Alignment to College and Career Ready Standards: Overall Summary

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 do not meet the expectations for alignment. The instructional materials do not meet the expectations for Gateway 1. The instructional materials do not meet the expectations of providing texts with quality and complexity and alignment to the standards with tasks and questions grounded in evidence, of providing texts worthy of students’ time and attention while supporting students’ advancement toward independent reading, nor of providing opportunities for rich and rigorous evidence-based discussions about writing about texts to build strong literacy skills. The instructional materials were not reviewed for Gateway 2.

See Rating Scale
Understanding Gateways

Alignment

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Does Not Meet Expectations

Gateway 1:

Text Quality

0
17
32
36
14
32-36
Meets Expectations
18-31
Partially Meets Expectations
0-17
Does Not Meet Expectations

Gateway 2:

Building Knowledge

0
15
28
32
0
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

Does Not Meet Expectations

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Gateway One Details

Grade 6 Reading Street does not meet the Gateway 1 expectation of providing texts with quality and complexity and alignment to the standards with tasks and questions grounded in evidence. Materials do not meet the expectation of providing texts worthy of students’ time and attention while supporting students’ advancement toward independent reading. Lastly, materials do not meet the expectation of providing opportunities for rich and rigorous evidence-based discussions about writing about texts to build strong literacy skills.

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.
8/20
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Criterion Rating Details

Reading Street Grade 6 does not meet the expectation of texts being worthy of students’ time and attention. Main selection texts are grouped into thematic units, and no text is designated as an anchor text for the unit. Some reading selections are written by well-known award-winning authors and many reading selections would be interesting and engaging for Grade 6 students. Unit main selection and paired selection texts included do not reflect the distribution of text types and genres required by the standards. Poetry, drama and literary nonfiction fall short, and the majority of texts are expository text, which is not a focus in the CCSS for Grade 6. Texts do not increase in complexity across the year, and many texts outside the Lexile band for Grade 6 do not have appropriate qualitative complexity or tasks. Main reading selections include a variety of complexity levels but do not increase across the school year to encompass a whole grade level’s worth of growth. Additionally, some anchor texts have quantitative complexity levels that fall outside the Grade 6-8 complexity band. Explicit rationale explaining complexity and placement of specific texts within the sequence of instruction is not provided. Teachers are provided Lexile levels, qualitative measures, reader and task suggestions (anecdotal information), and a general recommended placement statement with no rationale for main selection texts. A text complexity analysis and rationale for educational purpose and placement in the grade level is not provided for paired selections, teacher read-aloud, vocabulary skill selection, comprehension selection, or assessments. Materials provide opportunities for students to build fluency but do not provide explicit and systematic practice in both oral and silent reading throughout the year. Clarification is needed as the teacher’s edition does not explicitly state whether students should be reading independently, with partners, orally, or silently. Additional experiences with independent reading would strengthen this program.

Indicator 1a

Anchor texts are of publishable quality and worthy of especially careful reading and consider a range of student interests.
2/4
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 partially meet the expectations for anchor texts being of publishable quality and worthy of careful reading. Texts are grouped into thematic units without a suggested anchor text. There are five texts in each theme and a paired selection to go along with each book, with an optional poem to end the 5-6 week unit. Some reading selections are written by well-known, award-winning authors, and many reading selections would be interesting and engaging for Grade 6 students.

Following are some texts that represent how these materials partially meet the expectations of indicator 1a. Expository texts are content-rich and accompanied by quality illustrations and photographs. Some texts include rich language and well crafted narrative and prose. Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • Unit 2 -The Universe, by Seymour Simon.
  • Unit 4 - The Chimpanzees I Love: Saving Their World and Ours, by Jane Goodall.
  • Unit 6 - The All American Slurp, by Lensey Namioka.

Other selections do consider a range of student interest, but do not include enough of the whole text to ensure students grasp the whole of the story or content.. Some texts do not include quality illustrations that directly connect to or support the core text being read, such as these examples:

  • Unit 1 - Old Yeller, by Fred Gipson. Students read an excerpt of this novel (pages 26-39). The antiquated language is rigorous but without the initial exposition. Illustrations for this section may be distracting to students.
  • Unit 3 - Hatchet, by Gary Paulsen. This excerpt (pages 338-349) places the reader in the middle of the novel. Students miss the initial exposition and action needed to fully engage with this story.
  • Unit 5 - The View from Saturday, by E.L. Konigsburg. This excerpt of the novel (pages 190-205) describes the wedding scene from Noah’s perspective. Students will not encounter the intricate connections among characters and the development of their friendship without reading the entire novel.

Indicator 1b

Materials reflect the distribution of text types and genres required by the standards at each grade level.
0/4
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-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 do not meet the expectations for reflecting the distribution of text types and genres required by the standards. Unit main selection and paired selection texts included do not support the distribution of text types and genres the standards have indicated to support students' literacy development in Grade 6. To fully meet the expectation of the balance for Grade 6, the teacher would have to add substantial texts to ensure students have opportunities to engage with the recommended text types and genres.

Of the 30 main selection texts included for the course of the school year, 13 are literature and 17 are informational texts. Drama and literary nonfiction are lacking, and the majority of texts are expository text, which is not a focus in the CCSS for Grade 6. Stories include historical fiction, realistic fiction, science fiction, humorous fiction, folktales, and myths (11/30).

    • Drama (2/30).
    • Poetry is not addressed (0/30).
    • Literary Nonfiction includes biography, autobiography, and narrative nonfiction (5/30).
    • Expository text/ informational text (12/30).
  • Poetry main selection texts are not provided. At the end of each unit (week 6) poetry is part of the optional review. In order to meet the standards for reading poetry, teachers would either need to supplement with poetry throughout each unit or teach the poetry during this optional review week. Units 4 and 5 each contain one poetry paired selection. For teachers not using the “optional” week 6, students would not encounter poetry until the end of the year.
  • The main reading selections are grouped into six units. Each unit contains at least one informational text and one literature text, but the texts are not necessarily balanced within the unit. For example, in Unit 6, Exploring Cultures, there is one historical fiction text, two expository texts, one realistic fiction text, and one informational text. Main selections in Grade 6 are predominantly non-fiction.
  • Paired reading selections are not balanced. There are very few literary paired selections (poetry, tall tale, science fiction, and fable). The majority of the paired texts are informational (expository, procedural, websites, and personal essays). For example, in Unit 6 (Exploring Cultures), the paired reading selections consist of three expository texts, one informational text, and one website.

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
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-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 partially meet the expectation of texts having the appropriate level of complexity for the grade level according to quantitative and qualitative analysis and relationship to their associated student task. Some of the texts are outside the quantitative band for Grade 6, but there is variation in qualitative measures and reader and task demands. Rigor is uneven in main texts students read across the school year. To fully comprehend some texts and complete the associated tasks, students will need background knowledge as the overall rigor is not on grade level.

The quantitative measures of the following texts are outside the grade level band for Grade 6. The qualitative measures combined with the reader and task measures keep these texts outside the Grade 6 complexity. Overall the following texts are outside the complexity level for Grade 6:

Unit 1, Week 2, Students read the text Mother Fletcher’s Gift, by Walter Dean Myers

  • Quantitative: Lexile 840L
  • Qualitative: The Lexile level is below the 6-8 grade band. Struggling readers may need to understand figurative language, dialect, jargon, and dialogue. This text is moderately complex. The text structure is chronological and the language features are conversational.
  • Reader and the Task: Some students may find the knowledge demand moderately complex due to specific content knowledge of life in the 1920’s. Teachers' will need to provide this support, though it is not provided in the TE. Using evidence from the text, students write a paragraph from Officer O’Brien’s point of view explaining how he feels after having dinner with his family at Mother Fletcher’s house. This is an easy task for students because they have experienced different feelings at the dinner table and will be able to use text evidence to relate to Officer O’Brien.

Unit 3, Week 4, Students read the text Juan Verdades

  • Quantitative: Lexile 880L
  • Qualitative: This Lexile level places this reading below the grade band of 6-8. The text is a fable and has the purpose of showing the importance of honesty. It also follows a conventional story structure. The language is does not add to the text’s complexity, even with the inclusion of Spanish words.
  • Reader and the Task: While the story takes place within Mexican culture, it will not be unfamiliar enough that it would cause students great difficulty. Reading the text should help students gain understanding about the value of trust. After reading, students consider the elements of a folktale from this story and write their own. Students also are directed to consider symbolism based upon the character's traits, but the task asks students to write down details about the character and summarize their findings. As the text is below grade level, students will likely complete this task with ease.

Other texts that fall outside the grade band according to quantitative measures have a level of qualitative complexity that may require additional external support and resources but the teacher. Some examples include, but are not limited to, the following:

Unit 2, Week 4, Good-Bye to the Moon

  • Quantitative: Lexile 830L
  • Qualitative: While the quantitative measure falls below the 6th grade suggested band, the qualitative features are more challenging. There are some vocabulary words that may be difficult to understand and would have to be pre-taught (ex: waning, waxing, Copernicus, blasé, amicably, and United Nations). The setting of the story may be challenging for some students because it is unusual (science fiction). Discussing the science concept of gravity on Earth may be a difficult for some students. Since this story is read at the beginning of the year, it may not be appropriate for students in Grade 6 to read. The story structure and main concept are easily understood, but the story vocabulary and setting would be rigorous.
  • Reader and Task: Students explain what “the reluctant cashbox of Earth” (page 276) says about the relations between Earth and the Moon in this futuristic story and must explain why this phrase is important. This prompt could be challenging for some students and they may need to be scaffold with a discussion about what the phrase means. Teacher support for this task is not explicit. This text may require extra support from the teacher to assure student engagement and comprehension.

Unit 6, Week 1 Don Quixote and the Windmills.

  • Quantitative: Lexile 740
  • Qualitative: while the quantitative measure is lower than the grade band, there are some qualitative text features that might make this text more challenging. Struggling readers may need to understand dialogue, figurative language, idioms and hyperboles. This text is moderately complex. The text structure is predictable, but the jargon and antiquated language may be difficult for some students.
  • Reader and the Task: Some students may find the knowledge demand moderately complex due to specific content knowledge of Medieval Times. This support would need to be provided by the teacher and is not in the TE. Students reread the text and predict what Don Quixote and Sancho Panza will do next providing evidence from the text.

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
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-
Indicator Rating Details

The materials for Grade 6 partially meet the expectations for the indicator of increasing complexity across the school year. While a little over half of the main selections (17/30) fall within the “stretch” grade-level band in terms of quantitative complexity (Lexile measure: 925-1185), the texts do not provide students access to increasingly complex texts, culminating in their reading on grade level at the end of the year, without significant adaptation from the teacher. Guidance and scaffolded support from the teacher is suggested for two days no matter what the text complexity of the main selection is. More student time on texts that have very complex elements and demands paired with detailed teacher directions are needed.

Each main selection text contains a description of qualitative measures as well as Reader and Task Suggestions to scaffold the text for students. These are general, broad suggestions for a group of sixth graders.

For a sixth-grade reader, most of the main selections in the first unit have a slightly complex structure. Hachiko has a very complex text structure. In Unit 5, all selections are slightly complex for text structure. The majority of the texts in the final unit are only slightly complex in structure.

Hachiko will require building of background knowledge since the setting is Tokyo. Each main selection in the text has two days of teacher guidance to support background knowledge building, though some texts require additional time for this process in order to support student comprehensiong. The last unit contains topics students have less background knowledge about such as different cultures like Ancient Greece and the Aztec community. In Unit 6, Week 4, The Aztec News (TE, page 418), a 950L, is an informational text which can be delivered in a variety of formats. It has an unusual structure (newspapers, charts, captions, headings, maps, unconventional chronology and text placed in a variety of locations). Prior knowledge would include basic knowledge about the geography of Mexico and Central America and other cultures. There is complex academic language ubxkysubfnon-English words. Small group time is suggested to support students, with information to support the teacher in helping students access the text. Guidance on assessment of each student’s learning and understanding, based on the scaffolding process, is not provided during the reading of the text.

Suggestions are present to assist the teacher in supporting students who are struggling with the main selections, however there is minimal specificity within the suggestions. As the complexity level increases, more scaffolding for students is needed to access the text. Additional days may be needed to provide this scaffolding, which may extend beyond the two days currently allotted for the main selections.

Indicator 1e

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 partially meet the expectation that anchor and series of connected texts are accompanied by a text complexity analysis and rationale for educational purpose and placement in the grade level.

A “Text Complexity Measures” rubric is provided for each main selection on the back of the week’s planning tab in the teacher’s edition. For many anchor texts that fall within the Grade 6-8 quantitative measures, a general explanation is provided: “Both the qualitative and quantitative measures suggest this text should be placed in the Grade 6-8 text complexity band, which is where both the Common Core State Standards and Scott Foresman Reading Street have placed it.” Quantitative metrics are provided for each anchor text in three categories: Lexile Level, Average Sentence Length, and Word Frequency. Qualitative measures are provided for each main selection in four categories: levels of meaning, structure, language of conventionality and clarity, and theme and knowledge demands. Metrics provided for qualitative measures are in narrative form only and do not state the complexity level.

References to research or evidence-based best practices for increasing students’ reading skills through appropriate sequencing of text complexity are not provided. The connections between the main selections and the selected pair passaged is not explained. For example, in Unit 3, the students read Learning to Swim and two paired passage called "Staying Safe in the Water" and "Beaches." There is no rationale provided for why these three particular passages are paired together, though they are thematic in nature. The emphasis of learning in "Staying Safe in Water" and "Beaches" is 21st Century Skills: Search Engines. Additional support is needed to have students make a connection amongst the three pieces of text as the teacher instructions do not provide clear support for the teacher to to help the students make the connection.

For some of the anchor texts falling outside the grade 6-8 text complexity band, more text-specific explanations are provided. For example, the TE for the text, Hachiko: The True Story of a Loyal Dog states, “One of the quantitative measures suggests this text might be placed below the Grade 6-8 complexity band. The non-English words in the selection and the unfamiliar setting and longer sentences may still challenge many students as they stretch to construct meaning." No rationale is provided to support the inclusion of this text thought its complexity falls outside of the grade band.A text complexity analysis and rationale for educational purpose and placement in the grade level is not provided for paired selections, teacher read-aloud, vocabulary skill selection, comprehension selection, or assessments.

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
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-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 partially meet the expectation for materials providing opportunities for students to engage in a range and volume of reading to achieve grade level. There are opportunities for students to read a range and volume of text. However, while materials provide some experiences with independent reading, teacher materials often lack explicit directions to help students build their skills to grow their literacy abilities by the end of the school year. Explicit support for oral or silent reading practice would strengthen these materials.

Some examples from the program that illustrate how the materials address this indicator include:

  • Students read the main selection, paired selection, Sleuth, and leveled readers with teacher guidance. The Trade Book Library is available for teacher and student use online, however, the teacher materials often lack explicit directions.
  • The assessment handbook provides a reading log template so that students can track their independent reading.
  • Opportunities for independent reading are explicitly identified as one of the small group stations students are supposed to complete every day, but length of time devoted to this activity per student is not identified.
  • The “Research and Inquiry” portion of each daily lesson has potential to provide independent reading time, though it is never explicitly stated that students should work independently.
  • Throughout every lesson directions in the teacher edition begin with directions such as, “Have students read...” followed by a particular paragraph, page, or passage. Frequently, it is not explicitly stated whether students should be reading independently, with partners, orally, or silently. These instructions accompany the anchor text as well as the supporting texts. They cover a wide range of content, themes, and topics.

The addition of a requirement for students to read a full novel/chapter book with teacher guidance and scaffolding may strengthen instruction in this area.

Criterion 1g - 1n

Materials provide opportunities for rich and rigorous evidence-based discussions and writing about texts to build strong literacy skills.
6/16
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-
Criterion Rating Details

Reading Street Grade 6 does not meet the expectation for materials providing opportunities for rich and rigorous evidence-based discussions and writing about texts to build strong literacy skills. Consistent experiences for students in answering text-dependent questions and complete text-dependent tasks and assignments are needed. Some culminating tasks can be completed without understanding of the text. Teacher materials lack the needed support for implementation. Some opportunities for students to engage in text-based discussions integrating vocabulary and syntax are provided in the materials, but there are limited teacher recommendations, instructional supports, and protocols. Materials support speaking and listening standards but are lacking teacher directions and support for implementation in the classroom and do not increase in rigor over the course of the year. Materials provide a mix of process and on demand writing, but not all writing tasks are aligned to grade level standards. Materials provide experiences in writing across different genres, but do not meet the distribution required by the standards and do not consistently connect writing tasks to texts read. Some tasks are disconnected from main selection texts, and they do not build over the course of the year. Teacher resources on how to implement or teach evidence-based writing are not provided. Finally, materials include some explicit instruction of some grammar and convention standards but are not presented in a sequence of increasingly sophisticated contexts over the course of the year. Additional experiences for students to demonstrate application of skills in context are needed.

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).
1/2
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 partially meet the expectation for most questions, tasks, and assignments being text-specific and requiring students to engage with the text directly and to draw on textual evidence to support both what are explicit as well as valid inference from the text. However, there are many questions and tasks that do not require students to engage with texts to complete them.

The following contains text-dependent questions and opportunities to make valid inferences:

  • Weekly main selection reading passages contain text-dependent questions and tasks (e.g., TE book 6.3, pages 340-341, “What events in the story seem likely, true to life, and reasonable? Use examples from the text to validate your evaluation.”)
  • Weekly text-based comprehension passages have text-specific tasks (e.g., TE book 6.2, pages 268-269, “Use a graphic organizer to compare and contrast Anna and Charlie in “My Siblings.”)
  • Weekly paired passages contain text-dependent questions (e.g., TE book 6.4, page 75a, “What does the anecdote in the last paragraph on page 75 reveal about apes? Cite evidence from the text in your answer.”)
  • Weekly Assessment passages contain text-dependent questions (e.g., TE book 6.3, page 419l, “List the major events in paragraph 2 in the order in which they happened. Use dates and time-order words as clues.”)
  • Many of the tasks in the “Reader’s and Writer’s Notebook” do not require the students to use evidence from the text when completing a handout. For example, in Unit 2, week 3, “In One Place or on the Move” students respond to questions on the worksheet and use evidence from the text to support their answers. However, in Unit 2, week 5 students do not need text evidence to complete the activity.
  • “Think Critically” in the SE appears after the main selection and includes 4-5 questions. Some of these are text dependent, but not all. For example, in Unit 2, Week 3 students are asked to think about an artifact their family may leave behind and explain how it would tell about their families’ lives. Reading the text would not be required to answer this question.
  • A weekly text-dependent assignment is included in the “Research and Inquiry Project.” This task is dependent on text students find, not provided text. Project TE directions provide general guidance on research, note taking, and synthesis of information, but explicit instructions, lessons, and models are not included.
  • The theme of Unit 3 is “Challenges and Obstacles.” In Unit 3, week 1, students read a main selection about a boy who gets lost in the Canadian Wilderness and a paired reading selection about a girl who goes to camp. The writing journal entry for the week is to write an Expository Speech (TE, page 333e). The Research and Inquiry activity is to “work in small groups to research people who have faced and overcome challenges in their lives and to create a poster to present on Day 5” (TE, page 333b). The culminating task and research project can be done without reading the text.
  • In Unit 1, week 3, students are asked about the idea of connecting with others in new places. The unit’s culminating writing task requires students to write a poem about a memorable day in their lives. The connection between the unit’s focus (theme) and the prompt for this task are not clear. Poetry is not provided within this unit to model poems about memorable experiences. Culminating tasks can be completed independent of the reading.
  • Teacher Read Aloud: After listening to the reading of a story about an eagle, students are asked questions about bald eagles as a symbol for the United States.
  • First Student Reading: “This New Town” has students focus on the skill of comparing and contrasting.
  • Second Student Reading: “The Traveler” requires students to work on a vocabulary strategy. Some of the text-dependent questions are connected to the idea of connecting with others in new places, but are not strategically sequenced.
  • Paired Reading: A close read on an email. The tasks for this reading require students to become familiar with this type of writing and purpose of emails.
  • Culminating tasks in Unit 2, week 2 require students to learn about the past by researching artifacts. The writing task asks students to write a mystery. The research project is connected to the concept of learning about the past and the reading support that topic. However, text-dependent questions do not always support the task nor are they strategically sequenced. The task of writing a mystery does include two models. One model can be found in “Read Like a Writer” and the other in the student text. Both of these tasks could be completed without reading the unit’s text selection.

The following are examples of questions and tasks that students can complete without engaging with the text. These are situated throughout the program:

  • Many of the tasks in the “Reader’s and Writer’s Notebook” do not require the students to use evidence from the text when completing a handout. For example, in Unit 2, week 3, “In One Place or on the Move” students respond to questions on the worksheet and use evidence from the text to support their answers. However, in Unit 2, week 5 students do not need text evidence to complete the activity.
  • “Think Critically” in the SE appears after the main selection and includes 4-5 questions. Some of these are text dependent, but not all. For example, in Unit 2, Week 3 students are asked to think about an artifact their family may leave behind and explain how it would tell about their families’ lives. Reading the text would not be required to answer this question.
  • A weekly text-dependent assignment is included in the “Research and Inquiry Project.” This task is dependent on text students find, not provided text. Project TE directions provide general guidance on research, note taking, and synthesis of information, but explicit instructions, lessons, and models are not included.

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).
0/2
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 do not meet the expectation for materials containing sets of high-quality sequences of text-dependent questions and activities that build to a culminating task. Many culminating tasks can be completed without an understanding of the text.

Throughout each week’s unit, students are engaged in answering questions and completing tasks, all of which relate to a unit theme and are concentrated in the TE. While these questions and activities are present, they do not appear to be strategically sequenced nor do they build to a connected culminating task. Students could complete the task without necessarily completing the questions, and often the questions don't provide the teacher with information on how a student might be able to complete the upcoming culminating task.

Some illustrations of how the materials work with questions and culminating tasks include (but are not limited to) these examples:

  • The theme of Unit 3 is “Challenges and Obstacles.” In Unit 3, week 1, students read a main selection about a boy who gets lost in the Canadian Wilderness and a paired reading selection about a girl who goes to camp. The writing journal entry for the week is to write an Expository Speech (TE, page 333e). The Research and Inquiry activity is to “work in small groups to research people who have faced and overcome challenges in their lives and to create a poster to present on Day 5” (TE, page 333b). The culminating task and research project can be done without reading the text.
  • In Unit 1, week 3, students are asked about the idea of connecting with others in new places. The unit’s culminating writing task requires students to write a poem about a memorable day in their lives. The connection between the unit’s focus (theme) and the prompt for this task are not clear. Poetry is not provided within this unit to model poems about memorable experiences. Culminating tasks can be completed independent of the reading.
  • Teacher Read Aloud: After listening to the reading of a story about an eagle, students are asked questions about bald eagles as a symbol for the United States.
  • First Student Reading: “This New Town” has students focus on the skill of comparing and contrasting.
  • Second Student Reading: “The Traveler” requires students to work on a vocabulary strategy. Some of the text-dependent questions are connected to the idea of connecting with others in new places, but are not strategically sequenced.
  • Paired Reading: A close read on an email. The tasks for this reading require students to become familiar with this type of writing and purpose of emails.
  • Culminating tasks in Unit 2, week 2 require students to learn about the past by researching artifacts. The writing task asks students to write a mystery. The research project is connected to the concept of learning about the past and the reading support that topic. However, text-dependent questions do not always support the task nor are they strategically sequenced. The task of writing a mystery does include two models. One model can be found in “Read Like a Writer” and the other in the student text. Both of these tasks could be completed without reading the unit’s text selection.

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.)
0/2
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 do not meet the expectation for providing frequent opportunities and protocols for evidence-based discussions that encourage the modeling and use of academic vocabulary and syntax. The materials provide some occasions for students to engage in text-based discussions integrating vocabulary and syntax, but there are limited teacher recommendations, instructional supports, and protocols.

While there were many occasions for students to engage in collaborative conversations, the opportunities lacked information on how teachers can provide support and scaffolds with collaborative conversations, such as sentence stems or sentence frames. The materials provide very few protocols for discussions that encourage modeling and the use of academic vocabulary and syntax.

Students are asked to turn and talk to their neighbor without any support or instruction on how to appropriately communicate with each other. There are no teacher models demonstrated. For example in Unit 1 (UR 57 of Teacher Edition),"Have students work in pairs to talk about the Amazing Ideas related to loyalty and respect that they discussed each week. Then have students use these ideas to help demonstrate their understanding of the question, “What draws us to people and things around us and makes us care?"

The Common Core 101 resource suggests that Book Talks help to build oral language and are structured with guidance for Book Talk Listeners (students listening to the Book Talks) and Book Talk Presenters (students presenting the Book Talk). Students are taught that a Book Talk is like a movie preview, and it is meant to motivate students to read increasingly complex texts on subjects and in genres with which they are not familiar. A list of suggestions is provided about what a Book Talk should be. While one suggestion is to look at the audience while speaking, there are no suggestions about using academic language or correct syntax.

Each weekly unit contains a set of “Amazing Words” which are the academic and oral vocabulary words for the week. The teacher goes through a series of steps to introduce the words, demonstrate understanding, apply understanding and then display the word in the classroom on day 3 of the week. Students are sometimes asked questions that relate the academic vocabulary to the text, but they are not associated with listening and speaking activities (ex: Unit 5, week 2, TE, page 215a, “In “The Hammer of Justice,” we learn that the 1960’s were a revolutionary time. What other periods of history were revolutionary?”)

"Build Oral Language" at the beginning of the unit provides guiding questions for the teacher as students consider images included in the book. No structure is provided for framing student conversations or evidence-based discussions and some of the prompts require a yes/no or one word responses. No emphasis on academic language or syntax is given. Day 5 provides some instruction for evidence-based partner discussion. Students are expected to marshal evidence from texts and sources independently.

In order to meet the indicator, the teacher may need to spend additional time outside of this program and utilize outside resources.

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
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 partially meet the expectation for materials supporting students’ listening and speaking about what they are reading and researching with relevant follow-up questions and evidence. Materials support speaking and listening standards but are lacking teacher directions and support for implementation in the classroom and do not increase in rigor over the course of the year.

  • Weekly speaking and listening instruction is provided over the course of the school year in the following sections:
    • “Build Oral Vocabulary” on Day 5 provides some instructions for evidence-based partner discussions.
    • “Listening and Speaking” on Day 4 provides guidance for a variety of speaking and listening skills.
    • “Research and Inquiry” on Day 5 provides guidance for speaking and listening skills as students present their assigned research project.

Each weekly unit contains a listening and speaking activity on Day 4 (e.g., Unit 6, week 1, has students read their book reviews to the class TE, page 353a).

The materials provide minimal follow-up questions to ask students during listening and speaking activities. For example, in Unit 5, week 3 students read the myth The River That Went to the Sky. The weekly writing prompt is to write a tall tale about a larger-than-life character and his or her adventures. The speaking and listening activity for the week is for “Have students tell their stories and present their illustrations to the class.” Teachers are reminded to allow time for questions and comments (TE, page 263a). No further support or direction is provided.

Each unit provides a “Research and Inquiry” task. Each day, students spend time working on the task using various resources to research information independently, but daily listening and speaking opportunities do not exist for every activity. Presentations are given on Day 5. Presentation types vary and range from letters, myths, oral reports, visual presentation, and charts, graphs or tables. These tasks do not increase in complexity as the year progresses, and only general teacher directions for listening and speaking skills are provided.

Instructional supports for listening and speaking are provided; however, facilitation supports (how to effectively manage time for all students to present on Day 4 and Day 5) and monitoring supports are missing (no clear method for monitoring/assessing).

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.
1/2
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 partially meet the expectation of materials including a mix of on-demand and process writing and short, focused projects incorporating digital resources where necessary.

Each week students participate in process writing. A typical routine has students “Read Like a Writer” on Day 1, brainstorm/topic focus on Day 2, write while incorporating a specific skill on Day 3, revise on Day 4 and proofread on Day 5. These tasks are sometimes connected to text, but most can be completed without reading the text. The inclusion of additional time would allow teachers to support students in revising, editing, and rewriting multiple drafts.

Students participate in on-demand writing. Following the day’s writing mini-lesson students are asked to participate in a “Quick Write for Fluency.” These are part of the daily writing instruction provided in the teacher edition. The prompts are academic and provide experiences wherein students define a particular genre, process new academic terms, or build and reflect on ideas for the larger writing piece they are creating that week.

“Writing to Sources” is an optional material. The tasks in this material are aligned to Grade 6 writing standards. After reading the main selection, teachers may assign a task from this supplemental resource. These tasks require students to provide text-based responses using the text they read. Little information exists about this resource in the TE. The resource provides general teacher instructions, contains narrative, informative, and argument prompts with rubrics, but provides no models.

“Let’s Write Tasks” are a part of the daily independent stations. Specific tasks are differentiated. These tasks are not always identified in the small-group overview at the beginning of the week which indicates stations that are most important if a teacher is short on time.

Each week, students participates in a “Research and Inquiry” project related to the 5-week theme or setting/genre of the main selection and encourages use of technology for presentations. Direct references to main selection texts are not made. These weekly projects minimally align with the expectations of Grade 6 writing standards. Instead, students write fact sheets, maps, lists, tables, posters, advertisements, brochures, diagrams, outlines, and some written reports.

Another example: the theme of Unit 5 is resources. During week 1, students evaluate a performance and express their opinion (critical review). During week 2, students write a letter expressing their opinion about an issue in their community (letter to the editor). During week 3, students write a tall tale about a larger than life character and their adventures (tall tale). During week 4, students write about something they think is valuable (brochure). During week 5, students write about the effects humans have on the environment (cause and effect essay).

There are some opportunities to revise or edit, however, the instructional materials do not cover standards W.4 and W.5 in the Daily Writing Focus or the Research and Inquiry as students rarely get to peer edit or revise during daily writing or prior to the research presentation on Day 5; the only edits/revising the students complete is self-editing. In the Writing focus of the week, students have the opportunity to participate in Peer Conferencing/Peer Revision on Day 4.

There are minimal directions to guide teachers and they work with students on how to read for relevant facts and then turn the facts into notes and complete sentences. For example on page 245b in Unit 2, Week 3, Day 2 Research and Inquiry, "Have students search the internet using their inquiry question and keywords from Day 1." In addition, the teacher directions are vague when students are to use a digital resource to type their research and inquiry response. For example, "Have students use a poster board and/or word processing program to prepare graphic organizers..." (Unit 1, Week 4, page 137b).

Indicator 1l

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 partially meet the expectation of materials providing opportunities for students to address different genres/modes of writing that reflect the distribution required by the standards. Materials provide experiences in writing across different genres, but do not met the distribution required by the standards. Materials do not consistently connect writing tasks to texts read.

The weekly process writing tasks provided in the Grade 6 TE do not reflect the distribution of writing required by the standards. Prompts that are aligned to the standards are either narrative or informative/explanatory. Only 3 prompts provided are argument/persuasive tasks:

  • Unit 5 Writing Process task: Students select own topic.
  • Unit 5, Week 2: Letter to the editor.
  • Unit 6, Week 3: Invitation with persuasive voice.

“Writing to Sources” (a Common Core Teacher Resource) contains writing prompts for students to write to the CCSS using text evidence using Grade 6 writing standards. Note: this is a supplemental resource and is not part of the Teacher Edition’s weekly planning. Each week’s main reading selection has two writing options. Teachers can have students “Write like a Reporter” or write to “Connect Texts”. More ways to “Connect Texts” are provided at the end of the “Writing to Sources” resource. Explicit directions on how to implement the Common Core Writing Tasks into the existing week’s planning guide are not provided in the “Writing to Sources” resource. Each unit has a writing focus: Unit 1 focus: narrative; Unit 2 writing focus: argumentative; Unit 3 writing focus: informative/explanatory; Unit 4 writing focus: narrative; Unit 5 writing focus: argumentative; Unit 6 writing focus: informative/explanatory.

Opportunities for assessment and progress monitoring are provided by rubrics accompanying the weekly process writing task and for the “Writing to Sources” assignments.

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 6 partially meet the expectation of materials providing frequent opportunities for evidence-based writing to support careful analyses, well-defended claims, and clear information. Some tasks are disconnected from main selection texts, and in addition, some tasks do not build in rigor over the course of the year. Teacher resources on how to implement or teach evidence-based writing are not provided.

The "Look Back and Write" section included at the end of each main selection text, directs students to go back to the text and do some type of evidence- based writing. For example, in Unit 4, week 2 students must go back into the text and rewrite a portion of the text from a differing point of view and include evidence. No support for the development or assessment of student writing within these tasks is offered. The majority of the "Look Back and Write" tasks are informational in nature asking students to summarize events, explain relationships between information in the reading, or describe key events in the text. Several tasks ask students to rewrite texts from a different point-of-view, which could be considered narrative. Opportunities to write an argumentative piece are rare. Only two tasks required students to write from a Pro/Con or Agree/Disagree perspective (Unit 1, week 5 and Unit 2, week 3). These tasks do not progress in difficulty throughout the year.

While questions and tasks posed in reading comprehension often provide instructions for teachers to tell students to use details from the text in their answer, there is no explicit instruction on how to select significant evidence, appropriately paraphrase, quote, transition, cite sources, or further explain when providing evidence-based written answers.

A supplemental resource, “Writing to Sources”, provides prompts for students to write using text evidence, though it lacks explicit teacher directions on how to teach students to write opinion, narrative, or informative/explanatory texts. When students “Write Like a Reporter”, teachers are provided a checklist on what student text should include. When students write to “Connect the Texts,” teachers are provided a writing rubric. Brief directions for student discussion and planning are included, along with basic statements such as “Explain to students that they will need to draw evidence and support from the texts above in order to answer evidence-based short response questions and to write an argumentative essay. Students should take notes and categorize information as they closely reread the texts" (page 59).

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
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 partially meet the expectation of materials including explicit instruction of the grammar and convention standards for the grade level as applied in increasingly sophisticated contexts, with opportunities for application both in and out of the context. Materials include explicit instruction of some grammar and convention standards but are not presented in a sequence of increasingly sophisticated contexts over the course of the year. Opportunities for students to demonstrate application of skills in context are limited.

Some standards covered fall outside of the grade level. For example:

  • In Unit 1, Weeks 1 and 2 include lessons about types of sentences and punctuating those sentences (TE page 49o, TE page 49d). The use of end punctuation is taught in Grade 1 (L.1.2.b)
  • In Unit 1, Week 5, there is a lesson on common and proper nouns (TE, page 141c). Common and proper nouns are taught in Grade 1 (L.1.1.b).
  • In Unit 2, Week 2, there is a lesson on possessive nouns (TE, page 213c). Possessive nouns are taught in Grade 2 (L.2.2.c).
  • In Unit 6, Week 1 (TE, page 368b), there is a lesson on conjunctions. Conjunctions are taught in Grade 1 (L.1.1.g).

Each unit has a daily direct instruction lesson on “conventions.” Each week focuses on a specific convention and grammar skill. Each day, explicit instruction takes place, and students practice the skill with worksheets from Grammar Transparencies, Reader’s and Writer’s Notebook, Let’s Practice It!, and Daily Fix-It Transparency. The majority of practice occurs within worksheet activities that often use texts other than those students have been reading, and application of speaking and writing skills is minimal.

The following language skills are included:

  • Unit 1: four kinds of sentences, subjects and predicates, independent and dependent clauses, compound and complex sentences, and common and proper nouns (four out of five topics are the same as Grade 5)
  • Unit 2: regular and irregular plural nouns, possessive nouns, action and linking verbs, subject-verb agreement, and past, present and future tense (four out of five topics are the same as Grade 5)
  • Unit 3: principal parts of regular verbs, principal parts of irregular verbs, verbs, objects and subject complements, troublesome verbs, and prepositions
  • Unit 4: subject and object pronouns, pronouns and antecedents, possessive pronouns, indefinite and reflexive pronouns, and using who and whom (same as Unit 6 in Grade 5)
  • Unit 5: contractions and negatives, adjectives and articles, demonstrative adjectives, comparative and superlative adjectives, and adverbs
  • Unit 6: modifiers, conjunctions, commas, quotations and quotation marks, and punctuation (same as Unit 6 in Grade 5).

Each unit contains “conventions” instruction. On Day 1, students are introduced to the convention and practice with a worksheet. On Day 2, students may or may not look at text examples from the reading and then go back into the reading to find examples of the convention. On Day 3, students work with another worksheet. On Day 4, students take a test on the convention. Day 5 asks students to proofread the weekly process writing for the targeted convention as well as other conventions. The culminating research presentation for the unit does not include the targeted weekly convention for speaking

On the “Let’s Write It!” page in the student edition, the weekly writing task is described along with a “Conventions” callout at the bottom of the page where the students are reminded of the rules of that week's convention.

Gateway Two

Building Knowledge with Texts, Vocabulary, and Tasks

Not Rated

Criterion 2a - 2h

0/32

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

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.
0/4

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.
0/4

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

Indicator 2e

Materials include a cohesive, year-long plan for students to interact with and build key academic vocabulary words in and across texts.
0/4

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.
0/4

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.
0/4

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

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 Apr 06 00:00:00 UTC 2017

Report Edition: 2013

Title ISBN Edition Publisher Year
null 978-0-328-72457-4 null null null
null 978-0-328-72458-1 null null null
null 978-0-328-72545-8 null null null
null 978-0-328-72546-5 null null null
null 978-0-328-72547-2 null null null
null 978-0-328-72548-9 null null null
null 978-0-328-72549-6 null null null
null 978-0-328-72550-2 null null null
null 978-0-328-73368-2 null null null
null 978-0-328-73418-4 null null null
null 978-0-328-76860-8 null null null

About Publishers Responses

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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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