Alignment: Overall Summary

Springboard Grade 9 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
15
28
32
31
28-32
Meets Expectations
16-27
Partially Meets Expectations
0-15
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
31
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 9 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.
15/16
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Criterion Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 9 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/core texts are of publishable quality and worthy of especially careful reading.
4/4
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Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Grade 9 meet the criteria for anchor texts being of publishable quality and worthy of especially careful reading.

Texts within the units provide interesting and engaging subject matter that enable students to make personal and universal connections. The majority of texts are previously published and written by well-known authors. Texts range from historical to modern-day literature and represent a variety of text genres and multicultural and socially relevant themes across units. The units are designed to provide students a variety of text types centered on a topic, genre, or analytical skill; therefore, many units do not have an identifiable anchor text.

Some examples include:

  • Unit 1 includes “Lamb to the Slaughter” by award winning Roald Dahl, well-known author of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Students will enjoy the dark humor and suspenseful twists.
  • Unit 1 also includes “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge” (Part 2) by Ambrose Bierce who was an author, journalist, and Civil War veteran. This short story is considered a part of the American literature anthology and provides students with historical context about the Civil War.
  • Unit 2 includes excerpts of the canonical Romeo and Juliet by globally recognized playwright William Shakespeare. As a timeless classic, the story of an ill-fated teenage romance still connects to students today.
  • Unit 2 also includes the poem and an excerpt of the short story “Lottery” by Rasma Haidri, a modern American author and poet. The poem depicts day-to-day events and dreams, and the essay discusses the writer’s revision process for writing the poem in a way to which students can relate.
  • Unit 3 includes an essay “The Work You Do, the Person You Are” by Nobel Prize winning author Toni Morrison. Published in The New Yorker, the way in which the author refers to “Her” in the essay allows students to imagine what the person may look like or how she speaks.
  • Unit 3 also includes “Remarks by the President in a National Address to America’s Schoolchildren” by President Barack Obama. The speech’s conversational style and contemporary language make it accessible and interesting to readers.
  • Unit 4 includes excerpts from the Common Core exemplar text To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee. The timeless classic won Lee a Pulitzer Prize for Fiction for addressing topics of racial prejudice, societal classes, justice, and humanity that still apply today.
  • Unit 4 also includes another exemplar text, an excerpt of the dystopian novel Fahrenheit 451 by award winning science fiction author Ray Bradbury. The text contains timeless topics and themes and can help readers uncover perceptions of a third person narrator.

Indicator 1b

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

The instructional materials for Grade 9 reflect a balance of distribution of text types and genres, both literary and informational, across the instructional year. Students engage with a variety of text types suggested by the standards including journals, speeches, essays, short stories, editorials, graphic novels, articles, drama, memoirs, novels, and letters. Each unit is focused on a specific text type with multiple examples of each. Within a particular unit, the genre and type may not vary, but across the year, materials reflect the distribution required by the standards.

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

  • Unit 1, Telling Details, primarily features literary short stories and narrative essays with a focus on narrative elements such as characterization, author’s craft, descriptive details, tone, and theme. Some of the literary texts included are:
    • “The First Day” by Edward P. Jones
    • “What Happened During the Ice Storm” by Jim Heynen
    • “Lamb to the Slaughter” by Roald Dahl
    • “An Occurrence at Owl Creek” by Ambrose Pierce
    • “The Gift of the Magi” by O. Henry
  • Unit 2, Pivotal Words and Phrases, features a variety of poetry and drama excerpts, including Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. The unit focuses on how authors create meaning through word choice, sound, structure, imagery, and dramatic elements. Some of the texts included are:
    • “The Fight” by John Montague (poem)
    • “An Irish Airman Foresees His Death” by W. B. Yeats (poem)
    • “Bilingual/Bilingüe” by Rhina P. Espaillat (poem)
    • Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare (various excerpts)
    • West Side Story by Authur Laurents (various excerpts)
  • Unit 4, Powerful Openings, features multiple excerpts from novels with a focus on literary analysis. The unit utilizes various excerpts to focus on the role of the narrator, conflict, symbols, shifting perspectives, and controversy. The unit also includes informational texts that align to topics covered in the novel excerpts. Excerpts include works from:
    • 1984 by George Orwell
    • Out of My Mind by Sharon Draper
    • The Girl Who Fell From the Sky by Heidi W. Durrow
    • To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee


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

  • Unit 1, Telling Details, includes several informational texts such as photography and personal essays on writing. Some of the texts included are:
    • “Quiet Places” by Mitch Epstein (photography)
    • “Bread” by Margaret Atwood
    • “Draft No 4” by John McPhee
    • “Write Badly to Write Well” by Donald M Murray
  • Unit 2, Pivotal Words and Phrases, contains one informational essay about poetry revision titled “Lottery” by Rasma Haidri (essay)
  • Unit 3, Compelling Evidence, features various argumentative essays with a focus on using evidence and rhetorical strategies to build and refute arguments. This unit is completely informational with a majority of essays, arguments, and speeches.
    • “The Work You Do, the Person You Are,” by Toni Morrison
    • “Teenagers Have Stopped Getting Summer Jobs—Why?,” by Derek Thompson
    • “Even With Debt, College Still Pays Off,” by Gillian B. White
    • “Why College Isn’t (And Shouldn’t Have to Be) For Everyone,” by Robert Reich
    • “Remarks by the President in a National Address to America’s Schoolchildren, Wakefield High School, Arlington, Virginia, September 8, 2009,” by President Barack Obama
  • Unit 4, Powerful Openings, provides informational texts, such as letters, articles, news, and archived material, that align to topics covered in the featured novel excerpts. Informational texts include:
    • “In Defense of To Kill a Mockingbird, ” by Jill May (excerpt)
    • “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
    • “An Act of Courage: The Arrest Records of Rosa Parks,” from the National Archives
    • “Negroes’ Boycott Cripples Bus Line,” from The New York Times
    • “Re: Visit to Edisto Beach State Park ” by Donald B Cooler (letter)

Indicator 1c

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

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

Publishers provide a Text Complexity Measures document that indicates the quantitative data, qualitative analysis, and task considerations for the significant texts in each unit. The analysis uses Lexile and qualitative measures based on CCSS Appendix A (pages 5–6). Poetry and canonical or Common Core exemplar texts are not included in this document.

While some texts fall below the College and Career Expectations for Lexile Ranges in the grades 9-10 stretch band (1050–1335L), the publishers provide a rationale based on the complexity of the qualitative features and/or the student task associated with the text. Most texts below the grade band are accompanied by a more rigorous task or require more student independence.

Some examples include:

  • Unit 1 contains a larger number of texts below the recommended grade band with a range of 590L to 1230L; however, publishers indicate that the texts are placed strategically in the beginning of the year and most texts are used for more complex student tasks. The majority of texts are short stories that have been previously published.
    • Activity 1.6 text “What Happened During the Ice Storm” by Jim Heynen: Quantitative, 590L: Qualitative, Low Difficulty: Moderate–Analyze
    • Activity 1.7 text “The Red Fox Fur Coat by Tiolinda Gersao: Quantitative,1230L: Qualitative, High Difficulty: Task, Moderate–Analyze
    • Activity 1.17 text “Games at Twilight” by Anita Desai: Quantitative, 1140L: Qualitative, Moderately Difficult: Task, Moderate–Analyze
  • Unit 2 contains poetry and excerpts of Romeo and Juliet which has a Lexile of 1260. Publishers provide a text complexity analysis for one additional text, “Lottery” by Rasma Haidri with a Lexile score of 1170 and a qualitative measurement of moderately difficult.
  • For Unit 3, the majority of texts fall within the grade band with a quantitative score range of 940L to a high of 1460L. Publishers provide text analyses for nine texts in the unit which consist mostly of articles, reports, and essays.
    • Activity 3.3 text “Drowning in Dishes, but Finding a Home” by Danial Adkison: Quantitative, 940L: Qualitative, Low Difficulty: Task, Challenging–Evaluate
    • Activity 3.9 text “Teenagers have Stopped Getting Summer Jobs--Why?” by Derek Thompson: Quantitative, 1180L: Qualitative, Moderately Difficult: Task, Challenging–Evaluate
    • Activity 3.12 text “Why College Isn't (And Shouldn’t Have to Be) for Everyone” by Robert Reich: Quantitative, 1340L: Qualitative, Moderate: Task, Challenging–Evaluate
  • Unit 4 texts include multiple excerpts that fall below the recommended grade range but the publisher rationale is that the associated tasks are moderately difficult to complex. The unit features excerpts from the central text To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. However, the focus of the unit is on “Powerful Openings” and publishers use a variety of exemplary novel excerpts from a range of 340L to 1340L for students to analyze.
    • Activity 4.5 includes a paired text lesson: an excerpt Out of My Mind by Sharon Draper: Quantitative, 340L: Qualitative, Low Difficulty: Task, Moderate–Analyze
    • Activity 4.25 text from the essay “In Defense of To Kill A Mockingbird by Jill May: Quantitative, 1180L: Qualitative, High Difficulty: Task, Challenging–Create
    • Activity 4.28 text excerpt from “Letter from Birmingham Jail” by Martin Luther King, Jr. Quantitative, 1340L: Qualitative, High Difficulty: Task, Moderate–Analyze

Indicator 1d

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 9 meet the criteria for materials supporting 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).

Throughout the four units of study, students encounter challenging, rigorous texts and accompanying lessons, tasks, and assessments. Text selections fall within a range of accessible to very complex and low to high difficulty, with most texts falling within the moderately difficult range. Skills and knowledge build as students analyze a variety of texts and grapple with literary elements to complete two embedded assessments per unit. Thus, students work toward independence of grade level skills within each unit and continue to grow their skills and knowledge of content and topics across the school year. The task demands and expected level of independence also increase across the year.

The complexity of anchor texts support students’ proficiency in reading independently at grade level at the end of the school year. Series of texts include a variety of complexity levels. Some examples include:

  • In the beginning of the year, the focus is writing a literary analysis paragraph. In Unit 1, Telling Details, students work through a variety of tasks focusing on literary devices. For example, at the beginning of the unit, students analyze language choice as a literary device in “Bread” by Margaret Atwood. As students move toward the middle of the unit they read a variety of short stories within a moderate range of text complexity to continue literary analysis. Later in the unit, students create an outline based on “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge” by Ambrose Bierce in order to “develop an analytical paragraph about how Ambrose Bierce uses shifts in language to make a larger statement in the story.” Activities like these lead students to Embedded Assessment 1: Writing A Literary Analysis and Embedded Assessment 2: Writing a Short Story.
  • In the middle of the year, students write an argumentative essay. In Unit 3, Compelling Evidence, Embedded Assessment 1, students write an argumentative essay about the value of a college education. Their essay must be organized as an argument in which they assert a precise claim, support it with reasons and evidence, and acknowledge and refute counterarguments fairly. The Scoring Guide includes criteria for students in the areas of ideas, structure, and use of language with wording and demands similar to those found in the Scoring Guide for the literary essays in the first Embedded Assessment of Units 1 and 4.
  • By the end of year, students research the historical, cultural, social, or geographical context in which the novel To Kill a Mockingbird was written. In Unit 4, Powerful Openings, Embedded Assessment 2, students “investigate how individuals, organizations, and events contributed to change in the United States during the Civil Rights Movement.” They will also work collaboratively to create an oral presentation of their findings with multimedia support and guiding questions for their audience. The scoring guide includes criteria for ideas, structure, and use of language. This scoring guide includes the same criteria that is used to assess students in Unit 1 on the Embedded Assessment 2.

Indicator 1e

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

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

The publisher provides a text complexity document for each grade level which includes a summary or rationale of the placement of the text and the overall, quantitative, qualitative, and task complexity measures. This document also includes qualitative considerations for levels of meaning, structure, language, and knowledge demands. The task considerations explain the assessments associated with the text and how they fit into the overall assessment picture, and reader considerations that help the teacher think about how individual students might understand and engage with the text. Not all texts have a corresponding text complexity analysis in that document. However, the Teacher Wrap and Teacher Edition instructional notes provide a framework with text-specific guidance and purpose for the text. Most tasks such as close reading, independent reading, text-dependent questions, and writing assignments are addressed within the framework and are identified in the Teacher Wrap and Teacher Edition with a rationale for text placement and how the tasks relate to lesson goals and learning targets. The Text Complexity document does not provide information about the poems included in Unit 2 or To Kill a Mockingbird, which is the longest text in Unit 4.

Some examples include:

  • In Unit 1, Telling Details, Activity 1.19, students read “The Leap” by Louise Erdrich. The Text Complexity document provides a Lexile score of 1210L and an overall rating of complex. The Summary section provides this rationale for text placement: “This text is complex for a ninth grade reader, which gives students a reasonable challenge before the Embedded Assessment. The 1210 Lexile measure places the text in the Grade 9–10 band, and the qualitative measures indicate a moderate difficulty level due to the text’s challenging language. The task demands are also moderate, resulting in an overall complex rating.”
  • In Unit 2, Pivotal Words and Phrases, Activity 2.3, The Art of Poetry Revision, students read an excerpt from the essay “Lottery” by Rasma Haidri to learn about how the revision process helps poets unlock the essence of a poem, then analyze the changes among various drafts of an award-winning poem. The Lexile level is 1170 and publishers score the essay at a moderate difficulty. The rationale states, “Though the excerpt includes some academic language, definitions are included to support readers in understanding the more advanced vocabulary.” Under task considerations, the analysis document explains, “Students use this text to gain a greater understanding of the importance of revision, which will benefit them as they prepare to write and revise their Embedded Assessments.” No other texts for this unit are included in the publisher-provided text complexity document.
  • In Unit 3: Compelling Evidence, Activity 3.14, students read the argument essay “Even With Debt, College Still Pays Off” by Gillian B. White. The Text Complexity document provides these complexity measures: Overall: Very Complex; Quantitative: 1460L; Qualitative: High; and Task: Challenging (Create). The Summary section provides this rationale for text placement: “This text is very complex for a ninth grade reader, which is appropriate given that the text is near the end of Unit 3 after students have been exposed to many texts of the same genre. The 1460 Lexile measure places the text above the 9–10 grade level band, and the qualitative measures indicate a high difficulty due to the inclusion of empirical evidence and infographics. The task demands are challenging, resulting in an overall very complex rating.”
  • In Unit 4: Powerful Openings, Activity 4.10, students read an excerpt from the novel The Girl Who Fell From the Sky by Heidi W. Durrow. The Text Complexity document gives a Lexile score of 610L and labels the text overall accessible. The Summary section provides this rationale for text placement: “The text is accessible for a ninth grade reader, which is appropriate given that it is used to develop students’ understanding of the effect of Scout’s narration style in To Kill a Mockingbird, the major novel students will be reading in the unit. The 610 Lexile measure places the text below the 9–10 grade level band, but the qualitative measures indicate a moderate difficulty due to the implied theme. The task demands are also moderate, resulting in an overall accessible rating.”

Indicator 1f

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 9 meet the criteria for anchor and supporting texts provide opportunities for students to engage in a range and volume of reading to achieve grade-level reading proficiency.

Students read and analyze a wide variety of text genres and topics across a broad range of high-quality, increasingly challenging literary and informational texts of varying length. All units come with an overview that includes a table of contents with a list of texts, authors, and genres for each activity. Each unit includes a wide range of text types addressing multiple learning styles of students including but not limited to visuals, texts with audio, and printed texts. Additionally, students experience a volume of reading as they engage in independent reading tasks that are embedded within specific activities and directly aligned to concepts and themes within the unit.

Some examples include:

  • In Unit 1, Telling Details, examples of varied genres include “Bread” by Margaret Atwood (essay), “Quiet Places” by Mitch Epstein (photograph), “The Red Fox Fur Coat” by Teolinda Gersão (short story), “The Gift of the Magi” by O. Henry (short story), “There Will Come Soft Rains” by Ray Bradbury (short story), “The Leap” by Louis Erdrich (short story), and “Write Badly to Write Well” by Donald M. Murray (essay).
  • In Unit 2, Pivotal Words and Phrases, varied texts include Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare (play), “The Fight” by John Montague (poem), an excerpt from West Side Story by Aurthur Laurents (script), “Prayer to the Pacific” by Leslie Marmon Silko (poem), “Bilingual/Bilingüe,” by Rhina P. Espaillat (poem), and “Abuelito Who?” by Sandra Cisneros (poem).
  • Unit 3, Compelling Evidence, includes a range of texts on the topic of careers and work ethics including “The Work You Do, the Person You Are,” by Toni Morrison (essay), “Drowning in Dishes, but Finding a Home,” by Danial Adkison (essay), “Teenagers Have Stopped Getting Summer Jobs—Why?,” by Derek Thompson (argument), and “Remarks by the President in a National Address to America’s Schoolchildren, Wakefield High School, Arlington, Virginia, September 8, 2009,” by President Barack Obama (speech).
  • In Unit 4, Powerful Openings, the majority of the texts are novel excerpts from published works including Out of My Mind by Sharon Draper, Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury, 1984 by George Orwell, The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern, and Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling. The unit also features multiple excerpts from the featured novel To Kill a Mockingbird by Lee Harper and an excerpt from the essay “In Defense of To Kill a Mockingbird” by Jill May.

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

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

The materials provide frequent opportunities for students to interact with texts by answering questions and completing tasks and assessments that require them to provide textual evidence to demonstrate their knowledge and support their thinking. The lessons are organized into recurrent sections that require students to draw on texts directly multiple times over the course of a lesson. The questions in each section build towards the Embedded Assessments in the unit. As students read, they complete several standard task sections: Making Observations, Focus on the Sentence, Returning to the Text, and Working from the Text. Students work from initial thoughts about key details in a text, to focusing on specific sentences in the text. Then, students answer a series of text-dependent questions, and then finish the lesson focusing specific quotes and the connection of the text to the overall unit topic. In many lessons, there is also a Writing from Sources section for students to practice various writing types using the texts they read.

Students also complete text-dependent questions and tasks within the embedded unit assessments, informal and formal discussions, and quizzes. The Embedded Assessments require students to use the skills developed throughout the unit to interact with fresh texts and use textual evidence.

Instructional materials include questions, tasks, and assignments that are text-dependent and specific over the course of a school year. Text-dependent and specific questions, tasks and assignments consistently support students’ literacy growth over the course of the school year. Some examples include:

  • In Unit 1, Activity 1.6, after reading “What Happened During the Ice Storm” by Jim Heynen, students answer the question, “What are the effects of the freezing rain throughout the first paragraph?” Then students provide “two sentences from the text that support the inference that the boys’ intentions towards the pheasants may differ from those of the farmers.”
  • In Unit 3, Activity 3.3, students read the essay “Drowning in Dishes, but Finding a Home” by Danial Adkison. After reading, students answer questions such as, “In the essay, Adkinson doesn’t mention Jeff’s name until the seventh paragraph. How would the effect of the essay be different if the narrator had introduced him in the first paragraph, as ‘my manager Jeff,’ instead of ‘that person [who] wore a tie with a Pizza Hut logo on it’?”
  • In Unit 4, Activity 4.18, while reading To Kill a Mockingbird, students answer questions such as, “How does Miss Maudie’s information about mockingbirds add to Atticus’s comment that ‘it’s a sin to kill a Mockingbird’?” and “Based on your understanding of Chapter 10, what might a Mockingbird symbolize? How does the author's use of language help you come to this conclusion?”

Indicator 1h

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 9 meet the criteria for materials contain sets of sequences of text-dependent/text-specific questions with activities that build to a culminating task which integrates skills to demonstrate understanding.

The materials include several types of culminating activities for each unit of study throughout the year including assessments, frequent writing prompts, and collaborative tasks. The two Embedded Assessments per unit are directly aligned with the units’ topic and/or genre. The “Planning the Unit” section gives teachers a preview of the skills and knowledge that will be assessed in the Embedded Assessments. The beginning of the unit also unpacks the Embedded Assessments for students to keep the end products in mind as they progress through the unit. All lessons and writing prompts scaffold the required learning for the Embedded Assessments. The activities within each lesson include sequences of text-dependent questions that guide students’ understanding of the selections in the unit and build to daily and end of unit culminating tasks. Formative assessments along the way give students the opportunity to practice skills they are learning and allow teachers to assess student progress toward learning goals. The products that result from the Embedded Assessments vary in nature over the course of the year: literary analysis, short story, dramatic interpretation, poetry project, argumentative essay, career research and presentation, and historical investigation and presentation.

Some examples include:

  • In Unit 1: Telling Details, students learn and practice analyzing literature through a series of readings and accompanying tasks. These assignments build to Activity 1.10, Writing a Literary Analysis Paragraph, where students reflect on their reading of Roald Dahl’s short story “Lamb to the Slaughter” and “plan, draft, and revise a literary analysis paragraph by creating complete sentences, adding transition words and phrases, and adding context for direct quotations.” Students continue to practice their literary analysis skills, building to another formative checkpoint in Activity 1.15: “Write a literary analysis paragraph about how Ambrose Bierce uses shifts in language to make a statement about the nature of war or another aspect of ‘An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge’ of your choice. Use a single-paragraph outline to plan your writing.” Students further practice their skills and demonstrate them in the culminating task Embedded Assessment 1: Writing a Literary Analysis. Students are prompted, “Your assignment is to write a literary analysis in which you analyze how Zadie Smith uses literary devices or other elements to express the theme of coping with emotional turmoil in the short story “Martha, Martha.” For this assessment, students develop a full length essay, engaging in the entire writing process.
  • In Unit 2: Pivotal Words and Phrases, students take an in-depth look at the power of language particularly through poetry. Some of the lessons and assignments that build to the final assessment include comparing and contrasting a found poem with a piece of prose and creating a found poem in Activity 2.2: Finding Poetry in Prose; developing a written response on the use of words and phrases to convey the unpredictability of the human impulse in the face of nature in the poem “The Fight” by John Montague in Activity 2.5: The Double Edge of Impulse; analyzing poetics and craft in the poem “Prayer to the Pacific” by Leslie Marmon Silko in Activity 2.23: Sound, Rhythm, and Themes in Poetry; and writing a poem with a self-selected structure in Activity 2.25: An Ode to Whom? For Embedded Assessment 2, Presenting a Poetry Project, students collaborate to “create a poetry project that will include original works and analytical reviews of published works. Each group member must contribute three items to the project: either two original pieces and one analytical review or one original piece and two analytical reviews. Original works can include poems, illustrations of poems, or recorded spoken performances of original or published poems. Use multimedia to create your project and present it in a polished format.”
  • Unit 3: Compelling Evidence, prepares students for argumentative writing and debating. Students complete tasks such as Activity 3.3, An Alternative Perspective on Work and Home. This lesson asks students to synthesize information from two different essays, “The Work You Do, the Person You Are,” by Toni Morrison and “Drowning in Dishes, but Finding a Home,” by Danial Adkison. Students then “discuss with a partner the topic of getting and keeping a job,” identify “pivotal scenes from ‘Drowning in Dishes, but Finding a Home’” to include in a storyboard of the essay,” and “write a paragraph or two from Adkison's point of view.” Other tasks in the unit build student learning on arguments and debating. In Activity 3.16, "Don’t Hate - Debate", students prepare for a debate using the articles previously read in the unit to complete a graphic organizer recording reasons, evidence, and devices used to persuade for both sides, “YES, a college education is essential” and, “NO, a college education is not essential.” The class debate transitions to Embedded Assessment 1: Writing an Argumentative Essay, in which students are asked “to write an argumentative essay about the value of a college education.” Students gather evidence, use quotes from texts to support the claim, present counterarguments, and apply the appropriate steps for the writing process.

Indicator 1i

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 9 meet the criteria for materials providing frequent opportunities and protocols to engage students in speaking and listening activities and discussions (small group, peer-to-peer, whole class) which encourage the modeling and use of academic vocabulary and syntax.

Teacher materials provide support and direction for teachers to fully implement grade level standards and grow students’ speaking and listening skills. At the end of each grade level, a Speaking and Reading Strategies document lists the strategies used throughout the units, and indicates whether each is a strategy for teachers or students or both. The definition and purpose of each strategy is listed for strategies including choral reading, debate, drama games, fishbowl, note-taking, oral reading, rehearsal, role-playing, and Socratic seminar. There are also a series of graphic organizers that provide structures and protocol activities such as active listening feedback, active listening notes, audience notes and feedback, collaborative dialogue, conversation for quickwrite, discourse starters, and round table discussion. In the Planning the Unit section at the beginning of each grade level, the Activities Features at a Glance section includes icons that indicate which activities include listening, speaking, and discussion tasks. The Teacher Wrap also provides detailed instructions for teachers on engaging students in a variety of speaking and listening activities and groupings. For some activities, the Teacher to Teacher notes offer more detail on best practices with the strategy, and scaffolding suggestions for both students who need additional support and students who need extension activities.

Materials provide multiple opportunities, protocols, and questions for discussions across the whole year’s scope of instructional materials. Some examples include:

  • In Unit 1, Telling Details, Activity 1.2, students observe and analyze four photos of four different types of working environments. Afterward, they complete the final step of a Knowledge Quest: “With a small group, discuss what our working environments reveal about us. Be sure to: Set rules with your classmates to facilitate a collegial discussion of the topic. Ask and respond to questions to broaden the discussion, connect ideas, and draw others into the conversation; Respond thoughtfully to the various perspectives that classmates offer and summarize points of agreement and disagreement.” The Teacher Wrap includes these instructions for managing the activity: “Then arrange students in small groups to read the instructions for the Knowledge Quest closing task. Ask volunteers for examples of discussion rules and role-play applying them with one group. Then model posing and responding to questions and ideas. Circulate to help facilitate collegial discussions.”
  • In Unit 2, Pivotal Words and Phrases, Activity 2.24, students study the poetic form sestina. An introduction to the section and a Literary Vocabulary box give a detailed explanation of this new academic vocabulary, and students apply this new knowledge in a text-dependent prompt: “Why do you think the poet chose the structure of the sestina for this poem? What effect does the repetition have on the theme?” Afterward, students participate in discussion groups to further analyze the poem’s structure and its effect on the reader. Some of the discussion prompts include: “How does this poem use repetition to make connections between ideas and images? What message does it seem to be conveying? To help you determine your answers, use the following graphic organizer to map out the repeated words and the images they bring to mind. What other words or phrases contribute to the tone of the poem? Why might the poet have made these language choices?” The Teacher Wrap provides detailed instructions for carrying out the lesson, including this advice in the Teacher-To-Teacher box: “Decide how you would like to set up the discussion groups for the three discussion prompts. Students can work in their poetry project groups, you can strategically reorganize groups, or you can conduct a full-class discussion. Have students discuss each prompt and record notes about their discussions in their books to use as a reference later.”
  • In Unit 4, Powerful Openings: Activity 4.31, students receive direct instruction in what makes an effective presentation after working on research in groups. To practice presentation skills, students will present their part of the research project to other members of their group. Each group member will complete a graphic organizer with feedback on the presentation skills. Materials prompt the teacher to model giving supportive feedback and asking clarifying questions. After students complete the peer feedback process, they work with their group to develop the presentation. They receive a set of guiding questions to help them create the presentation in a logical order with sufficient depth and detail.

Indicator 1j

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 9 meet the criteria for materials supporting students’ listening and speaking (and discussions) about what they are reading and researching (shared projects) with relevant follow-up questions and supports.

As noted in the teacher planning documents for each unit, speaking and listening skills are included throughout the unit. The majority of activities include at least one opportunity for students to speak and listen in academic discussions as they relate to reading selections and lines of inquiry. Materials provide directions for implementation and when appropriate for scaffolding the activity in the teacher edition. The Teacher Wrap offers additional support for teachers to facilitate discussions and prompt students with guiding and follow-up questions and activities. Discussions generally require students to provide textual evidence and use learned academic and literary vocabulary. Throughout the year students also have multiple opportunities to present in groups and as individuals. For each activity, teachers receive directions for implementation and when appropriate for scaffolding the activity in the teacher edition. The Teacher Wrap provides support for teachers to facilitate discussions and prompt students with guiding and follow-up questions and activities. The frequency and structure of the activities create the conditions for students to improve their skills over time.

Students have multiple opportunities over the school year to demonstrate what they are reading and researching through varied grade-level speaking and listening opportunities.

Some examples include:

  • In Unit 2, Pivotal Words and Phrases, Activity 2.11, the Teacher Wrap provides instructional support during the First Read. For example, “Students should be engaged with the reading and marking places they have questions about and words and phrases that are unfamiliar.” Then teachers are prompted to provide scaffolding with text-dependent questions such as “Paraphrase lines 5–8, 9–12, and 13–14. What are the main points brought up in these lines? What words are important enough to keep in a paraphrase?” The instructions direct teachers to “guide the class in a brief discussion by asking the Making Observations questions,” for example, “What details stand out to you in the prologue,” and “What questions does this text raise for you.” As students “work in small groups to reread the text and answer the questions” teachers are to “move from group to group and listen in as students answer the text-dependent questions. If they have difficulty, scaffold the questions.”
  • In Unit 3, Compelling Evidence, Activity 3.12, students read “Remarks by the President in a National Address to America’s Schoolchildren” by President Barack Obama. The Teacher Wrap includes multiple sections titled Scaffolding the Text-Dependent Questions. Within these sections, teachers receive questions and follow-up questions to ask during classroom discussion, such as “The president begins his speech with statements about the audience’s feelings and then a story about his own childhood. Why does he begin his speech in this way? Which individuals does the president specifically speak to when he begins his speech? Which statements address how these individuals feel? How does the president’s own story help you relate to him?” and “What is the message of this speech? In paragraph 4, what does the president say is his purpose for appearing in front of this audience?”
  • In Unit 4, Powerful Openings, Activity 4.3, students read an excerpt from 1984 by George Orwell. The Teacher Wrap includes directions and follow-up questions for class discussion. These include directions such as “Point out that paragraph 1 includes a description of what the setting of this story looks like. Ask: Based on what you have read so far, how do you picture the place where this story is set?” and “Point out that paragraph 3 includes a description of Winston Smith’s appearance. Ask: What does this paragraph tell us about the way Winston Smith looks?”

Indicator 1k

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

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

Throughout the units and over the course of the school year, the instructional materials require students to produce a mixture of standards aligned, on-demand, short, informal, focused writing projects and longer independent writing process tasks and essays that require multiple drafts and revisions over time with the use of digital resources where appropriate. The materials follow a scaffolded approach to writing within units and across the year. Students study authors’ craft and practice applying what they learned to their own writing. Students frequently practice the writing process of pre-write, plan, draft, review, revise and edit, which includes opportunities to collaborate with peers.

Students engage in on-demand writing daily throughout the lessons and process writing tasks in the unit embedded assessments, unit prompts, and supplemental workshops. The majority of writing tasks are evidence-based and text-based. There are two embedded assessments per unit which both include process writing tasks. These are outlined in the Teacher Edition, and the Teacher Wrap offers guidance to the teacher for revision and editing. Each assessment also includes a scoring rubric and questions to help students in planning, drafting, and revising throughout the writing process. For on-demand writing, materials include Focus on the Sentence activities, in which students practice writing at the sentence level and then move into paragraphs and then essay-length writing pieces. The Gaining Perspectives section of the lesson uses an on-demand writing task for students to summarize the classroom discussion on a given topic. Knowledge Quests include on-demand writing-to-source prompts. Independent Reading Checkpoint sections also include informal writing assignments where students reflect on and/or synthesize their independent reading.

The supplemental materials include ten Writing Workshops per grade level that provide direct instruction on the writing process for argumentative, explanatory, narrative, literary, research, narrative nonfiction, poetry, script, and procedural writing; however, it is critical to note that these are not part of the core materials and are used at the teacher’s discretion.

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

  • In Unit 1, Telling Details, Activity 1.7, students read the short story, “The Red Fox Fur Coat” by Teolinda Gersao, and respond to this prompt: “From the moment the bank clerk in ‘The Red Fox Fur Coat’ spots the coat in the shop window, she is emotionally affected. Some of her emotions are directly stated, while others are indirectly expressed. Read the first paragraph of ‘The Red Fox Fur Coat’ and use the My Notes section to list the directly-stated and inferred emotions the bank clerk experiences.”
  • In Unit 2, Pivotal Words and Phrases, Activity: 2.5, students respond to an Opening Writing Prompt that requires students to reread the last stanza of John Montague’s poem, “The Fight,” and respond to the following question: “How is this stanza different from the rest of the poem?”
  • In Unit 4, Powerful Openings, Activity 4.5, students are given a choice of two narrative prompts: “Rewrite a section of the Out of My Mind novel from the third-person point of view, allowing the reader to see Melody from more of a distance,” or “Rewrite a section of the Fahrenheit 451 novel opening from the first-person point of view, allowing the reader direct access into Montag’s thoughts.”

Opportunities for process writing tasks and focused projects include, but are not limited to:

  • In Unit 1, Telling Details, Activity 1.10, students plan, draft, and revise a literary analysis paragraph by creating complete sentences, adding transition words and phrases and adding context for direct quotations. Students are prompted: “Use the following single-paragraph outline to plan a paragraph about how Roald Dahl conveys humor in ‘Lamb to the Slaughter.’” This is followed by a task that requires them to apply what they learned about effective sentences to revise an unelaborated paragraph.
  • In Unit 1, Telling Details, Embedded Assessment 1: “Writing a Literary Analysis,” students write a literary analysis in which they analyze how Zadie Smith uses literary devices or other elements to express the theme of coping with emotional turmoil in the short story, “Martha, Martha.”
  • In Unit 3, Compelling Evidence, Embedded Assessment 1, students write an argumentative essay about the value of a college education. They are asked to “assert a precise claim, support it with reasons and evidence, and acknowledge and refute counterarguments fairly.”

Indicator 1l

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 9 meet the criteria that materials provide opportunities for students to address different text types of writing that reflect the distribution required by the standards. (Writing opportunities incorporate digital resources/multimodal literacy materials where appropriate. Opportunities may include blended writing styles that reflect the distribution required by the standards.)

The materials provide opportunities for students to learn, practice, and construct a variety of writing modes and genres across the school year. Because writing instruction starts at the sentence level and progresses through paragraphs to full, multi-draft pieces of writing, students and teachers are able to monitor progress. The majority of writing prompts, assignments, and assessments are text-based and reflect an in-depth look at author's craft across a variety of text types. Each unit contains two Embedded Assessments that require students to demonstrate their understanding of the unit focus through writing types and media as required by the standards. Students regularly engage in task-based writing and writing to sources, and direct instruction in narrative, argument, and informational writing. Students engage extensively in each writing type across the year as each unit exemplifies a different mode of writing. There is also variation of writing types within each unit typically for smaller tasks within lessons.

There are also ten Writing Workshops per grade level that provide direct instruction and practice for argumentative, explanatory, narrative, literary, research, narrative nonfiction, poetry, script, and procedural writing. It is important to note that these workshops are not a part of the core materials and must be used at the teacher’s discretion.

Materials include sufficient writing opportunities for a whole year’s use. Some examples include:

  • In Unit 1, Telling Details, the unit focus is literary analysis and narrative writing with an in-depth look at narrative elements. After analyzing multiple narratives and exemplar analyses, students complete Embedded Assessment 1: “Write a literary analysis in which you analyze how Zadie Smith uses literary devices or other elements to express the theme of coping with emotional turmoil in the short story ‘Martha, Martha.’” By the end of the unit, Embedded Assessment 2 requires students to write an original story from real or imagined experiences or events. The story must include a variety of narrative techniques—such as foreshadowing, point of view, figurative language, imagery, symbolism, and/or irony—as well as telling details and a well-structured sequence of events.
  • In Unit 2, Pivotal Words and Phrases, students read multiple short stories, drama excerpts, and poems to practice informational writing to sources and creative writing. Some tasks require students to synthesize information across sources for their analyses. Embedded Assessment 1 is a collaborative dramatic interpretation. Students perform a scene from Romeo and Juliet and keep a staging notebook that chronicles their interpretation and preparation. At the end of the unit, students create and revise an original poem to present it for Embedded Assessment 2.
  • In Unit 3, Compelling Evidence, students examine and analyze multiple argumentative sources, such as editorials and essays on various social issues, to study rhetoric and practice argumentative writing. Embedded Assessment 1 requires students to follow the writing process building an argumentative essay on the value of a college education. In the remainder of the unit, students practice synthesizing information and writing from multiple sources to prepare for a research presentation on their career choice.
  • In Unit 4, Powerful Openings, students focus on literary analysis and researching historical context. After reading multiple chapter excerpts from To Kill a Mockingbird, students complete Embedded Assessment 1 in which they “write a passage analysis of a key coming-of-age scene” in the novel and demonstrate “how the literary elements in this passage help develop a theme of the novel.” After reading the novel, students study several historical essays and articles from the Civil Rights Movement that help situate the context of the novel. After writing several analytical compositions, students complete Embedded Assessment 2 which requires them to “research the historical, cultural, social, or geographical context” in which the novel was written and show their findings with a multimedia presentation.

Indicator 1m

Materials include frequent opportunities for evidence-based writing to support sophisticated analysis, argumentation, and synthesis.
2/2
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 9 meet the criteria for materials include frequent opportunities for evidence-based writing to support sophisticated analysis, argumentation, and synthesis.

The instructional materials provide frequent opportunities for writing that requires students to analyze sources, make arguments with claims and supporting evidence, and synthesize information across texts and various media sources. These opportunities include on-demand tasks within lessons, as well as both embedded assessments per unit. Close, critical reading activities throughout the units incorporate text-based writing from the sentence level to multi-draft full-length compositions. Students also read additional texts independently within each unit and synthesize in writing what they learned from these texts and selections embedded in the lessons. Students complete two Knowledge Quests per unit, in which they read and analyze a collection of texts around a topic, theme, or idea and synthesize what they learned either in a Writing to Sources prompt or a class discussion. For significant tasks such as the Embedded Assessments, students are provided with graphic organizers, checklists, and/or rubrics to support their work.

Writing opportunities are focused around students’ analyses and claims developed from reading closely and working with sources. Some examples include:

  • In Unit 1,Telling Details, Activity, 1.17, students closely read a story, titled “Games at Twilight,” to find details about complex characters’ traits and feelings. Students must cite “strong and thorough” text evidence to analyze the author’s purpose and write detailed sentences.
  • In Unit 2, Pivotal Words and Phrases, Activity, 2.5, students use an outline to develop and write a multiple-paragraph response about how pivotal words and phrases illustrate the unpredictability of human impulse in the face of nature. Students must gather and synthesize evidence from the short story, “What Happened During the Ice Storm” and the poem “The Fight.” Students must include examples of language that imply impulsive or unpredictable action toward nature.
  • In Unit 3, Compelling Evidence, students examine and analyze multiple argumentative sources on various social issues. Embedded Assessment 1 requires students to use evidence from multiple sources to build an argumentative essay on the value of a college education. During the second half of the unit, Activity 3.21 prompts students to identify evidence from at least four sources for a research project on their career choice. Students track this evidence in their Reader/Writer Notebook for a presentation on their career choice for Embedded Assessment 2.
  • In Unit 4, Powerful Openings, Activity 4.27, students read a series of documents and photographs. Then students complete the “Writing to Sources: Informational Text” prompt which reads, “After viewing and discussing the details and implications of both sets of primary-source photographs as well as the list of Jim Crow laws, write an essay explaining how To Kill A Mockingbird could be viewed as a commentary on the time in which it was written.” Students are advised to “include specific, relevant details about the images and laws that stood out or informed your understanding of the author’s purpose.”

Indicator 1n

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 9 meet the criteria for materials include instruction and practice of the grammar and conventions/language standards for grade level as applied in increasingly sophisticated contexts, with opportunities for application in context.

Materials provide embedded instruction and practice of grammar and language concepts throughout the four units of study at each grade level. Sections titled Grammar and Usage point out authors’ use of grammatical constructs in the selections students are reading in the activity. The goal of providing these call-outs is to increase reading comprehension and to provide a model for students to incorporate the constructs into their own writing. Students engage in sentence-level grammar and usage practice through Focus on the Sentence tasks. Several times in the unit students complete Language and Writer’s Craft tasks that “address topics in writing such as style, word choice, and sentence construction.” These exercises are also embedded in daily lessons, reference the text at hand, and include application to the students’ own writing.

Units also contain Language Checkpoints which provide more in-depth practice of conventions and usage; students study examples from unit selections and complete multiple exercises for practice, including revising sample sentences and revising sentences within their own work. The design of the various grammar and usage exercises enables students to practice concepts in increasingly sophisticated ways. Most tasks address the specific grammar and conventions/language standards for the grade, though not all lessons align to the grade-level standards. Language Workshops provide supplemental exercises on vocabulary, sight-words, and word studies; however, it is important to note that these workshops require additional instructional time and teacher planning as they are not a part of the core materials.

Materials include instruction of all grammar and conventions standards for the grade level. Some examples include:

  • Students have opportunities to use parallel structure.
    • In Unit 3, Compelling Evidence, Activity 3.12, Language Checkpoint: Using Parallel Structure, students participate in a lesson on using parallel structure (L.9-10.1a). In the previous activity, students read “Remarks by the President in a National Address to America’s Schoolchildren” by President Barack Obama. In the Language Checkpoint, students complete a series of practice activities based on the parallel structure used in Obama’s speech, for example: “Read the following sentence from President Obama's speech: ‘...None of it will matter unless all of you fulfill your responsibilities, unless you show up to those schools, unless you pay attention to those teachers, unless you listen to your parents, and grandparents and other adults and put in the hard work it takes to succeed.’ In this sentence, President Obama uses parallel structure by repeating the same clause: unless you [verb].How does parallel structure help make the sentence clearer? Why?”
  • Students have opportunities to use various types of phrases (noun, verb, adjectival, adverbial, participial, prepositional, absolute) and clauses (independent, dependent; noun, relative, adverbial) to convey specific meanings and add variety and interest to writing or presentations.
    • In Unit 1, Telling Details, Activity 1.4, A Study in Characterization, students read the short story “The First Day” by Edward P. Jones. After reading and analyzing phrases in the text, students study grammar in context through a Language and “Writer’s Craft Box” titled “Language and Writer’s Craft: Subordinating Conjunctions and Complex Sentences.” Students read an explanation of the function of complex sentences and subordinating conjunctions and an example sentence. Then they practice the concept. Finally, the students applying what they learned to the text they are studying: “Consider the contrasting traits you unearthed in the narrator's depiction of her mother in ‘The First Day.’ What subordinating conjunction could you use to signal that contrast? Write a sentence that captures two contradictory traits of the mother.”
  • Students have opportunities to use a semicolon (and perhaps a conjunctive adverb) to link two or more closely related independent clauses.
    • In Unit 2, Pivotal Words and Phrases, Activity 2.5, students reread the last stanza of the poem “The Fight” by John Montague. In the section “Revisiting the Fight,” students complete two tasks, including this one based on the author’s use of punctuation: “Sometimes writers use a semicolon (;) to connect two complete thoughts, while also creating a dramatic pause between them. Reread the last stanza of ‘The Fight’ and write one sentence for each half of the stanza, translating the poetic verse into prose.”
  • Students have opportunities to use a colon to introduce a list or quotation.
    • In Unit 1, Telling Details, Activity 1.16, the Language Checkpoint addresses semicolons, colons, and dashes. After providing a definition and multiple examples of each, students complete several text-related tasks in which they identify which type of punctuation fits in the blank. Students are then prompted to add these to their own writing: “Reread the paragraph you wrote in Activity 1.16 aloud. As you read, listen for where you naturally pause within your sentences. If you pause and there’s no punctuation on the page, consider whether adding punctuation within the sentence would make it clearer. Add commas, colons, semicolons, and dashes to clarify your ideas.”
  • Students have opportunities to spell correctly.
    • In Unit 3, Compelling Evidence, Activity 3.18, students review the process of peer-editing and self-editing: “After revising, it is essential that writers take the time to edit their own drafts to correct errors in grammar and usage, capitalization, punctuation, and spelling. Return to your draft and self-edit to strengthen the grammar and language conventions. Use your Editor’s Checklist as a reference.”

Gateway Two

Building Knowledge with Texts, Vocabulary, and Tasks

Meets Expectations

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Gateway Two Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 9 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

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Indicator 2a

Texts are organized around a topic/topics or themes to build students' knowledge and their ability to comprehend and analyze complex texts proficiently.
4/4
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Indicator Rating Details

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

The materials for Grade 9 are organized into four topic-based units of study. Each unit is centered around a topic or text genre, and students build knowledge through inquiry via a variety of literary genres and different types of informational text. Units are designed for students to utilize the texts to comprehend complex texts/topics. Activities within each unit develop students’ knowledge through structured learning activities that provide scaffolding of content leading students towards independent and proficient comprehension. Students also read independently and are required to complete tasks in response to their independent reading texts to build their knowledge about topics/themes within complex texts.

The opening page of each unit features a visual prompt and a quote aligned to the topic to initiate a classroom conversation. The first activity of each unit is a preview of the unit that includes Essential Questions linked to the topic of the unit. Additionally, the units contain connected sub-topics that build upon one another as the instructional year progresses. The design of the materials support students’ comprehension of complex literary and informational texts independently and proficiently due to scaffolding, gradual release, and increasingly demanding texts and tasks as the units progress.

Some examples include:

  • In Unit 1: Telling Details, students focus on how “small details work together to create meaning, convey the author or artist’s message, and affect the audience.” Lesson activities help students answer the three Essential Questions for the unit: “How do telling details work together to convey meaning? How are writing and reading connected? What tools do authors use to create meaning and affect their readers?” Students read short stories and literary essays with tasks that lead them to writing their own original short story. The learning targets for each short story focus on various functions of details in a story. For example, in Activity 1.7 “Telling Details of Transformation,” students read a short story, “The Red Fox Fur Coat” by Teolinda Gersão, and “analyze how its complex main character develops over the course of the story.” Toward the end of the unit in Activity 1.18, “Digging in Deep: Tone and Theme,” students read another short story called “There Will Come Soft Rains” by Ray Bradbury with a focus on details through the analysis of symbolism, imagery, and figurative language to understand the story’s theme and tone. Students devise an alternative ending to the story with a focus on “telling details” and vivid imagery.
  • In Unit 2: Pivotal Words and Phrases, instruction builds upon Unit 1 but focuses more specifically on analyzing and writing poetry and drama. Throughout the unit, students work to answer the following Essential Questions: “How do authors use words and phrases to move the emotions, thoughts, and actions of readers? Why do authors revise their work? How does the mode of communication change the meaning of what is being communicated?” Before reading excerpts from the central text Romeo and Juliet, students read an excerpt from “Lottery” by Rasma Haidir on poetry revisions. Then throughout the unit, students engage with a variety of poems including “The Fight” by John Montague and “Tamara’s Opus” by Joshua Bennett, “Some Like Poetry” by Wisława Szymborska, and “An Irish Airman Foresees His Death,” by W. B. Yeats. The students’ analyses of poetry builds their ability to analyze Romeo and Juliet as well. During the unit, students read multiple excerpts from the play and compare them to other adaptations to aid in presenting their own dramatic interpretation for Embedded Assessment 1. Students continue reading the play and other poetry before writing and presenting their own original poetry project.
  • In Unit 3: Compelling Evidence, students shift to informational and argumentative texts with a focus on how authors use evidence to develop claims. Through a variety of texts such as news articles and opinion pieces, students build their knowledge about “the ways in which authors use anecdotes, facts, and data to develop their theses and support their claims” as they answer the unit’s four Essential Questions: “What makes an argument convincing? What makes a piece of evidence compelling? What is the value of work for teenagers? What is the value of a college education?” For example, in Activity 3.8, “Letting the Data do the Talking,” students “interpret graphs and use them to understand additional information learned from a featured text. In Activity 3.12, “Children are the Future: Using Rhetoric Appeals,” students analyze a speech by Barack Obama titled, “Remarks by the President in a National Address to America’s Schoolchildren.” After they “analyze the devices used in a speech to make it compelling,” students begin planning their own argument.
  • In Unit 4: Powerful Openings, instruction builds on previous units as students compare multiple opening excerpts from novels. After analyzing the excerpts, Unit 4 takes students through a series of excerpts from To Kill a Mockingbird and finishes with informational texts that build students’ knowledge about the historical context of the novel. With a focus on the unit’s three Essential Questions—“What makes an opening powerful? What makes you want to keep reading a book? How can understanding a book’s context help you understand the book?”—students practice literary analysis including analyzing arguments from the courtroom in To Kill a Mockingbird. Students complete a literary analysis essay and a historical investigation presentation.

Indicator 2b

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

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

Across the four instructional units, there is a common pattern to activities within and across lessons. The lessons are organized into recurrent sections that require students to draw on texts directly multiple times over the course of a lesson and unit: Making Observations, Focus on the Sentence, Returning to the Text, and Working from the Text. Students work from initial thoughts about key details in a text, to focusing on specific sentences in the text. Then, students answer a series of text-dependent/specific questions about the text. The majority of these tasks almost always include an analysis of the key ideas, structure, craft, and language, and require students to seek evidence from the text to support their thinking. The Teacher Edition also includes multiple text boxes per lesson titled Scaffolding the Text-dependent Questions which provide a sequence of questions teachers can ask during the reading.

For most texts, students are asked to analyze language and/or author’s word choice (according to grade-level standards). Some examples include:

  • The materials contain coherently sequenced questions and tasks that address language and/or word choice.
    • In Unit 2, Pivotal Words and Phrases, Activities 2.2–2.4, students compare and contrast different forms of poetry, construct a “found” poem, unpack the revision process for writing a poem, and examine the role of word choice within a poem. These tasks prepare students for Activity 2:5, during which students write a multi-paragraph response about how pivotal words and phrases illustrate the unpredictability of human impulse in the face of nature.

For most texts, students analyze key ideas and details, structure, and craft (according to grade-level standards). Examples include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • The materials contain coherently sequenced questions and tasks that address key ideas and details.
    • In Unit 2, Pivotal Words and Phrases, Activity 2.11, students begin with “Revisiting the Essential Questions” in light of what they learned in the first part of the unit. The “As you Read” section asks students to “place a star next to parts that are still unclear” and “circle unfamiliar words and phrases.” After reading the Prologue to Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare, the “Making Observations” section asks students to answer two questions: “What details stand out to you in the prologue? What questions does the text raise for you?”
  • The materials contain coherently sequenced questions and tasks that address structure.
    • In Unit 2, Pivotal Words and Phrases, Activity 2.22, students read the poem “An Irish Airman Foresees His Death” by W.B. Yeats. At the end of the lesson, the section Appreciating the Poet’s Craft prompts students to discuss this question: “What connections can you make between ‘Some Like Poetry’ and ‘An Irish Airman Foresees His Death’? How do the poets use poetic structure and prosody to convey their meaning? What TP-CASTT (Title, Paraphrase, Connotation, Attitude, Shifts, Theme, Title) elements are similar or different across the poems?”
  • The materials contain coherently sequenced questions and tasks that address craft.
    • In Unit 4, Powerful Openings, Activity 4.5, students read two novel excerpts: Out of My Mind by Sharon Draper and Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury. Students make text-specific observations about the narrators in both selections in the “Making Observations” section. Students answer more text-specific questions in the “Working From the Text” section about how point of view affects reader perceptions of characters. Students then complete a literary writing prompt where they rewrite a section of one of the texts from a different point of view Lastly, they answer a “Check Your Understanding” question that covers both texts: “How does shifting narrative perspective alter the reader's feelings toward each character?”

Indicator 2c

Materials contain a coherently sequenced set of text-dependent and text-specific questions and tasks that require students to build knowledge and integrate ideas across both individual and multiple texts.
4/4
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Indicator Rating Details

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

The materials provide sequences of texts and accompanying text-dependent tasks that promote the building of knowledge and integration of ideas within texts and across texts. The Shared Instructional Vision of the materials is rooted in four principles that are designed to promote this type of learning: close observation and analysis, evidence-based writing, higher-order questioning, and academic conversations. Each unit follows a similar pattern to build student knowledge through close attention to a series of texts that when synthesized help students address the unit Essential Questions.

Within each unit activity there are sequences of text-specific and text-dependent questions designed to continuously bring students back to a deeper engagement with the texts. The sequence of questions first appears in the Working from the Text section. Additional sections such as Returning to the Text, Focus on Sentences, Writing Prompt, and Check Your Understanding also include text-specific questions and writing prompts to deepen students’ understanding of individual texts and genres. Certain features of the text encourage the integration of knowledge within and across texts such as the Knowledge Quest section that requires students to read a collection of texts on a specific topic, build knowledge and vocabulary on the topic, and develop new understandings and considerations as they progress through the reading selections. Essential Questions at the beginning of each unit also provide students the opportunity to integrate and develop ideas across texts as they return to these questions throughout the unit and examine how their thinking has changed. Tasks throughout the unit require students to demonstrate this evolving understanding across texts. The tasks also prepare students for the two Embedded Assessments in each unit.

Some examples include:

  • In Unit 1, Telling Details, students read and analyze the story “Martha, Martha” by Zadie Smith during Activity 1.20 and Activity 1.21. After reading the first section of the story, students choose one character and write two evidence-based statements and questions about him or her. They then answer text-dependent questions: “The two main characters, Pam and Martha, are seemingly very different. What do the story’s telling details reveal about them? How does their relationship reflect a theme developing in the story? What text evidence supports the idea that Martha is trying to escape from something and start over in America? What inferences can you make based on this evidence?” Students then complete a chart where they analyze several aspects of two characters: the characters’ appearance, words, thoughts, actions, and what others say and think about the character. They also conduct on the spot research about the author and explore the author’s use of the literary device character foil in the story. Lastly, they respond to a Check Your Understanding prompt that ties into the topic of the unit: “In a few sentences, describe both Pam and Martha. What are they like, and what do you think is motivating them? Which telling details contribute to your understanding of the characters?”
  • In Unit 2, Pivotal Words and Phrases, during Activity 2.12 students read and annotate Act 1 Scene 1 from Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare. In “Returning to the Text,” students respond to text-specific questions such as “How does the opening scene help set the stage for the play?” and “ How does Benvolio’s attitude shift at the end of the scene?” This is followed by the Working from the Text section where students work in a small group to visualize how the scene would be performed. Finally, the Writing Prompt section requires students to work in a group to write a paragraph explaining how they would stage the scene. Later in Activity 2.15, students analyze an excerpt from the script of West Side Story by Arthur Laurents based on the balcony scene from Romeo and Juliet. In the Returning to the Text section, students answer text-dependent questions like “What comparisons can be made between the relationships of Romeo and Juliet and Tony and Maria?” In Working from the Text, students complete a graphic organizer comparing the two scenes. The activity ends with Writing to Sources during which students write a review identifying their preference for one of the two balcony scenes.
  • In Unit 4, Powerful Openings, students examine how authors choose to start both literary and informational texts. Activity 4.5 uses excerpts from two novels, Out of My Mind by Sharon Draper and Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury. Students read and discuss the opening paragraphs which are written from two different narrative points of view. In the Working from the Text section students answer “What is the narrative point of view in the excerpt and how does it affect the way you perceive and feel about the main character?” This is followed by a partner discussion on gaining perspectives to understand characters. For the Writing Prompt, students choose one of the openings to rewrite from a different point-of-view. Finally in Check Your Understanding students respond to the following question, “How does shifting narrative perspective alter the reader’s feelings toward each character?”

Indicator 2d

The questions and tasks support students' ability to complete culminating tasks in which they demonstrate their knowledge of a topic through integrated skills (e.g. combination of reading, writing, speaking, listening).
4/4
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Indicator Rating Details

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

Each grade level contains four units of study that have two Embedded Assessments each. These assessments serve as culminating tasks for a skill set driving the unit instruction. They require students to demonstrate their learning through interpretation, synthesis of research, and various types of analysis. Students may be prompted to present their work through a variety of ways: dramatic interpretation, creative writing, analysis essays, arguments, media presentations, or debates. The unit tasks and texts build student knowledge and capacity to complete the assessments which include reading, writing, research, speaking, presenting, and listening over the course of the year. The assessments and daily tasks within the unit include collaborative group projects along with independent work. To prepare for the assessments, students answer constructive response questions, annotate texts, complete graphic organizers, and write both short and longer essay responses.

Within units, students also complete Knowledge Quests in which they read collections of texts to build their knowledge around a topic and its related vocabulary. Each Knowledge Quest begins with a central question and supporting questions that focus on student learning. After reading the collection of texts, students return to the knowledge question in order to synthesize what they learned through the readings and associated tasks, thus demonstrating their accumulated knowledge on the topic. This is accomplished through a writing prompt or academic discussion. Both the Embedded Assessments and the Knowledge Quests provide opportunities for students to demonstrate what they learned through reading, writing, speaking, and listening.

Some examples include:

  • In Unit 1, Telling Details, students read various short stories to practice writing analysis paragraphs as they work toward independently writing a literary analysis for Embedded Assessment 1. Along the way, students complete tasks such as Activity 1.19 which directs students to “Turn to a partner and discuss the following questions: What parts of the story are the most suspenseful? How does foreshadowing contribute to the suspense? How did the author structure this story? What does the author achieve by using this structure?” Embedded Assessment 1 requires students to use the same analysis skills from this activity and others like it. The Embedded Assessment prompt is as follows: “Your assignment is to write a literary analysis in which you analyze how Zadie Smith uses literary devices or other elements to express the theme of coping with emotional turmoil in the short story ‘Martha, Martha.’”
  • In Unit 3, Compelling Evidence, across Activities 3.13 and 3.14, students complete a Knowledge Quest around the knowledge question “What is the purpose of going to college?” Students read three arguments about going to college: “Why College Isn’t (And Shouldn’t Have to Be) For Everyone” by Robert Reich, “The ‘not everyone should go to college’ argument is classist and wrong” by Libby Nelson, and “Even With Debt, College Still Pays Off” by Gillian B. White. As students read the selections, they consider their answer to the knowledge question and participate in a class discussion on text-dependent questions about the readings. Lastly, they discuss their thoughts on the knowledge question with a partner then complete a final task on the set of texts: “Use your knowledge of the four essays you have read to consider the various arguments about whether going to college is necessary. Write an explanatory essay that responds to the question: What do we learn from the four essays about the purpose of going to college?” Students are reminded to quote from a variety of sources to support their opinion. This quest along with additional writing tasks prepare students for Embedded Assessment 1: “Your assignment is to write an argumentative essay about the value of a college education. Your essay must be organized as an argument in which you assert a precise claim, support it with reasons and evidence, and acknowledge and refute counterarguments fairly.”
  • In Unit 4, Powerful Openings, students complete a Knowledge Quest around the knowledge question “How can a fictional setting seem real?” during Activity 4.3. Students read the openings of two novels that use realistic details to hook readers: 1984 by George Orwell and The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. As students read the selections, they consider their answer to the knowledge question and participate in a class discussion of text-dependent questions about the readings. Then students work with partners to discuss how their understanding of realistic novels has changed. Finally, students complete the Knowledge Quest culminating activity: “Think about the novel openings you have read. How do the writers create worlds that seem real? Write a few paragraphs to compare and contrast how the writers created realistic worlds in the openings of these novels.” As the unit continues, students continue to practice literary analysis as they read and analyze various excerpts from To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. Tasks like the Knowledge Quest prepare students for Embedded Assessment 1: “Your assignment is to write a passage analysis of a key coming-of-age scene from To Kill a Mockingbird. After annotating the text to analyze Harper Lee’s use of literary elements in your selected passage, write an essay explaining how the literary elements in this passage help develop a theme of the novel.”

Indicator 2e

Materials include a cohesive, consistent approach for students to regularly interact with word relationships and build academic vocabulary/ language in context.
4/4
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 9 meet the criteria that materials include a cohesive, consistent approach for students to regularly interact with word relationships and build academic vocabulary/language in context.


In the opening pages of the text, the publisher explains the year-long, embedded approach to vocabulary incorporated in all grade levels. It explains, “Students are given ample opportunities to read and hear new words, explore their meanings, origins, and connotations, and use them in written and oral responses.” Students practice their vocabulary learning throughout lessons, activities, and assessments across the school year. Students not only learn the meanings of new vocabulary, they learn origins and connotations, and they apply their new knowledge through written and oral applications. The materials call out literary and academic vocabulary in boxes, and difficult vocabulary terms found in reading selections are glossed. Word Connections boxes also provide information for a “word with multiple meanings and nuances, an interesting etymology, a telling root or affix, a helpful Spanish cognate, a relationship to another word, or a connection to another content area.” At the beginning of each unit, there is a list of the literary and academic vocabulary for students, and the Teacher Wrap includes detailed information about vocabulary development including the importance of learning new vocabulary, what types of vocabulary students will encounter, and suggestions and resources for instruction. The Resources section at the conclusion of each grade level also contains a few strategies for working with vocabulary—Guided Reading, Question Heard Teach (QHT), Cloze Reading, Cognate Bridge, and Visual Prompts—as well as Graphic Organizers for working with vocabulary—Definition and Reflection, Verbal & Visual Word Association, and Word Maps.

Attention is paid to vocabulary essential to understanding the text and to analyzing the purpose of word choices: Some examples include:

  • In Unit 1, Telling Details, students read part two of the short story “Lamb to the Slaughter” by Roald Dahl during Activity 1.9. The Teacher Wrap includes a section called Vocabulary Development which suggests that the teacher “Point out the Word Connections box and have students locate the word spanner in paragraphs 102 and 103. Read aloud the information in the box and discuss it with students. Select a few other compelling words from the text and ask students about the author’s possible intent for using them.”
  • In Unit 3, Compelling Evidence, students read the essay “The Work You Do, the Person You Are” by Toni Morrison during Activity 3.2. Afterward, in the Working from the Text section, students analyze an aspect of each paragraph. One of the tasks for Paragraph 8 requires students to reflect on a vocabulary term they leaned in Activity 1.7: “Vocabulary across texts question: In the short story ‘The Red Fox Fur Coat,’ you saw the word narrow used literally to describe how the protagonist’s eyes changed as she transformed into a fox: ‘her face disfigured, suddenly thinner, made up to look longer, her eyes narrow…’ How is Morrison using another meaning of the word narrow when she contrasts it with bighearted?”
  • In Unit 4, Powerful Openings, students define and analyze a group of words to help build their background knowledge and make predictions about the opening paragraph of a novel during Activity 4.6. In this activity, students work in groups and sort words into categories based on the words’ meanings and relationships. It is recommended that students consult print or digital resources such as dictionaries and a thesaurus to help create the categories.

Opportunities are present for students to learn, practice, apply, and utilize vocabulary in multiple contexts. Examples include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • In Unit 2, Pivotal Words and Phrases, students receive direct instruction on multiple meaning words during Activity 2.8. Next they use context clues to look at the multiple meanings of the word civil found within the reading. In Activity 2.9, the Teacher Wrap gives directions for developing vocabulary: “Review the meaning of the term stage directions with students. Have them work in pairs to define the term in their own words and think of both examples and non-examples.”
  • In Unit 3, Compelling Evidence, the vocabulary box for Activity 3.20 explains the academic vocabulary terms credibility, bias, subjective, and objective. Students then apply these concepts while locating and examining sources for their research project. In Activity 3.21, students learn about the academic vocabulary word plagiarism. This correlates with direct instruction on citing sources and avoiding plagiarism in research. The academic vocabulary lesson for the word synthesize follows the same pattern.

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.
4/4
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 9 meet 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 materials provide year-long comprehensive writing instruction throughout the four units of study via formative practice, frequent writing prompts, performance-based assessments, language checks, research tasks, and optional Writing Workshops. Writing tasks range from formal to informal, on-demand to multi-draft, and expressive to analytical. This includes short and full-length research tasks that require finding, analyzing, and synthesizing sources for evidence. Writing activities are incorporated daily for students to respond to texts for a variety of purposes such as making observations, analyzing content and author’s intent, and preparing for discussion or group work. Language and Writer’s Craft and Language Checkpoints give students practice in utilizing language and conventions in writing.

Each unit contains multiple writing prompts that build to the two Embedded Assessments in which students have the opportunity to write across multiple genres. Guided instruction, modeling, opportunities for practice, protocols, and rubrics help students build the skills necessary to complete tasks of increasing difficulty and for teachers and students alike to monitor growth. Supplemental materials include ten additional Writing Workshops that provide a closer look and additional practice of various writing genres. However, it is important to note that these are not a part of the core materials and will require additional time and teacher planning.

Some examples include:

  • In Unit 1, Telling Details, students practice writing literary analysis paragraphs and an original narrative. In Activity 1.10, “students plan, draft, and revise a literary analysis paragraph by creating complete sentences, adding transition words and phrases, and adding context for direct quotations.” Supports include a single paragraph outline and directions to revise an unelaborated paragraph with a focus on “more specific details with quotations from the text, combining sentences, adding sentence variety, and incorporating a variety of transitions to improve the flow.” Activity 1.15 prompts students to write a literary analysis paragraph on the short story “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge” by Ambrose Bierce. Students complete this paragraph using a scaffolded outline that supports students in crafting a topic sentence, finding evidence, and concluding the paragraph. For Embedded Assessment 1, students collaborate to create graphic organizers for a literary analysis paragraph and then demonstrate more independence by writing the piece individually. By practicing this analysis process for targeted literary elements, the second part of the unit prepares students for Embedded Assessment 2 in which they craft an original narrative using the elements they have studied.
  • In Unit 2, Pivotal Words and Phrases, students analyze poetry and excerpts from Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare to practice literary analysis and creative writing pieces. With a focus on how words and literary elements create meaning, the unit first directs students to dramatic interpretation and writing reviews. For example, in Activity 2.7, students develop and write a multi-paragraph review of Joshua Bennett’s performance of his poem “Tamara’s Opus.” Guidance prompts students to “address the subject matter of the piece and the language and performance choices made by the artist and relate them to the live audience's reactions” and then draft a multiple-paragraph outline in their Reader/Writer notebooks before composing the review. The unit writing tasks continue to develop their literary analysis and critique skills so that students write and present a dramatic interpretation scene and an original and published poetry presentation for the Embedded Assessments.
  • In Unit 3, Compelling Evidence, students practice analyzing and building argumentative essays using rhetoric and evidence. Lessons expose students to exemplars of rhetorical strategies such as speeches and articles. For example, after students read and analyze three articles on the decline of teenagers taking summer jobs. Activity 3.10 prompts students to “choose ONE of these articles and write an essay in which you explain how the writer builds an argument to explain the causes of the decline in summer employment among American teens and asserts what Americans should do about it, if anything.” Activity 3.11 helps students follow the process of organizing and developing an analysis of an argument with a multiple-paragraph outline to plan and draft an explanatory essay. The unit contains additional tasks like this that prepare students to compose their own argumentative essay on the value of a college education for Embedded Assessment 1. The second part of Unit 3 leads students through research on a career choice, and they compose an explanatory essay using evidence from the sources they find.
  • In Unit 4, Powerful Openings, students plan and draft a literary analysis essay about the first chapter of To Kill a Mockingbird during Activity 4.13. Students use a graphic organizer to collect information for their literary essays. The organizer features sections for specific quotes from the text, what the quotes reveal, and what the quotes say about Scout’s relationship. Students must also consider the structure of their essay by responding to the following question: “If you were writing a four or five paragraph essay, what would be the focus of the two or three body paragraphs?” Students complete tasks like these in the first half of the unit to prepare for Embedded Assessment 1 in which students complete a formal literary analysis of a coming-of-age scene in To Kill a Mockingbird with little assistance from the teacher.

Indicator 2g

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

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

The materials provide ample opportunities for students to practice evaluating sources, gathering relevant evidence, and citing and reporting findings accurately through shorter, focused, research tasks as well as more in-depth research projects. Throughout the year, students work collaboratively and independently to build their research skills. The Teacher Wrap provides suggestions for resources for teachers to bring to the classroom for students to explore and also provides students with choice in pursuing research avenues. Students analyze embedded selections and outside research brought to the classroom conversation. The units provide students shorter practice tasks that build their capacity to complete more extensive research projects generally through one or both of the Embedded Assessment.

Some examples include:

  • In Unit 1, Telling Details, students “analyze a series of similarly-framed photographs of rooms to observe the details they contain and connect [their] observations to an understanding of the people who inhabited the rooms” during Activity 1.2. During the lesson, students conduct on-the-spot research: “Choose one of the photographs to reexamine. Do some research about the room’s owner, and use that information to help you decide which of the room’s details are particularly revealing about his or her identity. Write three or four sentences that connect those details to traits you learned about the room’s owner.”
  • In Unit 3, Compelling Evidence, students read a variety of informational and argumentative texts on careers and college attendance. During the unit, students practice identifying claims, reasoning, evidence, and counterclaims to prepare for writing their own argumentative research essay. Students complete various graphic organizers and strategies for gleaning evidence from the texts. For example, in Activity 3.13, students read “The ‘not everyone should go to college’ argument is classist and wrong” by Libby Nelson and answer questions that include reading charts with statistics. Students discuss her rhetorical devices and then complete this task to build skill at identifying parts of an argument: “Conduct a second read of one of the essays. As you reread, use four different colored highlighters to identify the parts of the writer’s argument. Mark the writer’s claim with the first color, reasons with the second color, evidence with the third color, and treatment of counterarguments with the fourth color.” Tasks like these prepare students with information and the ability to determine additional evidence in their own selection for Embedded Assessment 2: “Your assignment is to conduct research into a career that interests you. Find at least four credible sources that offer information about the requirements of that career and synthesize the information into a 5-minute presentation that includes a visual or multimedia element.”
  • In Unit 4: Powerful Openings, tasks within activities across the unit present students with opportunities to synthesize knowledge and understanding of the “historical, cultural, social, or geographical context in which the novel To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee was written.” Students also “investigate how individuals, organizations, and events contributed to change in the United States during the Civil Rights Movement” in order to “create an oral presentation” using multimedia support and guiding questions. To prepare for Embedded Assessment 2, Activity 4.26 prompts students to “form research project groups to investigate the real-life history behind the novel.” Activity 4.27 provides research materials as students “read, view, and analyze primary-source documents and photographs from the Jim Crow era and the Civil Rights Movement in order to understand the context of To Kill a Mockingbird.” Students complete a Civil Rights timeline, read and analyze informational texts such as “Jim Crow Laws” by Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Site as well as photographs to analyze visual context. Over the next several activities, students gather more research materials from provided selections before studying how to rehearse and present an oral presentation in Activity 4.32. Students then prepare their drafts for Embedded Assessment 2: “Your assignment is to research the historical, cultural, social, or geographical context in which the novel To Kill a Mockingbird was written. You will investigate how individuals, organizations, and events contributed to change in the United States during the Civil Rights Movement. You will work collaboratively to create an oral presentation of your findings with multimedia support and guiding questions for your audience.”

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.
4/4
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 9 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.

Each unit begins with a Planning the Unit section for teachers that includes a text list called Suggestions for Independent Reading which relate to topics, themes, and genres featured in the unit. The lists include a list for literary and nonfiction/informational texts, each with author, title, and Lexile level where applicable. Spanish selections are also provided. These lists can also be found in the Resources section along with a student independent reading log. Throughout the year, materials include frequent opportunities for students to engage in independent reading through lessons and self-selected materials. The beginning of each unit features a preview of the unit’s focus and guiding questions connected to the topic to support students in selecting the most appropriate independent reading texts and developing a reading plan. Twice per unit, the materials include Independent Reading Checkpoints that require students to complete an informal discussion or writing assignment. Students also respond to Independent Reading Links that require them to articulate connections between their independent reading and the skills/concepts they are learning about in the classroom, which also holds them accountable for completing their independent reading books and required reading logs. The Teacher Wrap also includes additional guidance for teachers to foster independence for all readers. When students read and analyze longer texts across the Activities, the materials suggest scaffolding strategies to support students along the way, gradually leading to their reading independence across the year. Additional readings can be found in the digital resource Zinc Reading Labs.

Some examples include:

  • In Unit 1,Telling Details, the Previewing the Unit section of Activity 1.1 invites students to explore the big ideas and tasks of the unit and make plans for independent reading. The materials provide guiding questions to support students in selecting the most appropriate texts, based on the unit’s big ideas. Some of the guiding questions include “What have you enjoyed reading in the past? What is your favorite book or favorite type of book?” “Who is your favorite author? When you select a potential book, preview it. What do you notice about the front cover design? What type of visual is shown?” Some suggestions for independent reading include Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson, Kindred by Octavia Butler, and Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy (fiction); Once Upon a Quinceanera: Coming of Age in America by Julia Alvarez, The Circuit: Stories from the Life of a Migrant Farm Child by Francisco Jiminez, and Relish: My Life in the Kitchen by Lucy Knisley (nonfiction).
  • In Unit 2, Pivotal Words and Phrases, students use an outline to develop and write a multiple-paragraph response about how pivotal words and phrases illustrate the unpredictability of human impulse in the face of nature during Activity 2.5. At the end of the activity, students complete an Independent Reading Link that requires them to respond to some of the following questions, based on their independent reading book: “Think about the text you are reading independently and how it is impacted by the author's use of language. Are there particular words and phrases that stand out to you?” “Why do they stand out and how do they affect your understanding of the text's theme, subject, or main idea?”
  • In Unit 3, Compelling Evidence, students explore the big ideas and tasks of the unit and make plans for their independent reading during Activity 3.1. In the Teacher Wrap, the materials prompt teachers to “Check that students have created Independent Reading Plans that include reasonable goals and texts appropriate for their reading levels.” Guidance also recommends that teachers individually meet with students if they are struggling with selecting a text and gauge their interest based on the independent text they read during Units 1 and 2.
  • In Unit 4, Powerful Openings, during Activity 4.14, students set up a double-entry journal to write notes as they continue reading To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, and familiarize themselves with Embedded Assessment 1. Students set up the double-entry journal with a focus on making connections between their independent reading book and To Kill a Mockingbird. The task requires students to “set up a double-entry journal for their independent reading and use it to keep track of their reactions, connections, memorable quotes, predictions, and conclusions. Student guidance explains that this task “will help develop note-taking skills.” Additionally, students must “make a goal of writing at least one entry for every three pages they read.”

Gateway Three

Usability

Meets Expectations

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Gateway Three Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 9 meet the criteria for instructional supports and usability. Although the materials are well designed and include lessons that are effectively structured, the suggested amount of time for the materials is not viable for one school year and would require several significant modifications. 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

6/8
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Criterion Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 9 partially meet the criteria for use and design to facilitate student learning. Although the materials are well designed and include lessons that are effectively structured, the suggested amount of time for the materials is not viable for one school year and would require several significant modifications. 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 (i.e., allows for ease of readability and are effectively organized for planning) and take into account effective lesson structure (e.g., introduction and lesson objectives, teacher modelling, student practice, closure) and short-term and long-term pacing.
2/2
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 9 meet the criteria that materials are well-designed and take into account effective lesson structure and pacing.

The instructional materials, which are based on Understanding by Design, include four units of study, a Language Workshop, a Close Reading Workshop, and a Writing Workshop. Each unit is organized around a collection of texts or tasks based on theme. The four units are Telling Details, Pivotal Words and Phrases, Compelling Evidence, and Powerful Openings. Teachers access the unit materials on the Digital Bookshelf. The introductory materials include a Planning the Unit section at the beginning of each unit which suggests possible instructional sequences. Next, the Instructional Pathways section offers a pacing guide for the activities and workshops, based on a 50-minute class period.

The teacher materials include a digital Teacher Wrap bar to the left of the page that can be accessed at any time and provides a range of additional information, such as step-by-step guidance for each activity including standards citations, vocabulary support, pacing recommendations, independent reading suggestions, and a possible instructional pathway. Each unit includes two embedded assessments that are directly aligned to the content students experience throughout the activities within the lesson. Information about the assessments are accessed through the table of contents tab and the unit overview.

In Planning the Unit, there is an Activities at a Glance and a Resources at a Glance section. The Activities at a Glance provides a clear overview of what is included in the unit activities. Activities begin with learning targets, a preview, key vocabulary, and learning strategies that are covered during the lesson. Additionally, some activities include recommendations for leveled differentiated instruction to support the implementation of a specific section of a given lesson. The Unit Resources at a Glance section provides an overview of the various supplemental resources for the unit. The Teacher Edition also includes a pacing guide that provides several instructional pathway options including where to incorporate additional resources.

Indicator 3b

The teacher and student can reasonably complete the content within a regular school year, and the pacing allows for maximum student understanding.
0/2
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 9 do not 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.

There is more material available than could be taught in a 180-day school year. The materials require 189–198 class periods for course completion. The pacing of each unit varies, depending on the length of time required to cover the content. Schools with adjusted schedules, such as a double-blocked schedule, may be able to cover the content within a 180-day school year; however, schools without adjusted scheduling require extensive planning to integrate and utilize all aspects of the curriculum, in addition to inserting the most appropriate supplementary resources while working towards covering all grade-level standards within a school year.

All information regarding pacing can be found in the Digital Bookshelf resource for teachers including the scope and sequence for each unit. The Teacher Edition Features section provides an overview of the essential features of the curriculum, including the design, instructional pathways, and additional ELA support tools, including a platform for students called Zinc which includes diverse texts aligned to SpringBoard material. Each of the four units includes a pacing chart that outlines each activity, assessment, and optional pathways. These pathways provide teacher guidance for integrating the supplementary materials from the Flexible Novel Unit and the Language, Close Reading, and Writing Workshops. The Language Workshops are used at designated points in each unit; however the Close Reading and Writing Workshops are additional. Teachers would need to make decisions on how, when, or if they would integrate these workshops. The suggested time for each activity varies. For example, some lessons are suggested to take place over the course of two 50-minute class periods.

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.).
2/2
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 9 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 student materials include ample supplementary materials that serve as additional practice resources. Throughout each lesson, students engage with reading selections in a variety of ways, enabling them to practice necessary skills. They are provided multiple opportunities to interact with the text through digital tools such as highlighting, underlining, and circling. Teachers have the option to select from quick multiple-choice assessments found on SpringBoard Digital which assess students’ knowledge and skills of activities within the curriculum. Teachers can also select which quizzes to assign over the span of a unit based on student needs.

Each unit follows the same format including icons, symbols, and activity titles/categories. The four units begin with explicit goals, learning targets, and a preview of the activity. Each activity also concludes with a check for understanding to assess students’ understanding of the activity. As the activity progresses, directions and tasks are labeled and tasks for student engagement with content are clearly indicated. Visuals are accompanied by captions and/or are related to the content of the readings. Reoccuring strategies and activities are assigned specific symbols. For example, an enlarged V is provided for vocabulary which appears each time students are given new vocabulary or engaging in vocabulary-related tasks. Additional reference aids include consistent use of visual prompts to analyze topics/themes, highlighted vocabulary, numbered paragraphs, enlarged titles of text and relevant subtitles.

Indicator 3d

Materials include publisher-produced alignment documentation of the standards addressed by specific questions, tasks, and assessment items.
2/2
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 9 meet the criteria that materials include publisher-produced alignment documentation of the standards addressed by specific questions, tasks, and assessment items.

In the Teacher Resources section of the Digital Dashboard, the materials provide information about standards alignment for each activity across all four units. This document details the activity number, title, focus standards, and additional standards. Information on standard alignment can also be found in the Assessments section of the Dashboard; the standards are aligned to the overall assessment but not individual questions on the assessments. Teachers generate standards-based progress reports for their students through the Progress Reports section of the Dashboard. Additionally, the Teacher Wrap in the eBook provides linked standards for each activity, and the Correlations Viewer in the eBook shows page numbers for aligned content for each standard.

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 instructional materials reviewed for Grade 9 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 materials are presented in a digital format that is interactive and easy to navigate. Each unit and the accompanying materials are designed with a clear and consistent layout that is student and teacher-friendly. Each unit opens with a visual prompt and provides students with the goals of the unit. All activities across the four units are structured and presented in the same way, which includes repeating symbols and images for the activities in each lesson. The font, media size, and type are standard and easy to read. The eBook incorporates interactive digital features that allow students to engage with the content of lessons. Students are provided ample space to respond to questions on this digital platform. The Teacher Wrap is readily accessible when viewing student activities to avoid having to move back and forth between two separate pages, and the number of words on each page of the digital platform are sufficient. Additionally, the activities include scaffolded templates that allow students to write directly in a large box and add links and attachments.

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 9 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 9 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 for each grade level provide an ELA Standards Correlation document and incorporate introductory content, including a Table of Contents and an introduction to the scope of the materials. The introduction explains the materials’ design, approach, and vision. Also included is a breakdown of the available components of the Teacher Edition: Planning the Unit, Instructional Guidance, Differentiation, Integrated Assessments, and Workshops (Language, Close Reading, and Writing). The introduction also explains the additional tools—SpringBoard Digital, Zinc Reading Labs, and Turnitin Revision Assistant—for users who have digital access.

Instructional materials include systematic annotations and suggestions on presentation of the content starting in the opening pages and continuing through the ancillary materials. The start of each unit includes “Planning the Unit” to give teachers an overview and point out areas where teachers may want to use ancillary materials to enrich or scaffold the unit. This section includes: context, suggested materials, instructional sequence, connections to Advanced Placement (AP)/Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT), Unpack Embedded Instructions, Cognate Directory for ELL students whose original language is Spanish, Activities at a Glance chart, Unit Resources, Independent Reading suggestions, Instructional Pathways for embedding ancillary materials in language and foundational skills, and Flexible Pathways for adding writing and close reading units within the unit.

In each activity, the Teacher Wrap sidebar provides the addressed standards, pacing recommendations, step by step teaching guidance, scaffolding for text-based questions, suggestions for leveled differentiated instruction, assessment guidance and ways to adapt the assessment. Additional call-out boxes provide “teacher-to-teacher” advice for some activities, text complexity information, and additional writing and language standards being taught in the unit. Additionally, teacher materials include a resources section at the back of each grade level, including documents for organizing independent reading, a breakdown of learning strategies, a variety of graphic organizers, an English-Spanish glossary, an index of skills, and an index of authors and titles.

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 9 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 Teacher Edition integrates directions, procedures and additional information designed to extend teacher knowledge of instructional content and pedagogy. The opening pages for each unit provide rationales for skills taught throughout units. The closing pages for each grade level provide the definition and purpose of the Learning Strategies used across the year. The Teacher Wrap sidebar, present throughout units and activities, provides professional support such as Teacher to Teacher recommendations and Leveled Differentiated Instruction that suggests implementation moves to adjust and extend lessons. The Teacher Wrap also provides explicit directions and explanations for implementing activities as well as recommended answers and additional explanations for literary concepts and tasks.

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 9 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 materials are consistently aligned to the College and Career Readiness Standards along with Advanced Placement (AP) coursework. The materials are “Based on the Understanding by Design model” and teach “students the skills and knowledge that matter most to meet AP and college and career readiness standards.” The English Language Arts Pathway contains “student-centered activities that gradually develop the skills and knowledge needed for the Embedded Assessments and are aligned to grade-level standards.” Each Activity begins with standards-aligned learning targets and provides the lesson focus standards. Materials also include standards-aligned unit assessments for each half unit. Lessons occasionally make connections to social studies and and/or health education through the Gaining Perspectives sections. The Planning the Unit section at the beginning of each unit lists the AP and SAT connections that will be made in the upcoming unit. The materials also include an ELA Standards Correlation chart that outlines each standard addressed in the curriculum and where in the curriculum the standard is addressed. The digital version provides links to standards built into lessons and a standards correlation document that links standards to specific activities.

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 9 meet the criteria that materials contain explanations of the instructional approaches of the program and identification of the research-based strategies.

The introductory pages for each grade level describe the instructional design of the materials and the authors’ approach to the different components of instruction. The materials are based on the Understanding by Design Model, a widely known approach to learning by Wiggins and McTighe that focuses on understanding the assessment at the end of instruction to see how the learning students need to be successful on the assessment should build. The program is also designed through a “Shared Instructional Vision” between SpringBoard and AP. This model emphasizes close observation and analysis, higher-order questioning, evidence-based writing, and academic conversations. SpringBoard also aligned the materials with the knowledge and skills needed for the evidence-based reading and writing sections of the SAT assessments.

The materials are research-based, classroom tested, and created by classroom practitioners. The introductory pages includes the following statement: “SpringBoard’s lesson design also takes into account the work of the American Institutes for Research in its focus on students moving through multiple levels of cognitive engagement: progressing fluidly from comprehension and understanding, to analysis, and ultimately to synthesis and the creation of new content. Each lesson is designed to allow for the type of facilitation and flexibility referenced by Charlotte Danielson in her work on teacher instruction. We have also integrated the research of Marzano and Pickering by building students’ background knowledge in the area of academic vocabulary development. Finally, SpringBoard is directly informed by Robyn Jackson’s work on rigorous instruction. As Jackson suggests, our content requires students to be ‘active, not passive,’ and our units feature activities that stress ‘implicit meaning, ambiguity, layers, and complexity.’”

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 9 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 materials include an introductory letter for students in student-friendly language to support their understanding of the curriculum structure, its focus, and the type of activities they will encounter: “SpringBoard helps you make connections between the concepts you're reading and writing about in class and the real world. Instead of just memorizing how to do things, you'll draw on your own and your classmates' experiences and knowledge to come to new and deeper understandings.” Students receive suggested independent reading books to aid in their understanding of each unit’s theme. SpringBoard Digital provides teachers with the ability to share progress reports with students, grades, additional messaging, and embed correlations at point of use to support students in making connections between standards and content. 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.

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 9 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 9 meet the criteria that materials regularly and systematically offer assessment opportunities that genuinely measure student progress.

Assessment is a key part of the design of SpringBoard’s curriculum. The materials offer frequent opportunities for formative and summative measurements of student performance. Each unit includes two Embedded Assessments, which measure students’ performance on key concepts studied throughout the unit. These assessments include scoring guides and student examples for teachers and students alike to use during the process. Each unit also includes many types of formative checkpoints that allow students to practice what they are learning, and for teachers to assess student progress. These tasks include Making Observations questions, Returning to the Text Questions, Check Your Understanding Tasks, Focus on the Sentence Tasks, Graphic Organizers, Writing Prompts, and Reflection Questions. The digital version of the materials also includes multiple-choice quizzes for each activity and unit assessments that are aligned to the standards in each half-unit.

The units are designed around the same format: plan, teach, assess, and adapt. Materials offer teacher guidance for assessment. In the Teacher Wrap, the assess section explains the opportunities for assessment in the unit. Materials also provide the connection between the formative assessments and the two Embedded Assessments and the overview of the skills being assessed.

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 9 meet the criteria that assessments clearly denote which standards are being emphasized.

The materials include an ELA Standards Correlation document that lists individual standards and their corresponding tasks, questions, and assessments in the units. The document contains links to these specific locations in the online version of the materials. The digital materials contain icons with drop down boxes that indicate the standards for the activities. Within the print materials, the Common Core College and Career Readiness Standards that correspond to the Embedded Assessments are listed at the bottom of the page for each assessment. The standards mentioned in Scaffolding the Text-Dependent Questions boxes are linked to formative assessments.

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 9 partially meet the criteria that assessments provide sufficient guidance to teachers for interpreting student performance and suggestions for follow up.

SpringBoard units follow a Plan-Teach-Assess-Adapt process. These steps are outlined in the Teacher Wrap for each activity. This gives teachers guidance toward formative and summative assessments that includes checkpoints and recommendations for adjusting lessons to build student capacity for the Embedded Assessments. The digital version of the materials provides teachers with the ability to track student progress through functions such as the Revision Assistant and formative and summative assessment packages; however, this review did not include access to these functions. The digital and paper materials provide scoring guides for the Embedded Assessments and recommended answers to student questions. The Scaffolding sections and the Teaching Notes provide guidance for follow-up based on what teachers observe in student responses during the activities. 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.

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 9 meet the criteria that materials should include routines and guidance that point out opportunities to monitor student progress.

The materials are organized into four units of study that are broken down into a systematic series of activities—lessons built around specific texts or tasks. Each activity follows a similar structure and routine including read the learning targets, follow the directions for annotations in the As You Read section, complete the first read, Make Observations about the text, Return to the Text to answer text-dependent questions, and Work from the Text by analyzing certain aspects of the text. Follow-up tasks include Focusing on the Sentence, Language and Writer’s Craft, and/or a final Checking your Understanding. The Teacher Wrap directions follow a Plan, Teach, Assess, and Adapt format and provide teachers with suggestions for how to monitor student comprehension and progress toward the Embedded Assessments.

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 9 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.

Independent reading is an important part of each unit of the materials. At the beginning of each unit, students create their own plan for independent reading that will complement the content and skills of the unit. Materials provide unit-specific, independent reading instructions for students and teachers. The opening pages of each grade give the following information about the independent reading embedded throughout each unit, “While students work their way through each unit, they respond to Independent Reading Links that prompt them to make connections between the reading they’re doing on their own and the skills and knowledge they’re developing in class. Twice per unit, Independent Reading Checkpoints give students a chance to reflect on and synthesize their independent reading in an informal writing assignment or discussion.” The Planning the Unit sections for each unit contain a list of suggested titles, both literary and nonfiction/informational. The resource section of the materials contains an Independent Reading Log for students to use to record their progress.

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 9 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 9 meet the criteria that 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.

The Planning the Unit section at the beginning of each unit provides information on differentiation so that teachers can personalize instruction through customizable pathways such as the English Language Arts Pathway, Language Development Pathway, and a Flexible Pathway. This allows teachers to plan the unit in the best way in response to a range of learners including English Language Learners, struggling or below grade level readers, and above grade level readers. This section also includes Unit Resources at a Glance, which offers English language development support, and foundational language skills support. Throughout the Activities and lessons, teachers encounter Leveled Differentiated Instruction features that provide scaffolding for challenging tasks. The differentiation model includes six levels, and the first four—Beginning, Developing, Expanding, and Bridging—correspond to World-class Instructional Design and Assessment (WIDA) level descriptors. The next level is listed as Support and is recommended for students who may not be English language learners but still need support to perform at grade level. The last category is Extend and provides opportunities for students to further challenge themselves. Teacher-to-Teacher boxes also provide suggestions from veteran classroom teachers on how to enhance, support, differentiate, and extend lessons and activities. The Resources section at each grade level also contains a variety of graphic organizers teachers can use to supplement and scaffold instruction.

The following serves as an example of support found across all four units.

  • In Unit 1, Telling Details, there is a Leveled Differentiated Instruction Directory that offers suggestions for differentiating instruction throughout the unit listed by activity. For example:
    • 1.14: Supply descriptive phrases to help students pinpoint shifts in a character’s mental state.
    • 1.16, 1.18: Use a Sequence of Events Timeline to help students understand a text.
    • 1.20: Allow students to use translation dictionaries to deepen understanding of new vocabulary.
    • 1.23: Use the Key Ideas and Details Chart to help students recognize and understand important details in a text. Guide pairs to identify vocabulary about the writing process.
    • 1.24: Use the echo reading strategy to guide students in reading text excerpts.
    • 1.25: Provide sentence frames for students to practice drafting thematic statements.

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 9 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 Planning the Unit section includes a Spanish cognate dictionary to encourage students to notice the connections between their primary language and English to help them acquire academic vocabulary more quickly. For English language learners whose primary language is not Spanish, teachers are encouraged to “ consider using an online translator or dictionary to support comprehension of vocabulary terms.” The Activities at a Glance feature also provides teachers with guidance to determine which activity includes ELL support with the use of icons. Throughout the activities in each unit, teachers encounter Leveled Differentiated Instruction features that provide scaffolding for challenging tasks. There are six levels to this differentiation model, and the first four—Beginning, Developing, Expanding, and Bridging—correspond to World-class Instructional Design and Assessment (WIDA) level descriptors. The next level is listed as Support and is recommended for students who may not be English language learners but still need support to perform at grade level. The suggested texts for independent reading include Spanish titles. The Glossary at the end of each grade level includes Spanish entries alongside the English ones. Because teachers have the flexibility to create different pathways through the unit that relate to students’ needs, those who are learning the English Language or who need additional support in meeting grade-level standards have many opportunities to practice their skills through Language Workshops and Foundational Skills Workshops.

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

Each unit includes an overview of a “flexible pathway” to allow teachers to make choices from the supplementary materials to meet the learning needs of students. Suggestions for Leveled Differentiated Instruction are built into the Teacher Wrap within each unit. One of the support levels is Extend and is designed to provide 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, and often in the Adapt portion, there are suggestions for ways in which teachers can engage their students in a greater challenge. The Flexible novel units also allow for extension opportunities.

Some examples include:

  • In Unit 1, Telling Details, during Activity 1.7, students “read a short story and analyze how its complex main character develops over the course of the story.” The extension task requires students to do the following: “Have partners work together to find context clues that help them define idiomatic expressions from the story. Then have them discuss what they think each idiomatic expression means and how they might paraphrase it.”
  • In Unit 2, Pivotal Words and Phrases, the extension activity for Activity 2.23 suggests that teachers “Have students write a new stanza to the poem using the imagery of the ocean and imitating the graphic elements and word placement.”

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 9 meet the criteria that materials provide opportunities for teachers to use a variety of grouping strategies.

The materials provide frequent opportunities for students to learn, practice, and perform in a variety of grouping configurations, and teachers likewise use these groups to accentuate their instruction. Students often work in pairs and small groups and take part in whole-class activities as well. These groupings are often used in sequence as a strategy for enhancing learning. When students conduct a first read of a text, they do it in a variety of groupings. The materials provide teachers with speaking and listening strategies that encourage collaboration including but not limited to the definition and purpose of debates, role-playing, literature circles, and Socratic seminars. In the Teach step of the Plan, Teach, Assess, Adapt teaching model, teachers learn how to effectively use grouping strategies. The supplemental Close Reading Workshops are also useful in a variety of student groupings; however, it is important to note that these workshops are not a part of the core curriculum and require additional time and planning.

The following are examples of groupings that occur frequently across all four units:

  • In Unit 1, Telling Details, during Activity 1.17, the materials prompt teachers to “guide students to return to the text to respond to the text-dependent questions. Invite them to work in small groups to reread the text and answer the questions. Remind them to cite strong textual evidence in their responses.”
  • In Unit 3, Compelling Evidence, the teacher directions for Activity 3.7 read, “ Organize the class into groups of four students each, and instruct group members to share their rankings and rationales in student step 9. Challenge small groups to come to a consensus about how the three different parties or causes should be ranked and to note which examples of evidence ultimately convinced them of that order.”

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 9 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. This qualifies as substitution and augmentation as defined by the SAMR model. Materials can be easily integrated into existing learning management systems.
0/0
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 9 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 instructional materials are available to consumers in both print and digital form for both students and teachers. The digital platform is web-based and functions well on Firefox and Google Chrome using Windows 10 and MacIntosh operating systems. SpringBoard Digital functions on a variety of devices such as desktops, laptops, Chromebooks, tablets, and various smartphones. The materials were accessible using Internet Explorer but required multiple clearings of the cache when navigating between different tabs in the SpringBoard Bookshelf. The materials do not function well on Microsoft Edge.

Some examples include:

  • When using Microsoft Edge, only the “next” and “previous” hyperlinks worked for navigation, requiring the user 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 do not direct the user to the activity but rather to the top of the unit page. 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.

Indicator 3t

Materials support effective use of technology to enhance student learning, drawing attention to evidence and texts as appropriate and providing opportunities for modification and redefinition as defined by the SAMR model.
0/0
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 9 meet the criteria that materials support effective use of technology to enhance student learning, drawing attention to evidence and texts as appropriate.

The digital materials contain program supplements that are intended to enhance student learning through additional practice with standards and skills. Activity Quizzes are available for each activity in each unit and can be assigned at the teacher’s discretion. The Activity Quizzes are multiple choice assessments that can be used to monitor student understanding and help teachers make adjustments in instruction as needed. Unit Assessments are also available as a part of SpringBoard Digital for each half unit at each grade level. These assessments consist of multiple-choice and open-response questions which are modeled after the SAT. Other enhancements available on SpringBoard Digital include Zinc Reading Labs, a library of supplemental reading material, and Turnitin Revision Assistant, a writing feedback tool for students. In the introductory materials, publishers state, “Students are encouraged to continue building their knowledge of the topic by going to Zinc Reading Labs and searching for and reading related texts.” Turnitin Revision Assistant offers teachers and students online tools to enhance writing such as “instant feedback to students as they write,” and “a template to help you create an outline.” Links that clearly denote what standards are addressed for tasks are provided.

The tools available in the online version of the textbook include a set of annotation tools and the ability to share annotations to Google Classroom, embedded audio versions of the text, and a tool to define unknown words. Online assessments include similar enhanced technology features. The questions within the activities give students the option to create a response within the textbook platform, link to a document, or upload a document in the question response area. Teachers can link assignments to Google Classroom from within the Teacher Edition.

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

While the digital platform allows for some customization, adaptive or assistive technologies, such as text-to-speech, are not provided. Digital assessments may be assigned to all students, groups of students, or individual students; however, these assessments do not include accessibility features such as highlighting, annotating, or text-to-speech. The SpringBoard digital materials have interactive features that help students access the material and support learning such as the ability to digitally highlight, annotate, and define text. They can also add their own digital material when answering questions by clicking on icons and inserting web links and/or attachments. Students may also listen to the audio versions of many selections. Teachers have the option to project and print content, including assessments, according to student needs. Teachers also have the ability to link the content with Google Classroom which gives teachers more flexibility and options to customize content for students. Digital options include the Zinc Reading Lab and electronic student portfolios and notebooks. The Turnitin Revision Assistant is a tool that students can use to receive personalized feedback on written assessments. The Instructional Pathways may be customized to meet students’ needs but teachers do not have the ability to personalize individual student’s learning.

Indicator 3u.ii

Materials can be easily customized by schools, systems, and states for local use.
0/0
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 9 meet the criteria that materials can be easily customized for local use.

The materials are designed intentionally for teachers and schools to have a great amount of flexibility in how they deliver the curriculum. The program is customizable in a number of ways, and teachers and districts may mix and match program elements such as the Instructional Pathway, Language Workshops, Close Reading Workshops, and Writing Workshops. Teachers may incorporate supplemental pathways such as the Language Development Pathway, Foundational Skills Workshop, and Flexible Pathways during a unit of instruction, according to whether students need extra support or an opportunity for extension. Teachers and districts may also supplement the curriculum with readings from the Zinc Reading Lab, and students may use the Turnitin Revision Assistant to receive feedback on their written assessments. Teachers may also create Assignment Reports and Standards Report by Timeframe as well as individual progress reports for selected students or groups (Google Classroom). Teachers may also add links or attachments to tasks.

In the opening pages, the authors of the materials describe their method as “A Living System of Learning.” They state, “SpringBoard puts students in charge of how they learn to create a more dynamic classroom experience with a flexible design and rich library of tools and resources, SpringBoard helps educators personalize instruction to meet student needs.”

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 9 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.).

Teachers may collaborate with each other using SpringBoard Community, “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.” Teachers may also engage in collaborative professional development using the Professional Development tab located on the teacher digital homescreen. The materials provide limited opportunities for teachers to collaborate with students. Materials may be added to Google Classroom, providing potential opportunities for students to collaborate with teachers and their peers. Students may also utilize the messaging tool to digitally communicate with other students.

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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 978-1-4573-1288-5 Teacher College Board 2021
National Edition English Language Arts Print Student Edition 978-1-4573-1295-3 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 HS 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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