Alignment: Overall Summary

Mirrors & Windows Grade 9 materials partially meet the expectations of alignment to the Common Core ELA standards. The materials include some instruction, practice, and authentic application of reading, writing, speaking and listening, and language work that is engaging and at an appropriate level of rigor for the grade.

Alignment

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Partially Meets Expectations

Gateway 1:

Text Quality

0
15
28
32
20
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
15
22
25
N/A
22-25
Meets Expectations
16-21
Partially Meets Expectations
0-15
Does Not Meet Expectations

Gateway One

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

Partially Meets Expectations

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Gateway One Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 9 partially meet the expectations for high-quality texts, appropriate text complexity, and evidence-based questions and tasks aligned to the standards. Although the Mirrors & Windows program includes a literature anthology of full texts and supporting excerpts that support exploration of literary and informational texts, materials do not meet the distribution of text types required by the standards. Some texts are appropriately complex for the grade level. Although the program utilizes a gradual release of responsibility reading model, students often do not receive support as texts become more complex. The progression of complexity does not increase across the year. Students read a variety of text types and have choice in their independent reading selections. Oral and written text-specific and text-dependent questions support students in making meaning of the core understandings of the texts being studied. Materials support teachers with planning and implementing text-based questions. Materials provide frequent speaking and listening opportunities for students, with some opportunities for teacher modeling of academic vocabulary and syntax; however, materials lack evidence of speaking and listening protocols. Speaking and listening instruction includes some facilitation, monitoring, and instructional supports for teachers; however, materials lack relevant follow-up questions and supports. While materials provide opportunities for students to demonstrate what they are reading through various speaking opportunities, including opportunities that require students to utilize, apply, and incorporate evidence from texts and/or sources, many of these tasks are optional. Although materials include a mix of on-demand and process writing, writing opportunities in each mode are unevenly distributed. While process writing includes opportunities for students to revise their work, Writing Workshops rarely include explicit instruction. While students have opportunities to write about what they are reading, including opportunities to support their analyses and claims using evidence from texts and/or sources, many of these opportunities are optional. Explicit evidence-based writing instruction is largely absent. Materials include limited explicit instruction of grade-level grammar and usage. Materials miss opportunities to address standards or address standards that are included in a subsequent grade level. Opportunities for authentic application in context are limited. Although materials include opportunities for students to interact with key academic vocabulary words in and across texts, materials do not outline the program’s plan for vocabulary development or provide teacher guidance to support students’ vocabulary development.

Criterion 1a - 1e

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

10/14
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Criterion Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 9 partially meet the expectations for text quality and complexity. Materials include high-quality texts; however, text types do not reflect the balance informational and literary texts as required by the standards. Some texts are not appropriately complex and the progression of text complexity does not increase across the year.

Indicator 1a

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

4/4
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Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Grade 9 meet the criteria for Indicator 1a. 

Instructional materials contain a wide range of high-quality fiction and nonfiction text types that are rich in content, relevant, and engaging for students. Selections were chosen with the intention that students be able to learn more about themselves and the world around them, while making many cross-curricular connections. Additionally, texts are organized around and speak to universal themes. Units 1–5 each contain an anchor text, while Unit 6 is a collection of high-interest texts for independent reading and does not have an anchor text.

Anchor texts in the majority of chapters/units and across the year-long curriculum are of high quality, consider a range of student interests, and are well-crafted and content rich, engaging students at their grade level. Examples include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • In Unit 1, Defining Moments, Fiction Connections, students read well-known short stories from various genres. Students read the anchor text ,“American History” by Judith Ortiz Cofer, followed by a newspaper article titled “TV Coverage of JFK’s Death Forged Medium’s Role.” These texts enable students to learn how a historic tragedy changed media coverage.  

  • In Unit 2, Facing Challenges, Nonfiction Connections, students read the anchor text, “The Obligation to Endure,” a chapter from Rachel Carson’s environmental science book, Silent Spring. Carson’s book was awarded the National Book Award for Nonfiction. Its timely content and issues contain cross-curricular connections to science and rich academic vocabulary.

  • In Unit 3, What We Keep, Poetry Connections, the anchor text is “Ballad of Birmingham” by Dudley Randall. This text addresses the significant historical event, the bombing of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church.  

  • In Unit 4, Temptation and Loss, Drama Connections, students read the anchor text, The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet, by William Shakespeare. This timeless classic features themes and topics.

  • In Unit 5, Pass it On, Folk Literature Connections, the anchor text is an excerpt from The Odyssey, Part 1 by Homer. Students experience the original source of many of the storylines they see in modern texts from short stories to TV shows and movies. 

Indicator 1b

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

Narrative Evidence Only
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Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Grade 9 do not reflect the distribution of text types and genres required by the standards at each grade level.  

Although materials contain a variety of text types, materials do not reflect an appropriate balance of informational and literary texts. Units focus on a specific genre and include supporting text connection pieces paired with anchor and core texts. Grade 9 contains one nonfiction unit. Of the 134 core and supporting texts students read during the year, 35 of the selections are informational, resulting in a 26/74 balance of informational and literary texts. 

Materials reflect the distribution of text types and genres required by the grade level standards but do not reflect a 70/30 balance of informational and literary texts. Examples include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • In Unit 1, Defining Moments, Fiction Connections, students read “American History,” a short story by Judith Ortiz Cofer. Students read a total of 21 core and supporting texts, all of which are literary selections with the exception of two Informational Text Connection selections, resulting in a 10/90 balance of informational and literary texts. 

  • In Unit 2, Facing Challenges, Nonfiction Connections, students read the well-known speech, “I Have a Dream” by Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr,. in order to learn about rhetorical devices and other literary elements that show King’s skills as an orator. Students read a total of 22 core and supporting texts, 19 of which are informational selections, resulting in an 86/14 balance of informational and literary texts. 

  • In Unit 3, What We Keep, Poetry Connections, students read a fiction selection, "Ballad of Birmingham" by Dudley Randall, as well as the article, "Birmingham Bomb Kills 4 Negro Girls in Church" by Claude Sitton, which serves as a Primary Source Connection to the ballad. Students read a total of 41 core and supporting texts, all of which are literary selections with the exception of three Informational Text Connection selections, resulting in a 7/93 balance of informational and literary texts. 

  • In Unit 4, Temptation and Loss, Drama Connections, students read a one-act play, The Inspector-General by Anton Chekhov. Students read a total of seven core and supporting texts, all of which are literary with the exception of one Informational Text Connection selection, resulting in a 14/86 balance of informational and literary texts. 

  • In Unit 5, Pass It On,  Folk Literature Connections, students read an excerpt from The Odyssey, Part One by Homer, translated by Robert Fitzgerald. Students read a total of 18 core and supporting texts, all of which are literary selections with the exception of three Informational Text Connection selections, resulting in a 17/83 balance of informational and literary texts.

  • In Unit 6, Journeys/Visions of the Future, Independent Reading Connections, students explore the theme of journeys and read the travelogue from Blue Highways, A Journey into America by William Least Heat-Moon. Students read a total of 25 core and supporting selections, including six informational core texts and one Informational Text Connection selection, resulting in a 28/72 balance of informational and literary texts.

Indicator 1c

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

2/4
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Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Grade 9 partially meet the criteria for Indicator 1c. 

Grade 9 texts quantitatively range between 650L–1450L for the year. Most texts that fall outside of the Grades 9–10 Lexile Stretch Band have qualitative measures that make them appropriately complex for the grade. The relationship of the quantitative and qualitative analyses to the associated reader task is not appropriately complex. Students often make graphic organizers to track the reading skill of focus and their post-reading use of these charts varies. While some Extend the Text tasks serve as associated reader tasks, these tasks are optional and may not occur during core instruction. Extend the Text task options often do not connect to the graphic organizer that students create at the start of their reading. Although materials include text complexity information for quantitative and qualitative measures, the documentation does not include a rationale for educational purpose and placement in the grade level. 

Examples include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Anchor/Core texts do not have the appropriate level of complexity for the grade according to quantitative and qualitative analysis and relationship to their associated student task.

    • In Unit 1, Defining Moments, Fiction Connections, of the twenty-one selections students read, sixteen fall below the Grades 9–10 Lexile Stretch Band and three fall within the band. The other two remaining selections do not have a Lexile level. Students read the anchor text, “American History,” a short story by Judith Ortiz Cofer (1000L). This Directed Reading selection falls slightly below the Grades 9–10 Lexile Stretch Band and has a Reading Level of Moderate. Difficulty Considerations include political context and Spanish vocabulary words. Author’s style, selection length, and vocabulary are listed as Ease Factors. This anchor text is paired with an Informational Text Connection piece, “TV Coverage of JFK’s Death Forged Medium’s Role,”’ an article by Joanne Ostrow (1120L). This Directed Reading text falls within the Grades 9–10 Lexile Stretch Band and has a Reading Level of Challenging. Difficulty considerations include abrupt shifts in tense, challenging vocabulary, and political background. Ease factors include a familiar event and length. Students learn “to understand the impact of a historical event in a country” and “read, interpret, analyze, and evaluate a selection in which a character deals with personal struggles during a historically significant event.” Students instructions include,  “add details to a Main Idea Map like the one below. When you have finished reading the selection, use the details to draw conclusions and thus determine the selection’s main idea.” Students do not use their chart to complete a post-reading task, nor do the Extend the Text options address main idea. The associated task does not meet the full requirements of its correlated standard: “Determine a central idea of a text and analyze its development over the course of the text, including how it emerges and is shaped and refined by specific details; provide an objective summary of the text.” 

    • In Unit 4, Temptation and Loss, Drama Connections, of the six selections students read, five do not have a Lexile level. The Informational Text Connection piece (1240L) that students read falls within the Grades 9–10 Lexile Stretch Band. Students read the anchor text The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet, a play by William Shakepseare (Non Prose-NP). The Reading Level for this Directed Reading text is listed as Challenging with vocabulary, Shakespearean background, and formal language identified as Difficulty Considerations and familiar theme identified as an Ease Factor of familiar theme. The play is used to help develop students’ reading skills, such as determining the meaning of words, comparing and contrasting, analyzing cause and effect, and making connections. Students also study the following literary elements: dramatic speech, motivation, stage directions, understatement, mood, and irony. After reading Act I, students respond to the following Analyze Literature prompt: “Find the monologues, or long speeches, by the Prince, Capulet, Nurse, and Mercutio in this act. What information do they give about the situation in Verona or the characters? Do they advance the story or give background information? Also note in Act I. Scene i, where Romeo uses paradoxes, or ideas that seem to contradict themselves to explain his emotions:... What do these paradoxes suggest about Romeo’s state of mind?” 

    • In Unit 6, Journeys/Visions of the Future, Independent Reading Connections, of the twenty-three selections students read, ten  fall below the Grades 9–10 Lexile Stretch Band, three fall within it, and one falls slightly above the stretch band. The remaining nine selections do not have a Lexile level. Students read “Homeless,” an essay by Anna Quindlen (1000L). This text falls just below the Grades 9–10 Lexile Stretch Band. Difficulty Considerations include the abstract nature of concepts addressed in the text. Ease factors include sympathetic main character, realism, and strong theme. During post-reading Refer and Reason questions, students summarize the essay and critique the author’s argument. During one of the Writing Options, students write a critical analysis “in which you touch on some of the elements that have likely contributed to the popularity of Anna Quindlen’s writing. Consider subject matter, language, tone, and other aspects that stand out to you.” This task is one of two options from which the teacher may select and, as a result, may not occur during core instruction.  

  • Anchor/Core texts and series of texts connected to them are accompanied by an accurate text complexity analysis; however, the text complexity analysis does not include a rationale for educational purpose and placement in the grade level.

    • The text overview page for each selection includes the following text complexity information: the gradual release of responsibility stage (i.e., Guided Reading: Close Reading Model, Directed Reading, Independent Reading), Reading Level and Lexile level, Difficulty Considerations, and Ease Factors. Materials do not explain the educational purpose of the text and the reason for its placement in the grade level.

Indicator 1d

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

2/4
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Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Grade 9 partially meet the criteria for Indicator 1d.  

While series of texts are largely at a variety of complexity levels, the complexity levels of anchor texts and supporting texts students read do not provide an opportunity for students’ literacy skills to grow across the year. Text overviews often include Use Reading Skills and Analyze Literature tasks that outline an area of focus and task students with creating a chart to analyze or evaluate the area of focus; however, students rarely use the chart they make to complete an associated reader task after reading the text. Extend the Text tasks, while optional, often do not provide students with opportunities to demonstrate their understanding of the focus area. When provided, associated reader tasks do not increase in complexity over the course of the year. While the program’s gradual release of responsibility reading model “emphasizes scaffolded instruction,” students often do not receive support as texts become more complex. Because the Lexile levels of text selections increase within most units, students receive the most support during Guided Reading at the beginning of the unit, when Lexile levels typically fall below the Lexile Stretch Band, and the least support during Independent Reading at the end of the unit, when Lexile levels are typically at the high end or above the Lexile Stretch Band. 

Series of texts should be at a variety of complexity levels appropriate for the grade band to support students’ literacy growth over the course of the school year. Examples include, but are not limited to, the following: 

  • The complexity of anchor texts students read does not provide an opportunity for students’ literacy skills to increase across the year, encompassing an entire year’s worth of growth.

    • In Unit 1, Defining Moments, Fiction Connections, texts range from 650L–1160L. Students read “Thank you, Ma’am,” a short story by Langston Hughes (650L). This text is significantly below the Grades 9–10 Lexile Stretch Band. Materials list the Reading Level as Easy with unexpected events listed as Difficulty Considerations and dialogue and few characters listed as Ease Factors. While reading, students “note any details that seem significant to the story and write them down or mark the page in some way.” During the Narrative Writing Extend the Text options, students may write a detailed narrative paragraph that relates a series of true or fictional events by describing what happened. Later in the unit, students read “American History,” a short story by Judith Ortiz Cofer (1000L). This text is slightly below the Grades 9–10 Lexile Stretch Band. Materials list the text complexity as Moderate with political context and Spanish vocabulary words as Difficulty Considerations and author’s style, selection length, and vocabulary as Ease Factors. Materials define main idea and direct students to “add details to a Main Idea Map like the one below.” After reading, students “use the details to draw conclusions and thus determine the selection’s main idea.” Extend the Text options do not address main idea and details.

    • In Unit 3, What We Keep, Poetry Connections, most texts have a quantitative measure of  (NP) because this unit focuses on poetry. Exceptions include one prose poem (740L), two Informational Text Connection selections ranging from 820L–1030L, and two Primary Source Connection pieces ranging from 1060L–1150L. Students read a paired selection containing two lyric poems: “Cold as Heaven '' (NP) by Judith Ortiz Cofer and “Gentle Communion '' (NP) by Pat Mora. Materials list the Reading Level of “Cold as Heaven '' as Easy with simile and symbolism as Difficulty Considerations and vocabulary as an Ease Factor. While reading, materials direct students to “[p]ay attention to the details that involve things that are white or cold” and determine the significance of those details. Materials list the Reading Level of “Gentle Communion '' as Easy with alludes to memory as a Difficulty Consideration and vocabulary as an Ease Factor. Students ``[c]onsider what the poem describes, and what it reminds you of” and “select a topic that is presented in the poem.” Students use a Cluster Chart to “jot down any details from your notes.” During reading, students determine why the first sentence of the poem might be an important detail. After reading, students use their Cluster Chart to “infer the themes of the poem.” Extend the Text options do not address theme and details. 

    • In Unit 6, Journeys/Visions of the Future, Independent Reading Connections, texts range from 680L–1360L. Students read “Minister without Portfolio '' by Mildred Clingerman (840L). Materials list the Reading Level as Easy with subtle foreshadowing and unlikely events as Difficulty Considerations and the relationships and dialogue as Ease Factors. While reading, students respond to questions that address the importance of details, including “Do they support a previously made point? Do they add to the conflict? Do they build suspense?” Students also “[d]iscuss how the young man’s explanation of their mission reveals that the selection is a work of science fiction.” After reading, students respond to the following Refer and Reason question in the Extend Understanding section: “ Determine whether this story has a main idea that applies to the real world. If so, what is that idea?” The Writing Options tasks do not address main idea or details. During the Assessment Project, students ``write a brief essay discussing the author’s use of dramatic irony in the story. Students should present a main idea and then support it with at least three specific references to the text.``    

  • As texts become more complex, some scaffolds and/or materials are provided in the Teacher Edition (e.g., spending more time on texts, more questions, repeated readings, skill lessons).

    • The front matter of the Teacher Edition explains the program’s gradual release of responsibility reading model: “Guided Reading at the beginning of the unit (Grades 6-10) provides the framework for the teacher to guide students through the reading process. Close Reading Models walk students through the selections and demonstrate how to analyze literature and apply reading skills and strategies to each genre.” Next, the gradual release reading model transitions students to Directed Reading. During this stage, “the teacher begins to transfer responsibility to the students. Students are directed through explicit pre- and post-reading instruction, but during-reading support is reduced to encourage students to practice reading skills and monitor comprehension on their own.” The reading model concludes with Independent Reading. This stage “advances the total release of responsibility from the teacher to the students, who can now apply the skills and knowledge required to read increasingly more difficult selections on their own.”

    • In Unit 2, Facing Challenges, students read “The Obligation to Endure,” an excerpt from Silent Spring by Rachel Carson (1360L) and the Informational Text Connection piece, “When It Comes to Pesticides, Birds are Sitting Ducks” by Mary Deinlein (1450L). Both selections are above the Grades 9–10 Lexile Stretch Band. Materials identify the Reading Level for Carson’s text as Challenging, with sentence length, environmental references, and vocabulary as Difficulty Considerations. The Reading Level for Deinlein’s work is also listed as Challenging, with sentence length and scientific vocabulary listed as Difficulty Considerations and length listed as an Ease Factor. The Visual Planning Guide suggests spending three regular schedule days, or one and a half block schedule days, on this selection. For this Directed Reading text, pre-reading instruction includes a Preview Vocabulary section in which students complete a cloze sentence activity using the words barrage, advent, inevitable, detrimental, and prudent. With no additional explanation or guidance, it is unclear how the pre-reading activity provides instruction or supports students with accessing the text. Post-reading instruction includes a Critical Thinking Discussion Guide, a Teaching Note on Agent Orange, and a Connecting with Literature: Science inset.

    • In Unit 4, Temptation and Loss, Drama Connections, students read the drama The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare(NP). The Reading Level for this anchor text is listed as Challenging, with vocabulary, Shakespearean background, and formal language identified as Difficulty Considerations. Pre-reading instruction for reading Act I of this Directed Reading text includes a Use Reading Skills sidebar and a Preview Vocabulary activity. The Use Reading Skills support includes guidance on tackling difficult vocabulary: “You may want to identify and define new vocabulary words before you begin reading. Possible techniques include using context clues, finding definitions in a dictionary, and decoding words by recognizing common word parts to find meanings on your own. Remember to check footnotes as you read the selection.” During the Preview Vocabulary activity, students work with a partner to “answer each of these questions by tackling unfamiliar vocabulary words. Then confirm the meanings of the words by looking them up in the Glossary of Vocabulary Words in the back of your textbook.” Materials also include embedded Teaching Notes to support students with accessing the text. 

Indicator 1e

Materials provide opportunities for students to engage in a range and volume of reading to support their reading at grade level by the end of the school year, including accountability structures for independent reading.

2/2
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Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Grade 9 meet the criteria for Indicator 1e. 

Students read texts of varying difficulty and lengths within units and across the entire year as they explore different genres. Units 1–5 focus on one genre:fiction, nonfiction, poetry, drama, and folk literature, respectively. Unit 6 is composed of Independent Reading selections. The materials follow a gradual release of responsibility model from Guided Reading to Directed Reading, and finally to Independent Reading as the teacher supports lessen and the students approach greater independence. Units 1–5 include a section of Independent Reading at the conclusion of the unit, providing students with an opportunity to independently apply the unit skills they have learned, and Unit 6 is devoted entirely to Independent Reading. The end of each unit contains a section called For Your Reading List, a collection of suggested titles with brief summaries from which students choose for reading outside the classroom. Besides the Independent Reading selections found in the Teacher’s Edition and the Student Editions, the eSelections ancillary provides a collection of additional Independent Reading selections along with programmatic instruction. More Independent Reading selections can also be found in the eLibrary, an online collection of Portable Document Forms ( PDFs) of excerpts and full texts, as well as through StoryShares, an online third-party resource of free materials searchable by interest and grade level. The Program Planning Guide contains a blank Reading Log that students can use to track their outside reading. This document includes columns where students can fill in the date, title, author, pages read, and summary/reactions each week. 

Materials provide opportunities for students to engage in a range and volume of reading to support their reading at grade level by the end of the school year, including accountability structures for independent reading. Examples include, but are not limited to, the following: 

  • Instructional materials clearly identify opportunities and supports for students to engage in reading a variety of text types and genres.

    • In Unit 2, Facing Challenges, Nonfiction Connections, students read the following text types: narrative, memoir, biography, personal essay, argumentative essay, speech, news article, and how-to writing. The texts vary in length and  reading levels. The Guided Reading texts are “Aha Moment” by Julia Alvarez and “The Teacher Who Changed My Life” by Nicholas Cage. The Directed Reading texts include “Becoming a Composer” by LIndsley Cameron, “The Obligation to Endure” from Silent Spring by Rachel Carson, “I Have a Dream” by Martin Luther King, Jr., “Glory and Hope” by Nelson Mandela, and “Trapped in New Orleans Pets Still Being Rescued” by Laura Parker and Anita Manning. 

    • In Unit 3, What We Keep, Poetry Connections, the focus of the unit is poetry, so students read many lyric poems throughout the unit; however, they also read a ballad, a prose poem, a haiku, narrative poems, a concrete poem, sonnets, a myth, news articles, and a piece of how-to writing. 

    • In Unit 5, Pass It On, Folk Literature Connections, students read epic poetry, myths, legends, fairy tales, news articles and a fable. The texts vary in length and reading levels. Guided Reading texts include “”The Story of Daedalus and Icarus” by Ovid, “Echo and Narcissus” retold by Walker Brents, and “The Silver Pool” by Ella Young. Directed Reading texts include “The White Snake” by Jacob and Wilhem Grimm, The Odyssey, Part I-III, by Homer translated by Robert Fitzgerald, and “The Golden Lamb” by Jean Russell Larson. 

    • In Unit 6, Journeys/Visions of the Future, Independent Reading Connections, students read a variety of text types and genres as they apply the skills they have learned throughout the year. Text types include essays, poems, short stories, a journal, memoir, travelogue, interview, and graphic story. 

  • Instructional materials clearly identify opportunities and supports for students to engage in a volume of reading.

    • In Unit 1, Defining Moments, Fiction Connections, for the Guided Reading section, students read three short stories and a poem over the course of seven regular class periods or three and one-half block schedule days: “Thank You Ma’am” by Langston Hughes, “The Interlopers” by Saki, “The Most Dangerous Game” by Richard Connell, and “A Poison Tree” by Wiliam Blake. 

    • In Unit 3, What We Keep, Poetry Connections, students read twenty-eight separate texts in thirty-four days. All of the texts in the Visual Planning Guide are poems and the pacing guide recommends one day for lessons. Additionally, there are paired texts and longer poems for which the pacing guide suggests two days. 

    • In Unit 4, Temptation and Loss, Drama Connections, over the course of the entire unit, students read The Inspector General, a one-act play by Anton Chekhov, the entirety of The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet by Wiliam Shakespeare, the poems “The Argument” by Arthur Brooke and “Purgatory” by Maxine Kumin, and the informational text “Romeo and Juliet Over the Centuries” by Dorothy May. The Visual Planning Guide allows for fifteen regular class periods over the course of three weeks to cover these texts. 

    • In Unit 5, Pass It On, Folk Literature Connections, the pacing ranges from one day to six days on a single text. The instructional materials suggest five to six days for each of the Odyssey excerpts, which are more challenging texts. Given this pacing, students would read thirteen texts in thirty days. 

  • There is sufficient teacher guidance to foster independence for all readers (e.g., proposed schedule and tracking system for independent reading).

    • The Visual Planning Guide provides a pacing guide for instruction as well as suggested lessons for the texts. In addition, the Program Planning Guide includes a Reading Log for students to track their reading.

    • In Unit 3, What We Keep, Poetry Connections, the first Independent Reading selection is “The Past,” a lyric poem by Ha Jin. Students have just finished studying how to read poetry independently through using context clues, understanding denotation and connotation, determining the appropriate meaning for the context, and tackling difficult vocabulary. Materials provide teacher guidance on how to launch the lesson and include text-dependent questions and writing options at the conclusion of the text. Additionally, students read from a list of suggested poetry titles outside the classroom and record their progress on a Reading Log.

    • In Unit 5, Pass It On, Folk Literature Connections, in the Independent Reading section, students read five selections in the eReader including Perseus, a myth by Edith Hamiton. At the beginning of the section, students learn how to read folk literature independently through making generalizations and drawing conclusions, understanding the framework of folk literature, and writing things down as they read. Materials provide teacher guidance on how to launch the lesson for each text in the section and include text-dependent questions and writing options at the conclusion of each text. Additionally, students read from a list of suggested folk literature titles outside the classroom and record their progress on a Reading Log.

  • Independent reading procedures are included in the lessons.

    • In Unit 1, Defining Moments, Fiction Connections, at the beginning of the independent reading stage, materials include a section called Reading Fiction Independently. This section contains guidance, examples, and a framework for reading. Students learn how to identify the main idea, understand the author's purpose and approach, summarize basic events and ideas, and use fix-up ideas when experiencing difficulty with comprehension. 

    • In Unit 2, Facing Challenges, Nonfiction Connections, at the beginning of the independent reading stage, materials include a section called Reading Nonfiction Independently. This section contains directions, examples, and a framework for reading. Students learn how to identify supporting details, distinguish fact from opinion, and monitor their reading progress. 

    • In Unit 4, Temptation and Loss, Teacher’s Edition, the Independent Reading Section begins with notes to the teacher on forming student groups to read a play In addition, the Student’s Edition provides suggestions for choosing and maintaining a schedule for reading texts independently.

Criterion 1f - 1m

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

10/18
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Criterion Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 9 partially meet the expectations for evidence-based discussions and writing about texts. Materials include oral and written questions and tasks grounded in the text, requiring students to use information from the text to support their answers and demonstrate comprehension of what they are reading. Materials do not include speaking and listening protocols. Speaking and listening instruction includes some facilitation, monitoring, and instructional supports for teachers; however, materials lack relevant follow-up questions and supports. Although materials include a mix of on-demand and process writing, writing opportunities in each mode are unevenly distributed. Writing Workshops include revision and editing opportunities; however, materials rarely include explicit writing instruction. Although students have opportunities to write about what they are reading, including opportunities to support their analyses and claims using evidence from texts and/or sources, many of these opportunities are optional. Materials lack explicit evidence-based writing instruction. Materials miss opportunities for explicit instruction of grade-level grammar and usage standards. Opportunities for authentic application in context are limited. Although materials include opportunities for students to interact with key academic vocabulary words in and across texts, materials do not outline the program’s plan for vocabulary development or provide teacher guidance to support students’ vocabulary development.

Indicator 1f

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

2/2
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Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Grade 9 meet the criteria for Indicator 1f.  

The majority of the oral and written questions, tasks, and assignments require students to cite textual evidence to support their responses and claims. The Teacher’s Edition contains ample direction for teachers to follow in guiding these activities and in understanding what to look for in students’ work through sample student responses and Critical Thinking Discussion Guides. Text-specific and text-dependent questions can be found before and during reading in the Guided Reading section and after reading in the Directed and Independent Reading sections. Boxes alongside the text, labeled Close Read, contain text-based questions that students respond to during reading. The Teacher Wrap also contains questions of this nature even when the Close Read questions drop away as students move into Directed Reading. Each text contains an after reading section with text-specific and text-dependent questions based on Bloom’s Taxonomy and Norman Webb’s Depth of Knowledge levels. Refer to Text questions require students to recall facts and reason with text questions requiring them to apply higher level thinking skills. Analyze Literature questions focus on a particular literary element or compare literature; Comparing Texts questions require students to analyze two reading selections by comparing and contrasting literary elements; and Text to Text questions consider the relationships between literature, informational texts, and primary source materials. 

Most questions, tasks, and assignments are text-specific and/or text-dependent, requiring students to engage with the text directly (drawing on textual evidence to support both what is explicit as well as valid inferences from the text). Examples include, but are not limited to, the following: 

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

    • In Unit 1, Defining Moments, Fiction Connections, students read the short story, “Destiny” by Louise Erdich. After reading the text, students respond to a series of Refer to Text and Reason with Text prompts that require them to use textual evidence, such as: “Recall what Celestine created for the school potluck” and “Analyze how Celestine might view her own actions. How might she perceive the relationship she has created with Adele? Explain.” Following these prompts, students answer questions that focus on characters in the Analyzing Literature section: “Compare the characters of Wallacette, Celestine, and Norris. Are these characters round characters or flat characters? Who is dynamic? Who is static? In what ways is there a family resemblance? How is each different? Which of these characters seem most realistic?”

    • In Unit 2, Facing Challenges, Nonfiction Connections, students complete a close reading of an excerpt from Lynne Cox’s autobiography Swimming to Antarctica. While reading, students answer a series of Close Reading questions such as: “Based on the information provided, why might the author’s swim ‘create a thaw’ in the Cold War?” 

    • In Unit 3, What We Keep, Poetry Connections,  students read “Ballad of Birmingham” by Dudley Randal and a New York Times article, “Birmingham Bomb Kills 4 Negro Girls in Church,” by Claude Sitton. Post-reading tasks include the section Refer to the Text / Reason with Text. The Reason with the Text tasks support the questions posed in Refer to the Text. A Refer to the Text task for this text is “Quote the question the child asks the mother.” The Reason with the Text follow-up question is “Summarize the mother’s reasons for not granting her child’s request. According to the news article, what events had taken place prior to the bombing?” Another Refer to the Text question is “Recall what the mother found after the explosion and what question she asked.” The follow-up Reason with the Text task is “Evaluate whether the mother made a sound decision based on the information she had at hand. Explain.” 

  • Teacher materials provide support for planning and implementation of text-based questions and tasks. 

    • In Unit 3, What We Keep, Poetry Connections, students read the lyric poem, “The Bells” by Edgar Allan Poe. The Teacher Wrap in the Teacher’s Edition provides directions and prompts to guide the students in text-based discussion while they are reading the text. For example, materials use a bracket to highlight lines 32–35 of the poem, and there are corresponding questions and answers in the Teach the Selection section of the Teacher Wrap: “What word is repeated in lines 32-25? What effect does this create? Answers: The word bells is repeated, creating the effect of the joyful ringing of church bells for a wedding. Have students look for additional repetition of this word in the poem.”

    • In Unit 4, Temptation and Loss, Drama Connections, students read the one-act play, The Inspector General by Anton Chekhov. After reading, students answer a series of Refer to Text and Reason with Text Questions that require them to reference the text. The Review the Model section of the Wrap in the Teacher’s Edition provides suggested answers to the questions, such as: “5a. How does the Traveler attempt to keep his identity hidden? What, according to the Driver, would give him away?” “5a. He wears dark glasses, pulls his collar up, disguises his voice, and takes a cart to town. The Driver claims that these actions would give him away.”

    • In Unit 6, Journeys/Visions of the Future, Independent Reading Connections, students read “A Sound of Thunder,” a short story by Ray Bradbury. The Teacher’s Edition includes a suggested question for the teacher to ask students while reading the text selection. The note states, “Author’s Purpose: Note that the description of the dinosaur’s death is extremely graphic. Remind students that a writer’s purpose is his or her aim, or goal. Ask students why the author goes into such detail. Possible Answer: The graphic description emphasizes how close the hunting party came to being killed by the dinosaur. It also emphasizes the huge size of the creature.” The inclusion of possible student responses supports teachers with planning and implementing text-based questions.

Indicator 1g

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

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Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Grade 9 partially meet the criteria for Indicator 1g. 

The materials provide frequent opportunities for students to engage in speaking and listening activities and projects. Materials also include directions for conducting such exercises; however, there are no protocols for these activities and projects found in the core materials, nor is there guidance for how or when teachers should model speaking and listening techniques. At the end of each unit, materials include a Speaking and Listening Workshop where students can practice, present, and actively listen to oral presentations. These workshops include steps on how to conduct a particular speaking and listening project, as well as a rubric and speaking and listening tips. 

Materials provide frequent opportunities for speaking and listening; however, speaking and listening opportunities do not include protocols. Examples include, but are not limited to, the following: 

  • Materials do not provide varied protocols for speaking and listening to support students’ developing speaking and listening skills across the whole year’s scope of instructional materials.  

    • In Unit 1, Defining Moments, Fiction Connections, in the Speaking & Listening Workshop, students prepare and deliver a narrative presentation. The Workshop includes clear procedures, such as selecting a story; mapping out a storyline; visualizing the story; thinking about mood, tone, and language; practicing; and presenting the narrative. Although materials include directions for students to complete this Workshop, there are no protocols for students to conduct the speaking and listening task and develop their speaking and listening skills.  

    • In Unit 4, Temptation and Loss, Drama Connections, students read The Tragedy  of Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespaere. During the reading of Act I, the Teacher Wrap of the Teacher Edition contains the following Teaching Note: Read Together: “Use this activity after students have read the scene once. Divide the class into pairs and have each pair reread the scene together. Tell the pairs to stop at the end of every section or page, and write down questions they have about the text. Ask the pairs to share some of their questions with the class. Discuss possible answers as a class.” While the Teaching Note includes directions for the activity, there is no evidence of a specific protocol used to support students’ developing speaking and listening skills. 

    • In Unit 5, Pass It On, Folk Literature Connections, during the Speaking & Listening Workshop, students gather information from an interview. The main steps of the process are as follows: “Contact the person you want to interview in advance (location, time, and purpose of interview), ask mostly open-ended questions, take notes during the interview, thank the person for doing the interview, and write up the results of the interview soon after you conduct it.”  These steps also include mini steps which provide students with a detailed procedure for gathering information in an interview. Although materials include directions for students to complete this Workshop, there are no protocols for students to conduct the speaking and listening task and develop their speaking and listening skills.

  • Teacher guidance includes modeling of academic vocabulary and syntax during speaking and listening opportunities.

    • In Unit 2, Facing Challenges, Nonfiction Connections, students read an excerpt from Swimming to Antarctica, an autobiography by Lynne Cox. After the teacher illustrates the use of onomatopoeia through words from the text such as clanging, students ``[d]iscuss the purpose of using onomatopoeic words in writing.`` 

    • In Unit 4, Drama Connections, Temptation and Loss, the teacher explains that a pun “is a play on words that involves either two words that sound alike but have different meanings or a word with two or more meanings.” The teacher then uses the dialogue between Gregory and Sampson, two characters in William Shakespeare’s play The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet, to highlight a pun on the word wall. Students discuss the following questions: “What different meanings does the pun have in this bit of dialogue? How do the footnotes help you understand the pun?” 

    • In Unit 5, Pass It On, Folk Literature Connections, students read “Echo & Narcissus,” a myth retold by Walker Brents. After the teacher defines dramatic irony, students “explain the dramatic irony of the scene in which Narcissus stares at the face he sees in the pond.”

Indicator 1h

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

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Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Grade 9 partially meet the criteria for Indicator 1h. 

Materials include opportunities for stand-alone and text-based discussions. Students may respond to Close Reading, Analyze Literature, Use Reading Skills, Refer to Text, and Reason with Text questions in writing or orally as instructed by the teacher. Where appropriate, the Teacher Wrap in the Teacher Edition contains Critical Thinking Discussion Guides, which provide opportunities for text-based discussions. Although the Discussion Guide includes a series of text-specific questions and suggested answers, materials do not provide evidence of follow-up questions or supports, such as entry points for students who may have difficulty initiating or engaging in conversation. Some Extend the Text options include speaking and listening opportunities; however, the enactment of these activities are based on teacher selection and, as a result, may not occur during core instruction. Mirrors and Windows, and Use Reading Skills: Make Connections questions are often stand-alone in nature, allowing students to reflect on personal experiences while discussing sub-themes and topics related to texts of study. Materials do not include evidence of teacher guidance for monitoring students’ speaking and listening opportunities. Explicit speaking and listening instruction occurs during the End-of-Unit Speaking & Listening Workshop; however, this Workshop is not a part of core instruction. 

Examples include, but are not limited to, the following: 

  • Speaking and listening instruction includes some facilitation, monitoring, and instructional supports for teachers.

    • In Unit 1, Defining Moments, Fiction Connections, students read “The Most Dangerous Game,”a short story by Richard Connell. At three different points during the reading, the teacher facilitates a Critical Thinking discussion using the provided Discussion Guide. Each Discussion Guide contains questions the teacher asks students about the story, such as “How is the sea Rainsford’s enemy? What descriptive phrases are used to show this struggle?”, “Is Zaroff amoral or immoral?”, and “Zaroff tells Rainsford, ‘You’ll find this game worth playing.’ In what sense is Zaroff using the word game?” Although the Discussion Guide includes possible student responses, there is no evidence in the  materials of teacher guidance on monitoring student discussions or instructional supports for students who may be having difficulty starting or engaging in conversations. 

    • In Unit 3, What We Keep, Poetry Connections, students read a paired selection containing two lyric poems, “Sympathy” by Paul Laurence Dunbar, and “Caged Bird” by Maya Angelou. The teacher identifies the rhetorical devices used in both poems—figurative language and repetition and directs students to “[c]onsider how each poem uses figurative language and why the authors may have chosen to use figurative language in that way.” Students work with a partner or in a small group to discuss the following questions: “Why might repetition be used in these poems? Do you think the caged bird in Angelou’s poem represents the same thing that it does in Dunbar’s poem?” Materials do not include evidence of teacher guidance on monitoring this student discussion or instructional supports for students who may be having difficulty starting or engaging in the conversation.

    • In Unit 5, Pass It On, Folk Literature Connections, in the Critical Thinking Discussion Guide for “The Silver Pool,”a legend retold by Ella Young, teachers are directed to ask students the following questions: “How might the fact that legends were originally passed by word of mouth contribute to the larger-than-life quality of Fionn MacCumhail?” and “Who are some other larger-than-life legendary heroes? What qualities make them larger than life?” Suggested answers are included, but there is no evidence of  guidance for monitoring the student discussion or materials for supporting any learners struggling in taking part in the discussion. 

  • Students may have multiple opportunities over the school year to demonstrate what they are reading through varied speaking and listening opportunities. Instruction occurs during the Extend the Text section, that contains four options from which the teacher may choose. As a result, this activity may not occur during core instruction.

    • In Unit 1, Defining Moments, Fiction Connections, in the Extend the Text section for the short story, “Thank You, Ma’am,” by Langston Hughes, students have the option to complete an author presentation: “Langston Hughes wrote a number of poems and short stories. Read at least three poems and one other short story by Hughes to develop a sense of his writing style. What themes did he write about? How would you characterize his writing? Give a short presentation to your class about your discoveries.” The Extend the Text section contains four options from which the teacher may choose. As a result, this activity may not occur during core instruction. 

    • In Unit 3, What We Keep, Poetry Connections, students read “BEWARE: Do Not Read This Poem” by Ishmael Reed. In the Extend the Text section, students have the option of presenting an oral interpretation of the poem: “Reread the poem several times to form a clear image of the speaker in your mind. Then, on a copy of the poem, make notes about where you will increase or decrease your pace and raise or lower your volume, as well as any gestures or facial expressions you will use to convey emotion. In a small group, take turns presenting the poem.” The Extend the Text section contains four options from which the teacher may choose. As a result, this activity may not occur during core instruction.

    • In Unit 5, Pass It On, Folk Literature Connections, in the Extend the Text section for “The Story of Daedalus and Icarus” from Metamorphoses by Ovid, translated by Rolfe Humphries, students have the option of performing a reader’s theater: “Working in small groups, select gods and goddesses from Greek or Roman mythology...Locate a myth in which a particular god or goddess plays a major role. Retell the story dramatically to the class as the group displays its poster.” The Extend the Text section contains four options from which the teacher may choose. As a result, this activity may not occur during core instruction.

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

    • In Unit 1, Defining Moments, Fiction Connections, students read “American History,” a short story by Judith Ortiz Cofer, and “TV Coverage of JFK’s Death Forged Medium’s Role,” a brief analytical post by Joanne Ostrow. During the Media Literacy Extend the Text option, students work in small groups to “research one of the following events from [the mid-1960s]: the assassination of Medgar Evers; Martin Luther King Jr.’s ‘I Have a Dream’ speech; the bombing of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama; or the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.” During a panel discussion, students ``present [their] findings to the class” and “[d]iscuss how the events of 1963 might have contributed to the passage of the Civil Rights Act the following year.” The Extend the Text section contains four options from which the teacher may choose. As a result, this activity may not occur during core instruction. 

    • In Unit 4, Temptation and Loss, Drama Connections, in the Extend the Text section for the play, The Inspector-General by Anton Chekhov, students may complete a Critical Literacy task in which they analyze the author’s approach: “With a partner or small group, research the duties of the inspector-generals of imperial Russia and analyze the author’s approach to the subject. What criticism might Chekhov have been expressing in this play? Present your findings and analysis as a panel discussion.” The Extend the Text section contains four options from which the teacher may choose. As a result, this activity may not occur during core instruction.

    • In Unit 5, Pass It On, Folk Literature Connections, students read Part One of an excerpt from The Odyssey by Homer, translated by Robert Fitzgerald; a Primary Source Connection piece, “Poseidon, God of the Sea,” a myth retold by Walker Brents; and an Informational Text Connection piece, “Cyclops Myth Spurred by ‘One-Eyed’ Fossils?,” an article by Hillary Mayell. Afterwards, students respond to Reason with Text questions including, but not limited to: “1b. Point out whether or not Adrienne Mayor and Charalampos Fassoulas, in their works discussed in the article, present mostly fact, mostly opinion, or some of each. Explain your response.”

Indicator 1i

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

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Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Grade 9  partially meet the criteria for Indicator 1i. 

Materials offer both on-demand and process writing opportunities for students primarily in post-reading Extend the Text tasks and End-of-Unit Writing Workshops. Extend the Text sections contain two, mode-specific writing prompts, and each Writing Workshop focuses on a specific mode of writing. The Workshops guide students through the entire writing process—prewriting, drafting, revising, editing and proofreading, and publishing. Materials also include a student model and instructional guidance for teachers in the Teacher Wrap of the Teacher’s Edition; however, there is no guidance to indicate where students should compose their writing. The Writing and Grammar Handbook offers in-depth lessons that expand on these Writing Workshops, and the Writing section of the Language Arts Handbook also offers detailed information for students on the writing process and modes and purposes of writing; however, these ancillary materials are not part of core instruction. Because teachers have the choice of which Extend the Text exercises to complete, there is no guarantee that students will complete the writing opportunities offered. Materials utilize digital resources where appropriate. 

Examples include, but are not limited to, the following: 

  • Materials include on-demand writing opportunities that cover a year’s worth of instruction.

    • In Unit 2, Facing Challenges, Nonfiction Connections, after reading "The Teacher Who Changed My Life,” a memoir by Nicholas Gage, students complete an on-demand narrative writing exercise: "Identify someone you would consider a mentor or role model. (It could be a family member, a person from your community, a teacher, or someone else). Write a brief five-paragraph narrative essay describing your mentor and explaining the impact he or she has had on your life." This activity is one of four Extend the Text options from which the teacher may choose. As a result, this activity may not occur during core instruction. 

    • In Unit 3, What We Keep, Poetry Connections, after reading the concrete poem, "The Universe,” by May Swenson, students complete an on-demand informative writing exercise: "Write a two- to three-paragraph summary of 'The Universe' for someone who hasn't read the poem." This activity is one of four Extend the Text options from which the teacher may choose. As a result, this activity may not occur during core instruction.

    • In Unit 5, Pass It On, Folk Literature Connections, after reading “The Odyssey,” the epic poem by Homer, and “An Ancient Gesture,” a poem by Edna St. Vincent Millay, students complete an on-demand creative writing task: “Penelope from “The Odyssey”, and the speaker in Millay’s poem, ‘An Ancient Gesture’, have formed a support group for women whose husbands have been gone for many years. Imagine that you are a reporter who has interviewed the two women. Create a brief broadcast script of your questions and the women’s responses.” This activity is one of four Extend the Text options from which the teacher may choose. As a result, this activity may not occur during core instruction.

  • Materials include process writing opportunities that cover a year’s worth of instruction. Opportunities for students to revise and edit are provided.

    • In Unit 2, Facing Challenges, Nonfiction Connections, students write an argumentative essay during the Writing Workshop: “For this assignment, choose a topic you believe in and care about. Prewrite, draft, and revise an informed argumentative essay that expresses your opinion of this important topic.” The Workshop directions include the purpose and audience for the essay and guide students through the entire process of writing the essay: prewriting, drafting, revising, editing and proofreading, publishing, and presenting. The Revise stage includes a Student Model to serve as an exemplar. 

    • In Unit 3, What We Keep, Poetry Connections, students write a compare and contrast essay for the Writing Workshop: “Choose a poet you like, one published in this book. Write an essay comparing and contrasting two author websites on the poet. Follow the three stages of the writing process: Prewrite, Draft, and Revise.”

    • In Unit 5, Pass It On, Folk Literature Connections, students write an oral history during the Writing Workshop: “Interview an older relative or a wise family friend, and document a story of special meaning. Prewrite, draft, and revise the oral history.” The Workshop directions include the purpose and audience for the essay and guide students through the entire process of writing the essay: prewrite, draft, revise, edit and proofread, publish, and present. Materials include a Student Model to support revision work. 

  • Materials include digital resources where appropriate. 

    • In Unit 1, Defining Moments, Fiction Connections, students read the short story, “Blues Ain’t No Mockin Bird,”by Toni Cade Bambars. The Lifelong Learning Extend the Text option requires students to use digital resources to research the blues: “Use the Internet to research the history and characteristics of the blues. Use your research to draw conclusions about the meaning of the story’s title, and write an essay in which you explain why the ‘blues ain’t no mockin bird.’”

    • In Unit 3, What We Keep, Poetry Connections, students read “The Bells,”a lyric poem by Edgar Allan Poe. The Media Literacy Extend the Text option requires students to use digital resources to research Poe: “Imagine that you want to apply for a grant of money to research places associated with Edgar Allan Poe’s life. In order to receive a grant, you must present your ideas in a way that will persuade others to fund your project. Use the Internet to find locations that you would want to visit. Then write a grant proposal to a local business, organization, or university stating what places you need to visit and why, as well as why it should fund your trip.”

    • In Unit 5, Pass It On, Folk Literature Connections, students read “The Story of Daedalus and Icarus,” an epic poem by Ovid, translated by Rolfe Humphries. For the Informative Writing Extend the Text option, students use digital resources to write a literary analysis: “In the library or from the Internet, choose a myth that is not in this textbook. Write a one-page literary analysis explaining the moral, or lesson about life, that this tale offers.”

Indicator 1j

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

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Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Grade 9 partially meet the criteria for Indicator 1j. 

Materials provide some opportunities for students to learn, practice, and apply different writing modes during on-demand and longer process writing tasks across the school year. Materials include on-demand creative, narrative, informative, and descriptive writing opportunities during the post-reading Extend the Text section. Because these tasks are optional and based on teacher choice, there is no guarantee students will complete the provided tasks. Other opportunities for writing occur when students read eSelections that are available in Passport, or a digital component of the materials. With access to Passport, students have the ability to use Criterion, which is an online writing evaluation tool; however, it is unclear how to access it or use it. Without access to the digital platform, it is unclear how and where students compose their writing. Process writing instruction and tasks occur during the End-of-Unit Writing Workshops; however, explicit instruction is limited and materials do not meet the required distribution required by the standards. 

Materials provide some opportunities for students to address different text types of writing that reflect the distribution required by the standards. Examples include, but are not limited to, the following:  

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

    • Materials include the following Writing Workshops— three informative, one argumentative, one descriptive, one narrative—resulting in an uneven distribution of explicit instruction on the writing modes required by the standards.

    • In Unit 2, Facing Challenges, Nonfiction Connections, the Writing Workshop focuses on argumentative writing. Students write an argumentative essay persuading readers to consider their point of view on a topic they believe in. The materials guide students through all aspects of the writing process, including prewriting, drafting, and revising. Students begin by selecting a topic, gathering information, organizing their ideas, and writing a thesis statement. The Workshop includes a pro and con chart to help students organize their argument. Students then evaluate their draft and revise for content, organization, and style. The Workshop includes a writing rubric, model for revising, a student sample product, and a revision checklist. Although materials do not provide any other opportunities for students to learn and apply argumentative writing, students do have opportunities to practice argumentative writing during optional activities, such as on-demand Extend the Text writing tasks and End-of-Unit Test Practice Workshops.

    • In Unit 3, What We Keep, Poetry Connections, the Writing Workshop focuses on informative writing as students write a compare-and-contrast essay. Students compare and contrast two websites in terms of quality to determine the website quality using a set of standards. During the Prewrite step, students select a topic, gather information, organize ideas, and write the thesis statement. This section contains a writing rubric that provides students with the successful qualities of a successful comparison and contrast essay. It also includes a sample chart for comparing and contrasting websites. During the second step, Draft, the instructional materials guide students on drafting the introduction, body, and conclusion. During the third stage, Revise, students evaluate and revise their draft for content, organization and style, and proofreading errors. This section includes a sample student writing and with annotated revisions to demonstrate what a revision markup might look like. Materials also include a Revision Checklist that outlines elements to consider when maximizing one's writing. The final stage, Writing Follow-Up, includes information on publishing and presenting and also reflecting. Under publishing and presenting, students send an email to the webmaster of the website that they evaluated. Additionally, students ask class members to collect two or three favorite poems written by the poets that they studied. In addition, students email links to classmates and reflect on the process used to evaluate. Materials provide two more opportunities for students to learn, practice, and apply informative writing—when crafting a character analysis during the Unit 1 Writing Workshop and when writing an I-Search paper during the Unit 6 Writing Workshop.

    • In Unit 5, Pass It On, Folk Literature Connections, the Writing Workshop focuses on narrative writing during which students record an oral history. During the Prewrite stage, students select a topic, gather information, and organize their ideas for writing. Materials include information on writing a thesis statement, a writing rubric, and an oral history chart showing students how to organize their ideas. During the Draft stage, materials guide students on drafting the introduction, body, and conclusion. During the Revise stage, students evaluate and revise their draft for content, organization, and style. Materials provide a Student Model with annotations as an exemplar for revising. The Writing Follow-Up stage includes information on students publishing and presenting, and reflecting on their work. Although materials do not provide any other opportunities for students to learn and apply narrative writing, students do have opportunities to practice narrative writing during optional activities, such as on-demand Extend the Text writing tasks and End-of-Unit Test Practice Workshops. 

  • Different genres/modes/types of writing are distributed throughout the school year;  however, there is no core instructional path. Writing opportunities may not occur during core instruction.

    • Students have opportunities to engage in argumentative writing. 

      • In Unit 2, Facing Challenges, Nonfiction Connections, students read the biography, “Becoming a Composer,” by Lindsley Cameron. After reading, students may complete an argumentative writing task during which they write an argumentative essay addressed to someone who is researching their life for a biography, convincing that person “who should be interviewed, why they should be chosen, and what questions should be posed.” Because this is an optional Extend the Text task, students may not have the opportunity to practice writing in this mode. 

      • In Unit 3, What We Keep, Poetry Connections students read the lyric poem, “Local Sensibilities,” by Wing Tek Lum. After reading, students may complete an argumentative writing task in which they write a persuasive speech arguing whether tourism is beneficial or damaging for [one’s] homeland. Because this is an optional Extend the Text task, students may not have the opportunity to practice writing in this mode.

      • In Unit 5, Pass It On, Folk Literature Connections, students read the fairy tale, “The White Snake,” by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm. During one of the options in the Extend the Text section, students write an on-demand argumentative essay taking a position on whether a character is flat or dynamic. Because this is an optional Extend the Text task, students may not have the opportunity to practice writing in this mode. 

    • Students have opportunities to engage in informative/explanatory writing. 

      • In Unit 1, Defining Moments, Fiction Connections, students read the short story, “The Most Dangerous Game,” by Richard Connell. After reading, students may complete an explanatory writing piece in which they create a new game with rules and directions. Because this is an optional Extend the Text task, students may not have the opportunity to practice writing in this mode. 

      • In Unit 4, Temptation and Loss, Drama Connections, students read the one-act play, The Inspector General by Anton Chekhov. After reading, students may complete an informative writing piece during which they write a detailed summary of the play for youth. Because this is an optional Extend the Text task, students may not have the opportunity to practice writing in this mode.

      • In Unit 6, Journeys/Visions of the Future, Independent Reading Connections, students read the essay, “Homeless,” by Anna Quindlen. After reading, students may write a critical analysis of the essay. Because this is an optional Extend the Text task, students may not have the opportunity to practice writing in this mode. 

    • Students have opportunities to engage in narrative writing. 

      • In Unit 1, Defining Moments, Fiction Connections, students read “Thank You,Ma'am” by Langston Hughes. After reading, students have the option to complete a narrative writing piece during which they relate a series of events by describing what happened. Because this is an optional Extend the Text task, students may not have the opportunity to practice writing in this mode. 

      • In Unit 4, Temptation and Loss, Drama Connections, students read the eSelection, The Devil and Daniel Webster, a one-act play by Stephen Vincent Benet. After reading, students may complete a narrative writing task in which they write a paragraph as if they were part of the prosecution and were allowed to respond to the closing remarks. Because this is an optional Extend the Text task, students may not have the opportunity to practice writing in this mode.

      • In Unit 6, Journeys/Visions of the Future, Independent Reading Connections, students read “A Sound of Thunder," a short story by Ray Bradbury. After reading, students may complete a narrative writing task in which they write a description of a time they were so nervous or scared they could not think rationally. Because this is an optional Extend the Text task, students may not have the opportunity to practice writing in this mode. 

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

    • In Unit 2, Facing Challenges, Nonfiction Connections, students read the argumentative essay, “The Obligation to Endure,” an excerpt from Silent Spring by Rachel Carson; and the scientific article, “When it Comes to Pesticides, Birds are Sitting Ducks,” by Mary Deinlein. After reading, students may complete the following Creative Writing task: “Write a letter to a fictional chemical company expressing concern over its production of pesticides. Cite the evidence found in ‘The Obligation to Endure’ and the related article ‘When it comes to Pesticides, Birds are Sitting Ducks’.” Because this is an optional Extend the Text task, this writing opportunity may not occur during core instruction. 

    • In Unit 3, What We Keep, Poetry Connections, students read and compare “Cold as Heaven," a lyric poem by Judith Ortiz and “Gentle Communion," a lyric poem by Pat Mora. After reading both texts, students may complete the following Informative Writing task: “Write a compare-and-contrast paragraph of both speaker and tone :’in ‘Cold as Heaven’ and in ‘Gentle Communion’.Compare what is revealed about the speaker in each poem, the tone of each poem, and the techniques the author uses to convey the tone. You may arrange your composition by poem (one at a time) or by the aspect being compared.” Because this is an optional Extend the Text task, this writing opportunity may not occur during core instruction. 

    • In Unit 5, Pass It On, Folk Literature Connections, students read “Echo and Narcissus,” a myth retold by Walker Brents. The post-reading section contains the following informative writing prompt: “You have been asked to meet with a group of psychology students who are examining the behaviors of characters in Greek myths. Write a one-page compare-and-contrast essay of Echo and Narcissus (either one or both) to today’s youth. Focus on the similarities and differences between the personality traits of the Greek character(s) and personal qualities that psychologists might observe in young people today.” Because this is an optional Extend the Text task, this writing opportunity may not occur during core instruction.

Indicator 1k

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

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Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Grade 9 partially meet the criteria for Indicator 1k. 

Materials provide practice and application opportunities for evidence-based writing but lack explicit evidence-based writing instruction with the exception of some Writing Workshop tasks. During some post-reading tasks, students cite evidence from the text in their written tasks, make claims, and defend their claims using their comprehension and analysis of texts. Extend the Text tasks are optional and based on teacher choice, so there is no guarantee students will engage in evidence-based writing opportunities when offered. Other opportunities sometimes include the Writing Workshops students complete at the end of each unit, additional writing assignments found in the Grammar and Writing ancillary, and the Analyze Literature prompts. It is important to note that many of the writing activities are optional and do not consistently require students to support their analyses and defend their claims using textual evidence.

Materials include some opportunities for evidence-based writing to support sophisticated analysis, argumentation, and synthesis. Examples include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Materials provide limited opportunities across the school year for students to learn, practice, and apply writing using evidence.

    • In Unit 1, Defining Moments, Fiction Connections, in the End-of-Unit Writing Workshop, students write a character analysis. The assignment reads, “Choose a character from one of the short stories you read in this unit. Prewrite, draft, and revise a character analysis, stating a main idea about that character and using details from the story to support it.” In the Prewrite stage, students gather evidence from the text about their character and organize it in a chart. In the Draft stage, students “[w]rite one paragraph for each main point about the character. Support each point with evidence from the story.” The Workshop also includes a Student Model with notes indicating where the student used evidence in her work. While this Workshop includes practice, it does not include explicit instruction on standards-aligned, evidence-based writing. 

    • In Unit 3, What We Keep, Poetry Connections, the End-of-Unit Writing Workshop focuses on informative writing. Students write a compare and contrast essay in which they choose a poet and compare and contrast two author websites on the poet. Students choose and develop their topic and organize the facts they gathered from the website using a compare-and-contrast chart. When drafting the essay, guidance directs students to provide parallel information from both websites. The writing rubric evaluates whether students “[strengthen] an argument with evidence,” and the Revision Checklist checklist includes criteria, such as “Are specific examples given about each website?” While this Workshop includes practice, it does not include explicit instruction on standards-aligned, evidence-based writing. 

    • In Unit 5, Pass It On, Folk Literature Connections, the End-of-Unit Writing Workshop focuses on narrative writing as students record and document an oral history. Students begin by conducting an interview and taking notes followed by determining the best way of organizing the information. Next, they establish a thesis or focus for the story and write the narrative in chronological order using direct quotations, paraphrasing, and summary. Students also receive instruction on how to write an effective conclusion, include key details to establish setting, develop a writing style, and improve word choice. While this Workshop includes practice, it does not include explicit instruction on standards-aligned, evidence-based writing.  

  • Writing opportunities are focused around students’ analyses and claims developed from reading closely and working with texts and sources to provide supporting evidence.

    • In Unit 1, Defining Moments, Fiction Connections, after reading
      “Blues Ain’t No Mockin Bird,” a short story by Toni Cade Bambara, students may complete an Informative Writing task: “Give examples of dialect found within ‘Blues Ain't No Mockin Bird.’ In a critical essay, explain how dialect helps develop the characters and enhances the story's message.” This activity is one of four options from which the teacher may choose and, as a result, may not occur during core instruction. 

    • In Unit 4, Temptation and Loss, Drama Connections, after reading The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespaere, students may complete an Informative Writing task in which they write a character analysis examining a character in the play: “Do not simply describe the character, but make a statement about his or her role in the play...Explain how his or her particular traits made the character behave in certain ways. Include evidence from the play, and share your character analysis with the class.” This activity is one of four options from which the teacher may choose and, as a result, may not occur during core instruction.

    • In Unit 5, Pass It On, Folk Literature Connections, after reading “The White Snake,” a fairy tale retold by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, translated by Lucy Crane, students may complete an Argumentative Writing task: “In a story, flat characters remain the same from beginning to end: They don't change at all. Write a one- to two-page character analysis in which you argue whether or not the young man is a flat character. Support your opinion with details from ‘The White Snake.’” This activity is one of four options from which the teacher may choose and, as a result, may not occur during core instruction.

Indicator 1l

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

1/2
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Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Grade 9 partially meet the criteria for Indicator 1l. 

Each unit contains several Grammar & Style Workshops, which have sections on understanding the concept, applying the skill, and extending the skill. The lessons connect to selections students read just before the workshop. Units also contain Vocabulary & Spelling Workshops with sections on understanding the concept, applying the skill, and spelling practice using words from unit text selections. Workshops may not occur during core instruction, as their enactment is contingent upon the teacher selecting the activity from the Lesson Plan for the text selection. On occasion, materials include informal grammar and convention activities listed in the Teaching Notes of the Teacher’s Edition. Although materials include an array of instructional components, there are missed opportunities for grade-level grammar and usage instruction, practice, and authentic application in context.   

Materials include some explicit instruction of the grade-level grammar and usage standards, with opportunities for authentic application in context. Examples include, but are not limited to, the following: 

  • Students have opportunities to use parallel structure. 

    • No evidence found in core materials 

  • Students have opportunities to use various types of phrases (noun, verb, adjectival, adverbial, participial, prepositional, absolute) and clauses (independent, dependent; noun, relative, adverbial) to convey specific meanings and add variety and interest to writing or presentations. 

    • In Unit 1, Defining Moments, Fiction Connections, students complete a Grammar & Style Workshop on sentence variety after reading Judith Ortiz Cofer’s short story, “American History.” The teacher introduces the concept of sentence variety by reading a paragraph from Cofer’s text. Teachers use this model and the information in the Understand the Concept section to instruct students on various sentence structures, including simple sentences, compound sentences, independent clauses, and subordinate clauses. Students practice their learning while identifying sentence structures in the article “TV Coverage of JFK’s Death Forged Medium’s Role” by Joanne Ostrow, the informational text paired with Cofer’s literary selection. Authentic in context application opportunities include writing a short story or essay with appropriate and varied sentence structures.

  • Students have opportunities to use a semicolon (and perhaps a conjunctive adverb) to link two or more closely related independent clauses. 

    • In Unit 5, Pass It On, Folk Literature Connections, students complete a Grammar & Style Workshop on semicolons and colons. The teacher launches the lesson by reading a few sentences from “The Silver Pool,” a legend retold by Ella Young, and asking students how they could combine the sentences without adding words. The teacher then instructs the students on  ways of using a semicolon: “Use a semicolon between independent clauses joined by a conjunctive adverb or a transitional phrase. Arthur is believed to have fought against the invading Saxons; however, the German tribe later conquered the island nation.” In the Apply the Skill section, students practice inserting semicolons into sentences correctly: “The first English version of the Arthurian legend, by the poet Layamon, describes the knights’ bitter rivalries, indeed, the famous Round Table was constructed so that no one would be seated at the head of the table.” Materials do not include opportunities for authentic application in context.

  • Students have opportunities to use a colon to introduce a list or quotation. 

    • In Unit 5, Pass It On, Folk Literature Connections, students complete a Grammar & Style Workshop on semicolons and colons. The teacher launches the lesson by reading a few sentences from “The Silver Pool,” a legend retold by Ella Young, and asking students how they could combine the sentences without adding words. The teacher then instructs the students on four ways of using a colon: “Use a colon to introduce a list of items. Example: In the legends, you will observe several themes: loyalty and disloyalty, heroic valor, treachery and deceit, and the role of warfare in society.” In the Apply the Skill section, students identify correct and incorrect use of colons: “Among other aspects of Medieval Europe were the following: a population of mostly poor farmers, education only for noble children, and few periods of peace.” Materials do not include opportunities for authentic application in context.

  • Students have opportunities to spell correctly. 

    • In Unit 3, What We Keep, Poetry Connections, students complete a Vocabulary & Spelling Workshop on using spelling rules correctly. In the Understand the Concept section, students receive instruction on spelling rules for adding prefixes and suffixes and for understanding the ie/ei spelling pattern, and each explanation includes examples. The Apply the Skill section includes practice exercises for identifying incorrect spelling with prefixes and suffixes; recognizing ie/ei spelling errors; correcting spelling errors; and using the correct spelling of commonly misspelled words with prefixes, suffixes, and the ie/ei pattern in their  own writing. Lastly, in the Extend the Skill section, materials include a list of words and students ``[d]etermine the origin and meaning of each prefix and suffix and the meaning of each word.” Materials do not include opportunities for authentic application in context.

Indicator 1m

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

2/4
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Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Grade 9 partially meet the criteria for Indicator 1m. 

At the beginning of each unit, materials include an overview of all vocabulary words, academic vocabulary, and key terms. These words are also listed in the Teacher Wrap of the Teacher Edition alongside the corresponding selection. Words listed as Preview Vocabulary are taken from sentences within selections and are defined in the side margin or at the bottom of pages where they appear. Words listed as Selection Words are additional words from the reading that may be challenging, but are not central to the selection. These are Tier One words that can easily be understood by using context clues. Words listed as Academic Vocabulary are words that are used in the directions about the lessons. These are Tier Two words that explain what students should focus on, help establish context, clarify meaning of literary terms, and define goals or instructional purpose. Words that are listed as Key Terms are domain-specific Tier Three words. The repetition of these words throughout the program helps to ensure student mastery. 

Materials include two Vocabulary & Spelling Workshops within each unit. These Workshops correlate to two of the unit selections that use vocabulary words from the text that precedes the Workshop and contain instruction followed by practice exercises. The enactment of this Workshop is based on teacher selection and, as a result, may not occur during core instruction.. The Unit & Selection Resources ancillary also includes vocabulary preview activities and lessons for each unit. The Vocabulary & Spelling ancillary also has lessons that build word study skills and instruction based on vocabulary words from selections. Although materials include multiple elements that address vocabulary acquisition and practice, these elements are not cohesive nor do materials provide teacher guidance on a year-long plan to support students’ vocabulary development. Additionally, ancillary resources are not a part of core instruction. 

Materials include opportunities for students to interact with key academic vocabulary words in and across texts; however, the year-long vocabulary plan lacks cohesion. Examples include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Materials do not provide teacher guidance outlining a cohesive year-long vocabulary development component. 

    • There is no explanation of a year-long cohesive plan for vocabulary instruction; rather, materials include multiple components that address vocabulary, and it is up to the teacher to decide which components to use for instruction. For instance, at the beginning of each unit, materials provide Tier One, Tier Two, and Tier Three vocabulary word lists with the corresponding pages for where the words occur in text. Materials also list the vocabulary words in the Teacher Wrap of the Teacher Edition with the corresponding page number in the section where they occur. Materials define the vocabulary words at the bottom of the selection in which they appear. Each selection includes a short Preview Vocabulary section where students try to unlock the meaning of underlined words from the selection before reading. Occasionally, the Teacher Wrap of the Teacher Edition includes instructions for helping students understand the meaning of words. Materials include two Vocabulary and Spelling Workshops which focus on vocabulary skills instruction. If teachers want to explore selection vocabulary in more depth, they must use the Unit & Selection Resources ancillary. Since it is up to teachers to choose which of these program elements to include in instruction, there is no guarantee that the vocabulary development supports offered will occur during core instruction. 

  • Vocabulary is repeated in contexts (before texts, in texts) and across multiple texts; however, it is unclear how materials build students’ vocabulary development of Tier One and Tier Two words during core instruction.

    • In Unit 2, Facing Challenges, Nonfiction Connections, the Tier Two word significant appears in the Build Background section for the selection “The Teacher Who Changed My Life” by Nicholas Gage. The Build Background section explains the word’s meaning using the word memoir as a context clue. The term significant also appears in the instructions for the Draft section of the Writing Workshop. 

    • In Unit 3, What We Keep, Poetry Connections, the Tier Two Academic Vocabulary word activist occurs in three places in the unit: the introduction of the Primary Source Connection text, “Birmingham Bomb Kills 4 Negro Girls in Church” by Claude Sitton; the author information section for “Hanging Fire,” a lyric poem by Audre Lord; and in the author information section for the lyric poem “Women” by Alice Walker. Materials do not identify or define the word activist in any of the selections nor do materials include teacher guidance to build students’ vocabulary development of the word activist in or across the texts.

    • In Unit 5, Pass It On, Folk Literature Connections, materials define the Key Term moral during the Set a Purpose preview section of the epic poem, “The Story of Icarus and Daedalus” by Ovid, translated by Rolfe Humphries. The term also appears in the introductory material for “The Appointment in Samarra,” a fable by W. Somerset Maugham, and in the Test Practice Workshop during a constructed response question addressing the folk tale, “Goha and the Pot” by Mahmoud Ibrahim Mostafa: “What is this passage’s moral, or the lesson that it teaches?”

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

    • At the beginning of each unit, materials include lists of the Tier Two and Tier Three vocabulary words students will encounter over the course of each unit in the Teacher Edition. Each word is followed by the page numbers where the words appear. At the beginning of each selection, materials list Tier One and Tier Two words under the heading Words in Use followed by page numbers for each vocabulary word. Tier Two and Tier Three words often appear in the before reading information and in Vocabulary & Spelling Workshops. Materials repeat certain Key Terms (Tier Three words) throughout the unit to give students more exposure to and practice with vocabulary words. 

  • Students are supported to accelerate vocabulary learning with vocabulary in their reading, speaking, and writing tasks.

    • In Unit 1, Defining Moments, Fiction Connections, students read the narrative, “Aha Moment” by Julia Alvarez. The before-reading material for the selection explains the Tier Three word diction, and guidance directs students to “note the words Julia Alvarez has chosen to describe her eventful flight and how they contribute to the voice, mood, and tone of the text.” Students note the diction of the author’s writing and select words and phrases that show the voice, mood, or tone of the text twice while reading the text. After reading, students complete the following task: “Select a paragraph from the story that contains expressive vocabulary. Find the words that carry the most expression. Replace those words with your own that generally mean the same thing, such as replacing ‘scrambled’ with ‘walked’ or ‘hurried.’ How does the change in word choice affect the impact of the passage?”

    • In Unit 3, What We Keep, Poetry Connections, before students read “BEWARE: Do Not Read This Poem” by Ishmael Reed, the Preview Vocabulary section includes the following task: “Examine the following words from the selection [swift, disappeared, tenant, legendary, resist]. Brainstorm a list of synonyms (different words that have the same meaning) for each word and write down your choices. When you are finished reading the selection, substitute your chosen synonyms and note how word choices can alter the tone of the selection.” 

    • In Unit 5, Pass It On, Folk Literature Connections, students read the epic poem, The Odyssey by Homer, translated by Robert Fitzgerald. In the before-reading material for Act I, students learn about the background and elements of the Tier Three term epic poem. Students identify elements of an epic poem present in the selection twice during reading. After reading, students analyze what the epic suggests about the customs and values of ancient Greek culture.

Gateway Two

Building Knowledge with Texts, Vocabulary, and Tasks

Partially Meets Expectations

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Gateway Two Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 9 partially meet the criteria for building knowledge with texts, vocabulary, and tasks. Although texts are organized by genre and topic, it is unclear how the texts build students’ knowledge of the topic. While students closely read and analyze literary and informational texts, lessons do not always include a coherently sequenced series of high-quality questions that lead to a final task. The majority of tasks are optional. Culminating tasks do not always fully address the associated standard, and these tasks often do not integrate literacy skills. Materials include limited writing instruction that aligns to the standards for the grade level. While instructional materials include a variety of well-designed guidance, protocols, models, and support for teachers to implement and monitor students’ writing development, materials lack teacher guidance on the use of ancillary and optional writing supports. While materials provide frequent opportunities for short research tasks connected to the texts students read, materials do not include a progression of research skills according to grade-level standards. Instruction, practice, and assessments are based on teacher selection from a list of options. Some questions and tasks align to grade-level standards while others do not align or do not meet the full intent of the standards. It is unclear if the majority of assessment items align to grade-level standards. There is no guarantee that materials repeatedly address grade-level standards within and across units to ensure students master the full intent of the standards. Although the Visual Planning Guide for each unit includes suggested pacing for each text, there is no suggested timeline for the pacing of units nor for the curriculum as a whole over the course of the year. The amount of material cannot reasonably be completed within the suggested amount of time and is not viable for a school year. Due to limited teacher guidance on selecting activities, the volume of optional tasks distracts from core learning. Some optional tasks are meaningful and enhance core instruction.

Criterion 2a - 2f

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

12/24
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Criterion Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 9 partially meet the criteria for building knowledge. Texts are organized by units of study that feature a topic, associated genre, and essential questions; however, it is unclear how the texts build students’ knowledge of the topic and answer the essential questions, as these items are not revisited during the unit. Close reading lessons do not always include a coherently sequenced series of high-quality questions that lead to a final task, and the majority of tasks are optional. Culminating tasks do not always fully address the associated standard and often do not integrate literacy skills. While instructional materials include a variety of well-designed guidance, protocols, models, and support for teachers to implement and monitor students’ writing development, materials lack teacher guidance on the use of ancillary and optional writing supports. While materials provide frequent opportunities for short research tasks connected to the texts students read, materials do not include a progression of research skills according to grade-level standards.

Indicator 2a

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

2/4
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Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Grade 9 partially meet the criteria for Indicator 2a. 

The materials are organized into six units of study, each of which features a topic and an associated genre. Each unit begins with a unit opener that “introduces the genre and connects students to the literature,” includes a “thought-provoking quote [that] gives insight into literature,” features “fine art and photographs [that] connect with the unit theme,” and introduces “essential questions related to the unit theme [that] generate interest and set the stage for learning.” These elements at the beginning of the unit introduce the topic of the unit, but the remaining sections of the introduction serve to explain the genre and do not further address the theme of the unit. Lessons within the unit are organized into subtopics that break down the genre into components of the genre and examples of texts that illustrate those components. The Scope and Sequence Guide lists sub-themes that connect to many of the selections. The Mirrors & Windows questions that accompany selections address these sub-themes, but they do not connect to the overall theme of the unit, and there is no explanation or guidance on how the unit theme and the Mirrors & Windows sub-theme work together. The individual components included in the program are not connected in a cohesive way that would build students’ knowledge of a topic or theme.

Examples include, but are not limited to, the following: 

  • Texts are connected by a grade-appropriate cohesive topic/theme/line of inquiry. Texts miss opportunities to build knowledge, vocabulary, and the ability to read and comprehend complex texts across a school year.

    • In Unit 1, Defining Moments, Fiction Connections, the Teacher Wrap in the Teacher’s Edition suggests the teacher launches the unit by pointing out that people have enjoyed storytelling throughout history. At the top of the first page of the unit, materials introduce students to the unit theme, Defining Moments, and include the following guidance, as well as the essential question: “As you read the selections in this unit, decide what the defining moment is for the main characters and how they finally decide to define themselves. What makes an experience a defining moment?” The anchor text for this unit is “American History” by Judith Ortiz Cofer. Students also read “The Most Dangerous Game” by Richard Connell, “The Scarlet Ibis” by James Hurst, and “The Vision Quest” by Lame Deer. Each selection also includes a Mirrors & Windows theme, including, but not limited to, trust, feuds, survival, pride, revenge, love and hate, and belonging. These themes do not tie into the unit theme and essential question with the exception of one occurrence during the first unit selection, “Thank You Ma’am” by Langston Hughes: “Roger did not trust the woman not to trust him. And he did not want to be mistrusted now.’ How is this a defining moment for Roger?” No other Mirrors & Windows theme relates to the unit topic and essential question nor do the embedded Close Reading questions and Extend the Text tasks. As a result, it is unclear how students build knowledge of the theme.

    • In Unit 3, What We Keep, Poetry Connections, in the introduction to the unit, guidance asks students to think about physical objects and intangible items people carry with them, and how what people keep helps shape who they are. The unit overview includes the following guidance and essential question: “As you read the selections in this part, try to determine what is being kept. How do our possessions shape who we are?” Students read the anchor text, “Ballad of Birmingham” by Dudley Randall, as well as other selections, such as “Gifts” by Shu Ting, “The Bells” by Edgar Allan Poe, and “Hanging Fire” by Audre Lorde. For many of the selections in the unit, it is unclear how they are connected to the topic or essential question of the unit, and there is no guidance for teachers to encourage a connection or tasks where students make those connections on their own. For example, when reading “The Ballad of Birmingham,” the introduction to the text includes the following reader’s context: “Have you ever been denied something for your own protection or because someone else was frightened? How did you react?” The purpose for reading is as follows: “As you read, look for an example of irony of situation and determine its effect on the poem.” The Mirrors & Windows theme of sacred places provides yet another focus: “What places do people consider sacred or safe? Is the bombing of a church worse than other acts of violence? What other action(s) might be worse or might compare?” Neither the prompts nor the after-reading questions and tasks relate to the topic or essential question of the unit. 

    • In Unit 5, Pass It On, Folk Literature Connections, the introduction to the unit explains the ways that cultures use stories, poems, and songs to pass values and customs to each generation. Materials note that the selections in the unit encompass a variety of cultures and times and provide a glimpse into the beliefs and customs of the people. The essential question is “How do we share ideas and values today?” The anchor text for this unit is excerpts from The Odyssey by Homer, translated by Robert Fitzgerald. Students also read “The Story of Daedalus and Icarus” from Metamorphoses by Ovid, translated by Rolfe Humphries, “The Golden Lamb” by Jean Russell Larson, and “The Mosquito” retold by George F. Schultz. Students do not revisit the theme of Pass It On nor do they return to the essential question of how ideas and values are shared today, with the exception of one independent reading eSelection. The Mirrors & Windows theme for the fable, “The Princess and the Tin Box” by James Thurber, is values. After reading the selection, students respond to the following Mirrors & Windows questions: “What does society appear to value most when looking for a significant other? What characteristics would you value?” The Mirrors & Windows theme does not relate to the unit topic and essential question nor do the embedded Close Reading questions and Extend the Text tasks. As a result, it is unclear how students build knowledge of the theme.

Indicator 2b

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

2/4
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Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Grade 9 partially meet the criteria for Indicator 2b. 

As part of the Close Reading Model, materials embed text-specific and text-dependent questions that require students to analyze the key ideas, details, craft, and structure of individual texts and paired selections or text sets. Materials do not consistently include coherently sequenced questions that build to a task in which students demonstrate their understanding of these literary elements. Tasks often occur during the Extend the Text section and may not occur during core instruction, as these tasks are options from which the teacher may select. At times, questions and tasks do not meet the requirements of the correlated standard.

Materials require students to analyze the key ideas, details, craft, and structure within individual texts as well as across multiple texts using coherently sequenced, high quality questions and tasks. Examples include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • For most texts, students analyze key ideas and details and craft and structure (according to grade-level standards). 

    • The materials contain some coherently sequenced questions and tasks that address key ideas and details. 

      • In Unit 1, Defining Moments, Fiction Connections, students read a paired selection containing O. Henry’s short story, “The Gift of the Magi,” and Guy de Maupassant’s short story, “The Necklace.” While reading, “students focus on the themes of the two stories as they relate to the topic of wanting what you can’t afford.” O. Henry’s piece does not include any text-specific questions or tasks that address the theme. While reading “The Necklace,” students examine a passage of the text and respond to Analyze Literature: Theme questions including: “1. What motivates Mme. Loisel? 2. How does she react when she finds the necklace she decides to borrow? 3. What might her motivations and reactions suggest about the theme of the story?” Students do not respond to further text-specific questions about theme during the reading. After reading both texts, students respond to the following Compare Literature prompt: “What do the themes of each story have in common? How are they different? What details in the stories help to express the themes? What is the ironic twist in each story? How does the use of irony affect the development of the themes?” During the Informative Writing Extend the Text option, students write an abstract that summarizes points they “would cover in a comparative essay about the themes of the two stories.” This task is one of four Extend the Text options from which the teacher may select and, as a result, may not occur during core instruction.

      • In Unit 3, What We Keep, Poetry Connections, students read the concrete poem, “The Universe'' by May Swenson. The teacher “[asks] students to look at the shape of ‘The Universe’ and consider how the shape might be related to the subject or the theme of the poem. How would their understanding of the poem differ if the poem were set with all the lines aligned?” Materials do not include further questions that address theme. During the Informative Writing option in the Extend the Text section, students ``[w]rite a two- to three-paragraph summary of ‘The Universe’ for someone who hasn’t read the poem.” Students must include information about “the topic, form, theme, and appearance of the poem” in their summary. 

      • In Unit 4, Temptation and Loss, Drama Connections, students read The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet, a play by William Shakespeare. When reading Act I, Scene III, students “note the terms of endearment [the Nurse] uses when addressing Juliet (lamb, ladybird) and her protective manner toward her charge.” The teacher directs students to “make observations about their relationship as Juliet evolves and becomes more independent in her thinking and behavior.” At the conclusion of Act I, students respond to Reason with Text questions including, but not limited to: “2b. Reread Capulet’s words on page 305 to predict what kind of a person he is. How does he feel about feuding with Montague?” and “5b. What do the emotions they experience tell you about the two main characters? Deduce what struggles or conflicts the two will experience.” During Act II, Scene VI, students focus on a passage of dialogue and discuss whether “they learn anything about Romeo’s character from the Nurse’s description of him,” stating whether “they agree with the Nurse’s assessment of Romeo.” At the conclusion of Act II, students respond to a Reason with Text question in which they compare and contrast the roles of Juliet’s Nurse and Friar Lawrence and analyze how the characters feel about Romeo and Juliet’s relationship. In Act III, Scene III, students draw conclusions about Romeo’s character during a specified passage of the play. Later in the scene, students “cite prior situations where Romeo’s rash behavior is evident” and “comment on how realistic his character is by considering his age and upbringing.” In Act III, Scene V, students describe Capulet’s attitude in a specified scene “based on what he says and what others say about him.” Students use evidence from the text to explain why he feels the way he does. After reading the entire play, students “[w]rite a one-page character analysis examining a character in Romeo and Juliet” that “make[s] a statement about his or her role in the play and “[explains] how his or her particular traits made the character behave in certain ways.” Students must use evidence from the play during their analysis. This Informative Writing Extend the Text option is one of four after-reading activities from which the teacher may select and, as a result, may not occur during core instruction.

    • The materials contain some coherently sequenced questions and tasks that address craft and structure. 

      • In Unit 1, Defining Moments, Fiction Connections, students read the short story, “The Interlopers” by Saki, and focus on analyzing plot and flashback. Teacher guidance states that additional information on plot and feedback can be found in Understanding Plot. Students “copy the Plot Diagram into their notebooks” and use the diagram to record plot details and occurrences of flashback as they read. During the Close Read, students respond to questions, such as “For how long has the feud between the two families been going on?”; “What other kind of conflict does the tree falling on the two men represent?”; and “How is the event that follows the conflict resolution an example of irony?”  In the post-reading Analyze Literature section, students use their Plot Diagram to respond to the following questions: “How does Saki’s use of flashback help to develop the exposition, or background, for the plot? What is the central conflict in ‘The Interlopers’? Review the story to find an event that marks a major turning point in the plot. How is the conflict resolved? What other conflict arises? How does the last line in the story resolve that conflict?” During the Creative Writing option in the Extend the Text section, students “[w]rite a new concluding paragraph that shows what might happen if Georg and Ulrich survived” and compare their work with those of their peers. This task is one of four Extend the Text options from which the teacher may select and, as a result, may not occur during core instruction.. 

      • In Unit 3, What We Keep, Poetry Connections, students read “haiku,” haiku poems by Matsuo Basho, Nicholas Virgilio, and Alan Pizzarelli and an informational text connection piece from How to Haiku by Bruce Ross. While reading “haiku,” students ``use their Venn Diagrams to record the nature image in each poem, the contrasting images, and the feelings that each haiku evokes.” Students also “visualize the vivid images that are central to each haiku.” After reading both texts, students respond to the following Compare Literature: Imagery prompt: “What specific image or overall imagery does each poet use in these haiku? What feeling does each evoke? How does the imagery used in the three haiku accentuate the experiences being described?” Although students analyze imagery, they do not analyze “a particular point of view or cultural experience reflected in a work of literature from outside the United States, drawing on a wide reading of world literature.” During the Creative Writing Extend the Text option, students either “[w]rite a memo to each poet, describing your response to his haiku'' or “write a haiku in response to one of the haiku and include it in a memo to the poet, along with an explanation of how you decided to respond.” Students do not analyze “a particular point of view or cultural experience reflected in a work of literature from outside the United States, drawing on a wide reading of world literature.” This task is one of four Extend the Text options from which the teacher may select and, as a result, may not occur during core instruction.

      • In Unit 5, Pass It On, Folk Literature Connections, students read excerpts from The Odyssey, an epic poem by Homer, translated by Robert Fitzgerald. While reading Part One, students “observe the link between shift in narrator and change in setting (time and place),” using a graphic organizer. In the Analyze Literature section at the end of the selection, students analyze the epic poem’s structure and its effects: “Like many epics, Odysseus's story starts in medias res. Describe the origin and meaning of the phrase in medias res. How does the story enfold?  What does the epic suggest about the customs and values of ancient Greek culture? How do the supernatural characters influence the characters in the story and determine the events?” It is unclear when students use the text organization chart they developed. The sequence of questions do not build to a task in which students analyze “how an author’s choices concerning how to structure a text, order events within it (e.g., parallel plots), and manipulate time (e.g., pacing, flashbacks) create such effects as mystery, tension, or surprise.”

  • By the end of the year, these components (language, word choice, key ideas, details, structure, craft) are not consistently embedded in students’ work rather than taught directly.

    • In Unit 1, Defining Moments, Fiction Connections, students read “The Gift of the Magi,” a short story by O. Henry. The teacher guides students to notice and explore how authors use source material. Guidance for the Critical Thinking: Discussion Guide includes: “Take a moment to discuss with students the allusions in the description of Jim's and Della's prized possessions.” The teacher defines the term allusion and facilitates discussion using the following prompts:

      • “1. Have students identify two allusions in the discussion of Jim’s and Della’s prize possessions.

      • 2. Ask what the first allusion suggests about Della’s hair.

      • 3. Ask what the second allusion suggests about Jim’s watch.”

      • Students do not respond to any additional questions that address allusion nor do they complete a task in which they “[a]nalyze how an author draws on and transforms source material in a specific work.”  

    • In Unit 3, What We Keep, Poetry Connections, students read Edgar Allan Poe’s lyric poem, “The Bells.” The text includes” Church Bells Ringing, Rainy Winter Night,” artwork by Charles Burchfield. Students respond to the following Critical Viewing questions: “What mood does this artwork create? Does the mood of the artwork reflect the mood of the poem?” Students “describe the mood of each stanza [of ‘The Bells’] in a single word” and “create a Cluster Chart with details from the poem branching out from their ‘mood’ word at the center.” During the Argumentative Writing Extend Understanding option, students use examples from Poe’s poem to “[w]rite a three-paragraph position statement that argues which of the stanzas...is the most interesting and insightful.” 

    • In Unit 5, Pass It On, Folk Literature Connections, while reading “The Story of Daedalus and Icarus” from the Metamorphoses by Ovid, translated by Rolfe Humphries, students focus on foreshadowing. The introduction of the lesson briefly discusses foreshadowing as a literary device. During the Close Read, students respond to questions, such as “What do lines 14–20 foreshadow? How does this passage affect your reading of the myth?” Students use their knowledge of foreshadowing to make predictions, identifying specific lines from the text that led to their prediction, when responding to this Close Read question: “What will happen to Daedalus and Icarus? Will Icarus follow his father’s warnings?” After reading the text, students respond to the following Analyze Literature: Foreshadowing question: “The obvious foreshadowing of Icarus’s death means that there really isn’t much suspense in this story; most readers could have predicted that either Icarus or Daedalus would perish in their attempts to escape. What other purpose, then, do you think the author had in making the foreshadowing so evident?” This sequence of questions does not allow students to analyze “a particular point of view or cultural experience reflected in a work of literature from outside the United States, drawing on a wide reading of world literature,” nor do the Extend the Text options provide an opportunity for the analysis required by the standards.

Indicator 2c

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

2/4
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Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Grade 9 partially meet the criteria for Indicator 2c.  

As part of the Close Reading Model, materials embed text-specific and text-dependent questions that require students to analyze the key ideas, details, craft, and structure of individual texts and paired selections or text sets. Materials do not consistently include coherently sequenced questions that build to a task in which students demonstrate their understanding of knowledge and ideas. Tasks often occur during the Extend the Text section and may not occur during core instruction, as these tasks are options from which the teacher may select. At times, questions and tasks do not meet the requirements of the correlated standard. Although students respond to questions that provide opportunities to analyze across multiple texts, materials do not consistently provide students with opportunities to analyze those same elements within single texts. 

Materials do not consistently require students to analyze the integration of knowledge and ideas within individual texts as well as across multiple texts using coherently sequenced, high-quality text-specific and/or text-dependent questions and tasks. Examples include, but are not limited to, the following: 

  • Most sets of questions and tasks support students’ analysis of knowledge and ideas.

    • In Unit 1, Defining Moments, Fiction Connections, students read Judith Ortiz Cofer’s short story, “American History,” and the Informational Text Connection piece, “TV Coverage of JFK’s Death Forged Medium’s Role,” a newspaper article by Joanne Ostrow. While reading the short story, students “describe the character of Elena, based on what they know about her from the story,” and respond to the following questions: “Why did the author choose to tell the story through her eyes (first-person narrator)? How does the point of view affect the story’s overall theme?” Students analyze a specific paragraph in the story, add details to their Sensory Details charts,” and “[d]iscuss the contrasting moods of [the] paragraph.” After reading, students respond to Refer to Text and Reason with Text questions, such as “1a. How did Elena react to the news about President Kennedy’s death? 1b. Describe how her reaction made her feel. Why doesn’t Elena grieve for the dead president? 4b. Evaluate whether Elena was wrong to be more upset by the events in her personal life than with the death of President Kennedy.” After reading Ostrow’s post, students respond to Refer to Text and Reason with Text questions including: “1a. Recall what Ostrow says was responsible for changing ‘the pace of our lives.’ 1b. Summarize how the author supports this statement. 2a. Ostrow states that with this event ‘the shift from the primacy of print to the tyranny of TV—television as the first source of news—was cinched.’ Indicate how the author’s word choices reveal her attitude toward this change.” Afterwards, students respond to Text to Text Connection questions during which they compare and contrast how both authors “use Kennedy’s assassination in their writing,” noting the effect each author intended to have on the readers. Students also “[d]iscuss the different purposes an author may have in writing about a real historical event from a fictional perspective.” During the Collaborative Learning option in the Extend the Text section, students look for references to color and meet with a small group to discuss the following questions: “Where is color present in the story? What might the presence or absence of color mean in each situation?” This activity is one of four Extend the Text activities from which the teacher may choose and, as a result, may not occur during core instruction.

    • In Unit 2, Facing Challenges, Nonfiction Connections, students read “The Obligation to Endure”, an argumentative essay from Silent Spring by Rachel Carson, and the Informational Text Connection selection “When It Comes to Pesticides, Birds Are Sitting Ducks,” a scientific article by Mary Deinlein. While reading Carson’s work, students “evaluate the strengths of the author’s arguments based on the evidence presented” and distinguish fact from opinion during reading. Students respond to questions about specific passages, such as “Why is it a problem? How does Carson support her argument?” and “How is agriculture related to Carson’s overall message, or theme?” Students also use Critical Thinking Discussion Guide questions, such as “Are the issues Carson brings up about chemicals still relevant today? Explain.”, and “What other words or phrases with negative connotations can you find on this page? How does this language contribute to the overall message of the essay?”, to analyze the essay. After reading Carson’s work, materials ask students to “[s]ummarize the main points about pollution that Carson makes…, list the types of evidence she provides in support of her opinions…, [and] write a short critique of the essay, in which you take a stand or express you brown opinion on the issue.” Students distinguish facts from opinions while reading Deinlein’s work and respond to Text to Text Connection questions including, but not limited to: “Compare and contrast how Deinlein and Carson address their similar topics. Analyze how effective the language and tone used by each author is for their audience and purpose.” During the Collaborative Learning Extend the Text option, students work with a partner or in a small group to “research how developing nation might benefit from the immediate effects of a pesticide.” After documenting their sources, students “[d]evelop an argument that either supports or opposes the use of DDT in these nations and debate a team with an opposing view.” This activity is one of four Extend the Text activities from which the teacher may choose and, as a result,may not occur during core instruction.

  • By the end of the year, integrating knowledge and ideas is not consistently embedded in students’ work (via tasks and/or culminating tasks).

    • In Unit 2, Facing Challenges, Nonfiction Connections, students read Martin Luther King, Jr.’s speech, “I Have a Dream,” and the Literature Connection piece, “Martin Luther King Jr.,” a poem by Gwendolyn Brooks. While reading King’s speech, students examine his use of figurative language, discussing what ideas the examples represent. Students also examine how King’s use of rhetorical devices, such as repetition, affects the impact of the speech. Students use the American History Connection: Civil Rights Movement questions to discuss “how King’s speech fits into a larger history.” After reading, students respond to a series of prompts that require them to analyze the content, purpose, and rhetorical devices of the speech: “1b. Explain the purpose of King reiterating that the struggle was not over. 2b. Examine why King repeats ‘I have a dream.’ 3b.  Classify those in King's audience. To do so, consider which audiences he probably had in mind when he outlined these injustices. 4b. The success of a persuasive speech depends on its effect on its audience. Critique King's speech and identify features of the speech that may have been particularly effective.” After reading Brooks’ work, students respond to the following Text to Text Connection questions: “How do Martin Luther King Jr. and Gwendolyn Brooks describe or refer to racism and social injustice within these two selections? What descriptive words and phrases illustrate the social climate? How are these descriptions similar? In your opinion, which selection is most vivid? Why?” During the Extend the Text activities, studtnes “[w]rite a five-paragraph organization analysis of [King’s] speech.” During the analysis, students “[i]dentify and describe the sections of the speech and the purpose of each section,” explaining “how the organization of the speech enhances its effectiveness and has a positive impact on the crowd.” This Informative Writing task is one of four Extend the Text options from which the teacher selects and, as a result, may not occur during core instruction. 

    • In Unit 5, Pass It On, Folk Literature Connections, after reading Part One from The Odyssey by Homer, translated by Robert Fitzgerald, students read a Primary Source Connection piece and an Informational Text Connection piece—”Poseidon, God of the Sea,” a myth retold by Walker Brents and “Cyclops Myth Spurred by ‘One-Eyed’ Fossils?”, a National Geographic News article by Hillary Mayell. Students paraphrase and make connections to their learning from The Odyssey while reading Brents’ selection. Students use a Fact or Opinion Chart to distinguish fact from opinion while reading Mayell’s work and discuss “if they think the archaeologists’ explanations seem reasonable, based on what [they] know about the Cyclops and myths.” Students respond to Refer to Text and Reason with Text questions, such as “2a. List the examples that are given to support the connection between fossils and ancient myths. 2b. Decide how valuable such theories are in our efforts to understand historical development. If these theories were to be established as fact, how might our view of human history be likely to change? 3b. Think of other historic monsters and mysteries. Explain where these might have originated.” Students then respond to the following Text to Text Connection questions: “In what way might archaeological findings help readers appreciate Homer’s epics? Are there any ways in which being aware of scientific evidence might lessen the readers’ enjoyment of The Odyssey? Explain your responses.” This sequence of questions does not build to a task in which students “[d]elineate and evaluate the argument and specific claims in a text, assessing whether the reasoning is valid and the evidence is relevant and sufficient” or “identify false statements and fallacious reasoning,” as required by the standards.

  • Sets of questions and tasks provide some opportunities to analyze across multiple texts as well as within single texts. 

    • In Unit 2, Facing Challenges, Nonfiction Connections, students read the paired texts, “Trapped New Orleans Pets Still Being Rescued” by Laura Parker and Anita Manning, and “Close Encounter of the Human Kind'' by Abraham Vergese, M.D. While reading each text, students analyze text organization. Students use the subheading in Parker and Manning’s work to discuss “what they expect the next segment of the story to be about” and respond to questions, such as “Which sentence best expresses the author’s message? How does the ending of the essay tie back to the beginning?”, while reading Dr. Vergese’s piece. Students then respond to the following Text to Text Connection questions: “Describe the tone—the writer’s attitude toward the subject—of “Close Encounter of the Human Kind” and that of “Trapped New Orleans Pets Still Being Rescued.” Contrast the tones of the two pieces and analyze how the difference in purpose might affect the difference in tone. Recall who or what the authors of the articles focus on in their opening paragraphs. Which of the works is a more personal account of the events narrated? The analytical questions within each text do not provide students with opportunities to analyze the same elements across both texts. 

    • In Unit 3, What We Keep, Poetry Connections, students read the lyric poem, “Local Sensibilities” by Wing Tek Lum and the Informational Text Connection article, “442nd Regimental Combat Team” by the National Japanese American Historical Society. Students focus on context while reading both texts, responding to questions, such as “Ask students what details in stanzas 1–3 provide context for readers if they had no background knowledge of the author,” when reading the poem, and “Ask them to consider the choice and purpose of the written material in light of this finding,” when reading the informational text. After reading both selections, students respond to the following Text to Text Connection question: “What theme is present in both the poem and the informational text? According to these two selections, what hardships did Japanese Americans face? What perceptions and misconceptions of Japanese Americans are presented in each, and how are Japanese Americans depicted by the writers?”

Indicator 2d

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

2/4
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Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Grade 9 partially meet the criteria for Indicator 2d. 

Individual, paired, and text set selections conclude with Refer to Text and Reason with Text questions; an Analyze Literature, Compare Literature, or Text-to-Text Connection prompt; and four task options in the Extend the Text section. Earlier questions are incoherently sequenced at times and do not always build to a task. Teachers can choose from two writing options and two other types of tasks, such as Collaborative Learning, Critical Literacy, Lifelong Learning, and Media Literacy, in the Extend the Text section. Extend the Text tasks do not consistently relate to reading selections and are sometimes stand-alone in nature. Because there is no true core instructional path, completion of these tasks is optional and contingent upon teacher selection. As a result, there is no guarantee that all students will access the opportunities offered. 

Each unit concludes with three Workshops: Writing, Speaking and Listening, and Test Practice. Most of the Writing and Speaking & Listening Workshops are not connected to the unit genre of study and do not require students to draw upon their knowledge of the texts in the unit. The Test Practice Workshops are not connected to unit content and are designed to help students practice taking standardized tests. The three Workshops are not integrated. 

Culminating tasks require students to demonstrate their knowledge through integrated literacy skills; however, it is unclear how tasks relate to the unit’s topic/theme. Examples include, but are not limited to, the following:

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

    • In Unit 1, Defining Moments, Fiction Connections, during the Writing Workshop, students create a character analysis based on “a character from one of the short stories [they] read in this unit.” Students select a character “from the short stories in this unit,” and reread the text “in which your character appears” to gather “information about appearance, actions, speech, and thoughts and feelings.”’ Students use a Character Chart to record details, such as “comments the narrator or others make about the character,” and look for common threads and patterns among the details. After drawing these conclusions, students select “the three conclusions from the chart that best describe the character” and “[n]umber them in the order in which you would like to include them in your essay.” Students develop their thesis statement and draft an introduction, body, and conclusion for their character analysis. Students either self-evaluate or peer-evaluate their work using a Revision Checklist. Students orally present their work to the class and evaluate the task using a Writing Rubric. This task integrates reading and writing. 

    • In Unit 4, Temptation and Loss, Drama Connections, students write a dramatic scene based on a theme and characters from The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare during the Writing Workshop. Students select the theme from the play that they like best, “establish a conflict,” and develop characters using a Character Cluster Chart. Students use their chart to write dialogue for their character and “highlight material that is most directly relevant to your conflict and theme.” Students write their central conflict and then draft the scene opening, dialogue, and resolution. Students evaluate and revise their draft using the Revision Checklist. Students then present their dramatic scenes to their peers and evaluate the task using a Writing Rubric. This task integrates reading, writing, and speaking and listening. 

    • In Unit 5, Pass It On, Folk Literature Connections, during the Writing Workshop students conduct an interview “with an older relative or a wise family friend to document a story of special meaning.” After selecting a person to interview and settling on a meaningful or interesting story, students use an Oral History Chart to gather information. Students highlight striking and interesting details and aspects of their interview notes, develop a thesis statement, and organize their writing chronologically when drafting the introduction, body, and conclusion of their work. Students evaluate their drafts using a Revision Checklist and share their work with the class. Students use a Writing Rubric to evaluate the task. This task integrates speaking and listening, and writing. 

  • Earlier text-specific and/or text-dependent questions and tasks are not coherently sequenced and will not give the teacher usable information about the student's readiness (or whether they are “on track”) to complete culminating tasks.

    • In Unit 1, Defining Moments, Fiction Connections, students read the eSelection, “The Cask of Amontillado” by Edgar Allan Poe. Students analyze point of view and narrator, responding to prompts and questions, such as “After students read the first paragraph, ask them what their first impressions of the narrator are. Have them identify any details that suggest that the narrator is unreliable. Ask students why Poe might have chosen an unreliable narrator for a suspense story.” During the Informative Writing Extend Understanding option, students “write a one-page character analysis of Fortunato.” Later in the unit, students read “American History” by Judith Ortiz Cofer paired with the Informational Text Connection piece, “TV Coverage of JFK’s Death Forged Medium’s Role” by Joanne Ostrow. Students analyze setting, responding to prompts and questions, such as “What details does Judith Ortiz Cofer use to create a sense of a particular time? What details does she use to create a sense of particular places, such as El Building, Eugene’s house, and the city of Paterson?” After reading both selections, students may complete the following Argumentative Writing option in the Extend the Text section: “Assume that a friend says, ‘There was no hope of Elena and Eugene ever remaining friends.’ Do you agree or disagree? Share your opinion by writing a character analysis in which you examine each character’s personality and background and collect details about them to support your opinion. Write the argument in a unified informative paragraph.” These questions and tasks are not coherently sequenced to build to the culminating task. It is unclear how these tasks give the teacher usable information about the student's readiness to complete the End-of-Unit Writing Workshop in which they write a character analysis.

    • In Unit 4, Temptation and Loss, Drama Connections, students read The Inspector General, a one-act play by Anton Chekhov, adapted by Michael Frayn. Students analyze irony and respond to questions and prompts, such as “How does the Storyteller set up the irony” and “What is ironic about the Driver’s description of the new Inspector General?” During the Critical Literacy option in the Extend the Text section, students work in pairs or small groups to “research the duties of the inspectors-generals of imperial Russia and analyze the author’s approach to the subject.” Students consider the criticism Chekhov might have been expressing in the play and present their analysis during a panel discussion. Students also read The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare. While analyzing dialogue, students respond to prompts and questions, such as “Ask students to identify oxymorons in Romeo’s confused speech to Benvolio. Then have them explain what these oxymorons reveal about his feelings about love.” and “What does Capulet tell Tybalt when Tybalt recognizes Romeo? What do his words suggest about Capulet’s character?” After reading the entire play, students “[w]rite a one-page character analysis examining a character in Romeo and Juliet.” These questions and tasks are not coherently sequenced to build to the culminating task. It is unclear how these tasks give the teacher usable information about the student's readiness to complete the End-of-Unit Writing Workshop in which they write a dramatic scene.

    • In Unit 5, Pass It On, Folk Literature Connections, students read “The White Snake,” a fairy tale retold by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, translated by Lucy Crane. Students focus on characteristics of fairy tales and respond to prompts and questions, such as “Ask students what magical elements have occurred so far in the story.” and “What are the mischievous spirits or magical elements in ‘The White Snake’? How do these unusual beings affect the story?” During the Narrative Writing Extend the Text option, students write a one- to two-page modern-day retelling of the text “in a setting of your choice, such as a suburb or a big city. You can replace the old-fashioned characters with modern ones, too, if you wish.” Later in the unit, students read an excerpt from The Odyssey: Part One, an epic poem by Homer, translated by Robert Fitzgerald. Students analyze elements of epic poems and examine point of view, responding to questions and prompts, such as “What elements of an epic are expressed in the stanza that begins ‘Of these adventures, Muse, daughter of Zeus…’?” and “Ask students what elements of an epic are revealed in the summary of Books 1–4. What role do gods and goddesses play in this story?” After reading all four parts of the text, as well as a Literature Connection piece, “Says Penelope” by Katerina Anghelaki-Rooke, students write a “brief character description in which you describe the similarities and the differences between the” Penelope in The Odyssey and the speaker in “Says Penelope.” These questions and tasks are not coherently sequenced to build to the culminating task. It is unclear how these tasks give the teacher usable information about the student's readiness to complete the End-of-Unit Writing Workshop in which they write an oral history.

Indicator 2e

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

2/4
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Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Grade 9 partially meet the criteria for Indicator 2e. 

The writing program design includes two on-demand, post-reading writing prompts selections. Prompts span creative, argumentative, informative, narrative, and descriptive writing modes. While some prompts are stand-alone tasks, others connect to texts students read and sometimes require students to use textual evidence in their responses. Each unit also includes an End-of-Unit Writing Workshop. During the Writing Workshop, materials explain what students should do during each step of the writing process but rarely provide instruction on the writing mode of focus. Writing Workshops include various supports and tools for monitoring writing development, such as rubrics, student models, literary models, graphic organizers, and checklists. Unlike their on-demand counterparts, these process writing tasks do not connect to the unit theme and are stand-alone in nature with some tasks requiring students to use evidence from sources. Materials include practice opportunities in the Writing Skills section embedded within the End-of-Unit Test Practice Workshop. During this Workshop, students practice timed writing responses and revision and editing skills. As with the Writing Workshops, Test Practice Workshop activities span various genres but are not connected to the unit text selections. The Writing & Grammar workbook may be used to supplant Writing Workshops, as the ancillary resource includes an additional in-depth writing workshop for each unit. Writing & Grammar activities begin with a Learn From a Literary Model section. This section draws upon one of the unit text selections. The Writing Rubrics ancillary contains four  Portable Document Form (PDF) files: a narrative writing rubric, an informative writing rubric, an argumentative writing rubric, and a four-point general writing rubric. Materials lack teacher guidance on enacting ancillary and optional writing lessons and tasks. 

Materials include a year-long plan for students to achieve grade-level writing proficiency by the end of the school year; however, cohesion is lacking. Examples include, but are not limited to, the following: 

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

    • While there is an evident structure to the writing aspect of the program, including frequent opportunities for students to write in various modes and for various purposes, supports, and tools for monitoring student writing development, the structure lacks cohesion. Materials include the following Writing Workshops— three informative, one argumentative, one descriptive, one narrative—resulting in an uneven distribution of explicit instruction on the writing modes required by the standards. Test Practice Workshops do not include explicit instruction and their mode of focus differs from that of the Writing Workshops. It is unclear how writing instruction and tasks build upon each other to promote growth in students’ skills over the course of the unit and across the year.

    • While materials offer a number of writing opportunities, explicit writing instruction is largely absent. During the End-of-Unit Writing Workshops, students spend three regular schedule days or one and a half block schedule days transitioning through the writing process as they complete a process writing task on a specific mode of focus. Writing Workshop tasks include:

      • Unit 1—Informative Writing: Character Analysis

      • Unit 2—Argumentative Writing: Argumentative Essay

      • Unit 3—Informative Writing: Compare-and-Contrast Essay

      • Unit 4—Descriptive Writing: Dramatic Scene

      • Unit 5—Narrative Writing: Oral History

      • Unit 6—Informative Writing: Research Paper: The I-Search

  • Instructional materials include a variety of well-designed guidance, protocols, models, and support for teachers to implement and monitor students’ writing development.

    • In Unit 1, Defining Moments, Fiction Connections, in the Writing Skills section of the Test Practice Workshop, students complete an on-demand, timed reflective essay. The Teacher Wrap in the Teacher Edition includes a Reflective Essay Rubric which contains the following criteria: Content, Organization and Development, and Grammar and Style. 

    • In Unit 3, What We Keep, Poetry Connections, for the Writing Workshop, students write a scene based on a theme and characters from Romeo and Juliet. The Workshop includes a Writing Rubric that contains the elements of a successful dramatic script, a Character Cluster Chart as a prewriting activity, examples of the drafting and revising stages, a Revision Checklist, and a Student Model.

    • In Unit 5, Pass It On, Folk Literature Connections, in the Writing Workshop, students record and document an oral history. The Teacher Wrap in the Teacher Edition includes guidance for each of the writing process steps, including how to help students establish audience and purpose: “Remind students that having a clear idea of their audience and purpose will help them decide what information to include. Tell students they will need to consider what background information about the speaker, or storyteller, their audience will need in order to best appreciate the oral history.”

Indicator 2f

Materials include a progression of focused research projects to encourage students to develop knowledge in a given area by confronting and analyzing different aspects of a topic using multiple texts and source materials.

2/4
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Grade 9 partially meet the criteria for Indicator 2f. 

While materials provide frequent opportunities for short research tasks connected to the texts students read, materials do not include a progression of research skills according to grade-level standards. Short research tasks do not include standards-aligned, explicit instruction and typically occur during one of the post-reading Extend the Text options. These tasks are optional and may not occur during core instruction. Students have one opportunity in each grade level to conduct a long research project—during the Unit 6 Writing Workshop. During this end-of-grade level task, materials include directions to guide students through each step of the research writing process but provide limited explicit instruction of standards-aligned research skills. 

While materials provide opportunities to expand the Extend the Text research tasks, teachers must access the Extension Activities ancillary to do so. Materials also include a Language Arts Handbook ancillary with a section on Research and Documentation, but there is no guidance on how to use this handbook for instruction or how it ties to the specific tasks students complete. Ancillary resources are not a part of core instruction. 

Materials do not include a progression of focused research projects to encourage students to develop knowledge in a given area by confronting and analyzing different aspects of a topic using multiple texts and source materials. Examples include, but are not limited to, the following: 

  • Research projects are not sequenced across a school year to include a progression of research skills according to grade-level standards.  

    • While there are frequent opportunities for students to complete informal research tasks, materials lack teacher guidance to support students with completing these tasks. The Teacher Edition does not provide information on how to teach the research skills necessary to complete the after-reading research tasks, and it contains limited guidance for the End-of-Unit Writing Workshop research project. Materials do not include a sequence or progression of research skills, nor is there explicit instruction of research skills that aligns to the standards. During the one in-depth research project per grade level, students complete research tasks as outlined in the standards but receive limited explicit instruction when doing so. While the research-focused Writing Workshop provides detailed process steps to complete the task, the Workshop rarely includes explicit instruction or scaffolding during each step of the research writing process. 

  • Materials provide limited support for teachers in employing projects that develop students’ knowledge of different aspects of a topic via provided resources. 

    • There is no evidence of the instructional materials providing support to teachers in employing projects that develop students’ knowledge of different aspects of a topic via provided resources. Research-oriented Extend the Text tasks are not accompanied by instructional support for teachers to guide students through what they are being asked to accomplish. For example, during a Media Literacy Extend the Text task for the lyric poem, “The Bells” by Edgar Allan Poe in Unit 3, students research Poe’s life on the Internet and write a grant proposal for money to research places associated with his life. Materials do not provide guidance for teachers or students on how to conduct this research or how to write a grant proposal. During the one in-depth research project per grade level, teachers receive limited support for helping students complete the steps of the research project, such as how to write a thesis statement, incorporate parenthetical citations, paraphrase, or construct citations or a Works Cited page. 

  • Materials provide many opportunities for students to synthesize and analyze content tied to the texts under study as a part of the research process. 

    • In Unit 1, Defining Moments, Fiction Connections, students read “The Interlopers,” a short story by Saki. The Lifelong Learning Extend the Text research task for this selection is as follows: “The von Gradwitzes and the Znaeyms weren’t the only mountain-dwelling families to get caught up in a famous feud. The legendary Hatfields and McCoys were real-life West Virginia clans who had a decades-long feud that allegedly began over the ownership of two pigs. The feud between the Capulets and the Montagues is the basis for the Shakespeare play The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet. Use the library or the Internet to research a famous family feud. Writing a brief essay comparing the feud in ‘The Interlopers’ with your researched feud.” This activity is one of four options from which the teacher may choose and, as a result, may not occur during core instruction.

    • In Unit 4, Temptation and Loss, Drama Connections, after reading The Inspector General, a one act play by Anton Chekov, students may complete a Lifelong Learning Extend the Text research task: “The name ‘Chekhov’ is more commonly associated with serious dramas than with comedic farces like The Inspector General. Research Chekhov’s life to find his influences and inspirations. Propose a theory about the elements of his life that are expressed in his writing. Write your findings in a brief essay for your school’s literary magazine.” This activity is one of four options from which the teacher may choose and,as a result, may not occur during core instruction.

    • In Unit 5, Pass It On, Folk Literature Connections, students read the retold fairy tale, “The White Snake” by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, translated by Lucy Crane. After reading, students may complete a Lifelong Learning Extend the Text task: “...On the Internet or in the library, find out what daily life was like during the Middle Ages. Except for the nobility, most families struggled to plant crops and raise a few animals. Look, in particular, for information on the role of fairy tales in easing the peasants’ difficult, mostly unrewarding lives.” This activity is one of four options from which the teacher may choose and, as a result, may not occur during core instruction.

  • Students are provided with opportunities for both “short” and “long” projects across the course of a year and grade bands.

    • In Unit 2, Facing Challenges, Nonfiction Connections, students read the short story, “Aha Moment” by Julia Alvarez. After reading, students may complete a short research activity in the Extend the Text section: “Life-changing moments certainly happen, but sometimes the evidence supporting the event is limited. Find an ‘aha moment’ using Internet, library, or other media sources. Document your sources, including all website addresses. Write a brief one page summary of the moment. Conclude your summary with your opinion of whether the ‘aha’ moment event was real or imagined.” This activity is one of four options from which the teacher may choose and, as a result, may not occur during core instruction.

    • In Unit 3, What We Keep, Poetry Connections, students read “Beware Do Not Read This Poem,” a poem by Ishmael Reed. After reading, students may complete a Collaborative Learning Extend the Text task: “People have long been fascinated with mirrors. With a partner or small group, research some aspect of this fascination: Explore how mirrors are made, how many different types of mirrors there are, or how people have used mirrors in science and the arts. You may want to start by doing an Internet search using mirror and reflection as key words.” Though there are no rubrics or parameters related to this task, teachers could use this as a “short” research project. This activity is one of four options from which the teacher may choose and, as a result, may not occur during core instruction.

    • In Unit 6, Journeys/Visions of the Future, Independent Reading Connections, during the End-of-Unit Writing Workshop, students complete a research paper. Students “[w]rite an I-Search essay exploring a personal talent in order to learn how to develop it and use it in the future.” The research paper must include a clear thesis statement, use “appropriate and varied sources related to the topic,” and document sources correctly. Materials guide students through each stage of the writing process: Prewrite, Draft, Revise, and Writing Follow-Up.

Criterion 2g - 2h

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

4/8
+
-
Criterion Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 9 do not meet the criteria for coherence. Instruction, practice, and assessments are based on teacher selection from a list of options. Questions and tasks do not consistently align to grade-level standards or meet the full intent of the standards. It is unclear if the majority of assessment items align to grade-level standards. There is no guarantee that materials repeatedly address grade-level standards within and across units to ensure students master the full intent of the standards. The amount of material cannot reasonably be completed within the suggested amount of time and is not viable for a school year. The volume of optional tasks distracts from core learning. Some optional tasks are meaningful and enhance core instruction.

Indicator 2g

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

2/4
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Grade 9 partially meet the criteria for Indicator 2g. 

Instruction, practice, and assessments are based on teacher selection from a list of options. As a result, there is no true core instructional path. The Lesson Plan for each text includes the following sections: Before Reading, During Reading, After Reading. Within each section, teachers select or choose activities from a list of core and ancillary resources. Most ancillary resources, such as Unit & Selection Resources, do not provide explicit instruction nor do they identify correlated standards for the provided content. Some questions and tasks align to grade-level standards while others do not align or do not meet the full intent of the standards. Because assessments do not identify the standards addressed, it is unclear if the majority of assessment items align to grade-level standards. Although the Correlation to Common Core State Standards document lists page numbers covering the standards in each strand, without a true core instructional path and because the majority of questions and tasks do not align to grade-level standards, there is no guarantee that materials repeatedly address grade-level standards within and across units to ensure students master the full intent of the standards.

Materials do not spend the majority of instructional time on content that falls within grade-level aligned instruction, practice, and assessments. Examples include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Over the course of each unit, some instruction is aligned to grade-level standards.

    • In the Digital Teacher Edition, the Grade 9 Correlation to Common Core State Standards document lists page numbers for each standard in Reading: Literature, Reading: Informational Text, Writing, Speaking & Listening, and Language; however, the page numbers listed do not always contain opportunities for explicit instruction or address the correlated standard. 

      • For example, the Correlation to Common Core State Standards document lists page 28 in the EMC Pages That Cover the Standards column for RL.5 “Analyze how an author's choices concerning how to structure a text, order events within it (e.g., parallel plots), and manipulate time (e.g., pacing, flashbacks) create such effects as mystery, tension, or surprise.” This page contains three Use Reading Skills prompts and questions—Make Inferences, Visualize, and Sequence of Events—for the short story, “The Most Dangerous Game” by Richard Connell. Materials do not provide an opportunity for explicit instruction on the correlated standard.      

  • Over the course of each unit, some questions and tasks are aligned to grade-level standards. 

    • Questions often focus on comprehension strategies, such as Make Connections, Ask Questions, Draw Conclusions, and Visualize. These comprehension strategies do not align to grade-level standards. Some Extend the Text tasks align to grade-level standards, while others either do not align or do not meet the full requirements of the standards. Because post-reading questions and tasks do not have correlated standards identified, it is not always clear which question or task addresses the standard listed on the Correlation to Common Core State Standards document. 

      • In Unit 2, Facing Challenges, Nonfiction Connections, students read the news article, “Trapped New Orleans Pets Still Being Rescued” by Laura Parker and Anita Manning, along with the Literature Connection piece, “Close Encounter of the Human Kind,” a personal essay by Abraham Verghese, M.D. After reading both selections, students respond to several Text to Text Connection questions and prompts. During the first question, students focus on tone, describing and then contrasting the tones of both pieces, analyzing how the differences in the purpose of each piece might affect its tone. Then, students “[r]ecall who or what the authors of the articles focus on in their opening paragraphs.” Lastly, students determine which selection is a more personal account of the narrated events. While students analyze two accounts of a subject, both accounts are forms of print media; therefore, these questions do not address the full intent of the standard: “Analyze various accounts of a subject told in different mediums (e.g., a person's life story in both print and multimedia), determining which details are emphasized in each account.” 

  • Over the course of each unit, it is unclear whether the majority of assessment questions are aligned to grade-level standards. 

    • Materials do not identify assessed standards on Selection Quizzes, Lesson Tests, Unit Exams, or Formative Surveys. As a result, it is unclear whether the majority of assessment questions are aligned to grade-level standards. 

  • By the end of the academic year, standards are not repeatedly addressed within and across units to ensure students master the full intent of the standard.

    • Because the page numbers listed on the Correlation to Common Core State Standards document for each standard in Reading: Literature, Reading: Informational Text, Writing, Speaking & Listening, and Language are not always the standard addressed and because the majority of questions and tasks do not align to grade-level standards, materials do not consistently provide students with multiple opportunities to address standards within and across units to ensure mastery. It is also unclear which items address the correlated standard, because standards are not identified at the question or task level.  

      • The Correlation to Common Core State Standards document lists the following page numbers for SL.3 “Evaluate a speaker's point of view, reasoning, and use of evidence and rhetoric, identifying any fallacious reasoning or exaggerated or distorted evidence.”: 41, 157, E122, 160, 165, 167, 168, 172, 173, H77. On page 160, the Analyze Literature section of the Text Overview page for “I Have a Dream” by Martin Luther King Jr.” contains information on rhetorical devices and notes the types of rhetorical devices King uses in his speech. As a purpose for reading, guidance directs students to “think about the historical setting of King’s speech and note the references to America’s past.” The Use Reading Skills inset focuses on text organization. On page 165, students respond to Refer to Text and Reason with Text questions, but it is unclear which questions address the correlated standard. Students also respond to an Analyze Literature: Rhetorical Devices prompt: “Identify examples of repetition within the speech. What group of words is repeated most often and how is it helpful? Point out metaphors in the speech. Try rewording the phrases in simpler, more literal language. How does the effect of the phrases change when you restate them in ordinary words?” While students evaluate a speaker’s use of rhetoric, evidence of meeting the full intent of the standard is lacking.

Indicator 2h

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

2/4
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Grade 9 partially meet the criteria for Indicator 2h. 

The materials include an overwhelming number of components with no guide for teachers to understand how to navigate and integrate the many ancillary resources. The Program Planning Guide includes the Mirrors & Windows College & Career Readiness Curriculum Guide Level IV (Grade 9), an alternative implementation schedule that focuses on selections and workshops necessary for students to “master critical skills that appear on state and national assessments.” Given the amount of time suggested and allotted for the core materials to be covered, there is little surplus time for covering the many extension activities, workshops and assessments located within and outside of the core materials. As a result, it is unclear how to assure grade-level standards are covered methodically or evenly when incorporating optional tasks or ancillary materials into daily lesson planning. 

Materials do not regularly and systematically balance time and resources required for following the suggested implementation, as well as information for alternative implementations that maintain alignment and intent of the standards. Examples include, but are not limited to, the following: 

  • Suggested implementation schedules and alternative implementation schedules do not consistently align to core learning and objectives. 

    • In Unit 2, Facing Challenges, Nonfiction Connections, students read the speech, “Glory and Hope,” by Nelson Mandela. The Scope and Sequence Guide outlines the lesson components, including the Reading Skill: paraphrasing, the Literary Element: persuasive speech, and the Mirrors & Windows theme: forgiveness. Students learn about paraphrasing and persuasive speech in the Before Reading section. The teacher mentions the Mirrors & Windows theme before reading and has students practice paraphrasing once and identifying persuasive speech once while reading the selection. The Mirrors & Windows theme is addressed again after reading, and students have to answer questions about the author’s use of persuasive speech after reading. Students do not address paraphrasing again. The Extend The Text task options do not relate to  paraphrasing or persuasive speech. The Unit & Selection Resources ancillary does not cover these skills; rather, it introduces a new skill, denotation and connotation. It is unclear how and when paraphrasing and persuasive speech will be addressed again or how they are assessed. 

    • In Unit 3, What We Keep, Poetry Connections, students read “The Bells,” a poem by Edgar Allan Poe. During the Launch the Lesson section of the Teacher Edition, guidance suggests that teachers ask students to list different types of bells in their environment. The pre-reading activities include instruction on the poem’s literary context, text organization, onomatopoeia, repetition, mnemonic devices, and the poet’s biography.. During reading, students respond to questions related to text organization, alliteration, mood, repetition, and rhyme. An embedded Teaching Note suggests teachers tell students about the different interpretations of the poem and putting students in groups to find words and images in each stanza to support their chosen interpretation. After reading the text, students respond to ten Text-Dependent Questions and an Analyzing Literature task on onomatopoeia. While most of the Extend Understanding task options connect to the text, the Media Literacy: Research Poe on the Internet option does not address the core learning objectives. 

    • In Unit 5, Pass It On, Folk Literature Connections, students read “The Silver Pool” retold by Ella Young. Students have eight objectives to complete and master as outlined in the Teacher Wrap of the Teacher Edition. Aside from completing a close read of the text, students must practice reading skills related to visualization, descriptive writing, clarifying, drawing conclusions, and asking questions. They must also respond to Analyze Literature questions that address the literary form, legend. Students must participate in two Critical Thinking discussions and answer a set of Text-Dependent Questions, Analyze Literature questions, and Mirrors & Windows questions. Alternate activities and optional tasks include four Extend the Text activities, three differentiated instruction activities, and linked activities in several ancillaries for the unit. The four Extend the Text task options align to the core learning objectives. 

  • Suggested implementation schedules cannot be reasonably completed in the time allotted. 

    • The Program Planning Guide notes the overabundance of material: “To help you meet the diverse needs of your students, the Mirrors & Windows program offers a wealth of material—much more than you can teach in one school year. As a result, one challenge you will face is identifying the resources that are best suited to your particular situation.” 

    • As an alternative to the Scope and Sequence Guide provided in each unit, materials include the Mirrors & Windows College & Career Readiness Curriculum Guide Level IV (Grade 9): “The selections and workshops listed here represent the core course of study students need to master critical skills that appear on state and national assessments. To ensure standards coverage, students who are having difficulty may concentrate on only these selections and workshops. Students on and above grade level may read more selections.” When utilizing this abridged course of study, the teacher must still select which instructional activities to enact during each Program Planning Guide lesson plan.

    • The Program Planning Guide contains lesson plans for each text selection and the three End-of-Unit Workshops. Text selection lesson plans include the following sections: Before Reading, During Reading, and After Reading. In the Before Reading: Preview and Motivate section, teachers “[c]hoose from the following materials to preview the selection and motivate your students.” The During Reading section contains two sub-sections, Teach the Selection(s) and Differentiate Instruction. Teachers choose from a list of resources to teach the selection and consider “alternative teaching options to differentiate instruction.” The After Reading section contains two to three subsections: Review and Extend, Teach the Workshop(s), and Assess. Teachers select activities from a list of options and resources to extend learning and teach the Workshop included, where applicable. Teachers do not select from a list of options during the Assess subsection. The lesson plan does not provide guidance on how many minutes each option should take or how long the lesson should last. Pacing guidance is limited to the number of regular or block schedule days the lesson should take. 

  • Optional tasks distract from core learning.

    • In Unit 1, Defining Moments, Fiction Connections, students read “The Cask of Amontillado,” by Edgar Allan Poe. The Unit and Selection Resource ancillary contains an optional pre-reading task that requires students to test their knowledge of terms related to crimes. While this activity relates to the plot of the story, terms and phrases, such as plea of insanity, processing a crime scene, and guilty verdict, distract students from core learning, as these terms are not contained in the actual text. 

    • In Unit 3, What We Keep, Poetry Connections, students read “The Universe,” a concrete poem by May Swenson. Most of the objectives for reading this poem relate to recognizing the poem’s theme; and reading, interpreting, analyzing, and evaluating the poem’s content and organization. Students practice these objectives in before, during, and after reading activities. While the objectives listed for the lesson include the optional tasks students may complete in the post-reading Extend the Text section, the Media Literacy: Analyze a Media Product task during which students analyze a “Internet welcome screen” does not connect to the text nor does it align to grade-level standards. 

    • In Unit 5, Pass It On, Folk Literature Connections, students read “The Golden Lamb,” a folk tale by Jean Russell Larson. The goals of reading the selection as outlined in the introductory material include learning about the literary form of folk tales and identifying a sequence of events. The Teacher Wrap in the Teacher Edition includes some prompts about folk tales and the cause and effect structure of the text; however, other instructional notes and suggested activities stray from the goals and the standards, such as the Extend the Text tasks where students write a letter to a young person about the future, explore job opportunities, and prepare a public health announcement about animal diseases. 

  • Some optional tasks are meaningful and enhance core instruction.

    • In Unit 1, Defining Moments, Fiction Connections, students read “Destiny,” a short story by Louise Erdrich. The Unit and Selection Resources ancillary for this selection begins with a before-reading exercise in building background on stress. Students take a survey on stresses in their lives and answer journal entry prompts about their past experiences with stress. The next section contains several after-reading exercises. In Part I, students fill in a chart with as many similes and related characters they can find in the story. Then students read passages written in different shapes from the story, determine which character the passages refer to, and cut out the shapes. In Part II, students attach the shapes under characterization techniques and draw conclusions about the characters. In the last section, students complete a matching exercise with character names and descriptions and a fill in the blank vocabulary exercise using sentences that do not appear in the selection. These tasks do not align to core learning nor do they meet the full intent of the correlated standard. 

    • In Unit 3, What We Keep, Poetry Connections, students read the lyric poems, “Gifts” and “To the Oak” by Shu Ting, translated by Donald Finkel and Carolyn Kizer. After reading, students may complete an Extend the Text task in which they write a critical analysis of one of the poems. In this analysis, students identify the intended audience, author’s intention and imagery in the poem, and they must also discuss the poem’s cultural and historical context. This sophisticated analysis serves to deepen the students’ understanding of the poem.

    • In Unit 6, Journeys/Visions of the Future, Independent Reading Connections, after reading the short story, “A Sound of Thunder” by Ray Bradbury, students research the interdependence of organisms in the food chains of ecosystems and see if their research supports Mr. Travis’ claims, during an enrichment activity in the Teacher Wrap of the Teacher Edition. This research task provides students with an opportunity to practice a higher level of skills mastery and cross-content learning.

Gateway Three

Usability

Not Rated

Criterion 3a - 3h

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

Indicator 3a

Materials provide teacher guidance with useful annotations and suggestions for how to enact the student materials and ancillary materials to support students' literacy development.

N/A

Indicator 3b

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

N/A

Indicator 3c

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

N/A

Indicator 3d

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

N/A

Indicator 3e

Materials provide explanations of the instructional approaches of the program and identification of the research-based strategies.

N/A

Indicator 3f

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

N/A

Indicator 3g

This is not an assessed indicator in ELA.

N/A

Indicator 3h

This is not an assessed indicator in ELA.

N/A

Criterion 3i - 3l

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

Indicator 3i

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

N/A

Indicator 3j

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

N/A

Indicator 3k

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

N/A

Indicator 3l

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

N/A

Criterion 3m - 3v

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

Indicator 3m

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

N/A

Indicator 3n

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

N/A

Indicator 3o

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

N/A

Indicator 3p

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

N/A

Indicator 3q

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

N/A

Indicator 3r

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

N/A

Indicator 3s

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

N/A

Indicator 3t

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

N/A

Indicator 3u

This is not an assessed indicator in ELA.

N/A

Indicator 3v

This is not an assessed indicator in ELA.

N/A

Criterion 3w - 3z

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

Indicator 3w

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

N/A

Indicator 3x

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

N/A

Indicator 3y

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

N/A

Indicator 3z

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

N/A
abc123

Report Published Date: 2021/08/26

Report Edition: 2021

Title ISBN Edition Publisher Year
Mirrors & Windows 2021 - Student Edition Grade 9 978‑1‑5338‑3666‑3 EMC School, Part of Carnegie Learning 2021
Mirrors & Windows 2021 - Teacher's Edition Grade 9 978‑1‑5338‑3673‑1 EMC School, Part of Carnegie Learning 2021

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 evaluates materials based on:

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

  • Building Knowledge with Texts, Vocabulary, and Tasks

  • Instructional Supports and Usability

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Math K-8

  • Focus and Coherence - 14 possible points

    • 12-14 points: Meets Expectations

    • 8-11 points: Partially Meets Expectations

    • Below 8 points: Does Not Meet Expectations

  • Rigor and Mathematical Practices - 18 possible points

    • 16-18 points: Meets Expectations

    • 11-15 points: Partially Meets Expectations

    • Below 11 points: Does Not Meet Expectations

  • Instructional Supports and Usability - 38 possible points

    • 31-38 points: Meets Expectations

    • 23-30 points: Partially Meets Expectations

    • Below 23: Does Not Meet Expectations

Math High School

  • Focus and Coherence - 18 possible points

    • 14-18 points: Meets Expectations

    • 10-13 points: Partially Meets Expectations

    • Below 10 points: Does Not Meet Expectations

  • Rigor and Mathematical Practices - 16 possible points

    • 14-16 points: Meets Expectations

    • 10-13 points: Partially Meets Expectations

    • Below 10 points: Does Not Meet Expectations

  • Instructional Supports and Usability - 36 possible points

    • 30-36 points: Meets Expectations

    • 22-29 points: Partially Meets Expectations

    • Below 22: Does Not Meet Expectations

ELA K-2

  • Text Complexity and Quality - 58 possible points

    • 52-58 points: Meets Expectations

    • 28-51 points: Partially Meets Expectations

    • Below 28 points: Does Not Meet Expectations

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

    • 28-32 points: Meet Expectations

    • 16-27 points: Partially Meets Expectations

    • Below 16 points: Does Not Meet Expectations

  • Instructional Supports and Usability - 34 possible points

    • 30-34 points: Meets Expectations

    • 24-29 points: Partially Meets Expectations

    • Below 24 points: Does Not Meet Expectations

ELA 3-5

  • Text Complexity and Quality - 42 possible points

    • 37-42 points: Meets Expectations

    • 21-36 points: Partially Meets Expectations

    • Below 21 points: Does Not Meet Expectations

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

    • 28-32 points: Meet Expectations

    • 16-27 points: Partially Meets Expectations

    • Below 16 points: Does Not Meet Expectations

  • Instructional Supports and Usability - 34 possible points

    • 30-34 points: Meets Expectations

    • 24-29 points: Partially Meets Expectations

    • Below 24 points: Does Not Meet Expectations

ELA 6-8

  • Text Complexity and Quality - 36 possible points

    • 32-36 points: Meets Expectations

    • 18-31 points: Partially Meets Expectations

    • Below 18 points: Does Not Meet Expectations

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

    • 28-32 points: Meet Expectations

    • 16-27 points: Partially Meets Expectations

    • Below 16 points: Does Not Meet Expectations

  • Instructional Supports and Usability - 34 possible points

    • 30-34 points: Meets Expectations

    • 24-29 points: Partially Meets Expectations

    • Below 24 points: Does Not Meet Expectations


ELA High School

  • Text Complexity and Quality - 32 possible points

    • 28-32 points: Meets Expectations

    • 16-27 points: Partially Meets Expectations

    • Below 16 points: Does Not Meet Expectations

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

    • 28-32 points: Meet Expectations

    • 16-27 points: Partially Meets Expectations

    • Below 16 points: Does Not Meet Expectations

  • Instructional Supports and Usability - 34 possible points

    • 30-34 points: Meets Expectations

    • 24-29 points: Partially Meets Expectations

    • Below 24 points: Does Not Meet Expectations

Science Middle School

  • Designed for NGSS - 26 possible points

    • 22-26 points: Meets Expectations

    • 13-21 points: Partially Meets Expectations

    • Below 13 points: Does Not Meet Expectations


  • Coherence and Scope - 56 possible points

    • 48-56 points: Meets Expectations

    • 30-47 points: Partially Meets Expectations

    • Below 30 points: Does Not Meet Expectations


  • Instructional Supports and Usability - 54 possible points

    • 46-54 points: Meets Expectations

    • 29-45 points: Partially Meets Expectations

    • Below 29 points: Does Not Meet Expectations