use of surveillance cameras?”

Students also read “Primal Screen” by Ellen Goodman and “The Pedestrian” by Ray Bradbury. The prompt, “Now that you have read each text, it is time to compare and contrast the writer’s messages, or central ideas. Write your observations on a chart.” The questions and task do not support building students’ knowledge about the content or topics/themes introduced by the texts.

The level of questions does not increase significantly over the course of the year, and tasks are scaffolded and passages labeled consistently across the year. Students are frequently directed where to look for evidence when analyzing a text.

Indicator 2d

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 9 partially meet the criteria that the questions and tasks support students’ ability to complete culminating tasks in which they demonstrate their knowledge of a topic through integrated skills (e.g., combination of reading, writing, speaking, listening).

The questions and tasks partially support students’ ability to complete culminating tasks in which they demonstrate their knowledge of a topic through integrated skills. The representation of these skills is not diverse. The tasks focus mostly on general analysis, general responses, opinion responses of characters, themes, or setting as well as relying heavily on the strategy of compare/contrast.

The materials provide culminating tasks at the end of sets as well as at the end of units. The end of text or text set culminating tasks are always writing tasks in the form of the “Short Constructed Response” and the “Extended Constructed Response,” which do not always focus on the unit’s topics. The end of unit tasks, however, are standards-driven, with a “Writing Workshop” essay assignment and often a speaking task that is related to the Writing Workshop writing piece. Overall, the culminating activities and tasks illustrate cohesiveness within the materials, yet they fall short of providing diverse opportunities for students to engage with texts at a higher/deeper level of analysis/interpretation, thus only partially meeting the criteria for this indicator.

The following examples represent culminating tasks that show mastery of skills, but not necessarily demonstration of knowledge of a topic:

  • Unit 2: People Watching: Characterization and Point of View
    • The final culminating writing activity for the unit is a literary analysis. Students will take their analysis through the writing process. (301)
    • Prompt: Compare how two authors treat the same subject.
    • Write a work of literary criticism in which you evaluate the believability of a specific character from literature. Use relevant evidence from the text to justify your claim.
    • After students have completed their literary analysis, students choose from one of 4 different ways to publish their writing that include speaking and listening opportunities..
  • Unit 4:Getting the Message: Theme and Symbol
    • Throughout Unit 4, culminating activities are provided after selections. For example, on page 457, after reading the article, “Sowing Change” and the short story, “Marigolds,” a prompt is provided to culminate understanding:
    • Both “Marigolds” and “Sowing Change” feature gardeners and their work. Write a brief analysis of the benefits of gardens. Use details from the short story and the article to support your ideas.
  • Unit 6: Taking Sides: Argument and Persuasion:
    • “I have a Dream,” by Martin Luther King, Jr.,
    • Students are asked to write a constructed response that responds to the following prompt: How would you account for the extraordinary acclaim King’s speech has received, not only when it was first delivered but many years later? Write a three to five paragraph analysis of the effectiveness of King’s address. Consider both the strength of its logic and its emotional power.
    • “The Pedestrian” & “Primal Screen” (708)
    • Extended Constructed Response: Write Dialogue: Imagine you are having a conversation with Ray Bradbury about his views on television. Write one to two pages that reveal what he might think about how television affects people’s lives.

Indicator 2e

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 9 partially meets the criteria that materials include a cohesive, year-long plan for students to interact and build key academic vocabulary words in and across texts. While there is a consistent pattern of vocabulary activity across the materials, vocabulary strategies and tasks are often repeated and lack variety in how students engage with vocabulary so students can activate new knowledge in new contexts. Materials lack consistent protocols for presentation as well as opportunities for students to review and reuse previously learned vocabulary. These factors may limit students’ abilities to build academic vocabulary across texts.

Materials attempt a year-long plan for students to interact with and build key academic vocabulary words in and across texts. Each text is provided with the following vocabulary components located in the Teacher’s Edition:

  • Vocabulary Skill: “Vocabulary in Context” and “Vocabulary to Preteach” based on the text.
  • Own the Word: As students read, opportunities are provided for the teacher to stop to teach vocabulary words in context.
  • Differentiated Vocabulary Support: Vocabulary support is sporadic throughout each unit.
  • For English Language Learners: Language Coach: These are tips found in the teacher’s edition that assist in teaching specific vocabulary strategies for words such as roots, affixes, etymology, multiple meanings, word origins, etc… These are designed to use with English Language Learners but can be helpful to all students.
  • For Struggling Readers - Additional words from the text are identified as ones that students may need more support.
  • For Advanced Learners - Challenge vocabulary suggestions.
  • After Reading Vocabulary Assessment: This is found at the end of each text and includes true/false, multiple choice, short answer, and/or fill in the blank questions for students based on the words taught throughout the story.

Examples include but are not limited to:

Unit 9: Text: “Revisiting Sacred Ground” by N. Scott Momaday

An emphasis in this unit asks students to predict meanings of the vocabulary:

  • Vocabulary in Context:

“Preteach Vocabulary: Help students predict the meanings for each boldfaced word” (words are provided for students in sentences).(941)

  • As students read, opportunities are provided for the teacher to stop to teach words in context. For example, “Own the Word”
  • Alienation: Explain that the root of alienation is alien, meaning someone from a foreign country or different world. Have students write sentences that show understanding of alien and alienation.
  • Cosmetic: Ask students what cosmetic changes could improve the bus in the story’s appearance?

In this unit, students do have an opportunity to use Academic Vocabulary in Writing however a list of words is provided for students. An example includes:

  • “In their migration, the Kiowa Indians went from the high mountains of Montana and Wyoming to the Great Plains. In a paragraph or two, identify at least three or four ways in which that change in environment would have changed their lives. Use at least one Academic Vocabulary word in your response.” (949)

Unit 11: Text: from the “Odyssey” by Homer, Translated by Robert Fitzgerald

  • Vocabulary Skill

Vocabulary in Context: Diagnose word knowledge: Have all students complete and check their definitions against the following: (words and definitions listed).

Preteach Vocabulary: Use the copy master to help students predict meanings for each boldfaced word. A protocol is provided:

  1. Read item 1 aloud, emphasizing adversity.
  2. Point out that “survive” and “so much hardship” give clues to the word’s meaning.
  3. Have students try to figure out what the word means.
  4. Repeat the procedure for items 2-10.
  • Vocabulary Assessment: Academic Vocabulary in Speaking: For example:

“The goddess Athena monitors Odysseus’ journey and attempts to help him return home. With a partner, discuss why Athena undertakes this responsibility. What is her motivation? What does it tell us about the ancient Greeks and their religion? Use at least one Academic Vocabulary word in your discussion.” (1268)

Additional resources such as copy masters, can be found in the Resource Manager. Think Central is an online tool that provides additional vocabulary resources for students to practice and review vocabulary. Directives are provided in the Teacher’s Edition.

Indicator 2f

Materials include a cohesive, year-long plan to support students' increasing writing skills over the course of the school year, building students' writing ability to demonstrate proficiency at grade level at the end of the school year.
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 9 partially meet the criteria that materials contain a year long, cohesive plan of writing instruction and tasks which support students in building and communicating substantive understanding of topics and texts.

Writing instruction in the 9th grade curriculum includes activities and tasks that are varied, building on and expanding on the experiences and readings students complete. Skills are pulled out and scaffolded for student development and opportunities to revise/edit help students improve. Due to the varied purposes, lengths, and types of texts students are responding to, students may need extra support or practice should they struggle in a skill area. The materials do not provide increase in student demand of writing instruction over the course of the school year.

Examples of how the program uses writing include but are not limited to:

Unit 2-- People Watching: Characterization and Point of View

Throughout the unit there are frequent writing opportunities for students. Students engage in quickwrites, constructed responses to the texts read, and culminates in students writing a Literary Criticism. All writing tasks are responses to text. Some examples include:

  • Extended Constructed Response: Comparison “Referring back to the details in the story, write three to five paragraphs comparing Jill’s and Andy’s attitudes towards their work at the restaurant. Make sure to include examples of Jill’s perfectionism.(221)
  • Quickwrite: “Think of different types of strength - physical, emotional, spiritual, and s o forth. Think of people who exemplify each type of strength and put them in categories in a chart like the one shown. Do any of the people belong in more than one category?” (268)
  • Cumulative Writing Task: Literary Criticism

Prompt; “In this workshop you will learn how to write a work of literary criticism. You will

evaluate a specific character’s believability and support your claim, or position with evidence. (Students are instructed to complete the workshop activities in their Reader/Writer Notebook). (302) Students are taken through the entire writing process (302-310). A number of additional writing lesson are provided for students as they work on their literary criticism. An example is as follows:

  • “Gather evidence in order to craft a convincing argument: you should supply several strong reasons that clearly and directly support your claim. For literary criticism, it's important to closely examine the text for evidence that you can include to back up your reasons. Each of your reasons must be supported by at least one of the following kinds of relevant or related evidence...

Unit 3-- A Sense of Place: Setting Mood and Imagery

Throughout the unit there are frequent writing opportunities for students. Students engage in quickwrites, constructed responses to the texts read, and culminates in students writing a short story.. All writing tasks are responses to text. Some examples include:

  • Short Constructed Response: Analysis: “Do you think Jerry’s mother is right to trust him by himself? Consider the risks Jerry takes, as well as his success, and then write a one-or two-paragraph response that explains your answer.” (369)
  • Quickwrite: “With a partner, write a “top ten” list of the key qualities you look for in a friend. Then compare your list with those of your classmates. Does everyone list similar qualities? Are physical traits and intellectual or emotional factors equally important? (336)
  • Cumulative Writing Task: “Write a short story in which you develop characters, setting, plot events, a conflict, a resolution, and a theme. You can use real world or imagined events, issues, or people to inspire your story.” Idea starters and essential components of a short story are provided for students during the Writing Workshop. The writing workshop takes students through the entire writing process. (412-420)

Unit 8-- A Way with Words: Author’s Style and Voice

Throughout the unit there are frequent writing opportunities for students. Students engage in quickwrites, constructed responses to the texts read, and culminates in students writing an analysis of the author’s style. All writing tasks are responses to text. Some examples include:

  • Extended Constructed Response: Opinion: “Oliver makes the case that we do nature a disservice when we label it cute. Can this apply to calling a person, cute as well? Write a three-to-five paragraph response explaining whether or not you think this label can be harmful to humans. Use evidence from the text to support your opinion.” (867)
  • Quickwrite: “In a paragraph, describe a situation in which you felt out of place. Include all the details you can remember - even the embarrassing ones! What about the situation made you feel self-conscious? Did you eventually relax and feel better, or were you uncomfortable the whole time?” (852)
  • Cumulative Writing Task: Analysis of Author’s Style: “Choose a piece of literature and write an analysis of the author’s style. Your analysis should help the audience understand important elements of the author’s style, such as word choice, sentence structure, tone, figurative language, or imagery. Then, explain the effect, or impact, that those elements of style have on readers.” Idea starters and essential components of a short story are provided for students during the Writing Workshop. The writing workshop takes students through the entire writing process. (890-898)

Indicator 2g

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 9 meet the criteria that materials include a progression of focused, shared research and writing projects to encourage students to synthesize knowledge and understanding of a topic using texts and other source materials.

There is a progression of focused, shared research and writing projects to encourage students to synthesize knowledge and understanding of a topic using texts and other source materials. There is a progression of skills throughout the curriculum that builds to the final unit which is a research focused unit. Examples include:

Unit 3: A Sense of Place: Setting, Mood, and Imagery

  • Research Task: After reading “A Walk in the Woods” and the primary source “Wilderness Letter”, students will write to the following prompt: “Bill Bryson and Wallace Stegmer, each in his own way, have written in favor of wilderness areas. How are the pieces similar in this regard? How are they different? Support your response with specific quotations, ideas, and facts from Stegmer’s letter and Bryson’s account. Materials provide graphic organizers that students can use as they cite evidence. (405) For example: “As you wrote your comparison, support your statements with direct quotations and citations of facts or anecdotes from these two sources. Always credit your sources and be sure to use quotation marks around the direct quotations.” 405)

The texts and activities provided in Unit 3 provide support for the upcoming culminating task of writing a short story.

Unit 12: The Power of Research: This unit is dedicated to the research process.

Research Workshop -The final unit is divided into two parts.

  • The Research Strategies Workshop (1292-1313), introduces students to strategies they can use to do both academic and everyday research. Students learn about selecting and using various electronic and print resources. As they learn they also apply the information in hands-on activities designed to help them gain proficiency in using these various research tools and strategies. Topics include
  • Clarifying goals
  • Getting an overview of your subject
  • Focusing your research
  • Using the internet
  • Using the library or media center
  • Finding what you need
  • Choosing sources:
  • Evaluating Information
  • Collecting your data
  • Research tips and strategies

Additional resources can be found at the online resource “ThinkCentral”.

The Writing Workshop (1314-1337), provides a framework for students to apply the strategies they have learned to an academic writing assignment: a research paper. After analyzing a student model, students are guided through a step by step process in writing their own research papers. Additional supports are provided in the Resources Manager (1-34) Topics include;

  • Planning/Prewriting
  • Researching
  • Drafting
  • Revising
  • Editing and Publishing
  • Reviewing MLA Guidelines

Indicator 2h

Materials provide a design, including accountability, for how students will regularly engage in a volume of independent reading either in or outside of class.
0/4
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 9 do not meet the criteria that materials provide a design, including accountability, for how students will regularly engage in a volume of independent reading either in or outside of class.

At the end of each unit is a page that introduces “Ideas for Independent Reading.” Included in this page are novels/ independent readings that relate to the questions from the unit. There is no design, accountability, nor suggested pacing for these novels. Additionally, there is no information regarding the qualitative or quantitative information around these novels to support teachers in providing guidance for student choice.

Gateway Three

Usability

Not Rated

+
-
Gateway Three Details
This material was not reviewed for Gateway Three because it did not meet expectations for Gateways One and Two

Criterion 3a - 3e

Indicator 3a

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

Indicator 3b

The teacher and student can reasonably complete the content within a regular school year, and the pacing allows for maximum student understanding.
N/A

Indicator 3c

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

Indicator 3d

Materials include publisher-produced alignment documentation of the standards addressed by specific questions, tasks, and assessment items.
N/A

Indicator 3e

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

Criterion 3f - 3j

Materials support teacher learning and understanding of the Standards.

Indicator 3f

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

Indicator 3g

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

Indicator 3h

Materials contain a teacher's edition that explains the role of the specific ELA/literacy standards in the context of the overall curriculum.
N/A

Indicator 3i

Materials contain explanations of the instructional approaches of the program and identification of the research-based strategies.
N/A

Indicator 3j

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

Criterion 3k - 3n

Materials offer teachers resources and tools to collect ongoing data about student progress on the Standards.

Indicator 3k

Materials regularly and systematically offer assessment opportunities that genuinely measure student progress.
N/A

Indicator 3l

The purpose/use of each assessment is clear:
N/A

Indicator 3l.i

Assessments clearly denote which standards are being emphasized.
N/A

Indicator 3l.ii

Assessments provide sufficient guidance to teachers for interpreting student performance and suggestions for follow-up.
N/A

Indicator 3m

Materials should include routines and guidance that point out opportunities to monitor student progress.
N/A

Indicator 3n

Materials indicate how students are accountable for independent reading based on student choice and interest to build stamina, confidence, and motivation.
N/A

Criterion 3o - 3r

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

Indicator 3o

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

Indicator 3p

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

Indicator 3q

Materials regularly include extensions and/or more advanced opportunities for students who read, write, speak, or listen above grade level.
N/A

Indicator 3r

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

Criterion 3s - 3v

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

Indicator 3s

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

Indicator 3t

Materials support effective use of technology to enhance student learning, drawing attention to evidence and texts as appropriate and providing opportunities for modification and redefinition as defined by the SAMR model.
N/A

Indicator 3u

Materials can be easily customized for individual learners.
N/A

Indicator 3u.i

Digital materials include opportunities for teachers to personalize learning for all students, using adaptive or other technological innovations.
N/A

Indicator 3u.ii

Materials can be easily customized by schools, systems, and states for local use.
N/A

Indicator 3v

Materials include or reference technology that provides opportunities for teachers and/or students to collaborate with each other (e.g. websites, discussion groups, webinars, etc.)
N/A
abc123

Report Published Date: 2017/08/31

Report Edition: 2012

Title ISBN Edition Publisher Year
Holt McDougal Literature Gr 9 Student Edition 978‑0‑5476‑1839‑5 Copyright: 2012 Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 2012
Holt McDougal Literature Gr 9 Teacher Edition 978‑0‑5476‑1846‑3 Copyright: 2012 Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 2012

The publisher has not submitted a response.

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 High School 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 evaluate materials based on:

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

  • Building Knowledge with Texts, Vocabulary, and Tasks

  • Instructional Supports and Usability

The ELA Evidence Guides complements 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