Alignment to College and Career Ready Standards: Overall Summary

The instructional materials for SpringBoard Grade 8 partially meet the expectations of alignment. The texts studied are rigorous and engaging for 8th grade students, providing a breadth of topics and themes for students to experience. Texts are high quality and organized so students have an opportunity to read, discuss, and write about different types and genres. Writing instruction spans the course of the school year and provides in-depth support for students to develop skills in writing different types of texts. Some questions and tasks are text-dependent and do require evidence from texts, but other questions do not, instead asking for students' opinions. Sequences of questions do not consistently support completion of rich culminating tasks that grow knowledge and allow students to demonstrate deep understanding of the texts. There is a structure to develop students' vocabulary, but words are not consistently used context and mostly are centered around literary and writing terms in service of writing exercises. Speaking and listening opportunities provide students much opportunity to practice different types of small group and oral presentation practice, but they do not consistently support students' building knowledge nor do they consistently connect to the texts that anchor each section.

See Rating Scale
Understanding Gateways

Alignment

|

Partially Meets Expectations

Gateway 1:

Text Quality

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

Gateway 2:

Building Knowledge

0
15
28
32
24
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
27
30-34
Meets Expectations
24-29
Partially Meets Expectations
0-23
Does Not Meet Expectations

Gateway One

Text Quality & Complexity and Alignment to Standards Components

Meets Expectations

+
-
Gateway One Details

The instructional materials for Grade 8 meet the overall expectations for Gateway 1. The texts are of quality and include multiple genres and types appropriate in rigor and form for 8th grade students. While there are many structures in place for students to grow their learning with text-dependent tasks and questions (writing, speaking, and listening), there are missed opportunities in fully engaging with the texts themselves and engaging in critical analysis of their content, themes, and topics. There are minimal supports for teachers to identify and redirect or reteach students who struggle with or misunderstand the rich content provided by the anchor texts. Text dependent questions and tasks are provided, but not supported comprehensively for those students who may need extra work to build proficiency. Writing instruction is robust and allows for consistent on-demand and process practice in multiple genres and text types. Culminating tasks for Grade 8 students do provide connections to the texts and tasks that preceded them.

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.
19/20
+
-
Criterion Rating Details

Texts are well crafted and content rich, engaging students at the grade level for which they are placed and reflect the distribution of text type and genre required by the standards for Grade 8. Texts reflecting the are rich in language, engaging, grade level appropriate, and relevant. Text complexity and their placement within the program support 8th grade students' reading appropriately rigorous material over the course of the school year. Students read a range and volume of texts in and out of class, although there are limited structures for accountability to identify if students comprehend the grade level texts. There are limited opportunities for students to practice their oral and silent reading.

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 for Grade 8 fully meet the expectations of indicator 1a. Texts in the majority of the chapters/units across the year-long curriculum are of publishable quality. Texts are well crafted and content rich, engaging students at the grade level for which they are placed. The texts include published texts, excerpts from published texts, and published authors. Texts can be examined multiple times for multiple purposes, such as building academic vocabulary and facilitating access to future texts. They offer personal perspectives on a variety of topics.

Some examples of texts that represent the quality of the year-long materials include (but are not limited to) the following:

Unit 1:

  • Excerpt from the Odyssey, by Homer
  • "A Man," by Nina Cassian
  • "Where I Find My Heroes," by Oliver Stone from McCall's Magazine
  • "O Captain! My Captain!" by Walt Whitman

Unit 2:

  • "Grant and Lee: A Study in Contrasts," by Bruce Catton
  • The Giver, by Lois Lowry
  • Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury
  • "Private Eyes," by Brooke Charlton
  • "Parents Share Son's Fatal Text Message to Warn Against Texting & Driving," from the Associated Press; "The Science Behind Distracted Driving," from KUTV, Austin

Unit 3:

  • Excerpt from Night, by Elie Wiesel
  • Life is Beautiful, film directed by Roberto Benigni
  • Excerpt from Elie Wiesel's Nobel Peace Prize Acceptance Speech
  • Excerpt from Do Something! A Handbook for Young Activists, by Vanessa Martir, Nancy Lublin, and Julia Steers

Unit 4:

  • "Made You Laugh," by Marc Tyler Nobleman
  • Excerpt from Brothers, by Jon Scieszka
  • "I've got a few pet peeves about sea creatures," by Dave Barry
  • "The Open Window," by Saki
  • "A Day's Work" from The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, by Mark Twain
  • "Is Traffic Jam Delectable?" by Jack Prelutsky

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 for Grade 8 fully meet the expectations of indicator 1b because they reflect the distribution of text type and genre required by the standards for grade 8. The texts represent a balance of literary and informational readings and span multiple types of text, including poems, essays, articles, films, editorials, myths, novel excerpts, short stories, memoirs, novels, biographies, and autobiographies.

Unit 1: Text types include novels, short stories, poetry, news articles, autobiography, and an essay. Specific examples include (but are not limited to) the following titles and authors:

  • Excerpt from A Wrinkle in Time, by Madeleine L-Engle
  • "The Drummer Boy of Shiloh," by Ray Bradbury
  • "A Man," by Nina Cassian
  • "Soldier home after losing his leg in Afghanistan,"by Gale Fiege
  • Excerpt from The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave, by Frederick Douglass
  • "A Definition of a Gentleman," by John Henry Newman.

Unit 2: Text types include essays, short story, novel, and articles. Specific examples include (but are not limited to) the following titles and authors:

  • "Grant and Lee: A Study in Contrasts," by Bruce Catton
  • "Harrison Bergeron," by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.
  • The Giver, by Lois Lowry or Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury
  • "Banned Books Week: Celebrating the Freedom to Read"
  • "Private Eyes," by Brooke Charlton
  • "How the Brain Reacts," by Marcel Just and Tim Keller

Unit 3: Text types include memoir, poetry, children's book, film, excerpted play script, novel excerpt, primary sources, and news articles. Specific examples include (but are not limited to) the following titles and authors:

  • Excerpt from Night, by Elie Wiesel
  • "First They Came for the Communists," by Martin Niemoller
  • Terrible Things: An Allegory of the Holocaust, by Eve Bunting
  • Life is Beautiful, directed by Roberto Benigni
  • Excerpt from The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, by John Boyne
  • Excerpt form Elie Wiesel's Nobel Peace Prize Acceptance Speech
  • Excerpt from: Do Something! A Handbook for Young Activists, by Vanessa Martir, Nancy Lublin, and Julia Steers
  • "Wangari Maathai," from BBC News

Unit 4: Text types include essays, satire, novel, poetry, comedic skit, drama, informational text, and film. Specific examples include (but are not limited to) the following titles and authors:

  • "Made You Laugh," by Marc Tyler Nobleman
  • "Underfunded Schools Forced to Cut Past Tense From Language Programs," from The Onion
  • "The Open Window," by Saki
  • "A Day's Work" from The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, by Mark Twain
  • "They Have Yarns," by Carl Sandburg
  • "Who's on First?" by Bud Abbott and Lou Costello
  • Excerpt from A Midsummer Night's Dream, by William Shakespeare
  • "Fear Busters - 10 Tips to Overcome Stage Fright," by Gary Guwe
  • Film, A Midsummer Night's Dream

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.
4/4
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The anchor (or "core") texts in the Grade 8 materials meet the expectations of indicator 1c. Texts typically fall within the 6-8 grade level band (925L to 1185L) in terms of quantitative measures and are within the appropriate rigor range in terms of qualitative measures, which measure elements of language, concepts and themes, and take into consideration the depth of the text itself. When texts fall "above or below" these bands, there are appropriate accompanying reader and task elements that substantiate the rationale for the text's presence in the year long materials.

  • Unit 1: Overall quantitative levels: 740-1230. Novel excerpts, poetry, and historical essays are qualitatively complex and less complex. Students work within single texts and compare/contrast components of the materials.
  • Unit 2: Overall quantitative levels: 760- 1590. Novels, poetry, and media articles are qualitatively complex and are coupled with activities that call for synthesizing evidence across texts.
  • Unit 3: Overall quantitative levels: 630- 1350. Thematically- and topically-organized film, poetry, novels, and articles fall into a broad range of qualitative complexity. Students engage in working across texts.
  • Unit 4: Overall quantitative levels: 900-1410. Satirical essays, exposition and explanatory pieces combine with poetry and are qualitatively accessible for students to negotiate working across texts. Tasks are integrated reading-writing-speaking-listening and synthesize skills and knowledge learned over the course of the school year.

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.)
4/4
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials for Grade 8 fully meet the expectations of indicator 1d, which supports students in growing their literacy skills by organizing texts so that students interact with increasingly rigorous texts over the course of the year. By the end of the year, students encounter fewer texts with low text complexity measures, and more texts with moderate to high difficulty. A variety of complexity levels is found across the school year.

The overall reading and writing demands start at an accessible range in Unit 1 and gradually increase in complexity and challenges over the course of the school year. This range includes measures of quantitative and qualitative demand. Students encounter texts with lower quantitative demands at the beginnings of each Unit as skills are introduced, and then they practice with increasingly complex texts as the Units continue. For example, in Unit 1, early texts measure quantitatively at 740 and 770 Lexile, but at the end of the Unit texts have a measure of 1130 and 1230. Coupled with the qualitative richness, these text sets provide a strong background for students to grow skills as they have access to grade-level texts. Online supports include Close Reading and Writer's Workshops which give students scaffolded instruction and multiple opportunities to access texts and gain experience in writing for different purposes and audiences.

Further students supports online allow students to access texts audibly. Print and Online Student editions provide grammar handbooks, explaining language standards, as well as a variety of reading and writing strategy explanations. The Print and Online Teacher Edition contains these resources as well, along with teaching tips, resources, and suggestions, such as extra Grammar lessons, Teacher to Teacher tips, and adapt and extend opportunities for ELL, Struggling, and Advanced students. There are multiple opportunities during collaborative discussions, Literature Circles, and class presentations to practice speaking and listening skills.

Indicator 1e

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

The Grade 8 materials fully meet the expectations of indicator 1e. The core texts, and series of texts connected to them, are accompanied by a text complexity analysis and rationale for educational purpose and placement at grade level. The publisher includes a complete “Text Complexity Analysis” for each text used. This document includes a text description, a locator for where it is used, a section on context, a chart of the quantitative and qualitative measures, the qualitative considerations, the task and reader considerations, and the placement considerations.

In the online Teacher Edition, a complete text complexity analysis and rationale for that text's inclusion in the program is available. Included in the text analysis is the following: a paragraph setting the context of the reading within the rest of the unit; a quantitative/complexity measure; qualitative considerations including purpose/levels of meaning, structure, language and knowledge demands; as well as task, reader, and grade level placement considerations.

In the forward of the print Teacher Edition, an explanation of the metrics used for text complexity measures is provided. Quantitative measures are indicated with Lexile scores. Qualitative measures are indicated as "High," "Moderate," and "Low" difficulty and were determined by teachers considering meaning, purpose, structure, language, and knowledge demands of each text. Task difficulty was measured using Anderson's and Krathwohl's taxonomy based on the cognitive demands of tasks associated with the text.

At the beginning of each unit, the Teacher Edition lists rationale for materials included in the “Planning the Unit” section through Context, College Readiness Standards, and Instructional Practices and Pacing. When texts appear to fall below the grade 6-8 level band, a rationale is provided for justification. In the Print Teacher Edition, Text Complexity Icons and information appear as sidebars alongside the beginning of all prose text in Grade 8 student and teacher editions.

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

Instructional materials Grade 8 partially meet the expectations of indicator 1f. The materials provide opportunities for students to engage in a range and volume of reading to achieve grade level reading, but additional support is needed for students to grow their reading abilities with oral or silent reading practice over the school year.

Materials do include a breadth and depth of text types. Students are instructed to self-select texts connected to unit themes and keep a reading journal to record connections to core texts and self-reflect on successful reading strategies, such as multiple reading for multiple purposes, rereading, thinking aloud, visualizing, chunking text, and summarizing.

Although support for students to access a broad and deep range of texts is available, instructional materials do not clearly identify opportunities for students to build literacy skills to become independent readers of grade level material. Some of the texts suggested and used are highly rigorous, and students may need support to comprehend and engage with them fluently. Materials provide minimal explicit and systematic practice in both oral and silent reading across chapters/units and the whole school year. Struggling students do have the opportunity to listen to texts with Student Online Edition. The Online Edition also provides, with guidance from the teacher, four Close Reading activities that provide multiple scaffolding experiences in order for students to achieve skill mastery. However, most supports for students to build their oral and silent reading are limited to materials directed for ELL students. There are few supports for teachers to identify gaps in literacy ability and provide support for students who struggle with the texts and associated tasks. Close Reading workshops are designed to provide practice with and build the skill of close reading; however, they are used to support or extend instruction rather than as a day to day core component. These workshops are not built into the core instructional pacing, and as a result, not all students are guaranteed to be exposed to these workshops.

There is concern that no specific support or rubric exists in materials that allows either teacher or student to engage in progress monitoring that would provide the teacher an opportunity to support students with growing comprehension if they need help engaging with grade-level texts, especially as they are encountering more rigorous texts toward the end of the year as they begin to prepare for Grade 9.

Criterion 1g - 1n

Materials provide opportunities for rich and rigorous evidence-based discussions and writing about texts to build strong literacy skills.
13/16
+
-
Criterion Rating Details

In the Grade 8 materials, questions and tasks (written and spoken) and their accompanying culminating tasks are consistently associated with texts. Culminating tasks mostly support the learning that occurred in these questions prior to them and offer students opportunities to integrate skills. However, there is little support for teachers to identify misunderstandings as students use these strategies with the texts. The core of many questions and culminating tasks focus on the skills instead of focusing on the content and meaning of the text. Speaking and listening activities are available across the year, but guidance and support of practicing application of the vocabulary and syntax is minimal. Writing instruction to guide students to navigate multiple types and genres in on-demand and process writing settings is robust, as is grammar and conventions instruction.

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
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials for Grade 8 partially meet the expectations of indicator 1g that most questions, tasks, and assignments are text-specific and require students to engage with the text directly. The questions and tasks sometimes ask the students to draw on textual evidence to support both what is explicit and as well as valid inferences from the text. Teacher materials provide some support for the planning and implementation of text-dependent writing, speaking, and various activities, although many questions and much analysis done by students is at a surface level read of the texts studied.

Following are some representative examples of how the Grade 8 materials employ text-based questions and tasks over the course of the school year:

In Unit 1, students read "The Drummer Boy of Shiloh" and use the annotation component to answer text dependent questions:

  • "What indications in the story show that the boy is afraid?
  • "At the beginning of the story, what is the boy's perspective or point of view about his role in the war? Compare his perspective with the general's perspective."
  • "What is significant about how Joby joined the army?
  • "Summarize the drummer boy's importance to the army, according to the general."
  • "Notice how paragraph 46, beginning, 'So bring up right...' speeds up the pace of the story. Examine the paragraph and determine how the author makes the reader and Joby feel the excitement of the general."

After reading, students are prompted to respond with evidence to these text-specific questions/tasks:

  • "Summarize the Departure Stage of the Hero’s Journey as it relates to Joby in 'The Drummer Boy.' Embed at least one direct quotation in your summary to strengthen your response."
  • "Write a theme statement to express how Joby is now ready to start his journey. How did the writer communicate this idea? Provide textual evidence to support your interpretation."
  • Students then complete a graphic organizer after being instructed to "Reread a chunk of the text to identify and evaluate the narrative elements listed..."

While these are targeted and text-specific, they attend to surface components of the text, and the teacher is not provided explicit follow-up questions to check for students' comprehension and deeper understanding. Additionally, the questions are not consistently sequenced to scaffold to more comprehensive understanding, as they ask for varying degrees of detail and attention.

In Unit 2, Activity 2.3, students read "Harrison Bergeron" and follow the same type of annotation to do a close read. At the end of the Activity, students are given a comprehension question:

  • "How does “Harrison Bergeron” convey the conflict between the needs or ideals of society and the realities of individuals? Be sure to provide examples from the text and use at least one direct quotation to support your ideas, include a reference to utopia and dystopia, [and] use active voice unless you choose passive voice for a certain effect."

The text is used in this Activity as a vehicle for considering the concept of "utopian ideals" and as a vehicle for studying language and writer's craft, but the focus is not on the text itself.

In Unit 3, students read multiple texts that explore the history of the Holocaust and select people who have worked to make a difference. When reading an excerpt from The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, students again use the annotation prompts as they read. Many of the questions ask students to analyze:

  • "Analyze the opening line."
  • "Analyze the description and dialogue. Why is the watch so important to Shmuel? What does it symbolize for him?"

These questions do engage students with the text, but do not necessarily support students' comprehension. Other questions, however, guide students to more learning, such as "Why is Bruno having such a hard time believing Shmuel's story? What does the dialogue reveal about his character?" This set of questions works better to facilitate students' ability to understand the section.

Throughout the program, students engage daily with annotation work and series of questions that are text-specific. However, there is little support for teachers to identify misunderstandings as students use these strategies with the texts. Should students not comprehend the texts or struggle with the text, the tasks and questions themselves will not support them in deepening their understanding. There is little support for teachers to redirect students who need extra support, with exception of some ELL supports.

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).
2/2
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 8 meet the expectations of indicator 1h. Culminating tasks of quality are evident across a year's worth of material. Students who demonstrate success with sequences of questions can complete the culminating tasks that are rich and provide opportunities for students to demonstrate what they know and are able to do in speaking and writing. Culminating tasks connect with texts consistently, although the central focus of these productions does not always privilege the learning within the texts.

Following are examples of how the materials use culminating tasks to support students' literacy learning:

Unit 1:

  • Culminating Task 1.1 Write a Hero's Journey Narrative. This task represents a culmination of student learning throughout the first half of Unit 1 as previous text-dependent tasks have focused on learning the elements of narrative text and the content of a hero's journey. For example, students learn how to write effective narratives by studying the beginning of a classic novel, examine the Hero's Journey archetype plot structures using print and non print text, and draft, revise, and illustrate an original Hero's Journey archetype. After collaboration in writing groups, students will publish their story and reflect on their learning.

Unit 2:

  • Culminating Task 2.1 Write an expository essay. The sequence of text-dependent tasks throughout the unit support student success with this assessment as students write a compare/contrast response to expository text using textual evidence to support a central idea, read informational and classic literary texts and use evidence from these texts in a written response to literature, and engage in a study of two novels concurrently, examining and making connections among literary elements and engaging in related discussion. Students work with texts throughout the process as models to support their understanding of the expository essay.

Additionally, the materials focus on supporting writing with tasks that require students to analyze a model argumentative essay, marking the text for the claim, evidence, reasoning, and counterclaims; use the steps of research process to write a research question; locate and evaluate sources; and use a writer's checklist to outline and write the argumentative essay.

Unit 3:

  • Culminating Activity 3.2 Present a Multimedia Campaign. This culminating task reflects student learning from this unit guided by a series of text-dependent tasks focused on the use, purpose, and impact of media. Students study visuals from public service announcements to analyze purpose and effect, read images and slogans from various websites to evaluate how media enhances presentation of information, and apply this understanding to an analysis of written texts to discover purpose, audience, tone and argumentative elements of a speech. Additionally, students analyze informational texts and websites about efforts that have made a difference, explaining how specific media types appeal to different target audiences. In this example, students merge understanding of the texts themselves with the forms and modes in which they are developed to make meaning.

Unit 4

  • Culminating Activity 4.1 Write an analysis of humorous text. Throughout the unit, text-dependent tasks are sequenced to culminate in this task. Students analyze the complexity of humor by reading closely and writing an objective summary of informational text, engaging in a close read of film and literary text, analyzing how speakers and authors use anecdote and satire to create humor, and use Socratic Seminar techniques to explain theme through humor. Students continue to deepen their knowledge and build writing skills as they evaluate a sample student essay and conduct research to build background knowledge. To develop their own culminating task, students must have a strong understanding of the texts and tasks that precede the assignment.

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 for Grade 8 partially meet the expectations of indicator 1i. The materials do provide opportunities and protocols for evidence based discussions; however, these discussions do not consistently incorporate students' use of rich academic vocabulary and syntax. Guidance and support of practicing application of the vocabulary and syntax is minimal. Support to build students’ skills in speaking and listening in general is strong, but engaging students in practicing speaking with academic vocabulary is not consistently clear across the school year.

Academic and content specific vocabulary is listed in the beginning of each unit. Definitions are provided at point of use and in glossaries in the student and teacher edition. However, there is minimal support and direct instruction. Instead, students are given access to word map graphic organizers, encouraged to use reader writer notebooks, and introduced to a QHT strategy to use peers to help master definitions. There is no evidence of support of use of this vocabulary in discussions. In regard to discussions, multiple opportunities are evident for small group and whole class discussions, including Literature Circles and Socratic Seminars. Protocols, sentence starters, and frames are given, but other than definitions and organizers, there is minimal support for use of academic vocabulary.

There are structures in place, but the structures around vocabulary are mostly focused on literary terms and not on application of words into new contexts beyond a cursory examination. For example, in the middle of each unit, students are asked to re-sort academic and literary terms introduced at the beginning of the unit. Students compare and discuss this new sort with original sort and consider how their understanding of words has changed. Students then select one word and write a concise statement about their new learning. This self-assessment and reflection is valuable, but it does not grow students' knowledge and understanding of incorporating vocabulary into future use. Speaking and listening activities do not explicitly direct students to model new vocabulary usage throughout the school year, although they do prepare students to practice working on presentation skills.

The instructional materials note that repeated use of tools such as rubrics will support students as they practice presenting materials throughout the year. The only mention of academic vocabulary is in "Use of Language" and may not require students to use specific vocabulary.

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 expectations of indicator 1j, supporting students' listening and speaking about what they are reading and researching including relevant follow up questions and evidence. Students are provided with multiple opportunities to work with partners, in small groups, and in large groups to practice sharing information that they have summarized and synthesized and present research they have individually and/or in groups conducted. In every speaking and listening activity, the students are asked to use evidence from the text at hand, although main ideas and core themes may not be explored consistently.

Materials develop students' skills with focused discussions such as Socratic Seminars and Literature Circles, in which students participate in speaking and listening that is grounded in their reading and researching. Guided instruction for meaningful discussion is evident. Multiple opportunities for student presentation is evident, including speeches and interpretive performances. Specific strategies for collaboration and oral conventions are provided and found in both the Teacher and Student Edition.

Some examples demonstrating this indicator include the following structures. Each structure is supported with directions to employ the discussion, presentation, or other speaking and listening activity. Each activity is intended to reference directly the text/s being read and studied in that Unit or section. However, there are inconsistent prompts and support for accountability to ensure students are learning from the texts during these activities:

Unit 1

  • Activity 8: Students participate in collaborative discussions. Teacher assigns specific roles and goes over guidelines and discussion protocols. The instructional focus is on learning the protocols.
  • Activity 11: Students present findings to class about tone, using outline frames to prepare for presentation. When other groups are presenting, students are instructed to listen and take notes, then provide effective feedback and reflection.

Unit 2

  • Activity 6: Contribute analysis and evidence relating to assigned topic in Socratic Seminar. Oral discussion sentence starters are provided, and students set two specific and attainable speaking and listening goals.
  • Activity 8: Contribute analysis and evidence in small group discussion. Using prepared notes with examples of important dialogue, students engage in group discussion based on prompt. Teacher sets expectations for speaking and listening.
  • Activity 12: Orally present reasoning and evidence to support debatable claim with the assistance of a graphic organizer in a Socratic Seminar. Teacher provides guidelines for speaking and listening.

Unit 3:

  • Activity 5: Present dramatic interpretation of text passage.
  • Activities 6-8: Students have opportunities to practice expressive oral reading and speaking when presenting information to others.
  • Activities 9-12: Students work collaboratively to present an effective oral reading. They apply analysis of Holocaust narratives by transforming selection of text to a found poem they present to class. During panel discussions, students evaluate quality of students' interpretation of evidence.
  • Embedded Assessment 3.1 Students present a discussion that explains how literary elements develop a theme. They demonstrate evidence of strong collaboration to support and develop topic of discussion.

Unit 4:

  • Socratic Seminar throughout unit
  • Activities 13-14: Prepare and perform Shakespeare quotes with attention to proper inflection, tone, gestures, and movement.
  • Activities 15-16: Students form acting companies and rehearse.
  • Activities 17-20: Acting companies participate in dress rehearsal. Individuals reflect and plan to address strengths and challenges as a performer.
  • Embedded Assessment 4.2 Perform Scenes from Shakespearean texts.

Although each activity is intended to be anchored by the text, it is noted that there is little accountability for teachers to support students who either do not comprehend the material and/or who work with the speaking and listening activities without referencing the text. There is a missed opportunity here in that strong structures can be reinforced with more focus and support around comprehending the key ideas, themes, and topics provided by the texts themselves.

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 for Grade 8 fully meet the expectations of indicator 1k, as there is a mix of on demand and process writing opportunities for students. On-demand writing occurs throughout the year in almost every Activity and is bolstered by almost-daily practice with annotation work. Process writing is scaffolded over the course of the school year and is a core component of the program. Materials include writing instruction aligned to the standards for the grade level, and writing instruction spans the whole school year.

The Student Edition includes writing instruction such as brainstorming, controlling idea, details, dialogue, drafting, editing, evaluating, feedback, outlining, planning, prewriting, quickwrites, research, revision strategies, multimedia components, writing process,writing prompts. The Planning Unit section of the Teacher’s Edition provides an explanation of expectations of Embedded Assessments, as well as a comprehensive Instruction and Pacing Guide. A Writers Workshop is available online for extra support.

Specific examples from Grade 8 for this indicator include (but are not limited to) the following:

Unit 1

  • On Demand:
    • Activities-2-4: Practice transforming written imagery and detail into illustrations. Students complete this type of writing repeatedly throughout the unit.
  • Process writing:
    • Activities 5-9: Over ten class periods, students draft beginning and middle of narrative, work in writing groups to create a writer's checklist, provide specific feedback for revision and editing, and continue to revise as they draft the end of the narrative.
    • Embedded Assessment 1.1:After collaboration with writing groups to strengthen writing through revision and editing, students will write a narrative, publish, and reflect on writing.

Unit 2

  • On Demand:
    • Activity 1: Write a compare/contrast response to informational text.
    • Activity 3: Students practice embedding direct quotations and apply learning by writing a response to literature.
  • Process writing:
    • Embedded Assessment 2.1 After working through stages of writing process and collaborative writing groups, students write an expository essay, publish, and reflect.
    • Activities 12-16: Write debatable claims, conduct and cite research, create annotated bibliography, and form and support claims, using research.

Unit 3

  • On Demand:
    • Activities 4-5: Respond to expository writing prompt to analyze how themes in multiple genres connect.
  • Process writing:
    • Activities 6-8: Conduct research from websites, researching a specific Holocaust victim. Work in collaborative groups to transform research into talking points for panel discussion.

Unit 4

  • On Demand:
    • Activities 1-3: Write a summary of informational text.
    • Activities 7-8: Respond to expository writing prompts.

Unit 4

  • Process writing:
    • Embedded Assessment 4.1 Write an analysis of humorous text by writing a multi-paragraph essay, working through all stages of writing process, publish, and reflect.

Indicator 1l

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

The instructional materials for Grade 8 fully meet the expectations of indicator 1l. Students work with different types of writing tasks, learning and practicing in different genres/modes as outlined by the standards for grade 8. Some examples of how the materials include the breadth of writing types include (but are not limited to) the following examples:

  • Unit 1 instruction includes writing a narrative (a "hero's journey") and a definition essay.
  • Unit 2 includes writing an expository essay and and argumentative essay.
  • Unit 3 includes an analysis of a narrative text and an expository writing prompt analyzing themes.
  • Unit 4 includes an analysis of humorous text via expository/explanatory essay.

Component parts of different modes and genres are taught in mini-lessons and tasks, such as analytical paragraph writing, conducting research, literary and expository text and script writing, and literary analysis. Multimedia integration is encouraged in many of the culminating tasks, and there are samples and links encouraging students to practice different forms of presentation to share their writing.

Indicator 1m

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

The instructional materials for Grade 8 fully meet the expectations of indicator 1m. Materials include frequent opportunities for evidence-based writing to support careful analyses, well-defended claims, and clear information. In addition to requiring text-based evidence in responding to questions for each selection, there are many opportunities for evidence-based writing.

Students use writing practices as a way to build meaning via annotation and are engaged with text-specific writing prompts along the way (answered via typing online or writing in the consumable notebooks). Writing tasks often reference the reading content and mode in which the reading was presented. As students study a text for form and content, students are provided prompts and guidance to identify the components and then practice replicating or analyzing those components. Writing tasks sometimes attend to the "bigger picture" of the learning objective or require students to go outside a text (questions such as "What is a pun? What are some examples?" which is found in Unit 4 as students are studying comedy and satire).

Across the consumable Student Edition, there are graphic organizers and note-taking prompts to assist students in producing writing associated with the texts being read. Prompts include questions that are dependent on the text, but used with multiple texts as well as text-specific writing demands. In the sidebars of the student consumable, students are provided organized space and guidance to annotate and collect evidence to use in the writing tasks at the ends of each text and/or section.

Most writing tasks explicitly require students to cite components of text in the writing. In short questions and tasks, students are reminded to "provide textual evidence to support interpretation." In graphic organizers students are provided frames to select and organize evidence and practice citation rules.

Some representative samples of how this works in the program include (but are not limited to) the following:

Unit 1:

  • "Provide textual evidence to illustrate steps in the return stage of hero's journey."
  • "How does writer support definition? Provide textual evidence."
  • "How are Abraham Lincoln and Fredrick Douglass heroic? Use specific and relevant facts, details, examples and quotations from anthology to support topic sentence and thesis and develop ideas."

Unit 3: While students read the "Address by Cesar Chavez, President United Farm Workers of America, AFL-CIO," they are prompted to write to these questions using evidence:

  • "What is the claim Cesar Chavez is making"
  • "Summarize the logic of Chavez's argument about the relationship between human health and pesticides. How has the author depended on logical reasoning and relevant evidence?"
  • "How does Cesar Chavez satisfy the call to action part of the argument he is making?"

Unit 4 includes a graphic organizer that supports students' eliciting evidence from the story "Brothers" by Jon Sziescka; after completing the organizer, students practice writing analytical topic sentences using specifics from the organizer. This progression of working from reading to note-taking to organizer to frame to writing is common throughout the program.

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.
2/2
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials for Grade 8 meet the expectations of indicator 1n, regarding the instruction of the grammar and conventions standards for grade level. Language skills are taught explicitly and then applied in increasingly sophisticated contexts. Grammar and conventions are taught in a sequence consistent with the demands of Grade 8 standards and are integrated with reading and writing instruction.

Language standards for the grade level are found in forward of Student Edition. The Student Edition has a comprehensive grammar handbook in the back of the book for continual reference, as well as an Index of Language Skills identifying where instruction can be found in text. This handbook can also be found in both the Student and Teacher online editions. The Teacher Resources Online also have additional grammar lessons. In addition, there are ten separate Writer's Workshops online that incorporate grammar and language instruction. The Planning the Unit section at the beginning of each unit, in the Teacher's Print Edition, lists expectations for Embedded Assessments as well as a comprehensive Instructional Activity and Pacing Guide that provides grammar support and instruction in the context of actual reading and writing.

Each unit of instruction contains specific Language and Writer's Craft features. Students are encouraged to devote a section of their Reader/Writer Notebook to study of language and grammar. Writing Workshop Scoring Guides and additional writing prompts provide additional opportunities for students to demonstrate command of conventions.

Some language work is embedded, so students encounter it in context, with guidance such as, "Note the usage of the conditional mood in paragraph 9: 'If the land was settled … he could better himself.' How does the use of the conditional support the main idea of this paragraph?" This is a note students engage with while reading "Grant and Lee: A Study in Contrasts" in Unit 2. These "Grammar and Usage" prompts connect with lessons throughout the Units.

Embedded in the workshops and tasks are specific lessons focusing on language. Lessons include definitions and practice, usually intended for students to apply new learning to their writing.

Lessons and Activities that work with grammar, mechanics, and usage include (but are not limited to) the following topics and types. All lessons are woven into culminating writing tasks for application:

Unit 1

  • 1.9: Prepositional Phrases
  • 1.12: Appositives

Unit 2

  • 2.2: Conditional tense
  • 2.3: Conventions- ellipses and brackets usage, active and passive voice, embedding direct quotes
  • 2.55: Imperative and interrogative

Unit 3

  • 3.2: Analyzing roots and affixes
  • 3.4: Participle Verb forms
  • 3.9: Pronoun Antecedents, punctuation using ellipses, colons, exclamation points, dashes, and parentheses
  • 3.19: Verb Tenses- present progressive, punctuating with commas after transitional words.

Unit 4

  • 4.4 Verbals-participles, infinitives, and gerunds
  • 4.6: Verb Tenses: past, past perfect, past progressive, past continuous, past perfect progressive
  • 4.8: Word connections, origins, meanings
  • 4.1: Effectively use verbals. Establish and maintain a formal style
  • 4.2: Performance using punctuation cues consistently and naturally to inform vocal delivery

Gateway Two

Building Knowledge with Texts, Vocabulary, and Tasks

Partially Meets Expectations

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Gateway Two Details

The Grade 8 instructional materials partially meet the expectations of Gateway 2: Building Knowledge with Texts, Vocabulary, and Tasks. Anchor texts/text sets are organized by theme and sometimes have linked topics within the theme. There are some structures in place over the year's worth of materials for students to practice learning academic vocabulary and practice working with text-based questions and tasks, although these are not developed to build students' knowledge nor to support leveraging rich vocabulary into other contexts. Students have some opportunities to work across multiple texts, but the focus of those opportunities is on the skills of writing and presenting rather than focusing on the key ideas and concepts presented by the texts. Writing supports across the school year are strong and students do have opportunity to learn, practice, and grow skills in researching and synthesizing information into reports as they build on the skills taught across the year as well as those in the previous year.

Criterion 2a - 2h

24/32

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.
4/4
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials for Grade 8 fully meet the expectations of indicator 2a. Grade 8 is developed around the thematic concept of heroism. During the year, students learn how writers use that theme to tell stories in poetry, short stories, and nonfiction texts. Students are also asked to research topics and deepen understanding using film. The instructional materials provide opportunities to explore and demonstrate new knowledge and stances on the themes and topics.

From the Unit Overview -- "this unit focuses on the challenges of heroism...In this unit (students) will research, read, and write to develop a more complex understanding of this important societal and cultural concept." The broad conceptual foci of each unit are as follows:

  • Unit 1: The Challenge of Heroism
  • Unit 2: The Challenge of Utopia
  • Unit 3: The Challenge to Make a Difference
  • Unit 4: The Challenge of Comedy

While each unit is developed around a theme, there are some series of texts related to topics within each theme. In Unit 1, for example, there are series of selections relating to heroes. Readings include novels, short stories, poetry, sermon, article, essay, and autobiography all on the topic of heroes. Unit 2 presents the topic of distracted driving with a 4 different articles. Unit 3 presents the topic of the Holocaust with a variety of genres including memoir, poetry, children's book, film, drama, fiction, speech, article and informational text.

Reading, questions, writing tasks, and speaking and listening activities all revolve around the study of challenges individuals and groups face, and how they work through these challenges. Students have ample opportunity during collaborative discussions to share connections between concepts taught in class and their independent reading, and are provided opportunities to demonstrate new knowledge and stances on the themes and topics in culminating activities. There is little teacher support to redirect or reteach should students misunderstand core work or need comprehension support, but the overarching themes are supported well in general.

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.
2/4
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Indicator Rating Details

The materials for Grade 8 partially meet the expectations of indicator 2b, as most texts and materials require students to analyze language and/or author's word choice (according to grade level standards). Students analyze key ideas and details, structure, and craft, but the focus is on literary terms more consistently than on building knowledge through rich word study and academic vocabulary application.

Sequences of questions and tasks support students' development in skills around how to analyze the components of text, enabling them to navigate the content and draw conclusions in order to articulate their evidence-based claims, but these questions and tasks do not always target the deep meanings and themes of the texts themselves.

An example of how the materials partially meets the expectation of the indicator is in Unit 3. The students are using a graphic organizer and working in small groups to analyze the language choices in the texts they are studying. They also are directed to do research outside the core texts. In this sample, students work to understand denotation and connotation. A side bar labeled, "Academic Vocabulary" explains, "A euphemism is an inoffensive expression that is a substitute for one that is considered too harsh or blunt." There is a "Word Connections: Roots and Affixes" box that explains, "Euphemism comes from the Greek prefix eu-, meaning 'well' or 'pleasing,' and the Greek root pheme which has the meaning of 'speak.' A person who uses a euphemism speaks with pleasing words."

Students are then given a graphic organizer task: "The Nazis deliberately used euphemisms to disguise the true nature of their crimes. Euphemisms replace disturbing words with diction that have more positive connotations. Work with a small group to analyze how the Nazis manipulated language to disguise the horror of their policies. Research the term euphemism and its use in Nazi Germany. If doing an online search, use an effective search term to find the true meanings of the terms below." The graphic organizer offers the terms (listed as "euphemisms") "relocation," "disinfecting or delousing centers," "camp," and "the final solution." The chart has students fill in the following foe each term: "Denotation (literal definition)," "meaning in context of the Holocaust," "Analyze the Difference in Connotation."

While this lesson activity provides a lot of opportunity for students to study an important literary component, the task does not support students in growing knowledge further with rich academic vocabulary. The focus on the denotation and connotation alone is a missed opportunity as there are other rich words and phrases students have available for this selection.

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 Grade 8 materials partially meet the expectations of indicator 2c. Text-dependent questions and tasks are sometimes sequenced for students to analyze the integration of knowledge and ideas within single texts and across multiple texts. Students read to analyze a variety of texts and work with questions and tasks to understand the forms through which ideas are conveyed. The focus on the skills of analysis are present, but the materials do not consistently support students’ building knowledge of the content provided by the texts. Rich texts are used as a vehicle to learn the component parts of texts, but students are not consistently guided to engage in deeper critical thinking about the texts themselves over the course of the school year.

Students read to analyze a variety of texts to understand storytelling. Through close reading and analyzing narrative elements skilled writers use to develop text, students learn to write real and imagined narratives. Students analyze components, organizational structures, and language of narrative text. Students closely read several short stories, analyzing plot development, figurative language, and theme. Students will have practice creating new forms, but opportunities to uncover and understand the core themes, content, and characterization in texts may not be fully supported. Work across texts is focused on surface-level components rather than deeper meanings that may be analyzed through closer work.

For example, in Activity 2.6, Students will read "Banned Books Week: Celebrating the Freedom to Read." As students read the article, they are directed to "...mark the text to indicate information relating to the central idea of the text." After reading students "Create a quick write explaining why books are an important part of our society. Which values do they symbolize? You may use the informational text to guide your response." While these questions do require critical thinking, there is no support for the teacher to guide students who misunderstand or who do not identify key components and elements within the text. The note-taking method does require students to pull evidence from the text, but there is little accountability to ensure knowledge is grown.

In Activity 1.14, the learning targets indicate that students will "Analyze two sets of texts about two historical heroes" and "Compare a poem of tribute to an autobiographical excerpt." After this, they will write a written response. Students are given annotation guidance to consider during reading:

  • The two texts that follow were both written to remember and praise Abraham Lincoln after his assassination. As you read, think about how these authors see Lincoln as a heroic figure.
  • Use the Key Ideas and Details prompts to make meaning of each text, and use the TP-CASTT strategy to aid analysis of the poems.
  • As you read, think about how you could use information from these texts in your heroism definition essay.

There are questions that occur in the sidebars during the reading of "Fredrick Douglass":

  • In the first six lines circle all the uses of the word “it” and “thing.” What is “it”? And how is it described?
  • How is the cause of both Lincoln and Douglass the same according to these tributes to these men’s lives?

There are questions that occur in the sidebars during the reading of "from The Narrative of The Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave":

  • What images does Douglass use to describe his first feelings of freedom and his fear of capture?
  • How did Douglass live his life as a heroic example to others?
  • What kind of mental, emotional, and physical courage did Frederick Douglass convey in this excerpt from his autobiography?

After reading, students are given a cross-text prompt: Compare Hayden’s poem to Douglass’s autobiographic narrative. What topic of the autobiographic narrative do you see reflected in Robert Hayden’s tribute to Douglass?

The expository writing prompt asks students to do some comparison from the texts and provides these directions:

  • Walt Whitman and Dr. Phineas Gurley treat the death of Lincoln as the death of a heroic figure. Robert Hayden also presents Frederick Douglass as a heroic figure. How does Douglass’s autobiographical writing give detail to an understanding of Douglass as a heroic person?
  • Think about the texts you just read. How are Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass heroic? Draft a definition paragraph using the example strategy. Be sure to:
    • Begin with a topic sentence that answers the prompt.
    • Provide supporting detail and commentary to develop ideas.
    • Use formal style and appropriate diction for the purpose and audience.
    • Reflect on your writing: How does use of the example strategy strengthen a definition?

Throughout this activity, students are given some sample questions that prompt their thinking about the text, but the instructional supports to guide students is minimal. The focus of the questions and writing tasks use the text to support the writing's development, but do not consistently encourage students to do a careful read to build their knowledge.

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).
2/4
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials for Grade 8 partially meet the expectations for indicator 2d, with questions and tasks supporting students' ability to complete culminating tasks that integrate skills (e.g. combination of reading, writing, speaking, and listening). This integration appears in different parts of each unit as students build their component skills which are then applied in a presentation or production of writing, speaking, or a combination. What is inconsistently applied is students' demonstrating knowledge of the topic or theme through these tasks; students are infrequently engaged in identifying key ideas and new learnings from the readings.

In the forward of each unit in Teacher Edition, in Planning the Unit section, there is a comprehensive Instructional Activity and Pacing Guide that outlines expectations of Culminating Tasks and maps students' sequence of instructional expectations toward mastery of skills needed. Text dependent questions and lessons throughout each unit build to these embedded assessments. Students complete coherent activities as they read texts and practice writing and speaking, and then have an opportunity to demonstrate their new learning via integrated tasks that show their knowledge and literacy skills.

Although students are instructed to focus on the texts as they complete these tasks, the attention given to the skills or writing and reorganizing and note taking may make them a higher priority than the content or knowledge within the texts. There is minimal support for the teacher to identify and guide students who have misunderstandings about the content or themes of the texts themselves; rather, most direction is targeted at the application of skills.

Examples of how the materials work with culminating tasks in this manner include the following:

In Unit 1, students write a "Definition Essay" after reading a series of poems, sermons, and other texts about historical figures and literary characters who embody heroism and character. The instructions include strong support around the writing of the essay, scaffolding students' experiences through the writing process (for example, providing samples of introductory paragraphs and thesis statements.) The prompt for the assignment is as follows (1.14):

Think about people who deserve status as heroes—from the past, from the present, from life, and from literature. What defines a hero? Write a multi-paragraph essay that develops your definition of heroism. Be sure to use strategies of definition (function, example, and negation) to guide your writing.

The rubric and suggested reflection steps focus on the craft of writing the essay, but do not connect back to the rich poetry and texts read prior to the task at hand. There is limited support for the teacher to ensure that students will make connections between the task and knowledge and themes across texts.

Another example is in Unit 3. For Embedded Assessment 1, "Presenting Voices of the Holocaust," students are to "Present a panel discussion in front of your peers in which you explain how the theme or central idea of “finding light in the darkness” is developed in a narrative you have read." However, the culminating task focuses on development of the product itself, instead of re-engaging students with the texts to build knowledge and find connections to other themes and concepts. Guidance for the culminating task includes questions:

Planning:

  • How was the theme or central idea of “finding light in the darkness” developed in your Holocaust narrative?
  • How did supporting details such as character, plot, and setting contribute to the theme?
  • How can you use the organizers supplied in the unit to help you plan your final presentation?
  • How will you assign talking points to each group member to include an introduction, at least two supporting details, and a conclusion?

Drafting

  • How will the introductory talking point present a hook, summary of the text, and thematic statement?
  • How will the supporting talking points explain how an individual, event, or place contributed to theme?
  • How will the concluding talking point restate the theme, summarize the main points of the discussion, and elicit textual connections (text to self, text, or world) from the entire group?

Rehearsing:

  • How will you prepare notes to respond to and build on ideas and questions presented by other group members?
  • How will your group create smooth transitions between speakers?
  • How will you provide constructive feedback to each other and incorporate each other’s suggestions?
  • How will you use precise diction in order to establish and maintain a formal style?
  • How will you use eye contact, volume, and pronunciation to express your ideas clearly?

Reflecting:

  • After completing this Embedded Assessment, think about how you went about accomplishing this task, and respond to the following:
  • How was the theme or central idea of “finding light in the darkness” developed in the different Holocaust narratives that you heard about in the panel discussions?
  • What did you learn from studying and discussing narratives about the Holocaust that you can apply to your own life?

In the rubric, there is only one element of one component that attends to connecting the work to the texts read: "provides relevant elaboration to develop the topic, including textual evidence, details, commentary, and questions." All other rubric components are about the writing and presentation skills.


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 for Grade 8 partially meet the expectations of indicator 2e. Although there is a list at beginning of each unit with academic and literary terms that are tied to instruction of the unit, there is little support to transfer knowledge beyond each individual unit, and the words that are of focus are not consistently used to build knowledge for further application. The majority of words studied are centered on literary terms, rather than providing students a broad array of academic terms and vocabulary that can be leveraged into further critical reading and study.

Academic vocabulary and Literary terms are introduced before texts, in-texts, and during student activities. Students use their Reader/Writer notebook to record new words and their meanings. Graphic organizers for word study are found in resources at the end of the TE. In the electronic version of the textbook, there is audio support for the pronunciation of the terms as well as a Spanish translation. Each unit provides a list of academic vocabulary and literary terms for the teacher to focus on. The materials include specific questions requiring the students to apply knowledge and understanding of newly learned literary terms and embedded assessments which require the students to utilize and apply knowledge of literary terms and vocabulary (write a story using dialogue, vivid verbs, an figurative language that captures a real or imagined experience and includes characters, conflict, and a plot with exposition, climax, and resolution). The materials provide "Learning Strategy" boxes. Some of the vocabulary learning strategies suggested include QHT, close reading, paraphrasing, and graphic organizers.

Materials provide minimal teacher guidance outlining a cohesive year long vocabulary development component. Students are given a list of academic and literary terms at beginning of each unit, but these words do not consistently appear across multiple units. Students engage with vocabulary instruction in context of reading and writing, but the demands of each unit are different. Although vocabulary instruction is embedded, there is little attention given to struggling student's needs outside of differentiated instruction tips for ELL students and minimal support for advanced learners. Vocabulary is repeated in contexts but not always across multiple texts.

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.
4/4
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials for Grade 8 fully meet the expectations of indicator 2f. Writing assignments, found in embedded assessments, are aligned to 8th grade standards and span the entire school year. Writing lessons are well designed and include planning, revising, editing, and rewriting steps as well as scoring guides (rubrics) for each embedded assessment. Writing tasks as embedded assessments are associated with the texts, text sets, topics or themes from the unit.

Instruction emphasizes purpose and audience while modeling the analysis and use of logic and reason to support ideas. Instruction in writing is addressed in two integrated ways, through project- based scaffolded writing assessments and through Writing Workshops. Ten online Writer's Workshops focus on the writing process, and specific genres, Planning the Unit components at beginning of each unit provide expectations of Embedded Assessments as well as a a comprehensive Instructional Pacing Guide. Throughout the year, students keep a Writer's Notebook where they record connections between text being read inside class and their self selected independent reading.

There is a mix of on-demand and process writing. Each unit has a culminating activity that focuses on the steps of the writing process. Assessments provide opportunities for students to synthesize the lessons and skills they have practiced into different writing pieces to promote a strong ability to craft different types of essays and texts. Support for writing occurs with many scaffolded components for students to practice writing with precision. Writing samples and methods are included in instruction as students practice paragraphing as well as when they work in the writing workshop. Rubrics are consistently included to provide students guidance about which components of the writing productions need to be honed and revised.

For example, in Activity 4.6 in Unit 4, students practice writing an analytical paragraph. The materials include a list of commonly used transitional words and phrases and how they can be used in writing. An excerpt from the table:

Emphasize

definitely, extremely, obviously, in fact, indeed, in any case, absolutely, positively, naturally, surprisingly, always, forever, perennially, eternally, never, emphatically, unquestionably, without a doubt, certainly, undeniably, without reservation

Show Sequence

first, second, third, next, then, following this, at this time, now, at this point, after, afterward, subsequently, finally, consequently, previously, before this, simultaneously, concurrently, thus, therefore, hence, next, and then, soon

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.
4/4
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials for Grade 8 fully meet the expectations of 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. Materials provide many opportunities for students to apply reading, writing, speaking/listening, and language skills to synthesize and analyze per their grade level readings. Materials provide opportunities for both "short" and "long" research projects across the school year, including samples and practice identifying good sources and how to cite them.

Students have the opportunity to develop research skills over the course of the year, working with component parts of research (note taking, citations, organizing sources, culling evidence to bolster claims) and moving toward more sophisticated synthesis as the year progresses. There are multiple opportunities for students to engage in realistic, task-based writing that mimics career and college-style writing. References to external writing resources are included for students to use online or in text form.

Students practice eliciting evidence to use in their writing beginning in Units 1 and 2. They practice component parts of creating a claim or thesis and then supplying supporting details repeatedly.

In Unit 3, Embedded Assessment 2, students create a multimedia campaign that requires students to work together to gather information to support their project. There are directions to evaluate the credibility of sources and identify the best source material for the work. Students are required to cite sources and provide a Works Cited page or an Annotated Bibliography. The project includes a rubric that identifies components of research so that students can identify strengths and weaknesses in their own process.

In Unit 4, students learn about Shakespeare as part of the larger theme of comedy and satire. Students are given prompts and a graphic organizer to complete via identifying details about Shakespeare's life and craft. Some content is found within the texts themselves; others students must identify outside the text, using external sources.

Indicator 2h

Materials provide a design, including accountability, for how students will regularly engage in a volume of independent reading either in or outside of class.
4/4
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials for Grade 8 fully meet the expectations of indicator 2h. Materials provide a design, including accountability, for how students will regularly engage in a volume of independent reading inside or outside of class. The grade-level-specific Close Reading Workshops are designed to help teachers guide students as they develop the skills necessary for close reading of a broad range of high-quality texts of increasing complexity. These models can be used to support or extend the instruction already in the SpringBoard materials and serve as models for differentiation.

Text and author suggestions are included for teachers to support students seeking independent reading choices. Each unit outlines specific independent reading suggestions that correlate to unit objectives and include, in the Teacher Edition, a list of suggested texts for independent reading as well as possible formative assessment questions. For example, in the first part of Unit 1, students are encouraged to read stories about fictional (e.g., mythological) heroes as they prepare to write a Hero's Journey narrative for their independent reading: "...consider stories about the following heroic figures: Hercules, Achilles, Theseus, Perseus, Cadmus, Penelope, Atalanta, Gilgamesh, Sigurg the Volsung." This level of detail in connecting the text types supports students' growing knowledge.

Support for building independent reading is included, such as guidance around setting deadlines and methods to keep track of reading, as well as suggestions around length of texts for students to engage with at different times (e.g. during research-heavy sections of the unit, shorter texts might be a better option for independent reading).

Post-reading prompt for students to assess their texts are included, such as, "Consider the change(s) the character(s) from your independent reading book experienced. What was significant about the change? How did the change leave an impact on the character or those around him or her?" Reader/Writer Notebooks include organizers and suggestions for engaging with their independent reading. Questions are built in to support growing independent reading habits.

Literature Circles reinforce communication and collaboration, and in addition, support the independent reading process as well, as students are held accountable to their groups in that process.

Gateway Three

Usability

Not Rated

Criterion 3a - 3e

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8/8

Indicator 3a

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

Indicator 3b

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

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.).
2/2

Indicator 3d

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


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.
7/8

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.
2/2

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.
1/2

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.
2/2

Indicator 3i

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

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.
7/8

Indicator 3k

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

Indicator 3l

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

Indicator 3l.i

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

Indicator 3l.ii

Assessments provide sufficient guidance to teachers for interpreting student performance and suggestions for follow-up.
1/2

Indicator 3m

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

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.
5/10

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.
1/2

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.
2/4

Indicator 3q

Materials regularly include extensions and/or more advanced opportunities for students who read, write, speak, or listen above grade level.
1/2

Indicator 3r

Materials provide opportunities for teachers to use a variety of grouping strategies.
1/2

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: Mon Aug 08 00:00:00 UTC 2016

Report Edition: 2014

Title ISBN Edition Publisher Year
978-1-4573-0220-6 Copyright: 2014 0
978-1-4573-0227-5 Copyright: 2014 0

About Publishers Responses

All publishers are invited to provide an orientation to the educator-led team that will be reviewing their materials. The review teams also can ask publishers clarifying questions about their programs throughout the review process.

Once a review is complete, publishers have the opportunity to post a 1,500-word response to the educator report and a 1,500-word document that includes any background information or research on the instructional materials.

Educator-Led Review Teams

Each report found on EdReports.org represents hundreds of hours of work by educator reviewers. Working in teams of 4-5, reviewers use educator-developed review tools, evidence guides, and key documents to thoroughly examine their sets of materials.

After receiving over 25 hours of training on the EdReports.org review tool and process, teams meet weekly over the course of several months to share evidence, come to consensus on scoring, and write the evidence that ultimately is shared on the website.

All team members look at every grade and indicator, ensuring that the entire team considers the program in full. The team lead and calibrator also meet in cross-team PLCs to ensure that the tool is being applied consistently among review teams. Final reports are the result of multiple educators analyzing every page, calibrating all findings, and reaching a unified conclusion.

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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