Alignment: Overall Summary

StudySync Grade 10 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 rigor for the grade.

See Rating Scale Understanding Gateways

Alignment

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Meets Expectations

Gateway 1:

Text Quality

0
15
28
32
30
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 10 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. Quantitative, qualitative, and associated reader and task measures make the majority of texts appropriate for use in the grade level; however, the variety in text complexity is not 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 reflects 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.
14/16
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Criterion Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 10 meet the criteria for text quality and text complexity. The majority of the anchor texts are of high quality; at times, some of the lengthier core texts, such as memoirs, novels, and plays, are excerpts. 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. Texts above the grade band are supported through Skill lessons. Although there is a marked increase in text complexity, text complexity varies without a coherent structure and does not support students’ grade-level reading independence. 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 StudySync materials reviewed for Grade 10 meet the criteria for anchor texts being of publishable quality and worthy of especially careful reading.

StudySync materials provide opportunities to read across genres and levels of complexity, cover a range of diverse topics and student interests, and are age-appropriate for the grade level. Additionally, the textual enhancements often provide historical context and background information on the author and the text itself. With the exception of short stories, poems, letters, and essays, StudySync materials sometimes rely on the use of text excerpts. The StudySync Library includes the following note about text excerpts: “Please note that excerpts in the StudySync® library are intended as touchstones to generate interest in an author's work. StudySync® believes that such passages do not substitute for the reading of entire texts and strongly recommends that students seek out and purchase the whole literary or informational work.”

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

  • In Unit 1, The Power of Communication, the chapter excerpt from Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe offers a classic novel worthy of close examination. In this excerpt from the first chapter, the author introduces readers to the powerful chief of a Nigerian tribe and his father, who could not be more different. Students answer questions about the text’s theme and create inferences regarding the relationship between the father and son.
  • In Unit 2, Moving Forward, an excerpt from Night by Elie Wiesel provides a personal and historical memoir excerpt (informational text) that documents Wiesel’s arrival at a Nazi concentration camp, Birkenau, during WWII. The beginning of section 3 contains repetition and parallelism for students to identify and determine the author's purpose. The memoir provides students the opportunity to build their knowledge base about this Holocaust and personal perspective relating to Wiesel, a teenager, in this memoir.
  • In Unit 3, The Persistence of Memories, students read “Love is Not All” by Edna St. Vincent Millay. The poem by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Edna St. Vincent Millay is timeless and age-appropriate for this level. A video sparks interest for students before they read independently, and the visuals connect to the content.
  • In Unit 4, The Ties That Bind, “La Juanita” by Alice Dunbar-Nelson is a short story, rich in descriptive language, set in a small town about Creole Families of New Orleans exploring a multiracial and intercultural setting. The text contains rich regionally and culturally specific language. The text challenges readers to address how one might bridge differences in generations, cultural groups, and communities.
  • In Unit 5, Chopped, Stirred, and Blended, students read “Ethiopia” by Audre Lorde. The poetry by Audre Lorde evokes an emotional response with descriptions of life in Africa during a famine. The video provides imagery to create suspense while connecting to the setting in the poem. Textual enhancement draws attention to essential vocabulary in context. The content is age-appropriate.
  • In Unit 6, Origin Stories, students read “Past and Future” by Sarojini Naidu. The poem expresses the continuous cycle in nature as time passes, and the past fades as the future becomes the present. Students will need to analyze poetic elements such as imagery, metaphor, rhyme, and symbols. Students make inferences to interpret the speaker’s ideas about the past in comparison to the future.

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 StudySync instructional materials reviewed for Grade 10 meet the criteria for materials reflect the distribution of text types and genres required by the standards at each grade level.

StudySync materials include a sufficient balance of literary and informational texts with many opportunities for students to read across genres throughout the academic year. Each of the six thematic units includes text sets and juxtaposes diverse texts to explore a common theme. Examples of text types and genres in Grade 10 include but are not limited to speech, satire, short stories, and excerpts from memoirs.

Examples of literature found within the instructional materials include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • In Unit 1, The Power of Communication, “The Story of a Vision” by Francis La Fleche (short story)
  • In Unit 1, The Power of Communication, “I Am Offering This Poem” by Jimmy Santiago Baca (poem)
  • In Unit 2, Moving Forward, “Civil Peace” by Chinua Achebe (short story)
  • In Unit 3, The Persistence of Memories, “From Behind a Covered Window” by Ngo Tu Lap (poem)
  • In Unit 3, The Persistence of Memories, “Love Is Not All” by Edna St. Vincent Millay (poem)
  • In Unit 4, The Ties That Bind, “People Should Not Die in June in South Texas” by Gloria Anzaldúa (short story)
  • In Unit 5, Chopped, Stirred, and Blended, “The Latin Deli: An Ars Poetica” by Judith Ortiz Cofer (poem)
  • In Unit 5, Chopped, Stirred, and Blended, “Parsley” by Rita Dove (poem)
  • In Unit 6, Origin Stories, “Past and Future” by Sarojini Naidu (poem)
  • In Unit 6, Origin Stories, “The Nose” by Nikolai Gogol (satire)

Examples of informational text found within the instructional materials include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • In Unit 1, The Power of Language, “Speech to the Second Virginia Convention” by Patrick Henry (historical speech)
  • In Unit 1, The Power of Language, “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” by Martin Luther King, Jr. (letter)
  • In Unit 2, Moving Forward, “Valedictorian Address at Anacostia High School” by Rashema Melson (speech)
  • In Unit 3, The Persistence of Memories, “Seeing at the Speed of Sound” by Rachel Kolb (autobiographical essay)
  • In Unit 3, The Persistence of Memories, By Any Other Name by Santha Rama Rau (memoir)
  • In Unit 4, The Ties That Bind, “Claudette Colvin: Twice Towards Justice” by Roni Jacobson (interview transcript)
  • In Unit 4, The Ties That Bind, Excerpt from Funny in Farsi: A Memoir of Growing Up Iranian in America by Firoozeh Dumas (memoir)
  • In Unit 5, Chopped, Stirred, and Blended, “Chinese Cooking” by Chen Jitong (article)
  • In Unit 5, Chopped, Stirred, and Blended, “Curry: A Tale of Cooks and Conquerors” by Lizzie Collingham (novel)
  • In Unit 6, Origin Stories, Excerpt from The Best We Could Do: An Illustrated Memoir by Thi Bui (memoir)
  • In Unit 6, Origin Stories, “Worship the Spirit of Criticism: Address at the Pasteur Institute” by Louis Pasteur (speech)

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 StudySync instructional materials reviewed for Grade 10 meet the criteria for texts have the appropriate level of complexity for the grade according to quantitative analysis and qualitative analysis.

StudySync materials provide texts that are at the appropriate level of complexity for Grade 10. Texts that fall below the Lexile range are made more complex by their qualitative features and classroom activities that encourage students to delve deeper into the theme, author’s purpose, word choice, and more. Texts that are above the Lexile range are often paired with more accessible texts to aid in overall understanding, and have appropriate supports in place to help students grasp the author's purpose and demonstrate comprehension. However, some of the quantitative information indicated in the StudySync materials are often different from other sources, such as The Lexile Framework for Reading website. In some cases the materials provide Lexile levels for the excerpt, rather than the Lexile levels of the published texts.

The ELA Grade Level Overview for Grade 10 provides additional information relating to qualitative features for each text, and guidance is available for teachers to assist students in accessing more complex text around a common topic.

Examples of texts with appropriate text complexity include, but are not limited to:

  • In Unit 1, The Power of Communication, “Speech to the Second Virginia Convention” by Patrick Henry
    • Quantitative: 950L
    • Qualitative: Students draw on prior knowledge from their knowledge of the American Revolutionary Era. The text includes unfamiliar or challenging vocabulary—revere, arduous, and supplication. These words may need defining. Remind students to use context clues while reading. Also, make sure that they have access to a print or online dictionary to check and confirm understanding.
    • Reader and Task: The fifth stanza of Pat Mora’s poem “A Voice” says, “You liked winning with words. You liked writing speeches about patriotism and democracy. You liked all the faces looking at you, all those eyes. ‘How did I do it?’ you ask me now....” “Winning with words” is a goal in persuasive writing and speaking, and both Henry and Martin Luther King, Jr. use language to advocate for their ideas. Reflecting on Mora’s poem and the shared concepts and themes in King’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail” and Henry’s “Speech to the Second Virginia Convention,” students discuss how a person’s choice of words may be a matter of “life” and “death.”
  • In Unit 2, Moving Forward, “Remarks at the UN General Assembly” by Ellen Johnson Sirleaf
    • Quantitative: 1440L
    • Qualitative: In her address to the UN General Assembly, Sirleaf reflects on concrete actions that have advanced the cause of women’s equality, but she also expresses concerns that the pace of progress is too slow. Point out aspects of this text that are unique to a speech, such as a speaker directly addressing the audience.
    • Reader and Task: In “Remarks at the UN General Assembly,” the speaker Ellen Johnson Shirleaf argues for the need for widespread change she hopes to see in her society. Taking a cue from Shirleaf’s rhetoric, students write a speech that they would like to deliver to advocate for change. In their speech, students must allude to or directly refer to examples from this and other speeches, letters, and texts they have read to help support their claims.
  • In Unit 3, The Persistence of Memories, “Facial expressions-including fear-may not be as universal as we thought” by Michael Price
    • Quantitative: 1340L
    • Qualitative: Students may quickly identify this as an informational text, but they may need assistance identifying it as an example of science journalism. Consider explaining how this genre differs in style, scope, and methodology from a peer-reviewed journal article. This text has unfamiliar words, including tenets, horticulturists, and pancultural. Remind students to use context clues while reading, and also to use a dictionary to define unfamiliar words. Point out genre features present in this informational text, such as headings, photos and captions, and quotations. Review the informational text genre lesson from the beginning of the unit with students.
    • Reader and Task: Students analyze how the author uses evidence, details, examples, and technical language to communicate a thesis or central idea about changes in emotional theory. Students discuss how the author develops this central idea throughout the text, including how it is shaped and refined by specific details.
  • In Unit 4, The Ties That Bind, Funny in Farsi by Firoozeh Dumas
    • Quantitative: Excerpt 1040L, Full Text 1030L
    • Qualitative: This memoir explains what it is like for an immigrant to move to America and how immigrants struggle to adapt to the new culture, especially when they do not know the language. Students may find it hard to understand the difficulties of adapting if they have never had a similar experience. This memoir has a nonlinear narrative that includes a flashback that tells about Firoozeh’s mother and father. Point out the two paragraphs that contain the flashback so that students understand the timeline of the text.
    • Reader and Task: The drama “Cherokee Family Reunion” by Larissa FastHorse and the memoir Funny in Farsi both address the topic of family using a tone of embarrassment. “Select examples of language in each of these texts used to convey an embarrassed tone.” Students write a response in which they analyze how those examples of language contribute to the tone.
  • In Unit 5, Chopped, Stirred, and Blended, “B. Wordsworth” by V.S. Naipaul
    • Quantitative: 610L
    • Qualitative: The author uses words and sentence construction typical of one dialect of English spoken in Trinidad. Students may need help discerning the meaning of the vernacular language used by the boy throughout the story. The story contains geographic references to the island, such as Port-of-Spain and Chancellor Hill. Culture references include one to Calypsonians, who sing witty Calypso folk songs about local politics.
    • Reader and Task: Students respond to the question “How does the author use a cultural setting to establish characters?” by analyzing at least two characters from the short story.
  • In Unit 6, Origin Stories, The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan
    • Quantitative: Excerpt 850L, Full Text 930L
    • Qualitative: This text, which is in the first person, includes areas where the narrator’s tone is humorous, sarcastic, informal, sad, or conveys another attitude. Prior Knowledge about Shirley Temple, who was an antidote to Great Depression hardships, is beneficial. In 1936, at the age of seven, she starred in the movie Stowaway, playing an orphan stranded in China.
    • Reader and Task: Students cite textual evidence to discuss The Joy Luck Club excerpt entitled “Two Kinds:Jing-Mei Woo.” How does the idea of being “two kinds” prove to be symbolic and provide insight into the narrator’s character?

Indicator 1d

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 10 partially meet the criteria for 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).

While students engage in a range of text types and complexity levels across the year, the materials do not demonstrate an intentional increase in text complexity to work toward independence across the year. Within each unit, there is a quantitative and qualitative variety of text complexity with levels ranging from 610L–1490L; however, the breakdown of quantitative measures shows that out of the 68 texts for the year, 18 fall within the recommended grade band; 12 texts are above; 14 texts are below; and 24 texts do not have quantitative measures. Regardless of quantitative or qualitative complexity, students independently read and annotate the majority of the texts in each unit as well as independently answer short writing prompts after reading. Across the year, students engage with texts above and below the Grades 9–10 Lexile Band more than texts within it. Units 1–3 contain the majority of texts that fall within the recommended range. Unit 4 contains a number of texts without Lexile levels. However, Units 5 and 6 also include a significant number of texts without quantitative measures as well as texts above the grade band. While most or all Grade 10 texts are deemed appropriate for the grade level, the timing and sequencing of texts and aligned Skill lessons do not support growth in students’ ability to independently engage with increasingly complex texts across the year.

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

  • In Unit 1,The Power of Language, the genre focus is fiction and the literary focus is Modernism and PostModernism. Students work to answer the Essential Question “Why do words matter?” At the end of the unit, students write a literary analysis of the power of language in selected unit texts. Unit texts range from 950L–1350L. There are also three poems that do not have Lexile levels. While the genre focus texts are short stories, poems, and novel excerpts, the unit also contains a letter, speech, and an example of literary criticism. Skill lessons accompany a short story, novel excerpt, letter, and speech, two of which are below the Grades 9–10 Lexile Band (950L and 1030L) and one above (1350L). Two genre-focused texts contain Skill lessons. Across the unit, Skill lessons include personal response; allusion; theme; compare and contrast; point of view; primary and secondary sources; arguments and claims; rhetoric; author’s purpose and point of view; style and audience; and compare and contrast. While the majority of texts in the unit are fiction, the literary focus is addressed through one text and Skill lesson; students do not revisit the topic again. The longest text in the unit is not aligned to the genre focus and introduces students to argumentative skills through a letter. Unit 1 contains three text sets, one of which is mixed genre and contains the lowest Lexile level in the unit. In the first part of the unit, a paired selection includes two texts within the grade band. Students read these texts independently, before engaging in Skill lessons with a text below the grade band. Although students read all texts in the unit independently, four of the 11 texts in the unit provide opportunities for multiple reads through close reading lessons.
  • In Unit 2, Moving Forward, the genre focus is argumentative and the literary focus is classic texts as students answer the Essential Question “How does culture influence your goals?” At the end of the unit, students write an informative essay on cultural challenges in selected unit texts. Texts range from 610L–1440L with the genre focus texts comprising five of the eleven texts in the unit. While the genre focus texts are speeches and an essay, the unit also contains a short story, dialogue, poem, and excerpts from a memoir and epic poem. Skill lessons accompany five of the texts, two of which focus on informational text structure, one on poetic elements, one on central idea, and one on the genre focus. Skill lessons include context clues; informational text structure; summarizing, poetic elements and structure; media; textual evidence; central or main idea; reasons and evidence; logical fallacies; and word meaning. The genre focus text with Skill lessons is above the Grades 9–10 Lexile Band at 1330L and is paired with a text that falls below the grade band at 860L. Students practice reasons and evidence and logical fallacies. This text set is followed by another text set consisting of three selections. Students read two speeches independently, including one that is above the grade band (1440L). During the third text in the set, students engage in Skill lessons on informational text structure. They have an opportunity to practice rhetorical analysis of a claim; however, the associated text is below the grade band (960L). The literary focus on classics occurs in one text with Skill lessons but does not resurface at any other point in the unit. The unit concludes with independent reads of a memoir excerpt (610L) and a short story (1140L), during which students write a narrative and short research reflection respectively. Neither task requires students to use the focus skills from the unit. While this unit contains the most texts that fall within the Grades 9–10 Lexile Band, students do not have ample time to practice target skills. Although students read all texts in the unit independently, five of the 11 texts in the unit provide opportunities for multiple reads through close reading lessons.
  • In Unit 3,The Persistence of Memories, the genre focus is information with a literary focus of surrealist literature and the following Essential Question: “How does the past impact the future?” At the end of the unit, students write a narrative in which the protagonist is driven by a memory. Unit texts range from 750L–1490L with three genre focus texts above the Grades 9–10 Lexile Band and one below. The unit genre focus texts include an autobiographical essay, a science article, and excerpts from books, an autobiography, and a memoir. The unit also features poems and excerpts from a novel and graphic novel. Skill lessons accompany six of the texts, three of which focus on informational text elements, one on poetic elements, and two on literary elements. The literary focus on surrealist literature occurs in one text with a Skill lesson but does not resurface in the unit. Skill lessons include informational text structure; figurative language; style and audience; connotation and denotation; media; poetic elements and structure; central or main idea; summarizing; technical language; character; and story structure. Unit 3 contains three text sets, one of which begins the unit and focuses solely on the informational genre focus. The other two text sets feature literary works: one paired selection that focuses on two poems and a text set that blends genres including a memoir (1170L) and excerpts from a novel (750L) and graphic novel (N/A). Although students read all texts in the unit independently, six of the 12 texts in the unit provide opportunities for multiple reads through close reading lessons.
  • In Unit 4,The Ties that Bind, the genre focus is drama with a literary focus of the Renaissance. Texts support answering the Essential Question “What brings us back to one another?” At the end of the unit, students write an argumentative oral presentation on how a person’s story can instruct people. Unit texts range from 920L–1250L with five of the twelve texts in the unit having quantitative measures. These include an interview transcript, a memoir excerpt, and three short stories. Three of the five texts have Lexile levels that fall below the text complexity grade band. There are seven texts without quantitative measures: two poems and excerpts from three plays, one screenplay, and one drama. Skill lessons accompany seven of the texts, three of which focus on dramatic elements, two on informational text structure, one on the Renaissance, and one on short story story elements.The literary focus on the Renaissance occurs in one text with a Skill lesson but does not resurface in the unit. Skill lessons include character; summarizing; media; dramatic elements and structure; figurative language; point of view; author’s purpose and point of view; informational text elements; media; connotation and denotation; word patterns and relationships; word meaning; and story structure. Unit 4 contains three text sets, one of which begins the unit and focuses solely on the drama genre focus. The other two text sets feature a mixed genre paired selection with excerpts from a drama and memoir (1040L) on culture and a text set with three short stories on different cultural experiences, one of which is below the text complexity band at 990L. Although there are not texts with quantitative measures above the Grades 9–10 Lexile Band, students read all texts in the unit independently and six of the 12 texts in the unit provide opportunities for multiple reads through close reading lessons.
  • In Unit 5, Chopped, Stirred, and Blended, the genre focus is poetry with a literary focus on cross-cultural literature to answer the question “What are the ingredients of culture?” At the end of the unit, students should be able to write an argumentative essay on their personal perspective on culture using at least two unit texts. The five unit texts with quantitative measures range from 610L–1440L; the unit also contains six poems which do not have Lexile levels. The two texts that are above the Grades 9–10 Lexile Band are part of an informational paired text set with scores of 1430L and 1440L, one of which requires students to read independently and one with accompanying Skill Lessons. The text with the lowest Lexile level (610L) is paired with a poem. The unit genre focus texts are all poems while additional texts include articles, a short story, and excerpts from two books. Skill lessons accompany five texts, four of which focus on poetry and one on an informational article. The literary focus on cross-cultural literature is indirectly addressed through two poems related to food and culture; however, the unit includes an informational paired text set that directly addresses culture across texts. Skill lessons include textual evidence; connotation and denotation; figurative language; technical language; informational text elements; allusion; theme; and language, style, and audience with poetry. Unit 5 contains three text sets, two of which support the poetry genre focus and one informational. Although students read all texts in the unit independently, six of the 11 texts in the unit provide opportunities for multiple reads through close reading lessons.
  • In Unit 6, Origin Stories, the genre focus is multigenre text and the literary focus on magical realism supports students in answering the Essential Question “How does who we were guide who we will become?” At the end of the unit, students write an informational research paper on an origin story of their interest. Unit texts range from 850L–1390L and include four texts above the Grades 9–10 Lexile Band; these texts are in two paired text sets. Unit texts include two poems, a short story, an informational text, and an excerpt from a novel, graphic novel, and memoir. Skill lessons accompany six of the text, four of which are literary and two informational. The literary focus on magic realism is addressed in two texts. The Skill lesson for magical realism accompanies the second text, the longest text in the unit; this text falls below the text complexity grade band at 970L. Skill lessons include textual evidence; media; point of view; summarizing; figurative language; word patterns and relations; and arguments and claims. Unit 6 contains three text sets, all of which are multigenre. The first text set is literary and features two poems and a short story (850L) with Skill lessons. The next text set is a paired selection, consisting of an essay (1390L) and a magical realism short story (1390L). The final paired selection is informational and includes a memoir (1340L) and an essay (1390L) geared to lead students into a discussion on coming of age. Like all prior units, students read all texts in the unit independently but five of the 11 texts in the unit provide opportunities for multiple reads through close reading lessons.

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.
2/2
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Indicator Rating Details

The StudySync instructional materials reviewed for Grade 10 meet the criteria for 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.

StudySync materials include an ELA Grade Level Overviews for each grade level, which begin with an Introduction addressing text types, theme, and the unit’s Essential and supporting questions. The ELA Grade Level Overviews address text complexity by explaining the qualitative and quantitative features, as well as the reader and task measure for each text. Additionally, the Grade Level Overview explains the rationale for the purpose and placement of each text. Student materials include a rationale for the use of each text in its introduction, and accompanying tasks deepen students’ understanding of the texts’ connections to unit themes and guiding questions.

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

  • In Unit 1, The Power of Communication, students consider the Essential Question “Why do words matter?” Students read a variety of informational and literary texts that fall within the Lexile Range for Grade 10. To start the unit, the materials pair the poem “I Am Offering this Poem” by Jimmy Santiago Baca with the short story “She Unnames Them” by Ursula K. Le Guin, allowing students to compare and contrast two different perspectives on how words can impact an individual. Students analyze metaphors in the poem before exploring the short story’s qualitative complexities, including the experimental/unconventional narrative structure and varying point of view. The texts allow students to read across genres, and the Grade Level Overview shares the following support: “Explain that a text can have more than one purpose. Ask students which purpose they think is stronger in this poem and why.”
  • In Unit 2, Moving Forward, the literary focus is The Classics but the unit also includes argumentative writing and a variety of literature that help students answer the Essential Question “How does culture influence your goals?” A text in this unit that addresses reaching personal goals is the classic epic poem The Rámáyana written by Válmíki. The qualitative complexity of this text includes its Sanskrit form and unfamiliar words such as emprise and ire. Guiding notes, such as rereading passages and using background knowledge for inferences, help the reader access this text. The resource Skill: Poetic Elements and Structure also supports students as they make meaning of the selection’s poetic elements. This poem is paired with Amanda Gorman’s poem “The Gathering Place” to help students consider how culture influences one’s understanding of the world.
  • In Unit 3, Persistence of Memories, students read literary and informational texts while exploring the Essential Question “How does the past impact the future?” While reading the excerpt from The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot, “students consider how even small contributions in the past can change the world in the present.” The quantitative measure for this text places it within the Grades 9–10 Lexile Range and its qualitative features increase the level of difficulty, as the vocabulary and text type or genre add to the text’s complexity. The ELA Grade Level Overview shares this support: “Clarify ways this text differs from traditional informational texts. This hybrid text combines science journalism with history and personal narrative. Offer suggestions for approaching the text, such as noting a timeline of how a narrative, science, and history are connected.”
  • In Unit 4, The Ties That Bind, the literary focus is The Renaissance, and the genre focus is drama. The unit also includes informational texts and poetry that help students answer the Essential Question “What brings us back to one another?” A selection in this unit that addresses belonging to a community is the informational text “Claudette Colvin Explains Her Role in the Civil Rights Movement” written by Roni Jacobson. The Lexile level for this text falls below the grade-level band but the qualitative features such as accessing prior knowledge of Jim Crow Laws as well as interpreting an interview transcript lend to the complexity of this text. The Skill: Author’s Purpose and Point of View is a resource provided to help students develop the skills necessary to comprehend the selection.
  • In Unit 5, Chopped, Stirred, and Blended, students consider the Essential Question “What are the ingredients of culture?” Though the unit focuses on poetry, selections also include various informational texts to aid in exploring the intersections of food and culture. The poem “Maple Sugaring (in Aunt Alberta’s Backyard)” by Diane Burns allows students to delve into how feelings about certain foods tie to childhood memories and family traditions. The text’s complexity increases through its free-verse style, uneven lines, and lack of rhyme and rhythm. Through a Skill lesson on Language, Style, and Audience, students analyze how the poet’s unique style helps her to tell the story of a family tradition centered on food. The Grade Level Overview supports teachers in facilitating students' understanding of the text: “Point out to students that in the early part of the poem many lines stand alone. Then the poem shifts to more of a free verse format where the sentences flow over the line breaks.”
  • In Unit 6, Origin Stories, the literary focus is Magical Realism with a genre focus that includes multigenre text to help students answer the Essential Question “How does who we were guide who we will become?” Two texts paired together in this unit are a memoir excerpt Looking for Palestine: Growing up Confused in an American-Arab Family written by Najla Said and the essay “Coming of Age Traditions'' by Ursula Villarreal-Moura. Both selections give insight into how different cultures impact who young people will become. Strategies provided to help students access these complex texts include using the annotating tool to use context clues, ask questions, and identify key details and connections. Students will need to develop background knowledge to gain access to “Coming of Age Traditions'' and to understand the cultural connections. Because the essay has a Lexile level above that of the Grade 9–10 band, the resource, Skill: Textual Evidence, is provided to increase students’ comprehension of this text.

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 StudySync instructional materials reviewed for Grade 10 meet the criteria that anchor and supporting texts provide opportunities for students to engage in a range and volume of reading to achieve grade level reading proficiency.

StudySync materials provide students with the opportunity to read a variety of texts, including literary and non-fiction selections that cover a variety of topics and range in complexity. Students experience accessible texts that are challenging qualitatively in their language and style, as well as quantitatively complex text that stretch from 750L–1380L. The grade-level materials include both literary and nonfiction texts covering a variety of topics and range of complexities. Independent reading includes classic and contemporary texts, and teachers can select Proficiency Levels for English Learners, including “Beginning, Intermediate, Advanced, and Advanced-High,” as well as “Approaching” for “Below Level” readers. Teachers can adjust the levels as students demonstrate proficiency and assist students by scaffolding up throughout the year to reach grade-level proficiency.

Instructional materials clearly identify opportunities and supports for students to engage in reading a variety and volume of texts to become independent readers at the grade level. The materials also include a mechanism for teachers and/or students to monitor progress toward grade-level independence. Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • In Unit 1, The Power of Language, students read a variety of literature and nonfiction texts that help them explore the unit’s Essential Question “Why do words matter?” Students begin the unit considering the power of language with the classic short story “The Refusal” by Franz Kafka. The surreal text is lengthy and complex, so several lessons help students improve their skills: Interacting with Sources, identifying Context Clues, Monitoring Comprehension, completing Text-Dependent Responses, and having Collaborative Conversations. The poem “I Am Offering this Poem” by Jimmy Santiago Bacaand the short story “She Unnames Them” by Ursula K. Le Guin are paired, allowing students to consider the impact of words while reading across genres. Similar ideas are considered on a global scale when students read excerpts from The Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad and Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe. Both require complex background knowledge and can challenge students with difficult language, syntax, and structure of the texts. Qualitative features like the length, Lexile, and structure of the nonfiction text “Letters to a Birmingham Jail” by Martin Luther King Jr., make it a complex read. As students read the text, they engage in lessons that reinforce skills such as argument, claims, and rhetoric. The final two poems of the unit, “My Grandmother Washes Her Feet in the Bathroom at Sears” by Mohja Kahf and “A Voice” by Pat Mora, allow students to continue exploring the impact of words using vivid language, imagery, and complex themes. Throughout the unit, students engage in the readings independently, in small groups, or in whole group read aloud. Short quizzes, written responses, the Extended Writing Project, and the end-of-the-unit assessment allow teachers to monitor progress toward grade-level independence.
  • In Unit 2, Moving Forward, students read both literary and nonfiction texts, such as poetry, memoir, short story, and speeches. Students also have opportunities to read both classic and contemporary texts. Independent reading includes selections such as reading an excerpt from Elie Wiesel’s Night and the short story “Civil Peace” by Chinua Achebe. The selections convey a range of messages about people setting and striving to reach personal and communal goals. For example, in the classic epic poem “Rámáyana”by Válmíki (translated by Ralph T. H. Griffith), a hero embarks on a journey to rescue his wife and faces obstacles he must overcome along the way. Rashema Melson’s 2014 valedictorian speech at Anacostia High School expresses the wise advice that “the future lies within reach of our hands, and if we keep striving and don’t let anyone knock us off our path, or deter us from our goals, we can do anything we put our mind do.” And “Methods of Motivation” by Point/Counterpoint offers point and counterpoint arguments on whether extrinsic or intrinsic motivation is more effective when it comes to individuals achieving goals. The classic allegory in Plato’s Republic allows students a chance to closely read and understand the Socratic approach to building an argument. This unit features a number of compelling global speeches with strong arguments, including Elie Wiesel’s 1999 speech at the White House imploring listeners to respond to violence and human struggle around the world and Ellen Sirleaf Johnson’s 2015 speech to the United Nations General Assembly advocating for women empowerment and gender equality. Teachers can monitor students’ progress through frequent assessments of literacy skills using measures such as the Reading Quiz after “Civil Peace” by Chinua Achebe which includes the following question: “Which of the following sentences best summarizes this short story?”
  • In Unit 3, The Persistence of Memories, students read a variety of literature and nonfiction texts that help them explore the unit’s Essential Question “How does the past impact the future?” This unit focuses on informational texts, but students read a variety of literary texts and poetry as well. An excerpt from the memoir By Any Other Name by Santha Rama Rau is read alongside the essay “Rituals of Memory” by Kimberly Blaeser, so students begin the unit exploring the Essential Question through a cultural lens. They complete lessons on Informational Text Structure and Figurative Language to deepen their understanding of the text. Many of the other nonfiction texts read in this unit—an excerpt from the autobiography “Seeing at the Speed of Sound” by Rachel Kolb, an excerpt from Freud’s Dream Psychology: Psychoanalysis for Beginners by Sigmund Freud, “Facial Expressions—including fear—may not be as universal as we thought” by Michael Price, and the prologue from The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks—are all complex texts with difficult language and high Lexile levels. The free-verse poem “From Behind a Covered Window” by Ngo Tu Lap, sonnet “Love Is Not All” by Edna St. Vincent Millay, and an excerpt from the graphic novel Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi help students broaden their skills as they explore common themes across multiple genres. Throughout the unit, students engage in the readings independently, in small groups, or in whole group read aloud. Short quizzes, written responses, the Extended Writing Project, and the end-of-the-unit assessment allow teachers to monitor progress toward grade level independence.
  • In Unit 4, The Ties That Bind, students read both literary and nonfiction texts, such as drama, poetry, and informational texts. The unit includes both classic and contemporary texts. The materials include independent reading opportunities such as the poem “On the Painting of the Sistine Chapel” by Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni (Translated by John Frederick Nims) and “People Should Not Die in June in South Texas” a short story by Gloria Anzaldúa. Students analyze excerpts from the dramas As You Like It (Act II, Scene vii) by William Shakespeare and Macbeth, Act I (Scene iii) by William Shakespeare and the poem “On the Painting of the Sistine Chapel” by Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni (Translated by John Frederick Nims). Students also study the genre of drama while reading plays, including Antigone by Sophocles and Cherokee Family Reunion by Larissa FastHorse, as well as an excerpt from the screenplay of Hotel Rwanda by Keir Pearson and Terry George. Informational texts as Funny in Farsi: A Memoir of Growing Up Iranian in America by Firoozeh Dumas and “Claudette Colvin Explains Her Role in the Civil Rights Movement'' by Roni Jacobson encourage students to think about real-life issues as they read across genres. Teachers can monitor students’ progress through frequent assessments of literacy skills using measures such as the Reading Quiz after Anzaldúa’s short story: “Which of these inferences about the death of Prieta’s father is most likely true?”
  • In Unit 5, Chopped, Stirred, and Blended, students read a variety of literature and nonfiction texts that help them explore the unit’s Essential Question “What are the ingredients of culture?” Though the unit’s focus is poetry, students spend the first day reading the Blast and background information on the idea of food as a marker of culture. The haikus “Melon” by Matsuo Bashō and the poem “Parsley” by Rita Dove provide students with an opportunity to analyze how poets use symbolism and imagery to capture history and culture. A Skill: Close Read lesson helps students delve more deeply. Three informational texts—Curry: A Tale of Cooks and Conquerors by Lizzie Collingham, “Chinese Cooking” by Chen Jitong, and “The New Food Fights: U.S. Public Divides Over Food Science” by Cary Funk & Brian Kennedy —are read together to give students a chance to compare within and across genres. The texts are complex and broaden students’ understanding of technical language and informational text strategies. Students analyze the poems “Lines Written in Early Spring” by William Wordsworth and “Maple Sugaring (in Aunt Alberta’s Backyard)” by Diane Burns for their language, audience, and poetic structure. The unit also includes the short story “B. Wordsworth” by V.S. Naipaul and an excerpted chapter of an informational text, Florida’s Edible Wild Plants: A Guide to Collecting and Cooking by Peggy Sias Lantz. Throughout the unit, students engage in the readings independently, in small groups, or in the whole group read alouds. Short quizzes, written responses, the Extended Writing Project, and the end-of-the-unit assessment allow teachers to monitor progress toward grade-level independence.
  • In Unit 6, Origin Stories, students read both literary and nonfiction texts, such as poetry, an excerpt from a novel, informational texts, and a satirical story. The unit includes both classic and contemporary texts and independent reading opportunities such as “The Nose” by Nikolai Gogol and the memoir Looking for Palestine: Growing Up Confused in an American-Arab Family by Najla Said. Students also read magical realist literature, analyzing the story “A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings” by Gabriel García Márquez. They also study the genre of fiction while reading an excerpt from Amy Tan’s multigenerational family saga The Joy Luck Club. Teachers can monitor students’ progress through frequent assessments of literacy skills using measures such as the Reading Quiz after Said’s memoir which includes the following question: “Which of these responses best describes the author’s experience with others’ opinions of her culture?”

Criterion 1g - 1n

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 10 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 end-of-unit task. 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).
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Indicator Rating Details

The StudySync instructional materials reviewed for Grade 10 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).

StudySync materials provide students the opportunities to develop comprehension strategies. Each unit has multiple Skill lessons that cover comprehension strategies like annotation, context clues, text evidence, arguments and claims, theme, allusion, and more. In the “Your Turn” section of the lesson, students respond to text-dependent/specific multiple-choice questions or writing prompts that require students to support their ideas with evidence. Additionally, every text that students read independently includes five to ten multiple-choice Reading Comprehension questions that are mostly text-dependent/specific. The End-of-Unit assessment requires students to answer text-dependent/specific multiple-choice questions. Lesson plans include guidelines to ensure teachers are helping students center the text in their discussions and writings. These include guiding questions to connect the texts to the Essential Question, Check for Success Questions throughout the lesson, and Collaborative Conversation prompts.

Instructional materials include questions, tasks, and assignments that are text-dependent/specific over the course of a school year. Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • In Unit 1, The Power of Communication, after students read Martin Luther King Jr.’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail,” they answer text-specific questions such as “Which claim does King make most clearly in paragraph 30?” and “Based on your answer in Part A, how does King defend his claim?” After reading the poem “I Am Offering This Poem” by Jimmy Santiago Baca, students respond to the text-specific question “How does what you read influence your opinion on what makes a good gift?” Students must cite evidence from the poem to support their opinion. In the Scaffolding & Differentiation section, the teacher materials provide support for students who may struggle with the task. For example, teachers may ask questions such as “What are some hardships of the world described in this poem?” to help students interpret the last stanza of the poem.
  • In Unit 2, Moving Forward, after students read “Republic” by Plato, students respond to questions and complete tasks that require thinking, speaking, and/or writing; these questions and tasks focus on the central ideas and key details of the text. For example: “What can the prisoners see? (See Paragraphs 5–6: They see only the shadows cast upon the wall.); In the cave metaphor, what is truth? (See Paragraph 33: Truth is the world outside the cave.)” After reading “Civil Peace” by Chinua Achebe, students answer questions, such as “Which inference about Jonathan and his family is best supported by the text?”
  • In Unit 3, The Art of Disguise, students read excerpts from Rock, Ghost, Willow, Deer: A Story of Survival by Allison Adelle Hedge Coke, The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy, and Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi alongside one another. After reading and analyzing all three texts, students respond to the following prompt: “Explain how this quotation connects to the unique and shared experiences of the people or characters depicted in the graphic novel Persepolis, the memoir Rock, Ghost, Willow, Deer: A Story of Survival, and the novel The God of Small Things. Select ideas or evidence from the various texts to support your response.” After reading “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks” by Rebecca Skloot, students write a short response to the text-specific question “How does the author use elements of informational text such as a thesis, evidence, examples, and a conclusion, to help the reader understand the purpose of the book she has written about Lacks?” In the teacher support section, teachers may utilize the provided directions to guide students’ writing with support like “examine paragraph 31…” or “ask students…” followed by questions that support student comprehension of the text.
  • In Unit 4, The Ties that Bind, after reading “Claudette Colvin Explains Her Role in the Civil Rights Movement” by Roni Jacobson, students respond to questions and complete tasks that require thinking, speaking, and/or writing; these questions and tasks focus on the central ideas and key details of the text. For Example: “How did the white students react to Colvin staying seated? (See paragraph 10: The white students yelled at Colvin and told her she had to get up.) How did being arrested impact Colvin’s life? (See paragraph 19: Colvin was ostracized by people in her community and by professional people.)”
  • In Unit 5, Chopped, Stirred and Blended, after reading The New Food Fights: U.S. Public Divides Over Food Science, students respond to a text-specific argumentative prompt: “What do you think is the best way of encouraging healthy eating in kids? Use textual evidence as well as relevant anecdotal evidence to support your claim.” The Teacher Edition provides support in implementing the task. For example, under Instruction, 3. Write, teachers create collaborative groups, using the StudySync model, to gather evidence to support the prompt. This is followed by a Check for Success for those students who need extra support. Students read the classic short story “B. Wordsmith” by V.S. Naipaul and the poem “Lines Written in Early Spring” by William Wordsworth. After a Skill Lesson on theme, students answer the following multiple-choice questions: “In what way does the passage from ‘B. Wordsworth’ allude to ideas in Wordsworth’s poem ‘Lines Written in Early Spring?’ Which textual evidence from the poem and the story, respectively, BEST supports your answer in Part A?”
  • In Unit 6, Origin Stories, students may self-select a text during a StudySync Blast. The StudySync Library includes the titles students choose to explore for independent reading. Within these opportunities, students answer Think questions, such as “Which aspect of the world most fascinates the narrator of The Book Thief?” when reading an excerpt from The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. An Exemplary Response is available for the teacher. After reading “The Best We Could Do” an illustrated memoir by Thi Bui, students respond to questions and complete tasks that require thinking, speaking, and/or writing; these questions and tasks focus on the central ideas and key details of the text. For example: “What happens to Bui’s relationship with her parents when she and her family move to California? (See page 31: She realizes that living near her parents does not mean that their relationship is closer.) What do Bui and her parents not know how to do? (See pages 33–34: They don’t know how to be emotionally close to each other.)”

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
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Indicator Rating Details

The StudySync instructional materials reviewed for Grade 10 meet the criteria for materials containing sets of sequences of text-dependent/text-specific questions with activities that build to a culminating task which integrates skills to demonstrate understanding.


Throughout each unit, text-dependent tasks and questions help students prepare for the culminating tasks. Each unit ends with an Extended Writing Project or an Extended Oral Project. The tasks take students through each step of the writing process and require them to use reading and writing skills they have been working on throughout the unit. Tasks include both shorter and extended written and oral projects with different purposes and opportunities to practice various writing modes, such as narrative, argumentative, informative/explanatory, literary analysis, and rhetorical.


Tasks are supported with coherent sequences of text-dependent questions and tasks. Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • In Unit 1, The Power of Communication, students explore the question “Why do words matter?” Students complete various readings and answer questions that build toward the Extended Writing Project, during which students write a literary analysis addressing the following: “What is the power of language?” Before writing the literary analysis, students read the poem “I am Offering This Poem” by Jimmy Santiago Baca and “She Unnames Them” by Ursula K. Le Guin. Students write a personal response after reading “I Am Offering This Poem” to answer the following question: “Often, people give gifts that are tangible or material. However, in this poem, the gift is one of words. How does what you read influence your opinion on what makes a good gift?” Students complete a writing task following both readings, as they compare and contrast the two texts: “Using ‘She Unnames Them’ and ‘I Am Offering This Poem’ as sources, discuss how writers use language to develop themes and ideas and how those words give the themes and ideas power.”
  • In Unit 2, Moving Forward, The Extended Writing Project focuses on informational writing as students respond to the following prompt: “From this unit… select three texts in which communities face a challenge. Describe the challenge and how specific individuals aim to help their communities overcome that challenge.” To prepare for this project, students complete text-dependent tasks throughout the unit, as they grapple with the Essential Question “How does culture influence your goals?” An independent read of an excerpt from Elie Wiesel’s memoir Night, for example, is followed by quiz questions such as, “The author suggests the aggressiveness of the SS officers mainly by ____.” and “Which sentence from the excerpt best expresses the effect the camp has on the author?” After closely reading and analyzing the structure of the arguments in Elie Wiesel’s speech “The Perils of Indifference,” Ellen Johnson Sirleaf’s “Remarks at the UN General Assembly,” and Rigoberta Menchu Tum’s “A Plea for Global Education,” students discuss and write a short response to a prompt on the consequences of indifference.
  • In Unit 3, The Persistence of Memories, students explore the question “How does the past impact the future?” Students complete various readings and answer questions building toward the Extended Writing Project, during which students write a narrative addressing the following: “How can memories change our future?” Before writing the narrative, students read two poems, “From Behind a Covered Window” by Ngo Tu Lap and “Love Is Not All” by Edna St. Vincent Millay. Students respond to a writing prompt following the first reading of “From Behind a Covered Window” and practice writing a narrative: “In this poem, the speaker questions the nature of existence. Write a narrative involving a narrator or character who is a questioner, not unlike Socrates in Plato’s Republic. Use dialogue and descriptive details to bring this narrator or character to life for the reader.” Students continue to compare within and across genres when reading “Love Is Not All,” considering “how reflections on past experiences...shape one’s perspective” and respond to a literary analysis writing prompt using both texts: “Both Edna St. Vincent Millay and Ngo Tu Lap express uncertainty in their poems. However, they do so across time and culture and through different poetic forms. Whereas Millay uses the tightly structured form of a sonnet, Ngo Tu Lap uses the more open format of free verse. Compare and contrast each poet’s message about uncertainty. As part of your response, analyze an extract from each poem to show how each poet uses rhyme and other poetic conventions to communicate his or her message.”
  • In Unit 4, The Ties that Bind, students prepare an argumentative oral presentation for their Extended Oral Project. While students present, listeners evaluate the content of the speech focusing on the point of view, reasoning, and use of evidence and rhetoric. Students prepare for this culminating task by answering text-dependent questions and tasks. For instance, after reading both Larissa Fast Horse’s Cherokee Family Reunion and Firoozeh Dumas’s Funny in Farsi: A Memoir of Growing Up Iranian in America, students respond to a prompt in which they analyze how their self-selected examples of language contribute to the tone.
  • In Unit 5, Chopped, Stirred, and Blended, students explore the question “What are the ingredients of culture?” Students complete various readings and answer questions that build toward the Extended Writing Project, during which students write an argumentative essay addressing the following: “To what extent can you get to know a group of people through their food?” Before writing the argumentative essay, students read an excerpt from Curry: A Tale of Cooks and Conquerors by Lizzie Collingham, “Chinese Cooking” by Chen Jitong, and “The New Food Fights: U.S. Public Divides Over Food Science” by Cary Funk and Brian Kennedy. Students consider cultural misconceptions through the lens of food. After reading Curry: A Tale of Cooks and Conquerors, students discuss the following question: “To what extent does food serve as a metaphor for culture?” Students discuss the topic with peers and provide a written response. Students respond to a writing prompt with additional questions following the reading of “Chinese Cooking”: “Think of a time when a cultural norm, family tradition, or aspect of language you grew up perceiving as normal was met with curiosity, questions, or confusion by someone else. What happened? How did you react? What did you learn?” Finally, students practice writing an argumentative piece following the reading of “The New Food Fights: U.S. Public Divides Over Food Science:” “What do you think is the best way of encouraging healthy eating in kids? Use textual evidence as well as relevant anecdotal evidence to support your claim.”

In Unit 6, Origin Stories, students write a research paper for their Extended Writing Project. Students read a variety of genres as they delve into the unit’s Essential Question “How does who we were guide who we will become?” Students complete a multitude of tasks to help them prepare for the culminating research paper. Much of these tasks are text-dependent, including those that follow the first read of Amy Tan’s Joy Luck Club. Students answer quiz questions such as “Which of the following best explains why the beauty instructor tells the narrator and her mother that ‘Peter Pan is very popular these days’” (paragraph 8)?” and “What does the following passage mainly reveal about the narrator (paragraph 11)?” Following the quiz questions, students write short answers in response to several Think questions, drawing on textual evidence in their response. For instance, “What does the mother in the excerpt want from her daughter? Use details from the text to support your answer.” Students explore two texts, Looking for Palestine: Growing Up Confused in an American-Arab Family, written by Najla Said and the essay, “Coming of Age Traditions,” written by Ursula Villarreal-Moura and prepare for a collaborative discussion. Students prepare before the discussion, pose and respond to questions, and reflect and change responses based on the reflection component of the discussion.

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.
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Indicator Rating Details

The StudySync instructional materials reviewed for Grade 10 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.


StudySync provides students opportunities for whole group and small group discussions and Collaborative Conversations. In each Skill Lesson, Turn and Talk and Discuss the Model activities allow students to share ideas and review parts of the lessons. In each Close Read, students engage in a Collaborative Conversation to discuss the text and prepare to complete a writing prompt. There are opportunities for teachers to reinforce academic vocabulary throughout the unit, and students revisit important vocabulary in a Skill Lesson on vocabulary review in each unit.


Materials provide multiple opportunities, protocols, and questions for discussions across the whole year’s scope of instructional materials. Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • In Unit 1, The Power of Communication, the first task of the unit is a SyncStart using the text “The Refusal” by Franz Kafka. Students begin with a Turn and Talk prediction discussion and then move on to a Blast discussion about the evidence relating to background information. A jigsaw activity allows students to continue practicing speaking and listening skills based on online research. Steps for Jigsaw include: “Divide students into five to six heterogeneous groups. This is their home group. Have students number off in their home groups. Instruct all students with the same number to meet together to read a selected paragraph, page, chapter, or text. Instruct students to take notes as they read and discuss their findings with their group. Tell students they will become an expert on this piece. This is their expert group. Then have students return to their home groups to share the information that they learned. As students take turns in their home group sharing their findings, have the remaining team members tak notes and ask questions. Have each member share.”
  • In Unit 3, The Persistence of Memories, students read the autobiographical essay, “Seeing at the Speed of Sound” by Rachel Kolb that provides multiple speaking and listening opportunities for students. For example, in the First Read, students work in pairs to activate prior knowledge using guiding discussion questions after watching the video preview. During the Close Read skill lesson, students participate in Collaborative Conversation groups as they support their claim using evidence from the essay and the video. The Speaking and Listening Handbook includes handouts to guide and support students through each stage of the Collaborative Conversation—Preparing for a Discussion, Determine Goals and Deadlines, and Establish Rules. The Preparing for a Discussion guidance states: “Before a discussion, distribute the Preparing for a Discussion handout and talk to students about the topics below. Allow students enough time to work together to fill out the first page of the handout. Students should fill out the second page on their own, after reading the material under study.” As students transition to the Determine Goals and Deadlines step, teachers “Explain to students that all discussion group members should know and understand the goal or purpose of the discussion” and suggest that students “develop a timetable to ensure that their group will be able to accomplish all discussion goals.” During the final stage, Establish Rules, teachers explain the importance of creating and maintaining an open and respectful environment so the discussion allows everyone’s ideas to be heard. Teachers “Have students brainstorm a list of rules for the discussion. Ask students to explain why each rule can help establish a respectful and productive discussion. Then agree on which rules to keep.” The rules should be posted in a central location for all students to reference. Rules may be updated as needed.
  • In Unit 5, Chopped, Stirred and Blended, students read the historical poem “Parsley” by Rita Dove and engage in multiple speaking and listening opportunities. In two different Skill Lessons, students practice speaking and listening using the Turn and Talk strategy. The teacher places students in pairs or small groups and students discuss the prompt with their partner or small group before sharing their answers with the class. In the Close Read activity, students work in pairs and small groups to complete a Skill Focus and engage in a Collaborative Conversation. The Speaking and Listening Handbook includes handouts to guide and support students through each stage of the Collaborative Conversation—Preparing for a Discussion, Determine Goals and Deadlines, and Establish Rules. The Preparing for a Discussion guidance states: “Before a discussion, distribute the Preparing for a Discussion handout and talk to students about the topics below. Allow students enough time to work together to fill out the first page of the handout. Students should fill out the second page on their own, after reading the material under study.” As students transition to the Determine Goals and Deadlines step, teachers “Explain to students that all discussion group members should know and understand the goal or purpose of the discussion” and suggest that students “develop a timetable to ensure that their group will be able to accomplish all discussion goals.” During the final stage, Establish Rules, teachers explain the importance of creating and maintaining an open and respectful environment so the discussion allows everyone’s ideas to be heard. Teachers “Have students brainstorm a list of rules for the discussion. Ask students to explain why each rule can help establish a respectful and productive discussion. Then agree on which rules to keep.” The rules should be posted in a central location for all students to reference. Rules may be updated as needed.


Materials and supports provide grade level appropriate opportunities for discussions that encourage the modeling and use of academic vocabulary and syntax. Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • In Unit 2, Moving Forward, students read the Socratic dialogue Republic by Plato. During the first read of the text, teachers have the option of supporting students in developing background knowledge on the text while also revisiting academic vocabulary. Students break into small groups to analyze the following quotation: “Man is born free, and everywhere he is in chains.” Students receive a list of literary focus vocabulary, including words like contrary, differentiate, and isolate, among others. Teachers encourage students to use a minimum of five words throughout their discussion of the quote.
  • In Unit 4, The Ties that Bind, students complete a Vocabulary Review Skill Lesson. First, they review a list of the unit’s vocabulary terms that include appendix, contemporary, and humanism, among others. Students also review vocabulary strategies in a Skills Model Lesson before categorizing the words in a vocabulary chart. Finally, students respond to a discussion prompt about Renaissance literature. Teachers encourage students to “use as many Literary Focus and Academic Vocabulary words in your discussion as you can.” Teacher-facing materials provide teachers with guidance on how to group and support students.
  • In Unit 6, Origin Stories, students read “A Quilt of a Country” by Anna Quindlen and discuss the informational text in order to write a short response. Students begin the Write task with a Collaborative Conversation in groups. Their task entails using their annotations, ideas, reactions and notes to collaboratively explore the text. The instructional materials guide teachers to model the speaking and listening skills of reflecting and adjusting responses. The teacher supports available include a Check for Success and scaffolding questions if students are confused about the prompt or beginning the discussion.

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 StudySync instructional materials reviewed for Grade 10 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 support.


StudySync materials provide students with opportunities to engage in collaborative discussions, deliver presentations, and listen to and provide feedback to peers. Students engage in a variety of tasks throughout each unit that targets their speaking and listening skills. Every text that is accompanied by Skill Lessons includes a Collaborative Conversation during which students participate in a discussion before writing in response to the same prompt. Often, speaking and listening tasks are followed by a written reflection so that students can evaluate the discussion. Students complete all Skills Focus work in pairs or small groups. Tasks require students to support their ideas with evidence from the texts. Lesson Plans provide teachers with question prompts to help struggling students identify useful evidence.


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

Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • In Unit 1, The Power of Communication, students read excerpts of the classic novels Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe and Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad. After a close read, students prepare for a writing assignment by participating in a Collaborative Conversation. Teachers break students into groups, and students use their Skills Focus annotations to respond to the following prompt: “Compare similar themes about masculinity in these two fiction excerpts representing different cultural views from different parts of the globe. Respond by analyzing how the authors show these different cultural perspectives and what the details reveal about the worlds the characters live in.” The Lesson Plan provides teachers with scaffolded questions to jumpstart the conversations.
  • In Unit 2, Moving Forward, students read The Rámáyana by Válmíki (translated by Ralph T. H. Griffith) and then engage in a Collaborative Conversation group. They collaboratively explore the text using annotations and ideas and reactions. Instructional supports are available for the teacher, such as Check for Success, if students are confused by the prompt, and scaffolding questions to help jumpstart the group discussion. Students observe and perform an informational presentation in order to give and provide peer feedback during an Extended Oral Project. The guidance includes: “Make sure your presentation is easy for your audience to understand. Support your description with examples and details from your personal experience.” An Oral Presentation Checklist is available to students as they listen to peers’ presentations.
  • In Unit 3, The Persistence of Memories, students read the essay “Rituals of Memory” by Kimberly Blaeser. After engaging in a close read, students work in small groups to reread the text and discuss the following prompt: “Choose one of the longer paragraphs from ‘Rituals of Memory.’ Explain how the author’s ideas about memory are shaped and refined by particular sentences in the paragraph.” Teacher-facing materials provide question prompts for struggling students, as well as insight on grouping students and scaffolding the discussion. Students also read “Dream Psychology: Psychoanalysis for Beginners” by Sigmund Freud and engage in a Collaborative Conversation, breaking down the writing prompt: “Using Freud’s method of dream analysis in this excerpt as a model, conduct an analysis of a dream of your own. Begin by briefly describing the dream you will be analyzing, and then discuss the particular thoughts or images in the dream, and what insights they may yield. You should follow Freud’s basic process of analysis and use textual evidence to ground your analysis in his methods. However, your dream—as well as the conclusions you draw—must be your own.” Students discuss relevant ideas using textual evidence.
  • In Unit 4, The Ties That Bind, students write and prepare an Extended Oral Project, which requires students to understand the characteristics of oral presentations while reading a student model “One Man’s Failure: The Key to Success.” While reading the model, students identify many characteristics, for example, thesis, facts, evidence and details, organizational structure, to name some but not all. The materials include facilitation notes such as “When students finish reading, ask them to share their annotations in small groups” for teachers.
  • In Unit 5, Chopped, Stirred, and Blended, students read and analyze the poem “Maple Sugaring (in Aunt Alberta’s Backyard)” by Diane Burns. To prepare for completing a written response, students first participate in a discussion of the close read prompt to which they will respond: “What is one tradition in your family or personal experience that is as significant in your life as maple sugaring is to the poet Diana Burns?” The Lesson Plan includes clarifying question prompts as well as insight on appropriately grouping students and scaffolding the discussions. It also encourages teachers to remind students of important listening and speaking skills. Students also read “Florida's Edible Wild Plants: A Guide to Collecting and Cooking” by Peggy Sias Lantz and engage in a Collaborative Conversation to break down the writing prompt: “Analyze how the author of Florida's Edible Wild Plants: A Guide to Collecting and Cooking adapts her style, including the use of informal language, formal language and technical terms, to explain wild plants to a variety of audiences.” Students discuss relevant ideas citing textual evidence.
  • In Unit 6, Origin Stories, students give an informational presentation for their Extended Oral Project. Students practice and revise their work based on peer feedback. Teachers may choose to have students submit feedback to two peers using the Peer Review Instructions: “Does the writer include all the elements of an informational presentation? If not, can I offer any suggestions?” The final project includes a rubric for student access. Assessment of the final presentation includes but is not limited to: “Ideas reflect a strong focus on a central argument with evidence of originality and/or creative thought; The central ideas offered are fully and logically supported.”

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 StudySync instructional materials reviewed for Grade 10 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.

StudySync materials provide multiple opportunities for students to engage in writing tasks and projects. Students complete Skill Lessons and Close Reads that require students to write short responses or answer Think questions. Many texts read independently also require students to answer short response questions. Students practice writing informational, narrative, and argumentative pieces throughout the year. Each unit includes an End-of-Unit Assessment with passages and writing prompts to assess student performance against the key reading, writing, and language standards covered in the unit. Students also complete Extended Writing Projects with a consistent Instructional Path: Plan, Draft, Revise, and Edit and Publish. Additionally, they use digital materials such as recordings, StudySyncTV episodes, and films to deepen their analyses of the texts.

Materials include a mix of BOTH on-demand and process writing that covers a year’s worth of instruction. Examples include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Students participate in on-demand writing.
    • In Unit 1, The Power of Communication, students read an excerpt from the novel Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe. Following the reading, students engage in an on-demand writing task in which they write short responses to five Think questions. Questions include, “According to the narrator, Okonkwo ‘had no patience with unsuccessful men.’ What do you think is Okonkwo’s definition of success? Support your answer with evidence from the text.” Following the short responses, students have the option to participate in two peer reviews to evaluate their work.
    • In Unit 4, The Ties That Bind, students write a short explanatory response after reading the poem “On the Painting on the Sistine Chapel” by Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni. Students use their Writer’s Notebook to reflect on the connection between the poem and the literary characteristics of the Renaissance. After conducting brief research on Michaelangelo’s experience painting the Sistine Chapel and using evidence from annotating the poem, students write a short response to one of several prompt-based questions.
    • In Unit 6, Origin Stories, students complete an End-of-Unit Assessment, which includes students writing “a research report on how the past and present can affect the future. In your report, you should explore the idea that the future will be made up of the outcomes of decisions made in the past and present. Use at least two examples from the unit texts.”
  • Students participate in process writing.
    • In Unit 3, The Persistence of Memory, students complete an Extended Writing Project. Students write an original narrative in response to the following prompt: “Create an original narrative in which the protagonist is driven to action by the recurrence of a significant memory. Use what you have learned from these texts and your own prior knowledge to inform your writing.” Before writing, students review the rubric and discuss the prompt. They go through each step of the writing process before completing the assignment.
    • In Unit 6, Origin Stories, students write an informational research paper explaining an origin story and its impact on a community. Students follow the process of selecting a question, developing a plan, gathering and evaluating source materials and presenting research findings while responding to the Essential Question, “What do origin stories reveal about our perceptions of the world?” Students examine the characteristics of the genre of informative research writing to help them craft their own informative research paper.

Opportunities for students to revise and/or edit are provided. Some examples are as follows:

  • In Unit 2, Moving Forward, students write a letter to someone who has had an impact on their life after reading an informative speech “Valedictorian Address at Anacostia High School” by Rashema Melson. When the student completes the letter, they submit feedback to two other peers and then use their feedback that they received to revise their letter.
  • In Unit 3, The Persistence of Memory, students independently read an excerpt from the nonfiction text The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot. After reading, students write a short response in response to the following prompt: “How does the author use informational text structure, including a thesis or claim and sentences or paragraphs that refine her ideas, to help the reader understand the purpose of the book she has written about Lacks?” Then, students receive peer feedback on their responses and have the option to revise them. Students revise after reviewing an example of a revised Student Model, and students use a revision guide to revise their literary analysis essay for clarity, development, organization, style, diction, and sentence effectiveness.
  • In Unit 6, Origin Stories, students revise and edit their informative research paper on origin stories and their impact on specific communities. In the revision step of the writing process, five Skill Lessons—Critiquing Research, Paraphrasing, Sources and Citations, Print and Graphic Features, and the Research Writing Process: Revise— guide students through the revision process. During the Skill Lesson: Research Writing Process: Revise, students begin with a copy of their draft and use instructions in the revision guide to complete this step of the writing process.

Materials include digital resources where appropriate. Some examples include::

  • In Unit 2, Moving Forward, students complete Blast: Relationship Status: It’s Complicated. Students explore background information and research links about a topic and then respond to a question with a 140-character response. The teacher can choose to Jigsaw Research Links by assigning each group a different research link to read and discuss the source’s information.
  • In Unit 4, The Ties That Bind, students read Cherokee Family Reunion by Larissa FastHorse and write a short scene about an emotional moment in their lives. Students utilize digital sources to guide them through the writing task. Students access a video preview to analyze emotions and also utilize discussion guides and speaking frames to guide their Collaborative Conversations and a graphic organizer to plan their responses and guide their writing.
  • In Unit 5, Chopped, Blended, and Stirred, students read the poem “The Latin Deli: An Ars Poetica” by Judith Ortiz Cofer. After a close read, students watch a StudySyncTV episode to see a discussion on the characters in the text and the use of symbolism and imagery in the poem. Following the episode they have a Collaborative Conversation on the following prompt: “‘The Latin Deli: An Ars Poetica’ gives a different and less obvious interpretation of what constitutes art. In what ways is the owner of the deli an artist? Make a claim and support it with evidence from the poem.” Students use insight from their discussions to write an argumentative response to the same prompt.

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.
2/2
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Indicator Rating Details

The StudySync instructional materials reviewed for Grade 10 meet the criteria for 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.)


StudySync materials provide students with the opportunity to engage in multiple styles of writing during the Extended Writing Project. These projects incorporate multiple Skill Lessons, take students through each step of the writing process, and result in longer writing assignments. The projects also vary in type, with students writing narratives, informative/explanatory essays, literary analyses, and argumentative responses. Materials provide opportunities for students/teachers to monitor progress in writing skills during short constructed responses, essays, and student responses in the Writer’s Notebook. The Teacher Edition and Lesson Resource offer step by step directions, including answers to questions to help the teacher guide the writer. The student experiences multiple opportunities to monitor the development of their writing through graphic organizers, Skills Lessons, and StudySyncTV.


Materials provide multiple opportunities across the school year for students to learn, practice, and apply different genres/modes of writing that reflect the distribution required by the standards. Examples include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Students have opportunities to engage in argumentative writing.
    • In Unit 1, The Power of Communication, students complete a close read of “Letter from Birmingham Jail” by Martin Luther King, Jr. Students analyze “characteristics of argumentative texts, such as argument and specific claims, rhetorical appeals, sources, and conclusions in a short, written response.” Teachers complete a Check for Success using students’ Writer’s Notebooks. Students freewrite in their Writer’s Notebooks about the Essential Question “Why do words matter?” Teacher guidance includes scaffolded questions, such as “How does King use language as a tool to fight equality? How does King use language to give a window into what it feels like to be an African American facing racial discrimination for his audience, the white clergy?” These tasks occur before students answer a final writing prompt. Materials include additional questions that teachers may use to prompt students when they write their rhetorical analysis.
    • In Unit 3, The Persistence of Memories, students closely read, “Seeing at the Speed of Sound” by Rachel Kolb and write an argumentative response. Students argue about the effectiveness of mediums, such as an essay or video, supporting their claims with evidence. Students include evidence from both mediums, as well as original analysis. A multiple-column graphic organizer is available for students to list evidence for both mediums. The Teacher Edition offers support for students in understanding the concept of “medium.” Instructions in the Teacher Edition also provide directions for reviewing the prompt and rubric.
    • In Unit 5, Chopped, Stirred, and Blended, students write an argumentative essay during the Extended Writing Project. Students must state a claim and support their claim with reasons and evidence from two texts when responding to the prompt “To what extent can you get to know a group of people through their food?” Students receive support and can monitor their progress through each step of the writing process using teacher instruction, skill resources, and peer feedback.
  • Students have opportunities to engage in informative/explanatory writing.
    • In Unit 1, The Power of Communication, students closely read, “She Unnames Them” by Ursula K. Le Guin and “ I Am Offering This Poem” by Jimmy Santiago Baca and then write a compare and contrast response about how the writers use language and develop themes and ideas. Students use a Flow Chart Graphic Organizer to gather examples of language and make a connection to the theme. The Teacher Edition instructs teachers to connect to the Essential Question “Why do words matter?” to help students reflect on the writing prompt. After students draft, they receive peer review feedback for revision.
    • In Unit 3, The Persistence of Memories, students closely read “Rituals of Memory” written by Kimberly Blaeser and write an explanatory response. Students look closely at the author’s use of language and how it refines and shapes ideas around the topic of memory. Students can use the Concept Web to identify figurative language and then examine the figurative language through analysis, meaning, and author’s ideas. Teachers direct students to conduct a close read of the prompt after watching the prompt modeled in StudySyncTV. Students revise their work using feedback from a Peer Review.
    • In Unit 5, Chopped, Stirred, and Blended, students read the informational text “Florida’s Edible Wild Plants: A Guide to Collecting and Cooking” by Peggy Sias Lantz and then write an explanatory response. Students analyze how the author uses formal and informal language and technical terms to explain wild plants to a variety of audiences. Students utilize a graphic organizer that guides them to choose a passage from the text and record their thoughts on style, intended audience, and textual evidence. Students begin reflecting on the writing process and connect to the Essential Question as they freewrite in their Writer’s Notebook.
  • Students have opportunities to engage in narrative writing.
    • In Unit 1, The Power of Communication, students read the poem “I Am Offering This Poem” by Jimmy Santiago Baca, and in response, write about a personal experience on what makes a good gift. Students use the poem to guide their response and cite evidence from the poem to support their opinion. Students can use a concept web to brainstorm what makes a good gift and gather evidence from the poem and personal experiences during this planning stage of writing. Teacher Edition support includes a video preview to activate prior knowledge.
    • In Unit 3, The Persistence of Memories, students engage in an on-demand writing task after reading “By Any Other Name” by Santa Rama Rau. Students write a short memoir relating to their name and how names affect experiences in life. Students use both evidence from the text and personal stories to support their work.
    • In Unit 6, Origin Stories, students engage in a close read of the text The Best We Could Do by Thi Bui. Students analyze how the illustrations and text work together to tell the story before writing in response to the following prompt: “Create your own illustrated memoir, in your writer’s notebook or in a digital format, about a time in your life where you or your family made a sacrifice. Be sure that elements of your illustrated memoir work together to convey a distinct tone and central idea.” After creating the narrative, students reflect on the process of creating a multimodal narrative and how using media impacted the text’s overall meaning.

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 StudySync instructional materials reviewed for Grade 10 meet the criteria for materials, including frequent opportunities for evidence-based writing to support sophisticated analysis, argumentation, and synthesis.

StudySync materials provide students the opportunity to engage in short writing responses that connect to texts during the reading lessons. Students write literary analyses, argumentative responses, rhetorical analyses, and more while supporting their ideas with evidence from the texts. Additionally, each unit ends with an Extended Writing Project that requires students to review across texts and genres to write lengthier writing tasks and support their claims and arguments with evidence from the texts. Students write to practice and apply writing standards that require them to write with a task, purpose, and audience in mind, to delineate and evaluate arguments, and to develop a short research response.


Writing opportunities are focused around students’ analyses and claims developed from reading closely and working with texts and sources to provide supporting evidence. Examples include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • In Unit 1, The Power of Communication, students read “Letter from Birmingham Jail” by Martin Luther King, Jr. Students complete the first read and analyze an argument and evaluate the elements that make it effective and memorable. They complete a Skill: Primary and Secondary Sources Lesson to analyze the speech. Then, they complete a Skill: Arguments and Claims lesson in which they delineate and evaluate the argument and claims. Next, students complete a Skill: Rhetoric lesson in which they analyze the rhetorical devices in the letter that make it more persuasive. Finally, students complete a close reading and analyze the characteristics of argumentative texts. Students answer a writing prompt: “One reason that ‘Letter from Birmingham Jail’ remains one of the best-known texts of the civil rights era is because of the powerful rhetoric that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. uses to advocate for nonviolent resistance to racism. Write a response in which you delineate and evaluate King's argument, his specific claims, his rhetorical appeals, his use of sources, and his argument's conclusion. Support your analysis with evidence from the text.”
  • In Unit 2, Moving Forward, students read the argumentative address “Remarks at the UN General Assembly” by Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, in order to write a speech advocating change. Students allude to examples of other texts to support their claims. Students organize their writing by comparing similarities and differences between texts to connect to the Essential Question “How does culture influence your goals?” Students organize and develop their speech based on task, purpose, and audience.
  • In Unit 3, The Persistence of Memories, students independently read an excerpt from Salvador Dali’s autobiographical text The Secret Life of Salvador Dalí. After reading, students engage in a Collaborative Conversation and write in response to the following prompt: “Explain the role that imagination played in Dalí’s childhood, using textual evidence and original commentary.”
  • In Unit 4, The Ties That Bind, students read the story “People Should Not Die In June in South Texas” by Gloria Anzaldua to analyze the author's use of language, character, and cultural references. Students write a literary analysis providing evidence, as they clearly explain how the author uses these literary elements to transmit a theme about loss.
  • In Unit 5, Chopped, Stirred, and Blended, students engage in close reading and discussion of the nonfiction text “The New Food Fights: U.S. Public Divides Over Food Science” by Cary Funk & Brian Kennedy. They write a short argumentative response after discussing the prompt in a Collaborative Conversation. The prompt states, “What do you think is the best way of encouraging healthy eating in kids? Use textual evidence as well as relevant anecdotal evidence to support your claim.”
  • In Unit 6, Origin Stories, students closely read an informational essay “A Quilt of a Country” by Anna Quindlen, in order to analyze the structure of the writer’s argument. Students write an explanatory response responding to the prompt, “How does this structure help develop her central idea of America as a quilt?” Students apply the writing standard, using relevant evidence to explain the author’s arguments and claims.

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.
2/2
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Indicator Rating Details

The StudySync instructional materials reviewed for Grade 10 meet the criteria for materials including 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.

Each grammar lesson introduces skills to students. Then students participate in group work discussing a model of the skills. Finally, they complete independent work that requires them to answer multiple-choice questions and put the grammar/convention skills into practice by writing sentences. Each lesson is concise and follows a routine of Teach/Model and Practice/Apply with suggestions for differentiated practice. The Routines section provides routines for spelling, decoding multisyllabic words, reading "big words," reading decodable text, high-frequency words, and fluency. These routines are used with appropriate lessons throughout the component. Opportunities exist for students to learn from models that provide examples of editing using modeled student writing. Before students submit their writing, they utilize a checklist with grammar/convention guidelines to ensure that they have applied the skills within their writing. During the unit and at the end of each unit, assessments require students to demonstrate proficiency of conventions and other aspects of language.

Materials include instruction of all grammar and conventions standards for the grade level. Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • Students have opportunities to use parallel structure.
    • In Unit 2, Moving Forward, students complete a Skill lesson on practicing using parallel structure, prepositions and prepositional phrases, and colons correctly during the Extended Writing Project. The Skill lesson introduces the vocabulary terms not parallel structure and parallel structure, a Model with examples of both, and connections to the texts students are reading. Students practice the skill in a Your Turn section: “Identify whether the sentence contains parallel structure or not. If there is no opportunity to use parallel structure in the sentence, choose not applicable. 5. These online stores buy and sell new and used textbooks.”
  • 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, The Power of Language, students engage in a Grammar Skill: Independent and Dependent Clauses during the Extended Writing Project. The lesson follows the Model, Vocabulary, and Your Turn format so students learn and apply the skill. In the Model section, the materials provide students with correct and incorrect examples of independent and dependent clauses. In the Your Turn application step, students have to drag and drop examples into the correct category: independent or dependent clause.
    • In Unit 2, Moving Forward, students work on the Grammar Skill: Prepositions and Prepositional Phrases lesson during the Edit and Publish phase of the Extended Writing Project. After learning about prepositions and prepositional phrases and seeing the use of these in text examples, students practice using prepositions and prepositional phrases correctly. The instruction teachers provide students follows the Vocabulary, Model, and Your Turn format, which uses gradual release to support student understanding and practice.
    • In Unit 3, The Persistence of Memories, students practice using participle phrases, verb phrases, and noun clauses provided in three different Grammar Skill lessons during the editing and publishing step of the Extended Writing Project. For example, in the Grammar Skill: Noun Clauses, students first learn the difference between main clauses, nouns, and noun clauses. In the Your Turn practice component, students practice identifying sentences with and without noun clauses by dragging and dropping them into the correct category.
    • In Unit 4, The Ties That Bind, students complete a Grammar Skill: Noun Phrases, Absolute, Adjective and Adverbial Phrase lesson during the editing and publishing section of the Extended Writing Project. After learning about the four types of phrases and seeing their use in text examples, students practice using the various phrases correctly. The instruction teachers provide students follows the Vocabulary, Model, and Your Turn structure, which uses gradual release to support student understanding and practice. The End-of-Unit Assessment includes several questions to assess proficiency of the Language standards covered during instruction, practice, and application. For example, Question 31: “What change, if any, is necessary with the underlined portion of the following sentence? After taking a deep breath, Lianna headed to the reunion a little hesitant in the reception room downstairs.”
    • In Unit 5, Chopped, Stirred, and Blended, students practice using adverbial and relative clauses addressed in two different Grammar Skill lessons during the editing and publishing step of the Extended Writing Project. For example, in the Grammar Skill: Relative Clause lesson, students learn the difference between a relative adverb, clause, and pronoun. These relative clauses are then modeled using unit texts followed by an explanation of the type of clause used. Students must select the correct relative adverb or pronoun to complete a sentence in the Your Turn application component of the lesson.
  • Students have opportunities to use a semicolon (and perhaps a conjunctive adverb) to link two or more closely related independent clauses.
    • In Unit 1, The Power of Language, during the editing and publishing phase of the Extended Writing Project, students engage in a Grammar Skill: Semicolon lesson and practice using semicolons correctly. Students view correct and incorrect use of semicolons modeled in excerpts from unit texts. In the Your Turn component, students apply their knowledge of semicolons connecting independent clauses by viewing sentences using semicolons and dragging and dropping them into a correct or incorrect column.
    • In Unit 6, Origin Stories, students complete a Grammar Skill lesson on using conjunctive adverbs correctly, including pairing them with a semicolon to link two or more closely related independent clauses. After exploring the model, students answer questions in the Your Turn section: “Choose the conjunctive adverb that logically completes the sentence. 3. Every day she memorized and recited an additional verse of the sacred text; _____, she knew the entire book by heart.”
  • Students have opportunities to use a colon to introduce a list or quotation.
    • In Unit 2, Moving Forward, students write an informational essay for their Extended Writing Projects. As they engage in each step of the writing process, they receive direct instruction on various grammatical skills. One Skill lesson focuses on the use of colons. Teachers review a definition of the term with students before students work in groups to examine the rules of when to use a colon and to differentiate their use from that of commas. Their independent work includes multiple-choice questions about the proper use of colons, categorizing incorrect and correct uses of colons, and rewriting sentences to include them. In addition, the End-of-Unit Assessment includes several questions to assess proficiency of the Language standards students learn, practice, and apply. For example, Question 31 states: “What change, if any, is necessary in the underlined portion in the following passage? In today’s world, we tend to think of it as an aspiration to a certain standards of living, having, for example: a nice house, a decent car, and an annual vacation.”
  • Students have opportunities to spell correctly.
    • In Unit 1, The Power of Language, during the editing and publishing portion of the Extended Writing Project, students practice spelling during the Grammar Skill: Basic Spelling Rules lesson. One component of the lesson requires students to analyze a student model to explain basic spelling rules such as adding -ly to words that end with l or le and suffixes with double consonants. Students then complete a Your Turn activity, during which students see word parts and must put them together to create a sentence and apply what they have learned.
    • In Unit 3, The Persistence of Memories, students practice spelling during the Grammar Skill: Basic Spelling Rules II lesson. One component of the lesson requires students to add suffixes correctly to avoid making common spelling errors. In the Your Turn application component of this lesson, students must choose the correct spelling based on the rules learned to fill in the blank within a sentence.
    • In Unit 6, Origin Stories, during the Edit and Publish section of the Extended Writing Project, students complete the Grammar Skill: Commonly Misspelled Words lesson. After learning about commonly misspelled words and seeing how they are used in text examples, students practice spelling commonly misspelled words correctly. After exploring the model, students answer questions in the Your Turn section: “Determine which spelling of the boldface word is correct. Then choose the correct answer. 5. The broken step is a hindrance.” The instruction teachers provide students follows the Vocabulary, Model, and Your Turn sections, which uses gradual release to support student understanding and practice.

Gateway Two

Building Knowledge with Texts, Vocabulary, and Tasks

Meets Expectations

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Gateway Two Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 10 meet the criteria for building knowledge with texts, vocabulary, and tasks. Texts are organized around an Essential Question and Genre Focus. The Unit Title sets the theme and connects to the Essential Question. Students engage in high-quality, coherently sequenced questions and tasks as they analyze literary elements, such as word choice, and integrate knowledge and ideas in individual texts and across multiple texts. Culminating tasks, such as the Extended Writing/Oral Project, integrate reading, writing, speaking and listening, or language and connect to the texts students read. Each unit contains a Content Vocabulary list and an Academic Vocabulary list. Oftentimes, one of the vocabulary words appears in the directions for discussion and writing prompts, and some vocabulary words repeat across texts. 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 Extended Writing/Oral Projects. Students participate in independent reading that includes a range of informational and literary texts and can track their progress using Bookshelf and Reading Quizzes.

Criterion 2a - 2h

32/32

Indicator 2a

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

The StudySync materials reviewed for Grade 10 meet the criteria for texts are organized around a topic/topics to build students’ knowledge and their ability to read and comprehend and analyze complex texts proficiently.

StudySync materials include opportunities for both close reading and independent reading and allowing choices for students. The materials have a logical sequence of texts that allow students to read complex texts independently and proficiently by the end of the year. The materials include texts connected by a topic and an Essential Question in each unit. The materials include six topics—The Power of Communication, Moving Forward, The Persistence of Memory, The Ties that Bind, Chopped, Stirred, and Blended, and Origin Stories.

Texts are connected by cohesive topics/themes/lines of inquiry. Examples include, but are not limited to the following:

  • In Unit 1, The Power of Communication, students focus on fiction as a genre and the Essential Question, “Why do words matter?” Eleven texts connect to the theme and include opportunities to read across genres and/or text types, including but not limited to an excerpt from the novel Things Fall Apart, by Chinua Achebe, the story “She Unnames Them,” by Ursula K. Le Guin, and Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail.”
  • In Unit 2, Moving Forward, texts are organized around how culture influences one's goals. In the excerpt from Night, Wiesel’s fellow citizens turn against him based on his culture, and his goal then becomes surviving the concentration camps and even “moving forward” after the horrors of the Nazi concentration camp. Other texts centered around the unit’s Essential Question include the epic Rámáyana, by Válmíki, the speech “A Plea for Global Education,” by Rigoberta Menchú Tum, and the short story “Civil Peace,” by Chinua Achebe.
  • In Unit 3, The Persistence of Memories, students focus on “Surrealism” as a genre and the Essential Question, “How does the past impact the future?” Twelve texts connect to the theme, and the unit includes opportunities to read across genres and/or text types, including but not limited to: an excerpt from “By Any Other Name,” the graphic memoir Persepolis, and the poem “Love Is Not All,” by Edna St. Vincent Millay.
  • In Unit 4, The Ties that Bind, students read a speech from the play As You Like It, Act II, Scene vii, by William Shakespeare. The story highlights a young man's coming of age experience, and how his life goes through stages, a common practice in Sheaskesperean time. The lesson centers around visualization. The students visualize what is written in the text “using the idea of the world as a stage” and make connections to how life plays out in social media today. Additional texts that connect to the unit’s Essential Question include the tragedy Antigone by Sophocles, the drama Hotel Rwanda, by Keir Pearson and Terry George, and the short story “People Should Not Die in June in South Texas,” by Gloria Anzaldúa.
  • In Unit 5, Chopped, Stirred, and Blended, students focus on “Cross-cultural Texts” as a genre and the Essential Question, “What are the ingredients of culture?” Twelve texts connect to the theme, including opportunities to read across genres and/or text types, including but not limited to: the poems “Parsley,” “The Latin Deli: An Ars Poetica,” Wordsworth's “Lines Written in Early Spring,” and a nonfiction article “The New Food Fights: U.S. Public Divides Over Food Science.”
  • In Unit 6, Origin Stories, the Essential Question is “How does who we were guide who we will become?” The unit supports the common theme that every life plays out like a story which includes a beginning, middle, and end, life’s journey, and why it matters by asking the questions: Why do origin stories matter? Why do we care about where we came from—as individuals, as family members, as community members, as a nation? How does knowing our origin stories help us in life? Students complete an analysis across cultures encouraging consideration of how the influence of the past is understood in the present while reading texts such as the poems “The City that Never Stops Giving,” by Lagnajita Mukhopadhyay and “Past and Future,” by Sarojini Naidu, as well as the novel The Joy Luck Club, by Amy Tan.

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 StudySync instructional materials reviewed for Grade 10 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.

StudySync materials provide students the opportunity to apply their understanding of the skill(s) they have learned in conjunction with the text by participating in the Close Read of each text and using the Skills Focus questions to focus their second reading and annotation of the text. These questions guide students as they analyze and apply the author’s craft purposefully in preparation for their own written and oral projects and responses. Upon completion of the Close Read and Skills Focus Questions, students demonstrate their understanding of the author's purpose and craft by responding to a writing prompt. Students frequently respond to writing prompts throughout the year and track their work in their Writer’s notebook. By the end of the year, most items are embedded in students’ work rather than taught directly, increasing student independence.

For most texts, students are asked to analyze language and/or author’s word choice (according to grade-level standards). Examples include, but are not limited to the following:

  • The materials contain coherently sequenced questions and tasks that address language and/or word choice. Examples include, but are not limited to the following:
    • In Unit 2, Moving Forward, after reading “The Power of the Hero’s Journey,” by Louise Munson, students use context as a clue to the meaning of a word or phrase. Students use a checklist for Context Clues to make meaning of language. For example, students note words with similar denotations that seem to differ slightly in meaning.
    • In Unit 5, Chopped, Stirred, and Blended, students read “Maple Sugaring (in Aunt Alberta’s Backyard),” by Diane Burns and analyze language, style, and audience. Students complete a Your Turn task by rereading lines from a poem and answering the following questions: “How does the poet’s word choice contribute to the tone of the poem? Which lines from the poem best illustrate your answer from Part A?”

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. Examples include, but are not limited to the following:
    • In Unit 3, The Persistence of Memories, students read an informational text, “Facial expressions—including fear—may not be as universal as we thought” and complete the Your Turn task by rereading paragraphs and answering the following questions: “Part A: What of the following most clearly states the central idea of these paragraphs? Part B: Which of the following statements BEST supports the central idea in Part A?” After reading and discussing “Seeing at the Speed of Sound,” by Rachel Kolb, students restate the text’s key ideas and details. Students participate in Text Talk and respond to the following questions: “How does lipreading strain Kolb’s sense of sight? What mixed feelings does Kolb have about the fact that lip readers can understand only 30 percent of spoken words? How does Kolb’s experience at her summer camp change her sense of self? Why does Kolb’s chat with Daniel make her so happy? Based on Kolb’s experience, what is the best way to help a hearing-impaired person participate in conversation?”
    • In Unit 5, Chopped, Stirred, and Blended, after reading and discussing ”The New Food Fights: U.S. Public Divides Over Food Science,” by Cary Funk and Brian Kennedy, students make and confirm predictions as they read, understand, and analyze key details. Students respond to the following Text Talk questions: “What major changes have taken place in the American food scene in the past two decades, according to the article? How have American eating habits responded to these widespread changes in the food scene? How do Americans judge their own eating habits? Does your experience of American food culture match what you read about in ‘The New Food Fights: U.S. Public Divides Over Food Science?’ Why or why not?”
  • The materials contain coherently sequenced questions and tasks that address structure. Examples include, but are not limited to the following:
    • In Unit 2, Moving Forward, students read the poem “Rámáyana,” by Válmíki. During a Skill lesson on poetic elements and structure, students learn about meter, rhyme scheme, and poetic form. Finally, they answer the following questions to analyze the structure of the poem: “Based on this selection, which of the following statements best describes an aspect of the poem’s structure? Which of the following most accurately describes the effect of the break in meter in line 138?” After rereading “The Power of the Hero’s Journey,” students complete the Skill: Informational Text Structure lesson during which they analyze how the author uses claims and ideas in an informational text. Students use a set of questions to discuss text structure. An example of one of the discussion questions is “How did the text structure help support the author’s purpose?”
    • In Unit 5, Chopped, Stirred, and Blended, students read “Lines Written in Early Spring,” by William Wordsworth independently. Through literary analysis, students demonstrate their understanding of the author’s poetic elements and structure to explore the theme: “In Wordsworth’s poem ‘Lines Written in Early Spring,’ the speaker sees a conflict between the natural world around him and the behaviors of humankind. How does Wordsworth use poetic devices and structure to contrast the natural world with the culture of humankind?” After reading and discussing ”The New Food Fights: U.S. Public Divides Over Food Science,” by Cary Funk and Brian Kennedy, students identify and analyze informational text elements in “The New Food Fights: U.S. Public Divides Over Food Science.” Students then discuss the Skill Model questions: “How does the reader analyze the first subheading in the article? How does the reader analyze the use of a graphic feature in the text? How will this thinking help the reader analyze other informational text elements?”
  • The materials contain coherently sequenced questions and tasks that address craft. Examples include, but are not limited to the following:
    • In Unit 3, The Persistence of Memories, after rereading and discussing “Seeing at the Speed of Sound,” by Rachel Kolb, students identify and understand the connotative and denotative meanings of words while reading. Questions include: “How does the reader determine the connotative and denotative meaning of a word he is unsure of? How does the reader determine the precise denotative meaning and the connotative meaning of a word that he knows but is being used in an unfamiliar way? How will this thinking help the reader analyze other words in the text?”
    • In Unit 5, Chopped, Stirred, and Blended, after reading and discussing ”The New Food Fights: U.S. Public Divides Over Food Science,” by Cary Funk and Brian Kennedy, students use contextual meaning, a dictionary, or other analysis to clarify and validate the meanings of technical language in the text while responding to the following questions: “How does the reader analyze technical terms to determine meaning? How does the reader determine the tone of the text using technical language? What makes the tone of this article different from the tone of a court opinion or a memoir? How will this thinking help the reader analyze other technical language in the text?”

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 StudySync instructional materials reviewed for Grade 10 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.

StudySync materials provide students with the opportunity to deep dive into various reading skills and deepen their analysis of texts through the Skill Lessons. Tasks associated with these lessons include analyzing language, discussing the impact of word choice, identifying key ideas and details, and analyzing structure and craft. Paired texts usually provide opportunities for students to compare and contrast while practicing a reading skill across texts or a genre. Think questions frequently include higher-level questions that students complete independently after practicing skills previously covered in the unit or across the school year. Throughout all the units of study, students engage in a variety of writing activities in response to the reading of texts, including note-taking, annotating, creating short constructed responses, and completing Extended Writing Projects.

  • Sets of questions and tasks provide opportunities to analyze within single texts. Examples include, but are not limited to the following:
    • In Unit 2, Moving Forward, students assess how point of view or purpose shapes the content and style of a text during the independent reading of Night, by Elie Wiesel. Students answer a series of questions during the reading, such as “The use of repetition in the passage below (paragraphs 1-8) adds to the development of the text mainly by _____. The author suggests the aggressiveness of the SS officers mainly by _____.”
    • In Unit 3, The Persistence of Memory, students read an excerpt from the autobiographical text The Secret Life of Salvador Dalí, by Salvador Dalí. Students annotate the text and identify examples of descriptive language and imagery. Teachers may utilize prompts to encourage students who are struggling with visualizing. Further prompts are available to help students discuss events from the text. Multiple-choice questions assess students’ comprehension of the text. Later they “review the text to identify two elements of style and two major concepts of the literary focus.”
    • In Unit 6, Origin Stories, students read “The Nose,” by Nikolai Gogol independently and analyze how and why individuals, events, or ideas develop and interact over the course of the text. Students answer questions, such as “What does the following passage (paragraph 34) mainly reveal about Kovalev? When he first notices that his nose is missing, what is Kovalev’s main concern?” before completing a writing task. Students then complete a literary analysis prompt: “Nikolai Gogol's absurdist satire, ‘The Nose’ is a forerunner of the genre known as magical realism. In what ways does Gogol's story of General Kovalev reflect the traits of magical realism while putting forth a particular point of view of Russian society? Incorporate textual evidence that supports your claim.”
  • Sets of questions and tasks provide opportunities to analyze across multiple texts. Examples include, but are not limited to the following:
    • In Unit 1, The Power of Communication, students read the poem “A Voice,” by Pat Mora alongside Patrick Henry’s “Speech to the Second Virginia Convention.” The texts follow an independent read of Martin Luther King Jr. 's “Letter from a Birmingham Jail.” Students complete multiple Skill Lessons that help them deepen their analysis of the text. They focus on author’s purpose, point of view, and language, style, and audience, before comparing and contrasting the texts through a series of multiple-choice questions, such as “Which of the following best summarizes the central ideas of King’s letter and Henry’s speech and how they are related?” To wrap up their analysis, students write about language, shared concepts, and themes in all three texts. The materials include guidance for teachers to assist students who are struggling with the prompt. Students also compare within and across genres using multiple texts such as “The Story of Vision,” by Francis La Fleche, Heart of Darkness, by Joseph Conrad, and Things Fall Apart, by Chinua Achebe. Students compare characters and themes and analyze hallmark elements of modernist and postmodernist literature. Each text has questions and tasks that guide the reader through the text. Then, students write a literary analysis comparing similar themes presented in the two novel excerpts.
    • In Unit 3, The Persistence of Memory, students read excerpts from Persepolis, by Marjane Satrapi, The God of Small Things, by Arundhati Roy, and Rock, Ghost, Willow Deer: A Story of Survival, by Allison Adelle Hedge Coke. Students analyze all three texts and discuss allusions, characters, and story structure. The associated writing prompt tasks students with analyzing how a quote from one text “connects to the unique and shared experiences of the people or characters depicted in the graphic novel Persepolis, the memoir Rock, Ghost, Willow, Deer: A Story of Survival, and the novel The God of Small Things.” Students must support their ideas with evidence from all three texts. The guidance included within the materials recommends that teachers support struggling students by breaking down the prompt into discussion questions.
    • In Unit 5, Chopped, Stirred, and Blended, students read the poems “Melons,” by Matsuo Bashō and “Parsley,” by Rita Dove together. Students respond to multiple-choice questions that ask students about the structure and language used in the poems. One example of such a question is “Which of the following sentences best explains the paradox in haiku 659?” The materials provide support for teachers to help students understand the meaning of the poems. To close out the texts, students write a literary analysis responding to the following prompt: “Write a literary analysis in which you interpret the meaning of this symbol and explain how the poet uses it to develop a specific theme.”

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 StudySync instructional materials reviewed for Grade 10 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).

StudySync materials provide students the opportunity to apply previously practiced skills from the Integrated Reading and Writing lessons during the Extended Writing Project or Extended Oral Project. The lessons incorporate questions for consideration and oral or written tasks that allow students to demonstrate their knowledge of a topic or theme. The lessons and Extended Writing or Oral Projects relate to each unit’s Essential Question. Earlier questions and tasks give the teacher usable information about the student's readiness (or whether they are “on track”) to complete culminating tasks. The questions students consider in each lesson, as well as the writing and discussion prompts associated with the texts students read, relate to the Essential Question and the common theme woven throughout each unit. Teachers can determine their students’ readiness during the completion of these tasks and provide support when necessary to help them achieve proficiency with the longer culminating tasks.

Culminating tasks are provided, and they are multifaceted, requiring students to demonstrate mastery of several different standards at the appropriate grade level. Examples include, but are not limited to the following:

  • In Unit 1, The Power of Communication, students begin the unit reading a paired selection—the poem “I Am Offering This Poem,” by Jimmy Santiago Baca and the short story “She Unnames Them,” by Ursula K. Le Guin. Both texts help students gain understanding around the Essential Question, “Why do words matter?” After reading both texts, students respond to a compare and contrast prompt, discussing “how writers use language to develop themes and ideas and how those words give the themes and ideas power.” During the Extended Writing Project, students explore the power of communication in texts they covered in the unit. The literary analysis essay prompt integrates students’ reading and writing skills as they “Select two or three works from this unit in which individuals’ language has a powerful impact on themselves, another individual, or their community.... make a claim about what exactly is the power of language and explain how that power is demonstrated in each of the selections.”
  • In Unit 2, Moving Forward, students focus on the literary period of ancient and classical literature, reading texts such as Republic, by Plato, as they explore the Essential Question, “How does culture influence your goals?” Students compose an informational essay in response to the question “How does community influence our goals?” during the Extended Writing Project. Students select three texts from the unit and describe the challenge the communities face, as well as how specific individuals assist in overcoming the challenge. This task integrates reading and writing skills.
  • In Unit 3, The Persistence of Memories, students focus on surrealist literature while probing the Essential Question, “How does the past impact the future?” Students begin the unit with a paired selection that contains the memoir “By Any Other Name,” by Santha Rama Rau and the informational text “Rituals of Memory,” by Kimberly Blaeser. Skill lessons on informational text structure, figurative language; and language, style, and audience support students in analyzing “how the author uses figurative language and develops, refines, and shapes ideas.” Students draw upon their reading and writing skills as they cite evidence in response to an explanatory prompt on the figurative language that Blaeser uses.
  • In Unit 4, The Ties that Bind, students read and discuss texts such as Hotel Rwanda, by Keir Pearson and Terry George, as they investigate the Essential Question, “What brings us back to one another?” During the Extended Oral Project, students craft an argumentative oral presentation in response to the question “How can listening to another person’s story instruct us?” Students utilize multiple sources of information to demonstrate how listening to another person’s story can instruct us. Students learn more about the interviewee’s life experiences and how these shaped his or her values. This task integrates reading, writing, speaking, and listening skills.
  • In Unit 5, Chopped, Stirred, and Blended, students explore the Essential Question, “What are the ingredients of culture?” as they focus on the literary period of cross-cultural literature and read texts, such as “The New Food Fights: U.S. Public Divides Over Food Science,” by Cary Funk & Brian Kennedy, “Chinese Cooking,” by Chen Jitong, and the novel excerpt Curry: A Tale of Cooks and Conquerors, by Lizzie Collingham. At the end of the unit, students complete an Extended Writing Project, during which they plan and write an argumentative essay in response to the following prompt: “To what extent can you get to know a group of people through their food?” This task integrates reading and writing skills.
  • In Unit 6, Origin Stories, students focus on the literary period of magical realist literature as they seek to answer the Essential Question, “How does who we were guide who we will become?” After reading “A Quilt of a Country,” by Anna Quindlen, students complete lessons on figurative language, word patterns and relationships, and arguments and claims and write in response to an explanatory prompt on how the structure of the essay helps develop the author’s central idea. Students complete an Extended Writing Project, during which students craft an informative research essay in response to the question, “What do origin stories reveal about our perceptions of the world?” Students choose one origin story relating to a religion, culture, or nation they would like to learn more about and research the origin story to present their findings. This task integrates reading and writing.

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 StudySync instructional materials reviewed for Grade 10 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.

StudySync materials allow students to revisit certain vocabulary words across multiple texts within each unit or across the school year. The instructional materials include opportunities to practice Academic Vocabulary during Skill lessons at the beginning of the unit and review Academic Vocabulary at the end of the unit. The materials attend to content vocabulary essential to understanding the text and analyzing the purpose of word choices. Vocabulary instruction and practice accompany the core program's selections to build vocabulary knowledge and improve students’ abilities to access complex texts. Opportunities for students to determine the meaning of vocabulary words using context clues consistently are available.

Vocabulary is repeated in various contexts (before texts, in texts, etc.) and across multiple texts. Examples include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Vocabulary is repeated in contexts (before texts, in texts, etc.).
    • In Unit 1, The Power of Communication, students complete a Skill: Academic Vocabulary lesson, learning the meanings of ten Academic Vocabulary words. Students use the Academic Vocabulary words in a variety of contexts. Terms students learn during the lesson include advocate, decade, globe, hierarchy, incidence, migrate, paradigm, successor, and voluntary. A model is available for students to learn Academic Vocabulary to help them discuss issues related to government and society. In the Your Turn section of the lesson, students answer questions: “Determine the correct vocabulary word to complete each sentence. The show at the museum presented changes in fashion from the 1920s up through the current _____.” After students complete a close read of “She Unnames Them” by Ursula K. LeGuin, they respond to a writing prompt which includes an Academic Vocabulary term from the previous list: “The plot of ‘She Unnames Them,’ which centers on the voluntary unnaming of Eve and the animals, plays an important role in communicating a theme concerning hierarchy. Using ‘She Unnames Them’ and ‘I Am Offering This Poem’ as sources, discuss how writers use language to develop themes and ideas and how those words give the themes and ideas power.”
    • In Unit 3, The Persistence of Memories, The Big idea, which is before students begin to read the text, features skill Academic Vocabulary. In this section, the teacher introduces and models the vocabulary and the students practice. Teachers divide the vocabulary words into two lists, pair students, and give each student one half of the list. Teachers challenge students to have a casual conversation with each other that uses every word on their list. Students should aim to insert their vocabulary words in a way that sounds natural. Teachers may turn this activity into a game, allowing partners to award each other points if they effectively use each word on their list.
    • In Unit 4, The Ties That Bind, students engage in a Skill lesson on figurative language after reading the drama Antigone, by Sophocles. Students focus on figurative meanings of metaphors, similes, and personification in this lesson. In the Model section, students learn how to recognize phrases in the form of oxymorons and euphemisms and consider questions like, “Why does the author use a figure of speech rather than literal language?”
  • Vocabulary is repeated across multiple texts.
    • Unit 1, The Power of Communication, students complete a Skill: Academic Vocabulary lesson, learning the meanings of ten Academic Vocabulary words, and exploring how the Academic Vocabulary words are used in a variety of contexts. Terms students learn during the lesson include advocate, decade, globe, hierarchy, incidence, migrate, paradigm, successor, and voluntary. After students independently read Heart of Darkness, by Joseph Conrad, they respond to a writing prompt that includes an Academic Vocabulary word: “The passage conveys his perspective on his journey into the unknown as he experiences new regions of the globe. How does the author characterize the narrator through the historical setting?” The materials include an additional opportunity for students to see the word globe in the context of a writing prompt. Then, after a close read of an excerpt from Things Fall Apart, by Chinua Achebe, students respond to a writing prompt which includes the same Academic Vocabulary word. “Compare similar themes about masculinity in these two fiction excerpts representing different cultural views from different parts of the globe. Respond by analyzing how the authors show these different cultural perspectives and what the details reveal about the worlds the characters live in.”
    • In Unit 3, The Persistence of Memories, students complete a close read of “Rituals of Memory,” by Kimberly Blaeser. Students use context clues to make predictions about the boldfaced vocabulary words. Examples of vocabulary words include: deduced, emerged, oblivious, intricate, and tangibles. During the Reading Quiz, students match each vocabulary word to its corresponding definition. After students independently read an excerpt from The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, by Rebecca Skloot, they again use context clues to make predictions about the boldfaced vocabulary words. These include oblivious, enzymes, genome, haywire, and chromosomes. The materials provide an additional opportunity for students to learn the vocabulary word oblivious.
    • In Unit 4, The Ties That Bind, students read two plays, written by William Shakespeare, which are As You Like It, Act II, Scene vii and Macbeth, Act I, (Scene iii), and address “the cumulative impact of the words” after closely reading Macbeth. Based on the similar experiences of the characters, students are introduced to the Academic Vocabulary word encounter and are urged to use this word in their written literary response that addresses both texts.

Students are supported to accelerate vocabulary learning with vocabulary in their reading, speaking, and writing tasks. 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, Moving Forward, students read Plato’s speech The Republic before completing a Skill: Context Clues lesson to determine word meanings. Students apply their understanding of word meaning as they discuss and write in the Close Read: The Republic lesson. Students begin the Concept Definition video where they learn about common context clues such as definition, example, and comparison and contrast. Students follow up this video with a vocabulary activity involving applying common context clues by matching meaning to the type of clue. In the next section of the lesson, students use a context clue checklist to note and determine word meaning. One item students need to note is signal words that cue a type of context clue. Students finish the lesson with a multiple-choice assessment applying new knowledge about word meaning. Students accelerate vocabulary learning while reading, speaking in Turn and Talk opportunities, and writing as they practice annotating.
  • In Unit 5, Chopped, Stirred, and Blended, students complete a lesson about Academic Vocabulary—Debating with Others—during which students learn ten words: adapt, clarify, confirm, contradict, convert, deny, eliminate, infer, somewhat, and thereby. A model is available to help students “better understand the academic texts that you read and will make you sound more authoritative when you write and speak for academic purposes.” Then, students complete a Your Turn section of the lesson in which they answer questions to demonstrate their understanding of the Academic Vocabulary. During a first read of “The New Food Fights: U.S. Public Divides Over Food Science,” by Pew Research Center, students use context clues to make predictions about the boldfaced vocabulary word contradictory. At the end of the unit, students complete a Vocabulary Review of the same Academic Vocabulary words. During the Your Turn section, students sort the vocabulary words to demonstrate a positive connotation or negative connotation.
  • In Unit 6, Origin Stories, students begin the unit with a list of 10 Academic Vocabulary terms. Throughout the unit, teachers may spiral back to the terms in discussions. At the end of the unit, students complete a Vocabulary Review. They engage with various vocabulary strategies demonstrating their comprehension, including finding words’ origins, putting words in the context of a graphic, and acting the words out. They categorize the words before finally responding to a discussion prompt about themes from the unit. Teachers encourage students to use as many vocabulary terms as possible, and write in response to the following prompt: "Reflect on your experience. How many vocabulary words were you able to incorporate? How comfortable did you feel recalling and using these words? What strategies were beneficial in learning these words, and what will you adjust in the future?”

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 StudySync instructional materials reviewed for Grade 10 meet the criteria that materials include a cohesive, year-long plan to support students’ increasing writing skills over the course of the school year, building students’ writing ability to demonstrate proficiency at grade level at the end of the school year.

StudySync materials provide students the opportunity to participate in a wide range of writing tasks, including short-response questions, Think questions, and Extended Writing Projects throughout the year. The tasks vary in length and purpose and help students develop their informational and narrative writing skills. Students must defend their writing and ideas with textual evidence. Extended Writing Projects walk students through each stage of the writing process and allow students to monitor their progress with rubrics, checklists, and graphic organizers. Writing instruction and assignments scale up in difficulty throughout the year.

Writing instruction supports students’ growth in writing skills over the course of the school year, building students’ writing ability to demonstrate proficiency at grade level at the end of the year. Examples include, but are not limited to the following:

  • In Unit 2, Moving Forward, students complete an Extended Writing Project. This culminating writing task focuses on informational writing styles and asks students to answer the following prompt: “How does community influence our goals?” Students complete prewriting activities including organizing their ideas and developing a thesis statement. They also read a Student Model and annotate for organizational structure and the parts of an essay. Multiple Skill lessons help them identify supporting details and develop strong introductions, transitions, and conclusions. After submitting the first draft, students revise their work before editing and publishing.
  • In Unit 4, The Ties that Bind, students read an excerpt from Firoozeh Dumas’s Funny in Farsi: A Memoir of Growing Up Iranian in America alongside an excerpt from Larissa FastHorse’s Cherokee Family Reunion. Students dive into the tone of informational texts through direct instruction and Collaborative Conversations with fellow students. They write in response to the following prompt: “Select examples of language in each of these texts used to convey an embarrassed tone. Then, write a response in which you analyze how those examples of language contribute to the tone.” Once students complete their essays, they give and receive feedback from others and reflect on the feedback on their essays.
  • In Unit 5, Chopped, Stirred and Blended, students continue to receive similar supports found at the beginning and middle of the unit to teach and develop their writing. Students evaluate the effectiveness of informational text skills. Students gain practice in developing this complex skill using the text “The New Food Fights: U.S. Public Divides Over Food Science,” by Cary Funk & Brian Kennedy. There are many lessons connected to this text, but the Skill lessons that help students better evaluate informational texts are Skill: Technical Language and Skill: Informational Text Elements. In the Skill: Informational Text Elements lesson, students identify and determine how the author includes elements, such as subject, key details, and other features such as charts or photos.
  • In Unit 6, Origin Stories, students complete an End-of-Unit Assessment with grade-level-appropriate passages and writing prompts to assess their performance. The assessment includes short responses requiring evidence from the passage to support students’ responses. Question 40 includes writing “a research report on how the past and present can affect the future.” Students read three passages, and the task requires “at least two examples from the unit texts.” The task aligns with grade-level writing standards. A Writer’s Checklist with reminders is available for students as additional support, and the instructional materials include an exemplary response and explanation/rationale for teachers when scoring student work.

Instructional materials include a variety of well-designed guidance, protocols, models, and support for teachers to implement and monitor students’ writing development. For example, some examples are as follows:

  • In Unit 1, The Power of Communication, the unit design includes an introduction of a grade-level skill and then multiple practice opportunities for applying those same skills in writing. Students learn and study the Skill lesson on theme after reading the novel excerpt She Unnames Them, by Ursula K. Le Guin. The next text that they read is a short story “Story of a Vision,” by Francis La Fliche, and students use their prior Skill lesson on theme to respond to a literary analysis prompt. During the Close Read of Things Fall Apart, by Chinua Achebe and Heart of Darkness, by Joseph Conrad, students explain how similar themes about masculinity are developed in both texts through characterization in a short written response. The Optional pre-write activity with the graphic organizer allows students to use a Venn Diagram to begin planning their responses. The instructions prompt teachers to remind students to look at both texts and their annotations for textual evidence to support their ideas.
  • In Unit 3, The Persistence of Memories, one autobiographical essay, “Seeing at the Speed of Sound,” by Rachel Kolb, includes multiple lessons to develop grade-level writing skills. The First Read lesson provides teachers with a lesson plan that begins with the learning objective, applicable standards, time frame expectations, and suggested grouping for activities within the lesson. Teachers follow a four-part lesson with support to guide students who need extra assistance. Sample answers are available for teachers. For instance, in step four of this lesson, students respond to Think questions relating to the standards taught in the lesson, and the materials provide teachers with possible answers to the skill questions that require students to use evidence from the text. Other lessons that build students' writing skills with this text include Skill: Connotation and Denotation, where a student model provides guidance, Skill: Media, and Close Read. These lessons are well-designed as students now apply what they have learned during their response to an argumentative prompt on which medium, the essay or video, is more effective for conveying a character’s challenges.
  • In Unit 6, Origin Stories, students complete a Timed Writing: Zoos as the final piece of the Instructional Path within Integrated Reading and Writing. The Timed Writing takes place before an End-Of-Unit Assessment. Students respond to a writing prompt, and a graphic organizer assists students with “track[ing] the ways in which the author uses features of argumentative writing to build an argument.” The Teacher Edition includes the following additional guidance: “Scaffolds are provided to assist students as they practice timed writing. To replicate the testing environment, turn off scaffolds, but allow students to ask clarifying questions about unknown words or phrases in the prompt.”

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 StudySyncinstructional materials reviewed for Grade 10 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.

StudySync materials provide opportunities for students to engage in online research and discussion around Blast topics and cite evidence from multiple sources in Extended Writing Projects and Extended Oral Projects. Materials support teachers in employing projects that develop students’ knowledge of different aspects of a topic. The research for each Blast gives students direct links. As students work on culminating tasks that require research, the prompts give them suggestions on figures, topics, or themes to help them begin. Teacher-facing materials provide instructors with guidance on how to help struggling students complete their research, along with scaffolds to build student independence. The Extended Writing Projects and Extended Oral Projects that are at the end of the units require students to go through the entire writing process, and they work together in groups or pairs for editing and revising tasks. They are required to synthesize information from multiple texts in the unit, and must often include outside research as well. The materials provide guidance and support to teachers, including but not limited to, questions to prompt student thinking, graphic organizers to assist students, and an option for teachers to provide various scaffolds for students.

Research projects are varied throughout materials, and students are provided with opportunities for both “short” and “long” projects across the course of a year and grade bands. Examples include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Students have opportunities to engage in “short” projects across grades and grade bands.
    • In Unit 1, The Power of Communication, within the Big Idea Blast: Discovering DNA, students participate in informal research. After exploring background information, research links provide students access to sources that provide additional insight into the topic. After assigning, teachers have the option to jigsaw the research links; the materials provide guidance. Each group can research a different link and discuss the source’s information, using the following questions as a guide: “What are the source’s key ideas? What evidence from the source is new or interesting to you? How does the source help to answer the driving question?” Examples of links students can explore include but are not limited to: “Everyone on Earth is related to everyone else, DNA shows,” by Eryn Brown and “Deciphering the Genetic Code,” by American Chemical Society National Historic Chemical Landmarks. Then, students write a 140-character response to the question “How is DNA a common language?”
    • In Unit 3, The Persistence of Memories, students complete a Big Idea Blast: The Persistence of Memories. Students explore background information and research links about a topic and respond to the following question: “How does the past impact the future?” Examples of links students explore during their research process include but are not limited to: “Birth of Memory: Why Kids Forget What Happened Before Age 7,” by Kate Gammon and “What Your Most Vivid Memories Say About You,” by Susan Krauss Whitbourne Ph.D.
    • In Unit 6, Origin Stories, students complete the Big Blast after rereading Anna Quindlen’s essay “A Quilt of a Country.” Students read an informational text to gather information on Generation Z, Millennials, and The Greatest Generation. Students highlight information in the text that answers the driving question “What issues shape your generation’s worldview?” Teachers have the option to place students in six small groups to jigsaw their research link and answer questions on key ideas, new information of interest, and connections to answer the driving question.
  • Students have opportunities to engage in “long” projects across grades and grade bands.
    • In Unit 2, Moving Forward, during the Extended Writing Project found at the end of this unit, students gather ideas and information from multiple resources to describe the challenge of individuals in their goal to help their communities. Students analyze the connection between individual and community goals. Students utilize a graphic organizer in their planning, adding thoughts on the thesis, the main idea in evidence from first, second and third sources, and concluding thoughts. Three Skill lessons in this project, Organizing Informative Writing, Thesis Statement, and Supporting Details, provide students with a wealth of information to pull from in order to complete this project.
    • In Unit 4, The Ties that Bind, students complete an argumentative oral presentation for the Extended Oral Project. Students must interview someone in their life whom they respect and include evidence from three research sources. Sources may include “diverse media formats.” The speech is a multistep assignment, carrying students through the writing process as well as research protocols.
    • In Unit 6, Origin Stories, students engage in both short-term and sustained recursive inquiry processes as they conduct research during the Extended Writing Project. During the Plan lesson, students practice annotating research writing with a Student Model. The Teacher Edition provides questions with sample answers to help students understand how to research and take notes: “What information did Josh include on each source card? How did that information help Josh? What information did Josh include on each note card? How did that information help Josh? How did reviewing note cards help Josh synthesize information?”

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 StudySync instructional materials reviewed for Grade 10 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.

StudySync materials provide students with the opportunity to participate in independent reading selections within each unit. These selections pair with a core text that receives full instructional support; students also participate in a Self-Selected Blast at the end of each unit. Students may access texts in the StudySync library for self-selected reading; these texts “fit with the theme and Lexile range for that particular unit, so teachers can be sure the options are appropriate for their students.” The Pacing Guide has been updated to include the Self-Selected Readings and the Program Guide now includes a section titled Building an Outside Independent Reading Program. There is a tracking system to track independent reading.

Examples include, but are not limited to the following:

  • In Unit 1, The Power of Communication, supports are in place to foster independent reading, such as during the independent read of “The Story of a Vision,” by Francis La Fleche, when the materials include guidance that reminds students to monitor comprehension by “using background knowledge to make inferences about anything that is not directly stated.” “Text Talk questions help teachers gauge student comprehension of a text, but additional questions for beyond grade-level students encourage deeper consideration of a text, allowing students to begin preliminary analysis.” Another option for students is the self-selection of the excerpt from Doctor Zhivago, by Boris Pasternak. The StudySync Library provides an option to “Add to bookshelf” and annotate the text. The selection is an excerpt from the novel, and students should be able to complete it within the same class period. The materials do not indicate if any additional time should be allotted outside of class for students to complete the selections and what to anticipate for independent reading.
  • In Unit 2, Moving Forward, supports are in place for students to independently read a variety of interactive digital texts to explore the Essential Question, “How does culture influence your goals?” The poem “The Gathering Place,” by Amanda Gorman, the speeches “Valedictorian Address at Anacostia High School,” by Rashema Melson, “A Plea for Global Education,” by Rigoberta Menchú Tum and Global Vision, and “Remarks at the UN General Assembly,” by Ellen Johnson Sirleaf are all read alongside texts that include Skill Lessons and Close Reads. An excerpt from Night, by Elie Wiesel and the short story “Civil Peace,” by Chinua Achebe are read independently without paired texts. While independently reading, students are encouraged to annotate and identify the following: context clues for vocabulary, questions about the text, key details, and examples of descriptive language. Teacher-facing materials provide teachers guidance. For example, “Project exemplar questions as a model for students as they continue reading.” Following each independent read, students assess their comprehension through a short online quiz or written response.
  • In Unit 3, Persistence of Memories, supports are in place for students to read an independent reading selection paired with a core text that receives full instructional support. For example, students “Analyze Differing Perspectives” when independently reading By Any Other Name, by Santha Rama Rau paired with “Rituals of Memory,” by Kimberly Blaeser. The materials offer additional supports for students to identify informational text structure, determine figurative meanings of words and phrases in the text, and analyze the cumulative effect of specific word choices on style, meaning, and tone. The independent reading schedule also includes a Self-Selected Blast at the end of each unit. In Unit 3, the materials recommend options to select another related text by asking questions, such as “Am I curious about what life might be like growing up in a different country? Then, we suggest A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier.
  • In Unit 4, The Ties the Bind, supports are in place for students to independently read a variety of interactive digital texts to explore the Essential Question, “What brings us back to one another?” The speech from As You Like It (Act II, Scene vii), by William Shakespeare, an excerpt from Cherokee Family Reunion, by Larissa Fasthorse, and short stories “People Should Not Die in June in South Texas,” by Gloria Anzaldúa and “Sabado Gigante,” by Daniel Chacón are all read alongside other texts that include Skill Lessons and Close Reads. Students independently read the poems “On the Painting of the Sistine Chapel,” by Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni (Translated by John Frederick Nims) and “Kindness” by Naomi Shihab Nye; these selections are not paired with other texts. While independently reading, students are encouraged to annotate and identify the following: context clues for vocabulary, questions about the text, key details, and examples of descriptive language. Teacher-facing materials provide this guidance, “Ask small groups to provide examples of inferences they have made and textual evidence they used to support their inferences. Project exemplar inferences as a model for students as they continue reading.” Following each independent read, students assess their comprehension through a short online quiz or written response.
  • In Unit 5, Chopped, Stirred, and Blended, reading materials span a wide volume of texts, offering students the freedom to choose independent reading selections through the StudySync library as they self-monitor while reading, creating an appropriate balance of choice and independent reading at an appropriate level of complexity. Examples of independent selections within the unit include “Florida’s Edible Wild Plants: A Guide to Collecting and Cooking,” by Peggy Sias Lantz, a poem “Ethiopia,” by Audre Lorde, and “Chinese Cooking,” by Chen Jitong. Examples of self-selected texts connecting to the genre include but are not limited to: Little Bee: A Novel, by Chris Cleave, “When Chocolate Was Medicine: Colmenero, Wadsworth, and Dufour,” by Christine Jones, and an excerpt from The Jungle, by Upton Sinclair.
  • In Unit 6, Origin Stories, supports are in place for students to independently read a variety of interactive digital texts to explore the Essential Question, “How does who we were guide who we will become?” The poems “The City that Never Stops Giving,” by Lagnajita Mukhopadhyay and “Past & Future,” by Sarojini Naidu, the speech “Worship the Spirit of Criticism: Address at the Pasteur Institute,” by Louis Pasteur, and the excerpt from Najla Said’s memoir Looking for Palestine: Growing Up Confused in an American-Arab Family are all independently read alongside other texts that include Skill Lessons and Close Reads. The short story “The Nose,” by Nikolai Gogol and informational text “Creation Myths from Around the World,” by Angie Shumov are read independently without paired texts. While independently reading, students are encouraged to annotate and identify the following: context clues for vocabulary, questions about the text, key details, and examples of descriptive language. Teacher-facing materials provide teachers guidance, such as “Ask small groups to provide examples of questions they have generated and why they asked them. Project exemplar questions as a model for students as they continue reading.” Following each independent read, students assess their comprehension through a short online quiz or written response.

Gateway Three

Usability

Meets Expectations

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Gateway Three Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 10 meet the criteria for instructional supports and usability. Although the materials are well designed and include lessons that are effectively structured, the pacing of individual lessons is not appropriate. Several significant modifications would be necessary for the materials to be viable for one school year. The materials provide detailed explanations, annotations, and research-based strategies to support teacher learning and understanding of the Standards. Through the use of standards-aligned assessments, time to revisit key concepts, and target lessons, teachers can collect, interpret, and utilize ongoing data about student progress. 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 and available in multiple platforms and embedded technology is effectively used to enhance and support student learning.

Criterion 3a - 3e

5/8
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Criterion Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 10 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 pacing of individual lessons is not appropriate. Many of the lessons do not allocate sufficient time to complete all designated activities within the typical school day. The suggested amount of time for the materials is not viable for one school year, and the expectations for teachers and students are unreasonable for the suggested timeframe. Student materials include clear directions and explanations, and reference aids are correctly labeled. The materials include alignment documentation for all questions, tasks, and assessment items. The design and formatting of the teacher and student materials is not distracting or chaotic and allows for thoughtful engagement with the content.

Indicator 3a

Materials are well-designed (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.
1/2
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Indicator Rating Details

The StudySync instructional materials reviewed for Grade 10 partially meet the criteria that materials are well-designed and take into account effective lesson structure and pacing.

StudySync materials include a program guide available for teachers to familiarize themselves with the program structure. Each grade level includes six units that provide instructional content, lesson plans, and other resources necessary for 180 days of instruction. A Scope and Sequence is available to assist teachers in identifying reading, writing, language, and speaking and listening skills that students practice and apply in each unit. The units follow an integrated structure, providing students with the opportunity to engage in reading multiple texts that connect to writing and language skills. Skill lessons weave throughout the structure to ensure students practice and apply essential grade-level skills. Each grade level includes an End-of-Unit Assessment, designed as an opportunity for students to demonstrate proficiency in the skills they learn and practice throughout the unit. The program lists the days to complete each part of the lesson. The time frame to complete the lessons can vary, and additional time to complete all the lessons as written may be necessary.

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 modeling, student practice, closure); however, the pacing of some lessons is not appropriate. Examples include, but are not limited to the following:

  • In Unit 2, Moving Forward, the pacing guide suggests four days to complete the paired readings “The Gathering Place,” by Amanda Gorman and Rámáyana by Válmíki (translated by Ralph T. H. Griffith). Students complete the Skill and Standard lessons on poetic elements and structure and media. Reteaching occurs during Spotlight Skill: Poetic Elements and Structure and Spotlight Skill: Media lessons. Finally, students complete Skill Practice and Spiraling lessons on poetic elements and structure, and theme and media.
  • In Unit 3, The Persistence of Memories, students complete paired readings “By Any Other Name,” by Santha Rama Rau and “Rituals of Memor,y” by Kimberly Blaeser. Students also complete Skill lessons on informational text structure, figurative language, and language, style, and audience, as well as a Blast: Painting History. The pacing guide recommends completing these tasks Days 3–8. The materials indicate that the total time for the lessons is 290 minutes, which can be more time than teachers have to complete the lessons within five days.
  • In Unit 6, Origin Stories, the pacing guide suggests three days to complete the paired reading “Worship the Spirit of Criticism: Address at the Pasteur Institute,” by Louis Pasteur and “A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings,” by Gabriel García Márquez (Translated by Gregory Rabassa). Students complete the Skill and Standard lesson on point of view and summarizing. Reteaching occurs during Spotlight Skill: Summarizing and Spotlight Skill: Point of View. Finally, students complete skill practice and spiraling during the following lessons: Summarizing, Point of View, Theme, and Allusion.

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 StudySync instructional materials reviewed for Grade 10 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.

StudySync materials provide a suggested pacing guide that divides each unit into 30 days. Each unit includes a link for the suggested pacing guide that includes days allotted, readings, skill and standard instruction, additional program lessons for reteaching, and skill practice for spiraling. The suggested pacing per unit is 30 days; more extensive texts or clusters of texts are allotted more time from five to six days to complete while single texts are often allotted one day to complete. Lesson plans indicate that each days’ readings and activities take 40 minutes. According to the pacing guide, culminating tasks should start during the second half of the unit, but lesson plans do not indicate the additional time. The final two days of each unit are for review and assessment. Lesson instruction indicates optional activities that consistently address developing background knowledge and cultural awareness, and revisiting academic and content vocabulary. When focusing on clusters of texts and even single complex texts that contain more than one lesson to complete, suggested days in the pacing guide may not allow for maximum student understanding.

The suggested amount of time for the materials is not viable for one school year, and/or the expectations for teachers and students are unreasonable for the suggested timeframe. Several significant modifications would be necessary for the materials to be viable for one school year. Examples include, but are not limited to the following:

  • In Unit 2, Moving Forward, students read the informational text “The Power of the Hero’s Journey,” by Louise Munson, which guides the reader to think about the human journey. The pacing guide allots four days for this text but six 40-minute lessons are necessary for completion. Two writing tasks are integrated into these six lessons as well. In the Close Read: “The Power of the Hero’s Journey,” students complete a vocabulary chart, free write in their Writer’s Notebook, work in small groups to discuss, read and annotate the Skill focus, use StudySyncTV for a collaborative conversation, reread the text, review the prompt and rubric draw attention to academic vocabulary work, communicate, write an explanatory response that includes textual evidence, and participate in Peer Review and Reflect. All of these tasks take place in forty minutes. There are 17 application standards addressed in this Close Read lesson, along with 10 activities that the materials do not note as optional. The pacing suggestions for this lesson, along with the combination of lessons required for the “The Power of the Hero’s Journey,” do not allow adequate time for completion or maximum student understanding of the skills and standards.
  • In Unit 4, The Ties That Bind, 12 unit texts span 40 lessons with a suggested time completion of 40 minutes over 26 days. Two paired excerpts written by William Shakespeare in this unit are As You Like It, Act II, Scene vii, and Macbeth, Act l (Scene iii). In the text complexity section of the pacing guide, these excerpts are referenced as challenging due to archaic vocabulary, syntax, and political intrigue infused themes. The ELA Grade Level Overview suggests that Skill lessons provided for these texts, along with StudySyncTV and a companion video will provide the support needed to make sense of the text. The pacing guide allows four days to complete six 40-minute lessons, all necessary, according to the pacing guide to help students understand the texts and tasks presented. The culminating task for these paired texts contains 20 application standards and eight different tasks moving from whole group, small group to independent work. Students complete a complex literary analysis in this lesson, along with seven other tasks. The suggested four days to read two complex texts, complete two writing tasks, and six total lessons may not be adequate for completion or maximum student understanding of the skills and standards.
  • In Unit 6, Origin Stories, on Day 16 in the pacing guide, students are allotted one day to complete one independent read lesson and a Skill lesson on analyzing magical realist literature, for the short story “The Nose,” by Nikolai Gogol. Under text complexity in the ELA Grade Level Overview, it states that the lower Lexile of the text is misleading due to the challenges presented in the text, such as elements of absurdity, surrealism, and the background information needed to understand Russian social structure. In the lesson, developing background knowledge is optional, but key to accessing the text according to information found in the pacing guide. Besides completing two 40-minute lessons in one day, students write an argumentative literary analysis that addresses magical realism and point of view on Russian society. Time allotment and complexity of tasks may not allow for maximum student understanding.

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 StudySync instructional materials reviewed for Grade 10 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.).

StudySync materials provide students the opportunity to practice and apply the skills they have learned throughout each unit. Student models and opportunities to write constructed responses are available. Instructions and directions for students are clear, and reminders are available to students throughout extended projects. Additional guidance is available for teachers through lesson plans and prompts when necessary. Reference aids are correctly labeled when the materials include these throughout the unit.

The student resources include ample review and practice resources, clear directions and explanation, and correct labeling of reference aids (e.g., visuals, maps, etc.). Examples include, but are not limited to the following:

  • In Unit 1, The Power of Community, students begin with a SyncStart titled The Refusal. Students work with a Blast, which introduces the concepts in the unit, followed by Skill lessons on annotation, context clues, and monitoring comprehension before beginning the first read of “The Refusal,” by Franz Kafka. Students engage in additional practice during Skill: Text Dependent Responses, Skill: Textual Evidence, and Skill: Character, before applying the skills learned to respond to discussion questions and complete a short written response in the close read of “The Refusal.” Finally, in this section, students complete the following lessons: Skill: Collaborative Conversations, Skill: Short Constructed Responses, and Skill: Peer reviews.
  • In Unit 4, The Ties That Bind, students complete an Extended Oral Project. Students utilize the provided model as they prepare for their argumentative oral presentation. The model authored by a student named Dylan incorporates features of oral presentation that students can highlight and annotate. Images include text and video from the slide show, and source information is available when appropriate. For example, a quote appears relating to Evidence and Analysis #2 from the speech: “‘That’s one small step for [a] man, one giant leap for mankind.’—Astronaut Neil Armstrong, NASA moon landing, July 20, 1969.”
  • In Unit 6, Origin Stories, students read “Coming-of-Age Traditions from Around the World,” by Ursula Villarreal-Moura. Images include captions, such as: “A photograph of a young woman on her quinceanera day.” Directions for the discussion following the reading are clear: “Traditions are customs, stories, beliefs, rituals, and/or routines that are passed down in a family from one generation to another. Research has proven that traditions are part of healthy families, provide a foundation for shared identity, and help build strong bonds between generations. In your opinion, what positive effects can traditions have on individuals, families, and/or communities? Synthesize textual evidence from this text and at least one other text from the unit, as well as relevant personal anecdotes, to support your answer to this question. To prepare for the discussion, write down your thoughts about this question and explain your reasoning.” After the discussion, directions for students to write their reflection are clear: “Evaluate how well everyone followed the rules when making decisions affecting the group, evaluate the speakers’ points of view and use of evidence, evaluate your own participation in the discussion, including preparation, questions, and responses, reflect on and adjust your responses to the text if you find the evidence presented by others to be valid and convincing.” The Teacher Edition provides additional questions to ask students if they struggle to respond to Skills Focus Question #1.

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 StudySync instructional materials reviewed for Grade 10 meet the criteria that materials include publisher-produced alignment documentation of the standards addressed by specific questions, tasks, and assessment items.

StudySync materials include publisher-produced alignment documentation of the standards addressed by specific questions, tasks, and assessment items. Teacher-facing materials provide many opportunities for teachers to see connections to Common Core State Standards (CCSS) in daily lessons, assessments, and larger culminating tasks. The Scope and Sequence indicates which CCSS students practice during each text. In Teacher Resources: Lesson Plan, under the Learning Objective, standards for the specific lesson are listed at the top of the lesson plan. Standards are also represented in each component of the lesson, including questions, tasks, and assessments. Students can also view the connections to CCSS. In student-facing materials, standards are listed under student tasks. Think questions, short quizzes, Your Turn activities, and short response prompts all have standards visible at the bottom of the page.

Materials include publisher-produced alignment documentation of the standards addressed by specific questions, tasks, and assessment items. Examples include, but are not limited to the following:

  • In Unit 1, The Power of Communication, students write a literary analysis for their Extended Writing Project. In the Planning portion of the assignment, students begin the essay by prewriting and brainstorming on purpose, audience, textual evidence, analysis, and claims. Standards correlated to the activity include W.9-10.1a, W.9-10.4, and W.9-10.5.
  • In Unit 3, The Persistence of Memories, students independently read Santha Rama Rau’s memoir “By Any Other Name.” Several multiple choice questions reinforce Common Core Standards. The standards are listed under each quiz question. For example, students are asked, “Which of these inferences about the headmistress is best supported by the first four paragraphs of the essay?” The connecting standard is visible under the question: “CCRA.R.1- Read closely to determine what the text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; cite specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions.”
  • In Unit 5, Chopped, Stirred, and Blended, students independently read Peggy Lantz’s nonfiction text Florida’s Edible Wild Plants: A Guide to Collecting and Cooking. After answering quiz questions, they complete a short response to the following prompt: “Analyze how the author of Florida's Edible Wild Plants: A Guide to Collecting and Cooking adapts her style, including the use of informal language, formal language, and technical terms, to explain wild plants to a variety of audiences.” The assignment reinforces RI.9-10.4 which states, “Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative, connotative, and technical meanings; analyze the cumulative impact of specific word choices on meaning and tone.”

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 10 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 format and layout of the StudySync materials are consistent for each unit. There is an appropriate balance of text and white space with digital features. When they appear, the digital images, charts, and graphs are not distracting and support comprehension and aesthetic appeal. The font style and size are easy to read, and the graphics are clear with an appropriate font size to ensure students can read the text. Consistent use of colors for lines, text, and symbols assist learners to navigate the platform and recognize when specific tasks will occur, such as a blue line around paired readings with a blue symbol next to the titles and an orange arrow to drop down each section. The font color changes to orange when a specific section of a unit is selected. To enhance the experience of reading, various texts in the units are accompanied by graphic features that may include photographs, illustrations, and informational graphics such as maps, charts, and videos.

The visual design (whether in print or digital) is not distracting or chaotic, but supports students in engaging thoughtfully with the subject. Examples include, but are not limited to the following:

  • In Unit 2, Moving Forward, in the memoir Night, by Elie Wiesel and “Civil Peace,” by Chinua Achebe, the images align with the description of the stories. Students can click on the blue bar in the lesson for a graphic organizer, and they can also click on another tab on the right side of the bar for suggestions on differentiation.
  • In Unit 4, The Ties That Bind, in order to correlate a visual representation to the unit focus, the introduction features an image of teenage students from all different ethnicities walking. The lesson for “Hotel Rwanda,” by Keir Pearson and Terry George features a Skill lesson on dramatic structures and the cover also acts as a representation of the content. The Skill lesson starts with a video explanation as well as a written explanation of the skill with key words bolded. The vocabulary section features a drag and drop model of connecting the definition with the word and the part of speech. The model section features the language of the story with the example of the featured skill highlighted for students to see it in action within the current text.
  • In Unit 5, Chopped, Stirred, and Blended, students complete an End-of-Unit Assessment. A red target symbol with a check mark indicates that students are completing a final assessment. The text and white space include an appropriate balance with sufficient space to write answers to questions in the box provided. The drag and drop feature works correctly, and textual enhancement is available when appropriate to assist students in answering the question. For example, “Which sentence from the passage best supports your answer in Part A?”

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 10 meet the criteria for teacher planning and learning for success with CCSS. The Teacher’s Edition includes useful annotations, suggestions, and guidance on presenting content in student-facing and ancillary materials. The Teacher’s Edition also includes explanations of more advanced literacy concepts to support teachers with improving and deepening their understanding of the content. The materials explain the role of the Standards in the context of the overall curriculum and also outline 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 StudySync instructional materials reviewed for Grade 10 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.

StudySync materials provide detailed lesson plans for the teacher that include answer keys, suggestions on presenting the information, and potential scaffolds for differentiation. Embedded technology includes tools for reading and analyzing, such as annotating, highlighting, audio recordings of texts, and numbering lines on paragraphs. Each unit also includes several multimedia components to aid student analysis; for example, StudySyncTV and SkillsTV are often used to start classroom discussions or to introduce student models that help deepen understanding. Each unit begins with a Blast, a feature that starts each unit and mimics social media in the classroom. Students read background information before constructing bite-sized responses. The Blasts go live in real-time, like social media, to generate student discussions that deepen understanding of the units’ concepts and questions.

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

  • In Unit 2, Moving Forward, students read the epic poem Rámáyana, by the Hindu poet Válmíki. After having students do a close read, the Lesson Plan gives teachers the option of assigning a tech-embedded activity to develop background knowledge and cultural awareness. It states, “Have students work in small groups to search for images of Rámáyana-inspired art. Ask students to record ‘I notice…’ and ‘I wonder…’ statements. Select a few examples to project and discuss...What reactions surfaced as you looked at these images? How can you connect these images to ones you have seen in movies or popular culture? What do they suggest about the commonality, and differences, of certain experiences across time or cultures?”
  • In Unit 4, The Ties That Bind, students read a scene from the film Hotel Rwanda. The Lesson Plan provides the following guidance to help teachers focus on Academic Vocabulary: “Draw attention to the academic vocabulary word tense. Call on students to share out the definition of the word in their own words. Remind students that the word tense means ‘in or of a state of physical or nervous tension.’ It can also mean ‘to become tense, nervous, or uneasy’ or ‘a grammatical category of verbs used to express distinctions of time.’ This word can be used in everyday as well as academic and workplace contexts.”
  • In Unit 5, Chopped, Stirred, and Blended, a Grade 10 Unit 5 Pacing Guide is available for teachers. The document includes the theme, Essential Question, and genre focus of the unit at the top. The guide helps teachers plan their lessons in order to complete readings and address the standards. For example, the guide suggests teachers begin the poem “The Latin Deli: An Ars Poetica,” written by Judith Ortiz Cofer on Day Six of the unit and to complete it by Day Nine. Teachers also get an at-a-glance view of what skills and standards the lessons address.

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 StudySync instructional materials reviewed for Grade 10 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.

StudySync materials provide a Unit Overview that identifies Difficult Concepts in advance for educators to consider. Explanations are accessible for educators, and sample answers are available in the Lesson Plans, Teacher Edition tab available with each assignment, and the End-of-Unit Assessment when the teacher selects “View as: Teacher when grading.” Within the Integrated Reading and Writing section, a Lesson Plan is available for each task in the Instructional Path, providing options for teachers with instructional moves and guidance for Scaffolding & Differentiation. A grade-level ELA Overview is also available with guidance related to text complexity, including both quantitative and qualitative features, as well as additional information related to the instructional approach to writing using mentor texts.

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

  • In Unit 2, Moving Forward, in the Independent Read of the memoir Night, by Elie Wiesel, the Access Complex Text section provides aspects of sentence structure within the text that may be challenging for students and what the teacher can do to support students. For example: in Purpose/Genre, the Lesson Plan explains that “The text is personal and historical.” Teacher guidance continues, “Ask students how the purpose of the text is shaped by both of these contexts,” and concludes with a clarifying explanation: “Night is historical in that it documents arriving at a Nazi concentration camp during World War II. It is also a memoir, a nonfiction account of the author’s personal experience.”
  • In Unit 4, The Ties that Bind, after the First Read of Shakespeare’s Macbeth, the Lesson Plan includes a section labeled “Entry Point,” which provides teachers with tools to provide contextual information for students. The section includes information such as “Shakespeare’s 1606 play Macbeth is a tragedy about the Scottish lord Macbeth. Three witches predict Macbeth will become king, which awakens an ambition Macbeth struggles to understand.”
  • In Unit 5, Chopped, Stirred, and Blended, the End-of-Unit Assessment provides additional guidance for teachers when grading, including an exemplary sample response for a multi-paragraph essay and explanations detailing why specific answers are correct or incorrect for multiple-choice questions. For example, “Incorrect. This revision does not function as a transition from paragraph 2, and it does not introduce the topic of paragraph 3 (the connection between work and salvation, not simply predestination).”

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.
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Indicator Rating Details

The StudySync instructional materials reviewed for Grade 10 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.

StudySync materials provide lesson plans that denote the specific standards and skills that are addressed daily. The Pacing Guide breaks down standards alignment in an easy-to-use chart that lists the standards associated with each text and points within the unit for readdressing standards. The Scope and Sequence includes a chart that lists each text, shows the standards that are associated with it, and denotes which standards are taught with direct instruction and reinforced with practice and which are solely practiced.

Materials contain a teacher’s edition that explains the role of the specific ELA/literacy standards in the context of the overall curriculum. Examples include, but are not limited to the following:

  • The Grade Level Overview states the following: “Skill lessons on Organizing an Oral Presentation and Evaluating Sources teach concepts specifically called out in the Common Core English Language Arts standards.” The Pacing Guide shows that the first text read, “The Refusal,” by Franz Kafka, covers several standards, including RL.9-10.4, L.9-10.4.A, RL.9-10.10, and SL.9-10.1.B, among others. Lastly, the Scope and Sequence clearly shows that Reading: Informational, Reading: Literature, Language, Writing, and Speaking and Listening standards are addressed throughout the year.
  • Each unit’s ELA Pacing Guide provides teachers with a suggested pacing for the texts included in the unit along with standards aligned to practice and skills. Students begin Grade 10 Unit 1 with a SyncStart lesson on “The Refusal,” by Franz Kafka. The digital Teacher Edition provides twelve lessons on this text. The Pacing Guide suggests six days for completion and informs the teacher of the skills that will be addressed in conjunction with the standards that will be practiced and implemented. According to the Pacing Guide, students practice RL.9-10.1 during the Skill: Annotation lesson.

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 StudySync instructional materials reviewed for Grade 10 meet the criteria that materials contain explanations of the instructional approaches of the program and identification of the research based strategies.

StudySync materials provide an Additional Resource for educators “Research-Base Alignments: A Summary of Research in Secondary School (Grades 6-12) English Language Arts” to provide a summary of key points in Reading, Writing, Language, Speaking and Listening, and Media and Technology. The research in the documents includes “reports, experimental and quasi-experimental research designs, reviews of research, and opinion pieces written by those considered experts within the field of literacy.” StudySync uses research-based strategies to show that content-specific knowledge is highly correlated with vocabulary, and both contribute to reading comprehension and inferencing skills. The curriculum uses strategies such as repeated reading for fluency, using grammar in context to enhance basic skills, and encouraging readers to engage with a text by activating their schema.

Materials contain explanations of the instructional approaches of the program and identification of the research-based strategies. Examples include, but are not limited to the following:

  • StudySync uses the research theory, by Shen, in English Language Teaching that suggests there is a reciprocal relationship between knowledge, vocabulary, and reading and writing achievement. Readers engage with a text by activating background knowledge. “Schema is the technical term used by cognitive scientists to describe how people process, organize, and store information in their heads” (Shen, 2008, p. 104).
  • Handbook of Writing Research (2015) synthesizes current knowledge on writing development and instruction at all grade levels. Timothy Shanahan provides information relating to relationships between reading and writing development. StudySync incorporates this key point into writing instruction: “Research has long found many connections and correlations between reading and writing” (Shanahan, 2015).
  • “Improving Adolescent Literacy: Effective Classroom and Intervention Practices” (2008) is a practice guide that presents specific and coherent evidence-based recommendations that educators can use to improve literacy levels among adolescents in upper elementary, middle, and high schools. StudySync includes a key point in Research Recommendations for Vocabulary: “The What Works Clearinghouse Improving Adolescent Literacy guide (Kamil et al., 2008) considers the level of evidence “strong” in their recommendation for explicit vocabulary instruction in the upper elementary, middle, and high school grades.”
  • StudySync references the article “Is fluent, expressive reading important for high school readers?” (2012) from the Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy and utilizes research recommendations for instructional fluency methods, such as repeated readings. The article recommends these methods “at the secondary level, especially with students who struggle with fluency and reading comprehension” (Paige, Rasinski, & Magpuri-Lavell, 2012, p. 72).
  • “Surface, Deep, and Transfer? Considering the Role of Content Literacy Instructional Strategies” (2017), an article by Nancy Frey, Douglas Fisher, and John Hattie published in the Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, provides information relating to content literacy instructional practices. StudySync includes a key point in comprehending literary and informational text: “Because each discipline has its own purpose and structure, it necessarily requires different literacy skills and abilities to create, communicate, and evaluate knowledge, and students may require different strategies to deepen their understanding of text as they gain more knowledge about a topic” (Frey, Fisher, Hattie, 2017).
  • “When is a verb? Using functional grammar to teach writing” (2007), an article by Fearn and Farnan in the Journal of Basic Writing, focuses on the argument against Identification, Description, Definition (IDD) by arguing that there can be a positive interaction between grammar instruction and writing performance if the grammar is functional and used for writing purposes. “Teaching basic skills, such as grammar within the context of writing—instead of teaching them in isolation—has been shown to enhance writing performance” (Fearn & Farnan, 2007).

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.
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Indicator Rating Details

The StudySync instructional materials reviewed for Grade 10 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.

StudySync materials include a Program Guide that encourages educators to plan a Curriculum Night and/or send home the Student User Guide and Grade Level Overview. The documents and event can help teachers provide parents and stakeholders with valuable information to support students including “the philosophy behind the program, the types of assignments and assessments students will complete, the skills they will learn, the expectations for students using an integrated digital and print program, and how caregivers can support students at home.” The Program Guide also encourages teachers to send home individual student reports as they contain data on student progress, and can be used to determine areas that require more attention or support.

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

  • Information provided in the Program Guide indicates that students, teachers, and parents receive results at the end of each unit through a report linked to the End-of-Unit Assessment. The report that teachers can share with students and parents indicates the content addressed and assessed skills and standards. This summative assessment data indicates student progress and can help address areas in need of reteaching or remediation.
  • StudySync provides a Getting Started Student Guide to support students in using the online curriculum. Some of the features they learn about include viewing and completing assignments, using the Review feature, using the Binder tab, completing a Blast, and using the Library tab.

Criterion 3k - 3n

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 10 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. The materials build time for revisiting key concepts into the pacing guide. Data tracking and presentation tools help teachers use the results of assessments to identify which standards and skills present particular challenges for students, as well as where students are excelling and are ready for enrichment. The materials include routines and guidance that highlight opportunities to monitor student progress. Students have two opportunities to engage in independent reading during core instruction, including self-selected reading options where students research background information that would inspire them to choose a particular text.

Indicator 3k

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

The StudySync instructional materials reviewed for Grade 10 meet the criteria that materials regularly and systematically offer assessment opportunities that genuinely measure student progress.

StudySync materials provide assessment opportunities to measure student progress, such as a Readiness Screener, Reading Comprehension Diagnostic, and Benchmarks for each grade level; ACT, SAT, and State Test Preparations; and EL End-of-Unit assessments that teachers can assign as Beginning, Intermediate, Advanced, and Advanced High. Summative assessments, such as the Extended Writing and Oral Projects at the end of each unit, provide opportunities for students to demonstrate proficiency in skills they practice during instruction. Formative assessments, such as the text questions, quick Checks for Success, and turn-and-talk activities, allow teachers to monitor student progress and provide timely feedback.

Materials regularly and systematically offer assessment opportunities that genuinely measure student progress. Examples include, but are not limited to the following:

  • In Unit 3, The Persistence of Memories, students complete a Timed Writing: Tradition and Healthcare lesson. During this lesson, students plan and write a response in a timed writing situation. The lesson allows time for peer review following the timed writing, which includes providing substantive feedback to two peers and students reflecting on the feedback they receive. Peer Review instructions include but are not limited to the following: “How well does the writer analyze the author’s argument? What elements of argumentative writing does the writer analyze? How effectively does the writer analyze the use of those elements in the passage?”
  • In Unit 5, Chopped, Stirred, and Blended, students complete a summative End-of-Unit Assessment to demonstrate proficiency in reading, writing, and language skills they practiced during the unit. For example, the final question asks students to write an essay to the following prompt: “Modern technology has made our world smaller than it has ever been. With the click of a mouse, a person in Lake City, Florida, can browse recipes curated by an amateur cook in Paris, France, or watch a live video of a parade in Mumbai, India. However, just having access to information about other cultures does not ensure understanding. Write an essay in which you state an opinion on the elements that truly connect people from different cultures. Include at least two examples from the texts as well as a counterargument that you address.” Teachers provide a score with feedback, and the materials include an exemplar response in the Teacher Edition.

Indicator 3l

The purpose/use of each assessment is clear:
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Indicator 3l.i

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

The StudySync instructional materials reviewed for Grade 10 meet the criteria that assessments clearly denote which standards are being emphasized.

The StudySync Student and Teacher Edition include standards listed under tasks within the assessment that, when clicked, provide details about the standard addressed in each task of the formative and summative assessments. StudySync also includes an assess component where teachers can find all the assessments and view the correlated standards assessed. Formative assessments include First Reads, Close Reads, Blasts, and lesson tasks. Summative assessments include Extended Writing Projects, Extended Oral Projects, and End-of-Unit Assessments.

Materials offer ongoing formative and summative assessments. Assessments clearly denote which standards are being emphasized. Examples include, but are not limited to the following:

  • In Unit 1, The Power of Communication, teachers and students can see which standards are associated with the questions in the materials. For example, students read Ursula K. Le Guin’s short story “She Unnames Them.” After a First Read, students answer short Think questions, such as “What is the narrator’s intention for “unnaming” the animals? Refer to paragraphs 6 and 7 and use evidence from the text to support your answer.” and “What can you infer about Adam and Eve’s relationship? Use evidence from the last three paragraphs of the story to defend your answer.” The materials indicate that these questions align to RL.9-10.1.
  • In Unit 3, The Persistence of Memories, students independently read an excerpt from Rebecca Skloot’s The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. After answering quiz questions, students an explanatory writing prompt. Student and teacher materials note the assessment’s alignment to RI.9-10.1 and RI.9-10.5.
  • In Unit 5, Chopped, Stirred, and Blended, students independently read Audre Lorde’s poem “Ethiopia.” A short quiz follows the reading, and students answer questions, such as “Which of the following sentences best summarizes lines 1-3?” and “Which of the following sentences most closely explains the metaphor in lines 6-9?” The questions allow students to demonstrate mastery of the standards CCRA.R.2 and CCRA.R.4, which are denoted in both student and teacher materials.

Indicator 3l.ii

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

The StudySync instructional materials reviewed for Grade 10 meet the criteria that assessments provide sufficient guidance to teachers for interpreting student performance and suggestions for follow up.

StudySync materials provide data tracking tools in StudySync that allow teachers to use information from formative assessments throughout the units. Data-tracking tools like the Gradebook display more than just raw scores for students. They also breakdown student scores against standards and skills. The tool is color-coded so teachers can easily spot student needs according to standards. Green denotes that a student is on track for grade-level mastery or beyond. A yellow box denotes that a student may require scaffolded instruction to get back on track toward grade-level performance. Finally, the color red indicates that an instructor should use diagnostic assessments to determine whether the student requires foundational skill intervention. Teachers may filter assessments in the Assess section where they can also utilize Screening, and Diagnostic and Benchmark Assessments. The materials include teacher guidance on student mastery of standards for assessments such as quizzes, skills mastery checks, and Extended Writing Projects. The Grade Level Pacing Guide includes time for review and reteaching, which allows teachers to reteach those concepts that students struggled with earlier in the unit. StudySync provides teachers with Spotlight Skill lessons to reteach and remediate. Every unit culminates with the End-Of-Unit Assessment that provides teachers with the student's current understanding of unit standards and provides reports for students and teachers highlighting skill strengths, skill deficiencies, standard, and skill proficiency levels and across unit growth.

Materials offer ongoing formative and summative assessments. Assessments provide sufficient guidance to teachers for interpreting student performance and suggestions for follow-up. Examples include, but are not limited to the following:

  • In Unit 2, Moving Forward, students take the Grade 10 Unit 2 End-of-Unit Assessment. Before taking the assessment, teachers guide students in completing one or more of the Spotlight Skill lessons, focusing on skills with which they struggled throughout the unit. Students’ performance on the assessment informs teachers about skills and standards for reteaching and helps teachers with future student groupings. Reports inform teachers, students, and parents about skill strength, skill deficiencies, standard and skill proficiency levels, and student growth in unit standards.
  • In Unit 4, The Ties That Bind, students end the unit with an Extended Oral Project. Teachers provide guidance in the Revise step of the process. There are four Skill lessons that provide scaffolding in communicating ideas, preparing reasons and evidence, using source materials and citations ethically, and engaging in student-led conversations. Each of these Skill lessons includes a Your Turn activity with feedback to teachers and students about their understanding of each Skill lesson. The Skill lessons provide students the practice and feedback needed to present their final oral presentation in the edit and present step of the process.

Indicator 3m

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

The StudySync instructional materials reviewed for Grade 10 meet the criteria that materials should include routines and guidance that point out opportunities to monitor student progress.

StudySync materials include a variety of opportunities, such as a Readiness Screener and End-of-Unit assessments, to monitor student progress. Beginning of the year assessments include the Reading Comprehension Diagnostic and the Maze Fluency Assessment. The Benchmark Assessment monitors students' progress in standards mastery throughout the school year. The materials include data tracking tools with day-to-day student performance on all standards, which teachers may use to guide instructional decisions.

Materials should include routines and guidance that point out opportunities to monitor student progress. Examples include, but are not limited to the following:

  • In Unit 1, The Power of Community, after reading Francis La Fleche’s “The Story of a Vision,” students write a short response in which they demonstrate their understanding of how the theme is shaped by details of character and setting. The Lesson Plan includes checks for understanding, such as Peer Review and Reflect, Writer's Notebook, and an optional pre-write with a graphic organizer designed to make sure the students have the knowledge to complete the objective of the lesson. For example: “Peer Review and Reflect—Students should submit substantive feedback to two peers. After they complete their peer reviews, have them reflect on the feedback they received.”
  • In Unit 2, Moving Forward, teachers can chart outcomes toward key learning standards when students complete an Extended Writing Project. Students follow a consistent Instructional Path with each unit, including Plan, Draft, Revise, and Edit and Publish. Teachers can track student growth toward proficiency of grade level reading, writing, speaking and listening, and language standards throughout the informative writing process.
  • In Unit 4, The Ties That Bind, students read Cherokee Family Reunion, by Larissa FastHorse independently. The Teacher Edition offers a Check for Success with guidance, including but not limited to the following: “Ask small groups to provide examples of what they visualize and the details they used to create mental images. Project exemplar visualizations as a model for students as they continue reading.”

Indicator 3n

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

The StudySync instructional materials reviewed for Grade 10 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.

StudySync materials provide students the opportunity to engage in a Blast: Self-Selected lesson where they choose a text after exploring content information about the text selection options. Students demonstrate comprehension of the text by responding to a driving question in the Write: Self-Selected Response. The Pacing Guide indicates that at least one day of each unit should be spent on independent reading that is based on student choice.

Materials indicate how students are accountable for independent reading based on student choice and interest to build stamina, confidence, and motivation. Examples include, but are not limited to the following:

  • In Unit 1, The Power of Communication, students read a Blast background text that dives into the unit’s texts and Essential Question, “Why do words matter?” Students view a variety of options for their self-selected reading, each of which is available in the StudySync library. Guidance includes a series of questions to support students in determining which of the self-selected texts would be the best fit. For example, “Was I fascinated by Things Fall Apart and want to read a work by another famous postmodern author, but this time with a dose of fantasy? If so, you may enjoy an excerpt from The Kingdom of the Golden Dragon.
  • In Unit 3, The Persistence of Memories, students read a Blast background text that dives into the unit’s texts and Essential Question, “How does the past impact the future?” Students view a variety of options for their self-selected reading, each of which is available in the StudySync library. Guidance includes a series of questions to support students in determining which of the self-selected texts would be the best fit. For example, “Am I eager to think more about what it would be like if I was the only surviving member left in my community? Then, we might recommend Ishi, The Last of His Tribe.
  • In Unit 6, Origin Stories, students self-select a text based on a purpose for reading and the intent of expanding content knowledge. The Teacher Edition provides guidance for teacher modeling to support students in establishing a purpose for reading the text they selected. After sustained reading of the self-selected text, students demonstrate their understanding of the text through writing a personal response. Students think about another person who would enjoy reading the text they chose and respond to the following prompt: “What family member or friend would this text be perfect for and why?” Their written response includes the name of the person, a description of the text, and the reason why the text matches the person they chose.

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 10 meet the criteria for differentiated instruction. The materials include a number of scaffolds and strategies to support the needs of a range of learners. Support for English learners is differentiated by ability levels. Both English learners and students who need additional support will benefit from technology supports, such as audio with variable speed, audio text highlight, and supplemental language. Opportunities for students to investigate grade-level content at a greater depth occur during small group instruction. Suggestions for grouping students are outlined in each lesson plan and activity.

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 StudySync instructional materials reviewed for Grade 10 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.

StudySync materials provide teachers with the opportunity to differentiate within each lesson, and guidance is available for teachers for scaffolding, including offering options for instructional routines and questions to prompt thinking. There are instructional options for English learners: Beginning, Intermediate, Advanced, Advanced-High. There are also proficiency levels for Below Level: Approaching and Above Level: Beyond. Teachers can customize lessons when assigning, such as increasing the length limit for Blast responses from 140 characters to 280 characters. Teachers can add and remove standards associated with the Blast assignment, add additional instructions/teacher’s note, show scaffolds to students who need them, and select a Lexile to change the background.

Materials provide teachers with strategies for meeting the needs of a range of learners so that they demonstrate independent ability with grade-level standards. Examples include, but are not limited to the following:

  • In Unit 1, The Power of Communication, students complete a First Read of “Letter from Birmingham Jail,” by Martin Luther King, Jr. Afterwards, students analyze an argument and evaluate the elements that make the argument effective and memorable. When teachers assign the lesson, they can customize it. Options include but are not limited to: Audio On to allow a voiceover for the text intro and the text, Summary On to see the English language reading summary, Scaffolds On to show scaffolds to students who need them, and Concept Web.
  • In Unit 3, The Persistence of Memories, students complete a Close Read of Persepolis, by Marjane Satrapi. The Lesson Plan provides suggestions for grouping students as well as scaffolding and differentiation during vocabulary instruction, reading, and writing. A Check for Success provides teachers with scaffolded questions, such as “How does that compare with how family and memory are connected in the other two texts?”, to use as prompts students if students struggle to begin a Collaborative Conversation.
  • In Unit 6, Origin Stories, as students prepare to read “The Nose,” by Major Kovalev, the teacher discusses an entry point with students, sharing information with them to provide context, a tool used to support students with special needs. Examples of information include: “By many accounts, Gogol had a preoccupation with his own nose, which he mentioned in letters to friends. Since its publication, many artists have adapted “The Nose” for theater, film, and music, often to serve as political critique. For example, Shostakovich’s 1930 opera, The Nose, was intended to criticize Russian bureaucracy under Joseph Stalin.”

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 StudySync instructional materials reviewed for Grade 10 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.

StudySync materials provide teachers the opportunity to differentiate instruction for all learners. Each lesson can be modified to support four levels of English Language Learners—Beginning, Intermediate, Advanced, and Advanced-High. When instructors change the proficiency level of the lessons, the readings, assignments, and scaffolds adjust accordingly. Additionally, all Lesson Plans include suggestions for scaffolding each activity to meet the needs of English Language Learners and Approaching students.

Scaffolds include visual glossaries, text synopses, Spanish cognates, speaking frames, sentence frames, word banks, and differentiated questions. Each unit includes a folder of 20 ELL Resources lessons. These lessons are more targeted and aimed at helping students develop their language skills. The lessons can be taught alongside the core ELA program, allowing students to practice language skills and strategies while also working on grade-level standards.

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 StudySync instructional materials reviewed for Grade 10 meet the criteria that materials regularly include extensions and/or more advanced opportunities for students who read, write, speak, or listen above grade level.

StudySync materials provide advanced opportunities for students during Blasts. Each Blast can be customized. Teachers may select the highest Lexile of the three options to change the background. With regard to quantitative text complexity measures, this option ensures students are in the appropriate stretch Lexile band. Lesson Plans include suggestions for differentiation for Beyond-grade-level students, and the Teacher Edition tab within each Assignment includes a column specific for differentiation with the Beyond suggestions and questions. The activities offered for Beyond-grade-level students are designed to take them further into the content of a lesson should they complete the activity before other students. The Beyond supports challenge students to stretch their thinking and add more opportunities for collaborative, creative engagement.

Materials regularly include extensions and/or more advanced opportunities for students who read, write, speak, or listen above grade level. Examples include, but are not limited to the following:

  • In Unit 1, The Power of Community, students read and annotate “Heart of Darkness,” by Joseph Conrad; students preparing for advanced courses reread the last paragraph of the text and select quotes that exemplify the stream of consciousness narrative style. Teachers then ask the following questions: “How do your selected quotes exemplify the stream of consciousness narrative style? How does the syntax help to develop the stream of consciousness narrative voice? Why might Conrad have employed the stream of consciousness narrative style in this text? How does it characterize the narrator, Marlow? How does it convey the text’s central message?”
  • In Unit 4, The Ties That Bind, students complete a close reading of Macbeth (Act I, Scene iii), by William Shakespeare. The Teacher Edition provides suggestions for differentiation with Beyond-grade-level readers. For example, teachers may ask students to complete a word study using “electronic and traditional resources for students to explore the origins of the vocabulary words by studying their etymologies.” Additional guidance is available for teachers: “Using the roots of the words have students explain what the words mean. Encourage students to apply new learning to what they already knew and explain the word origins to other students.”
  • In Unit 6, Origin Stories, students independently read an excerpt from the memoir Looking for Palestine: Growing Up Confused in an American-Arab Family, by Najla Said. The Lesson Plan offers suggestions for differentiation with Beyond-grade-level readers. One suggestion includes a Text Talk: “Ask each Beyond-grade-level student to write one additional discussion question. Then, have one or two students facilitate a discussion, using their questions to guide the conversation.”

Indicator 3r

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

The StudySync instructional materials reviewed for Grade 10 meet the criteria that materials provide opportunities for teachers to use a variety of grouping strategies.

StudySync materials provide opportunities for individual, partner, small group, and whole class work. Each teacher lesson includes suggestions for grouping, providing instructional opportunities in a variety of settings. Suggestions for grouping along with available scaffolds for each group are listed next to each activity. Scaffolds include speaking frames, discussion guides, and probing questions.

Materials provide opportunities for teachers to use a variety of grouping strategies. Examples include, but are not limited to the following:

  • In Unit 2, Moving Forward, students read the epic poem “Rámáyana,” by Válmíki. After the First Read, students answer Think Questions independently. The Lesson Plan guides teachers to group students who are Approaching grade level together. Guidance includes, “Have students discuss the questions in a small group before submitting their responses” Approaching students may also use a text-dependent question guide as a scaffold.
  • In Unit 3, The Persistence of Memories, after closely reading the informational text “Seeing at the Speed of Sound” written by Rachel Kolb, students have two opportunities to work together to complete a Skills Focus lesson and engage in collaborative discussion. The Skills Focus task requires students to work in small groups to discuss, read, and annotate a prompt. During the Write component of the lesson, students engage in a Collaborative Conversation using the StudySyncTV as a model in order to pull apart and make sense of the Close Read prompt.
  • In Unit 5, Chopped, Stirred, and Blended, at the end of this unit, students engage in a self-selected Blast that contains twelve activities with three suggested groupings—whole group, pairs, or small groups, and on their own. Five of the activities are whole group; two are pairs or small groups; and six are activities students can complete independently. Of the two small group suggestions, one requires students to work together to establish a purpose for reading. Students practice the strategy in small groups using the text Ishi, The Last of His Tribe, by Theodora Kroeber. According to a note in the Teacher Edition, if students struggle applying this strategy, grouping can change to whole group.

Criterion 3s - 3v

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 10 meet the criteria for effective technology use. Digital materials are web-based, compatible with multiple internet browsers, and allow the use of tablets and mobile devices. Embedded technology, such as polls, options to post ideas, and videos, enhance student learning. Teachers can customize learning opportunities and experiences to meet individual needs. Teachers can also customize assignments according to student interests and abilities. The materials include a number of digital collaborative opportunities. Students provide feedback to and receive feedback from their peers as they complete writing prompts online. The program also includes several features that mimic a social media style of communication.

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 StudySync instructional materials reviewed for Grade 10 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.

StudySync materials are accessible on multiple devices, including tablets and mobile devices, and most Internet browsers, including Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari, and Google Chrome. StudySync’s instruction in reading, writing, speaking and listening, and language may be delivered digitally and includes opportunities for collaboration, writing, research, and assessment using technology, all supplemented with print options. The digital format and accessibility allow flexibility for blended courses. StudySync offers a Blended Learning video series, with Caitlin Tucker, to assist teachers in navigating the program and exploring instructional strategies. Examples include, but are not limited to the following:

  • The StudySync Program Guide includes additional information for teachers relating to the interchangeability of the print and digital resources: “The print materials support the digital platform so that teachers and students can switch seamlessly between individual devices, shared devices, or device-free structures depending on levels of access and the needs of students.”
  • A Help Center is available to watch implementation videos, find resource documents, use an intuitive Q&A feature, and complete online professional development courses.
  • The “Blasts” provide students with research links to access videos, websites, photo galleries, infographics, editorials, and informational texts online. These links provide additional insight into various topics and are accessible on various digital platforms, including Google Chrome, Safari, and Microsoft Edge. New Blasts that explore current events are updated often, and the site's offerings are updated daily.

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.
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Indicator Rating Details

The StudySync instructional materials reviewed for Grade 10 meet the criteria that materials support effective use of technology to enhance student learning, drawing attention to evidence and texts as appropriate.

StudySync materials provide the opportunity for teachers to modify the materials to suit individual learners. Teachers use digital resources to modify student settings for language proficiency and to access student work for grading. Digital teacher resources also allow teachers to work with both print and online resources. Teachers can use the digital tools to monitor student progress and respond to student needs through online diagnostic screening resources and end of the unit assessments to determine reading and writing gaps in need of reteaching. Students have access to digital resources that can be used interchangeably with print resources. In the digital resources, students may access assignments, view completed work, and search the digital library, which grows monthly, for texts to enhance their learning. Students also have access to needs-based tools, such as graphic organizers and scaffolding tools. For example, some examples included the following:

  • Texts, activities, lessons, and assessments can be customized to meet learners’ needs, and teachers can modify student settings for language proficiency so that scaffolds are preloaded for students.
  • The materials include a variety of multimedia tools that enhance student learning. StudySync TV, SkillsTV, Concept Definition Videos, and audio recordings give students background information and can be used as scaffolds to aid comprehension. They also act as conversation starters and increase text accessibility. Students may access a number of digital tools, such as the highlighting and annotation tools, to help them interact with the digital texts.
  • Unit Blasts mimic social media interactions and allow students to engage with one another by writing, and responding to, short responses that upload in real-time.

Indicator 3u

Materials can be easily customized for individual learners.
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Indicator 3u.i

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

The StudySync instructional materials reviewed for Grade 10 meet the criteria that digital materials include opportunities for teachers to personalize learning for all students, using adaptive or other technological innovations.

StudySync materials allow teachers to customize assignments in a variety of ways to meet the needs of diverse learners. Teachers can create groups and communities of students, making changes from assignment to assignment. Teachers can customize their instructional programs by assigning texts, lessons, and activities to their students directly from the site. Samples, such as Assessment (Review Prompt) and Assignment Detail (Instructions and Teacher’s note), are available to assist teachers when creating these customizations. Examples include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Teachers may activate the research links section of the Blast for students, increase length limit up to 280 characters rather than 140, and customize attributes of a Blast assignment. Customizing allows teachers to add and remove standards associated with an assignment, include additional instructions as an Assignment Detail, turn Vocabulary on as part of the assignment, and select the students’ Answer Key visibility. Teachers may show scaffolds to students in need of that support, and select between three different Lexile levels to change the background of a Blast reading.
  • Customization is available with Skills lessons. Teachers may enable a writing prompt for students, enter a review of the students’ responses to explain whether it satisfies the assignment requirements, and include the name of a rubric.
  • Assignments connected to the texts students read are customizable, including but not limited to the following: Assignment Details, turning Voiceover on or off for the text intro and text, selecting whether the English Language Reading Summary is available for students, showing scaffolds to students who need that support, and displaying a graphic organizer.
  • The Teacher’s Edition provides Vocabulary scaffolds in a slide-in screen for Approaching-grade-level students and English language learners. These scaffolds also include Spanish translations for Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced, and Advanced-High English learners.

Indicator 3u.ii

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

The StudySync instructional materials reviewed for Grade 10 meet the criteria that materials can be easily customized for local use.

StudySync materials provide the opportunity to customize according to teacher preference and student need. Scaffolds include Lesson-Specific Scaffolds and Tech-Enabled Scaffolds. Print and digital resources are interchangeable for classrooms that share devices, and device-free structures are available. Consumables are available to allow students to annotate and interact with text, and these same features are available digitally. Teachers may also create student groups with specific customizations for assignments. Materials are available to print in Braille as an accessibility feature and accommodation. Additional guidance for teachers on how to utilize accessibility features and accommodations for students with diverse needs is available in the Program Guide. Examples include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Teachers may identify students as “English Learners, Approaching-grade-level students, or Beyond-grade-level students.” Once these identifications are in place, students automatically receive the appropriate scaffolds or enrichment. Changes to scaffolds may take place when necessary throughout the year. Examples of Lesson-Specific scaffolds include, but are not limited to, visual glossaries, Spanish cognates, and differentiated questions. Tech-Enabled Scaffolds include audio with variable speed, audio text highlight, supplemental language, and summaries.
  • The materials include opportunities for self-selected reading at the end of each unit. Students may access these texts in the StudySync library. All the self-selected reading options connect with the unit theme and are within the Lexile range for the unit.
  • The materials offer access to 160 full-length works, including 18 anchor texts and 142 additional texts. After gauging student interest, teachers may create opportunities for students to read an entire text in PDF or ePub formats. The Program Guide includes additional information relating to multimedia and technology: “All selections in the program include accompanying digital tools that students can use to support their reading, including the ability to make annotations, highlight sections of text, and view numbered lines or paragraphs.”
  • Teachers have the option of creating their own Writer’s Notebook activities, during which students use strategies to help them create their short, constructed responses.
  • When students write a response to a Close Read writing prompt, teachers may assign an anonymous peer review to two or three students. Teachers also have this option as a process step in Extended Writing Projects, as well as other written responses.

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.)
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Indicator Rating Details

The StudySync instructional materials reviewed for Grade 10 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.).

StudySync materials provide students and teachers with opportunities to collaborate online and in-person through interchangeable print and digital resources. Digital resources focus on listening, speaking, and discussion and include collaborative opportunities through discussion, video, and audio lesson features. Teachers may collaborate with other teachers using digital resources found in the Help section, such as Best Practices and SyncUp Newsletter. Students access video and audio through SkillsTV and StudySyncTV for collaborative learning. Each unit includes five Blasts that mimic social media interactions. Students read background information, upload short responses, and interact with each other’s posts in real-time. Students give each other peer feedback on multiple tasks throughout the unit including Think questions, Collaborative Conversations, and writing prompts.

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

  • In Unit 2, Moving Forward, students engage in a Skill: Vocabulary Review lesson and utilize technology to engage in collaborative conversation. Students begin by using the StudySyncTV video as a model to guide them through their discussion. They use this model to start their discussion by reading the discussion prompt. Students use guiding questions, such as “What does it mean to live a good life?” as the teacher moves around the room to engage groups and ask questions.
  • In Unit 3, The Persistence of Memories, students start the unit with a Blast. They read background information then answer the guiding question: “How does the past impact the future? After writing a 140-character response, students anonymously comment and rate one another’s posts. This peer review happens in real-time, as students can see responses to their posts as they upload the page.
  • In Unit 6, Origin Stories, students closely read The Joy Luck Club written by Amy Tan. Students work in small groups and use the digital annotation tools to read and annotate the first Skills Focus prompt. Teachers remind students to select page numbers, with highlighting and annotations of the text, and to label multiple comments within the same annotation using the number of the focus prompt. Students begin this task collaboratively and then move on to independent annotating.
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Additional Publication Details

Report Published Date: 09/03/2020

Report Edition: 2021

Title ISBN Edition Publisher Year
StudySync ELA Grades 6-12, Teacher Subscription, 1-year 978-0-07-906966-5 McGraw-Hill Education 2021
StudySync ELA Grades 6-12, Teacher Subscription, 1-year 978-0-07-906967-2 McGraw-Hill Education 2021
StudySync ELA Grades 6-12, Teacher Subscription, 1-year 978-0-07-906968-9 McGraw-Hill Education 2021
StudySync ELA Grades 6-12, Teacher Subscription, 1-year 978-0-07-907046-3 McGraw-Hill Education 2021
StudySync ELA Grades 6-12, Teacher Subscription, 1-year 978-0-07-907047-0 McGraw-Hill Education 2021
StudySync ELA Grades 6-12, Teacher Subscription, 1-year 978-0-07-907049-4 McGraw-Hill Education 2021
StudySync ELA Grades 6-12, Teacher Subscription, 1-year 978-0-07-907051-7 McGraw-Hill Education 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.

The publisher has not submitted a response.

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.

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Math High School

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