Alignment to College and Career Ready Standards: Overall Summary

The materials for Grade 8 do not meet the expectations of alignment to standards. The texts and tasks partially meet the demands to support students' development of literacy skills in reading, writing, speaking and listening, and language. Materials partially support students in building their knowledge of topics and themes as well as growing vocabulary. Materials include some support for comprehensive writing and research instruction.

See Rating Scale
Understanding Gateways

Alignment

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Does Not Meet Expectations

Gateway 1:

Text Quality

0
17
32
36
24
32-36
Meets Expectations
18-31
Partially Meets Expectations
0-17
Does Not Meet Expectations

Gateway 2:

Building Knowledge

0
15
28
32
12
28-32
Meets Expectations
16-27
Partially Meets Expectations
0-15
Does Not Meet Expectations

Usability

|

Not Rated

Not Rated

Gateway 3:

Usability

0
23
30
34
0
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

Partially Meets Expectations

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.
14/20
+
-
Criterion Rating Details

The texts included in Holt McDougal Literature Grade 8 are of high quality and worthy of careful reading. Texts included encompass a wide range of the types and genre called for in the standards as well as the appropriate levels of complexity for this grade level. However, the texts do not appear to increase in complexity over the course of the year. While the levels of the texts are provided with the materials they are not accompanied by a rationale for purpose and placement. Students do not have the opportunity to engage with full-length novels, despite the inclusion of excerpts from high-quality texts. Independent reading is not required, therefore there are no processes for monitoring of it.

Indicator 1a

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 8 meet the criteria for anchor texts being of publishable quality and worthy of especially careful reading and consider a range of student interests.

The majority of the texts included in the materials are of publishable quality and are worthy of close-reading. There are a wide range of texts that would hold the interests of a variety of students. Both literature and informational selections are high-quality without the need for revisions or supplements. Examples of these texts include, but are not limited to:

  • In Unit 1, students read the short story “ Flowers for Algernon” by Daniel Keyes. This has story has received multiple awards including the Nebula Award for Best Novel and the Hugo Award for Best Short Story.
  • In Unit 3, students read a passage from Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred D. Taylor. The novel received the 1977 Newbery Medal.
  • In Unit 4, students read The DIary of Anne Frank: A Play based on the classic book by Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett.
  • In Unit 6, students read “O Captain! My Captain!”/ “I Saw Old General at Bay” both by Walt Whitman. This time honored poetry is worthy of multiple careful reads.
  • In Unit 8, students read “Over the Top: The True Adventures of a Volcano Chaser” by Renee Skelton, an article published in National Geographic.

Indicator 1b

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 8 meet the criteria for materials reflecting the distribution of text types and genres required by the standards at each grade level. Students read a mix of both informational and literary texts as well as texts from multiple genres. Evidence that supports the materials meeting the criteria include, but are not limited to:

  • In Unit 2, students read a variety of text types and genres including “John Henry” (poem) as well as short stories, timeline articles, a screenplay, vignette, film clips, and biographies.
  • In Unit 4, students read a variety of text types and genres including “The Old Grandfather and His Little Grandson” by Leo Tolstoy (folk tale) as well as myths, poems, drama, newspaper article, and an interview.
  • In Unit 5, students read a variety of text types and genres that include “One More Round” by Maya Angelou (poem) as well as poems, sonnets, book excerpts, and ballads.
  • In Unit 7, students read a variety of text types and genres that include “One Last Time” by Gary Soto (memoir): as well as short stories, tall tales, memoirs, and poems.

Indicator 1c

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

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

Throughout the materials, there are many texts that do not have the appropriate complexity for the grade level. Many texts have quantitative scores that fall below the correct range, and the qualitative portion is insufficient to raise the overall grade level alignment. The text also relies heavily on excerpts from pieces of literature that are only a few pages long, which limits the exposure to certain included Lexile levels. The excerpts omit important aspects of the text and associated tasks do not increase complexity appropriately for the grade level. Texts at the correct grade level are included, but are not used consistently or do not have appropriate associated tasks. Evidence of this includes, but is not limited to:

  • In Unit 1, students read “The Great Rat Race” with a Lexile of 650. The text does involve some cultural differences that may increase the complexity for some students, the structure of the text is not very complex. The task asks students to focus on conflict with this text.
  • In Unit 3, students read an excerpt from Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry. This text is an exemplar text for grades 6-8, but the materials are only asking students to read a short passage. Students are simply asked to work on fluency with this piece. The task does not work with the complexity of this text.
  • In Unit 6 students read an excerpt from Kira-Kira, with a Lexile level of 740. There are some cultural differences that could make this text complex, students are not provided enough of the text to really focus on those complex features. Students are asked to work on fluency with this piece, so the task does not increase the complexity of this text.

Examples of texts that are at the appropriate level of complexity are as follows:

  • In Unit 4, students read “The Diary of Anne Frank”. This text is an exemplar text for grades 6-8. This text is paired with “A Diary from Another World”, a newspaper article, and “The Last Seven Months of Anne Frank, an interview. Students use all three texts to complete after reading tasks.
  • In Unit 6 , students read “O Captain! My Captain!” and “I Saw Old General at Bay”. “O Captain! My Captain!” is an exemplar text for grades 6-8. Students work with both poems to complete after reading tasks.

Indicator 1d

Materials support students' increasing literacy skills over the course of the school year. (Series of texts should be at a variety of complexity levels appropriate for the grade band.)
2/4
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 8 partially meet the criteria for materials supporting students’ increasing literacy skills over the course of the school year. Series of texts should be at a variety of complexity levels appropriate for the grade band.

Though there is a great variety of complexities throughout the materials, there is no discernable increase during the course of the year. For example, in Unit 1 Lexile levels range from 650-1260, in Unit 3 Lexile levels range from 790-1030, and in Unit 8 Lexile levels range from 820-1240. In Unit 1 students read “My First Free Summer”. This text is a Lexile level of 820, but with a fairly simple structure. While this text does incorporate some cultural aspects that may make this text more complex, the tasks associated with this text do not increase complexity. In Unit 7, students read “Out of Bounds”. This text is a Lexile level of 790 and contains a simple structure. Similar to “My First Free Summer”, this text deals with cultural differences that may make this text more complex for some students.

In addition, tasks are of similar rigor and demand at the beginning compared to the end of the year. For example, Each Unit has a “Practice and Apply” section at the end of the stories. Within each “Practice and Apply” section students answer comprehension questions, complete a text analysis, and have an opportunities for Extension and Challenge. The “Practice and Apply” section does not build or become more rigorous from the prior units “Practice and Apply” Section. Students do not show that they can independently master skills by the end of the year. Most analysis questions give note exactly where to go to get the needed information. Students rarely have to practice close reading to dig deeper into texts. The scaffolds and student notes provided in the margins remain the same from Unit 1 until the end of the year.

Indicator 1e

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

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

The publisher does not provide a text complexity analysis or rationale for purpose and placement in the grade level. At the beginning of every unit, texts are listed with their Lexile, Fry, and Dale-Chall level. There are no qualitative measurements, nor are any reader and task considerations included to create a complete text analysis. There is also no rationale included for the purpose or placement in each grade level.

Unit 1:

  • “Raymond’s Run” by Toni Cade Bambara Difficulty Level: Average Readability: Lexile 1270, Fry 7, Dale-Chall 6.6
  • “The Ransom of Red Chief” by O. Henry Difficulty Level: Challenging Readability: Lexile 980, Fry 9, Dale-Chall 7.9

Unit 4:

  • “Gil’s Furniture Bought & Sold” by Sandra Cisneros Difficulty Level: Easy Readability: Lexile 1070, Fry 6, Dale-Chall 5.7
  • “Pandora’s Box” retold by Louis Untermeyer Difficulty Level: Challenging Readability: Lexile 930, Fry 9, Dale-Chall 6.5

Unit 8:

  • “The Spider Man Behind Spider-Man” by Bijal P. Trivedi Difficulty Level: Average Readability: Lexile 1240, Fry 8, Dale-Chall 7.8
  • “Over the Top” by Renee Skelton Difficulty Level: Average Readability: Lexile 1030, Fry 9, Dale-Chall 7.6

Indicator 1f

Anchor text(s), including support materials, provide opportunities for students to engage in a range and volume of reading to achieve grade level reading.
1/2
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 8 partially meet the criteria that anchor and supporting texts provide opportunities for students to engage in a broad range of text types and disciplines as well as a volume of reading to achieve grade level reading proficiency.

Students are exposed to a wide range of text types within each unit and throughout the curriculum, although no clear anchor texts are designated by the Teacher Edition. For example, units have a broad range of text types, including, but not limited to memoirs, excerpts, poems, scripts, folk literature, short stories, new articles, non-fiction texts, and cartoons. Also, each unit has a large volume of texts for students to read. Unit 1 contains 10 texts, Unit 2 contains 8 texts, Unit 3 contains 8 texts, Unit 4 contains 6 texts, Unit 5 contains 8 texts, Unit 6 contains 7 texts, Unit 7 contains 6 texts, Unit 8 contains 8 texts, Unit 9 contains 5 texts, and Unit 10 is designated as a research unit, but lacks anchor/focus texts.

There are no opportunities for students to engage with full-length novels, but many high quality novel excerpts are included. For example, In Unit 3, students are introduced to Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry, but they only read a five-page passage of the novel. At the end of the excerpt, the textbook recommends students continue reading the novel to find out what more will happen, but there are no materials for the student or teacher to continue any work with this novel. Also, In Unit 8, students are introduced to An American Plague: The True and Terrifying Story of the Yellow Fever Epidemic of 1793, but they only read a five-page passage of the text. At the end of the excerpt, the textbook states “Keep reading to learn about the heroic efforts of many citizens to care for the sick and search for a cure.” While it is suggested that students continue reading, there are not materials for the teacher or students to use to continue any work with this novel.

There are no included mechanisms or processes for teachers or students to monitor progress of independent reading. For example, At the end of each unit, students are given “Ideas for Independent Reading.” Typically nine books are listed under three different questions based on the unit. For example, Unit 1 includes the titles of three novels under each of the following questions: “What’s worth the effort? Is seeing believing? and When is it OK to be scared?” The directions to the teacher include, “Encourage students to choose one or more of these ‘great reads’ to read independently. Also, in the introductory materials, students are told “The best way to become a better readers is to read as much as you can, whenever you can. Follow your interests in new and exciting things to read.” While it is suggested that students read independently, there is no mechanism for teachers or students to monitor reading progress.

Criterion 1g - 1n

Materials provide opportunities for rich and rigorous evidence-based discussions and writing about texts to build strong literacy skills.
10/16
+
-
Criterion Rating Details

Materials include high-quality, text-dependent questions, tasks, and assignments that encourage students to interact with the texts and to return to them to support their statements with evidence. However, most culminating tasks within the materials are not connected to these questions and tasks.

Some opportunities for evidence-based discussions occur, but these instances are not well-supported nor are they connected directly to the texts students are reading. There are not adequate opportunities provided for students to master the speaking and listening standards.

Ample opportunities exist for both on-demand and process writing, though not all writing genres specified by the standards are adequately taught or practiced prior to students being asked to apply them. Students have minimal opportunities to make claims developed from their close reading experiences.

Some grammar instruction is included, and all standards are covered, however, the coverage is inconsistent and inadequate. Several of the standards are only addressed once in the duration of the year. Some opportunities for application in and out of context are present, but many skills are taught in isolation.

Indicator 1g

Most questions, tasks, and assignments are text-dependent, requiring students to engage with the text directly (drawing on textual evidence to support both what is explicit as well as valid inferences from the text).
2/2
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 8 meet the criteria that most questions, tasks, and assignments are text-dependent/specific, requiring students to engage with the text directly (drawing on textual evidence to support both what is explicit as well as valid inferences from the text).

In most lessons, students are asked various discussion questions that require them to engage with the text. Stories includes a set of after-reading questions that are text-dependent and specific. Various tasks and writing assignments also ask the students to engage with the text. Examples of text-dependent questions, tasks and assignments related to this indicator include, but are not limited to:

  • In Unit 1, If I Can Stop one Heart from Breaking, students are asked to reread Emily Dickinson’s poem on page 72. Next students identify which lines remind them of the way Mrs. Jones might think and explain.
  • In Unit 8, Kabul’s Singing Sensation, student review lines 1-8 and are asked to identify phrases which suggest sad or painful images. Following, they discuss how these images help serve the author’s purpose of expressing sympathy for the people of Kabul.
  • In Unit 9,The Sanctuary of School students read the text and analyze a visual that accompanied an essay in the New York Times. They are first asked about the author’s purpose before being asked, “What can you conclude about the young Barry’s relationship to school?”

Indicator 1h

Sets of high-quality sequences of text-dependent questions and tasks build to a culminating task that integrates skills (may be writing, speaking, or a combination).
1/2
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

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

At the end of each text or text set, students answer comprehension and text analysis questions. Students are also offered extension and challenge tasks or writing prompts. Questions and tasks throughout the texts do not always build to the end of text culminating questions and tasks. At the end of each unit students complete Writing Workshop, a Speaking and Listening Workshop and occasionally a Technology Workshop. However, unit questions and tasks often do not build to these tasks. Texts and skills are often referenced in these tasks, but most can be completed without the use of unit texts or skills gained within the unit.

  • In Unit 5 students are asked to create an online feature article. During the unit, students are given opportunities to read, discuss, and write about poetry, but they are not given ample opportunity to work on the skills necessary to create an online feature article.
  • In Unit 8, students are asked to create a procedural text during the writing workshop. During this unit, students read “Guide to Computers” which includes a how-to guide on setting up a computer. After reading the text, students are asked to evaluate the technical directions. Other than this text and questions, students are not asked to start writing procedural text until the end of the unit and may not be adequately prepared for the culminating task.
  • In Unit 2, students are working on character and point of view. For the Writing Workshop activity, students are asked to write a critical review where the purposes are “to compare and film version of a story to the original text” and “to convince others to agree with your evaluation of a movie.” This writing task is related to the unit, but does not address many of the unit goals to work as a culminating task. The unit goals for text analysis are:
    • Analyze differences in points of view and the effects they create
    • Analyze how dialogue or incidents in a story reveal aspects of a character
    • Identify and analyze sound devices and their impact on meaning
    • Determine the central idea of a text and its relation to supporting ideas

Indicator 1i

Materials provide frequent opportunities and protocols for evidencebased discussions that encourage the modeling and use of academic vocabulary and syntax. (May be small group and all-class.)
1/2
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 8 partially meet the criteria for materials providing frequent opportunities and protocols for evidence-based discussions (small groups, peer-to-peer, whole class) that encourage the modeling and use of academic vocabulary and syntax.

Throughout the materials, there are some opportunities for discussion, but not enough for students to adequately master the speaking and listening standards. There is some explanation of related standards that accompany suggested opportunities for discussion, however clear and specific protocols are absent (these can be found in the Speaking and Listening Workshops at the end of each unit). Some discussions relate to the text or topic of the unit, but few require text evidence. Most discussion prompts do not specify if they are to be done in small groups, peer-to-peer, or in whole class. While academic vocabulary is included in the materials, its usage is not modeled and students are not given ample opportunities for practice. Some examples of these discussion prompts include, but are not limited to:

  • In Unit 1, there is a section titled “Extend the Discussion” after “Raymond’s Run” that suggests the teacher ask, “How do you think Squeaky’s continued responsibility for Raymond has shaped her personality?” There are no suggested answers and no protocol for how the discussion should occur.
  • In Unit 3, students read “Mi Madre” and “Canyon de Chelly”. The students are asked “What gifts does the Earth provide? Now that you have read the poems, what other gifts might you add to your list?” The teacher edition states that the “answers may vary” and includes a few anticipated responses. Again, there is no protocol for this discussion. While the question references the two poems, students are not required to go back and use text evidence in this discussion.
  • In Unit 5, Poetry does not have a end of the unit task that supports an evidence-based discussion. However, in the Technology Workshop section at the end of the unit students are asked to pose and respond to questions as well as clarify interests and add to interests using technology as a resource. Student materials suggest the protocol for responding to feedback that states, “Politely reply to all appropriate questions and comments posted on your article in a timely manner.” and “...Thoughtful replies can stimulate discussion and promote reader participation.”. However, the support of the use of academic vocabulary necessary for a successful online feature article is not included in the modeling nor assessment.

Indicator 1j

Materials support students' listening and speaking about what they are reading and researching (including presentation opportunities) with relevant follow-up questions and supports.
1/2
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

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

Most units include a speaking and listening task at the end of the unit (called the Speaking and Listening Workshop). However, these tasks do not provide clear instructions for the teacher and lack rubrics for assessing student learning. Speaking and Listening skills are not addressed within unit texts or during unit lessons. The speaking and listening tasks often do not relate to what the student is reading in the unit and many do not require any additional research, and therefore do not sufficiently address the related standards. Many of the tasks can be completed without citing evidence. In addition, the tasks do not increase in rigor over the course of the year. Examples of opportunities that partially meet the criteria of this indicator include, but are not limited to:

  • At the end of Unit 4 students complete and speaking and listening task. The prompt states “Adapt your short story or a story from the unit into a video.” The task does not require the students to reference any stories from the unit or conduct additional research to provide evidence.
  • At the end of Unit 8 students write a procedural text. Students are asked to turn their procedural text into an instructional speech. The teacher is told to “Use the Common Core traits to assess students’ instructional speeches.” The “Common Core Traits” listed do not mention citing evidence in the speech and no other rubric is provided for the teacher.
  • Unit 5, advanced learners work with partners to discuss how they might recast ”Good Night” p.605. Students compare and contrast the rhythm of poems and explain p.606. Struggling readers use a two column chart to record comparisons p.608. Teachers organize small groups and assign poems to group members p.609. Teachers distribute copies of poem to help students add correct punctuation to clarify meaning and to read questions and statements differently. Advanced learners form debate teams p.620.
  • In Unit 2, students participate in a Critics Debate about a specific movie that they have seen. Guidance is given about how to plan and produce the debate.

Indicator 1k

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 8 meet the criteria for materials including a mix of on-demand and process writing (e.g. multiple drafts, revisions over time) and short, focused projects, incorporating digital resources where appropriate.

Throughout the materials there are plenty of opportunities for writing. There are both on-demand and process writing throughout the materials. Students are given opportunities to go through the entire writing process, including revising at least once during each unit. On demand writing prompts occur at least once after each story, and sometimes with greater frequency. Although not used for every writing assignment, technology is incorporated when necessary or when it would enhance the writing. Examples of the mix of on-demand and process writing that incorporate digital resources where appropriate include, but are not limited to,

  • In Unit 1 students read “The Great Rat Hunt”. Students are then given the following on-demand writing prompt, “Both Laurence Yep and his father felt like outsiders. In two or three paragraphs, compare their experiences, including the conflicts each person faced and how he dealt with them.”
  • At the end of Unit 3 students are asked to write a comparison-contrast essay. Students are given the purpose and are expected to complete planning/prewriting, drafting, revising, editing, and publishing.
  • In Unit 5, students continue to explore the meaning of “the lesson of the moth” and “identity” by responding to the following prompt: Choose one of the “characters” from the poems-- Archy, the moth, or the speaker in “identity”. Write a paragraph answering the question, “Does beauty matter?” from the point of view of this character. Online writing tools are available for students. Students write a paragraph comparing and contrasting the treatment of Fortune’s life and legacy on p.653-654 with Marilyn Nelson’s treatment of the same subject in her poem “Not My Bones”.
  • In Unit 6, students complete a timed writing assignment in which they are asked to write a literary analysis of a text that encourages or discourages other students from reading that text.
  • In Unit 8, students read “Guide to Computers”. Students are then given the writing following writing prompt: “How effective are the graphic elements in ‘Guide to Computers’? Evaluate the purpose, clarity, and usefulness of the graphics.” Students are given four steps to help them answer the prompt.
  • In Unit 9, students view the DVD (Media Smart DVD-ROM) of the movie Star Wars: Episode III-Revenge of the Sith. Students then view the trailers and the posters to evaluate. Each student describes his or her overall impression of the movie, supported by concrete details from the various components of the ad campaign. Students also summarize the techniques used by advertisers to attract people to movies.

Indicator 1l

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 8 partially meet the criteria for materials providing opportunities for students to address different text types of writing that reflect the distribution required by the standards.

Students address multiple types of texts types of writing throughout the school year. Student prompts include argument writing, narrative writing, and expository writing. Examples of student opportunities to address different text types include, but are not limited to:

  • At the end of Unit 2, students respond to the prompt: “Write a critical review of a movie based on a favorite story. Evaluate the effectiveness of the choices the director and actors made about how to portray the plot, setting, and characters. Draw a conclusion about whether the film version is as good as or better than the literature.” Students are reminded to state their claim and reasons, gather evidence, and consider opposing claims when writing this argumentative piece. However, students are not given many opportunities to practice these skills before the Writing Workshop at the end of the unit.
  • At the end of Unit 5, students respond to the following prompt: “Write an online feature article about a topic, person, or event that interests you.” Students are reminded to find sources and collect evidence, draft a controlling idea, and generate a storyboard for this informative/explanatory text.
  • At the end of Unit 4, students respond to the following prompt: “Write a short story with an interesting plot that will entertain an audience of children, teenagers, or adults.” Students are reminded to plan characters, plan point of view and plan the plot for this narrative piece of writing.

While the materials provide many different writing opportunities throughout the school year, there are not ample opportunities for the student to learn the different genres of writing before they are expected to apply them. While rubrics are provided for the teacher and student to assess some learning, they are not detailed and do not provide adequate support for the teacher and students. Rubrics are provided for Writing Workshop, which include process writing and timed writing. These cover development, organization and language on a 1-6 scale. These rubrics are very general. Multiple or repeated opportunities to practice different modes of writing are limited. Few student samples and exemplars are included. Examples of how the materials reviewed partially meet the criteria of this indicator include, but are not limited to:

  • In Unit 3, students are given the following on demand writing prompt: “If someone offered you a monkey’s paw and claimed that it had power to grant three wishes, would you use it? Write one paragraph explaining how you would respond to such an offer. Use details from the story to support your response.” There is a revising tip provided, but no rubric used to assess the answer.
  • In the Unit 6 Writing Workshop, students are asked to analyze a student draft. The directions state “Read this student’s draft and the comments about it as a model for revising your own literary analysis.” Students have two paragraph to read with comments to help them work on revising their essays.
  • In Unit 8 students read “What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?” Students are than asked to respond to the following writing prompt: “Think of a practice that you believe is wrong or unfair. Write one paragraph to help your classmates recognize how wrong or unjust it is. Use rhetorical questions in your response.” A revising tip is included. It states :Review your paragraph to make sure you have used parallel structure when listing or linking related ideas.” This revising tip addresses grammatical issues, but does not address this particular type of writing. There is not rubric or assessment tool attached to this writing prompt for the teacher or student to use.

Indicator 1m

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 8 partially meets the criteria for materials including frequent opportunities for evidence-based writing to support careful analyses, well-defended claims, and clear information appropriate for the grade level.The units provide some writing opportunities that are embedded in the daily unit lessons, however students have minimal opportunities to make claims developed from their close reading experiences.

Examples of evidence-based writing include, but are not limited to:

  • In Unit 1, students read “the Treasure of Lemon Brown” and complete an on demand writing prompt that states “Imagine that a friend of yours had to find Lemon Brown in a crowd. What would you tell your friend to look for? Write a one-paragraph description of Lemon Brown that includes details about his appearance and the treasures he cherishes.”
  • In Unit 4 students read “Gil’s Furniture Bought & Sold” and are asked to imagine what characters would have said to each other at a specific point in the text. They are asked to use language that reflects the personalities of the different characters.
  • In Unit 5, an on demand writing prompt states “Choose one of the characters from the poem “Identity.” (Archy, the moth, or the speaker). Write a paragraph answering the question, “Does beauty matter” from the point of view of this character.”
  • In Unit 9 students read “Position on Dodgeball in Physical Education” and “The Weak Shall Inherit the Gym” and are asked to write a letter in which they critique the text using evidence to illustrate their points.

Examples where student writing does not require evidence from a text includes:

  • In Unit 1: Plot and Conflict, an embedded writing practice is located in the Teacher’s manual on page 49. Students are assigned a “reading-writing” connection prompt after reading “Raymond’s Run”. The prompt states, “Imagine you are a newspaper writer covering the May Day events at the park. Write a two-three paragraph article that will appear in the next day’s paper. Be sure to tell where and when events took place, who participated, and what happened”. This writing prompt does allow for an increased opportunity to practice the skill of understanding plot and conflict that was the focus throughout the unit. However, is the assignment does not require text based evidence or close reading.
  • In Unit 4 students read “My Mother Pieced Quilts”. Students respond to the prompt “Imagine a museum has decided tow who the quilts described in “my Mother Pieced Quilts.” The speaker of the poem has been asked to discuss her mother’s work. Write a one-page speech in which the speaker explains to the audience how the quilts were created and what they mean to her.” While related to the text, there is little guidance to the teacher or student regarding using text evidence or if they should go back into the text for this writing prompt.
  • In Unit 7 students read “Out of Bounds.” Students complete the reading-writing connection writing prompt, “How could the resident of Mount View improve their relationship with the squatters? Write a two- or three-paragraph plan to help the two communities better understand one another.” This writing prompt gives no guidance to the students or teacher regarding necessary text evidence. Teachers would need to add some instruction to strengthen students responses to this prompt.
  • At the end of Unit 8, students create procedural text. Students must develop “steps needed to perform the task with relevant, well-chosen facts and concrete details” but writing can be completed without reading any of the texts in the unit and possibly without doing any further research with other literature.

Indicator 1n

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 8 partially meet the criteria for materials including explicit instruction of the grammar and conventions standards for grade level as applied in increasingly sophisticated contexts, with opportunities for application both in and out of context. While grammar is included, and all standards are covered, the coverage is inconsistent and inadequate. Several of the standards are only addressed once in the duration of the year, requiring supplemental lessons from the teacher in order to lead students to mastery. There are some opportunities for application in and out of context, many skills are taught in isolation. Evidence of this includes, but is not limited to:

  • In Unit 1, The Hitchhiker, students focus on standard L.8.4. Students practice maintaining pronoun antecedent agreement by correcting pronoun antecedent errors in each sentence.
  • In Unit 4, after reading My Mother Pieced Quilts and Quilting, students practice varying sentences using participles and participial phrases.
  • Unit 6: Style, Voice, and Tone, students work on Grammar in and out of context by first practicing identifying main and subordinate clauses. Then they proofread their work by using the “revising tips” offered in the lesson on clauses.
  • Standard L.8.1.D is only addressed twice throughout the year. In Unit 2 students complete “Grammar in Context: Subjunctive Mood” where they are given examples of the conditional mood and subjunctive mood. Students are then told to “Proofread your review, checking for places where you can use the conditional or subjunctive mood to achieve a certain effect.” This standard comes up again in Unit 5 where students complete “Grammar in Context:Verb Voice”. Students are given an example and then told to “check that you have avoided awkward shifts in verb voice” in their writing. Teachers would need to supplement to achieve this standard.
  • Standard L.8.2.B is addressed only twice throughout the the year. In Unit 5, there is a mention of using ellipses to omit words in a brief bullet point under “Grammar in Context: Punctuation Quotations.” Other than being introduced to the idea, students are not required to practice this skill at this point. This standard is addressed again in Unit 9 where students have an opportunity to practice using ellipses to omit words on various example sentences. Teachers would need to supplement to achieve this standard.
  • Throughout Unit 4 students work on the following grammar and convention skills throughout the entire unit:
    • Use participles and participial phrases
    • Capitalize correctly
    • Use active voice
    • Punctuate dialogue

These skills do not build on each other and are not consistent throughout the unit.

Gateway Two

Building Knowledge with Texts, Vocabulary, and Tasks

Does Not Meet Expectations

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Gateway Two Details

Units are organized around literacy skills, rather than a thematic or topical focus. The materials contain quality, text-dependent questions, but lack performance tasks built upon knowledge obtained from the texts and supported by the questions throughout the unit.

While the high-quality texts provide a solid context for both vocabulary instruction and text-dependent writing opportunities, those opportunities are missed. Instruction of and practice with research skills are limited and provide infrequent opportunities for the students to meet the standards in this area. Independent reading is encouraged, but there is no consistent monitoring for the volume and consistency of independent reading that will help students to grow as independent readers over the course of the year.

Criterion 2a - 2h

12/32

Indicator 2a

Texts are organized around a topic/topics (or, for grades 6-8, topics and/or themes) to build students' ability to read and comprehend complex texts independently and proficiently.
0/4
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 8 do not meet the criteria for texts being organized around a topic and/or themes to build students’ ability to read and comprehend complex texts independently and proficiently.

The materials are divided into 9 units. These units are based around literacy skills, not a topic or theme. The teacher’s manual provides an Essential Course of Study on page T21. In this guide teachers can see the specific literacy skills that are explored within the unit using several different text types. Units focus are specific literacy skill address in the section called “Text Analysis Workshop”. Since units are focused on skills and not a theme or topic, many of the texts in a unit do not relate to each other with a common theme or topic and students do not build knowledge to help them better read complex texts.

Examples include but are not limited to:

  • In Unit 1 the literacy skills are plot, conflict, and setting. Students read short stories, a memoir, and poetry to learn about plot, suspense, conflict, cause and effect, and sequencing.
  • Unit 5 the literary skill is The Language of Poetry. Students read multiple poems to learn about form, figurative language, speaker, sound devices, and paraphrasing.
  • In Unit 8 the literary skills center around facts and information. Students study main idea and supporting details, text features, and summarizing while reading multiple informational texts.

Indicator 2b

Materials contain sets of coherently sequenced questions and tasks that require students to analyze the language, key ideas, details, craft, and structure of individual texts.
4/4
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 8 meet the criteria that materials contain sets of coherently sequenced 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.

The materials offer students opportunities to use evidence pulled directly from the text as well as make inferences while reading in order to help make meaning of the texts provided. The sequenced questions allow for making meaning and building understanding of texts. The materials include a range of text dependent questions and tasks throughout each unit. Questions and tasks include analysis of language, key ideas, details and craft and structure. Students are asked questions during reading in the margins of the text to address these pieces. Within the After Reading Prompts, there are questions labeled evaluate and analyze which often address analysis of language, key ideas, details and craft and structure. Questions and tasks cover a wide continuum of standards and strategies. Examples include:

  • In Unit 1, students analyze how incidents in a story or drama propel the action, reveal aspects of a character or provoke a decision, identify plot stages, conflicts and subplots and analyze suspense. Students are asked to respond to After Reading questions categorized into comprehension, text analysis, and extension and challenge questions. Comprehension questions include “What nickname have the big kids given Squeaky, and why?” Text analysis questions include “The plot of “Raymond’s Run” revolves around Squeaky’s desire to win the May Day race. Using a diagram like the one shown, note the events that happen at each stage of the plot. How is the conflict resolved?”
  • In Unit 4, students also respond to close read questions such as “Reread the boxed text. What conflict is set up? Reread lines 29-31. What lesson might Alfred learn from training as a boxer? State this lesson as a theme.” Students have the opportunity to write online using tools through thinkcentral.com.
  • In Unit 5, students will answer questions and tasks that ask students to analyze items including but not limited to,figurative language, author’s diction, sound devices including rhyme scheme, theme and poetic structure. Students read the poem, “Simile:Willow and Ginkgo” and answer questions such as, “Why do you think the poet started a new stanza at line 17?” Students then read “Not My Bones” and answer questions such as, “ Reread lines 3-6. What are they saying about our physical bodies? What words in lines 9-14 suggest the same ideas?”
  • In Unit 8, students read “Interview with a Songcatcher”. While reading, students are asked the following question, “Reread line 33-35. What do they reveal about Yurchenco’s personality?”
  • In Unit 9, students answer questions and tasks that ask students to analyze items including but not limited to, arguments in persuasive text, persuasive techniques, author’s purpose, compare and contrast, rhetoric, and evidence. Students read the text, “Zoos: Myth and Reality” and answer questions such as, “ Laidlaw has disproved all three benefits that he says accredited zoos offer in their defense. Now he states that these zoos make up only 10 percent of “licensed exhibitors of wild animals.” What does this fact help him support? For help, refer to his original claim in lines 4-6.”

Indicator 2c

Materials contain a coherently sequenced set of text-dependent questions and tasks that require students to analyze the integration of knowledge and ideas across both individual and multiple texts.
2/4
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 8 partially meet the criteria that materials contain a coherently sequenced set of text-dependent questions and tasks that require students to analyze the integration of knowledge and ideas across both individual and multiple texts. While materials do contain text-dependent questions, questions are focused on literacy skills rather than knowledge building. In addition, there is no clear explanation of how integration of skills or knowledge builds from unit to unit, with limited guidance available for teachers. While questions may support a general understanding of the texts themselves, they do not support building students’ knowledge about the content or topics/themes introduced by the texts.

Evidence includes, but is not limited to:

  • In Unit 1, Raymond’s Run, students are asked to respond to after reading questions categorized into comprehension, text analysis, and extension and challenge questions. Comprehension questions include “What nickname have the big kids given Squeaky, and why?” . Text analysis questions include “The plot of “Raymond’s Run” revolves around Squeaky’s desire to win the May Day race. Using a diagram like the one shown, note the events that happen at each stage of the plot. How is the conflict resolved?”This unit also requires students to complete a prediction chart and track as they read. Students complete vocabulary in context tasks. Students also analyze visuals and practice grammar within context.These questions support an understanding of the text but do not build knowledge beyond the text.
  • In Unit 7, students read “Pecos Bill” a tall tale retold by Mary Pope Osborne. Questions include:
    • What is a folk hero?
    • Which of young Bill’s and his father’s qualities are exaggerated?
    • What is funny about why the mountain lion attacks Bill?
    • Why do you think the leader of the Hell’s Gate Gang immediately makes Bill the gang’s leader?
    • How does the author hep you get to know what Pecos Bill is like?
  • Also in Unit 7, students read the text,”One Last Time” by Gary Soto. Questions include:
    • What can you learn from a job?
    • What do Soto’s statements about work tell you about his attitude toward field work?
    • What effect does the author’s work environment have on his life away from work?
    • What choice does Soto make at age 15?
  • These two texts come only a few days apart, yet are minimally connected in terms of knowledge or ideas. These questions support an understanding of the text but do not build knowledge beyond the text. Similarly, there is no task that asks for students to connect or integrate their learning across the texts.
  • Questions that integrate knowledge from multiple texts are limited to some integration of the skills in the section titled Reading Comprehension check at the end of the each unit.
    • In Unit 5, students read “The Lesson of the Moth” and “Identity”. Students answer the following question after reading both poems: “In “the lesson of the moth” what is the moth’s attitude about the price of beauty? In “Identity,” what is the speaker’s attitude about the price of beauty? Explain whether you think their views are more similar or more different.”

Indicator 2d

The questions and tasks support students' ability to complete culminating tasks in which they demonstrate their knowledge of a topic (or, for grades 6-8, a theme) through integrated skills (e.g. combination of reading, writing, speaking, listening).
0/4
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 8 do not meet the criteria that the questions and tasks support students’ ability to complete culminating tasks in which they demonstrate their knowledge of a topic (or, for grades 6-8, a theme) through integrated skills (e.g., combination of reading, writing, speaking, listening). While there are tasks related to some objectives, those given at the end of units do not assess students’ learning throughout and do not function as culminating tasks. Evidence of this includes, but is not limited to:

Unit 1 focuses on plot and conflict. The unit goals include, but are not limited to,:

  • Analyze now incidence in a story or drama propel the action, reveal spects of a character, or provoke a decision
  • Identify plot stages, conflicts, and subplots
  • Analyze suspense
  • Identify and analyze sequence and cause-effect relationships
  • Make inferences and cite evidence to support them

At the end of the unit students respond to the following writing task during the writing workshop: “Write a personal narrative in which you attempt to entertain a specific audience by telling about a meaningful experience from your own life.” While this writing task is related to some goals in the unit, it is not adequate to have the students show mastery of the several different standards addressed in this unit.

Unit 6 focuses on the following reading and text analysis objectives are as follows:

  • Analyze characteristics of myths, legends, tall tales, and folktales
  • Determine a central idea of a text and how it is conveyed through particular details
  • Provide a summary of the text distinct from personal opinions or judgements
  • Analyze in detail how a key idea is introduced, illustrated, and elaborated in a text
  • Cite textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text
  • Integrate information presented in different formats as well as in words to develop a coherent understanding of a topic

Unit 6 culminating tasks include:

  • Write a “how-to” explanation in which you give step-by-step instructions for how to do something or make something.
  • Suppose a student a few years younger than you asks for you help in using a cell phone or other device. Write a “how-to” explanation to teach the student how to use a device. Use precise language and present the steps in chronological order.

There is no task that culminates to show the integrated skills and demonstrates knowledge of a topic or theme.

Unit 8 focuses on facts and information. The unit goals include, but are not limited to,:

  • Determine a central idea of a text and analyze its development over the course of the text
  • Analyze the structure of a text
  • Determine an author’s point of view or purpose in a text
  • Distinguish between fact and opinion
  • Provide an objective summary of text
  • Use text features to comprehend and locate information
  • Read and comprehend technical directions
  • Interpret and evaluate graphic aids

At the end of the unit, students complete the following writing task during the writing workshop: “Write a procedural text in which you explain to a specific audience how to complete a process.” Students then respond to the following task during their speaking & listening workshop: “Adapt your procedural text into a formal instructional speech. Practice your speech, and then present it to your class.” While these tasks relate to the unit and some of the goals, they do not address many of the goals in the unit and do not provide students with the opportunity to show comprehension of the many skills addressed in the unit. Neither extended activity includes the skills developed in the unit. There is no task that culminates to show the integrated skills and demonstrates knowledge of a topic or theme.

Indicator 2e

Materials include a cohesive, year-long plan for students to interact with and build key academic vocabulary words in and across texts.
2/4
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 8 partially meet the criteria that materials include a cohesive, year-long plan for students to interact with and build key academic vocabulary words in and across texts. Although each unit includes a variety of Tier 2 and Tier 3 vocabulary words, the units and texts do not work in unison or in coherence in order to build the academic vocabulary of students. Even though the texts that are used are of good quality and provide students with a variety of vocabulary to study, there is no coherence between the texts to ensure that students are seeing and engaging with the same words multiple times either in or across texts. There is no year-long guidance for teachers regarding vocabulary development. Evidence of this includes, but is not limited to:

  • Approximately 5 academic vocabulary words are provided at the beginning of each unit. The teacher guide also provides definitions for these words under the Differentiated Instruction heading. The materials direct teachers to use additional materials found in the Resource Manager, including worksheets to help students develop fluency with these terms.
  • According to the teacher guide, www.thinkcentral.com also includes video and PowerNotes, audio support, ThinkAloud models and WordSharp vocabulary tutorials as well as interactive review and remediation.
  • Within each text, key vocabulary words are noted, with definitions for students to reference. Teacher suggestions for working with these words include, “have pairs of students define these words using context clues and a dictionary. Have them pronounce each word out loud several times.
  • Each lesson also includes a Vocabulary In Context exercise. For the text, “The Story of Ceres and Proserpina (Unit 6),” students fill in the blanks with vocabulary words to complete sentences that create vivid setting for the myth. For this story, it is suggested that the teacher pre teach vocabulary before having students complete an accompanying worksheet independently.
  • Throughout the materials, students are regularly encouraged to “Own the Word.” To facilitate this learning, the teacher is given guidance about key aspects of each word, as well as affixes, synonyms, etc.
  • Unit 2, students complete a Character Traits Web p.175. Vocabulary in Context p.177. Reluctant Readers share answers with partners/groups p.179. Vocabulary support provided to struggling readers p.180. Advanced learners are provided a small group option where they diagram the plot of a story p.184. Advanced learners work in groups to discover theme p.186. Students complete an academic vocabulary in writing activity.
  • Unit 5, advanced learners work with partners to discuss how they might recast ”Good Night” p.605. Students compare and contrast the rhythm of poems and explain p.606. Struggling readers use a two column chart to record comparisons p.608. Teachers organize small groups and assign poems to group members p.609. Teachers distribute copies of poem to help students add correct punctuation to clarify meaning and to read questions and statements differently. Advanced learners form debate teams p.620.
  • Unit 8: Facts and Information, at the beginning of the unit the Academic Vocabulary is explained and shared. For example, the text says in the sections titled “Teach”, “Part 1: Text Features: in the first column in a three column chart list the text Features…”. In the section titled, “Vocabulary in Context” the teacher’s guides provides activities to increase use of academic vocabulary with in the directions under, “Academic Vocabulary in Writing”.

Indicator 2f

Materials 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.
2/4
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 8 partially meet the criteria that materials 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. While the writing materials are aligned to the Common Core State Standards, they are limited to the Writing Workshop at the end of each unit. The writing workshop consists of a writing task, idea starters, essential information, planning/prewriting with examples, drafting, revising, analyzing a student's draft, editing, and publishing. There are few protocols, and the skills do not increase over the school year. Also, students only practice the writing type once during the school year and the units do not build writing skills before the final writing workshop. There are few tools for teachers and students to track growth, and no detailed structure on modeling and teaching writing. Evidence of this includes, but is not limited to:

  • In Unit 3, students complete a Comparison-Contrast Essay during the Writing Workshop. The writing task states, “Write a comparison-contrast essay in which you describe the similarities and differences between two subjects, such as fictional characters, real people, places, or events.” While there are resources provided to the student and teacher in this section of the text, it is not adequate to cover the whole course of the unit.
  • At the end of Unit 5 students write an Online Feature Article. The Writing Task states, “Write an online feature article about a topic, person, or event that interests you.” Writing practice throughout the unit includes, but is not limited to,”
    • Students read “the lesson of the moth” and “Identity” and respond to the prompt, “Choose one of the ‘characters’ from the poems-Archy, the moth, or the speaker in ‘Identity’. Write a paragraph answering the question, ‘Does beauty matter?’ from the point of view of this character.”
    • Students read “It’s all I have to bring today--” and “We Alone.” Students respond to the prompt, “In four or five paragraphs, compare and contrast how this theme is expressed in the poems.”
    • Students read “Not My Bones” and an excerpt from Fortune’s Bones and respond to the prompt, “In a paragraph, compare and contrast the treatment of Fortunes’ life and legacy on pages 653-654 with Marilyn Nelson’s treatment of the same subject in her poem ‘Not My Bones.’”
    • Students read “Boots of Spanish Leather” and “The Song of Hiawatha” and respond to the prompt “Choose one of these poems and rewrite it as a one- or two- page short story that would appeal to teenagers today. Change or add details about the setting, characters, and conflict. Consider using dialogue to make the events seem real.”
    • While there are opportunities for students to write throughout the unit, they are typically just on demand writing tasks and they do not prepare the students to complete the writing workshop at the end of the unit.
  • At the end of Unit 9 students are given the writing task “Write a persuasive essay in which you assert a strong claim on an issue and use reasons and evidence to persuade your audience to agree with you.” While the prompt mentions making a claim and backing it up with evidence, the materials should be asking the students to complete argumentative writing instead of persuasive writing.
  • Writing instruction “tasks” are included at the end of each unit:
    • Unit 1: Personal Narrative
    • Unit 4: Short Story
    • Unit 8: Procedural Text

Indicator 2g

Materials include a progression of focused research projects to encourage students to develop knowledge in a given area by confronting and analyzing different aspects of a topic using multiple texts and source materials.
2/4
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 8 partially meet the criteria that materials include a progression of focused research projects to encourage students to develop knowledge in a given area by confronting and analyzing different aspects of a topic using multiple texts and source materials. Opportunities for research are limited, and focused mainly in the final unit. There is no clear and cohesive progression through the course of the year.

In Unit 10 students practice how to research a topic by following a group of students as they look for information about inventors. Students are walked through the research process from start to finish, including how to develop research questions, use library and media resources, evaluate information and sources, including from primary and secondary sources, formulate a major research question, prepare a source list, collect data and produce a research essay. They are asked to go through the same process individually on a topic of their choice. The Power of Research, students participate in a “Research Strategies Workshop followed by a Writing Workshop. Student complete one several writing tasks throughout the units prior to the final unit but do not provide the necessary increase in skills to accomplish the last unit Research project. The unit includes, but is not limited to, the following goals:

  • Ask and answer research questions
  • Use search terms effectively
  • Use library and media center resources to find print and digital sources
  • Choose primary and secondary sources
  • Evaluate information and sources, including nonfiction books, periodicals, and Web sites
  • Conduct your own research
  • Write a research paper
  • Make a research presentation

While these goals are addressed in the unit, this is the end of the year and gives the students very little opportunity for practice throughout the year.

Most units include at least one quick research task. They are typically included under the title “Extension and Challenge”. They include, but are not limited to,:

  • Unit 1, after reading “Raymond’s Run” students complete the task, “According to Squeaky, Raymond has a “big head.” Find out more about hydrocephalus, the condition he has. With the medical advances of today, is there a treatment or cure for hydrocephalus? What is known about the causes of it? Present your findings to the class.”Teacher guidance states “Students’ reports should include answers to the questions and show draw information from reliable sources.”
  • Unit 3, after reading “The Drummer Boy of Shiloh” students complete the task, “Conduce some research about Johnny Clem, a real drummer boy at the Battle of Shiloh, or about another hero or battle of the American Civil War. Share your findings with your classmates.” Teacher guidance states “Students may choose to do their reports on figures such as Robert E. Lee, Ulysses Grant, or a drummer boy, such as Robert Henry Hendershot.”

These short research projects are vague in their expectations for the students and the teacher is not provided enough information to help the students complete the tasks without added materials.

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.
0/4
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 8 do not 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. The curriculum lacks adequate scaffolding to foster independent reading. While reading independently is suggested, there is no included system for accountability, nor protocols or classroom procedures in the teacher edition to support an increase and improve independence. There is no designated time during lessons for reading independently, making it unclear whether this is meant to take place during class.

In the introductory unit, in the The Power of Ideas section, students encounter a page that explains independent reading. It states “The best way to become a better reader is to read as much as you can, every chance you get.” The students are then told they can read novels, magazines, newspapers, and websites.

At the end of each unit there is an “Ideas for Independent Reading” page. This page lists three books under three questions related to the unit. Students are told “Continue exploring with these books.” For example, at the end of Unit 6, the following questions with books are listed:

  • How do you make decisions?
    • Cheating Lessons by Nan Willard, Good Brother, Bad Brother: The Story of Edwin Booth and John Wilkes Booth by James Cross Giblin, Princess Academy by Shannon Hale
  • What’s really normal?
    • Act I, Act II, Act Normal fy Martha Weston, Sweetgrass Basket by Marlene Carvell, Hans Christian Andersen: His Fairy Tale Life by Hjordis Varmer and Lilian Brogger
  • What makes a pioneer?
    • China’s Son: Growing Up in the Cultural Revolution by Da Chen, Guinea Pig Scientists by Leslie Dendy and Mel Boring, O Pioneers! By Willa Cather

In addition, the teacher’s guide states, “Encourage students to choose one or more of these great reads to read independently. There is no proposed schedule to ensure students are reading independently. Other than suggesting the books, there is not protocol or procedure to influence students to independently read. The materials lack a proposed schedule to ensure students are reading independently.

Gateway Three

Usability

Not Rated

Criterion 3a - 3e

null
0/8

Indicator 3a

Materials are well-designed and take into account effective lesson structure and pacing.
0/2

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 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.).
0/2

Indicator 3d

Materials include publisher-produced alignment documentation of the standards addressed by specific questions, tasks, and assessment items.
0/2

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

Criterion 3f - 3j

Materials support teacher learning and understanding of the Standards.
0/8

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.
0/2

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.
0/2

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.
0/2

Indicator 3i

Materials contain explanations of the instructional approaches of the program and identification of the research-based strategies.
0/2

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

Criterion 3k - 3n

Materials offer teachers resources and tools to collect ongoing data about student progress on the Standards.
0/8

Indicator 3k

Materials regularly and systematically offer assessment opportunities that genuinely measure student progress.
0/2

Indicator 3l

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

Indicator 3l.i

Assessments clearly denote which standards are being emphasized.
0/2

Indicator 3l.ii

Assessments provide sufficient guidance to teachers for interpreting student performance and suggestions for follow-up.
0/2

Indicator 3m

Materials should include routines and guidance that point out opportunities to monitor student progress.
0/2

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

Criterion 3o - 3v

Materials provide teachers with strategies for meeting the needs of a range of learners so that they demonstrate independent ability with grade-level standards.
0/10

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.
0/2

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.
0/4

Indicator 3q

Materials regularly include extensions and/or more advanced opportunities for students who read, write, speak, or listen above grade level.
0/2

Indicator 3r

Materials provide opportunities for teachers to use a variety of grouping strategies.
0/2

Indicator 3s

0/

Indicator 3s3v

0/

Indicator 3t

0/

Indicator 3u

0/

Indicator 3u.i

0/

Indicator 3u.ii

0/

Indicator 3v

0/

Criterion 3s - 3v

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

Indicator 3s

Digital materials (either included as supplementary to a textbook or as part of a digital curriculum) are web-based, compatible with multiple Internet browsers (e.g., Internet Explorer, Firefox, Google Chrome, etc.), "platform neutral" (i.e., are compatible with multiple operating systems such as Windows and Apple and are not proprietary to any single platform), follow universal programming style, and allow the use of tablets and mobile devices.
0/0

Indicator 3t

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

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 3u.ii

Materials can be easily customized for local use.
0/0

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

Additional Publication Details

Report Published Date: Thu Aug 31 00:00:00 UTC 2017

Report Edition: 2012

Title ISBN Edition Publisher Year
Holt McDougal Literature Gr 8 Student Edition 978-0-5476-1838-8 Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 2012
Holt McDougal Literature Gr 8 Teacher Edition 978-0-5476-1845-6 Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 2012

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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.

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ELA 3-8 Rubric and Evidence Guides

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

For ELA, our rubrics evaluate materials based on:

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

  • Building Knowledge with Texts, Vocabulary, and Tasks

  • Instructional Supports and Usability

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

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