Alignment: Overall Summary

Springboard Grade 8 materials meet the expectations of alignment to the Common Core ELA standards. The materials include instruction, practice, and authentic application of reading, writing, speaking and listening, and language work that is engaging and at an appropriate level of complexity and rigor for the grade.

See Rating Scale Understanding Gateways

Alignment

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Meets Expectations

Gateway 1:

Text Quality

0
17
32
36
35
32-36
Meets Expectations
18-31
Partially Meets Expectations
0-17
Does Not Meet Expectations

Gateway 2:

Building Knowledge

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

Usability

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Meets Expectations

Not Rated

Gateway 3:

Usability

0
23
30
34
33
30-34
Meets Expectations
24-29
Partially Meets Expectations
0-23
Does Not Meet Expectations

Gateway One

Text Quality & Complexity and Alignment to Standards Components

Meets Expectations

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Gateway One Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 8 meet the expectations for high-quality texts, appropriate text complexity, and evidence-based questions and tasks aligned to the Standards. Anchor texts are of high-quality and reflect the text type distribution required by the Standards. Materials balance the use of text excerpts and full texts and include opportunities for students to read full texts in their entirety. Quantitative, qualitative, and associated reader and task measures make the majority of texts appropriate for use in the grade level, and the variety in text complexity is coherently structured. Students engage in a range and volume of reading and have several mechanisms for monitoring their progress. Questions and tasks are text-specific or text-dependent and build to smaller and larger culminating tasks. Speaking and listening opportunities consistently occur over the course of a school year. The materials provide opportunities for students to engage in evidence-based discussions about what they are reading and include prompts and protocols for teacher modeling and use of academic vocabulary and syntax. Students have opportunities to engage in on-demand and process writing that reflect the distribution required by the Standards. As students analyze and develop claims about the texts and sources they read, writing tasks require students to use textual evidence to support their claims and analyses. Grammar and usage standards are explicitly taught with opportunities for students to practice learned content and apply newly gained knowledge in their writing.

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.
19/20
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Criterion Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 8 meet the criteria for text quality and text complexity. The majority of the anchor texts are of high quality and include a variety of texts published by award-winning authors. Materials balance the use of text excerpts and full texts and include opportunities for students to read full texts in their entirety. Most texts that either fall below the text complexity band or do not have quantitative measures are appropriate for use in the grade due to qualitative and associated reader and task measures. Materials include appropriate scaffolding and supports for students to access complex text. There is a marked increase in text complexity that supports students’ grade-level reading independence. The publisher-provided text complexity analysis document does not include all of the program’s core texts. Students engage in a range and volume of reading and have opportunities to monitor their progress toward grade-level reading independence.

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 8 meet the expectations for anchor texts are of publishable quality and worthy of especially careful reading and consider a range of student interests.

The materials provide students with a variety of high-quality literature, informational texts, and images.The majority of anchor texts in the units are engaging, well-written, content-rich published works and feature many award-winning authors. The text supports the topic units and the skills presented in each lesson and considers a range of student interests such as: heroism, future life, slavery, and the Holocaust.

Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • In Unit 1, students read an excerpt from the book, A Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass: An American Slave by Frederick Douglass. Students read about the actual feelings of a person living in slavery and escaping to freedom. This pivotal book in our history is used to have students examine the actions that lead to a hero.
  • In Unit 2, students read the essay, “The Promise of a Post-Driver Life”, by Edward Humes. In this essay, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author shares his conjectures about life in the future. Humes envisions a future of driverless cars and the many benefits that will occur because of the switch from human drivers to autonomous transport. Students will be engaged in this essay because the topic is high-interest, and it includes strong academic vocabulary.
  • In Unit 2, students read the novel, Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury. In this dystopian novel, Bradbury challenges readers to imagine a world in which books are outlawed and burned. Students will be engaged in this text, because it includes vivid language to help the reader paint vibrant mental illustrations, allowing them to think deeply about the true message of the novel and confront widely-accepted ideals.
  • In Unit 3, students read an excerpt from the memoir, Night, by Elie Weisel. Students read this text about his experiences in German concentration camps as a Jewish prisoner. Students also read an excerpt from Wiesel’s Nobel Acceptance Speech which expresses that one person can make a difference. These readings contain content-rich vocabulary and detailed first-hand descriptions of a devastating time in world history.
  • In Unit 4, students read the short story, “The Open Window” by Saki. This short story includes images of the author, as well as a doorway leading into a beautiful garden and open field below. The short story also includes several vocabulary words: duly, rectory, moor, scarcity, laboured, delusion, and mackintosh. This helps students to learn about the words in a more relatable context.

Indicator 1b

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 8 meet the expectations that materials reflect the distribution of text types and genres required by the standards at each grade level.

The materials represent a mix of informational and literary texts. While some units are not as balanced, the overall program has approximately a 50% literary to 50% informational mixture. For example, Unit 2 is more focused on informational text. Genres include, but are not limited to: articles, essays, short stories, poems, dramas, and novels.

The following are examples of literature found within the instructional materials:

  • Unit 1: “The Drummer Boy at Shiloh” by Ray Bradbury (short story)
  • Unit 2: The Giver by Lois Lowry or Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury (novels)
  • Unit 3: Terrible Things: An Allegory of the Holocaust by Eve Bunting (children’s book)
  • Unit 4: “Who’s on First?” by Bud Abbott and Lou Costello (comedic skit)

The following are examples of informational text found within the instructional materials:

  • Unit 1: “A Definition of Gentleman” by John Henry Newman (essay)
  • Unit 2: “The Very Human Problem Blocking the Path to Self-Driving Cars” by Alex Davies (article)
  • Unit 3: “Address by Cesar Chavez, President, United Farm Workers of America, AFL‐CIO”by Cesar Chavez (speech)
  • Unit 4: “Brothers” by Jon Scieszka (essay)

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.
4/4
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 8 meet the expectation that texts have the appropriate level of complexity for the grade according to quantitative analysis, qualitative analysis, and relationship to their associated student task.

The texts in the materials are appropriate for Grade 8 according to quantitative and qualitative analysis, and in relation to the associated student task. Some of the Grade 8 materials fall within the 6–8 grade level band (925L–1185L) in terms of quantitative measures and are within the appropriate rigor range in terms of qualitative measures. Other texts fall below the 6–8 grade level in terms of quantitative and qualitative measures, including the main novel students read in Grade 8. The range of Lexile levels in the Grade 8 materials is 630–1590L. Eleven of the texts fall below the band, twelve texts within the band, and twelve texts above the stretch band. Thus, 66% of the texts fall outside of the band for Grades 6–8. Additionally, some texts are quantitatively well-below grade level, but the accompanying student tasks are moderately difficult. Substantial scaffolding is often provided.

Some examples include:

  • In Unit 1, the overall quantitative levels are 770L–1230L. In this unit, students read narrative and informative pieces, which are qualitatively and quantitatively accessible for students to navigate working across texts. Out of the seven texts included in the “Text Complexity Grade 8” document, four of them fall within the Lexile band; two are above the band; and one falls below the band. In addition to the readings, students use the Hero’s Journey archetype to analyze text structures. They also examine the ideas and language used in texts.
    • Activity 1.12: Text: “Soldier Home After Losing His Leg in Afghanistan” by Gale Fiege. Lexile: 1050L. Qualitative: Moderate. Task Demand: Accessible-Understand.
    • Activity 1.13: Text: “Where I Find My Heroes” by Oliver Stone. Lexile: 960L. Qualitative: Low Difficulty. Task Demand: Moderate-Analyze.
    • Activity 1.14: Text: “White House Funeral Sermon for Abraham Lincoln” by Dr. Phineas D. Gurley. Lexile:1130L. Qualitative: Moderate. Task Demand: Moderate-Analyze.
  • In Unit 2, the overall quantitative levels are 820L–1590L. Students read a novel, an essay, short-story, and articles which are qualitatively and quantitatively accessible for students to navigate working across texts. Most texts fall in the appropriate Lexile band for Grade 8, and the texts that fall below or above provide appropriate usage of tasks that make the texts appropriate. Students use the text to explore topics, build knowledge, analyze, and synthesize text.
    • Activity 2.2: Text: “In a Dreadfully Perfect World” by Benjamin Obler. Lexile: 1180L. Qualitative: Moderate Difficulty. Task Demand: Moderate-Analyze.
    • Activities 2.4–2.9 students read one of two novels. Text: The Giver by Lois Lowry. Lexile: 760L. Qualitative: Moderate Difficulty. Task Demand: Challenging-Create. Or Text: Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury. Lexile: 890L. Qualitative: Moderate Difficulty. Task Demand: Challenging-Create. Both texts have the appropriate level of complexity for the Grade 6–8 band.
    • Activity 2.11: Text: “Private Eyes” by Brooke Chorlton. Lexile: 1110L. Qualitative: Moderate. Task Demand: Moderate-Analyze.
    • Activity 2.3: Text “Harrison Bergeron” by Kurt Vonnegut. Lexile 820L. Qualitative: Moderate Difficulty. Task Demand: Moderate Analyze.
  • In Unit 3, the overall quantitative levels are 590–1290L. Students read a memoir, novel, drama, informational texts, poetry, and a speech. While some texts are qualitatively and quantitatively complex for students, quantitative and qualitative measures fall below grade level for several texts. Some texts are well below grade level, but the accompanying student tasks are moderately difficult. Students synthesize information from multiple texts throughout the unit to support their positions with rhetorical devices and appropriate structure.
    • Activity 3.4: Poem: “First They Came for the Communists” by Martin Niemöller. No quantitative or qualitative measures are provided.
    • Activity 3.11: Novel Excerpt: Prisoner B‐3087 by Alan Gratz. Lexile 690L. Qualitative: Moderate Difficulty. Task Demand: Moderate
    • Activity 3.16: Informational Text: “See It, Believe It, Do It” an excerpt from Do Something! A Handbook for Young Activists from Vision to Action by Nancy Loblin. Lexile: 1290L. Qualitative: Low Difficulty. Task Demand: Accessible-Comprehend.
    • Activity 3.18: Informational Text: “Public Service Announcements.” No author listed. Lexile: 1290L. Qualitative: Low Difficulty. Task Demand: Moderate-Analyze.
  • In Unit 4, the overall quantitative levels are 710–1410L. Students read essays, articles, novels, poems, a short story, and a play. While some texts are qualitatively and quantitatively complex for students, quantitative and qualitative measures fall below grade level for several texts.Tasks integrate reading, writing, speaking, and listening. Through these tasks, students synthesize skills and knowledge learned over the course of the school year. Some texts are quantitatively well-below grade level, but the accompanying student tasks are moderately difficult. Substantial scaffolding is often provided.
    • Activity 4.2: Text: “Made You Laugh” by Marc Tyler Nobleman. Lexile: 910L. Qualitative: Low Difficulty. Task Demand: Accessible-Understand.
    • Activity 4.4: Text: “Brothers” by Jon Scieszka. Lexile: 1110L. Qualitative: Low Difficulty. Task Demand: Moderate-Analyze.
    • Activity 4.13: Text: excerpt from Seedfolks by Paul Fleischman. Lexile: 710L. Qualitative: Moderate. Task Demand: Moderate-Analyze..
    • Activities 4.16–4.21: Text: A Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare. Lexile: NA Drama. Qualitative: Not provided. Task Demand: Not provided.
    • Activity 4.18: Text: “Fear Busters—10 Tips to Overcome Stage Fright!” by Gary Guwe. Lexile: 900L. Qualitative: Low Difficulty. Task Demand: Accessible-Understand.

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.)
4/4
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 8 meet the expectation 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 provide an opportunity for students to read a variety of texts at various levels of complexity. Each unit consists of an assortment of increasingly complex texts and focuses on the development of student literacy strategies for reading complex texts independently. Units include texts with a range of complexity levels within the grade level stretch band, and the levels of most texts are located in a complexity chart in the Teacher Wrap section of the materials. Texts are scaffolded through multiple reading groupings such as in pairs, small groups, read alouds, and independently. Literacy skills are also supported through the use of graphic organizers and instruction on various strategies, such as close reading, marking the text, and guided reading. The complexity of anchor texts and literacy skills taught throughout the school year support students’ proficiency in reading independently at grade level at the end of the school year.

  • In Unit 1, Activity 1.5, the teacher reads aloud the poem, “Ithaka” by C. P. Cavafy and encourages students to attend to the use of figurative language. In the Teacher Wrap, the materials suggest the students reread the text and answer the text dependent questions in small groups. The text dependent questions focus on how figurative language communicates ideas, creates mood, and conveys the theme in the poem.
  • In Unit 2, Activity 2.2, students listen and mark the text as the teacher reads aloud the essay, “In a Dreadfully Perfect World” by Benjamin Obler. In the Teacher Wrap, the complexity level of this text quantitatively is a 1180 Lexile (complex text) and qualitatively a “moderately difficult” text. Students are analyzing informational text by studying the compare-contrast organizational pattern and evaluating details in the text to determine key ideas, examine the text’s compare-contrast pattern, and complete a Venn diagram comparing utopian and dystopian works using details from the essay. The teacher facilitates a discussion, and decides on the reading approach, in pairs or independently, for the second read of the text. In the Teacher Wrap, the text complexity is listed quantitatively as a 1180 Lexile and qualitatively as moderately difficult. At the end of the activity, students “write a short paragraph comparing and contrasting utopian and dystopian societies, settings, and characteristics.”
  • In Unit 3, students read several texts about the Holocaust and analyze their themes. In Activity 3.4, students read an excerpt from Night by Elie Wiesel and the poem “First they Came for the Communists” by Martin Niemöller. In the Teacher Wrap, the complexity level of Night quantitatively is a 630 Lexile (accessible text) and qualitatively a “moderately difficult” text. The first reading of the poem is completed in pairs. The second read is completed chorally, where individual students read aloud the first three stanzas and then chorally read the last stanza. After reading, in small groups, students complete a graphic organizer comparing and contrasting the two texts based on the structure, language, and theme of each text. In Activity 3.5, students read the children’s book Terrible Things: An Allegory of the Holocaust, by Eve Bunting. At the end of the activity, students respond independently to the following prompt: “Write a paragraph explaining how the theme of this story is similar to the theme of Wiesel's excerpt and Niemöller's poem.”
  • In Unit 4, Embedded Assessment 1, students independently write an analysis of a humorous text using the skills from the previous units and activities. In the Teacher Wrap, the materials suggest that teachers provide the humorous texts for the students, differentiating by reading levels. Students analyze the text, select evidence which supports their theses, draft their analyses, evaluate their writing, and revise their analyses independently.

Indicator 1e

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 8 partially meet the criteria that anchor texts and series of texts connected to them are accompanied by a text complexity analysis and rationale for purpose and placement in the grade level.

Most of the prose text provided in the materials include an analysis of the quantitative, qualitative, and reader/task measures of the text. This information is provided to each teacher in the document, “Text Complexity Grade 8.” Since the materials include a variety of text types, not just prose, not all texts are accompanied with a text complexity analysis. For the texts included in the document, there is a clear rationale for the purpose and placement of the texts chosen. Detailed “Task Considerations” and “Reader Considerations” are also offered within this document. While this analysis includes correct information, this analysis is not included for all anchor texts or series of texts, including the drama students read in the later half of Unit 4, A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Further analytical considerations about texts can be found in the Teacher Wrap section. Such considerations include specific instructional applications for teachers, including how to support student analysis of the text with appropriate grouping and reading routines such as paired reading and whole-group read alouds. The materials also include specific sections in which the texts are woven together for a particular educational purpose. For example, the Knowledge Quest sections that are embedded throughout each of the units provide a collection of texts around a specific topic to allow students to integrate information about a topic from multiple sources.

Examples of texts accompanied by a text complexity analysis include, but are not limited to:

  • In Unit 1, Activity 1.14, students read an excerpt from “White House Funeral Sermon for Abraham Lincoln” by Dr. Phineas D. Gurley to analyze key ideas and details. The Lexile Level is 1130L, which is within the appropriate Lexile Band for Grades 6-8. The qualitative measure is moderate due to the dense and archaic language. The task measures are moderate for eighth grade. Also, in this activity is a Knowledge Quest section that includes two poems and an excerpt from an autobiography which allow students to integrate knowledge from multiple texts about similar topics. The overall text complexity rating of this text is complex.
  • In Unit 2, students read a novel for the first half of the unit. Teachers choose either: The Giver by Lois Lowry. Lexile: 760L. Qualitative: Moderate Difficulty. Task: Challenging (Create). Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury. Lexile: 890L. Qualitative: Moderate Difficulty. Task: Challenging (Create) For these novels, limited text complexity information is found in the Teacher Wrap section, and detailed information is not provided in the “Text Complexity Grade 8” document.
  • In Unit 3, Activity 3.14, students read the informational text, “Wangari Maathai” from BBC News, to analyze how one person can make a difference. The Lexile Level is 1190L, which is in the appropriate Lexile Stretch Band for Grades 6-8. The qualitative measure is moderate due to the clear literal language and vocabulary support offered to students. The task measures are moderate for eighth graders. Also, in this activity is a Knowledge Quest section that includes Wangari Maathai’s Nobel Speech, as well as two other informational texts so that students can integrate knowledge across multiple texts. The overall text complexity rating of this text is complex.
  • In Unit 4, Activity 4.13, students read an excerpt from Seedfolks by Paul Fleischman. The Lexile level is 710L, which is below the appropriate Lexile Band level for Grade 8. Other information provided is as follows: “...the qualitative measures indicate a moderate difficulty level, due to its multiple points of view and subtly conveyed chronology.” The task demands are accessible and focus on students working “...collaboratively to sequence the events in the excerpt. Then they use the RAFT strategy to transform the excerpt into a monologue from the point of view of one character…” The overall text complexity rating for this text is complex.

Examples of texts without a text complexity analysis include, but are not limited to:

  • In Unit 1, Activity 1.7, students read an excerpt from the epic poem, The Odyssey by Home. No rationale for educational purpose and placement in the grade level is provided in the “Text Complexity Grade 8” document or in the Teacher Wrap.
  • In Unit 4, students read the play, A Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare, over the second half of the unit. No rationale for educational purpose and placement in the grade level is provided in the “Text Complexity Grade 8” document or in the Teacher Wrap.

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.
2/2
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 8 meet the expectations for anchor and supporting texts provide opportunities for students to engage in a range and volume of texts to achieve grade level reading.

The materials consist of multiple complex texts and scaffolded instruction to help students develop the skills and strategies necessary to achieve grade level proficiency in reading. Students engage in reading complex texts aloud as a class, independently, in pairs, and small groups. Texts are organized in units with texts that support the unit’s theme. Genres include, but are not limited to, film clips, novels, poetry, and informational texts. Each unit contains a variety of texts and activities that require students to think deeply, monitor their understanding, and apply the knowledge they learn through meaningful tasks and assessments. In the Teacher Wrap, the teacher is provided with opportunities to monitor student progress through formative and summative assessment data both anecdotally and through formal assessments. Students are also prompted throughout the activities and after assessments to reflect on their own learning.

Instructional materials clearly identify opportunities and supports for students to engage in reading a variety and volume of texts to become independent readers at the grade level.

Materials include a mechanism for teachers and/or students to monitor progress toward grade level independence. Some examples include:

  • In Unit 1, Activity 1.12, students do a shared reading of the poem, “A Man” by Nina Cassian. Students reread the text independently while responding to text-dependent questions. Next, students complete a shared reading of the article, “Soldier home after losing his leg in Afghanistan” by Gale Fiege. Students reread the text in pairs or small groups while responding to the text-dependent questions. In Activity 1.13, teachers read the article, “Where I Find My Heroes” by Oliver Stone, aloud to students. Students reread the text in small groups while completing the Working from the Text graphic organizer. In Activity 1.14, students do a shared small group reading of a pair of texts about either Abraham Lincoln or Frederick Douglass. The Lincoln group reads an excerpt from “White House Funeral Sermon for Abraham Lincoln” by Dr. Phineas D. Gurley and the poem, “O Captain! My Captain!” by Walt Whitman. The group does a shared reading of the poem for the class. The Douglass group reads an excerpt from the autobiography, The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave by Frederick Douglass, and the poem, “Frederick Douglass” by Robert Hayden. The teacher reads the autobiography aloud to the class. Throughout the activity, students in both groups engage in discussion and respond to text-dependent questions which require them the return to and reread the texts.
  • In Unit 2, Activity 2.2, the teacher reads aloud an essay, titled “In a Dreadfully Perfect World” by Benjamin Obler. Then students reread the text independently or in pairs, per teacher choice. In Activity 2.3, students read the short story, “Harrison Bergeron” by Kurt Vonnegut. The teacher conducts a read-aloud of the first two paragraphs and models annotating for the setting. Then, students read the text in small groups, continuing to annotate. Students reread the text with a small group and answer text-dependent questions. In Activity 2.4, students begin a novel study of either The Giver by Lois Lowry (760L and moderate difficulty) or Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury (890L and moderate difficulty). This lesson covers pages 1-19 of The Giver, or pages 1-21 of Fahrenheit 451. In this activity, students preview the novel and begin independently reading. In Embedded Assessment 1, the students complete an assessment to write an essay that “communicates your understanding of dystopia or the Hero’s Journey.” After the assessment, students are asked to reflect on their progress. The teacher uses a rubric to score the assessment.
  • In Unit 3, Activity 3.4, students work in pairs to read and discuss an excerpt from Elie Wiesel’s critically acclaimed memoir, Night. In the Teacher Wrap, the teacher is directed to “Move from pair to pair and listen in as students answer the text-dependent questions. If they have difficulty, scaffold the questions by rephrasing them or breaking them down into smaller parts. See the Scaffolding the Text-Dependent Questions boxes for suggestions.” In Activity 3.5, students continue learning about the Holocaust by listening to a teacher-led read aloud of the book, Terrible Things: An Allegory of the Holocaust by Eve Bunting. Students analyze the allegory in the book and also read the poem, “First They Came for the Communists” by Martin Niemöller. After reading the texts, students work with a group to perform a dramatic reading from one of the passages. In Activity 3.6, students participate in literature circles to analyze diction in Holocaust texts. In Activity 3.7, students continue working literature in circles to analyze documents on the Holocaust website to further deepen their understanding of what happened during this time in history.
  • In Unit 4, Activity 4.5, students independently read an essay, entitled “I’ve Got a Few Pet Peeves about Sea Creatures” by Dave Barry. After reading, students answer questions regarding the use of comedic features in the text, examining specific word choices and examining the personal stories included in the piece. Based on this, students conduct an audience analysis to explain the effect that this piece likely has on the audience, helping the teachers understand if students understand the main ideas. In Activity 4.6, students independently read an article, entitled “Underfunded Schools Forced to Cut Past Tense from Language Programs” (The Onion). Both independently and collaboratively, students examine the satirical elements in this piece through a variety of questions and charts. Based on student responses, teachers are able to monitor progress. In Activity 4.7, students independently read a short story, entitled “The Open Window” by Saki (H.H. Munro). Students conduct a character analysis, noting various aspects of the characters, in preparation to answer questions regarding the characters, as well as the word choices and their effect on the plot.

Criterion 1g - 1n

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 8 meet the criteria for evidence-based discussions and writing about texts. The majority of the questions and tasks are grounded in textual evidence. Text-specific and text-dependent questions and tasks build to smaller culminating tasks and the larger Embedded Assessments. Students participate in evidence-based discussions on what they are reading and the materials include prompts or protocols for discussions, encouraging teacher modeling and use of academic vocabulary and syntax. The materials include on-demand and process writing opportunities that accurately reflect the distribution required by the Standards. Writing tasks require students to use textual evidence to support their claims and analyses. The materials address grade-level grammar and usage standards and include opportunities for application both in and out of context.

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).
2/2
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 8 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).

The Grade 8 SpringBoard materials are divided into four units of study, with a variety of texts and activities that provide students ample opportunities to engage directly with the texts when completing tasks. “Returning to the Text” and “Working with the Text” are two sections in the materials that require students to return to the text to complete text-dependent questions and activities. Also, most writing tasks and assessments include instructions to provide text evidence to support the students' thinking. In the Teacher Wrap section, teachers are given guidance, instructions, and suggestions for the planning and implementation of text-dependent questions to utilize with the reading in class.

Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • In Unit 1, Activity 1.12, “Returning to the Text,” after reading the poem “A Man” by Nina Cassian, students return to the text to answer text-dependent questions and are instructed to “Use text evidence to support your responses.” For example, Question 1 states: “What kinds of things is the man afraid of not being able to do? What do these worries tell you about his character?” This question requires students to “Cite textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.”
  • In Unit 2, Activity 2.6, “Teacher Wrap,” teachers are provided with guidance in planning, and implementing text-dependent questions and activities. For example, with the text, “Banned Books Week: Celebrating the Freedom to Read” by American Library Association, the materials instruct the teacher to, “Remind students that a plot is the rising and falling action of a story with the climax, forms a chain of main events.”
  • In Unit 2, Activity 2.3, “Working from the Text,” after reading the short story, “Harrison Bergeron” by Kurt Vonnegut, students are instructed to do the following: “Question 16: Return to the text and take notes on the setting and the rules of the society. Underline any sentences that give you this information. Question 17: Use your annotations about the setting and the rules of the society to complete the following chart. Practice embedding quotations in your responses.”
  • In Unit 3, Activity 3.11, students engage with the text directly by completing the activity: Writing to Sources: Informational Writing. In this activity, students “write a short, objective summary of the excerpt from Prisoner B-3087, including its theme and how the characters, setting, and plot relate to the theme. Students must be sure to: include a topic sentence that states the theme; include details and quotes from the text in the summary; explain how characters, setting, and plot relate to the theme.”
  • In Unit 3, Activity 3.19, “Returning to the Text,” after reading a speech from Cesar Chavez, students return to the text to complete text-dependent questions. For example, Question 4 states, “Think about the logic of Chavez’s argument about the relationship between human health and pesticides. How does the author depend on logical reasoning and relevant evidence (logos)?” This question requires students to “Cite textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.”
  • In Unit 4, National ELA Grade 8 Unit 4 Part 2 Summary Assessment, students are required to engage with the text with this assessment. An example is as follows: “Read this excerpt from “The Battle of the Frogs and Mice.” Then answer Question 3: What element of humor is best expressed by Ares’ comment?”

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).
2/2
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 8 meet the criteria for having sets of high-quality sequences of text-dependent/specific questions and tasks build to a culminating task that integrates skills (may be writing, speaking, or a combination).

The Grade 8 SpringBoard materials provide students with quality tasks that integrate skills including writing and speaking tasks required by the standards. Text-dependent questions and speaking opportunities are coherently sequenced to build to a culminating task. Some examples of culminating tasks that provide opportunities for students to demonstrate an understanding of their learning through writing, speaking, or a combination of both include the Embedded Assessments in each unit. Opportunities include completing graphic organizers, text-dependent questions, class discussions, and performances/presentations.

Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • In Unit 2, Embedded Assessment 1, students write an informational essay and participate in a collaborative discussion. Students respond to the following prompt: “Write an argumentative essay in which you convince an audience to support your claim about a debatable idea. Use your research and experience or observations to support your argument.” Students gather evidence from texts read in class by answering series of text-dependent questions in Activities 2.10-2.17. For example, in Activity 2.17, Independent Reading Checkpoint, students respond to the following question about the texts they have read on their topic: “Which information supports your claim? Which information counters your claim? How can you use this information to strengthen your argument?”
  • In Unit 3, Activity 3.8, students research and draft a narrative of a Holocaust victim, and then present their narrative. At the beginning of the activity, students reflect on the victims, perpetrators, rescuers, and bystanders of the Holocaust. They research ID cards from the Holocaust victims from the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. Based on that research students then “...draft a story about the victim’s experiences.” After time to revise and edit, students practice and then present their narrative. “Prepare and present an oral reading of your revised narrative to a small group of peers.” Finally, students discuss the following with a partner: “How did the process of researching a person from the Holocaust and trying to see the world from that person's perspective add to your understanding of the Holocaust? What evidence supported your understanding of the Holocaust experience?”.
  • In Unit 4, Activity 4.15, students read and interpret meaning from Shakespeare, and “Deliver a line with proper inflection, tone, gestures, and movement.” Students begin this lesson by analyzing several insulting lines from Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. After analyzing the lines, the students select one and complete a graphic organizer to answer how they will use inflection, tone, and gestures to enhance the line. After time to rehearse students “...role-play by becoming that character and feeling that emotion.” This activity helps students prepare for Embedded Assessment 2: Performing a Shakespearean Dialogue.

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.)
2/2
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 8 meet the expectations that 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 Grade 8 SpringBoard materials provide multiple opportunities and protocols for evidence-based discussions that help support the growth of students’ speaking and listening skills over the course of the grade. The tasks encourage and/or require the discussion to incorporate the vocabulary, text, or topics of the unit. Some of the discussion protocols include, but are not limited to, performance, literature circles, and small group discussions. Teacher guidance is located in the Teacher Wrap for providing support and scaffolding for evidence-based discussions, including modeling and the use of academic vocabulary and syntax. All the tasks are appropriate and connect to the standards required for Grade 8.

Materials provide multiple opportunities and protocols for evidence-based discussions across the whole year’s scope of instructional materials, including support for teachers to identify students struggling with these skills. Support for evidence-based discussions encourages modeling and a focus on using academic vocabulary and syntax. Some examples include:

  • In Unit 1, Activity 1.11, students respond to text-dependent questions after watching the clips from the film, Big Hero 6. In the Teacher Wrap, teachers facilitate student discussion of the text-dependent questions: “Guide a collaborative conversation with students to review their Hero's Journey Archetype graphic organizers. Ask students to discuss the events on Hiro's Road of Trials and what he learned as a result. Guide them in analyzing how the events develop the theme of the film. Have students add a paragraph explaining how the theme is developed by events in the film to the last row of their graphic organizers.” Students are encouraged to cite evidence from the text.
  • In Unit 2, Activity 2.9 students answer two questions about the hero’s boon. ”Interpret the hero’s boon: What did the hero achieve through this journey?” and “Which characteristics helped the hero to achieve the boon or influence the resolution to the conflict?” Then in small groups, they “share their answers and evaluate others’ interpretation of the hero’s boon.” In the Teacher Wrap, the teacher reminds students to use text evidence to support or disagree with the interpretation.
  • In Unit 3, Activity 3.3, students learn the protocol for and roles of Literature Circles. In the Teacher Wrap, teachers model literature circle practices for students to help grow students’ skills. Students practice and participate in literature circles to discuss the Holocaust texts. Students are encouraged to cite evidence from the text in fulfilling the responsibilities of their jobs in the Literature Circle.
  • In Unit 4, Activity 4.5, students read through a comedic text. The teacher facilitates a whole-group discussion using the “Knowledge Quest” questions. As the group participates in the discussion, in the Teacher Wrap, the teacher is directed to provide scaffolding and modeling so that students are able to improve their speaking and listening skills. Students then prepare for a Socratic Seminar. In the Teacher Wrap, in preparation, the teacher is told to revisit Unit 2 where the actual protocols are provided and to review with students the procedure and norms. Teacher directions include, “Set up a fishbowl (inner and outer circles) so that only half of your class is discussing at a time. After 10 minutes, switch the inner and outer circles so that everyone has an opportunity to discuss.”

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.
2/2
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 8 meet the expectation that materials support students’ listening and speaking about what they are reading and researching (including presentation opportunities) with relevant follow-up questions and supports.

The Grade 8 SpringBoard materials provide students with various opportunities to develop speaking and listening skills throughout the year. Students engage in a multitude of discussions and listening tasks which increase with difficulty over the course of the school year. Students demonstrate learning by completing such tasks that include, but are not limited to, discussions, performances, and Socratic Seminars. In the Teacher Wrap, teachers are provided with guidance on modeling and monitoring of the tasks. They are also provided with scaffolds and extensions so teachers can support struggling and accelerated students. The tasks encourage and/or require students to cite evidence from the texts and sources from the activity.

Students have multiple opportunities over the school year to demonstrate what they are reading and researching through varied speaking and listening opportunities. Some examples are as follows:

  • In Unit 1, Activity 1.2, students participate in a discussion with a small group around different quotes about challenges. The teacher places the students in groups of four and gives one quote to each group. Teachers are instructed to “Give the group a set amount of time to define unfamiliar words using print or digital resources.” Then students use a graphic organizer to paraphrase the quote, provide examples, and then characterize the quote as “... an obstacle, a difficult task or an opportunity.” Then they compose a sentence that connects the “...challenge to the concept of heroism.” In the Teacher Wrap, guidance is provided for teachers to differentiate as needed including, but not limited to, “asking and answering simple questions.” The teacher is prompted to circulate and monitor the discussion and to “Model steps in the process as needed.”
  • In Unit 2, Activity 2.6, students participate in a Socratic Seminar. The students begin by completing a graphic organizer to gather evidence for the discussion about the value behind certain laws and whether you agree or disagree with the law. These are connected to the various utopian and dystopian texts they have read in class and independently. The students record speaking and listening goals before beginning. In the Teacher Wrap, teachers are instructed to discuss the strategy and model it. The teacher gives clear expectations of the inner and outer circle’s roles and expectations. Further scaffolding is listed such as using poker chips of colored cards to maintain a balance of those participating. Sentence starters are also provided for students as needed. Finally, after the Socratic Seminar, students reflect on their speaking and listening goals.
  • In Unit 2, Activity 2.3, students compare and contrast utopian ideals and dystopian reality by analyzing Kurt Vonnegut’s “Harrison Burgeron.” Students are expected to use evidence from the text to develop their talking points in the group discussion. Teachers listen as groups discuss, stopping to provide guidance and scaffolding for students who are struggling; teachers will assess student understanding of the text based on how students respond during the discussion.
  • In Unit 3, Activity 3.3, students practice participating in literature circle discussions. Teachers are instructed to support struggling students: “If students need additional help participating in their Literature Circle roles, provide them with a Collaborative Dialogue graphic organizer. Have students use this organizer to help them actively listen and participate during collaborative discussions about the Holocaust and related texts.”
  • In Unit 4, Activity 4.18, students build their speaking and listening skills by practicing for a scene they will present. Students analyze two informational texts about stagefright, and apply what they learn to their performance. As students prepare for their presentations, they rehearse their lines in small groups, and the teacher provides additional guidance to ensure students are growing in their speaking and listening skills.

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 8 meet the expectations that 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 Grade 8 SpringBoard materials provide a mix of on-demand and process writing, which include short and longer writing tasks and projects, throughout the school year. Writing tasks include short on-demand writing, such as Quickwrites, and other short writing tasks, such as Independent Reading Links and Writing to Sources activities. Students also have opportunities to return to previous writing in order to revise and edit their original drafts. Finally, most units have two Embedded Assessments that require longer process writing including prewriting, revising, and editing the drafts. Some Embedded Assessments can be completed as on-demand writing tasks at the discretion of the teacher. Additionally, students conduct research using digital resources.

Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • In Unit 1, Activity 1.7, Quickwrite, after reading an excerpt of the Odyssey by Homer, students “write an explanation of how Odysseus' character influences the events and resolution of the Odyssey excerpt. Include at least two examples of text evidence to support your response.”
  • In Unit 1, Activity 1.16, Independent Reading Link, students complete the following task: “Prepare a short persuasive written presentation. In it, describe a text you have independently read or are reading that incorporates the Hero's Journey archetype. Include an active recommendation of the text and provide clear reasons for that recommendation. Include relevant vocabulary from your activities so far. Present your presentation orally.”
  • In Unit 2, Activity 2.3, Writing to Sources: Informational Text, students complete a short, on-demand writing responding to the following prompt: “Write a short paragraph explaining how “Harrison Bergeron” conveys the conflict between the needs or ideals of society and the realities of individuals. Be sure to: begin with a topic sentence that describes the setting and explains how it influences the values and beliefs of characters, provide examples from the text and use at least one direct quotation to support your ideas, and write sentences using the words utopia and dystopia in ways that demonstrate their meanings.”
  • In Unit 2, Embedded Assessment 2: Writing an Argumentative Essay, students “write an argumentative essay in which you convince an audience to support your claim about a debatable idea. Use your research and evidence or observations to support your argument.” Planning, prewriting, drafting, evaluating and revising, and checking and editing for publication are included in this writing task.
  • In Unit 3, Embedded Assessment 2, students create a multimedia presentation that utilizes researched information to inspire the audience of peers to make a difference on a national or global scale. A graphic organizer assists students through the planning, researching, drafting, and presenting stages of the writing process. In this graphic organizer, students are prompted to consider online resources to find information about national or global issues.
  • In Unit 4, Activity 4.4, students use the TWIST graphic organizer (Tone, Word Choice, Imagery, Style, and Theme) to plan and write their own anecdote. After planning and writing the anecdote, students share the draft with a partner and get peer feedback.

Indicator 1l

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 8 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 Grade 8 SpringBoard materials provide opportunities for students to engage in multiple genres of writing, including, but not limited to narrative, argumentative, and informative/explanatory. For each mode of writing, students learn about the mode through both reading texts and writing tasks throughout the unit. In the SpringBoard materials, each unit focuses on a mode of writing. Unit 1 focuses on narrative and informative, Unit 2 focuses on informative/explanatory and argumentative, and Unit 4 includes informative/explanatory. These writing tasks include on-going writing activities and cumulative embedded writing assessments. The small on-going writing tasks, such as Writing Prompts or Writing to Sources, provide scaffolding of the focused writing process included in the Embedded Assessment. They allow teachers and students to monitor students’ progress in writing and also give students opportunities to practice the focused type of writing prior to assessments. The majority of writing opportunities are connected to texts and/or text sets within the unit, as they serve as model texts for the type of writing students are expected to create. Scoring Guides are provided for writing assessments for both students and teachers prior to writing.

Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • In Unit 1, Activities 1.1-1.9, students learn about the narrative mode and read example narratives, such as an excerpt of the Odyssey by Homer, to illustrate the elements of an effective narrative. In Unit 1, Embedded Assessment 1, students engage in narrative writing by responding to the following prompt: “Think about all the heroes you have encountered in fiction and real life. What type of hero appeals to you? Write and create an illustrated narrative about an original hero. Use the Hero's Journey archetype to develop and structure your ideas.”
  • In Unit 2, Activities 2.1-2.9, students learn about the informative mode and read example informational pieces, such as “In a Dreadfully Perfect World” by Benjamin Obler, to illustrate the elements of effective informative writing. In Unit 2, Embedded Assessment 1, students engage in informative writing by responding to one of the following prompts: “Write an essay that compares and contrasts life in the dystopian society of the novel you read with our modern-day society.” or “Write an essay that explains how the protagonist (hero) changes as a result of conflict with his dystopian society (Road of Trials) and how this change connects to the novel's theme (the Crossing or Return Threshold).”
  • In Unit 2, Activity 2.13, Writing to Sources: Argument, students respond to the following prompt after reading the texts, “The Promise of a Post-Driver Life” by Edward Humes and “It’s Time to Tap the Brakes on Self-Driving Cars” from The Times Editorial Board: “Now that you have evaluated both arguments for sound or faulty reasoning including logical fallacies, select one of them to challenge. After selecting an argument, choose one quote from the text to support your challenge. Use the TLQC format you learned in Unit 1 (Activity 1.15) to state the importance of the evidence.”
  • In Unit 3, Activity 3.14, Writing Prompt: Informational Text, students respond to the following prompt: “Explain a cause that you believe in to your classmates. Use the RAFT strategy to plan a first draft including selecting an appropriate genre. Some genres to consider are campaign posters, speeches, public service announcements, or digital texts such as: websites, podcasts, or commercials. Be sure to: include an opening statement that introduces your cause and why you support it; choose an appropriate genre for the topic, audience, and purpose; and incorporate elements that are characteristic of the genre.”
  • In Unit 4, Activity 4.14, Writing to Sources: Informational Text, the students respond to the following task: “Select an anecdote in audio or visual format. Write a paragraph explaining the humor the author creates and its intended response. Be sure to: clearly state how the anecdote uses the elements of humor; include examples from the text to support your analysis; use precise diction; and use participles, gerunds, and infinitives in your writing.”

Indicator 1m

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 8 meet the criteria for materials include frequent opportunities for evidence-based writing to support careful analyses, well-defended claims, and clear information appropriate for the grade level.

The Grade 8 SpringBoard materials provide frequent opportunities for students to learn, practice, and apply writing using textual evidence. Most writing opportunities are focused around students’ analyses and claims developed from reading text closely and working with sources. Students have short informal writing tasks, such as Writing to Sources and Independent Reading Checkpoint, as well as longer writing tasks, such as Embedded Assessments, where they must provide reasons and cite evidence to support their claims. Over the course of the units, students engage in informative and argumentative writing in which they analyze texts and support their claims with text evidence. These writing tasks help build students' writing skills over the course of the school year.

Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • In Unit 1, Activity 1.14, Writing to Sources, students “think about the four texts in this activity. Explain how Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass were heroic. Draft a definition paragraph using the elements of a well-developed explanatory body paragraph.” Additionally, students are instructed to “provide supporting details and commentary to develop ideas.”
  • In Unit 1, Activity 1.9, Independent Reading Checkpoint, students analyze their independent reading selection, and provide evidence for their claims in responding to the following prompt: “What accomplishments did the protagonist in your independent reading text achieve? What vivid language did the author use to describe these accomplishments? Explain why you think these accomplishments do or do not make this character a hero. Describe any personal connections that you have made to this text. Use complex and compound-complex sentences in your explanation, and include correctly punctuated dialogue from the excerpt.”
  • In Unit 2, Embedded Assessment 2, Writing an Argumentative Letter, students “write an argumentative essay in which you convince an audience to support your claim about a debatable idea.” Students are instructed to “Use your research and experience or observations to support your argument.”
  • In Unit 3, Activity 3.9, Writing to Sources: Informational Text, students write an informative text responding to the following prompt: “One of the themes of Life Is Beautiful is the ability to find the good in a very difficult situation. Write a draft of an informational essay that describes some of the ways Holocaust victims found hope in the dark reality of their lives. Make sure you use at least two examples from the movie and/or the texts in your writing.” Students use evidence from the movie and the texts they have read to support their claims.
  • In Unit 4, Activity 4.10, Writing to Sources: Informational Text, students compare and contrast two poems, “Mooses” by Ted Hughes and “Is Traffic Jam Delectable?” by Jack Prelutsky, to explain how each poet uses comedic language to share a universal theme. Students are required to use precise language to refer to the humorous elements and to support their claims with evidence from the texts.

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.
2/2
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 8 meet the criteria that materials include explicit instruction of the grammar and conventions standards for the grade level as applied in increasingly sophisticated contexts, with opportunities for application both in and out of context.

The Grade 8 SpringBoard materials provide three types of grammar and conventions lessons: Language Checkpoints, Grammar and Usage, Language, and Author’s Craft. Language Checkpoint lessons are isolated lessons in which students complete tasks in which they work with models and return to their own reading and writing to examine a specific area of grammar or conventions. Grammar and Usage lessons and Language and Author’s Craft lessons are embedded within the materials, incorporate the texts within the units, and progress to more sophisticated contexts throughout the school year. Grammar and convention lessons are identified by a green symbol in the Planning a Unit section and the Teacher Wrap section, so teachers can easily identify the location of these standards in the materials.

Materials include explicit instruction of grammar and conventions standards for the grade level. Some examples are as follows:

  • Students have opportunities to explain the function of verbals (gerunds, participles, infinitives) in general and their function in particular sentences.
    • In Unit 4, Activity 4.4, Language & Writer’s Craft, students engage in a short lesson on the uses of infinitives, participles, and gerunds in sentences. They practice by completing the following task: “Practice: In your Reader/Writer Notebook, write a brief summary of Jon Scieszka's anecdote using one infinitive, one gerund, and one participle.”
  • Students have opportunities to form and use verbs in the active and passive voice.
    • In Unit 3, Activity 3.8, Language & Writer’s Craft, students engage in a short lesson on active and passive voice of verbs. Students practice by completing the following task: “Practice: Find some examples of active and passive voice in your reading or writing. Write several examples in your Reader/Writer Notebook and try changing them to the opposite voice to see which has more impact.”
  • Students have opportunities to form and use verbs in the indicative, imperative, interrogative, conditional, and subjunctive mood.
    • In Unit 4, Activity 4.6, Language & Writer’s Craft, students receive instruction on inappropriate shifts in verb voice and mood. In part of the instructional review, the materials include the following information: “As you've learned, there are two major verb voices in language (active and passive), and five major verb moods(indicative, imperative, interrogative, conditional, subjunctive). When writers shift voice and mood inappropriately, it can cause confusion for the reader.”
  • Students have opportunities to recognize and correct inappropriate shifts in verb voice and mood.
    • In Unit 4, Activity 4.6, Language & Writer’s Craft, student-facing materials provide an explanation and examples of inappropriate shifts in verb voice and mood. Students then practice revising the following sentence to assure the voice and mood are consistent: “We should spend our tax dollars preparing kids for the future, and you must get rid of the past tense.”
  • Students have opportunities to use punctuation (comma, ellipsis, dash) to indicate a pause or break. Students have opportunities to use an ellipsis to indicate an omission.
    • In Unit 3, Activity LC 3.10, Language Checkpoint, teachers instruct students on the use of punctuation to indicate pauses or breaks within sentences, including commas, ellipses, and dashes. Students utilize parts of the play, The Diary of Anne Frank by Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett, to practice explaining the functions of these punctuation marks. Students then revise and rewrite sentences and a paragraph containing commas, ellipses, and dashes. For further practice, students write a short scene including these punctuation marks.
  • Students have opportunities to spell correctly.
    • In Unit 2, Embedded Assessment 1, students write an informational essay. They may select one of two prompts to respond to in this assessment, both of which focus on dystopian societies. In the Checking and Editing for Publication Stage of Writing, students must “Confirm that your final draft is ready for publication” by answering the following question: “How will you proofread and edit your draft to demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English capitalization, punctuation, spelling, grammar, and usage?” Spelling correctly is also included in the Scoring Guide for this assignment. The expectation is that students “demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English capitalization, punctuation, spelling, grammar, and usage (including a variety of syntax)” as they craft their essays.

Gateway Two

Building Knowledge with Texts, Vocabulary, and Tasks

Meets Expectations

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Gateway Two Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 8 meet the criteria for building knowledge with texts, vocabulary, and tasks. Grade-level texts are organized around a theme and each unit explores a facet of the theme, as well as several Essential Questions. Students complete high-quality, coherently sequenced questions and tasks as they analyze literary elements, such as craft and structure, and integrate knowledge and ideas in individual texts and across multiple texts. Culminating tasks, such as the Embedded Assessments, integrate reading, writing, speaking and listening, or language and connect to the texts students read. Each unit contains Academic, Literary, and Content/Text-Specific terms. Students encounter vocabulary before, during, and after reading and vocabulary spans across multiple texts and/or tasks. The year-long writing plan allows students to participate in a range of writing tasks that vary in length, purpose, and difficulty. Throughout the year, students conduct short research projects during smaller culminating tasks and long research projects during appropriate Embedded Assessments. Students have frequent opportunities to engage in independent reading through scaffolded lessons and self-selected materials. Most texts are organized with built in supports, such as Learning Strategies, to foster independence. Each unit includes two types of embedded independent reading tasks, Independent Reading Links and Independent Reading Checkpoints.

Criterion 2a - 2h

32/32

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.
4/4
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 8 meet the criteria that 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.

The Grade 8 materials are organized around the theme of Challenge. Each unit takes on a facet of this theme: Unit 1: The Challenge of Heroism, Unit 2: The Challenge of Utopia, Unit 3: The Challenge to Make a Difference, and Unit 4: The Challenge of Comedy. Within each unit, texts are also connected to appropriate topics, such as self-driving cars and the Holocaust, as well as, influential leaders in history. The texts included follow a logical sequence that scaffold students toward reading increasingly more difficult texts independently including stories, dramas, poetry, literary nonfiction, historical, scientific, and technical texts. The Planning the Unit page of the materials provides the rationale for the goal of the unit and details the scaffolding that will be used to help students increase their skills by the end of the unit and ultimately by the end of the year.

Evidence includes, but is not limited to:

  • In Unit 1, students explore the theme of “The Challenge of Heroism.” Students examine a series of texts in various media forms from film clips to epic poetry, a graphic novel, short stories, personal narratives, and essays to formulate their own definition of heroism. Each text builds on the concept of heroism in various contexts including titles such as the following: Odyssey by Homer, “The Drummer Boy of Shiloh” by Ray Bradbury, “O Captain My Captain” by Walt Whitman. The Planning the Unit page states that in the first half of the unit, students focus on learning the hero’s journey archetype to develop a deeper understanding of heroism in a classical sense. In the beginning, students spend time analyzing how various texts represent each stage of the hero’s journey archetype. By the second half of the unit, students focus on integrating the texts that they have read throughout the unit to establish and explain their own expectations of a hero by completing an informational text to explain their definition of a hero.
  • In Unit 2, students explore the theme of “Challenges of a Utopia.” The texts either have a utopian or dystopian theme. The Planning the Unit page states that in the first half of the unit, students read a novel that encompasses the theme. To prepare the students for this theme, in Unit 2, Activity 2.3, students read a short story by Kurt Vonnegut, entitled “Harrison Bergeron,” which contains both utopian and dystopian elements. In Unit 2, Activities 2.4 through 2.9, students read either The Giver by Lois Lowry or Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury, at the discretion of the teacher. The Giver focuses on a utopian society whereas Fahrenheit 451 focuses on a dystopian society. After reading the texts, students participate in a debate and prepare an informational (compare/contrast) piece of writing.
  • In Unit 3, the texts are organized around the theme of “The Challenge to Make a Difference” and are tied to the topic, the Holocaust. Students read a variety of texts, including a novel, speeches, poetry, memoirs, a drama, and informational texts which examine how individuals and groups of people respond when they are faced with significant challenges and hardships. Some of the titles included are as follows: Night by Elie Wiesel, Terrible Things: An Allegory of the Holocaust by Eve Bunting, The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank. At the end of the unit, using the information they have learned throughout the unit, students select an issue of national or global significance and collaboratively create a plan to use diverse media in order to convince a specific audience to take action on the students' chosen issue.
  • In Unit 4, the texts are organized around the theme “The Challenge of Comedy.” In Planning the Unit, it states, “Students have learned that overcoming challenges is not easy, but they have also experienced that finding humor in life can help along the way. In Unit 4, students identify and analyze the elements commonly found in humorous writing and visual media.” Texts include film clips, essays, poetry, and plays. Students examine the ways authors create humor for effect, as through anecdotes and word choice, and demonstrate their understanding by writing a literary analysis essay examining a humorous text and by analyzing and performing scenes from a Shakespearean comedy. For example, in Embedded Assessment 2, the students “present your assigned scene in front of your peers to demonstrate your understanding of Shakespeare’s text, elements of comedy, and performance.”

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.
4/4
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 8 meet the criteria that 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.

The Grade 8 SpringBoard materials provide text-dependent questions and activities to build students’ comprehension and knowledge over the school year. The texts, including, but not limited to, poems, novels, speeches, paintings, and plays, require students to carefully analyze the text for use of language, key ideas, details and craft, and structure. The tasks and questions are sequenced over the course of an activity, unit and school year to progress from more literal and scaffolded tasks, to more rigorous and independent ones. In the Teacher Wrap, teachers are provided with guidance, instructions, scaffolds, and suggestions for the planning and implementation of questions and tasks to utilize in class. Teachers are provided with formative and summative tasks that show mastery of the concepts included in each unit.

Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • In Unit 1, students “focus on the challenge of heroism” as they are “introduced to the archetype of the Hero’s Journey and study various examples of heroes and how their journey fits the archetype.” In Activity 1.5, students read “Ithaka” by C.P. Cavafy and answer questions such as, “What is the mood of this poem? How do you feel reading it? Explain how the author’s use of language contributes to the mood.” In Activity 1.8, students read an excerpt from A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle and then answer questions such as, “The word devouring is used in paragraph 1. What is the effect of this word choice on the mood of the opening?” In Unit 1, Activity 1.14, students read an excerpt from “White House Funeral Sermon for Abraham Lincoln” by Dr. Phineas D. Gurley and then answer the question, “What effect does the quote ‘...though the friends of Liberty die, Liberty is immortal’ have on the reader?”
  • In Unit 2, Activity 2.5, students read part of a novel, either Fahrenheit 451 or The Giver, and analyze key details in order to identify conflicting perspectives in the story. Students complete graphic organizers, which include the following prompts: “Conflict among people or between people and society is a result of conflicting perspectives. Support this idea by identifying a topic that has created the most important conflict so far in the story and contrast two different perspectives about the topic. Write a summary of the plot of the novel so far. Tell how the characters' conflicting perspectives influence the events.”
  • In Unit 3, Activity 3.4, students read the poem, “First They Came for the Communists” by Martin Niemoller. The students reread and analyze the poem for structure and craft, answering questions such as, “How does each stanza contribute to a developing sense of doom? Which words does the poet use to build mood in the poem?” and “Why do you think the poet ends the poem with a two-line stanza rather than a three-line stanza like the others? How does this change in the stanza’s length reflect his message?”.
  • In Unit 4, Activity 4.6, students first watch a film clip that uses satire. Students are asked how the satirist uses “derision to denounce the subject” without further explanation. Then, students read “Underfunded Schools Forced to Cut Past Tense from Language Programs” from The Onion. Students are required to use textual support to answer questions regarding the structure of the article, the use of quotations within the article to develop the main idea, and the word choice of using present tense in the last quotation.
  • In Unit 4, Activity 4.16, students conduct a close read of a scene from Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream and examine language, word choice, key details, craft, and structure by responding to the following questions: “Which details in Hermia's opening statement reveal her emotions? How does this set the tone of the scene? How does the use of apostrophes affect the meaning of the lines in this excerpt? Explain how this scene is intended to be comical onstage. What elements of comedy are represented?”.

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.
4/4
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 8 meet the criteria that materials contain a coherently sequenced set of text-dependent questions and tasks that require students to analyze the integration of knowledge and ideas across both individual and multiple texts.

In the SpringBoard Grade 8 materials, the majority of the questions and tasks in the materials support students’ analysis of knowledge and ideas. The teacher materials found in the Teacher Wrap section provide teachers with guidance on sequencing questions and tasks, as well as guidance on scaffolding and differentiation. The materials provide opportunities for students to integrate knowledge over a single text and multiple texts in each unit. Students are also provided with the opportunity to analyze their independent reading selections with the texts read in class through the Independent Reading Checkpoints and in some cases, the opportunity to analyze primary and secondary sources on the same topic. By the end of each unit and the program, students are integrating their learning from all the activities associated with that unit.

Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • In Unit 1, Lesson 1.6, students analyze “The Drummer Boy of Shiloh” by Ray Bradbury. A series of text-dependent questions are listed in the Teacher Wrap section to scaffold analysis of the text. For example, Question 7 states, “How does the general's comment, ‘Do you know now you're general of the army when the general's left behind?’ prove to be a decisive moment in the conversation between him and Joby? What theme is developed through their interaction? How does Joby feel about his drum after the general's speech to him? How does Joby's role as the drummer make him ‘the general of the army’? RL.8.2; RL.8.3.”
  • In Unit 1, Activity 1.17, Independent Reading Checkpoint, students analyze across multiple texts when connecting their Independent Reading Selection to the texts read in class. Students respond to the following prompt: “Look back at the article about Tristan Segers in Activity 1.12. Compare how his life and the life of the hero in your independent reading text fit into the hero's archetype that you have learned about in this unit.”
  • In Unit 2, Activity 2.16, students read “Five Challenges for Self-Driving Cars: Experts weigh in on the roadblocks and research efforts” by Laurel Hamers to examine the claims the author makes and identify the evidence used to support the claims. Students respond to questions, such as: “Reread paragraphs 1–4 and analyze the thesis that is presented. What evidence is provided by the author to support her thesis throughout the article?”
  • In Unit 3, Activity 3.4, students read Night by Elie Wiesel. Then, they answer questions explaining how the wartime setting affects the characters’ beliefs and feelings, using evidence to support their reasoning. Students also analyze characters’ decisions, for example why Moishe the Beadle returned to Sighet and what the effects of such a decision had on the story. Finally, students respond to a prompt asking them what they learned about standing up for others who are being mistreated from this memoir and how the author uses foreshadowing to convey this message.
  • In Unit 3, Activity 3.4 students read an excerpt from Night by Elie Weisel and the poem “First They Came for the Communist” by Martin Niemoller. Students complete a graphic organizer comparing the text’s structure, language, and theme. Questions include, “How are ideas presented?”, “Why might the author have chosen one word over another?”, and “What lesson has each narrator learned from experiencing these events?”.
  • In Unit 4, Lesson 4.20, students compare and contrast the written version of Midsummer’s Night Dream to its film version. Students respond to the changes and the effects of the changes on the viewer’s/reader’s understanding of the text

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).
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 8 meet the criteria that 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).

The Grade 8 SpringBoard materials provide culminating tasks for each activity and/or unit that are multifaceted and require students to demonstrate mastery of multiple grade 8 standards. Culminating tasks include, but are not limited to, writing an informational essay, participating in a panel discussion, and presenting their writing orally. The tasks require students to engage in integrated reading, writing, speaking, and listening skills. Tasks leading up to the culminating tasks are varied and provide teachers with ongoing formative and anecdotal readiness information. Teachers are prompted in the Teacher Wrap to actively engage with students as they are working independently, in pairs, or in groups to access readiness and are provided with scaffolding support, such as guiding questions, if needed. The culminating tasks build to give students the opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge about the topic or topics of the unit and/or activity.

  • In Unit 1, Activity 1.14, students read about Lincoln and Douglass and then, after considering their possible viewpoints about how voting rights have changed, students role-play a conversation where group members select roles and play Douglass, Lincoln, and a person living in today’s world. The conversation centers on Lincoln and Douglass teaching people today about the ways that exercising the right to vote could make someone a hero. During the role play, students must listen to one another so that the conversation continues logically. After the discussion, students write a summary of the conversation in their Reader/Writer Notebooks. This activity not only demonstrates reading comprehension but also the ability to apply what they have learned to a discussion of heroism using their reading, writing, speaking and listening skills.
  • In Unit 2, Embedded Assessment 1, students choose from two prompts to “Use an informational organizational structure to communicate your understanding of dystopia or the hero’s journey.” This culminating task combines the students learning about a Hero's Journey and the concepts in a utopia. In building to this task, students read and learn about utopia and dystopia, the compare/contrast informational structure, and perspectives of two characters and how the conflict develops the theme through reading and writing. In Activity, 2.4 students begin reading the novel The Giver by Lois Lowry or Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury. Both novels provide students with the concept of a Hero's Journey and Dystopia. Students demonstrate their knowledge about dystopian novels through the analysis of the novel they have read and writing an informative essay. During the drafting stage, students share and respond to each other’s rough drafts in writing groups. When students move to the evaluating and revising stage, they “Form discussion groups for sharing and responding” as group members “listen to evaluate and respond by providing specific feedback based on Scoring Guide criteria.”
  • In Unit 3, Embedded Assessment 1, students “Present a panel discussion that includes an oral reading of a significant passage from the texts read by your group. Your discussion should explain how the theme or central idea of ‘finding hope in times of despair’ is developed in each text.” Students demonstrate their knowledge of the Holocaust through reading and researching, writing about a specific Holocaust victim from their research, orally present the information, and listening and responding during the discussion.
  • In Unit 4, Embedded Assessment 2, students “Present your assigned scene in front of your peers to demonstrate your understanding of Shakespeare's text, elements of comedy, and performance.” Students demonstrate their knowledge about drama through reading and analyzing the play, writing notes and annotating the scene, orally performing the scene, and listening and responding to the group members throughout the project process.

Indicator 2e

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 8 meet the criteria that materials include a cohesive, year-long plan for students to interact with and build key academic vocabulary words in and across texts.

The Grade 8 SpringBoard materials include a cohesive yearlong vocabulary plan that is included in the Vocabulary and Word Connection sections of the materials. Additionally, the words are listed for each activity in the unit. The vocabulary listed is connected to the texts or the tasks in each unit and is hyperlinked to the text. Students engage in vocabulary instruction through direct teaching, using context, and completing a task such as graphic organizers. One graphic organizer used throughout the materials is the QHT framework which is Q—words you have questions about, H—words you’ve heard before, but not sure about the meaning, and T—words you could teach. Students encounter the vocabulary before, during and after reading and carry over multiple texts and/or tasks. Lists of Academic and Literary terms are provided in the Planning the Unit section of each unit. The vocabulary in each unit is embedded in reading, speaking, and/or writing tasks, and builds over the course over the unit.

Some examples include the following:

  • In Unit 1, Activity 1.6, Word Connections, students examine the etymology of the word touchstone. In the Teacher Wrap, the guidance listed asks teachers to point out that “...learning the etymology and history of a word can enrich knowledge of its meaning.” In Unit 2, Activity 2.6 in the Word Connection, the students learn about the etymology of the word censorship.
  • In Unit 2, Activity 2.1, Developing Vocabulary, students complete a QHT sort for the following academic and literary vocabulary words in Unit 2: analogy, anecdote, argument, controversy, debate, perspective, seminar, Socratic, antagonist, and protagonist. Student directions state, “Create a QHT chart in your Reader/Writer Notebook and sort the Vocabulary Terms on the Contents page. Use print or online resources to move all of the words into the “T” column by the end of the unit.” Students revisit the terms in Activity 2.10, reflecting on their command of the terms in another QHT sort: “Re-sort the Academic and Literary Vocabulary using the QHT strategy. Use a dictionary to look up any words still in the Q column. Review their definitions. Choose one word from the list and write a concise statement about how your understanding of this term has improved.”
  • In Unit 3, Activity 3.7, Vocabulary section, students learn the following literary term: “Mood is the overall feeling or emotion of a story. A story’s mood can be described with an adjective, such as sinister, mournful, angry, or playful. Many elements of a story contribute to the mood, including the setting, the characters’ words and feelings, and the use of imagery and figurative language.”
  • In Unit 4, Activity 4.6, Vocabulary section, the following vocabulary words are listed: “Academic: derision, denounce; Literary: satire; [Content/Text Specific] Terms: transpired, outmoded.” Students then read the article “Underfunded Schools Forced to Cut Past Tense from Language Programs.” Before reading, teachers give students this guidance: “As you read the article, underline words and phrases that make you laugh or that you recognize as humor. Circle unknown words and phrases. Try to determine the meaning of the words by using context clues, word parts, or a dictionary.” Students work further with the term satire. “Work collaboratively to diffuse and paraphrase the definition of satire. Students view a satirical clip from a tv show and respond to the following question: “You will next view a film clip your teacher shows and take notes on the satire you observe. How is the satirist using derision to denounce the subject?” Under Vocabulary, students receive definitions for satire, derision, and denounce. Students revisit the terms credibility, primary, and secondary sources in Activities 2.7 and 2.13 when working with more texts and conducting research for their information and argument writing tasks for Embedded Assessments 1 and 2.

Indicator 2f

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 8 meet the criteria that 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.

The Grade 8 SpringBoard materials support students’ growth in writing skills over the course of the school year and include writing instruction aligned to the standards. The materials include well-designed lesson plans, models, and protocols for teachers to implement and monitor students’ writing development. Students complete relevant and authentic writing tasks such as, but not limited to, writing a narrative, a research multimedia presentation, and an argumentative essay. Students are provided with ample direct instruction, practice, and application of writing skills that gradually move towards student independence. In the Teacher Wrap, teachers are provided with instructions on leading students to establish a Reader/Writer Notebook to record learning and ideas for their writing and to monitor their own progress and Portfolios to provide a place for storing writing tasks which show growth throughout the year. Each unit contains two Embedded Assessments, most of which are writing prompts. Students are provided the writing prompt at the beginning of the unit for Embedded Assessment 1 and midway through the unit for Embedded Assessment 2. Each activity in the unit helps teach writing skills through analyzing texts and writing prompts scaffold students toward their full length writing in the Embedded Assessment.

Some examples are as follows:

  • In Unit 1, Activity 1.6, students read “The Drummer Boy Shiloh” by Ray Bradbury and record questions about the text in their Reader/Writer Notebooks. After reading the text, they start drafting their own hero’s journey narrative for Embedded Assessment 1. In planning, students are instructed to do the following task: “In your Reader/Writer Notebook, sketch your image of a hero. Label unique characteristics and give him or her a meaningful name. In the right column, use the prompting questions to brainstorm ideas for a story.” Students revisit the text attending to the structure of the text, specifically the three parts of the Departure Stage, and then “draft the beginning of a narrative using the three steps in this stage (The Call, The Refusal, and The Beginning) to guide your structure and development.” This demonstrates how writing skills are taught through reading activities, in addition to focused writing activities.
  • In Unit 2, Activities 2.10-2.17, teachers provide students with instruction and prompts to prepare them for writing an argumentative essay for Embedded Assessment 2. In each of the eight activities, students are provided with texts, such as essays, articles, and editorials, to model their writing after, and/or are provided brainstorming and reflective prompts to provide scaffolding and support. Students are also provided a detailed Scoring Guide with questions prompting them to monitor their own progress during the writing process. After students finish Embedded Assessment 2, teachers suggest the following task to students: “Portfolio: Ask students to organize and turn in work from all steps of the writing process.”
  • In Unit 3, Embedded Assessment 2, students “Develop a multimedia presentation that informs your peers about an issue of national or global significance and convinces them to take action.” For this assessment, students need to organize their research into talking points and use their knowledge of rhetorical appeals (pathos, logos, and ethos) to design their presentation.
  • In Unit 4, Activity 4.10, students write an informational text comparing the humorous poems, “Mooses” by Ted Hughes and “Is Traffic Jam Delectable?” by Jack Prelutsky. Students are reminded to utilize writing skills they have honed throughout the year including: establishing a controlling idea and supporting it with evidence from the text, using academic and content vocabulary, and utilizing verbals and precise diction.

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.
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 8 meet the criteria that materials include a progression of focused research projects to encourage students to develop knowledge in a given area by confronting and analyzing different aspects of a topic using multiple texts and source materials.

The Grade 8 SpringBoard materials provide students opportunities to conduct multiple short and longer research projects spread across a school year and include a progression of research skills appropriate for the Grade 8. The materials support teachers in employing projects that develop students’ knowledge on a topic through embedding research in multiple activities in both the student text and the Teacher Wrap. The materials provide many opportunities for students to apply reading, writing, speaking, listening, and language skills to synthesize and analyze per their readings. The research topics align with the unit’s topic and to the tasks that students are engaging in during the lessons. For example, the students research actual Holocaust victims before they watch clips from the film, Life is Beautiful.

Examples of “short” projects include:

  • In Unit 1, Activity 1.10, students complete the following task: “Continue your exploration of heroism by choosing a fiction or nonfiction text about a historical or modern hero for your independent reading. Research the author of the text to find out why they might have chosen to write about this particular hero.”
  • In Unit 2, Activity 2.15, students develop a research plan in small groups. The groups write each step on the front of an index card and arrange them logically. After the teacher shares the answers, students discuss the logic behind approaching the research project in that way, requiring effective speaking, listening, and language skills. In addition, they write research questions and locate and evaluate sources. Students practice with the topic of self-driving cars.

An example of a “long” research projects is:

  • In Unit 3, Embedded Assessment 1, students research a Holocaust victim, write a narrative from their point of view, and present a panel discussion to “explain the theme or central idea of ‘finding hope in times of despair.’’ Students read and analyze texts about a Holocaust victim and integrate writing, speaking, listening, and language skills to prepare for and conduct the panel discussion.

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.
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 8 meet the criteria that materials provide a design, including accountability, for how students will regularly engage in a volume of independent reading either in or outside of class.

In the SpringBoard materials, students have frequent opportunities to engage in independent reading through scaffolded lessons and self-selected materials. Most texts are organized with built in supports/scaffolds to foster independence. Each activity includes supports/scaffolds called Learning Strategies, such as marking the text, rereading, and using graphic organizers. As indicated in the Teacher Wrap, texts are often scaffolded through completing first reads by the teacher or in small groups or pairs. Students then have the opportunity to independently read the text while responding to text-dependent questions. The text-dependent questions and the Learning Strategies scaffold student understanding in order to foster independence. In each unit, the Planning the Unit section provides a suggested independent reading list of both literature and informational texts which complement the themes and skills found within the unit. The Instructional Pathways section of the materials provides embedded independent reading in each of the units called Independent Reading Links and individual activities with two Independent Reading Checkpoints per unit. In these checkpoints, students are given a prompt for discussion, writing, or an oral presentation and are required to record them in their Reader/Writer Notebook.

Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • In Unit 1, Activity 1.3, scaffolds are provided to support students by starting with a teacher-led reading of the Hero’s Journey Archetype description. Students then work in small groups to check their understanding of each of the parts of the Hero’s Journey. Students also view clips from the film, Big Hero 6 as they complete an organizer. After these activities, students are expected to write independently to explain the Hero’s Journey Archetype. This lesson is paced for two 50-minute classes.
  • In Unit 1, Activity 1.4: Planning for Independent Reading, detailed guidance for independent reading for both students and teachers regarding the selection of texts, goal setting, and tracking progress is provided. Students create a section in their Reader/Writer Notebooks for Independent Reading which they use throughout the course to document their learning from independent reading selections. For Unit 1, students choose an independent reading selection which contains a hero’s journey.
  • In Unit 2, Planning the Unit, teachers are given a list of both literature and informational text that could be used for independent reading. These titles connect to the theme of the unit. The chart also lists the author and Lexile for each title and teachers are encouraged to provide student choice for independent reading. Some examples of texts for Unit 2 include, but are not limited to, Divergent (700L) by Veronica Roth, Utopia (1370L) by Thomas More, and Silent Spring (1340L) by Rachel Carson.
  • In Unit 3, Activity 3.1, students use their Reader/Writer Notebook to create an independent reading plan using the additional titles and book lists found within the materials. Students must "take notes on any questions, comments, or reactions [they] might have to [their] reading," and reference their notes when participating in discussions throughout the unit. In Activity 3.4, the Independent Reading Link task asks students to "look for examples of flashback and foreshadowing. Write down to or three examples, along with a brief description of how each illustrates the literary device."
  • In Unit 4, students choose humorous independent reading texts for the first half of the unit. Students select poems, short stories, and narrative essays from authors of humorous texts. In Activity 4.11, Independent Reading Checkpoint, students respond to the following prompt: “Consider the connections you made while reading humorous texts. In one paragraph, summarize one message (theme) a particular author tried to convey to the reader through humor. Briefly describe the level of comedy and the elements of humor used by the author.”

Gateway Three

Usability

Meets Expectations

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Gateway Three Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 8 meet the criteria for instructional supports and usability. The materials are well designed and include lessons that are effectively structured, and the suggested amount of time for the materials is viable for one school year. The materials provide detailed explanations, annotations, and research-based strategies to support teacher learning and understanding of the Standards. Although the materials include quality scoring rubrics and scoring guidance to gather accurate measures of standards mastery, the materials do not provide guidance for teachers to interpret assessment data or suggestions for follow-up. The materials include a variety of scaffolds and strategies for meeting the needs of a range of learners so that they demonstrate independent ability with grade-level standards. Digital materials are accessible but are available in limited platforms. Embedded technology is effectively used to enhance and support student learning but there are not opportunities to differentiate the materials based on individual student’s needs. While the digital platform allows some customization, adaptive or assistive technologies, such as text-to-speech, are not available. The materials include a number of digital collaborative opportunities; however, there are limited opportunities for teacher-student collaboration.

Criterion 3a - 3e

8/8
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Criterion Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 8 meet the criteria for use and design to facilitate student learning. The materials are well designed and include lessons that are effectively structured. The suggested amount of time for the materials is viable for one school year and does not require significant modifications; the expectations for teachers and students are reasonable for the suggested timeframe. Student materials include clear directions and explanations, and reference aids are correctly labeled. The materials include alignment documentation for all questions, tasks, and assessment items. The design and formatting of the teacher and student materials is not distracting or chaotic and allows for thoughtful engagement with the content.

Indicator 3a

Materials are well-designed and take into account effective lesson structure and pacing.
2/2
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 8 meet the criteria that materials are well-designed and take into account effective lesson structure and pacing.

The materials for Grade 8 contain four units containing between 17-21 activities. The units are “The Challenges of Heroism,” “The Challenge of Utopia,” “The Challenge to Make a Difference,” and “The Challenge of Comedy.” Each unit has several suggested Instructional Pathways for teachers to consider in personalizing instruction to meet the needs of all students. The Instructional Pathways include English Language Arts Pathway, Language Development Pathway, and Flexible Pathway, which includes Close Reading Workshop, Writing Workshop, and Flexible Novel Units. Lessons are designed for a 50-minute time frame. The instructional activities are designed to follow the same lesson structure of “Plan, Teach, Assess, Adapt.” In several units, students are engaging with the concepts multiple times from initially using models for instruction to finally completing tasks independently.

Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • In Unit 1, Teacher Edition Features section, teachers are provided with several Instructional Pathways offerings depending on students’ needs. For example, one possible Instructional Pathway integrates “digital assessments, Language Workshops, Close Reading Workshops, and Writing Workshops” into a 35-38 day unit for a 50-minute instructional period.
  • In Unit 2, Activity 2.3, students learn about utopian and dystopian societies. Then, in Activities 2.4 through 2.9, they read either The Giver by Lois Lowry or Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury. The purposes of reading these novels are as follows: to examine the strategies the authors use to develop a dystopian society, learn about the hero’s journey archetype, and in Activity 2.9, use the information learned to write an informational essay about dystopian societies or the hero’s journey archetype.
  • In Unit 3, Activities 3.2, 3.3, and 3.5 students examine the theme of finding hope in desperate times through a visual prompt, poetry, and novel excerpts. Then, in Activities 3.9, 3.10, 3.15, and 3.18, they study visual and auditory media, namely Life is Beautiful directed by Roberto Benigni, The Diary of Anne Frank, a podcast on “Antisemitism Voices” and/or audio and video public service announcements. Finally, in Embedded Assessment 1, after close reading and discussion, students engage in a panel discussion about the theme of finding hope amongst desperation in literature focusing on the Holocaust.
  • In Unit 4, the Instructional Pathways section specifies to allot 45-48 class periods (50 minutes) for the unit. A table is provided for each activity which indicates the number of class periods needed to complete the activity. Embedded Assessment 2 indicates three class periods are needed. This is an appropriate pacing for students to “Work collaboratively to prepare and present a scene” from William Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night’s Dream, as students have worked with this piece in several prior activities. Students are guided through the steps of Planning, Analyzing, Preparing, Rehearsing, Evaluating, and Performing the play. There is also a short reflection following the performance.

Indicator 3b

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 8 meet the criteria that the teacher and student can reasonably complete the content within a regular school year, and the pacing allows for maximum student understanding.

The suggested amount of time and expectations for teachers and students of the materials are viable for one school year as written and do not require significant modifications. Instructional Pathways are provided for each unit which include a core English Language Arts Pathway, a Language Development Pathway, and Flexible Pathways. The four English Language Arts units total 151.5-164.5 days of instruction for class periods of 50 minutes. This allows teachers the flexibility to utilize the supplemental lessons that are available for Close Reading, Language Workshops, Foundational Skills Workshops, and Writing Workshops where needed. A balance of time is spent on activities and assessments to allow for maximum student understanding. In the Teacher Wrap, there are specific time recommendations for each part of the activity. Each of the four units contain 17-21 activities and two Embedded Assessments, thus allowing a teacher to complete an activity in a 50 minute class period. Considering all the resources a teacher could reasonably complete the main activities and complete several of the additional workshops in a school year.

Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • In Unit 3, Instructional Pathways, English Language Arts Pathway, a total of 36-40 days are suggested for the unit. Thirty-two days are suggested for the 19 activities and two Language Checkpoints, and six days are suggested for the Embedded Assessments 1 and 2. For the Language Development Pathway, Language Development Workshops are suggested in addition to or in place of activities for a total of 36-57 suggested days. Suggested Close Reading, Foundational Skills, and Writing Workshops are also listed and detailed pacing information is provided for each.
  • In Unit 4, in the Instructional Pathways section, there are several possible activity configurations SpringBoard recommends. The first recommendations include 45-48 days of instruction that include twenty-one activities from the main Language Arts program, one language checkpoint from the Language Workbook, and two Embedded Assessments. Another recommended Instruction Pathway for students who need extra language support includes a total of 45-60 days of instruction that include twenty-one activities from the main Language Arts program, eleven activities from the Language Workshop, a language checkpoint and two Embedded Assessments.
  • In Language Workshop Activity 3, students are working on academic vocabulary. The Teacher Wrap section for Activity 3 states that the lesson will take one 50-minute class period.

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.).
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 8 meet the criteria that the student resources include ample review and practice resources, clear directions, and explanation, and correct labeling of reference aids (e.g., visuals, maps, etc.)

The Grade 8 materials from the English Language Arts program and the additional Workshop resources have an instructional sequence that allows teachers and/or students to practice skills with ample opportunities for scaffolding as the activities progress. Each unit and workshop are designed with the end in mind and sequenced with activities and Embedded Assessments. They follow the “Plan-Teach-Assess-Adapt” phases in order to provide teachers opportunities to measure student progress and provide differentiated instruction as needed. Every unit begins by “Previewing the Unit” where students engage in exploring the Learning Targets, Making Connections, Essential Questions, and Developing Vocabulary. Every unit ends with an Embedded Assessment and reflection. All illustrations, photographs, diagrams, and other visual representations are correctly labeled.

Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • In Unit 2, Activity 1.1, students begin by reading the Learning Targets in student-friendly language. Then students preview the lesson in which they “...explore the concepts of utopia and dystopia and unpack the first Embedded Assessment for the unit.” In the Teacher Wrap, teachers are given instructions to conduct a Think-Write-Pair-Share with the Essential Questions. Then students engage in vocabulary by using the QHT strategy (Q-Do not know, H-Have heard of, T-Know well enough to teach) with academic vocabulary. Finally, they annotate the assessment, paraphrase, and read the Independent Read link information. In the Teacher Wrap section, suggestions for additional support are provided, if needed.
  • In Unit 3, Activity 3.9, students watch four clips from the film Life is Beautiful by Roberto Benigni. Before viewing the clips, students are provided with the Learning Targets, Preview, and About the Film sections to provide context about the film. A still photo from the film accompanies the About the Film section. Students answer several questions about prior content, the information in the About the Film section, and the film clips. They also engage in discussions with given prompts. A detailed graphic organizer is provided for students to complete for each of the four film clips noting the characters, setting, and mood of each clip. Students use these understandings to draft an informational text which “describes some of the ways Holocaust victims found hope in the dark reality of their lives.” A labeled photo of Roberto Benigni accompanies the prompt.
  • In Unit 4, students complete 11 activities before they complete the Embedded Assessment. In the activities, they complete a study of comedy in different forms such as hyperbole, anecdote, and satire. Finally, the students write an essay to “explain how an author creates humor for effect and uses it to communicate a universal truth.”
  • In the Language Workshop, Activity 3, students are instructed on academic vocabulary, sentence fragments, and complete sentences. With teacher assistance, students engage in vocabulary by using the QHT strategy with academic vocabulary. Then they work with a partner to write their own definition of each word. Next, the teacher instructs the class on complete sentences and fragments. Students practice discerning complete sentences from fragments in the final activity.

Indicator 3d

Materials include publisher-produced alignment documentation of the standards addressed by specific questions, tasks, and assessment items.
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 8 meet the criteria that materials include publisher-produced alignment documentation of the standards addressed by specific questions, tasks, and assessment items.

Alignment documentation is provided for each unit, activity, and assessment within the Teacher Wrap. The Scope and Sequence documents and the Grade 6-12 English Language Arts Standards Correlations documents are provided in the Teacher Resources. In every activity (in the English Language Arts program and the workshops), CCSS are listed for the teacher, and for the student in a student-friendly format. Assessments are correlated to CCSS through rubrics or metadata information. Metadata information includes the difficulty level of the question, DOK (Depth of Knowledge), Bloom's Taxonomy level, and the Common Core Standard associated with that assessment.

Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • In Unit 2, Activity 2.6, students are provided with the Learning Target “Participate collaboratively with this topic in a Socratic Seminar.” The Teacher Wrap displays “SL.8.1 Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade 8 topics, texts, and issues, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly.”
  • In the SpringBoard digital platform, there are assessments including quizzes that align to CCSS. For each question, there is metadata available that provides the difficulty level of the question, DOK, Bloom's Taxonomy level, and the Common Core Standard associated with that assessment. For example, in Unit 2, Activity 2.9 Quiz — Digital, the first question is considered medium difficulty, a D3-Thinking/Reasoning, B2-Understand, and CCSS RL.8.2.
  • In the Scope and Sequence document, every activity is listed for the English Language Arts program with the focus standards and additional standards addressed in the activity. For example, in Unit 3, Activity 3.10, the focus standard provided is RL.8.3, and the additional standards addressed are L.8.2b and RL.8.2.
  • The 6-12 ELA Standards Correlations document states that Language Standard 8.4 can be found in the ELA book for the following questions and steps of activities: Unit 1, page 4, Developing Vocabulary; Unit 1, page 27, Setting a Purpose for Reading, bullet 2; Unit 1, page 71, Developing Vocabulary; Unit 3, page 245, Understanding Euphemism; and Unit 4, page 392, Returning to the Text, Question 5. Links are also provided that lead directly to the page within the materials.

Indicator 3e

The visual design (whether in print or digital) is not distracting or chaotic, but supports students in engaging thoughtfully with the subject.
0/0
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Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Grade 8 meet the criteria that the visual design (whether in print or digital) is not distracting or chaotic, but supports students in engaging thoughtfully with the subject.

The Grade 8 SpringBoard materials maintain a consistent layout for each unit and activity. The materials provide a basic instructional sequence that flows from top to bottom. There is consistent color coding throughout the activities that support students. There are basic annotation tools available for students. The digital platform does provide some graphics, mainly photographs, film clips, and graphics that support student learning and engagement without being visually distracting. Students are primarily reading and writing in text boxes throughout the activities. The Zinc Reading feature is very engaging for students and has easy navigation in the platform. It provides very appealing digital articles, novels, and other texts.

Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • In Unit 1, Activity 1.15, students are provided a blue box which includes Learning Targets and Preview. Then, students are provided an informational text about creation myths which has a Setting a Purpose for Reading explanation above it. Following the text, there are two questions which students answer in a text box directly below each prompt. Next, students are provided two creation myths which have a Setting a Purpose for Reading explanation above them. There is a map of Africa with relevant places for each myth marked. Following the text, there are questions which students answer in a text box directly below each prompt.
  • In Unit 3, Activity 3.5, the materials display the Learning Targets and Preview in a light blue box at the top. Students read from the top of the page to the bottom for the sequence of tasks. A link is provided for learning strategies. Charts and prompts allow students to type an answer, add a link, or add an attachment. There is also the ability to utilize simple annotation strategies such as highlighting, underlining, and starring. Color coding is used consistently to identify different parts of the lesson. For example, yellow is used for questions; red is used for strategies; blue is used for learning targets.
  • In Unit 3, Activity 3.3., students are able to view literature circle roles by viewing the larger bold font used for discussion leader, diction detective, bridge builder, reporter, and artist. This allows them to easily review information about the roles when working on their résumé for one of the roles in the listed exercise.
  • In Unit 4, Activity 4.15, students are provided a blue box which includes Learning Targets and Preview. Then, students are provided excerpts from Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night which has a Setting a Purpose for Reading explanation above it. Following the text, there are two questions which students answer in a text box directly below each prompt. The last part of the lesson is an orange box which contains directions for an Independent Reading Checkpoint.
  • In Zinc, an excerpt of the novel, Chasing Lincoln’s Killer by James L. Swanson has the printed text, an audio of the text, a photograph, and digital quizzes.

Criterion 3f - 3j

Materials support teacher learning and understanding of the Standards.
8/8
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Criterion Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 8 meet the criteria for teacher planning and learning for success with CCSS. The Teacher Wrap includes useful annotations, suggestions, and guidance on presenting content in student-facing and ancillary materials. The materials include explanations of more advanced literacy concepts to support teachers with improving and deepening their understanding of the content. The Teacher Edition explains the role of the Standards in the context of the overall curriculum and also outlines the various research-based strategies used during instruction. The materials include suggestions for how parents or caregivers can support students at home, as well as suggestions for how teachers can share student progress with parents and caregivers.

Indicator 3f

Materials contain a teacher's edition with ample and useful annotations and suggestions on how to present the content in the student edition and in the ancillary materials. Where applicable, materials include teacher guidance for the use of embedded technology to support and enhance student learning.
2/2
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 8 meet the criteria that materials contain a teacher's edition with ample and useful annotations and suggestions on how to present the content in the student edition and in the ancillary materials. Where applicable, materials include teacher guidance for the use of embedded technology to support and enhance student learning.

The materials include annotations and suggestions on how to present the content in the Teacher Wrap. The Teacher Wrap has several sections which aid teachers in presenting content, including Teacher to Teacher and Plan-Teach-Assess-Adapt. The annotations are accurate, understandable, and give teachers assistance with presenting content. SpringBoard Digital offers embedded technology to support and enhance student learning.

Some examples are as follows:

  • In Unit 1, Activity 1.5, Focus on the Sentence, students revise fragments to make complete sentences. In the Teacher Wrap, Teach section, teachers receive the following suggestion to present the content: “The Focus on the Sentence task provides an opportunity for students to demonstrate learning from the activity. It also gives students practice with writing thoughtful and complete sentences. Model the task by completing the first example in a think aloud. Write your complete sentence on the board and emphasize the use of correct capitalization and punctuation. Then have students write complete sentences with the remaining two fragments. If time allows, have a few volunteers share the sentences with the class.”
  • In Unit 2, Activity 2.3, students read an excerpt from the novel Prisoner B-3087 by Alan Gratz. In the Teacher Wrap, Teach section, teachers receive detailed guidance on presenting content, including instructions on conducting the first read, scaffolding text dependent questions, and vocabulary development. For example, the Teacher Wrap directions state: “During or after reading the text for the first time, guide the class in a discussion about the setting and how it relates to the characters. Ask the Making Observations questions and evaluate students' initial understanding of the historical novel. Have them pair-share their responses to the questions in the final bullet point, and assess whether they effectively monitored their own comprehension, noted when their understanding broke down, and made appropriate adjustments.”
  • In Unit 3, Activity 3.6, students engage in Literature Circles. In the Teacher Wrap, Teacher to Teacher section, teachers receive the following instructional recommendations: “You may want to have Literature Circle groups work together to gather and define Holocaust-related vocabulary from their texts.”
  • In Unit 4, Activity 4.10, students study puns through analyzing “Is Traffic Jam Delectable?” by Jack Prelutsky. In the Teacher Wrap, Teach section, teachers receive the following guidance: “Vocabulary Development: Refer students to the Literary Vocabulary box and have them read the definition of a pun. Return to the title of the poem and the illustration alongside the poem and point out that this is an example of a pun and that students must read closely to identify and explain more puns.”

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.
2/2
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 8 meet the criteria that materials contain a teacher's edition that contains full, adult-level explanations and examples of the more advanced literacy concepts so that teachers can improve their own knowledge of the subject, as necessary.

The Grade 8 SpringBoard materials include a Teacher Edition introduction, Teacher Wrap section for each activity, and a resource list at the end. These materials support teachers as they plan, teach, and assess. The introduction gives teachers an overview of the features and purpose for each activity. The Teacher Wrap provides parallel support for teachers as students engage in the activities, including, but not limited to, explaining the standards, giving teachers guidance on specific parts of the text on which to focus, and providing ideas and recommendations for support. The resources section provides teachers with more support including a list of the different strategies used in the activities. The teachers receive a definition of the strategy, as well as its purpose. These materials in tandem provide teachers with the knowledge and explanation to support all students.

Some examples are as follows:

  • The Teacher Edition Introduction provides teachers with an overview of all the features available for them. This introduction includes, but is not limited to, Instructional Pathways that guide teachers in different Activities to include based on student needs, and Leveled Differentiated Instruction which provides teachers with the verbiage to support students of various needs. All of these features are further explained in the Teacher Wrap section which is a parallel feature for each activity in the unit. For example, in Unit 2, Activity 2.3, the learning targets are written in student-friendly language, while the Teacher Wrap has the College and Career Readiness Standards. In the same activity, students examine the concept of utopia and dystopia. In the Teacher Wrap, the teacher is instructed to come to a consensus of a list of values that every society would consider utopian. This “...will help set the context for the short story students will be reading.”
  • A list of resources for the teacher including an Independent Reading Log, a list of Reading Strategies, a Graphic Organizer Directory, and a Glossary is included at the end of the Teacher Edition and is also listed in the Teacher Wrap. In the Reading Strategy section, the materials list all of the strategies including reading, writing, and speaking that students will use and then give the definition and the purpose of each strategy. For example, in Unit 3, Activity 3.8, students use the learning strategy “Adding.” In the Resources: Reading Strategies section for “Adding,” the materials define the strategy as “Making conscious choices to enhance a text by adding additional words, phrases, or ideas,” and list its purpose as “To refine and clarify the writer’s thoughts during revision and/or drafting.”

Indicator 3h

Materials contain a teacher's edition that explains the role of the specific ELA/literacy standards in the context of the overall curriculum.
2/2
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 8 meet the criteria that materials contain a teacher's edition that explains the role of the specific ELA/literacy standards in the context of the overall curriculum.

The Grade 8 materials provide explanations for the role of the course content in the overall materials in the Scope & Sequence Document, Introduction to SpringBoard English Language Arts, Planning the Unit, and the Teacher Wrap. Detailed standards information is provided for each activity, assessment, writing prompts and for many individual text-dependent questions. Additionally, the Introduction to SpringBoard English Language Arts provides connections across multiple grade levels through Advanced Placement (AP) and SAT Connections. The Grade 6–12 Standards Correlations document also traces how each standard is represented throughout the sequence of courses from Grade 6 to Grade 12.

Some examples are as follows:

  • In Introduction to SpringBoard English Language Arts, the materials state, “SpringBoard offers core instructional materials in print and digital form that are aligned to College and Career Readiness Standards, Advanced Placement (AP) coursework, and the SAT Suite of Assessments.” Furthermore the materials note, “SpringBoard English Language Arts focuses on the same essential knowledge and skills that are the center of the Evidence-Based Reading and Writing sections of the SAT Suite of Assessments.”
  • In the Planning the Unit section before each unit, a detailed list of AP and SAT Connections is provided. This list helps to contextualize the role of the standards across multiple grade levels. For example, in Unit 2, some of the AP Connections provided are as follows: “In this unit, students will focus on refining these important skills and knowledge areas for AP/College Readiness: Using strategies of close reading and making careful observations of textual detail (Activities 3.4, 3.5, 3.10, 3.11, 3.12, 3.15, 3.19), Writing for a variety of purposes (Activities 3.5, 3.8, 3.9, 3.10, 3.15)....”
  • In each activity, the Teacher Wrap specifies both Focus Standards and Additional Standards covered. Standards are also specified for Scaffolding Text Dependent Questions and writing prompts embedded within the materials. This helps contextualize the standards within each activity. In Unit 4, Activity 4.4, the Additional Standards listed are as follows: “RI.8.1, RI.8.2, L.8.1a”.

Indicator 3i

Materials contain explanations of the instructional approaches of the program and identification of the research-based strategies.
2/2
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 8 meet the criteria that materials contain explanations of the instructional approaches of the program and identification of the research-based strategies.

Explanations of both the instructional approaches used within the text, as well as the research-based strategies incorporated, are located in the Teacher Edition. From these explanations, it is clear that the SpringBoard English Language Arts curriculum has considered not only the ways to evaluate students but also the necessary skills that students need to build in order to be successful. The instructional design rationale is based on research-based strategies by leaders in the field of education.

Some examples are as follows:

  • In the Teacher Edition, on page xxi under Assessments, it states that the units are built to provide effective scaffolding for students as they prepare to complete the Embedded Assessments. In addition, teachers may assign short quizzes throughout the unit and longer assessments that mirror the types of questions students will be required to answer on other standardized tests like the SAT. On this same page, the research-based strategy is described as assessment for learning.
  • In the Teacher Edition, on page xvii, it states that this curriculum uses The Writing Revolution’s method, which is a part of the Hochman Method, to teach the foundational elements of writing. Specifically, the SpringBoard English Language Arts curriculum uses the Focus on the Sentence tasks to blend grammar with reading.
  • In the Teacher Edition, Closing Pages, the Learning Strategies Charts include the name of the learning strategy, the definition of the strategy, and the purpose of the strategy. For example, on page 467, the Jigsaw strategy is listed in the chart. The definition provided is as follows: “In groups, students read different texts or passages of the single text, then share and exchange information from their reading with another group. They then return to their original groups to share their new knowledge.”
  • In the Teacher Edition, in the Introduction: Teacher Edition Features section, the materials note that “SpringBoard uses the widely respected Wiggins and McTighe Understanding by Design model. The program back maps from a defined set of essential skills and knowledge that is shown to propel students on their path to college and career.”
  • In the Teacher Edition, in the Introduction: Teacher Edition Features section, the program’s authors explain that the “SpringBoard’s lesson design also takes into account the work of the American Institutes of Research in its focus on students moving through multiple levels of cognitive engagement.” The lesson design also pulls in the research of Charlotte Danielson’s research on teaching instruction, Marzano and Pickering’s research on academic vocabulary development, and Robyn Jackson’s research on active instruction.

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.
0/0
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 8 meet the criteria that materials contain strategies for informing all stakeholders, including students, parents or caregivers about the ELA/literacy program and suggestions for how they can help support student progress and achievement.

The SpringBoard materials contain strategies for informing both students and families about the ELA Grade 8 program. The online and print versions of the Teacher Edition Introduction contain a letter to students. The materials include a Family Letter in English and Spanish for each unit; however, the Family Letter is not available in Spanish in the print or online versions of the materials at this time. Each unit includes Unit Resources at a Glance, which specifies resources for Family Connections, including Family Letters, Suggestions for Independent Reading, and Student Progress Reports.

Some examples are as follows:

  • For each unit, Family Letters provide an overview of the unit, including essential questions, knowledge, and skills. The letter also describes the two Embedded Assessments which students will be required to complete. The letter lists specific vocabulary and skills students will utilize in the unit and ways for families to support students in their learning. The materials state that Family Letters are available in English and Spanish; however, these letters are only available in English at this time.
  • The Suggestions for Independent Reading supports student progress by providing a list of texts about a variety of topics at a range of reading levels. Spanish texts are also included in the list. For example, in Unit 3, Number the Stars by Lois Lowry and Milkweed by Jerry Spinelli are two titles included in this list.
  • Student Progress Reports provide a way to inform all stakeholders how students are progressing on each aspect of the course. They are located on the SpringBoard Digital Dashboard Home under Progress Reports.
  • In Unit 2, Activity 2.6, students participate in a Socratic Seminar. In the Teacher Edition and Teacher Wrap, in the Teacher to Teacher notes, guidance suggests that the teacher use a specific system (for example, cards) to ensure that every student has the opportunity to talk and to listen.
  • In Unit 4, Embedded Assessment 2, the Teacher Edition and Teacher Wrap state that ideally, students will present their work from the year to their parents or another adult in the school.

Criterion 3k - 3n

Materials offer teachers resources and tools to collect ongoing data about student progress on the Standards.
7/8
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Criterion Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 8 meet the criteria for assessment. The materials include regular and systematic formal and informal assessment opportunities that genuinely measure student progress. Assessments clearly denote which standards are emphasized. Although the materials include quality scoring rubrics and scoring guidance that allow teachers to gather accurate measures of students’ mastery of standards, the materials do not provide guidance for teachers to interpret assessment data or suggestions for follow-up. The materials include routines and guidance that highlight opportunities to monitor student progress. Independent reading is integrated into the materials to increase student literacy skills and improve student stamina, confidence, and motivation.

Indicator 3k

Materials regularly and systematically offer assessment opportunities that genuinely measure student progress.
2/2
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 8 meet the criteria that materials regularly and systematically offer assessment opportunities that genuinely measure student progress.

The Grade 8 SpringBoard units build to Embedded Assessments that direct the instructional pathway and give teachers a clear destination. Each task leading up to the Embedded Assessments provides teachers with a multitude of ways to measure students’ progress towards mastery of the standards required for the Embedded Assessment. Students are assessed in multiple ways including speaking, listening, reading, writing, and language tasks. These activity assessments include anecdotal evidence from the teacher for monitoring discussion and task completion, text-dependent questions, Check for Understanding tasks, Focus on the Sentence tasks, completion of graphic organizers, and completion of writing prompts. Each assessment is designed to prepare students for upcoming lessons and assessments since the SpringBoard materials are designed with the “end in mind” and are based on what students will need to be college and career ready and successful in their next grade level.

Some examples are as follows:

  • In Unit 1, Activity 1.3, teachers assess students’ language skills in the Focus on the Sentence section. Students have discussed sentence fragments, so in this section, they must decide if a group of words represents a fragment or a complete sentence. In the Teacher Wrap, Assess section, the materials provide the following suggestions to check for student understanding: “Review students' responses to the Focus on the Sentence task. Make sure they have completed the sentence fragments with details about the Hero's Journey archetype.”
  • In Unit 2, Embedded Assessment 2, students write an argumentative essay to “...convince an audience to support your claim about a debatable idea.” This assessment is graded using a standards-aligned rubric to measure the students’ development of ideas, structure, and use of language. In Activity 2.11, students read and analyze an argumentative essay to learn about the parts of an argumentative essay such as claim. evidence and counterclaims. In Activity 2.15 students learn about the research model and conduct research on self-driving cars. Then in the Check for Understanding, students write a research question and find three reliable sources that could be used to answer the research question. This assessment is graded using a standards-aligned rubric to measure the students’ development of ideas, structure, and use of language.
  • In Unit 4, Activity 4.9, students learn about the element of hyperbole. In the lesson, there are multiple points for assessing students' understanding. The teacher gives direct instruction at the beginning of the activity. Then when reading “Mooses” by Ted Hughes, the students annotate for alliteration and hyperbole. The teacher monitors and supports students as needed. Later the students go back to the previous text and find examples of hyperbole using a graphic organizer. In the Teacher Wrap, Assess section, teachers utilize the following suggestions to check student understanding: “Assess students' understanding of hyperbole by reviewing the examples they recorded in the graphic organizer for the Working from the Text task.”

Indicator 3l

The purpose/use of each assessment is clear:
0/0

Indicator 3l.i

Assessments clearly denote which standards are being emphasized.
2/2
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 8 meet the criteria that assessments clearly denote which standards are being emphasized.

The materials include both formative and summative assessments, including end of unit assessments, embedded assessments, and activity quizzes. Standards are clearly denoted for each assessment. The standards are divided into Focus Standards—those that are emphasized and are always included—and Additional Standards when applicable. Assessments include a list of correlated standards and standards for individual items are located in the Assessments tab. Other locations of standards include the following: on the actual Assessment (End of Unit Assessments and Activity Quizzes) and in the Teacher Wrap (for Embedded Assessments).

Some examples are as follows:

  • In Unit 1, End of Unit Assessment, Part 1 denotes 15 different standards being assessed. The materials list standards RL 8.1 and 8.2 for Question 2, a Part A/Part B question. The assessment item includes links to the full text of the associated standards.
  • In Unit 3, Activity 3.7, students answer three questions aligned to standards W.8.8, SL 8.1b, and SL 8.4 during an Activity Quiz. The Activity Quiz includes a link to the full text of the standard.
  • In Unit 2, Embedded Assessment 1, students write an informative essay and participate in a collaborative discussion. The Teacher Wrap lists the Focus Standards as W.8.2 and W.8.3. The Additional Standards listed are RL.8.2, W.8.2d, W.8.9, and L.8.1.
  • In Unit 4, Activity 4.10, students explore comedic wordplay. The Focus Standards, which are RL.8.4, L.8.5a, and W.8.4, are listed along with their associated full text. Two Additional Standards, RL.8.2 and L.8.1a, are listed without their associated full text.

Indicator 3l.ii

Assessments provide sufficient guidance to teachers for interpreting student performance and suggestions for follow-up.
1/2
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 8 partially meet the criteria that assessments provide sufficient guidance to teachers for interpreting student performance and suggestions for follow up.

The Grade 8 SpringBoard materials include quality scoring rubrics and scoring guidance that allow teachers to gather accurate measures of mastery of standards for both culminating Embedded Assessments and also formative assessments included in the activities. Standards alignment for Embedded Assessments is listed in the Teacher Wrap. The following items are also located in the Teacher Wrap: guidelines for scoring, specific directions for student work, and strategies and suggestions for students who are struggling with a particular task. Teachers may assign shorter Activity Quizzes at the end of a lesson or longer End of Unit Assessments. The teacher has access to the metadata for each Activity Quiz and End of Unit Assessment question, including difficulty level, Depth of Knowledge (DOK) level, Bloom’s Taxonomy level, and standards alignment. However, the materials do not provide guidance for the teacher to interpret assessment data or provide suggestions for follow-up for the assessments provided, including Embedded Assessments, Activity Quizzes, or End of Unit Assessments.

Some examples are as follows:

  • In Unit 1, Embedded Assessment 2, students write a definition essay. They are evaluated on ideas, structure, and use of language using the following ratings: exemplary, proficient, emerging, or incomplete. Each of these markers has specific bulleted points regarding the essay to aid in scoring. The Focus Standards for this activity are listed as W.8.2 and W.8.9. Additional Standards are included as well: W.8.2a, W.8.2c, W.8.2d, W.8.2f, and W.8.8. For follow-up, students reflect on their work by answering the questions provided in text and place the final draft and the reflection in their portfolios.
  • In Unit 2, Activity 2.2, students complete a Check for Understanding task at the end of the Activity. Students return to the Venn diagram completed earlier, focusing on utopia v. dystopia. They use one comparison and one contrast and write a sentence using a transitional word or phrase. In the Teacher Wrap, the teacher uses this as an assessment and is instructed to “ensure that the Venn diagram lists characteristics for both men (Grant and Lee) and that they have items that overlap,” and “...make sure they have listed at least one similarity and one difference based on their Venn diagram.” In the Adapt section of the Teacher Wrap, teachers receive the following guidance: “If students need additional help creating their Venn diagram, have them work in pairs to create separate bullet point lists for each man. Have them underline the characteristics that both men share.”
  • In Unit 3, Embedded Assessment 1, students present ideas from the Holocaust readings. They are evaluated on ideas, structure, and use of language using the following ratings: exemplary, proficient, emerging, or incomplete. Each of these markers has specific bulleted points regarding the discussion to aid in scoring. The Focus Standards for this activity are listed as L.8.5, RL.8.4, and W.8.5. For follow-up, students reflect on their work by answering the questions provided in text and place the final draft and the reflection in their portfolios.
  • In Unit 4, End of Unit Assessments, the digital platform includes two digital assessments comprising a text and fifteen multiple choice questions. Each question also includes metadata for the teacher. The metadata includes the difficulty level, DOK level, Bloom’s Level and CCSS alignment. However, no guidance is provided on interpretation or suggestions for follow-up steps.

Indicator 3m

Materials should include routines and guidance that point out opportunities to monitor student progress.
2/2
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 8 meet the criteria that materials should include routines and guidance that point out opportunities to monitor student progress.

The materials include routines to monitor student progress. Questions after reading, activity quizzes, and discussion questions all offer teachers the opportunity to gauge student progress throughout each unit. These monitoring suggestions are provided in the Teacher Wrap.

Some examples are as follows:

  • In Unit 1, Activity 1.5, students read the poem “Ithaka” by Constantine P. Cavafy. The Teacher Wrap includes guidance after the First Read. The suggestions are as follows: “Before reading the text for the second time, guide the class in a brief discussion by asking the Making Observations questions. Evaluate students' comprehension of the text based on their observations, and ask follow-up questions or prompt them to reread sections of the poem if needed.” While students answer the Returning to the Text questions, teachers “Move from group to group and listen in as students answer the text-dependent questions. If they have difficulty, scaffold the questions by rephrasing them or breaking them down into smaller parts. See the Scaffolding the Text-Dependent Questions boxes for suggestions.”
  • In Unit 2, Activity 2.15, students work on the essay for Embedded Assessment 1. In the Assess section of the Teacher Wrap, guidance prompts teachers to “Review students' responses to the Check Your Understanding task to ensure that they have generated a quality research question and found three credible sources. Make sure that they have shown that they can find, select, and evaluate appropriate sources. Use students' responses to the writing prompt to ensure they understand the author's claim. Confirm that they can provide an accurate restatement of the author's argument in their own words and list specific details from the article. Have students include their own commentary on whether they were persuaded by the author's argument.”
  • In Unit 3, Activity 3.14, students read an excerpt from a memoir by Elie Wiesel and a poem by Martin Niemoller and compare thematic development across genres. In the Teacher Wrap section, the materials provide the following teacher guidance to ensure students are progressing toward the goals: “Review students' responses to the Focus on the Sentence task. Look for evidence that students understand how the texts differ and how they are the same. Make sure students have included coherent statements that compare and contrast the structure, language, and/or theme of the texts.”
  • In Unit 4, Activity 4.13, students read an excerpt from the novel Seedfolks by Paul Fleischman and answer text-specific questions after reading. In the Teacher Wrap, teachers receive guidance to monitor student progress. The suggestions are as follows: “Move from group to group and listen in as students answer the text-dependent questions. If they have difficulty, scaffold the questions by rephrasing them or breaking them down into smaller parts. See the Scaffolding the Text-Dependent Question boxes for suggestions.”

Indicator 3n

Materials indicate how students are accountable for independent reading based on student choice and interest to build stamina, confidence, and motivation.
0/0
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 8 meet the criteria that materials indicate how students are accountable for independent reading based on student choice and interest to build stamina, confidence, and motivation.

The Grade 8 SpringBoard materials provide students with multiple ways for students to engage in independent reading. Independent reading is integrated into the curriculum materials to increase student literacy skills by improving stamina, confidence, and motivation. A list of suggested titles students can choose from for independent reading is included at the beginning of each unit in the Planning the Unit section. The list includes literary and informational texts that support the topics presented in the unit. Independent Reading Checks are placed throughout the units to hold students accountable for their reading, including Independent Reading Links that bridge their learning with their independent reading. Finally there is a digital reading log that students complete as they independently read to “...record their progress and thinking.”

  • In Unit 1, Planning the Unit, there is a list of information and literature recommendations for independent reading that “...relate to the themes and content of the unit.” For example, in Unit 1, some of the recommended titles included are as follows The Maze Runner by James Dashner, Hero by Mike Lupica, and The Keeper by Mal Peet.
  • In Unit 2, Activity 2.4, as part of an Independent Reading Link, students complete outside independent reading tied to the activities completed in class. Students answer the questions “What challenges are faced by the protagonist of your independent text? How do these challenges illustrate the conventions of dystopian literature? Is the challenge the protagonist faces similar to that of the class novel? If so, how? Write a summary of what you have read so far, citing evidence from sources outside the text, in your Reader/Writer Notebook.”
  • In Unit 3, Activity 3.12, during an Independent Reading Link, students read and analyze the impactful language in found poetry that focuses on the Holocaust. To create a connection between independent reading and classwork, the materials include the following instructions: “Choose a passage from the Holocaust narrative you are reading independently to transform into a found poem. Perform an oral reading of your poem at the final Literature Circle meeting.”
  • In the Resources page there is an independent reading log for students to use to “...record your progress and thinking about your independent reading during each unit.”

Criterion 3o - 3r

Materials provide teachers with strategies for meeting the needs of a range of learners so that they demonstrate independent ability with grade-level standards.
10/10
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Criterion Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 8 meet the criteria for differentiated instruction. The materials include a number of scaffolds and strategies to support the needs of a range of learners. Leveled, differentiated, instructional supports for English learners, students who need additional scaffolding or support, and students who need extensions or more advanced opportunities are built into the curriculum. Suggestions for grouping students are outlined in the Teacher Wrap.

Indicator 3o

Materials provide teachers with strategies for meeting the needs of a range of learners so the content is accessible to all learners and supports them in meeting or exceeding the grade-level standards.
2/2
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 8 meet the criteria that materials provide teachers with strategies for meeting the needs of range of learners so the content is accessible to all learners and supports them in meeting or exceeding the grade-level standards.

The materials include strategies to meet the needs of all learners in meeting the grade-level standards. In the Planning the Unit section, the materials provide multiple Pathways to incorporate the core ELA activities with additional Foundational Skills, Language, Close Reading, and Writing Workshops to support the needs of a range of learners. The Planning the Unit section also includes an Independent Reading List to provide options for independent reading based on topic, student choice, and text complexity The Teacher Wrap includes strategies for scaffolding activities in the Scaffolding Text-Dependent Questions, Leveled Differentiated Instruction, and Adapt sections. Additionally, the Teacher Wrap provides specific guidance on how to adjust tasks to meet students on the following levels—Developing, Expanding, Bridging, Support, and Extend.

Some examples are as follows:

  • In the Planning the Unit section, there is a Spanish cognates list for every unit to support ELL students whose first language is Spanish. For example in Unit 2, the list includes, but is not limited to Socratic/Socratico and antagonist/antagonista.
  • In the Planning the Unit section, there are a few customized pathways for teachers to follow based on students’ needs. For example, the Language Development Pathway includes additional activities that include the Language Workshop and Foundational Skills Workshop. For example, in Unit 1, the Language Development Pathway includes, but is not limited to, a Language Workshop 1A.1 Genre Focus and the option to complete the Embedded Assessment 1 collaboratively.
  • For many Activities, the Teacher Wrap includes a section called Leveled Differentiated Instruction that offers support to the teacher to differentiate a task based on students’ Developing, Expanding, Bridging, Support, or Extend levels. For example, in Unit 3, Activity 3.5, students engage in a task to explain “...how the theme of this story is similar to the theme of Weisel’s excerpt and Niemoller’s poem.” The Developing instructions state, “Have students take turns with a partner asking and answering the following questions to check their writing: Is your writing organized? Did you use a topic sentence? Did you include evidence from the text?...” For Extend, the directions state, “Have students work with a partner to discuss how the themes in the excerpt and the poem are different. Have volunteers share some ideas they generated during discussion.”
  • In Unit 4, Activity 4.5, the Teacher Wrap provides teachers with guidance to ensure all students can successfully address the writing prompt. The Adapt section states, “If students need additional help explaining how Barry uses humor to express universal truths, supply them with a list of possible topics on which Barry is commenting.”
  • The Teacher Wrap includes specific prompts to scaffold each activity’s text-based questions. For example, in Unit 4, Activity 4.16, Question 3 asks students “How does the use of apostrophes affect the meaning of the lines in this excerpt?” In the Scaffolding the Text-dependent Questions section of the Teacher Wrap, teacher guidance includes the following verbiage to support students: “Reread line 284. Try reading it out loud first without the apostrophe (in other words, read “Fine, in faith!”) and then with it (“Fine, i’faith!”) What difference do you hear?”

Indicator 3p

Materials regularly provide all students, including those who read, write, speak, or listen below grade level, or in a language other than English, with extensive opportunities to work with grade level text and meet or exceed grade-level standards.
4/4
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 8 meet the criteria that materials regularly provide all students, including those who read, write, speak, or listen below grade level, or in a language other than English, with extensive opportunities to work with grade-level text and meet or exceed grade-level standards.

The SpringBoard instructional materials include multiple opportunities and support for English Language Learner (ELL) students. The materials include a Cognate Directory in the Planning the Unit section in order to provide support for students whose first language is Spanish. Teachers have the option to substitute Language Development Pathway units for Instructional Pathway units. While the Language Development Pathway includes many of the activities from the core ELA Pathway, this supplemental support also includes additional embedded language in the form of Language Workshops to support ELLs. Additionally, Foundational Skills Workshops are suggested for small groups of students who need support for and practice with fundamental reading skills. The Leveled Differentiated Instruction section of the Teacher Wrap provides detailed guidance for supporting English Learners at World-class Instructional Design and Assessment (WIDA) levels—Beginning, Developing, Expanding, Bridging—as well as differentiation for a level called Support. This guidance includes both accommodations and modification of work for students at varying levels where appropriate. Furthermore, in the Teacher Wrap, the Plan-Teach-Assess-Adapt sequence Adapt section provides strategies for students who need additional scaffolding or support. For activities with Returning to the Text questions, a section on Scaffolding Text-Dependent Questions is provided in the Teacher Wrap. This section gives guidance on scaffolding vocabulary or concepts for students for each of the Returning to the Text questions.

Some examples are as follows:

  • In Unit 1, Planning the Unit, the materials provide the following guidance: “If your class includes Spanish speakers, consider adding the following cognates to your classroom Word Wall. For English Language Learners whose primary language is not Spanish, consider using an online translator or dictionary to support comprehension of vocabulary terms.”
  • In Unit 2, Activity 2.3, the Adapt section of the Teacher Wrap includes teacher guidance for students who need support. If students need assistance using direct quotations, the teacher should direct them to read the story again and underline quotations that support the claim. Then, students may rephrase those ideas in their own words.
  • In Unit 4, Activity 4.8, the Teacher Wrap section suggests the following to provide adaptations for students who have barriers in the learning process: “If students need additional help identifying comic situations in the passage, have them break into pairs and read a selected chunk aloud. Have them record instances where the listener laughs at the text.”

Indicator 3q

Materials regularly include extensions and/or more advanced opportunities for students who read, write, speak, or listen above grade level.
2/2
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 8 meet the criteria that materials regularly include extensions and/or more advanced opportunities for students who read, write, speak, or listen above grade level.

Within each unit, the Teacher Wrap includes suggestions for Leveled Differentiated Instruction. The Extend level provides ways “to stretch students who are ready for a challenge.” The teaching model provided in the Teacher Wrap follows a plan, teach, assess, and adapt structure. There are sometimes suggestions for ways in which teachers can engage their students in a greater challenge, within the Adapt section of the Teacher Wrap. Connections for the SAT and AP program content are provided in the Planning the Unit section. Occasionally, the Suggestions for the Independent Reading List provide suggestions for students who read above grade level. The materials also state that the Flexible Pathways offer opportunities to extend learning, but explicit directions on how to utilize the workshops to provide more advanced opportunities for students above grade level are not provided.

Some examples are as follows:

  • In the Introduction to SpringBoard English Language Arts, the materials state, “flexible activities from SpringBoard's Close Reading Workshop, Writing Workshop, or Flexible Novel Units that enable teachers to extend, support, or customize instruction.” However, it is unclear in the materials how these Workshops are intended for extending instruction for advanced students as explicit instructions are not provided.
  • In the Introduction to SpringBoard English Language Arts, the materials provide an overview of the support offered in the Leveled Differentiated Instruction section of the Teacher Wrap; “The suggestions provide the tools that learners at various levels of language proficiency need to successfully participate in class.” Support is provided for the WIDA levels Beginning, Developing, Bridging, and Expanding, as well as two additional levels labeled Support and Extend. The Extend level is defined as, “Extend suggests ways to stretch students who are ready for a challenge.”
  • In Unit 1, Activity 1.7, the Teacher to Teacher section of the Teacher Wrap includes an extension activity for students. The materials state, “To support or extend learning, use alternate translations of the text. Note that though ‘The Odyssey’ is considered an epic poem, it is often (as here) translated into prose. This activity includes a poetic translation of a portion of the text, as well. Audio support could also be provided.”
  • In Unit 2, the Leveled Differentiated Instruction in the Teacher Wrap includes Extend activities two times. In Activity 2.3, the Extend suggestion is as follows: “Have students research and write about references to utopia such as Shangri-La, the Garden of Eden, and the Promised Land.” In Activity 2.16, the Level Differentiated Instruction section suggests students use the Round Table Discussion Graphic Organizer to better comprehend the text. The Extend suggestion states, “Have students use the graphic organizer to discuss the author’s purpose. Why might the author have written this article? Who was it written for? Where do you think this article was published and why?”
  • In Unit 3, Planning the Unit, Suggestions for Independent Reading, one title of the fifty-five titles included have a Lexile measure that is at or beyond the recommended stretch band for Grade 8.

Indicator 3r

Materials provide opportunities for teachers to use a variety of grouping strategies.
2/2
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 8 meet the criteria that materials provide opportunities for teachers to use a variety of grouping strategies.

The Grade 8 SpringBoard materials provide multiple, but strategic collaborative grouping settings in every unit. Students are placed in pairs, triads, small or large group settings to maximize their learning opportunities. For example, there might be discussion before writing, or collaborative work before independent work. The Teacher Wrap gives specific instructions on how to group the students, and materials needed for the task. The Resource section at the end of the textbook lists the Collaborative Strategies included in the materials with the definition and purpose of the strategy.

Some examples are as follows:

  • In Unit 1, Activity 1.8, students work with a partner to fill out a graphic organizer. In the Teacher Wrap, teacher guidance states, “Form pairs and ask students to complete the Working from the Text graphic organizer. Tell students to skim/scan parts of the text before forming a response.”
  • In Unit 2, Activity 2.12, students participate in a debate. The student materials give instructions and sentence starters such as “I agree with your point about…, but it is also important to consider…” for the debate. As students listen to their peers, they complete a note catcher on the use of rhetorical appeals and whether they were effective or not. In the Teacher Wrap, guidance directs teachers on how to set up the class for the debate. “Preparing for and conducting the debate can be accomplished in many ways. Consider assigning pro or con to each half of the class, and then work in small groups to create effective support for the group’s claim…” The task incorporates an additional strategy Four Corners “To provide English Language Learners an opportunity to rehearse their speaking in small groups before debating with the class…”
  • In Unit 3, Activity 3.5, students work with a group to plan and present a “dramatic interpretation of a passage.” The Teacher to Teacher section of the Teacher Wrap includes directions for grouping students. “There will be eight groups and four passages from the story. Groups will be paired so they can view another interpretation of the same passage. Chunk Terrible Things by events, select four chunks (beginning, middle, middle, and end) then select one passage per chunk for dramatic interpretation.”
  • In Unit 4, Activity 4.5, students complete text-dependent questions in small groups. The Teacher Wrap states, “Have students work in small groups to reread the text and respond to questions.” Collaborative Strategies in the Resource section of the materials includes the following information about Discussion Groups: “Definition: Engaging in an interactive, small-group discussion, often with an assigned role; to consider a topic, text, or question Purpose: To gain new understanding of or insight into a text from multiple perspectives.”

Criterion 3s - 3v

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 8 meet the criteria for effective technology use. Although digital materials are web-based, they were not compatible with multiple internet browsers. While the platform was accessible using Internet Explorer, use required multiple clearings of the cache while navigating the platform. Digital materials were not compatible with Microsoft Edge. Embedded technology, such as videos and digital graphic organizers, enhances student learning. The materials provide opportunities to personalize learning for whole classes, but there are not opportunities to differentiate the materials based on individual student’s needs. While the digital platform allows some customization, adaptive or assistive technologies, such as text-to-speech, are not available. Teachers can customize lessons and add Workshops, within the digital platform. Lesson plans and assessments can also be customized. While the materials include a number of digital collaborative opportunities, there are limited opportunities for teacher-student collaboration.

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.
0/0
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 8 partially meet the criteria that digital materials (either included as supplementary to a textbook or as part of a digital curriculum) are web-based, compatible with multiple internet browsers (e.g., Internet Explorer, Firefox, Google Chrome, etc.),platform neutral” (i.e., Windows and Apple and are not proprietary to any single platform), follow universal programming style, and allow the use of tablets and mobile devices.

The Grade 8 SpringBoard English Language Arts Teacher Edition / National 2021 instructional materials reviewed function well on Firefox and Google Chrome using Windows 10 and MacIntosh operating systems. The materials functioned on a variety of common platforms and operating systems. They functioned using the Internet Explorer platform but required multiple clearings of the cache when navigating between different tabs in the SpringBoard Bookshelf. The materials did not function well on the Microsoft Edge browser.

Some examples are as follows:

  • When using Microsoft Edge, only the “next” and “previous” hyperlinks worked for navigation, requiring the user to click page by page instead of being able to use the Table of Contents. The left-hand sidebar was not functional. The unit activity links (e.g., 1.7) do not direct the user to the activity but rather to the top of the unit page (e.g., Unit 1: Stories of Change). The links to add text, links, or an attachment are not functional on Microsoft Edge.
  • Multiple links within the text itself do not direct the user to the activities (e.g., the link for Embedded Assessment 1 in Activity 1.1: Previewing the Unit).

Indicator 3t

Materials support effective use of technology to enhance student learning, drawing attention to evidence and texts as appropriate.
0/0
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 8 meet the criteria that materials support effective use of technology to enhance student learning, drawing attention to evidence and texts as appropriate.

The instructional materials include various uses of technology throughout the units to enhance student learning. Each unit includes activities that integrate the use of technology through web-based research, digital annotations of text, videos, digital graphic organizers, and the SpringBoard digital platform. In addition, the digital platform provides various technology tools— Ebook SmartTools—that allow students to practice and apply the skills they are learning such as marking the text, highlighting the text, using sticking notes, and defining words by the right click of the mouse. It also provides the opportunity to share to Google Classroom. SpringBoard also offers a digital resource called Zinc, which students may use during independent reading. Zinc Reading Labs offers a variety of informational and literary texts that teachers may assign and that students may self-select.

Some examples are as follows:

  • In Unit 1, Activity 1.7, students complete the following Independent Reading Link task: “You can continue to build your knowledge about this theme by reading related poetry and fiction at ZINC Reading Labs. Select the poetry and fiction filters and type keywords such as heroes or challenges in the Search all ZINC articles field.”
  • In Unit 3, Activity 3.18, students use technology to enhance their learning during a research assignment. “Research examples of public service announcements and campaigns. You might use the Internet, listen to radio, watch television, or look at a newspaper or magazine ads to find examples. Find at least three examples that appeal to you, and evaluate them for the clarity of their messages, use of visuals and multimedia elements, and effectiveness.”
  • In Unit 3, Embedded Assessment 2, the Teacher Wrap provides teachers with the following instructions: “Be sure students understand the components of a multimedia campaign. Videos, Prezi, and PowerPoint are effective media channels for presentation. Students could also present a low-tech version of a campaign with posters, scripted scenes, music selections, etc.”
  • In Unit 4, Activity 4.18, students complete a digital graphic organizer to learn about communication skills. The graphic organizer includes links to three different articles that outline a specific aspect of communication, and students type what they learned from each article on the digital graphic organizer.

Indicator 3u

Materials can be easily customized for individual learners.
0/0

Indicator 3u.i

Digital materials include opportunities for teachers to personalize learning for all students, using adaptive or other technological innovations.
0/0
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 8 partially meet the criteria that digital materials include opportunities for teachers to personalize learning for all students, using adaptive or other technological innovations.

The materials provide teachers with a variety of opportunities to personalize learning for their students or classes as a whole, but do not provide technology solutions for differentiation based on individual students’ needs. For example, the SpringBoard Grade 8 Instructional Pathways for each unit can be customized for student needs but not individualized. In the Teacher Wrap, the teacher can make additions and revisions to the lesson plan by using the Add and Edit feature. The Teacher Wrap also includes guidance for differentiation and can be used to support or extend students learning as needed. Assessments, including Digital Assessments, may be customized, as well. The onus of the personalization falls on the teacher, as the students have little ability to control their own pathway. While the digital platform allows for some customization, adaptive or assistive technologies, such as text-to-speech, are not utilized within the materials.

Some examples are as follows:

  • Teachers have opportunities to differentiate Activities and lessons and the Teacher Wrap includes suggestions for those opportunities. However, changes cannot be made to the student content on the digital platform, so teachers would have to adjust instruction without using technology. For example, in Unit 2, Activity 2.3, the Teacher Wrap states, “If students need a reminder of how to embed quotations correctly, revisit the Language & Writer's craft in Activity 1.13. Connect this learning to brackets.”
  • The Teacher Wrap includes the ability for teachers to add notes or materials by clicking on the Edit or Add Section links in the Teacher Wrap.
  • The digital and embedded assessments may be assigned and adjusted based on student needs. The digital assessments may be assigned to one student, some students or all students. There are no accessibility features, such as highlighting and annotating, available for the digital assessments. While digital tools like highlighting are available, these tools are not adaptive technologies.
  • In the Zinc Reading Lab, students have the ability to choose their own independent reading materials. There is a list of titles at differing reading levels, genres, and categories. Some Spanish titles are included in the list as well.

Indicator 3u.ii

Materials can be easily customized for local use.
0/0
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 8 meet the criteria that materials can be easily customized for local use.

The Grade 8 SpringBoard materials have many features that allow customization for local use. The teachers have the ability to customize the lessons in Instructional Pathways by using the digital platform to add workshops for Foundational Skills, Close Reading, Writing, and Language. Teachers may use the Edit feature in the Teacher Wrap to revise or change the lesson plans.The Assessments, Activity Quizzes, and End of Unit Assessments may be customized and presented to the students in a way that meets their needs. For example, assessments may be printed out or completed digitally. The lessons and assessments may also be added to a Google Classroom. An additional program, Zinc Reading Labs, may be seamlessly integrated into the core program to provide additional independent reading opportunities. Within the Zinc Reading Labs, students have the ability to choose from a wide variety of suggested titles for independent reading, including some written in Spanish. Finally, in the Class Roster, teachers may customize their class by creating groups within the class to monitor certain students closely.

Some examples include:

  • Teachers may customize the Instructional Pathway for their classes by adding the suggested Close Reading, Writing, Foundational Skills and/or Language Workshops in each unit. The Planning the Unit section for each unit states, “Teachers can build customized pathways through this unit by making purposeful choices about which resources to use based on students' learning needs. The charts below outline a few possible pathways to show how teachers might integrate digital assessments, Language Workshops, Close Reading Workshops, and Writing Workshops into instruction. Additional planning resources—including detailed standards correlations—are available on SpringBoard Digital.” The section includes a list of workshops to assist teachers with constructing the best learning opportunities for their students. Teachers may assign these workshops to whole classes, groups of students, or individual students.
  • In the Teacher Wrap, the Edit On function allows teachers to make notes, edits, or revisions to lessons.
  • In Assessments, teachers may decide the types questions to include, the assessments to assign, and the format for completing the assessment. There is a mixture of multiple-choice, short answer, extended response, and essay writing questions. The digital assessments may be completed online or they may be printed.
  • The SpringBoard materials also offer additional products that work with the core materials. These include a Close Reading Workshop, Language Workshop, and Writing Workshop. In addition, there is an option to include Zinc, which is an additional source of materials that includes, but is not limited to, independent reading, fluency practice, test prep, and vocabulary instruction.

Indicator 3v

Materials include or reference technology that provides opportunities for teachers and/or students to collaborate with each other (e.g. websites, discussion groups, webinars, etc.).
0/0
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 8 meet the criteria that materials include or reference technology that provides opportunities for teachers and/or students to collaborate with each other (e.g., websites, discussion groups, webinars, etc.).

The materials provide numerous opportunities for students to collaborate with each other in the classroom and reference opportunities for collaborating via technology when appropriate. Limited opportunities for teachers to collaborate with students exist; however, the materials provide two opportunities for teachers to collaborate with their peers via technology. Teachers may collaborate with each other using SpringBoard Community which is linked on the teacher digital homescreen. They may also work together on professional development by using the Professional Development tab located on the teacher digital homescreen. The materials may also be added to Google Classroom via a button found on each digital page, providing potential opportunities for teacher to student collaboration.

Some examples are as follows:

  • The SpringBoard Coordinators Manual provides details about the SpringBoard Online Community, which allows teachers to collaborate with other teachers utilizing the SpringBoard Materials. The materials state the Online Community is “A cloud-based community of SpringBoard teachers, instructional leaders, and trainers across the country who: Share resources, activity ideas, best practices to enhance classroom instruction and can also collaborate in various other ways.”
  • On the digital platform, teachers have the capability to share the unit activities to Google Classroom which allows students to have access to collaborate with others.
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Additional Publication Details

Report Published Date: 08/27/2020

Report Edition: 2021

Title ISBN Edition Publisher Year
National Edition English Language Arts Print Teacher Edition 978-1-4573-1287-8 Teacher College Board 2021
National Edition English Language Arts Print Student Edition 978-1-4573-1294-6 Student College Board 2021

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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