Alignment: Overall Summary

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 7 do not meet the expectations of alignment. The materials include high-quality texts but the texts are not always appropriate in complexity. Students read the suggested texts independently. Oral and written questions and tasks rarely connect to what students are reading and tasks do not integrate reading, writing, speaking and listening, or language skills.

See Rating Scale Understanding Gateways

Alignment

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Does Not Meet Expectations

Gateway 1:

Text Quality

0
17
32
36
13
32-36
Meets Expectations
18-31
Partially Meets Expectations
0-17
Does Not Meet Expectations

Gateway 2:

Building Knowledge

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

Usability

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Not Rated

Not Rated

Gateway 3:

Usability

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

Gateway One

Text Quality & Complexity and Alignment to Standards Components

Does Not Meet Expectations

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Gateway One Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 7 do not meet the expectations for high-quality texts, appropriate text complexity, and evidence-based questions and tasks aligned to the standards. There are missed opportunities for the use of full texts and a range of genres. Anchor texts, listed as supplemental reading texts within the materials, are not included in the last two units of the materials. At times, texts are not appropriate for use in the grade-level according to text complexity measures. All reading is assigned as independent work and there are no mechanisms for teachers or students to monitor reading progress. Questions and tasks focus on skills, are not text-specific or text-dependent, and do not build to a culminating task. Tasks do not integrate reading, writing, speaking and listening, or language nor do they connect to the texts students read. Students rarely have opportunities to engage in evidence-based discussions about what they are reading and there are few prompts and protocols for teacher modeling and use of academic vocabulary and syntax. Speaking and listening opportunities are limited and do not consistently occur over the course of a school year. Although students have opportunities to engage in on-demand and process writing, process writing does not occur during the second semester of coursework. As students analyze and develop claims about the texts and sources they read, writing tasks rarely require students to use textual evidence to support their claims and analyses. There are some missed opportunities for grammar and convention instruction, practice, and application.

Criterion 1a - 1f

Texts are worthy of students' time and attention: texts are of quality and are rigorous, meeting the text complexity criteria for each grade. Materials support students' advancing toward independent reading.
8/20
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-
Criterion Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 7 do not meet the criteria for text quality and text complexity. Although the majority of the supplemental reading texts are of high quality, there are a number of units that use excerpts of longer pieces and/or include a limited range of genres. While some of the texts meet text complexity requirements, texts that are below the quantitative grade band often do not have associated tasks that are complex enough to warrant the use of the text. Texts do not increase in complexity to support growth of literacy skills. Opportunities and supports for students to engage in a range and volume of reading are not clearly identified nor is there a wide range of genres or complexity in the texts recommended within the materials.

Indicator 1a

Anchor texts are of publishable quality and worthy of especially careful reading and consider a range of student interests.
4/4
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-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 7 meet the criteria for anchor texts being of publishable quality and worthy of especially careful reading and consider a range of student interests.

The majority of the texts are high-quality, authentic texts written by award winning authors. The materials include a good mix of fiction and nonfiction; most of the nonfiction texts are history related. The texts are well-crafted, content-rich, and appropriate for students in Grade 7. 

Examples of publishable texts that may interest students include:

  • In Semester A, Unit 1, students read Boy: Tales of Childhood by Roald Dahl. The well-written text is the first part of an autobiographical series written by one of the best children’s authors of all times. Students will find the text engaging and relatable.
  • In Semester A, Unit 2, students read A Gathering Days by Joan W. Dios. The fictional diary is about a 14-year-old girl who lived in Meredith, New Hampshire, during the early 19th century. The quiet, yet intense book may be slow moving for unmotivated readers, but the writing quality and reflective nature provide a high-quality, well-written story.
  • In Semester A, Unit 3, students read It Was Never About the Ketchup!: The Life and Leadership of H.J. Heinz by Steve Lentz. Not only a biography, but also a story of inspiration, the text tells a story of a man who did what he loved every day and made a fortune doing so. Although not a classic or an award-winner, it is inspirational and down-to-earth in its style, which students will find engaging.
  • In Semester B, Unit 1, students read When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead. The science fiction, time travel novel is well-written and engaging. Students will be interested in the well-woven story where every detail matters.
  • In Semester B, Unit 2, students read Baseball in April and Other Stories by Gary Soto. Although not an autobiography, award-winning writer Soto uses his own experiences growing up in central California. The well-written, poetic book draws on imagery and engaging descriptions to create 11 interesting stories students will relate to and enjoy.

Indicator 1b

Materials reflect the distribution of text types and genres required by the standards at each grade level.
2/4
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional instructional materials reviewed for Grade 7 partially meet the criteria for materials reflecting the distribution of text types and genres required by the standards at each grade level.

Over the course of the school year, six of the twelve units have novels or literary nonfiction texts associated with them. During two of the remaining units, students read 26 poems. In two other units, students read speeches. Genres represented at Grade 7 are limited. The materials include two fiction novels, an autobiography, a personal narrative, and two literary nonfiction texts with both related to history/social studies. Students read autobiography, historical fiction, short stories, memoir, poetry, science fiction, mystery, speeches, and realistic fiction. Students do not read dramas, diaries, letters, journal articles, fables, myths, or opinion articles.

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

  • Semester A, Unit 1: Boy: Tales of Childhood by Roald Dahl (autobiography)
  • Semester A, Unit 2: A Gathering of Days by Joan W. Blos (historical novel)
  • Semester B, Unit 1: When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead (science fiction/mystery novel)
  • Semester B, Unit 2: Baseball in April and Other Stories by Gary Soto (short story collection)
  • Semester B, Unit 3: “You Come To: Favorite Poems for All Ages” by Robert Frost (poetry)
  • Semester B, Unit 4: “Chocolate” by Rita Dove (poetry)
  • Semester B, Unit 4: “Letter from my Wife” by Nazim Hikmet (poetry)

Examples of informational texts include: 

  • Semester A, Unit 3: It Was Never About the Ketchup!: The Life and Leadership of H. J. Heinz by Steve Lentz (biography)
  • Semester A, Unit 4: The Whiskey Rebellion by William Hogeland (historical nonfiction)
  • Semester A, Unit 5: “I Have a Dream” by Martin Luther King, Jr. (speech)
  • Semester A, Unit 6: “A Time for Choosing” by Ronald Reagan (speech)

Indicator 1c

Texts have the appropriate level of complexity for the grade according to quantitative analysis, qualitative analysis, and relationship to their associated student task.
2/4
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 7 partially meet the criteria for texts having the appropriate level of complexity for the grade according to quantitative analysis, qualitative analysis, and relationship to their associated student task.

Some of the supplemental reading texts fall into the 6-8 grade level band (955L-1155L) in terms of quantitative measures and are within the appropriate rigor range in terms of qualitative measures; however, most of the texts are either at or below the Grade 7 suggested range. While the structure of the novels is straightforward and in chronological order, the qualitative features of many texts include references to historical people, places, and events which might cause students some difficulty. Often the associated tasks are not complex enough to warrant the use of texts significantly below the recommended text complexity measure.

Some 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. Some anchor texts are not placed at the appropriate grade level.

Examples include, but are not limited to:  

  • Semester A, Unit 2, A Gathering of Days: A New England Girl’s Journal, 1830-1832
    • Quantitative Measure: 960L
    • Qualitative Measures: With multiple characters, settings, and themes, this text could be slightly complex for students to determine meaning. The structure of weaving multiple perspectives is in the middle-high complexity range. 
    • Reader and Task: Students read the text with the purpose of understanding the hardships the young girl faced in the 1800s. After learning about the steps of the writing process and gathering ideas for prewriting, students are given a reading assignment in Lesson 1 to read Chapters I and II independently. During other parts of the lesson, they use the listing or mind mapping strategies to begin writing their final task, a composition on a situation that scared them at first, but eventually led to the conquering of fear. Students use the novel as a model and write their account in the first person point of view. The next instructions prompt students to “Begin prewriting possible topics…”; however, connections to the reading assignment are unclear.
  • Semester A, Unit 3, It Was Never About the Ketchup! The Life and Leadership Secrets of H.J. Heinz 
    • Quantitative Measure: Uncertified range 1010-1200L
    • Quantitative Measures: The text is complex, yet accessible, includes 17 chapters, 125 pages, and illustrations help convey the overarching theme about how one person can make a big difference. The overall structure is low to mid-level; however, long paragraphs with long sentences including complex structure are located in the materials. Language demands are complex, including words such as drudgery and reminiscent
    • Reader and Task: Students complete lessons on topics such as identifying the central idea, analyzing conflicts, and summarizing and analyzing texts. In Lesson 8, students read Chapter 13 and 14, and while reading, they “jot down notes on key players, background information, and changes and conflicts with the chapter’s interactions.” After reading, they write down “the significance of the interaction you read about.” While the task is not too complex, students read the chapters with a purpose of understanding the complexities of interactions within the text. It is not clear if this information will be discussed or if students will receive feedback on their work.
  • Semester A, Unit 4, The Whiskey Rebellion: George Washington, Alexander Hamilton and the Frontier Rebels Who Challenged America’s Newfound Sovereignty
    • Quantitative Measure: Uncertified 1010-1200L
    • Qualitative Measures: The text has multiple layers of complex meaning from the actions Washington takes, to the motives of those working under him and against him, to the context of the situation in the political and geographical realms. The structure is middle-high complexity with a narrative structure. Language complexity is middle-low with largely contemporary, familiar, conversational language explicit and literal in nature; rarely unfamiliar, archaic, domain specific or overly academic. Knowledge demands are middle-high, requiring moderate levels of cultural/literary knowledge.  
    • Reader and Task: In Lesson 2, DOK Level 2, students define the leadership of George Washington, but the assignment does not require them to have read the text to complete the assignment. In Lesson 6, DOK Level 1, students add detail to factual text. The assignment references characters from the text, but students do not need to read to complete the assignment. They are given one sentence with five drop-down choices to add descriptive language to the sentence. In the Lesson 11 Summary, students read Chapter 10 but there is not a stated reading purpose.
  • Semester B, Unit 1, When You Reach Me 
    • Quantitative Measure: 750L
    • Qualitative Measures: The text has a mix of realistic fiction, mystery, science fiction, and fantasy content and students must synthesize to comprehend the text. The structure is mid-high complex despite the lower-level Lexile. Language demands are low, but students may encounter unfamiliar tier two vocabulary terms such as oblivious, teleportation, terse, and justification. Knowledge demands are low with students encountering familiar themes of friendship, family, and self-identity.
    • Reader and Task: No complex tasks are associated with the novel. In some of the lessons, examples from several Charles Dickens stories are used. In Lesson 3, students use examples from movies such as Return of the Jedi, Back to the Future, or Goonies to analyze exposition and rising action. When they learn about falling action, they use examples from When You Reach Me in the technology-enhanced task.

Indicator 1d

Materials support students' increasing literacy skills over the course of the school year. (Series of texts should be at a variety of complexity levels appropriate for the grade band.)
0/4
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 7 do not meet the criteria that materials support students’ literacy skills (understanding and comprehension) over the course of the school year through increasingly complex text to develop independence of grade level skills (series of texts should be at a variety of complexity levels).

The materials do not provide variety in text complexity to support growth of literacy skills. Students read one text in each of the six units in Semester A, and read three texts and a collection of poetry in the first four units of Semester B. Students do not read any texts in the last two units of the school year. In the units with supplemental independent reading texts, most of the supplemental texts fall below the band recommended for Grade 7. One text had a quantitative level within the grade-level band. Students are rarely asked to analyze texts, but rather read excerpts attached to technology-enhanced questions.

Texts do not increase in complexity across a school year and a variety of complexity across texts in the school year is not evident.

Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • At the beginning of the year, in Semester A, Unit 1, students read Boy: Tales of Childhood with a 1020L, which is below the 50th percentile Lexile for Grade 7. Throughout the unit, students independently practice literacy skills with lessons on the following topics: identifying the central idea, determining the author’s point of view and purpose, making inferences and generalizations, analyzing character development, and stating and supporting an opinion. In the lesson on stating and supporting an opinion, one of the objectives states, “Students will develop an analysis using relevant evidence from text(s) to support claims, opinions, ideas, and inferences.” However, students do not develop their own claim using evidence to support their analysis and opinions. 
  • In the middle of the year in Semester A, Unit 4, students read The Whiskey Rebellion with a 1110L, which falls within the bands recommended for Grade 7. This text is also qualitatively more complex, as it is nonfiction with many Tier 3 vocabulary terms. Students use the text as a model as they write a 3-5 page biography on any historically influential Pennsylvanian. The focus of this unit is on writing, but students are assigned to read the text, and excerpts are used in the lessons. For example, in Lesson 2, “Organizing Claims and Ideas,” students view an organization technique to analyze cause and effect. An excerpt from the text is presented with a technology enhanced graphic organizer that students fill in with causes and effects of an event in Chapter 1. Students do not write their own analysis.
  • By the end of year, in Semester B, Unit 5, no supplemental reading text is associated with this unit. In Lesson 6, “Making Comparisons of Authors’ Styles Using Venn Diagrams,” students read two short articles in the DOK Level 2 activity. One is an encyclopedia article, “American Civil Rights Movement,” and the other is the poem, “Harlem Hopscotch” by Maya Angelou. In the activity, students drag-and-drop the following four areas of analysis into a Venn Diagram: Intended Audience - anyone, Tone - formal, informational, factual, Genre- poetry, Author’s Purpose - to inform readers of historical events during the Civil Rights Movement. Students do not write their own analysis.

Indicator 1e

Anchor texts and series of texts connected to them are accompanied by a text complexity analysis and rationale for purpose and placement in the grade level.
0/2
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-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 7 do not meet the criteria that anchor texts and series of texts connected to them are accompanied by a text complexity analysis and rationale for purpose and placement in the grade level. 

The publisher did not include a text complexity analysis for the texts used in the materials. There was no rationale for educational purpose and placement in the grade level provided.

Indicator 1f

Anchor text(s), including support materials, provide opportunities for students to engage in a range and volume of reading to achieve grade level reading.
0/2
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 7 do not meet the criteria that anchor and supporting texts provide opportunities for students to engage in a range and volume of reading to achieve grade-level reading proficiency.

The materials do not clearly identify opportunities and supports for students to engage in reading a variety of texts to become independent grade-level readers. The materials do not offer a wide range of genres in the texts, nor do they vary much in complexity. In the six units with texts, there is a range of the Lexile band but many are below the Grade 7 stretch band. Six of the twelve units have trade books serving as anchor texts, referred to as supplemental independent reading texts by the publisher. Students are required to purchase text bundles from an online seller. No provisions are discussed addressing what would happen if students did not purchase or could not afford to purchase texts.

In the six reading units, the trade books are the only texts students read. All reading is assigned as independent work at the end of each lesson in the Summary. There is no evidence of guided reading, no instruction for close reading, and rarely are students asked to respond to open-ended comprehension questions and support their analysis with text evidence. There is no mechanism for teachers and students to monitor progress toward grade level standards or to keep track of reading, though sometimes students are asked to make notes in their digital notebooks. It is noted that in the last two units of Semester B, there are no anchor texts, so students are reading less at the end of the year than at the beginning.  

Reading comprehension skills do not build on one another, as they are presented independently of each other and the DOK levels do not always build on the same skill, even within the same lesson. All texts are read as part of the daily curriculum; however, it is not specified whether the students are to read the texts during school or as homework. In addition, no additional self-selected independent reading texts are specified. All students read the same texts throughout the year, which does not provide for individual student text complexity needs.

Instructional materials do not clearly identify opportunities and supports for students to engage in reading a variety of texts to become independent readers at the grade level. The materials also do not clearly identify opportunities and supports for students to engage in a volume of reading as they grow toward reading independence at the grade level.

Examples include, but are not limited to:

In a typical week, students complete five lessons in one unit. In Semester B, Unit 1, students are reading When You Reach Me. Lessons for the first week include: 

  • Lesson 1: “ Word Relationships and Meaning”. Students move through DOK leveled activities: Context, Transition Words, and Affixes. Some examples are presented from the text, but students are not assigned to read the text until the Summary where they are assigned to read the first two chapters. They are not given any instructions for tasks to do as they read. No instructions are provided if students annotate or make notes about unfamiliar words they encounter.
  • Lesson 2: “Themes and Opinions”. Examples and excerpts are used in the DOK leveled activities on theme, generalizations, and opinions, but students are not assigned to do any reading until the Summary where they are instructed to read the next two chapters, “As you continue to study the text, you'll be able to form judgments about the characters and the plot. You will also be able to recognize the themes that run throughout.” They are not instructed to make any notes or annotate.
  • Lesson 3: “Plot Diagram”. In the DOK Level 3 activity, “Falling Action”, there are no references to the supplemental text. Instead, the lesson refers to Great Expectations by Charles Dickens and a short story, “The Lady or the Tiger”. Then in the Summary, students are instructed to read the next two chapters of When You Reach Me, but do not complete any tasks associated with the reading.
  • Lesson 4: “Analyzing Character Change and Development”. Examples and excerpts from other texts are used in the DOK level activities, but not from When You Reach Me. Student assignments are stated in the Summary, “You will want to read from ‘Things on Slant’ to ‘Messy Things’ in When You Reach Me before your next lesson.”
  • Lesson 5: This lesson includes a Time to Review activity prior to the Unit Exam which is a word-search where students find words related to the skills learned in the previous lessons. It is not clear how finding words will help students understand the concepts. There is a Practice Activity where students complete 12 multiple choice or drag-and-drop constructed response items related to the skills learned in the previous lessons. Two of the questions use examples from the text. Finally, the Weekly Quiz includes 27 multiple choice or drag-and-drop constructed response items related to the skills learned in the previous lessons. No reading is assigned in Lesson 5.

Criterion 1g - 1n

Materials provide opportunities for rich and rigorous evidence-based discussions and writing about texts to build strong literacy skills.
5/16
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Criterion Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 7 do not meet the criteria for evidence-based discussions and writing about texts. The majority of the questions and tasks focus on the skill addressed in the lesson and are not grounded in textual evidence. Questions are stand-alone and skill-based in nature and do not build to a culminating task. Tasks are not culminating, as there is no integration of skills nor do the tasks connect to the texts students read. There are missed opportunities for evidence-based discussions on what students are reading and few prompts or protocols for discussions encouraging teacher modeling and use of academic vocabulary and syntax. Speaking and listening opportunities within lessons are limited and do not consistently occur over the course of the school year. While the materials include on-demand and process writing opportunities, students do not complete process writing during the second semester of the school year and writing opportunities do not accurately reflect the distribution required by the standards. Although there are some opportunities for students to analyze and develop claims during close reading and work with sources, writing tasks rarely require students to use textual evidence to support their claims. There are some missed opportunities for grammar and convention instruction, practice, and application.

Indicator 1g

Most questions, tasks, and assignments are 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).
0/2
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 7 do not meet the criteria that most questions, tasks, and assignments are text dependent/specific, requiring students to engage with the text directly (drawing on textual evidence to support both what is explicit as well as valid inferences from the text). 

While there are supplemental independent reading texts associated with each unit or lesson, the questions and tasks are mostly focused on the skill for the activity rather than questions about the text. Some of the materials provide opportunities for evidence-based reading and writing to build literacy skills, but the majority of questions and tasks in the materials are not text-dependent. While there are several opportunities for students to engage in independent building of academic vocabulary, the use of the supplemental text to foster growth in literacy development is inconsistent. Some questions and tasks associated with the supplemental text in the three DOK activities and the Daily Assignment are evident, but these usually include a drag-and-drop or matching type activity. Students are not required to create and provide their own answers nor do they choose evidence from the text to support their answers. Sentences and examples used for independent practice are disconnected from the supplemental text and do not build over the course of the year. Instead, students continue to respond with prepared drop-down or drag-and-drop answers to questions instead of forming their own responses.

While the Teacher Portal includes students’ scores on activities, no suggested interventions for struggling students are provided or if students do not answer the questions correctly. For instance, there is no instruction to assist students in using details from the text in their answer, selecting significant evidence, appropriately paraphrasing, quoting, transitioning between paragraphs, citing sources, or further explaining when providing text-dependent written or spoken answers. No guidance is provided to support teacher planning nor assistance with implementation of text-dependent writing, speaking, or completing any activities. The OER/Teacher Resources link takes students to outside sources related to the skill being taught, and are also not text-dependent.

A minority of questions, tasks, and assignments are text-dependent. Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • In Semester A, Unit 1, Lesson 3: “Making Inferences and Generalizations,” students are reading Boy: Tales of Childhood by Roald Dahl. In the Pre- and Post-Test, students answer the same three questions: In Question 1, students use a drop-down menu to select answers to fill in definitions and strategies for making inferences. In Question 2, students read an excerpt from the novel and are provided an inference about a character. They select the statements from the excerpt that either support or do not support the inference. In Question 3, students read a passage and highlight textual support for a provided inference. In the DOK Level 1 activity, students read excerpts from the text and categorize them as an inference or direct information. In the DOK Level 2 activity, students drag statements about characters into positive or negative impression categories. A student would not need to read the text in order to complete this assignment. In the DOK Level 3 activity, students match inferences from the text with supporting sentences. Though these activities are technically text-dependent, students do not make their own inferences and support them with text evidence. They are matching already created statements. Two of the six questions in the daily lesson are related to the text.
  • In Semester B, Unit 3, Lesson 13: “Personification: Meaning and Tone”, DOK Level 1 activity, students sort lines from Robert Frost poems into three categories of personification: animal, thing or object, or idea. In the DOK Level 2 activity, students read the poem, “Departmental” by Robert Frost and complete a cloze activity to constructing an analysis of the poem’s use of personification. A student could complete the activity without reading the poem based on the context cues in the activity. For example, the last sentence says, “The last line of the poem shows that the poet finds departmental work to be a _____ thing, because workers are trained not to care about other workers.” Students could choose “negative” from the list of answer choices even without reading the poem. In the DOK Level 3 activity, students read a poem and use a cloze activity to complete an analysis of the poem. Students are not asked to complete their own analysis; rather they are given a partially completed analysis and fill in blanks. No guidance is provided for the teacher about possible reteaching strategies, only a list of resources on other websites with information about the skill, not additional text-dependent questions.

No teacher guidance is provided for implementation of text-dependent questions and tasks, and intervention after checking student answers.

Examples include, but are not limited to: 

  • In Semester A, Unit 1, Lesson 4: “Analyzing Character Development Throughout a Text”, Daily Assignment, students answer six questions. Examples of the types of questions and teacher guidance include: 
    • Question 1 (Multiple Choice): “What is sensory imagery?” (Choices: Descriptions that appeal to the five senses, Detail that makes the reader curious, Detail that provides information about characters, or Description that makes characters come alive.)  
    • Question 3 (Drop-Down Menu): “Imagery that brings places to life is _________.” (Choices: vivid, historically accurate). 
    • Question 6 is the only question referring to the text. Students match inferences they could make about characters from Boy: Tales of Childhood with a quote from the text meant to show indirect characterization. For all similar questions in every lesson, the teacher may view student answers in the Teacher Portal, but there is no instruction to the teacher for how to intervene if the student has not mastered the skill, other than to allow them to retake the assignment. 
  • In Semester A, Unit 4, Lesson 1, Summary, students write a 3-5 page biography on any historically influential Pennsylvanians, “Your teacher will inform you of any specific information that they would like you to cover within your biography.” However, reviewers did not find any further instructions for teachers to consult. Students include in-text citations and use a minimum of three credible sources listed on a Works Cited or Bibliography page; however, no rubrics or model papers are provided for the teacher to support students as they write drafts or for teachers to grade and provide feedback.

Indicator 1h

Sets of high-quality sequences of text-dependent questions and tasks build to a culminating task that integrates skills (may be writing, speaking, or a combination).
0/2
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 7 do not meet the criteria for sets of high-quality sequences of text-dependent/specific questions and tasks build to a culminating task that integrates skills (may be writing, speaking, or a combination).

The materials do not include sets of high-quality sequences of text-dependent/specific questions that build to a culminating task. Culminating tasks also do not integrates skills, and the culminating tasks do not connect to texts that students read. The questions that students answer during each unit are stand-alone, skill-based questions. There is no evidence of sequencing that builds to the culminating task, though students write the culminating task throughout the unit with little support. The curriculum does not provide tasks of quality that are evident across a year’s worth of material. While all of the units end with a unit exam which covers the skills that were presented in the lessons, these are not culminating tasks that integrate skills. Three of the twelve units include a writing assignment that could be considered a culminating writing task, though they do not include speaking and listening elements. All three units occur in Semester A. The first semester includes culminating projects highlighting integrated writing skills; however, writing is not text-dependent, does not require students to read any specific text, and is not based on any time frame of reading or text-dependent work. Each of the writing tasks can be completed without reading the supplemental independent reading text for the unit. Skills-based lessons include excerpts and examples from the text, but the writing tasks do not ask students to draw from the text. The final unit of the year teaches skills in speaking and participating in a digital presentation, but there are no requirements the students actually produce any work for these skills, and they are not tied to any text.

Culminating tasks are not related to coherent sequences of text-dependent questions and tasks; they may be completed without understanding of the text.

Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • In Semester A, the Quarter 1 overview provides evidence that students do not have to correlate any reading or texts to their culminating work, “After reading to analyze and understand the genre, students will demonstrate their understanding by crafting their own personal narratives. They will move on to a focused reading unit of objective nonfiction texts to enhance their overall understanding of the genre.” Completing focused reading of the genre after writing the culminating task does not show a logical progression of text-dependent writing.
  • In Semester A, Unit 2, the culminating task is a 2-4 page first-person narrative “about a situation that at first scared you or you struggled with, but eventually taught you a valuable lesson or skill.” Students learn about the writing process throughout the unit while reading the text, Boy: Tales of Childhood. While excerpts and examples from the text are used in the lessons on these writing topics, students could complete the writing assignment without reading and understanding the text. There are very few text-dependent questions where students construct their own responses. Questions are related to skills of lessons using technology-enhanced activities. Lessons focus on writing strategies such as:
    • Lesson 4: Using Prewriting Strategies
    • Lesson 6: Sequencing Events
    • Lesson 7: Using Descriptive Details and Sensory Language
    • Lesson 8: Using Dialogue and Pacing
    • Lesson 11: Using Transitions to Connect Ideas Clearly
  • In Semester A, Unit 4, the culminating task is a 3-5 page biography on “any historically influential Pennsylvanian.” Students read The Whiskey Rebellion, and lessons throughout the unit use examples and excerpts from the text, but students could complete the culminating task without reading the text. There are few text-dependent questions that students respond to in the unit. Questions are related to skills of lessons using technology-enhanced activities. This unit includes lessons on creating a presentation, but it is not clear if or when this will be completed in class. Lessons that focus on the writing skills related to the task include:
    • Lesson 1: Identifying the Audience and Brainstorming Ideas
    • Lesson 2: Organizing Claims and Ideas
    • Lesson 3: Gathering Relevant, Credible Sources
    • Lesson 4: Identifying and Citing Credible Sources
    • Lesson 7: Supporting Claims with Clear Reasoning
    • Lesson 8: Using Quotations Effectively
    • Lesson 14: Creating Multimedia Presentations
  • In Semester A, Unit 6, the culminating task is a 3-5 page persuasive speech on one of two topics. Option 1: Should school be year round with more breaks to improve education. Option 2: Should school officials be involved in punishing students found guilty of cyberbullying? Students read Ronald Reagan’s speech, “A Time for Choosing” and learn the skills needed to write a persuasive letter. Examples and excerpts are used in the skill-based lessons, however, there are no text-dependent questions for students to answer. Questions are related to skills of lessons using technology-enhanced activities. The culminating task appears to be more focused on the writing, even though it is a speech. There is very little focus on speaking and listening standards and it is unclear if students would present the speeches. Students could complete the task without reading the supplemental independent reading text. Lessons that focus on skills related to the task include:
    • Lesson 1: Claims vs. Opinions
    • Lesson 2: Identifying Credible Sources
    • Lesson 3: Finding Evidence to Support Claims
    • Lesson 4: Writing Clear Claims and Arguments
    • Lesson 6: Analyzing Evidence
    • Lesson 11: Using Clear and Effective Language
  • In Semester B, there are no culminating tasks. Although units have the titles Writing Fiction Collections (Unit 2), Writing Poetry (Unit 4), Writing an Academic Essay (Unit 5), and Presenting Original Work (Unit 6), none of these units have an assigned culminating tasks; students learn the skills in isolation.

Indicator 1i

Materials provide frequent opportunities and protocols for evidencebased discussions that encourage the modeling and use of academic vocabulary and syntax. (May be small group and all-class.)
0/2
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 7 do not meet the criteria for materials provide frequent opportunities and protocols for evidence-based discussions (small groups, peer-to-peer, whole class) that encourage the modeling and use of academic vocabulary and syntax.

The materials provide few opportunities and protocols for evidence-based discussions and are not robust across the full school year. Four lessons are provided related to speaking and listening in discussion. Each lesson, titled “Engaging in Collaborative Discussions,” introduces students to the theory and practice of having discussions; however, students do not have evidence-based discussions around the text they are reading. The lessons teach protocols and strategies for how to interact with each other when reviewing work related to writing assignments and presentations, but the skills are isolated to these particular lessons. The materials are not clear for when students are to have discussions during class time during the instructional day. While there is not an established plan for using vocabulary in context, the lessons introduce students to content-specific vocabulary related to collaborative discussions. Teacher implementation guidance is not provided to support students struggling with these skills; teacher materials are the same materials that the students see. 

Materials provide few or no questions or supports for evidence-based discussions and few or no prompts or protocols for discussions that encourage modeling and use of academic vocabulary and syntax. Materials do not provide a year’s worth of instructional opportunities. 

Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • In Semester A, Unit 1, “Reading Personal Narratives: Boy: Tales of Childhood”, Lesson 11: “Engaging in Collaborative Discussions,” students learn about discussion techniques in the three skills-based DOK activities:
    • In DOK Level 1: “Think-Pair-Share”, students instructions state, “Let's pretend you were asked to do a Think-Pair-Share with a partner to focus on the first chapter you read for today's lesson. In the practice activity, students drag and drop comments about school uniforms into categories of “Appropriate for Think/Pair/Share” or “Inappropriate for Think/Pair/Share”. 
    • In DOK Level 2: “Respectful Behaviors”, students are taught about respectful behaviors through a hypothetical discussion on the text, “The most effective way to conduct this discussion is to keep an eye on the clock so that each group member gets a turn to speak. Listening and not speaking at times will be a challenge, especially when you disagree with what someone says; however, you can easily say, I respectfully disagree with you, and this is why. Then go on to explain your reasoning. You should be able to support the opinions you have with evidence from the text.” In the practice activity, students read a discussion between two students and drag-and-drop appropriate responses to each statement. 
    • In DOK Level 3: “Respectfully Disagreeing”, students instructions state, “Let's imagine a discussion focused on the chapter Boazers, which you read for today's lesson.” They read a hypothetical discussion where a student disagrees with something that is said in a group discussion. The instructions state, ”...take a few breaths and when it is your turn you calmly say, I disagree and this is why. No matter what you think of what someone else says, spouting off and calling names will only make you look bad. Defend your opinions strongly with textual support. This is how you will be taken seriously.” In the practice activity, students match textual evidence with claims about the text. Students do not practice having a collaborative discussion.

The Summary states, “Collaborative discussions are a rewarding way to express your ideas and develop your speaking skills.” It is not clear when they will be collaborating with peers, nor do they engage with the text during these lessons. There is no guidance for teachers to support students who may struggle with this skill.

  • In Semester B, Unit 2, “Writing Fiction Collections,” Lesson 8: “Engaging in Collaborative Discussions: Peer Editing”, students learn about discussion techniques around peer editing in the three skills-based DOK activities. The first two teach what to look for in peer editing. In the Level 3 Activity, constructive criticism is addressed and students learn how to provide helpful feedback or constructive criticism. They are presented the following guidelines: be positive, be specific, be prepared to explain, and be specific and honest, but polite with some helpful sentence stems such as “I see what you were attempting here, but I was confused by…” and “Have you considered adding more details in this scene to make it really come alive?” In the practice activity, student instructions state, “Practice giving feedback for each scenario.” They view provided scenarios such as, “Advise your peer on his introduction, which needs some work.” Students choose from a multiple choice menu of feedback statements. There is no assignment for students to participate in a discussion. There is no guidance for teachers to support students who may struggle with this skill.
  • In Semester B, Unit 6, “Presenting Original Work,” Lesson 14: “Engaging in Collaborative Discussions: Group Debate”, students learn the protocols and strategies for a group debate through the three skills-based DOK activities:
    • In DOK Level 1: “Structure of a Group Debate,” students learn the vocabulary terms rebuttal, proposition and opposition. They learn the order of presentations for each team. In the practice activity, students drag and drop parts of a debate outline into the correct order.
    • In DOK Level 2: “Comparing and Contrasting Group Discussions and Debates”, students view a Venn diagram showing similarities and differences between a discussion and a debate. In the practice activity, they sort sentences into the categories of discussion or debate.
    • In DOK Level 3: “Roles of the Group”, students learn about teamwork and the various roles students might play in a group debate. In the practice activity, students “Match the strategy that needs to be used to correct the issues that debate teams run into when working together.”

Indicator 1j

Materials support students' listening and speaking about what they are reading and researching (including presentation opportunities) with relevant follow-up questions and supports.
0/2
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 7 do not meet the criteria for materials support students’ listening and speaking about what they are reading and researching (including presentation opportunities) with relevant follow-up questions and supports.

The materials address skills to make students successful when giving speeches, but the curriculum does not provide students multiple opportunities to practice. Speaking and listening instruction is found in some lessons throughout the materials. There are some questions that follow up on the skills of giving presentations or deciphering between formal and informal language; however, it is not applied frequently over the course of the school year. Speaking and listening instruction takes place in discrete lessons and are rarely connected to the texts that students are reading. Students learn strategies for speaking collaboratively or presenting arguments and complete activities reinforcing definitions related to speaking and listening skills. There are no assignments where students take part in a collaborative discussion or present information to their peers; it is not clear if and when students discuss or present. Speaking and listening activities rarely require students to gather evidence from texts and sources. Additionally, no teacher guidance is provided to support students who may struggle, nor does the curriculum provide facilitation, monitoring, and instructional supports for teachers. 

Speaking and listening activities are few and do not span the course of a school year. Materials supporting speaking and listening are repetitive or optional, rather than assured in the instructional materials. Speaking and listening activities are rarely connected to texts students are reading or researching.

Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • In Semester A, Unit 4, “Writing A Biography”, students write a biography of a historically influential Pennsylvanian. In Lesson 14: “Creating Multimedia Presentations,” students complete three skills-based DOK lessons and activities called: Creating a Multimedia Component, Presenting Your Information, and Sequencing Strategies. At the end of each lesson, student instructions state, “Using this knowledge will help you as you prepare a multimedia presentation and speech to complement your biography.” While these lessons teach the skills of speaking and listening, it is not clear if and when students would make presentations. No further instruction is provided. No instructions for the teacher are provided for evaluating, giving feedback, and no grading rubrics are provided. Presentations seem to be optional and left to the teacher's discretion.
  • In Semester B, Unit 4, “Writing Poetry”, Lesson 13: “Presenting Poetry”, students complete three skills-based DOK activities called: Spoken Word Poetry, Presentation Skills, and Formal vs Informal Language. In DOK Level 2: “Presentation Skills”, students learn to “fake confidence” through standing up straight, making eye contact, enunciation, and body language. While these lessons teach the skills of speaking and listening, it is not clear if and when students would make presentations. No instructions for the teacher are provided for evaluating, giving feedback, and no grading rubrics are provided. Presentations seem to be optional and left to the teacher's discretion.
  • In Semester B, Unit 6, “Presenting Original Work”, the unit overview states, “The quarter culminates with two major projects: an academic essay and a presentation...The presentation will be a preparation of their previously written work.” In Lesson 1: “Formal vs. Informal Language”, three skills-based DOK activities teach about the appropriate use of formal vs. informal language while speaking or writing. 
    • In DOK Activity 1: “Informal v. Formal Language”, the assessment is a drag-and-drop activity in which students identify the difference between statements that use informal language (“Hey, that was totally awesome”) and formal language (“Due to the delay, I am unable to attend the board meeting tonight”). 
    • In DOK Activity 2: “Identifying Formal and Informal Language”, students consider the audience in different situations, “In Situation 1, Sam's audience includes his classmates as well as his teacher. He speaks to them using formal language. I know this because he introduces the topic by making a statement that is succinct and open for discussion. Sam looks his group members in the eyes and speaks clearly. When speaking formally, your audience must have your full attention.”  

While the lessons teach the skills of presenting original work, it is not clear if and when students would make presentations. No instructions for the teacher are provided for evaluating, giving feedback, and no grading rubrics are provided. Presentations seem to be optional and left to teacher discretion.

Indicator 1k

Materials include a mix of on-demand and process writing (e.g. multiple drafts, revisions over time) and short, focused projects, incorporating digital resources where appropriate.
2/2
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 7 meet the criteria for 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. 

The materials include both long and short writing tasks across the school year. The writing tasks are varied and include opportunities to revise and edit. Half of the units are dedicated to process writing. The majority of on-demand writing tasks are presented in the Summary in each lesson in the students’ Digital Notebooks. Some units require a culminating writing assignment that focuses on the steps of the writing process. Students have opportunities to use digital resources in the OER/Teacher Resources tab of each lesson including several links to online resources about writing developed by Spider Learning, Inc.

Examples of process writing tasks include:

  • In Semester A, Unit 2, “Writing Personal Narrative Collections”, students write a personal narrative about a situation that at first presented a challenge but eventually taught them a lesson. This is a process writing piece with drafts and revisions turned in.
  • In Semester A, Unit 4, “Writing a Biography”, students write and present a biography about any historically influential Pennsylvanian. The biography must use three credible sources with in-text citations and a Works Cited page.
  • In Semester A, Unit 6, “Writing a Persuasive Speech”, students write a persuasive speech. This is a process writing piece with drafts and revisions turned in.

Examples of on-demand writing tasks include, but are not limited to:

  • In Semester A, Unit 1, “Reading Personal Narratives”, Lesson 3, students complete an on-demand writing task: “When you are introduced to Bestemama and Bestepapa, write their names in your digital notebook and make a list of information (textual evidence) about each and what you might infer from that information. Also, write down any generalizations you think that Roald Dahl has presented in the text so far and explain your interpretation.”
  • In Semester A, Unit 5, “Reading Opinion Texts: I have a Dream”, students complete an on-demand writing task: “Reread Dr. King's speech and look at each paragraph to identify textual evidence that contributes to the central idea that with faith and hope, one day racial equality will exist in America.” 
  • In Semester B, Unit 2, “Organizing and Sequencing Your Writing”, Lesson 6: “Using Dialogue and Pacing”, students are taught about using dialogue to enhance the story and pace the story appropriately. In the Daily Assignment, students complete an on-demand writing activity: “It might be a good idea to review your notes or revisit your learning strategy before you begin. What about your strategy worked? What would you change about your strategy next time? Reflect on these questions in your Digital Notebook, and then begin your Daily Assignment.”

Indicator 1l

Materials provide opportunities for students to address different text types of writing that reflect the distribution required by the standards.
1/2
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 7 partially meet the criteria for materials provide opportunities for students to address different text types of writing that reflect the distribution required by the standards. 

The materials provide opportunities for students to learn, practice, and apply different modes and genres of writing aligned with the Common Core State Standards. In the first semester, students write a narrative, an informational report, and a persuasive speech. The report and letter are classified as argumentative writing and students learn about making claims in the lessons, but only the speech uses those skills practiced in the lessons. Students are writing more persuasive modes than argumentative; the CCSS call for a transition from opinion and persuasive writing in Grades K-5 to argumentative writing in Grades 6-12. There are opportunities for students to practice process writing skills as half of the units are writing-based; however, students do not complete any process writing in the second semester of the school year. The units often include a model text; however, in all of the units and lessons reviewed, there is little or no teacher direction as to monitoring progress of student writing. No rubrics for teachers to grade writing or for students to use as guidance, have been found in any of the documents.

Examples of different modes of writing include, but are not limited to:

  • In Semester A, Unit 2, “Writing Personal Narrative Collections”, students write a personal narrative about a situation that at first presented a challenge but eventually taught students a lesson. Although this process writing piece includes drafts and revisions turned in to the teacher, no grading rubric for students to receive feedback on their writing or to help teachers grade the report were provided. 
  • In Semester A, Unit 4, “Writing a Biography”, students write and present an informational biography about any historically influential Pennsylvanian. Students must use three credible sources with in-text citations and a Works Cited page. Lessons teach organizing claims and ideas, identifying and citing credible sources, and  supporting claims with clear reasoning. No grading rubric for students to receive feedback on their writing or to help teachers grade the report were provided.
  • In Semester A, Unit 6, “Writing a Persuasive Speech”, students write a persuasive speech where they choose between two topics: “Should school be year round with more breaks to improve education? Should school officials be involved in punishing students found guilty of cyberbullying?” Lessons teach skills related to argument: analyzing evidence, introducing a claim, writing a concluding statement, and using formal tone. In Lesson 14, the DOK Level 1 activity encourages students to make an editing checklist. No grading rubric for students to receive feedback on their writing or to help teachers grade the report were provided.
  • In Semester B, Unit 2, “Writing Fiction Collections”, the directions for the unit state, “students will resume their study of narrative writing, reading a collection of stories that will offer examples on how the organization of a story’s events affects the narrative.” In Lesson 1: “The Basics of Narrative Writing”, Objective and Introduction, the directions state one of the goals is for students to write narratives to develop imagined experiences or events. However, the Summary activity, which is where writing assignments are found, does not indicate they will be writing a narrative. Rather, students read a short story, “Baseball in April”, in Gary Soto’s book. No writing prompt was evident in the unit. 

Indicator 1m

Materials include frequent opportunities for evidence-based writing to support careful analyses, well-defended claims, and clear information.
1/2
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 7 partially meet the criteria for materials including frequent opportunities for evidence-based writing to support careful analyses, well-defended claims, and clear information appropriate for the grade level.

The materials provide some opportunities for students to learn, practice, and apply writing using evidence. Writing opportunities are rarely focused around students’ analyses and claims developed from reading closely and working with sources. Reading and writing are not integrated well in the curriculum; students only develop claims for writing units concerning arguments and those argument tasks do not always require students to make evidence-based claims. Writing is also not performed on a consistent basis and is often not connected to the texts students are reading. There are some opportunities for students to analyze the structure or examples from the unit texts; however, opportunities to draw from the text when writing are few. Few opportunities are provided to build skills over the year as the units are specific to a type of writing and that type of writing is not introduced again within the year. In Semester A, Units 1-4 are connected to novels. In Semester B, only Units 1-3 are connected to novels. Since Units 5-6 are not connected to a supplemental independent reading text, it is difficult for the students to continue to improve on evidence-based writing throughout the course.

Materials provide some opportunities across the school year for students to learn, practice, and apply writing using evidence. Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • In Semester A, Unit 1, Lesson 3: “Making Inferences and Generalization”,  students read the supplemental text, Boy:Tales of Childhood. In the Summary activity, student directions state, “When you are introduced to Bestemama and Bestepapa, write their names in your digital notebook and make a list of information (textual evidence) about each and what you might infer from that information. Also, write down any generalizations you think that Roald Dahl has presented in the text so far and explain your interpretation.” In Lesson 4, Summary, students complete the following task, “In your digital notebook, list the five senses (sight, sound, smell, taste, and touch) and then find sensory description of Dahl's trip to Norway from this last reading assignment. Jot down images associated with this trip and the five senses. Think about the effect that these descriptions have on your impression of what is being described.”
  • In Semester A, Unit 4, “Writing a Biography”, students write a biography on “any historically influential Pennsylvanian” and use the supplemental text, The Whiskey Rebellion, as a model for writing. However, the writing assignment itself is based on student research outside of this text. They find three credible sources and use in-text citations.
  • In Semester B, Unit 6, “Presenting Original Work”, students analyze examples that come from texts; however, they do not transfer this knowledge into their own writing. In Lesson 13: “Arguments and Debates”, DOK Level 2, students review the “Debate Structure” in a chart with preparation tips and reminders on the format of a debate. Then they complete a drag-and-drop task requiring them to order the examples according to the table: “Use what you know about the format of a debate to order the examples. Opp = Opposition, Prop = Proposition.” There is not a writing task associated with this lesson.

Writing opportunities are rarely focused around students’ analyses and claims developed from reading closely and working with sources. Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • In Semester A, Unit 2, students read the supplemental text, A Gathering of Days. Students use the novel as a model text for writing a biography based on historically influential Pennsylvanians. Students are instructed to cite three credible sources, but the directions do not state the information must come from the text the students are reading.
  • In Semester A, Unit 6, “Writing a Persuasive Speech”, students write a persuasive speech. They use the supplemental text, the transcript from Ronald Reagan’s speech, “A Time for Choosing”, as a model for writing, but the writing task itself is not associated with this letter. Rather, students choose from two optional topics: “Option 1: Should school be year round with more breaks to improve education? Option 2: Should school officials be involved in punishing students found guilty of cyberbullying?”
  • In Semester B, Unit 1, students read the supplemental text, When You Reach Me, and work on the skill, “Reading and Analyzing Literature.” They do not answer questions by writing responses using evidence to support their answers. 
  • In Semester B, Unit 4, Lesson 14, “Conveying Emphasis and Feeling in Poetry”, in the DOK lessons, students learn about "Connotation vs. Denotation", “Emphasis Through Capitalization and Punctuation”, and “Understanding Poetry.” In each of the activities, students are taught directly about the skill and then quizzed on that particular skill. In the Summary, student directions state, “Think about the words and their meanings and how it all comes together.”

Indicator 1n

Materials include explicit instruction of the grammar and conventions standards for grade level as applied in increasingly sophisticated contexts, with opportunities for application both in and out of context.
1/2
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 7 partially meet the criteria for materials including explicit instruction of the grammar and conventions standards for grade level as applied in increasingly sophisticated contexts, with opportunities for application both in and out of context. 

While the materials provide opportunities to practice some grammar and convention standards, others are omitted. There are multiple lessons directly teaching spelling instruction or directly impacting spelling, such as homophones and commonly confused words. All assignments connected to explicit instruction are in short practice activities, always in the context in which they are demonstrated. An exception to this is with the instruction and practice of the spelling standard L.7.2b. Additionally, the instruction is not increasingly sophisticated or complex to build knowledge over the course of the year. Rather, most of the grammar standards are presented and practiced one time in technology-enhanced activities with drop-down menus or multiple-choice selections. The practice of the standard is provided in most of the writing units as a proofreading activity. Some of the standards-based grammar skills serve as a model for student writing, but are not embedded in writing instruction. The materials include a scope and sequence document, but some language standards that are introduced and practiced in lesson activities are mislabelled and/or misaligned. 

Examples of explicit instruction of grammar and conventions standards include, but are not limited to:

Students have opportunities to explain the function of phrases and clauses in general and their function in specific sentences. 

  • No evidence found.

Students have opportunities to choose among simple, compound, complex, and compound-complex sentences to signal differing relationships among ideas. 

  • In Semester A, Unit 2, Lesson 12: “Writing Simple, Compound and Complex Sentences", DOK Level 1 activity, students learn the difference between a compound and complex sentence. For the task, they match definitions to the following terms: simple sentence, compound sentence, conjunction, transitional connector, and semicolon. In the DOK Level 2 activity, students learn the definition of a complex sentence, and are instructed, “By writing simple, compound, and complex sentences, you can create paragraphs that are varied, interesting and easier to read.” In the task, students drag-and-drop phrases to make complete sentences about rules of complex sentences. They do not practice writing different types of sentences.
  • In Semester A, Unit 4, Lesson 12: “Using Clear and Appropriate Standard English”, students review simple, compound, complex, and compound-complex sentences and are instructed, “When you are writing an essay, it is important to change up the structure or syntax, of your sentences to keep your reader interested.” In the task, they drag-and-drop five phrases to place them in order to make a complex sentence. They do not write different types of sentences.
  • In Semester B, Unit 2, Lesson 12: “Varying Sentence Structure for Style and Reader Interest”, students review simple, compound, complex, and compound-complex sentences. In the practice activity, students match sentence types with the correct definition in drag-and-drop activities. Students match the sentence type, “Simple” with the definition, “Contains a subject and a verb. Does not contain a dependent or another independent clause.” In the DOK Level 2 Activity, they continue to review types of sentences and view an example of a paragraph with a variety of sentence structures. For the task, students match four sentences with the type of sentence they represent, “The lake was beautiful.” is matched with “simple sentence.”

Students have opportunities to place phrases and clauses within a sentence, recognizing and correcting misplaced and dangling modifiers. 

  • No evidence found.

Students have opportunities to use a comma to separate coordinate adjectives (e.g., It was a fascinating, enjoyable movie but not He wore an old [,] green shirt). 

  • In Semester B, Unit 2, Lesson 12: “Varying Sentence Structure for Style and Reader Interest”, DOK Level 3 activity, students learn about using commas in groups of items, people, or places and complete a task, “Revise each sentence so that it includes proper punctuation.” Students are presented with a sentence, but rather than revise it on their own, they select from three multiple choice items.

Students have opportunities to spell correctly. 

  • In Semester A, Unit 4, Lesson 12: “Using Clear and Appropriate Standard English”, DOK Level 1 activity: “Spelling and Verb Tense”, student instructions state, “The basics of editing your text begin with checking for spelling and proper use of verb tenses in your writing.” They then are presented with three types of common spelling errors: commonly misspelled words, spelling words like they sound, and typos. In the task, students complete a cloze activity where they choose a correctly spelled word or appropriate verb tense to fill in the blank in four sentences.
  • In Semester B, Unit 2, Lesson 13: “Spelling Rules and Homophones”, DOK Level 1 activity, students view spelling rules such as “i before e except after c”, and “Change the final y to i”. In the task, students drag and drop words in the “correct” or “incorrect” categories. In the DOK Level 2 activity, students are presented with homophones: there/their/they’re, to/two/too, through/threw. In the task, they complete a cloze activity dragging the correct word into a sentence. This activity is the same material as what students learned in Grade 6 and the same level of complexity as earlier in the school year.
  • In Semester B, Unit 4, Lesson 8: “Common Writing Mistakes”, all three DOK Level activities include homophones, homographs, homonyms, and commonly confused words. Students are encouraged to come up with mnemonic devices to help them remember. The DOK Level 1 task is to match the terms (homograph, homophone, homonym) to their definition. The DOK Level 2 task is to read sentences and sort them into categories of correct or incorrect based on whether they used commonly confused words correctly (set/sit or lay/lie).

Gateway Two

Building Knowledge with Texts, Vocabulary, and Tasks

Not Rated

+
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Gateway Two Details
Materials were not reviewed for Gateway Two because materials did not meet or partially meet expectations for Gateway One

Criterion 2a - 2h

Indicator 2a

Texts are organized around a topic/topics (or, for grades 6-8, topics and/or themes) to build students' ability to read and comprehend complex texts independently and proficiently.
N/A

Indicator 2b

Materials contain sets of coherently sequenced questions and tasks that require students to analyze the language, key ideas, details, craft, and structure of individual texts.
N/A

Indicator 2c

Materials contain a coherently sequenced set of text-dependent questions and tasks that require students to analyze the integration of knowledge and ideas across both individual and multiple texts.
N/A

Indicator 2d

The questions and tasks support students' ability to complete culminating tasks in which they demonstrate their knowledge of a topic (or, for grades 6-8, a theme) through integrated skills (e.g. combination of reading, writing, speaking, listening).
N/A

Indicator 2e

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

Indicator 2f

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

Indicator 2g

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.
N/A

Indicator 2h

Materials provide a design, including accountability, for how students will regularly engage in a volume of independent reading either in or outside of class.
N/A

Gateway Three

Usability

Not Rated

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

Criterion 3a - 3e

Indicator 3a

Materials are well-designed and take into account effective lesson structure and pacing.
N/A

Indicator 3b

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

Indicator 3c

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

Indicator 3d

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

Indicator 3e

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

Criterion 3f - 3j

Materials support teacher learning and understanding of the Standards.

Indicator 3f

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

Indicator 3g

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

Indicator 3h

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

Indicator 3i

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

Indicator 3j

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

Criterion 3k - 3n

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

Indicator 3k

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

Indicator 3l

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

Indicator 3l.i

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

Indicator 3l.ii

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

Indicator 3m

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

Indicator 3n

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

Criterion 3o - 3r

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

Indicator 3o

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

Indicator 3p

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

Indicator 3q

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

Indicator 3r

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

Criterion 3s - 3v

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

Indicator 3s

Digital materials (either included as supplementary to a textbook or as part of a digital curriculum) are web-based, compatible with multiple Internet browsers (e.g., Internet Explorer, Firefox, Google Chrome, etc.), "platform neutral" (i.e., are compatible with multiple operating systems such as Windows and Apple and are not proprietary to any single platform), follow universal programming style, and allow the use of tablets and mobile devices.
N/A

Indicator 3t

Materials support effective use of technology to enhance student learning, drawing attention to evidence and texts as appropriate.
N/A

Indicator 3u

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

Indicator 3u.i

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

Indicator 3u.ii

Materials can be easily customized for local use.
N/A

Indicator 3v

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

Report Published Date: 06/18/2020

Report Edition: 2019

About Publishers Responses

All publishers are invited to provide an orientation to the educator-led team that will be reviewing their materials. The review teams also can ask publishers clarifying questions about their programs throughout the review process.

Once a review is complete, publishers have the opportunity to post a 1,500-word response to the educator report and a 1,500-word document that includes any background information or research on the instructional materials.

Please note: Beginning in spring 2020, reports developed by EdReports.org will be using an updated version of our review tools. View draft versions of our revised review criteria here.

Educator-Led Review Teams

Each report found on EdReports.org represents hundreds of hours of work by educator reviewers. Working in teams of 4-5, reviewers use educator-developed review tools, evidence guides, and key documents to thoroughly examine their sets of materials.

After receiving over 25 hours of training on the EdReports.org review tool and process, teams meet weekly over the course of several months to share evidence, come to consensus on scoring, and write the evidence that ultimately is shared on the website.

All team members look at every grade and indicator, ensuring that the entire team considers the program in full. The team lead and calibrator also meet in cross-team PLCs to ensure that the tool is being applied consistently among review teams. Final reports are the result of multiple educators analyzing every page, calibrating all findings, and reaching a unified conclusion.

Rubric Design

The EdReports.org’s rubric supports a sequential review process through three gateways. These gateways reflect the importance of standards alignment to the fundamental design elements of the materials and considers other attributes of high-quality curriculum as recommended by educators.

Advancing Through Gateways

  • Materials must meet or partially meet expectations for the first set of indicators to move along the process. Gateways 1 and 2 focus on questions of alignment. 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).

Key Terms Used throughout Review Rubric and Reports

  • Indicator Specific item that reviewers look for in materials.
  • Criterion Combination of all of the individual indicators for a single focus area.
  • Gateway Organizing feature of the evaluation rubric that combines criteria and prioritizes order for sequential review.
  • Alignment Rating Degree to which materials meet expectations for alignment, 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.
  • Usability Degree to which materials are consistent with effective practices for use and design, teacher planning and learning, assessment, and differentiated instruction.

ELA 3-8 Rubric and Evidence Guides

The ELA review rubrics identify the criteria and indicators for high quality instructional materials. The rubrics support a sequential review process that reflect the importance of alignment to the standards then consider other high-quality attributes of curriculum as recommended by educators.

For ELA, our rubrics evaluate materials based on:

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

  • Building Knowledge with Texts, Vocabulary, and Tasks

  • Instructional Supports and Usability

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

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.

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

Math High School

ELA K-2

ELA 3-5

ELA 6-8


ELA High School

Science Middle School

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