Alignment: Overall Summary

StudySync Grade 11 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

|

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

|

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

+
-
Gateway One Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 11 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
+
-
Criterion Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 11 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
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The StudySync materials reviewed for Grade 11 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, Breaking Away, students read “Indian Boarding School: The Runaways” by Louise Erdrich. This poem provides an opportunity to read across genres and examine how place influences one’s identity. The author is one of the leaders of the Native American Renaissance, and it is age-appropriate for Grade 11 students. The video will spark interest and build suspense to learn more about the students in the poem.
  • In Unit 1, Breaking Away, the text “On Being Brought from Africa to America” by Phillis Wheatley is a classic poem that challenges students to think deeply about enslavement, religion, and freedom in America’s past. Students can engage in thoughtful debates around emotions evoked in the poem and the author’s use of language and poetic devices.
  • In Unit 2, The Highway, excerpts from the 1937, 1950, and 1954 editions of “The Negro Motorist Green Book” by Victor Green serve as an informational text and a guide for black travelers on how to successfully travel in segregated America. Students will expand their knowledge about historical events and documentation during the Jim Crow Era. The original edition provides more information about the economy and the challenges faced by black travelers.
  • In Unit 3, No Strangers Here, “South” by Natasha Trethewey offers students an opportunity to read a poem by a Pulitzer Prize-winning author, as she examines “memory and racial legacy in America.” The video before the first independent reading provides high-resolution imagery specific to the setting of the poem and builds suspense. The balance of white space and text present the stanzas in a manner accessible to students.
  • In Unit 4, Living the Dream, students read an excerpt from Fences by August Wilson. This Pulitzer Prize-winning drama about an African-American Family in Pittsburgh during the 1950s will broaden students’ knowledge base about this period in history and its potential connections to other American experiences. Dialogue encourages analysis of characterization. Unusual sentence structures and language will require rereading of the text for understanding.
  • In Unit 5, The Wars We Wage, students read an excerpt from The Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller. The somber text is considered a classic and worthy of careful reading. The reading allows students to explore the darker side of the American Dream. The excerpt focuses on two characters’ differing views of success and encourages students to consider their own definitions of the American dream.
  • In Unit 6, With Malice Toward None, “American Horse” by Louise Erdrich draws upon a familiar theme of Native American literature in general, that of the conflict opposing Native American culture to Western authorities. Here, the conflict materializes through the abduction of a child. Students will analyze the nuances between the two cultures and discuss the differences in their approaches toward conflict.

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
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The StudySync instructional materials reviewed for Grade 11 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 11 include but are not limited to drama, poetry, speeches, and an excerpt from a science fiction novel with satirical elements.

Some examples of literature found within the instructional materials are:

  • In Unit 1, Breaking Away, “An Address to Miss Phillis Wheatley” by Jupiter Hammon (poem)
  • In Unit 1, Breaking Away, “On Being Brought from Africa to America” by Phillis Wheatley (poem)
  • In Unit 2, The Highway, Excerpt from Little Miss Sunshine by Michael Arndt (film)
  • In Unit 3, No Strangers Here, Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston (novel)
  • In Unit 3, No Strangers Here, Excerpt from As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner (novel)
  • In Unit 4, Living the Dream, “The Negro Speaks of Rivers” by Langston Hughes (poem)
  • In Unit 5, The Wars We Wage, The Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller (tragedy)
  • In Unit 5, The Wars We Wage, Excerpt from The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald (novel)
  • In Unit 6, With Malice Toward None, “American Horse” by Louise Erdrich (short story)
  • In Unit 6, With Malice Toward None, Excerpt from Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison (book)

Some examples of informational text found within the instructional materials are:

  • In Unit 1, Breaking Away, “Declaration of Independence” by Thomas Jefferson (historical document)
  • In Unit 1, Breaking Away, “Constitution of the Iroquois Nation” by Dekanawidah (Oral Tradition) (historical document)
  • In Unit 3, No Strangers Here, Bartram’s Travels by William Bartram (travel journal)
  • In Unit 3, No Strangers Here, “My True South: Why I Decided to Return Home” by Jesmyn Ward (essay)
  • In Unit 4, Living the Dream, “How It Feels to Be Colored Me” by Zora Neale Hurston (autobiographical essay)
  • In Unit 5, The Wars We Wage, “The Marshall Plan Speech” by George Marshall (speech)
  • In Unit 5, The Wars We Wage, “‘These Wild People’ By One of Them” by John F. Carter, Jr. (essay)
  • In Unit 6, With Malice Toward None, “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop” by Martin Luther King, Jr. (speech)
  • In Unit 6, With Malice Toward None, “Second Inaugural Address” by President Abraham Lincoln (speech)

Indicator 1c

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 11 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 11. 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 11 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, Breaking Away, “The Story of an Hour” by Kate Chopin
    • Quantitative: 960L
    • Qualitative: The events of this story take place in the span of an hour, yet decades of the characters’ lives are shown within it. This story is set in late 19th century America, when the majority of women had few freedoms independent of their husbands or fathers.
    • Reader and Task: Students respond to the question “How does the author use story elements such as setting, character development, or theme to develop the plot of ‘The Story of an Hour?’” Students will evaluate at least two of the story elements used by the author and how they shape the plot using evidence from the text to support their analysis.
  • In Unit 2, The Highway, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
    • Quantitative: Excerpt 950L, Full Text HL720L
    • Qualitative: Huckleberry Finn narrates the story in long sentences that have many clauses and digressions. Students should be supported in understanding complicated and unusual sentence structures. Huck’s dialect, imperfect grammar, use of slang, and even the spelling used when Huck speaks, reflect who he is—an uneducated, 13-year-old boy from Missouri in the 1840s. Huck’s vocabulary includes regionalisms and idiomatic language that may need support. In addition to the vocabulary words dismal, commenced, grumble, and considerable, archaic words such as stretchers (lies or exaggerations) and sugar hogshead (sugar barrel) may need defining.
    • Reader and Task: Students summarize the main character’s tone towards traditional society, then analyze how Mark Twain’s choices regarding words and syntax help develop the main character’s tone towards traditional society, supporting their response with textual evidence.
  • In Unit 3, No Strangers Here, Bartram’s Travels, by William Bartram
    • Quantitative: 1420L
    • Qualitative: The text alternates between very detailed descriptions of the natural world and less detailed accounts of Bartram’s day-to-day activities. Students may need support to comprehend domain-specific terms such as bluff, branchiostegal, and warblings.
    • Reader and Task: Students compose a travelogue with Bartram’s book as their guide. Students record an examination of a natural landscape of their choosing, be it as seemingly unspectacular as an abandoned lot or as revered as the Everglades. Students record the natural world and their reactions to it, using both scientific and figurative language typical of Bartram’s style.
  • In Unit 4, Living the Dream, “The Fall of the House of Usher” by Edgar Allan Poe
    • Quantitative: 1430L
    • Qualitative: Students may need additional support with the long and complex sentence structures found in the text. Review the rhetorical devices hypotaxis and parataxis with students, supplying examples from the text. Students may need more support with unfamiliar or archaic vocabulary Poe uses throughout the text, such as tremulous, countenance, appellation, importunate, and bethinking.
    • Readers and Task: Students discuss “How is the house described in ‘The Fall of the House of Usher?’ What does it symbolize? How does the house itself define the people who live in it? Why are houses that are haunted, dilapidated, or mysterious so common in the horror genre?” Students support their explanation using evidence from the text and original commentary.
  • In Unit 5, The Wars We Wage, “A Rose for Emily” by William Faulkner
    • Quantitative: Excerpt 1120L, Full Text 1270L
    • Qualitative: The sequential division of this text (Parts I through V) may lead students to expect the storyline of the text to follow the same sequential order, which it does not. Students may be unfamiliar with societal norms during the post–Civil War era in the Southern U.S.
    • Reader and Task: Students conduct a narrative response, rewriting any section of the story from a different point of view: either that of Emily, her father, Tobe, or a character of their own imagination. Students incorporate and modify specific descriptions and dialogue from the text as needed in the alteration of Faulkner’s classic story.
  • In Unit 6, With Malice Toward None, Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison
    • Quantitative: Excerpt 990L, Full Text 870L
    • Qualitative: The excerpt draws attention to both the particular and broader challenges and problems within American race relations. The violence the narrator commits in the text is brutal, and students may not immediately connect it to the larger purpose of the novel.
    • Reader and Task: In small groups, students discuss Invisible Man as a piece of early postmodernism. Students write down at least one element of postmodernism they have identified in the text.

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
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 11 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 550L–1810L; however, the breakdown of quantitative measures shows that out of the 73 texts for the year, seven fall within the recommended grade band; 11 texts are above; 30 texts are below; and 25 texts do not have quantitative measures listed. 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 11–CCR Lexile Band more than texts that fall within it. For example, Unit 1 contains the highest number of texts above the text complexity grade band. Units 2 and 3 largely feature texts that either fall below the grade band or do not have a Lexile level. Unit 4 is the most balanced unit for the year. By Units 5 and 6, students read texts that primarily fall below the Grades 11–CCR Lexile Band. Unit 6 does not include any texts within the grade band. While most or all Grade 11 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.

Some examples are as follows:

  • In Unit 1, Breaking Away, the genre focus is fiction and the literary focus is early America, as students seek to answer the Essential Question “How does independence define the American spirit?” At the end of the unit, students write a narrative about desiring independence. Texts range from 960L–1600L. The unit also includes four poems which do not have Lexile levels. While the genre focus texts include a short story, poems, and novel excerpts, the unit also contains an autobiography, an argument, and two historical documents. Skill lessons accompany six texts, three of which are the genre and literary focus, two poems and a short story that falls below the Grades 11–CCR Lexile Band at 1040L; this selection is also the longest text in the unit. The other three texts, two historical documents (1360L and 1470L) and an argument (1569L), are above the grade band. Across the unit, Skill lessons include compare and contrast; media; personal response; author’s purpose and point of view; primary and secondary sources; theme, point of view, and figurative language. While the majority of texts are classified as early American literature, the literary focus Skill lesson occurs alongside one text. Unit 1 contains three text sets, one of which features historical documents and the other two are fiction. The third text set features a novel excerpt (1600L), poem, and short story (1040L). Students read the poem and novel excerpt independently but receive support via Skill lessons when reading the short story that falls below the Grades 11–CCR Lexile Band. To finish the unit, students read a contemporary novel excerpt that is also below the grade band (1130L). Although students read all texts in the unit independently, four of the 12 texts in the unit provide opportunities for multiple reads through close reading lessons.
  • In Unit 2, The Highway, the genre focus is informational and the literary focus is Transcendentalism and Romanticism. Texts support students with answering the Essential Question “How do journeys influence perspective?” At the end of the unit, students write an informative essay on the journey portrayed in selected unit texts. Texts range from 830L–1310L. The unit also includes two poems and excerpts from a guide book and script which do not have Lexile levels. While the genre focus texts are a speech and excerpts from a guidebook, memoir, essay, and book, the unit also contains a short story, poems, and excerpts from a novel and script. Skill lessons accompany six texts, three of which fall below the Grades 11–CCR Lexile Band (830L, 940L, 950L), two within the grade band (1240L and 1310L), and one that does not have a quantitative measure. Skill lessons include summarizing; language, style , and audience; informational text elements; media; word meaning; arguments and claims; context clues; textual evidence; word patterns and relationships; story structure; and connotation and denotation. While the majority of texts in the unit are informational, the literary focus is addressed through one text and Skill lesson. Students do not revisit the topic again. Unit 2 contains three text sets, one of which aligns with the genre focus. The final text set includes the longest text in the unit; this text falls below the grade band at 940L. 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 3, No Strangers Here, the genre focus is poetry and the literary focus is Realism, Naturalism, and Regionalism. Students explore the Essential Question “How does place shape the individual?” At the end of the unit, students write a literary analysis essay of three individuals from unit texts. Texts range from 760L –1420L. The unit also contains four poems and a short story which do not have quantitative measures. The majority of texts with Lexile levels in this unit fall below the Grades 11–CCR Lexile Band. The poetry genre focus consists of four poems; the remaining texts in the unit are a mixed genre: an essay, a speech, short stories, and excerpts from novels, a book, and a travel journal. Skill lessons accompany five texts, two of which fall below the grade band (810L and 1180L), two without quantitative measures, and one within the grade band (1330L). Two genre focused texts contain Skill lessons. Across the unit, Skill lessons include figurative language; connotation and denotation; reasons and evidence; summarizing; poetic elements and structure; and media. The literary focus is addressed at the end of the unit when students read the longest text in the unit; this selection falls below the Grades 11–CCR Lexile Band. Unit 3 contains three text sets, one of which is an informational paired selection with both texts falling below the grade band (810L and 1170L). The other text sets are a poetry set and a mixed genre set which contains an Independent Read selection that is above the text complexity grade band at 1420L. Although students read all texts in the unit independently, four of the 13 texts in the unit provide opportunities for multiple reads through close reading lessons.
  • In Unit 4, Living the Dream, the genre focus is drama and the literary focus is the Harlem Renaissance. Students explore the Essential Question “What does home mean to you?” At the end of the unit, students write an informative research essay on two artists or writers from the Harlem Renaissance. Texts range from 920L–1560L; five of the twelve texts do not have quantitative measures. Three of the texts without Lexile levels are also genre focus texts in the unit: excerpts from two plays and a film. The majority of texts in the unit include poems, letters, short stories, essays, and an argument. Skill lessons accompany seven texts and include central or main idea; figurative language; author’s purpose and point of view; dramatic elements and structure; summarizing; theme; connotation and denotation; compare and contrast; and media. While some of the texts in the unit are related to the Harlem Renaissance, the literary focus is addressed through a paired text and Skill lesson at the end of the unit. Unit 4 contains three text sets. The first is mixed-genre; the next one features the genre focus; and the third features short stories, two of which fall above the Grades 11–CCR Lexile Band (1390L and 1430L). In the middle of the unit, students read a letter to study argumentative skills. This letter has the highest Lexile score in the unit (1560L) and is unrelated to the genre or literary focus. 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 5, The Wars We Wage, the genre focus is argumentative and the literary focus is American Modernism. Students seek to answer the Essential Question “What does it mean to win?” At the end of the unit, students write an argumentative essay on what it means to win. Texts range from 550L–1460L with eight texts below the grade band, one above (1460L), and three texts without quantitative measures: a speech and two play excerpts. The genre focus texts are essays, a speech, a memoir, an article, and a court case. The unit also contains a short story and excerpts from a novel and two plays. Skill lessons accompany six texts and include lessons on literary periods; story elements; author’s purpose and point of view; informational text structure; word patterns and relationships; language, style, and audience; connotation and denotation; reasons and evidence; technical language; and word meaning. The literary focus is addressed through one Skill lesson and three texts early in the unit but students do not revisit the topic again. Unit 5 contains three text sets, one of which is mixed-genre and contains the highest scored text in the unit (1460L). The next set focuses on an excerpt from a Shakespeare play. The final paired selection features the focus genre and consists of a speech (1000L) and court case (1310L). Although students read all texts in the unit independently, five of the 13 texts in the unit provide opportunities for multiple reads through close reading lessons.
  • In Unit 6, With Malice Towards None, the genre focus returns to fiction and the literary focus is Postmodernism, as students answer the Essential Question “How can we attain justice for all?” At the end of the unit, students give an oral presentation on a chosen social justice change. Texts range from 780L–1810L. The unit also contains three poems which do not have quantitative measures and a short story. The majority of texts in this unit fall below the Grades 11–CCR Lexile Band; there are two informational texts that fall well above the grade band at 1490L and 1810L. While the genre focus texts are short stories, poems, and a novel excerpt, the unit also includes an informational article, speeches, a historical document and journalist opinion piece. Skill lessons accompany five texts and include lessons on story structure; point of view; primary and secondary sources, arguments and claims, informational text elements; arguments and claims; central or main idea; rhetoric; language, style, and audience; story elements; and poetic elements and structure. The literary focus is addressed through one Skill lesson connected to three texts toward the end of the unit. Unit 6 contains three text sets; two are literary and one is informational. The first text set features contemporary American literature; the second focuses on argumentative texts; and the third connects two poems and a short story for a cross-cultural study. The unit ends with an independent read of a journalist piece; the selection falls below the grade band at 1200L. Like all prior units, students read all texts in the unit independently but four of the 12 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
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The StudySync instructional materials reviewed for Grade 11 meet the criteria that anchor texts and series of texts connected to them are accompanied by a text complexity analysis and rationale for purpose and placement in the grade level.

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.

Some examples are as follows:

  • In Unit 1, Breaking Away, students read a variety of both informational and literary texts as they explore the Essential Question “How does independence define the American spirit?” The unit begins by pairing poems “On Being Brought from Africa to America'' by Phillis Wheatley and “An Address to Ms. Phyllis Wheatley” by Jupiter Hammon. The poems allow students to grapple with historical moments that contradict the independent American spirit referred to in the unit’s guiding question. Qualitative features such as difficult vocabulary, religious allusions, and biblical references add to the texts’ complexity. The Grade Level Overview asks teachers to support students in “identifying Hammon’s intended audience and tone” and to “encourage students to think critically as to why Wheatley may have represented her experience” the way that she did.
  • In Unit 2, The Highway, the literary focus is Transcendentalism and Romanticism and the genre focus is informational. The unit also includes poetry and informational texts that help students answer the Essential Question “What does home mean to you?” The first paired texts are a poem and a novel excerpt. The poem, “I never hear the word ‘Escape’” by Emily Dickinson, creates qualitative complexity through the difficulty of interpreting its metaphors. Despite falling below the Grade 9–10 Lexile Range, the dialect from Mark Twain’s novel excerpt challenges readers’ comprehension, as well as their ability to understand the background conceptual information in Huckleberry Finn. Both texts engage readers in understanding the Essential Question about journeys and perspectives. Skill supports on summarizing, language, style and audience, and close reading help students comprehend these texts.
  • In Unit 3, No Strangers Here, students read literary and nonfiction texts while exploring the Essential Question “How does place shape the individual?” The speech “What to the Slave Is the Fourth of July?” by Frederick Douglass falls within the appropriate quantitative measures for the grade and “shines a light on the hypocrisy and brutality of America prior to the 13th amendment.” The qualitative features of the text increase the level of difficulty due to its vocabulary and sentence structure. The ELA Grade Level Overview shares the following guidance and support: “Remind students that this is a speech and that Douglass is speaking directly to his audience. Additionally, pay attention to the parallel structure of sentences within a paragraph, which can help students decipher meaning.”
  • In Unit 4, Living the Dream, the literary focus is The Harlem 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 the importance of relationships is the script “Boyhood” written by Richard Linklater. Although the text does not have a Lexile level, its qualitative features, such as the organization of the text, along with various settings with time gaps, will challenge students to reread, read aloud, and visualize conversations to follow the dialogue. The Skill: Media will provide students another medium to better understand the screenplay and the Close Read: Boyhood will help them connect to the script.
  • In Unit 5, The Wars We Wage, students read a variety of both informational and literary texts to explore the Essential Question “What does it mean to win?” Students read excerpts from Roxanne Gay’s memoir Hungry: A Memoir of My Body. Teacher facing materials claim, “This excerpt will help students understand concepts of hardship and courage as the author opens up about feeling trapped in her own body.” Though below the appropriate Lexile level for Grade 11, qualitative features make it more complex. The Grade Level Overview provides support for teachers to aid students in their understanding of the author's purpose. It reminds teachers that “When reading complex text, the student needs to make inferences and synthesize information throughout the text. Students may need support connecting the experiences the author shares from different points in her life.” Skills lessons focusing on word choice and key ideas help students understand the text’s placement in the unit and its connection to the unit’s overall theme.
  • In Unit 6, With Malice Toward None, the unit theme focuses on justice as expressed in the genre of fiction but also provides poetry and nonfiction for review to help students address the Essential Question “How can we attain justice for all?” Students will explore attitudes, ideas, and experiences relating to justice in an excerpt from a novel, three short stories, two political speeches, a legal document, three poems, and a handful of other texts. The Lexile range for this unit is much broader than for previous units, at 580L–1810L, with most texts falling in the 950L–1400L range. The speech “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop” by Martin Luther King, Jr., the short story “The Night Before Christmas” by Tomás Rivera, and the article “The Last Ride of Cowboy Bob” by Skip Hollandsworth fall below the Grade 11–CCR Lexile Range with quantitative measures of 890L, 780L, and 1170L respectively, yet they are appropriate for use qualitatively as they address the question of achieving justice in the multiple contexts of religion, morality, law, and culture on local, state, and national scales. Students examine illegal acts and civil disobedience and their causes. The unit includes Skill lessons in Central or Main Idea; Rhetoric; and Language, Style, and Audience.

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
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The StudySync instructional materials reviewed for Grade 11 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 940L–1470L. 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, Breaking Away, students read a variety of literature and nonfiction texts that help them explore the unit’s Essential Question “How does independence define the American spirit?” Students spend time with the first text, Kate Chopin’s classic short story “The Story of an Hour.” Numerous Skill lessons on Reading Comprehension, Context Clues, and Annotation help students grasp this difficult text and set a foundation for the school year. The poems “On Being Brought from Africa to America” by Phillis Wheatley and “An Address to Miss Phillis Wheatley” by Jupiter Hammon allow students to analyze diction and structure in different poems while comparing and contrasting within the genre. “The Declaration of Independence” by Thomas Jefferson, “Constitution of the Iroquois Nations” by Dekanawidah (Oral Tradition), and “Point/Counterpoint: Life After High School” by Point/Counterpoint: Life After High School are all high Lexile, informational texts that challenge students to explore point of view, author’s purpose, and rhetoric while reading. The first two also include a Skill: Review Reading lesson that aids the understanding of primary and secondary sources. Louise Erdrich’s poem “Indian Boarding School: The Runaways,” an excerpt from The Scarlet Letter, by Nathaniel Hawthorne and Herman Melville’s short story “Bartleby, the Scrivener: A Story of Wall Street” are all read together. Melville’s text includes Skill lessons on Theme, Figurative Language, and Point of View. Throughout the unit, students engage in the readings independently, within small groups, or during the 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, The Highway, students read both literary and nonfiction texts such as poetry, informational texts, drama, and an excerpt from a novel. Students also have opportunities to read both classic and contemporary texts. Independent reading includes diverse selections, such as the poem “I never hear the word Escape” by Emily Dickinson and the screenplay Little Miss Sunshine by Michael Arndt. Students also study the genre of fiction while reading excerpts from stories such as Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain and “A Good Man Is Hard to Find” by Flannery O’Connor. Nonfiction texts such as Mississippi Solo by Eddy Harris and The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson encourage students to consider life-changing journeys as they read across genres. Teachers can monitor students’ progress through frequent assessments of literacy skills using measures such as the Reading Quiz after Arndt’s screenplay which includes the following question: “What inference is best supported by the passage below?”
  • In Unit 3, No Strangers Here, students read a variety of literature and nonfiction texts that help them explore the unit’s Essential Question “How does place shape the individual?” Skill lessons on Connotation and Denotation, Figurative Language, and Reasons and Evidence accompany the essay “My True South: Why I Decided to Return Home” by Jesmyn Ward. The famous speech “What to the Slave Is the Fourth of July?” by Frederick Douglass, pairs with an excerpt from Barracoon: The Story of the Last “Black Cargo by Zora Neale Hurston, so students read across genre while exploring the themes, rhetorical devices, and overall messages of the two texts. The short story “Flowering Judas” by Katherine Anne Porter, and excerpts from As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner and Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God are all read independently. The texts may challenge students due to the difficult language and multiple perspectives. The poems “South” by Natasha Trethewey, “‘N’em” by Jericho Brown and “Given to Rust” by Vievee Francis push students to analyze how place and past can shape identity. The last poem in the unit, “One Today” by Richard Blanco, includes multiple Skill lessons for students to practice analyzing poetic elements and structure. The nonfiction texts “We Contain Multitudes” by Lauren Grof and Bartram’s Travels by William Bartram explore the same setting through different lenses. Throughout the unit, students engage in the readings independently, within small groups, or during the 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, Living the Dream, students read both literary and nonfiction texts, such as poetry, drama, and argumentative texts. Students have opportunities to read both classic and contemporary texts. Independent reading includes diverse selections, such as reading the poem “The Negro Speaks of Rivers” by Langston Hughes and the classic drama A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry. Teachers can monitor students’ progress through frequent assessments of literacy skills using measures such as the Reading Quiz after A Raisin in the Sun which includes questions such as: “What is the most closely a major theme of this excerpt?”
  • In Unit 5, The Wars We Wage, students read a variety of literature and nonfiction texts that help them explore the unit’s Essential Question “What does it mean to win?” The unit begins with three texts that are read together—the essay “‘These Wild Young People’ by One of Them” by John F. Carter, Jr., the short story “A Rose for Emily” by William Faulkner, and an excerpt from The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. The texts give students an introduction to American Modernism, the unit’s focus, while allowing them to read across genres. The nonfiction text “The Marshall Plan Speech” by George Marshall is complex but includes multiple Skill lessons on author’s point of view, informational text structure, and word patterns and relationships to support students’ understanding of the text. Excerpts from the plays Othello by William Shakespeare and Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller allow a different lens with which to explore the unit’s Essential Question. Students explore similar historical moments by reading two argumentative texts in this unit—“A Plea from the Oppressed” by Lucy Stanton and “Brown v. Board of Education” by U.S. Supreme Court. The latter presents an opportunity for students to focus on reasons and evidence, technical language, and word meaning. To finish the unit, students read two informational articles—“The Immortal Horizon” by Leslie Jamison and “You Gotta Beat the Best to Be the Best” Ali Swenson by —and write short personal responses reflecting on their connections to the texts. Throughout the unit, students engage in the readings independently, within small groups, or during the 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 6, With Malice Toward None, students read both literary and nonfiction texts such as poetry, an excerpt from a novel, informational texts, and argumentative texts. The unit includes both classic and contemporary texts and independent reading opportunities such as “The Last Ride of Cowboy Bob” by Skip Hollandsworth and “The Color of an Awkward Conversation” by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Students focus on the literary period of postmodernism, analyzing Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison and “Demeter’s Prayer to Hades” by Rita Dove. Students also study multi-genre literature while reading the short story “American Horse” by Louise Erdrich and the poem “Gaman” by Christine Kitano. Nonfiction texts such as “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop” by Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Abraham Lincoln’s “Second Inaugural Address” encourage students to think about the attempts of real-life leaders to achieve justice as they read across genres. After an in-depth exploration of a range of texts addressing the issue of justice for all, students have the opportunity to develop an argumentative oral presentation on a change they believe will result in a more just world. Teachers can monitor students’ progress through frequent assessments of literacy skills using measures such as the Reading Quiz after Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s essay which includes the following question: “Which of these inferences about ‘Deniers’ is best supported by the text?”

Criterion 1g - 1n

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 11 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).
2/2
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The StudySync instructional materials reviewed for Grade 11 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, Breaking Away, students read the classic short story “Bartleby, the Scrivener: A Story of Wall Street” by Herman Melville and complete a skill lesson on figurative language. They answer the following multiple-choice questions: “Which of the following sentences from the paragraph contains an example of paradox?” and “How does the use of paradox from Question 1 serve to enhance the reader's understanding of Bartleby's character?” Students engage in questions and tasks that challenge the author’s statements about books, using textual evidence and reasoning in a group discussion while reading “The Namesake” by Jhumpa Lahiri. Students gather textual evidence to defend or challenge the author’s claim and participate in a class discussion. Support materials for teachers include a prompt guide that provides scaffolding so struggling students may access the prompt.
  • In Unit 2, The Highway, students complete an Independent Read of “Walden” by Henry David Thoreau. Students answer questions such as “Which of these inferences about Thoreau is best supported by the text?” After reading “The Negro Motorist Green Book” by Victor Green, 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 does the guide gather information according to the 1937 introduction? (See paragraphs 2–3: The guide accepts ideas and suggestions from businesses and tries to contact businesses for this purpose.) What does the guide say about a future when it will no longer be needed? (See paragraph 12: When African Americans have “equal opportunities and privileges,” the guide will no longer be needed, and it will be “a great day” when they can stop publishing the guide.)”
  • In Unit 3, No Strangers Here, students compare and contrast two texts after a close read of “The Midnight Zone” by Lauren Grof and Bartram’s Travel by William Bartram. Students respond to the text-dependent prompt: “How does each writer’s descriptions of similar landscapes produce different effects on the reader? Support your response with evidence from the text.” Teachers receive support in the Scaffolding and Differentiation section of the lesson plan; supporting questions include “What is happening in these paragraphs?, as well as connection questions such as “What do you think the narrator is implying?” Students read the poems “Given to Rust” by Vievee Francis, “South” by Natasha Trethewey, and “N’em” by Jericho Brown as a text set. They compare and contrast the three texts and respond to the following prompt: “Analyze how the use of figurative language in ‘Given to Rust’ emphasizes the author’s message regarding this theme. Support your analysis with evidence from the text and original commentary.”
  • In Unit 4, Living the Dream, after reading “Living the Dream, Boyhood” by Richard Linklater, 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 does the dad like about the Wilco song that he and Mason listen to in the car? (See lines 4-9: It’s a straight up country song, nothing fancy. He thinks the production quality is good, comparing it to “Abbey Road.” He likes the simplicity of the lyrics and theme.) What do Mason and his dad talk about when they walk along the river? (See lines 12-21: Mason’s mom and her job search).”
  • In Unit 5, The Wars We Wage, students analyze and evaluate how the author structures an argument in “The Marshall Plan Speech” by George Marshall. In the prewrite process, students look at their annotations of the text to find textual evidence to support their ideas. In the prewrite step, teachers receive the following directions in the teacher-facing materials: “Have students use a Multiple-column Table to begin planning their responses” and “Work directly with students to begin planning their responses. Project the Multiple-column Table onto the board and complete it as a group. Students read an excerpt of Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body by Roxane Gay. After reading, students write in response to the following prompt: “The author uses the metaphor of the cage to describe her experience… Analyze the author’s use of connotative words to illustrate this metaphor throughout the text. Cite evidence from the text to support your analysis.”
  • 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 “Why does the man not use more money from his pouch to get more food that the family wants or needs?” when reading an excerpt from The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck. An Exemplary Response is available for the teacher.

Indicator 1h

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

The StudySync instructional materials reviewed for Grade 11 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, Breaking Away, students explore the question “How does Independence define the American Spirit?” Students complete various readings and answer questions building toward the Extended Writing Project, during which students write a narrative addressing the following: “How does the desire for independence affect our choices?” Before writing the narrative, students read the “Constitution of the Iroquois Nations” by Dekanawidah (Oral Tradition) and the Declaration of Independence by Thomas Jefferson, et al. Students write a personal response after reading “Constitution of the Iroquois Nations” to answer the following: “Most historians believe the Constitution of the Iroquois Nations inspired the framers of the U.S. Constitution. Whether you are inspired by these same ideals, or by ideals of your own, write a personal response on what you think the laws, ethics, and aspirations of an individual or nation should be.“ Students complete a writing task following both readings, as they compare and contrast the two texts: “‘Constitution of the Iroquois Nation’ and the Declaration of Independence use rhetoric to reveal the author’s purpose and point of view. Write a response in which you compare and contrast each text’s purpose and the rhetoric used to support it.”
  • In Unit 2, The Highway, students explore the Essential Question “How do journeys influence perspective?” The unit’s culminating task requires students to write an informative essay in which they “select two or three texts that connect to the idea of being on a journey… [and] describe the road or the route of the journey in each text, who travels it, and what he or she learns, or might learn, along the way.” Several tasks throughout the unit allow students to reflect on characters’ journeys and the details within them. After students read Henry David Thoreau’s “Walden” alongside an excerpt from Eddy L. Harris’s memoir Mississippi Solo, they prepare and engage in a discussion of both texts. The prompt states, “Thoreau and Harris each weigh the pros and cons of undergoing a journey versus settling down. Compare and contrast the reason(s) each person decides to leave or stay.” Students use a graphic organizer to prepare their thoughts and to collect evidence that supports their ideas. Students evaluate the central idea of death focusing on text structure as they compare and contrast the story “ A Good Man is Hard to Find'' by Flannery O’Connor and the poem “Because I could not stop for Death” by Emily Dickinson. Students use a StudySyncTV video model to begin a collaborative conversation around the close reading of the prompt and gather relevant information to support the shorter culminating writing task, during which students analyze the texts using textual evidence to support their analyses.
  • In Unit 3, No Strangers Here, students explore the question “How does place shape the individual?” Students complete various readings and answer questions building toward the Extended Writing Project, during which students write a literary analysis addressing the following: “How does place shape the individual? ” Before writing the literary analysis, students read an excerpt from Barracoon: The Story of the Last “Black Cargo” by Zora Neale Hurston and “What to the Slave Is the Fourth of July?” by Frederick Douglass. Students respond to a writing prompt following the reading of “What to the Slave Is the Fourth of July:” “Douglass delivered this speech in 1852, over a decade before the abolition of slavery. How do you imagine citizens of the times might have reacted to this speech? What reflections or reservations might they have had? As a person of that time, sitting in the audience, write a letter to a family member describing and responding to Douglass’ message.” Then, students read Barracoon: The Story of the Last “Black Cargo” and consider the impact of place on one’s identity. Students practice writing a literary analysis answering the following prompt: “The authors of both ‘What to the Slave is The Fourth of July?’ and Barracoon: The Story of the Last ‘Black Cargo’ use writing to shed light as well as offer commentary on the institution of slavery. For each text, summarize what the author wants his or her audience to understand about the inherent brutality of slavery and what content or rhetorical choices the author makes to convey this message.” The questions students answer and tasks they complete better prepare them for the longer Extended Writing Project to write a literary analysis.
  • In Unit 4, Living the Dream, students read a variety of fiction and nonfiction texts that help them probe the Essential Question “What does home mean to you?” During the Extended Writing Project, students write an informative research paper in response to the following prompt: “Choose one to two artists or writers, not included in this unit, from the Harlem Renaissance whom you would like to research....Research your chosen topic, and formulate a position on how your subjects' work contributed to gaining greater visibility for African-Americans in mainstream culture, how it impacted society, or how their life experiences impacted their work.” Throughout the unit, students complete text-dependent tasks that help students build to this final project. Students read the poem “The Old Cabin” by Paul Laurence Dunbar and A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry together. They discuss and write about the impact that the historical settings, and the experiences that occur as a result of it, have on the texts overall. The prompt states, “In both "The Old Cabin" and A Raisin in the Sun, the historical setting plays an important role in the development of the texts’ themes. Identify the historical setting of each text, then, analyze how the setting of each text impacts each text’s themes.”
  • In Unit 5, The Wars We Wage, students explore the question “What does it mean to win?” Students complete various readings and answer questions building toward the Extended Writing Project, during which students write an argumentative essay addressing the following: “How do we define success?” Before writing the argumentative essay, students read an excerpt from The Moor’s Account by Laila Lalami and the play Othello by William Shakespeare. After reading The Moor’s Account, students discuss the following: “The narrator feels ashamed when the soldiers launch their raid on the village. Why? Examine the root causes of Estebanico’s feelings. What does he have in common with the soldiers? And the villagers? Which group does he feel more a part of and why? Argue your side in a friendly debate with your group. Use examples from the text to support your stance and analysis.” After discussing the topic with peers, students write a response. Students respond to a writing prompt with additional questions following the reading of Othello: “In Othello, the great Moroccan general Othello is brought down by lies. In The Moor’s Account, Estebanico, an enslaved Moroccan man, survives a dangerous trek through the unknown and eventually escapes to freedom. For both, their ability or inability to judge the people and situations around them causes a radical reversal of fortune. Analyze how each author’s word choice helps portray each man’s judgment in order to foreshadow the reversal of fortune.”
  • In Unit 6, With Malice Towards None, students explore the Essential Question “How can we attain justice for all?” They delve into several fiction and nonfiction texts and complete text-dependent tasks that help prepare them for the Extended Oral Project. Students prepare, engage in, and reflect on a discussion in response to a prompt that states, “Think of a change, whether in your school or society, that you believe would result in a more just world. Then craft a thesis to argue why this change should be made, how it should be implemented, and why it would be beneficial.” Students must include textual evidence or research to support their ideas as well as visual aids to improve engagement. Several texts throughout the unit allow students to explore societal changes that need to take place, and the injustices that surround them. Students begin the unit reading an excerpt from Ralph Ellison’s The Invisible Man. Students answer several text-dependent quiz questions such as “Which of the following inferences is best supported by the passage below (paragraph 2)? Which of the following ideas most closely reflects the narrator’s commentary in the passage below (paragraph 6)?” Students also read two poems, “Gaman” by Christine Kitano and “Demeter’s Prayer to Hades” by Rita Dove, and analyze how both poems from the same period address the topic of self-knowledge and self-reflection.

Indicator 1i

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

The StudySync instructional materials reviewed for Grade 11 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, Breaking Away, students read The Scarlet Letter (Chapter 2), by Nathaniel Hawthorne, which has multiple opportunities for guided discussion. To develop background knowledge, students work in small groups to collate keywords relating to Puritans in colonial America. Later in the same Independent read activity, the same small groups share examples of predictions made based on their annotations. Throughout this lesson, teachers use questions to guide students in their discussions. One example of this is a model prediction, “I think people in Boston will not forgive Hester. The Puritans had strict religious ideas.” The same lesson ends with a small group discussion based on the StudySyncTV video. Students have guided questions with exact times for review and discussion of specific parts of the video.
  • In Unit 3, No Strangers Here, students read an excerpt from Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston, and the materials provide them with multiple opportunities to engage in a guided discussion. The Blast Rag to Riches lesson includes three discussion tasks: Turn and Talk, Text Talk, and (Optional) Jigsaw Research Links. The Turn and Talk protocol requires students to work with a partner and respond to three questions that contain multiple parts. Students continue to work with a partner or small group to discuss the three Text Talk questions. A discussion guide is available for teachers to assist students who may need guidance in this conversation.
  • In Unit 4, Living the Dream, students read and analyze the play Fences by August Wilson. After engaging in a close read, students break into groups for a Collaborative Conversation. The StudySyncTV episode on Summarizing serves as a model for the conversation. Students may use their annotations to guide the discussion, as they respond to the prompt provided. The Lesson Plan gives instructors insight on scaffolding and grouping so that students get the most out of the discussion. 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 6, With Malice Towards None, students read an excerpt from Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man. The Lesson Plan provides guidance for structuring a textual discussion: “In small groups, discuss Invisible Man as a piece of early postmodernism...To prepare for your discussion, write down at least one element of postmodernism you have identified in the text.” Teacher-facing materials guide teachers on using a prompt guide and rubric to scaffold the discussions.

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, students read Lyndon Johnson’s speech “Remarks at the Signing of the Highway Beautification Act.” After introducing the text, teachers have the option to Revisit Academic and Content Vocabulary with students. The vocabulary list includes acute, allegory, and revive, among others. The lesson plan explains: “Prompt students to use the Academic and Literary Focus vocabulary when discussing a ‘great’ society… Challenge students to use a minimum of five words throughout their discussion.” Teacher-facing materials provide guidance for scaffolding the discussion and grouping students.
  • In Unit 3, No Strangers Here, students write a literary analysis and pre-writing discussions lead to the modeling of syntax, specifically the Skill Lesson on style. Students discuss literary genres they like, aspects that make this genre interesting, and how style impacts the reader. Students learn new academic vocabulary words such as analogy and converse. Students act out a short scene in pairs or small groups accurately using the academic vocabulary words.
  • In Unit 6, With Malice Towards None, students read The Civil Rights Act of 1964 by Lyndon B. Johnson (and U.S. Congress). 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. The vocabulary list includes ten terms, such as arbitrary, crucial, integral, and mutual. Teachers “challenge students to use a minimum of five words throughout their discussion” of the Civil Rights Act and its impact on society.

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.
2/2
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The StudySync instructional materials reviewed for Grade 11 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, Breaking Away, students read an excerpt from the autobiography The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano or Gustavus Vassa, the African by Olaudah Equiano. Before beginning, teachers review the prompt and a rubric to help guide the discussions. Prompt guides scaffold the conversation, and students write their ideas in a graphic organizer. They respond to the following prompt: “What kind of rhetorical devices and appeals does Equiano use at the end of the last paragraph? How do the descriptions throughout the excerpt lend power to Equiano’s ultimate argument that the cruel and inhumane separation of families ‘adds fresh horrors even to the wretchedness of slavery?’”
  • In Unit 2, The Highway, students read Little Miss Sunshine by Michael Arndt, and engage in a Collaborative Conversation with a small group in order to access the prompt. Teacher directions require students to break down the prompt before the students engage in discussion, sharing ideas and textual evidence. Students observe their peers and give an informative presentation in order to provide and receive peer feedback during an Extended Oral Project. The guidance includes: “Make sure your presentation is easy for your audience to understand. Include a beginning, middle, and end. Be sure to use transitions to present a clear description of the person’s journey. Include examples of his or her life during the journey. Explain why the journey is important and how it changed the person’s life.” Students use an Oral Presentation Checklist as they listen to their peers’ presentations.
  • In Unit 3, No Strangers Here, students read Lauren Groff’s short story “The Midnight Zone” alongside an excerpt from Bartram’s Travels by William Bartram. To prepare for a written analysis of the two texts, students participate in a Collaborative Conversation, responding to the following prompt: “Compare and contrast how each writer’s use of figurative language affects the reader’s impression of Florida’s natural environment. How does each writer’s descriptions of similar landscapes produce different effects on the reader?” Teacher-facing materials provide insight on grouping students and the scaffolds available for each group.
  • In Unit 4, Living the Dream, students read the point/counterpoint argumentative text “Dream House” (authors not cited), and then discuss a writing prompt found in the Independent Read lesson. Working with a small group, students first break down the prompt that includes the question “Which of the two essays do you find more convincing and why?” After breaking down the prompt, students share ideas and textual evidence that support the prompt. The materials provide teachers with scaffolding and differentiation instructional support for ELL students, including discussion guides and speaking frames.
  • In Unit 5, The Wars We Wage, students read an excerpt from the novel The Moor’s Account by Laila Lalami. After reading, students fill in a graphic organizer in response to the following prompt: “The narrator feels ashamed when the soldiers launch their raid on the village. Why? Examine the root causes of Estebanico’s feelings. What does he have in common with the soldiers? And the villagers? Which group does he feel more a part of and why?” Students argue their side and support it using evidence from the text. Teacher-facing materials provide insight on scaffolds available for each group as well as support for struggling students.
  • In Unit 6, With Malice Toward None, students give an argumentative oral presentation. During the planning phase, students provide substantive feedback to two peers using Peer Review Instructions: “How well does this response answer the prompt? What part of the oral presentation are you most excited to see or hear? Are there any ideas that could be improved on? How so?” Assessment of the final presentation aligns with speaking and listening standards, such as “The presentation introduces strong and specific information, findings, and evidence in a focused and coherent manner. Lines of reasoning are organized and easy to follow, and alternative or opposing perspectives are effectively addressed.”

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
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The StudySync instructional materials reviewed for Grade 11 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. Some examples are as follows:

  • Students participate in on-demand writing.
    • In Unit 1, Breaking Away, students read the poems “On Being Brought from Africa to America” by Phillis Wheatley and “An Address to Miss Phillis Wheatley” by Jupiter Hammon. After a close read of the latter, students write a literary analysis in response to the following prompt: “Citing clear, supporting evidence from both texts, compare and contrast the overall attitude toward religion in each poem. In which ways do the authors agree about religion, and in which ways do they disagree? Then, tell how both poems represent Early American literature.” Students review the prompt and rubric before they begin writing.
    • In Unit 4, Living the Dream, students participate in a Timed Writing task. After reviewing a checklist on timed writing, students plan and write a response in a timed writing situation. Reminders include: “clearly state your thesis, provide relevant and specific evidence from the text, and edit your writing for grammar, mechanics, and spelling.”
    • In Unit 6, With Malice Toward None, students participate in on-demand writing through Blast: Molecular Mysteries. Students write a short response on why chemistry is important in the criminal justice system? The task provides students background knowledge for the novel excerpt from Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison.
  • Students participate in process writing.
    • In Unit 1, Breaking Away, students write a narrative for their Extended Writing Project. Students review the “Narrative Writing Rubric—Grade 11” before they begin writing. The prompt states, “Write about a character, real or imagined, who feels trapped by circumstance and who wishes to become more independent. Using the skills you have learned in this unit, write a narrative in which a character moves from dependence to independence.” Students proceed through each step of the writing process before submitting their narrative. After reading a Student Model peer review of a short constructed response and reviewing a writing checklist, students draft a constructive peer review.
    • In Unit 4, Living the Dream, students write an informative research essay in response to this prompt: “What role do art and culture have in bringing awareness to social issues?” Students choose an artist or writer not found in the unit from the Harlem Renaissance for their research essay. Skill Lessons support students throughout each stage of the writing process. For example, in the drafting stage of the writing process, students practice planning research, evaluating resources, and research and notetaking. In the Skill Lesson for research and notetaking, students use a model to better guide them through the process of how to do research and take notes.
    • In Unit 6, With Malice Toward None, students complete an Extended Oral Project during which they create a persuasive oral presentation in response to a prompt. The project follows the Instructional Path: Plan, Draft, Revise, and Edit and Present. During the planning phase, students must include rhetorical devices to persuade the audience.

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

  • In Unit 2, The Highway, students develop their drafts by organizing their informative essay effectively in the Extended Writing Project. Questions for consideration include: “What is a brief summary of my topic? How can I organize my ideas so that each new element builds on previous materials? Can I use visual elements such as headings, graphics, or multimedia?”
  • In Unit 4, Living the Dream, students write an informative research essay. Students edit and publish their work as they complete four Skill Lessons. The Skill Lessons help students improve their English conventions, select diction and punctuation that aligns to the style and purpose of the text, understand how dashes and hyphens are used, and provide a Student Model for review before students edit and publish their essay.
  • In Unit 6, With Malice Toward None, students complete a revision of the persuasive oral presentation. The materials include a Revision Guide focusing on Clarity, Development, Organization, Style: Word Choice, and Style: Sentence Fluency.

Materials include digital resources where appropriate. Examples include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • In Unit 2, The Highway, students engage in a close read of the informative speech, “Remarks at the Signing of the Highway Beautification Act” by Lyndon B. Johnson and use digital resources to write a short, analytical written response. Some of the digital resources used in this lesson include a vocabulary chart, a StudySyncTV model, a rubric, and a graphic organizer. The graphic organizer allows students to record examples of LBJ’s relationship with nature and a thoughts column on how the example supports the writer’s claims.
  • In Unit 4, Living the Dream, students complete Blast: Homeward Bound. 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 5, The Wars We Wage, students read an excerpt from William Shakespeare’s Othello. During a Skill Lesson on Media, students analyze how texts translate across different types of media. They read an exemplar essay from a student who analyzes a film clip from Othello and compares it to an audio recording of the play. Students note similarities and differences between the play and the recording and note how the media impacts interpretations of a source text. Lastly, students answer multiple-choice questions about both mediums.

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
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The StudySync instructional materials reviewed for Grade 11 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. Some examples are as follows:

  • Students have opportunities to engage in argumentative writing.
    • In Unit 1, Breaking Away, students closely reread “Point/Counterpoint: Life After High School” (author not cited) in order to write an argumentative response. Students choose the pros or cons of staying home or settling in a new place after high school. Students need to decide which argument is more convincing and support their claim with both textual and graphic evidence. A Concept Web supports students with their planning of the argument, allowing them to gather both textual and graphic information from each author. The Teacher Edition offers instruction to guide the teacher in helping students gather, share, and discuss evidence during the Collaborative Conversation. Students revise their writing using the Peer Review where other students provide feedback on ideas and evidence.
    • In Unit 4, Living the Dream, students independently read the argumentative text “Point/Counterpoint: Dream House” (author not cited). After analyzing the text’s point and counterpoint arguments for buying a house, students write a short response to the following prompt: “Which of the two essays do you find more convincing and why? Support your answer with relevant evidence from the text.” After completing their writing, students receive feedback from their classmates.
    • In Unit 5, The Wars We Wage, students write an argumentative essay during the Extended Writing Project. Students refer to the arguments of many of the authors in the unit to define “winning." Students argue the meaning of success, along with the benefits and costs of winning. This process writing task includes support for students and teachers during each step of the writing process, including guidance, a Check for Success, and skill resources to develop needed skills for this writing mode.
  • Students have opportunities to engage in informative/explanatory writing.
    • In Unit 2, The Highway, students complete an informative writing piece during an Extended Writing Project. The materials include a sample Student Model for analysis, and students plan an informative essay in response to the following prompt: “What do we learn along the way? From non-fiction selections in this unit (including research links in the Blasts), select two or three texts that connect to the idea of being on a journey. Write an informative essay in which you describe the road or the route of the journey in each text, who travels it, and what he or she learns, or might learn, along the way. Be sure to include the personal and cultural importance this journey has and any risks the traveler may have to take.”
    • In Unit 3, No Strangers Here, students read both “The Midnight Zone” by Lauren Groff and Bartram’s Travels by William Bartram and write a compare and contrast response, informing the reader about the author’s use of language and its impact on the reader’s impression of the natural environment of Florida. Students note how the writers’ description impacts the reader. Student-facing materials include a Venn Diagram to compare and contrast descriptions in the two texts. The Teacher Edition includes freewriting opportunities to dig deeper into the texts and a Check for Success to monitor students who struggle to understand the prompt.
    • In Unit 5, The Wars We Wage, students closely read The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald and “A Rose for Emily” by William Faulkner before writing a compare and contrast response that requires explanation about how the authors’ characters reflect elements of the literary period. Students use a Venn diagram to compare and contrast the characters from both texts. Materials provide many supports, such as the Writer’s Notebook, StudySyncTV for analyzing characters, and Collaborative Conversations to break down the prompt and share evidence, to guide the teacher and help students monitor their writing progress.
  • Students have opportunities to engage in narrative writing.
    • In Unit 1, Breaking Away, students analyze a sample Student Model and plan a narrative in response to a prompt during an Extended Writing Project. In preparation for the narrative writing task, students read a variety of texts to apply what they have learned about story elements to their narrative projects, including but not limited to “Bartleby, the Scrivener: A Story of Wall Street” by Herman Melville, “Verses upon the Burning of Our House” by Anne Bradstreet, and “Indian Boarding School: The Runaways” by Louise Erdrich. Students answer a writing prompt, “How does the desire for independence affect our choices?” Students use what they have learned in the unit to “write a narrative in which a character moves from dependence to independence” while focusing on the Essential Question, “How does the desire for independence affect our choices?” The Teacher Edition provides teacher guidance, including a Text Talk that takes students through a student model, the rubric, criteria for the rubric, and answers to the Text Talk questions.
    • In Unit 3, No Strangers Here, students read the poem “‘N’em” by Jericho Brown and then write a personal narrative response to the poem. They write a creative account in a journal entry integrating use of voice when describing relatives and their daily routines. Prompts remind students to add descriptive details to create vivid ideas and images. Students use a concept web to identify a relative and add descriptive details. The Teacher Edition guides teachers in introducing the text to help students gain perspective about older relatives. Students participate in Peer Review and Reflect to offer feedback and guide the revision of their narratives.
    • In Unit 5, The Wars We Wage, students read the nonfiction text “The Immortal Horizon” by Leslie Jamison. After reading and analyzing, students write in response to the following prompt: “This text details the blunt hardships of a race—win or lose. Think about a significant victory or loss in your own life. Then write a letter to a friend, mentor, or confidante relating what you experienced and how it made you feel.” After writing, students receive feedback from classmates and reflect on their responses.

Indicator 1m

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

The StudySync instructional materials reviewed for Grade 11 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. Some examples are as follows:

  • In Unit 1, Breaking Away, students read “Constitution of the Iroquois Nations” by Dekanawidah (Oral Tradition) and the “Declaration of Independence” by Thomas Jefferson. Students complete a first read of the “Declaration of Independence” and identify and describe the purpose and key ideas in the text. They complete a Skill: Author’s Purpose and Point of View Lesson. Then, students complete a Skill: Rhetoric Lesson in which they analyze the rhetorical devices in the document. Next, students complete a Skill: Primary and Secondary Sources Lesson after rereading and discussing a model of close reading. Finally, students complete a close reading of the Declaration of Independence and compare and contrast the author’s purpose and point of view and rhetoric in the text to that of “Constitution of the Iroquois Nations.” Students answer a writing prompt: “‘Constitution of the Iroquois Nation’ and the “Declaration of Independence” use rhetoric to reveal the author’s purpose and point of view. Write a response in which you compare and contrast each text’s purpose and the rhetoric used to support it. Then evaluate which text more effectively uses rhetorical devices, using textual evidence and original commentary to support your response.”
  • In Unit 2, The Highway, students closely read an informational speech “Remarks at the Signing of the Highway Beautification Act” by Lyndon B. Johnson and analyze how effectively Johnson supports his argument. Students need to determine how the writer’s use of description helps to support his claim. Students use textual evidence in their response to support conclusions. Students apply the writing standard as they analyze the premise, purpose, and argument in a presidential address. Students read “Remarks at the Signing of the Highway Beautification Act” by Lyndon B. Johnson. Students will analyze the effectiveness of Johnson’s personal accounts to support his argument, using textual evidence and original commentary in a short, written response.
  • In Unit 3, No Strangers Here, students read “We Contain Multitudes” by Lauren Groff independently. Students write an argumentative response and answer a writing prompt: “Groff argues that while the stereotypes about Florida have a ‘grain of truth in them, it’s a grain the size of a speck of sand.’ Think about a stereotype, whether controversial or commonly held, about a group of people. You can think about something mentioned in Groff's essay, or about a stereotype that's closer to home. Then, write a response in which you argue to what extent this stereotype holds true. Support your argument with examples and reasoning from your own knowledge and experience.” The writing task challenges students to clearly argue the extent to which a chosen stereotype holds true, supporting their arguments with relevant examples and reasoning.
  • In Unit 4, Living the Dream, students read the poem “The Old Cabin” by Paul Laurence Dunbar and write a literary analysis based on research relating to the Harlem Renaissance. Students write referencing literary characteristics from the text and investigate themes represented in the poem that prefigure poetry of the Harlem Renaissance. Students demonstrate knowledge of foundational American literature in their writing.
  • In Unit 5, The Wars We Wage, students write a rhetorical analysis after reading the landmark Supreme Court case Brown v. Board of Education. The prompt they respond to states, “Identify the author’s claim. Then, evaluate how successful the author’s use of reasoning and evidence is in convincing his audience of this claim. Support your response with evidence from the text.”
  • In Unit 6, With Malice Toward None, students compare two poems “Demeter’s Prayer to Hades” by Rita Dove and “Gaman” by Christine Kitano to analyze how both authors address the subjects of self-knowledge and self-reflection. Students cite evidence from the text relating to the theme, poetic elements, and similarities and differences of the authors’ message.

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
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The StudySync instructional materials reviewed for Grade 11 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 apply the understanding that usage is a matter of convention, can change over time, and is sometimes contested.
    • The materials include opportunities for teachers to search for specific Skills Assignments that align to Grade 11. Teachers can use the search for new Skills Assignments or to add existing assignments to the unit using the "Add to Unit" feature. For example, Contested Usage—Diction and Punctuation, introduces the vocabulary terms contested usage, convention, diction, grammar usage, and syntax, includes a Model for students, and then provides an opportunity for students to practice the skill during Your Turn: “Choose the best answer to each question. 2. Is the removal of the series comma in this sentence acceptable? Would you like your eggs scrambled, fried or poached?”
    • In Unit 1, Breaking Away, during the editing and publishing step of the Extended Writing Project, students use the Grammar Skill: Consistent Verb Tenses lesson to better understand how usage can change based on convention rules. The rule in this lesson states that the tense of the verb should be consistent. At the same time, there is a rule that states a writer can use more than one tense based on events following one another in time, if the tense resides within a quote, and if the present tense verb expresses a general truth. Students must analyze the content of their writing in order to apply verb tenses in their writing consistently and correctly.
    • In Unit 3, No Strangers Here, during the editing and publishing portion of the Extended Writing Project, students complete a Grammar Skill: Misuse of Commas lesson to practice using them correctly. In this skill lesson, students learn that commas can be optional after short introductory prepositional phrases. Students must determine the use of commas based on whether or not the use of a comma provides clarity.
    • In Unit 4, Living the Dream, students write an informative research essay for their Extended Writing Projects. As they engage with each step of the writing process, students receive direct instruction in several grammar skills. One focus is on contested usage. Teachers review the definition of the term, project a model unto the board, and put students in groups to “analyze how the model uses authentic texts to explain the rules for contested usage.” They review rules and contested usage of punctuation, diction, and syntax. Finally, they answer multiple-choice questions and rewrite sentences using the different rules they learned.
  • Students have opportunities to resolve issues of complex or contested usage, consulting references (e.g., Merriam-Webster's Dictionary of English Usage, Garner's Modern American Usage) as needed.
    • In Unit 4, Living the Dream, students complete a Grammar Skill: Contested Usage lesson, which provides students with strategies for use when selecting the form of a contested usage that most appropriately aligns with the style and purpose of a text. After exploring the model, students answer questions in the Your Turn section: “Determine if the statements regarding situations of contested usage are true or false. 3. In fictional dialogue, you should always use whom when appropriate and correct, even when the conversation is casual.” As students enter the Edit and Publish phase of the Extended Writing Project, the materials include the following checklist as guidance for editing: “Have I followed all the rules for hyphens? Have I checked for contested usage and selected the usage that is most appropriate for my purpose? Do I have any sentence fragments or run-on sentences? Have I spelled everything correctly?” During the End-of-Unit Assessment, students apply their learning as they respond to the research report prompt for Student Passage 1.
  • Students have opportunities to observe hyphenation conventions.
    • In Unit 4, Living the Dream, students complete a Grammar Skill: Hyphens lesson during the editing and publishing portion of the Extended Writing Project. After learning about hyphens and seeing their use in text examples, students practice using hyphens correctly. The instruction follows the Vocabulary, Model, and Your Turn format, which uses gradual release to support student understanding and practice. The End-of-Unit Assessment includes several questions to assess proficiency of the standards students practice. For example, Question 31 states: “What change, if any, is necessary with the underlined portion of the following sentence? He had worked hard as the manager of a dry, cleaning business, and this money meant he could finally give it up.”
  • Students have opportunities to spell correctly.
    • In Unit 1, Breaking Away, students use their learning during a Grammar Skill: Basic Spelling Rules lesson to practice spelling correctly. In the Your Turn component of the lesson, students are provided a sample sentence with an error, along with the rules for correcting the sentence. Students must rewrite the sentence correctly. Some of the spelling rules students practice include adding -ly, words with silent e + suffix and prefixes that create a double letter.
    • In Unit 2, The Highway, during the editing and publishing phase of the Extended Writing Project, students review edits, such as correcting a spelling mistake, in the provided student sample: “At thirty year old, Harris fears that he is no longer free to go on adventures and that he must give in to mundain mundane responsibilities.” The Rubric for Informative Writing Process—Edit and Publish includes an expectation for Conventions: “The response demonstrates a command of basic conventions. The response may include the following: some minor errors in usage, but no patterns of errors, adequate use of punctuation, capitalization, sentence formation and spelling.”
    • In Unit 6, With Malice Toward None, students practicing using commonly misspelled words correctly during the Extended Oral Project. After exploring a model, students answer questions in the Your Turn section: “Choose the best answer to each question. 2. How should this sentence be changed? Ideally, the florist for the wedding will be a true conoiseur of color, scent, and space.” During the editing and publishing portion of the Extended Oral 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 using commonly misspelled words correctly. The instruction follows the Vocabulary, Model, and Your Turn structure, which uses gradual release to support student understanding and practice.

Gateway Two

Building Knowledge with Texts, Vocabulary, and Tasks

Meets Expectations

+
-
Gateway Two Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 11 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
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The StudySync materials reviewed for Grade 11 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—Breaking Away, The Highway, No Strangers Here, Living the Dream, The Wars We Wage, and With Malice Towards None.

Texts are connected by cohesive topics/themes/lines of inquiry. For example, some examples are as follows:

  • In Unit 1, Breaking Away, students focus on fiction as a genre and the Essential Question, “Why do words matter?” Twelve texts connect to the theme and include opportunities to read across genres/text types, including but not limited to the historical document “The Constitution of the Iroquois Nations,” by Dekanawidah, an excerpt from the novel The Scarlet Letter, by Nathaniel Hawthorne, and the poem “On Being Brought from Africa to America,” by Phillis Wheatley.
  • In Unit 2, The Highway, students read texts connected to the Essential Question, “How do journeys influence perspective?” Students read the poem “I never hear the word ‘Escape,’” by Emily Dickinson. The students analyze the transcendentalism and Romanticism focusing on the expression of emotions such as anxiety, awe, terror, and horror they notice in the unit’s previous selections. They talk about how they experience those same emotions through life’s journey as they write in their Writer’s Notebooks. Students also study the genre of fiction in this unit by reading excerpts and stories such as Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain and “A Good Man Is Hard to Find,” by Flannery O’Connor while continuing their exploration of the unit’s Essential Question.
  • In Unit 3, No Strangers Here, students focus on poetry as a genre and the Essential Question, “How does place shape the individual?” Thirteen texts connect to the theme, and the unit includes opportunities to read across genres/text types, including but not limited to an excerpt from the story Barracoon: The Story of the Last "Black Cargo," by Zora Neale Hurston, the poem “One Today,” by Richard Blanco, and the essay “We Contain Multitudes,” by Lauren Groff.
  • In Unit 4, Living the Dream, students focus on the drama genre and the Essential Question, “What does home mean to you?” In an attempt to connect the understanding that the way we feel about home plays a significant part in the events that occur within our journeys, students read the poem “The Negro Speaks,” by Langston Hughes; students infer what the author means by the words he uses, and they discuss what the characters may have been thinking and feeling along their journey. Students also read a scene from the drama A Raisin in the Sun, by Lorraine Hansberry and the essay “Eat, Memory: Orange Crush,” by Yiyun Li while exploring the unit’s Essential Question.
  • In Unit 5, The Wars We Wage, students focus on argumentative texts as a genre and the Essential Question, “What does it mean to win?” Thirteen texts connect to the theme, including opportunities to read across genres/text types and apply their learning in an argumentative writing piece. Additional texts include but are not limited to the short story “A Rose for Emily,” by William Faulkner, an excerpt from the novel The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald, the speech “The Marshall Plan Speech,” by Secretary of State George Marshall, and the drama Death of a Salesman, by Arthur Miller.
  • In Unit 6, With Malice Toward None, students ponder the Essential Question, “How can we attain justice for all?” Text selections explore the idea that justice is determined by an individual’s experiences during life’s journey and focus on the questions “What is the role of literature in attaining justice for all? What can we learn about other people’s experiences from a text that we would not have otherwise understood?” Students read Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man and make predictions by using the text features, evidence from the text, and their knowledge to determine what will happen and why as they read, while also examining the theme of racial injustice woven throughout the text. Additional texts used to explore the Essential Question include the poem “On Listening to Your Teacher Take Attendance” by Aimee Nezhukumatathil, the story “The Last Ride of Cowboy Bob” by Skip Hollandsworth, and the essay “The Color of an Awkward Conversation” by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.

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.
4/4
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The StudySync instructional materials reviewed for Grade 11 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, The Highway, students read and annotate Chapter 1 of Mark Twain’s Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. During a Skill Lesson on language, style, and audience, students answer multiple choice questions about Twain’s specific word choice and syntax. One such example is “What effect do Miss Watson’s repetitious commands to Huck have on the reader?” After a close read of the text, students write in response to the following prompt: “Analyze how Mark Twain's choices regarding words and syntax help develop the main character's tone towards traditional society. Support your response with textual evidence.”
    • In Unit 3, No Strangers Here, students complete a close read of “My True South: Why I Decided to Return Home,” by Jesmyn Ward, and analyze the way the author uses evidence and figurative language to support and strengthen her claims. Through literary analysis, students respond to the following prompt: “In ‘My True South: Why I Decided to Return Home,’ Jesmyn Ward uses narrative nonfiction and employs figurative language to strengthen her argument that while she is critical of the South, it is her home and is worth fighting for. Identify the reasons and evidence that Ward provides to support her claim. Then, analyze how her use of figurative language throughout the essay serves to strengthen her claim. Use textual evidence to support your response.”

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 1, Breaking Away, students identify and restate the text’s key ideas and details during a First Read of “Life After High School.” Students read the text and answer Think questions, such as “What are some of the benefits of staying near home after high school? Cite at least three examples from the ‘Counterpoint’ essay to support your answer.” After reading and discussing “Bartleby, the Scrivener: A Story of Wall Street,” by Herman Melville, students analyze the relationship between thematic development, topic, and details of dialogue. Students address these questions: “How does the reader relate the description of Bartleby to the topic and developing theme? How does the reader analyze a detail about dialogue and its relationship to the theme? How will this thinking help the reader analyze the development of themes in other texts?”
    • In Unit 4, Living the Dream, students read Zora Neale Hurston’s essay “How It Feels to Be Colored Me.” Students annotate for inferences as they read, and teachers remind students to ask themselves how the inferences they make enhance their understanding of Hurston’s message. Text Talk questions require students to identify the key details in the text. A Skill lesson on central or main idea requires students to identify the main idea of the essay and identify evidence to support their response. The Think questions require students to write about the key ideas and details from the text. “Summarize Hurston’s position on this part of her cultural history. What does Hurston’s anecdote about ‘The New World Cabaret’ convey to readers? How is life in Jacksonville different for Zora than it was in Eatonville? What are the significant changes, and how do they affect her?” Each answer must be supported with evidence from the text.
  • The materials contain coherently sequenced questions and tasks that address structure. Examples include, but are not limited to the following:
    • In Unit 1, Breaking Away, after reading and discussing “Bartleby, the Scrivener: A Story of Wall Street,” by Herman Melville, students analyze the relationship between figurative language and story elements. Students address these questions: “How does the reader explain the impact of the author’s use of a hyperbole? How does the reader explain how contradictory words or phrases enhance his understanding of a character? How will this thinking help the reader analyze the use of figurative language in other texts?”
    • In Unit 3, No Strangers Here, students reread “One Today,” by Richard Blanco and identify the choices an author makes when structuring specific parts of a poem and how these choices affect the reader and contribute to the meaning of the text. Students complete a Your Turn task by rereading stanzas of the poem and answering the following questions: “What best describes the meter of the first two lines of stanza 6? What is the author’s purpose for including many different languages in stanza 6? How does the poem’s ending in stanzas 8 and 9 relate to its beginning?”
  • The materials contain coherently sequenced questions and tasks that address craft. Examples include, but are not limited to the following:
    • In Unit 5, The Wars We Wage, after reading and discussing ”The Marshall Plan Speech,” by George Marshall, students articulate the author’s purpose and point of view. Students complete the Watch and Discuss SkillsTV Project and pause at the following times to prompt discussion: “0:30-What is the difference between an author's purpose and an author’s message? 1:30-How does Marshall make his argument relevant to his audience, most of whom lived in the United States, even though the war took place in Europe? 3:09-What do the students determine is Marshall’s purpose in giving this speech? Do you think he is successful in achieving this purpose? Why or why not?”
    • In Unit 6, With Malice Towards None, students read and annotate Louise Erdrich’s short story “American Horse.” During a close read, students examine the author’s use of flashbacks and the impact this structure has on the characters and the overall meaning of the story. Students also analyze the complex points of view presented in the text. Teachers are encouraged to have students explain how a Skill Model “connects the use of understatement to point of view.” Finally, students write a literary analysis explaining how the author structures the story to develop a theme of isolation using evidence to support their ideas.

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
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The StudySync instructional materials reviewed for Grade 11 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 1, Breaking Away, students read and annotate the poem “Verses upon the Burning of Our House,” by Anne Bradstreet. Students annotate for descriptive language and unfamiliar vocabulary. Multiple-choice questions help students summarize the issues presented in the text. For example, “Which sentence best summarizes the following passage (lines 21-27)?” Later, students fill out a chart to identify elements of style and major concepts from the text.
    • In Unit 3, No Strangers Here, students independently read an excerpt from Their Eyes Were Watching God, by Zora Neale Hurston. Students answer multiple-choice questions that assess their understanding of the text. For example, “The following passage (paragraph 3) adds to the development of the text mainly by-.” Teacher guidance is available to help students deepen their understanding. “Project onto the board exemplar methods for monitoring comprehension as a model for students as they continue reading.” Students also write a literary response analyzing analogies in the text and supporting their ideas with evidence from the text.
    • In Unit 6, With Malice Toward None, students read “The Night Before Christmas,” by Tomás Rivera and analyze how story elements, such as setting, dialogue, and characterization, influence the development of the plot. Students answer questions, such as “How does the internal dialogue in paragraph 28 intensify the conflict? How does the description of the setting in paragraph 29 impact the climax of the story?”, before completing the writing task. Students then respond to a literary analysis prompt: “How does Tomás Rivera use dialogue to shape what you know about his characters? How does dialogue affect the plot of the story? What insight does the dialogue in this story provide the reader, and what is its impact? In a written response, analyze the author’s use of dialogue in this short story. Cite evidence from the text to support your analysis.”
  • Sets of questions and tasks provide opportunities to analyze across multiple texts. Examples include, but are not limited to the following:
    • In Unit 2, The Highway, students practice “Comparing Within and Across Genres” when reading “Because I could not stop for Death,” by Emily Dickinson and “A Good Man is Hard to Find,” by Flannery O’Connor. Before the writing task, students answer questions to assist in preparing them for the literary analysis. Examples include: “What impact does the author’s narration of this scene have on the reader? In this scene the reader encounters The Misfit. How does the revelation about who he is contribute to the suspense of this scene? The grandmother has a feeling that she recognizes the driver. How does this realization lead to the story’s climax?” Students respond to a prompt after reading both texts: “Compare and contrast the way the short story ‘A Good Man Is Hard to Find’ and the poem ‘Because I could not stop for Death’ use text structure to express and contribute to each text’s overall meaning about death. Provide analysis and textual evidence from both the poem and the short story to support your response.”
    • In Unit 3, No Strangers Here, students read a text set that includes the poems “South,” by Natasha Trethewey, “‘N’em,” by Jericho Brown, and “Given to Rust,” by Vievee Francis. While reviewing the texts, students analyze descriptive details, figurative language, and main ideas. The materials include teacher guidance to help lead conversations and deepen students’ understanding of the texts. Students write in response to the following prompt: “‘Given to Rust,’ ‘South,’ and ‘N’em’ each present an individual navigating the connections between the past and the present. Compare and contrast how this idea is presented across each of the poems.”
    • In Unit 5, The Wars We Wage, students read excerpts from The Moor’s Account, by Laila Lalami and Othello, by William Shakespeare together. First, students prepare and engage in a discussion on the characters’ actions. Skill Lessons support students with analyzing language, style, and audience as well as character relationships in the text. Lastly, students compare and contrast across texts by responding to the following prompt: “Analyze how each author’s word choice helps portray each man’s judgment in order to foreshadow the reversal of fortune. Support your response with evidence from the text.”

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
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The StudySync instructional materials reviewed for Grade 11 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. For example, some examples are as follows:

  • In Unit 1, Breaking Away, students seek to answer the Essential Question, “Why do words matter?” as they read a variety of texts, such as “Constitution of the Iroquois Nation,” by Dekanawidah (Oral Tradition)“ and Declaration of Independence, by Thomas Jefferson. After reading both historical documents, students complete a Skill: Rhetoric lesson designed to support students with analyzing rhetorical devices and prepare them for a smaller culminating task. The materials include a Rhetoric Checklist for students. The checklist focuses on identifying details and statements that identify the author's point of view and purpose, as well as guiding questions, such as “How does the use of rhetorical devices affect the way the text is read and understood?” to use when analyzing the Skill Model. Students complete a multiple choice quiz before discussing and responding to a compare and contrast prompt. “‘Constitution of the Iroquois Nation’ and the Declaration of Independence use rhetoric to reveal the author’s purpose and point of view. Write a response in which you compare and contrast each text’s purpose and the rhetoric used to support it. Then evaluate which text more effectively uses rhetorical devices, using textual evidence and original commentary to support your response.” This task integrates reading, speaking, listening, and writing skills.
  • In Unit 2, The Highway, students focus on the literary periods of Transcendentalism and Romanticism, reading texts, such as The Negro Motorist Green Book, by Victor H. Green as they explore the Essential Question, “How do journeys influence perspective?” Students complete several Skill lessons that prepare them to respond to an explanatory writing prompt about how the author uses visual media and text elements to enhance the reader’s understanding. During the Extended Writing Project students select two to three of the unit texts that connect to the idea of being on a journey and craft an informative essay in response to the question “What do we learn along the way?” This task integrates reading and writing skills.
  • In Unit 3, No Strangers Here, students focus on the literary periods of Realism, Naturalism, and Regionalism, reading texts such as the personal essay “My True South: Why I Decided to Return Home,” by Jesmyn Ward, as they investigate the Essential Question, “How does place shape the individual?” Students practice analyzing figurative language during Skill lessons connected to Ward’s piece, the poem “Given to Rust,” by Vievee Francis, and the short story “The Midnight Zone,” by Lauren Groff. During the Extended Writing Project, students use their knowledge of texts read earlier in the unit to craft a literary analysis. The prompt states, “From texts in this unit, select three individuals… examine how these individuals are shaped by and interact with their immediate surroundings.” This task integrates reading and writing skills.
  • In Unit 4, Living the Dream, students focus on the literary period of the Harlem Renaissance, reading texts such as Fences, by August Wilson as they probe the Essential Question, “What does home mean to you?” Students complete Skill lessons on dramatic elements and structure and summarizing to prepare for smaller culminating tasks, as well as the end-of-unit task. Upon completing the Close Read lesson for Fences, students discuss and respond to a literary analysis prompt: “Think about the setting and the action in this excerpt from Fences. How does the literal action—Troy constructing a fence in the backyard, and enlisting Cory to join him—coincide with what is happening in the dialogue? Analyze how the author uses dramatic elements and structure to develop the connection between literal action and the deeper relationship between the characters.” This task integrates reading, speaking, listening, and writing skills.
  • In Unit 5, The Wars We Wage, the focus is on the literary period of American modernism. Students read texts such as William Shakespeare’s play Othello as they explore the Essential Question, “What does it mean to win?” Skill lessons on language, style, and audience as well as media support students in understanding word choice, foreshadowing, and style. complete a culminating writing task found in the Close Read: Othello lesson. After reading The Moor’s Account, by Laila Lalami, students complete a small culminating task, during which they discuss and respond to a literary analysis prompt that analyzes word choice and its connection to foreshadowing. “In Othello, the great Moroccan general Othello is brought down by lies. In The Moor’s Account, Estebanico, an enslaved Moroccan man, survives a dangerous trek through the unknown and eventually escapes to freedom. For both, their ability or inability to judge the people and situations around them causes a radical reversal of fortune. Analyze how each author’s word choice helps portray each man’s judgment in order to foreshadow the reversal of fortune. Support your response with evidence from the text.” This task integrates reading, speaking, listening, and writing skills.
  • In Unit 6, With Malice Toward None, students focus on the literary period of Postmodernism as they read texts such as Rita Dove’s free verse poem “Demeter’s Prayer to Hades” and investigate the Essential Question, “How can we attain justice for all?” Students complete Skill lessons on poetic elements and structure and analyzing Postmodernism, and respond to a literary analysis prompt. During the Extended Oral Project, students plan, draft, revise, edit and publish a persuasive oral presentation in response to the question “How can we seek justice?” Students use evidence from unit texts or outside research to argue why a change in their school or society would result in a more just world. This task integrates reading, writing, speaking, and listening skills.

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
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The StudySync instructional materials reviewed for Grade 11 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 2, The Highway, between the First Read and the Close Read of Mark Twain’s Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, students complete a Skill lesson on language, style, and audience, during which they reread the text and evaluate how Twain uses word choice to affect the audience. Students access vocabulary learning opportunities in various contexts, such as watching the Concept Definition Video, completing a vocabulary chart, listening to students model formal and informal diction through SkillsTV, and then rereading the text to demonstrate knowledge of how Twain uses specific words for effect.
    • In Unit 3, No Strangers Here, students complete a Skill: Academic Vocabulary lesson, learning the meanings of 10 Academic Vocabulary words and how the Academic Vocabulary words can be used in a variety of contexts. Terms students learn during the lesson include analogy, coincide, converse, inherent, minimal, overlap, plus, predominant, restrain, and rigid. A model is available for students to learn Academic Vocabulary to help them describe relationships. In the Your Turn section of the lesson, students answer questions and write a sentence for each vocabulary word. After students complete a close read of Barracoon: The Story of the Last ‘Black Cargo,’ by Zora Neale Hurston, they respond to a writing prompt. The prompt includes an Academic Vocabulary term from the previous list: “The authors of both ‘What to the Slave is The Fourth of July?’ and Barracoon: The Story of the Last ‘Black Cargo use writing to shed light as well as offer commentary on the institution of slavery. For each text, summarize what the author wants his or her audience to understand about the inherent brutality of slavery and what content or rhetorical choices the author makes to convey this message.”
    • In Unit 4, Living the Dream, students begin the unit with a Skill lesson on Academic Vocabulary. Teachers provide direct instruction, helping students understand the multiple meanings of the unit’s terms. Students evaluate words like development, connection, and examination, in addition to others, and note similarities and differences in the multiple meanings that they learn. They also craft their sentences using the Academic Vocabulary. Throughout the unit, these words can be used for discussions about various texts if teachers so choose. For instance, before reading Langston Hughes’s poem, “The Negro Speaks of Rivers,” students may revisit the Academic Vocabulary by “discussing mainstream print and cultural discourse.” Before reading the argumentative text “Dream House” (author not cited), they use the vocabulary words “when discussing definitions of the American dream.” Students are encouraged to use as many Academic Vocabulary words as they can during the discussion and other similar ones that happen throughout the unit.
  • Vocabulary is repeated across multiple texts.
    • In Unit 1, Breaking Away, students complete a Skill: Academic Vocabulary lesson, learning the meanings of 10 Academic Vocabulary words, as well as how the Academic Vocabulary words are used in a variety of contexts. Terms students learn during the lesson include account, bearing, concentration, determine, engage, insensible, plot, represent, settle, and temper. When students complete a close read of “The Story of an Hour,” by Kate Chopin, students respond to a writing prompt that includes an Academic Vocabulary word: “How does the author use story elements such as setting, character development, or theme to develop the plot of “The Story of an Hour?” In your response, evaluate at least two of the story elements used by the author and how they shape the plot.” After independently reading The Scarlet Letter, by Nathaniel Hawthorne, students respond to a writing prompt which includes the same Academic Vocabulary word: “The Scarlet Letter depicts life in a society where Puritan values are the norm. What details about the historical and social setting of this society contribute to the plot and how people in the crowd perceive Hester?”
    • In Unit 3, No Strangers Here, students complete the first read of “One Today,” by Richard Blanco and use context clues to make predictions about the following boldfaced vocabulary words: crescendoing, teeming, din, prejudice, and constellation. Students complete a Reading Quiz by matching each vocabulary word to its definition. Students then complete a close read of the same text and complete a vocabulary activity to define and write a sample sentence for each vocabulary word. In Unit 5, students circle back to the same content vocabulary word during a first read of The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald. During the reading, students use context clues to make predictions about the boldfaced vocabulary words. The vocabulary word prejudice is repeated across texts and units.
    • In Unit 6, With Malice Toward None, students access Skill lessons under The Big Idea that are revisited throughout the unit. The Academic Vocabulary—Corroborating Evidence lesson includes ten words that are reintroduced in Close Read lessons throughout the unit, where students are encouraged to use them in discussions and writing responses. For example, in the close read lesson for the text “American Horse,” written by Louise Erdrich, students come back to the Academic Vocabulary word clarify and are encouraged to use it in their literary analysis response to both the “American Horse” and Invisible Man, by Ralph Ellison.

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 1, Breaking Away, students complete a Skill lesson to analyze how rhetorical devices strengthen the argument in the Declaration of Independence by Thomas Jefferson, et al. Students learn the definitions of rhetoric and rhetorical device. A model is available for students to “look at how one reader analyzes the rhetorical devices from the Declaration of Independence.” In the Your Turn section of the lesson, students reread paragraph 33 of the text and answer questions. After students complete a close read of the Declaration of Independence, they respond to a writing prompt: “Constitution of the Iroquois Nation,” by Dekanawidah (Oral Tradition) and the Declaration of Independence use rhetoric to reveal the author’s purpose and point of view. Write a response in which you compare and contrast each text’s purpose and the rhetoric used to support it. Then evaluate which text more effectively uses rhetorical devices, using textual evidence and original commentary to support your response.” After reading The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, or Gustavus Vassa, the African, by Olaudah Equiano, students engage in discussion to answer the question: “What kind of rhetorical devices and appeals does Equiano use at the end of the last paragraph?”
  • In Unit 4, Living the Dream, students practice using Tier 3 vocabulary words in the lesson on technical language after reading “Letter from Chief John Ross,” written by John Ross. Students use the technical language in the lesson for the purpose of developing writing using word choice that is precise and accurate. To determine the meaning of technical vocabulary, students use a checklist that asks them to consider questions while reading, such as, “What is the subject of the informational text?” Students apply their knowledge in the Your Turn component of the lesson as they answer multiple-choice questions and determine the meaning of words in context.
  • In Unit 5, The Wars We Wage, students complete a lesson about Academic Vocabulary—Preparing for the ACT and SAT: Part 4. Students learn ten words: address, blunt, convey, diffuse, execute, harbor, launch, resolution, sheer, and term. A model is available to help students expand their vocabulary. Then, students complete a Your Turn section of the lesson in which they answer questions to demonstrate an understanding of the Academic Vocabulary. While reading The Moor’s Account, by Laila Lalami, students engage in a discussion related to the reading and includes an Academic Vocabulary word. “The narrator feels ashamed when the soldiers launch their raid on the village. Why? Examine the root causes of Estebanico’s feelings.” At the end of the unit, students complete a Vocabulary Review of the same Academic Vocabulary words. The model allows students to try strategies such as the following: “1. Use the words in the context of slam poetry. With a group generate a topic and take turns creating a short slam poem using words in the list. Look up examples of slam poetry online, if needed. Using words in a new context can help you learn to use words with intention. (ex. The problems of the world, diffuse and exploding,/ Call me to launch some new ideas.)”
  • 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. Teachers give direct instruction on various vocabulary strategies. Teachers encourage students to “look up the etymology of a word and explain how it relates to one or more of the words it is derived from.” Students may also create an art exhibit inspired by the vocabulary terms or develop an advertisement about them. 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 they can and write in response to the following prompt: "Discuss an example of an injustice from one of the texts that you have studied in this unit. How might postmodern thinkers view this issue? And based on that perspective, is there any way to achieve justice for all in a postmodern world? Use as many Literary Focus and Academic Vocabulary words in your discussion as you can.”

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
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The StudySync instructional materials reviewed for Grade 11 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. For example, some examples are as follows:

  • In Unit 2, The Highway, students practice citing evidence to support a written response during the First Read of Chapter 1 of Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain The prompt is as follows: “How does Huck describe living with the Widow Douglas? What does Huck’s view of the widow reveal about himself? Cite evidence from the text to support your response.” Students practice the skill of citing evidence again after engaging in a Close Read and discussion of the same text. Students respond to the following literary analysis writing prompt: “Summarize the main character’s tone towards traditional society. Then, analyze how Mark Twain's choices regarding words and syntax help develop the main character's tone towards traditional society. Support your response with textual evidence.”
  • In Unit 3, No Strangers Here, after reading the poem, “One Today,” by Richard Blanco, students begin the first of many lessons around this poem by identifying pronouns and their impact in this poem. During the First Read lesson, students use a thesaurus or dictionary as they read. The materials include a paragraph guide to help students during the Text Talk that requires them to identify stanzas and respond to questions. This lesson provides the support students need to write a literary analysis during the Close Read: One Today lesson. The First Read, along with the Skill lessons on poetic elements and structure and media, are specifically designed to build skills necessary for students to write proficiently to the literary analysis writing response.
  • In Unit 5, The Wars We Wage, students read the play Othello, written by William Shakespeare, and then analyze his literal and figurative word choice. Students must also make a connection between the multiple layers of meaning created by Shakespeare and the play’s plot and theme. Materials provide supports such as the Skill: Language, Style, and Audience Lesson and the Close Read: Othello lesson that develop students’ ability to analyze word choice and how it advances the plot. Students write a literary analysis demonstrating their understanding of two different author’s word choices and how it impacts the plot.

Instructional materials include a variety of well-designed guidance, protocols, models, and support for teachers to implement and monitor students’ writing development. Examples include, but are not limited to the following:

  • In Unit 2, The Highway, students independently read an excerpt from the memoir Mississippi Solo, by Eddy L. Harris and respond to a writing prompt. The Teacher Edition includes guidance to Check for Success: “If students are struggling to respond to the prompt, ask them scaffolded questions, such as: Why does the author of ‘Mississippi Solo’ go on his journey? How does the author’s planned trip reflect his perspective on the world?”
  • In Unit 3, No Strangers Here, three texts, found in the beginning, middle and end of the unit, which build the skill of analyzing figurative language for purpose and impact are, “My True South: Why I Decided to Return Home,” written by Jesmyn Ward, “Given to Rust,” written by Vievee Francis, and “The Midnight Zone,” written by Lauren Groff. Students begin learning about figurative language within the first text introduced in the unit, “My True South: Why I Decided to Return Home,” during the Skill: Figurative Language lesson. The Skill lesson introduces students to types of figurative language such as simile, metaphor, personification, and figures of speech. In the Close Read lesson following the Skill lesson, students respond to a literary analysis prompt that requires them to analyze the author’s use of figurative language along with identifying reasons and evidence to support the claim. Eight texts later, students read “Given to Rust,” by Vievee Francis and engage in another Skill: Figurative Language lesson. Materials provide a Checklist for Figurative Language that adds to the previous lesson by including extended metaphor and implied metaphor. A Close Read lesson follows where students write a literary analysis comparing and contrasting three poems while analyzing the author's use of figurative language. Finally, students access the last text of the unit and continue to build on figurative language in yet another Skill: Figurative Language lesson. This lesson contains a SkillsTV video to build meaning around figurative language. Students again have a Checklist for Figurative Language with additional details such as hyperbole. Students again practice applying their knowledge about figurative language during a compare and contrast writing prompt that requires them to identify different authors' use of figurative language and its effect on the reader.
  • In Unit 6, With Malice Toward None, students complete a Timed Writing: Interpreting the Constitution 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 students use a graphic organizer to “plan out your position on whether the Supreme Court justices should interpret the Constitution as a stable or living document. Include your claim, reasons, and evidence.” The Teacher Edition includes additional guidance for the Timed Writing task: “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
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The StudySync instructional materials reviewed for Grade 11 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 2, The Highway, students engage in First Read: Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain and use research skills. Students may work in small groups to do a five-minute online search to gather information on whether the perception of the main character, Huck Finn, has changed over time. Students continue to gather information as they use context clues to determine the meaning of bold words, ask questions about unclear texts, and identify connections between events, characters and key details.
    • In Unit 4, Living the Dream, students read and annotate an informative text to gain background knowledge about the impact of magnetic fields on humans and animals, and “finding the way home.” Students annotate key ideas, ask questions regarding text that is unclear, and highlight textual information that relates to the driving question: “How do we know the way home?” Teachers may assign small groups of students to jigsaw different links to research and provide them with guiding questions to gather information during Blast: Homeward Bound.
    • In Unit 5, The Wars We Wage, during the Big Blast “ The Cold War on Ice,” students explore background information and research links about a topic. There are five research links, each followed by a description:
      • “Lake Placid 1980 Web Page: The International Olympic Committee breaks down the rest of the highlights from the 1980 Winter Games.
      • The 1980 Moscow Olympics Boycott Video: Did you know the United States actually boycotted the Olympics one year? After a successful Winter Games, find out what led to this controversial decision.
      • Remembering the USA's Miracle On Ice Video: How did an amateur team of college students coached by a former hockey player make history? This video from the International Olympic Committee explains how the U.S. team pulled it off.
      • US Hockey Team Makes Miracle on Ice Article/Video: On February 22, 1980, the U.S. Olympic Hockey team made history. How did their historic win affect the politics of the time?
      • The 1980 U.S. Olympic Hockey Team Web Page: For all the hockey fans out there, this U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame web page describes the game in its entirety.”

Using these tools, students write a 140-character response to a question.

  • Students have opportunities to engage in “long” projects across grades and grade bands.
    • In Unit 2, The Highway, students engage in an informative writing project at the end of the unit. Students gather information for this writing project from two or three texts as well as research links in the Blasts to describe the journey taken and the learning along the way found within each text. During the Draft phase of the Extended Writing Project, students use a graphic organizer to gather and record evidence on a thesis statement and supporting information found in three different texts.
    • In Unit 4, Living the Dream, 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 Daniela include on each source card? How did that information help Daniela in her research process? What information did Daniela write on each note card? How did that information help Daniela? How did reviewing notecards help Daniela synthesize information?”
    • In Unit 6, With Malice Toward None, students work on an oral presentation project. During Oral Presentation: Process, students learn about the four characteristics of argumentative oral presentations and determine which ones they will need to know more about in order to answer the prompt effectively. Students annotate a Student Model as they highlight logical structure, accurate evidence, speaking techniques, and relevant visual aids. Students then gather information around a change that would create a “more just world.”

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
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The StudySync instructional materials reviewed for Grade 11 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.

For example, some examples are as follows:

  • In Unit 1, Breaking Away, supports are in place for independent reading, such as the independent read of “On Being Brought from Africa to America,” by Phillis Wheatley when the materials include guidance that reminds students to monitor comprehension by “Using context clues to make predictions about the boldfaced vocabulary words.” “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 student self-selection is an excerpt from The Crucible, by Arthur Miller. The StudySync Library provides an option to “Add to bookshelf” and annotate the text. The selection is an excerpt from the play, 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, The Highway, supports are in place for students to independently read a variety of interactive digital texts to explore the Essential Question, “How do journeys influence perspective?” The essay “Walden,” by Henry David Thoreau, is read independently but the text also has a Skill Lesson to deepen students’ understanding. Emily Dickinson’s poems “I never hear the word Escape” and “Because I could not stop for Death,” an excerpt from the nonfiction text Mississippi Solo, by Eddy Harris, and an excerpt from The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration, by Isabel Wilkerson are read independently but are also paired with other texts that share common themes. A scene excerpt from Little Miss Sunshine, by Michael Arndt is 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 materials include the following support: “Ask small groups to provide examples of how to monitor comprehension when understanding breaks down. Project onto the board exemplar methods for monitoring comprehension 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, No Strangers Here, 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 “What to the Slave is the Fourth of July,” by Frederick Douglaass paired with an excerpt from Barracoon:The Story of the Last “Black Cargo,” by Zora Neal Hurston. Additional supports assist students with drawing inferences using textual evidence, summarizing portions in order to understand the development of central ideas in the text, and summarizing an author’s message. 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 “Do I want to read another stream of consciousness novel by William Faulkner? Perhaps you might try The Sound and the Fury.
  • In Unit 4, Living the Dream,” supports are in place for students to independently read a variety of interactive digital texts to explore the Essential Question, “What does home mean to you?” The poems “The Negro Speaks of Rivers,” by Langston Hughes and “The Old Cabin,” by Paul Laurence Dunbar and short stories “The Fall of the House of Usher,” by Edgar Allan Poe and “In Our Neighborhood,” by Alice Dunbar-Nelson are all read independently and also paired with other texts that share common themes. The argumentative text “Dream House” (authors not cited) and the essay “Eat, Memory: Orange Crush,” by Yiyun Li 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 materials provide the following guidance, “Ask small groups to provide examples of visualizations they have made. Project exemplar visualizations onto the board 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, The Wars We Wage, supports are in place for students to choose independent reading selections through the StudySync library and to self-monitor. Examples of independent selections within the unit include but are not limited to the essay “‘These Wild Young People’ by One of Them,” by John F. Carter, Jr., the short story “A Rose for Emily,” by William Faulkner, and an excerpt from the drama Death of a Salesman,” by Arthur Miller. Examples of self-selected texts connecting to the genre include but are not limited to The Sun Also Rises, by Ernest Hemingway, the speech “War Message to Congress,” by Woodrow Wilson, John F. Kennedy’s Inaugural Address, and Two Trains Running, by August Wilson.
  • In Unit 6, “With Malice Toward None,” supports are in place for students to independently read a variety of interactive digital texts to explore the Essential Question, “How can we attain justice for all?” An excerpt from Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man, Christine Kitano’s poem “Gaman,” the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and Dalia Rosenfeld’s short story “The Four Foods” are all read independently and also paired with other texts that share common themes. Aimee Nezhukumatathil’s poem “On Listening to Your Teacher Take Attendance,” the short story “The Last Ride of Cowboy Bob,” by Skip Hollandsworth, and the essay “The Color of an Awkward Conversation,” by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie 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 materials include these directions, “Circulate as students read independently and encourage them to use the reading comprehension strategy of Making Connections to deepen their understanding of the text.” Following each independent read, students assess their comprehension through a short online quiz or written response.

Gateway Three

Usability

Meets Expectations

+
-
Gateway Three Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 11 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
+
-
Criterion Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 11 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
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The StudySync instructional materials reviewed for Grade 11 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 1, Breaking Away, the pacing guide includes details relating to the Big Idea: “How does independence define the American spirit?”, the multiple text readings, Skill and Standard Instruction, Additional Program Lessons for Reteaching, and Skill Practice and Spiraling. Students spend 30 days to complete Unit 1; the final two days of the unit are for review and assessment.
  • In Unit 3, No Strangers Here, students complete the paired reading “What to the Slave Is the Fourth of July?” by Frederick Douglass and an excerpt from the book Barracoon: The Story of the Last ‘Black Cargo,’ by Zora Neale Hurston. Students also complete a Skill: Summarizing lesson. The pacing guide recommends completing these tasks on Days 8–10. The materials indicate that the total time for the lessons is 170 minutes, which can be more time than teachers have to complete the lessons within three days.
  • In Unit 4, Living the Dream, the pacing guide suggests two days to complete “Fences,” by August Wilson. Students complete the Skill and Standard lesson on dramatic elements and structure and summarizing. Reteaching occurs during Spotlight Skill: Summarizing and Spotlight Skill: Dramatic Elements and Structure. Finally, students complete the following Skill practice lessons: Summarizing, Theme, Story Elements, and Dramatic Elements and Structure.
  • In Unit 5, The Wars We Wage, students explore the Essential Question, “What does it mean to win?” The Instructional Path includes reading a variety of texts and completing tasks connected to the First Read and Close Read. Students complete a Vocabulary Review, Self-Selected Reading, and Timed Writing. The Extended Writing Project and Grammar lesson connect to the Essential Question and theme. Students also complete an End-of-Unit Assessment. The structure is similar throughout the grade level, with the exception that one of the Extended Writing Projects is an Extended Oral Project. Lesson Plans are available for each task to assist teachers with instructional routines.

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
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The StudySync instructional materials reviewed for Grade 11 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. For example, some examples are included in the following:

  • In Unit 2, The Highway, students complete five lessons on the essay “Driving My Own Destiny,” by Manal al-Sharif. The pacing guide suggests three days to complete five lessons. The fifth lesson, Close Read: Driving My Own Destiny, includes 16 application standards, 10 of them focusing on dense writing, and speaking and listening standards. The lesson includes seven tasks that require students to work in a whole group, small group, and independently. One of the seven tasks requires students to plan and write an explanatory response that requires identification of text structures, analyzing how structure relates to the purpose, and the inclusion of textual evidence and commentary. Forty minutes may not be sufficient in addressing 16 standards, completing seven tasks, and writing a complex response based on multiple requirements.
  • In Unit 3, No Strangers Here, the culminating task is a literary analysis that students write for their Extended Writing Project. The pacing guide allots one day for Planning, four days for Drafting, four days for Revising, and four days for Editing and Publishing. While this allows plenty of time for students to complete the writing process, there are no dedicated days for the project itself. On the day that students are supposed to start the Extended Writing Project, they are on their last day reading and analyzing the Declaration of Independence. The lesson plan for this day takes students through a close read of the text and requires them to write an essay that is not related to the Extended Writing Project.
  • In Unit 5, The Wars We Wage, the Unit Overview offers teachers guidance on modifying the unit to allow for flexible pacing. It suggests that teachers “Eliminate Repeated Connotation and Denotation and Author’s Purpose and Point of View Skill Lessons.” The overview reassures teachers that the materials address some skills more than once so that students have multiple opportunities to practice them. Students will still get to practice specific skills, even if teachers choose to eliminate due to time constraints. The overview also lists the unit’s four argumentative texts to give an example of content modifications that teachers may make if they are dealing with time constraints.

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
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The StudySync instructional materials reviewed for Grade 11 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.). For example, some examples are included in the following:

  • In Unit 1, Breaking Away, students begin with a SyncStart titled The Story of the Hour. Students explore background information and research links about a topic in the Blast followed by Skill lessons on annotation, context clues, and reading comprehension before beginning the first read of “The Story of the Hour,” by Kate Chopin. Students complete a Skill: Story Elements—Character lesson before applying their learning in response to discussion questions and completing a short written response in the close read of “The Story of the Hour.” Finally, in this section, students complete the following lessons: Skill: Collaborative Conversations, Skill: Short Constructed Responses, and Skill: Peer Reviews.
  • In Unit 3, No Strangers Here, the unit begins with the Big idea, which introduces background information and research links about a topic through a Blast. The Blast is followed by a Literary focus on Realism, Naturalism, and Regionalism and two Skill lessons on recognizing genre and academic vocabulary. Students read “My True South: Why I Decided to Return Home,” by Jesmyn Ward, before completing the Skill lesson on figurative language, connotation, and denotation, and reasons and evidence. Then, they use those skills to analyze Ward’s reasons and the way she uses evidence and figurative language to support and strengthen her claims.
  • In Unit 5, The Wars We Wage, students read “The Marshall Plan Speech,” by Secretary of State George Marshall. They examine how the words of history’s heroes have shaped history. After completing the first read, students work on Skill lessons on the author’s purpose and point of view, informational text structure, and word patterns and relationships. They complete the close read by writing a short response that analyzes and evaluates how Marshall structures his argument and uses rhetoric and reasoning to support his point of view.

Indicator 3d

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

The StudySync instructional materials reviewed for Grade 11 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, Breaking Away, the culminating task focuses on narrative writing. Students construct a meaningful narrative in response to a writing prompt. One Skill lesson in the writing process provides students with time to practice organizing narratives. They complete a chart by dragging and dropping events into the correct narrative sequence. The activity reinforces W.11-12.3, which states, “Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, well-chosen details, and well-structured event sequences.”
  • In Unit 3, No Strangers Here, students independently read Jesmyn Ward’s short autobiographical essay, “My True South: Why I Decided to Return Home.” They complete quiz questions that list the corresponding Common Core standards in the student-facing materials. For example, students answer, “Which inference about the narrator is best supported by the following passage?” This connects to CCRA.R.1, which states, “Read closely to determine what the text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; cite specific textual evidence.”
  • In Unit 5, The Wars We Wage, students independently read the essay, “'These Wild Young People’ by One of Them,” by John F. Carter Jr. Students complete quiz questions before writing an argumentative essay in response to a writing prompt. The assignment connects to multiple Common Core Standards, including RI.11-12.1, W.11-12.1a, W.11-12.1b, and W.11-12.10.

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
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 11 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 1, Breaking Away, the Instructional Path organizes the readings using images. Students recognize when they are approaching paired readings since there is a blue perforated line around the list of texts and blue symbol next to the titles, such as with the poems “On Being Brought from Africa to America,” by Phillis Wheatley, which is read alongside “An Address to Phillis Wheatley,” by Jupiter Hammon.
  • In Unit 3, No Strangers Here, introductory videos that support student engagement are consistently available before students complete a First Read lesson. For example, before reading “Given to Rust,” by Vievee Francis, students watch the short video. The visuals are clear; the audio is professional and includes interesting narration. The Closed Captioning is also clear with a balance of white font against a black background. A transcript is also available.
  • In Unit 5, The Wars We Wage, 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 are 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 of the following best describes the tone in paragraph 7?”

Criterion 3f - 3j

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 11 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
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The StudySync instructional materials reviewed for Grade 11 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 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. For example, some examples are included in the following:

  • In Unit 1, Breaking Away, students engage in an Extended Writing Project, during which they write a narrative. Teachers have access to StudySync Teaching Labs where high school teachers share how they prepare, deliver, and follow up with this extended two-week project. Teachers can access videos on teaching the writing process using writing Skill lessons. In the writing process lesson video, the teacher talks about starting with the Pacing Guide and the importance of the Plan lesson. The video takes teachers into the classroom about how the teacher guides their reading. Additionally, the teacher suggests closing computers and technology and focusing on a printed rubric. The video provides tips for teachers throughout, such as skipping a step and moving directly into the next activity to allow teachers to make choices that work for them.
  • In Unit 3, No Strangers Here, within the Unit Overview, the materials include a section titled “Difficult Concepts” to support teachers with planning. In this unit, the materials identify reasons and evidence, and figurative language as difficult topics for students to understand. This section pinpoints specific texts like the poem “Given to Rust,“ written by Vievee Francis, that teachers may use to help students understand the author’s reason for using figurative language.
  • In Unit 5, The Wars We Wage, students engage in a Skill lesson on the author’s purpose and point of view after reading “The Marshall Plan Speech,” written by George Marshall. During the Model component of the lesson, students watch a SkillsTV episode, and the materials provide guidance on when to stop the video and ask questions to engage students in discussion. For instance, after pausing the video at 0.30, the teacher asks, “What is the difference between an author’s purpose and an author’s message?” Suggestions on how to group students for peer support during the discussion are also available.

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
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The StudySync instructional materials reviewed for Grade 11 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 and 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. For example, some examples are included in the following:

  • In Unit 2, The Highway, in the Independent Read of the poem “I never hear the word ‘Escape,’” by Emily Dickinson, the Access Complex Text section provides aspects of vocabulary within the text that may be challenging for students and what the teacher can do to support students. The Specific Vocabulary subsection states students may need support with understanding the figurative use of seemingly easy vocabulary, and the lesson lists examples: “quicker blood” and “flying attitude.” Then, the lesson gives suggestions on how to support: “Remind students to think about multiple meanings and the effect of words as they’re reading.”
  • In Unit 5, The Wars We Wage, 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 sentence focuses on what would be the case if Johnson had, in fact, not been committed to the act. It does not introduce the central ideas of the passage.”
  • In Unit 6, With Malice Toward None, within the Independent Read of “The Last Ride of Cowboy Bob,” by Skip Hollandsworth, the Connection of Ideas section discusses aspects of the text that may be challenging for students and what the teacher can do to support students. For example, the materials draw attention to the need for students to make inferences and synthesize information while reading complex text. The recommendation for student support is as follows: “Encourage students to connect information provided about Peggy Jo’s backstory to the information provided about the characteristics of a typical bank robber.”

Indicator 3h

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

The StudySync instructional materials reviewed for Grade 11 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 (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. For example, some examples are included in the following:

  • The Grade Level Overview states the following: “Skill lessons on Organizing Narrative Writing and Narrative Techniques teach concepts specifically called out in the Common Core ELA standards.” The Pacing Guide shows that the first text read, “The Story of an Hour,” by Kate Chopin, covers several standards, including RL.11-12.4, L.11-12.4a, RL.11-12.10, and SL.11-12.1 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.
  • The Program Guide references the Instructional Path that identifies the standards addressed in StudySync lessons. Teachers have access to sources that help students demonstrate progress toward standard mastery, such as, Reading Quizzes, Skills Mastery Checks, and Extended Writing Projects that include the specific standards addressed in each component of the lesson. For example, in the First Read lesson of the point/counterpoint argumentative text “Life After High School,” the Lesson Plan provides teachers with an answer key to the Reading Quiz, with each question indicating the standard that was assessed. In this case, question one, where students are asked to identify a statement that both authors of the text would most likely support, addresses and assesses RI.11-12.1.

Indicator 3i

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

The StudySync instructional materials reviewed for Grade 11 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. For example, some examples are included in 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.
0/0
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The StudySync instructional materials reviewed for Grade 11 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. For example, some examples are included in 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
+
-
Criterion Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 11 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
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The StudySync instructional materials reviewed for Grade 11 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. For example, some examples are included in the following:

  • In Unit 2, The Highway, during the Independent Read of Emily Dickinson’s poem “I never hear the word ‘Escape,’” students compare their own ideas of escape to those of the poet in a short, written response. The writing is used to formatively assess their understanding of the unit’s genre focus and/or the standard, which was the focus of the lesson. Before the writing, the lesson features an Academic Vocabulary Focus. The teacher asks students to draw their attention to the academic vocabulary word scenario. The teacher will then call on students to share out the definition of the word in their own words. The teacher then reminds the students of the meaning of the word and explains its use in context. The teacher will be able to assess students’ understanding of the vocabulary word based on how the student uses the word in their writing. The materials provide teachers with an exemplar response to grasp the level of students' understanding and make adjustments where necessary.
  • In Unit 4, Living the Dream, in the close read of “Letter from Chief John Ross,” by Chief John Ross, students complete Think questions which formatively assesses their understanding of the unit’s genre focus and/or the standard which was the focus of the lesson. An example from this lesson includes the Skill: Textual Evidence question: “What makes this letter especially persuasive? Use evidence from the text about the content and the author’s style to support your answer.” The materials provide teachers with an exemplar response to grasp the level of students’ understanding and make adjustments where necessary.
  • In Unit 5, The Wars We Wage, students complete a summative End-of-Unit Assessment to demonstrate proficiency in reading, writing, and language skills practiced during the unit. For example, the final question asks students to write an argumentative essay to the following prompt: “There are many ways to define a ‘win.’ There are wins in sports, which are defined by the team that scores the most points. Sometimes, though, people take opposite stands on an issue; how do you define a win in this context? Write an essay in which you argue for your personal definition of ‘a win.’ Support your claim in your essay with at least two details from the sources you read in this Assessment.” Teachers provide a score with feedback, and the materials offer an exemplar response in the Teacher Edition.

Indicator 3l

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

Indicator 3l.i

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

The StudySync instructional materials reviewed for Grade 11 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. For example, some examples are included in the following:

  • In Unit 1, Breaking Away, students read a point/counterpoint essay called “Life After High School” (authors not cited). After a Close Read, students write an argumentative essay in response to a prompt. The assessment addresses several standards, including RI.11-12.1, RI.11-12.7, SL.11-12.2, W.11-12.1.A, and W.11-12.1.B, all of which are denoted in both student-and teacher-facing materials.
  • In Unit 3, No Strangers Here, students write a literary analysis for their Extended Writing Project. The summative assessment walks students through each stage of the writing process through the use of multiple Skill Lessons. The Editing and Publishing stage addresses the following standards, W.11-12.1.A, W.11-12.5, and W.11-12.6, which are denoted in teacher’s Lesson Plans and on student versions of the assignments themselves.
  • In Unit 5, The Wars We Wage, students read excerpts of Shakespeare’s classic play, Othello, alongside an excerpt from the novel The Moor’s Account, by Laila Lalami. Students then write a literary analysis in response to a prompt. Student and teacher materials show that the summative assessment addresses the following standards: RL.11-12.1, RL.11-12.4, W.11-12.1.A, and W.11-12.1.B.

Indicator 3l.ii

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

The StudySync instructional materials reviewed for Grade 11 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. For example, some examples are included in the following:

  • In Unit 2, The Highway, teachers have access to the assessments for screening. Teachers may use the Assess tab to find a number of assessments by grade level. When filtering for Grade 11, teachers can access the Grade 11 Readiness Screener. This screener provides information about how well students understand the standards and skills from the previous year. Teachers can use this readiness screener to recognize strengths and to reteach and provide remediation.
  • In Unit 6, With Malice Toward None, students complete an End-of-Unit-Assessment that entails reading grade-level passages and responding to writing prompts. Students demonstrate an understanding of key standards in reading, writing, and language from the entire 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.

Indicator 3m

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

The StudySync instructional materials reviewed for Grade 11 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 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. For example, some examples are included in the following:

  • In Unit 2, The Highway, 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, Living the Dream, students read “The Old Cabin,” by Paul Laurence Dunbar, independently. The Teacher Edition offers a Check for Success with guidance, including the following: “Ask small groups to provide examples of how the poem connects to their personal experiences, ideas in other texts, or society. Project exemplar connections onto the board as a model for students as they continue reading.”
  • In Unit 5, The Wars We Wage, students make and support inferences about key ideas and details as they read and discuss “Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body,” by Roxane Gay. The lesson plan consists of checks for understanding, such as a Text Talk, Think Questions, and an Optional Peer Review and Reflect lesson designed to make sure the students have the knowledge to complete the objective of the lesson. For example: “Skill: Textual Evidence Question—What does the author mean when she says, ‘I am trapped in a cage’? Cite evidence from the text to support your thinking.”

Indicator 3n

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

The StudySync instructional materials reviewed for Grade 11 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. For example, some examples are included in the following:

  • In Unit 1, Breaking Away, students read a Blast background text that dives into the unit’s texts and Essential Question, “How does independence define the American spirit?” 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, “Do I want to read about someone on the path to self-discovery? Am I curious about what it feels like to want something that you don’t yet have? If so, consider reading The Awakening.
  • In Unit 4, Living the Dream, 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 reflect on the powerful connections to a place and respond to the following prompt: “What ties a person to a place?” Students support their choice using evidence from their selected text.
  • In Unit 5, The Wars We Wage, students read a Blast background text that dives into the unit’s texts and Essential Question, “What does it mean to win?” 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, “Interested in more argumentative texts? Then, we recommend John F. Kennedy’s Inaugural Address delivered in 1961.”

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
+
-
Criterion Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 11 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
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The StudySync instructional materials reviewed for Grade 11 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 (ELs): 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 and 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. For example, some examples are included in the following:

  • In Unit 1, Breaking Away, students complete a First Read of the Declaration of Independence by Thomas Jefferson, et al. Students identify and describe the purpose and key ideas in the text as well as make connections to society. When teachers assign the lesson, they can customize it. Options include, but are not limited to the following: 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 Venn Diagram.
  • In Unit 3, No Strangers Here, students complete a Close Read of “Given to Rust,” by Vievee Francis. 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 to prompt students if they struggle to respond to Skills Focus question #1: “1. What does the speaker describe in these lines? 2. What effect did her illness have on her? 3. What does this challenge reveal?”
  • In Unit 6, With Malice Toward None, students use the annotation tool to annotate an excerpt of “The Last Ride of Cowboy Bob,” by Skip Hollandsworth, during Independent Reading. Student guidance for annotating includes “use context clues to analyze and determine meaning, ask questions, identify key details, events, individuals, and connections, and track descriptive language and imagery.”

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
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The StudySync instructional materials reviewed for Grade 11 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 (ELLs)—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 ELLs 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
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The StudySync instructional materials reviewed for Grade 11 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. For example, some examples are included in the following:

  • In Unit 1, Breaking Away, students independently read “Indian Boarding School: The Runaways,” by Louise Erdrich. Students demonstrate their understanding of how place influences identity by writing a narrative focused on a setting. As the students engage in Collaborative Conversations to prepare to write, Beyond students make text to world connections. The teacher gives a brief history with some narrative background. “In this poem the speaker relates an account of the forced assimilation and oppression experienced by Native Americans who were coerced into attending boarding schools during this period. ‘All runaways wear dresses, long green ones, the color you would think shame was. We scrub the sidewalks down because it's shameful work.’” Students research primary source accounts—including journals, photographs, reports, or letters—about the forced assimilation of Native American children during this period. Teachers ask students probing questions, such as “What were the experiences of those forced to attend these schools? Why is it important to read primary source documents when researching historic events? How do your research findings impact your understanding of the poem?”
  • In Unit 4, Living the Dream, students complete a close reading of an excerpt from the drama A Raisin in the Sun, by Lorraine Hansberry. The Teacher Edition provides suggestions for differentiation with Beyond-grade-level readers. For example, teachers may ask students Multiple Perspectives questions. “Reread paragraph 28. Beneatha says this in reference to Walter: ‘Love him? There is nothing left to love.’ What accounts for the differences in their perspectives? How do these differences contribute to the conflict?”
  • In Unit 6, With Malice Toward None, students independently read the poem “Gaman,” by Christine Kitano. The Lesson Plan offers suggestions for differentiation with Beyond-grade-level readers. One suggestion is a Visual Study: “Have students work in a group to find a picture of an internment camp for people of Japanese descent. Once the group has agreed upon a visual, each member should prepare several discussion questions about the picture to use with their group.”

Indicator 3r

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

The StudySync instructional materials reviewed for Grade 11 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. For example, some examples are included in the following:

  • In Unit 2, The Highway, students read the poem “I never hear the word ‘Escape,’” by Emily Dickinson. Students participate in a Collaborative Conversation before writing in response to a prompt. The Lesson Plan gives teachers insight into grouping Beginning and Intermediate ELLs. It states, “Work directly with Beginning and Intermediate students as a group. Use the discussion prompts and speaking frames to facilitate the discussion.”
  • In Unit 4, Living the Dream, students read the play “A Raisin in the Sun,” by Lorraine Hansberry. During a Skills lesson on theme, students work in groups to read and annotate the Skill Model. The Lesson Plan provides the following guidance for grouping Beginning and Intermediate ELLs: “Group students in mixed-level pairs for peer support as they follow along. Allow students to work together to highlight and annotate the text, in English or in their native language.”
  • In Unit 5, The Wars We Wage, under The Big Idea, students explore the Blast: The Wars We Wage. The whole class participates in Number Crunch. Students share their predictions with the class regarding the meaning of the number 7.963,535. Under the scaffolding and differentiation section of the lesson, guidance on grouping strategies is available for teachers. Grouping suggestions for ELL students include a native English speaker, a Beginning or Intermediate ELL, and an Advanced or Advanced-High peer to create support for this task.

Criterion 3s - 3v

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 11 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
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The StudySync instructional materials reviewed for Grade 11 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. For example, some examples are included in 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.
0/0
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The StudySync instructional materials reviewed for Grade 11 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 include 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.
0/0

Indicator 3u.i

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

The StudySync instructional materials reviewed for Grade 11 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. For example, some examples are included in 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 ELLs. 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.
0/0
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The StudySync instructional materials reviewed for Grade 11 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. For example, some examples are included in 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 the following: 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.)
0/0
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The StudySync instructional materials reviewed for Grade 11 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.). For example, some examples are included in the following:

  • In Unit 1, Breaking Away, students start the unit with a Blast. They read background information and answer the guiding question: “How does independence define the American spirit?” 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 4, Living the Dream, students begin this unit with Blast: Living the Dream and explore background information and research links about the topic. Students are divided into four groups and provided a different research link to read and gather information. Then, students discuss their link source using three questions, such as “What are the source’s key ideas?” Following, students divide up in this jigsaw and share out the information they gathered in their first research group.
  • In Unit 6, With Malice Toward None, students read “Second Inaugural Address” written by Abraham Lincoln and focus on understanding the key ideas and details of the speech. Students work collaboratively to brainstorm a list of images that relate to the Civil War. Then, students work in small groups to search for these online images. Afterwards, the teacher chooses one or two of these digital images for a class discussion.
abc123

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.

Math K-8

Math High School

ELA K-2

ELA 3-5

ELA 6-8


ELA High School

Science Middle School

X