Alignment to College and Career Ready Standards: Overall Summary

The Grade 7 instructional materials meet expectations for text quality and complexity and alignment to the standards with tasks and questions grounded in evidence. The instructional materials also include texts that are worthy of student's time and attention and provide many opportunities for rich and rigorous evidence-based discussions and writing about texts to build strong literacy skills. High-quality texts are the central focus of lessons, are at the appropriate grade-level text complexity, and are accompanied by quality tasks aligned to the standards of reading, writing, speaking, listening, and language in service to grow literacy skills.The instructional materials meet expectations for building knowledge with texts, vocabulary, and tasks. The instructional materials support the building of knowledge through repeated practice with complex text organized around a topic or theme, the building of key vocabulary throughout and across texts, and providing coherently sequenced questions and tasks to support students in developing literacy skills. Culminating tasks require students to read, discuss, analyze, and write about texts while students participate in a volume of reading to build knowledge. By integrating reading, writing, speaking, listening and language development, students engage in texts to build literacy proficiency so that students will independently demonstrate grade-level proficiency at the end of the school year.

See Rating Scale
Understanding Gateways

Alignment

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Meets Expectations

Gateway 1:

Text Quality

0
17
32
36
34
32-36
Meets Expectations
18-31
Partially Meets Expectations
0-17
Does Not Meet Expectations

Gateway 2:

Building Knowledge

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

Usability

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Meets Expectations

Not Rated

Gateway 3:

Usability

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

Gateway One

Text Quality & Complexity and Alignment to Standards Components

Meets Expectations

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-
Gateway One Details

The Grade 7 instructional materials meet expectations for text quality and complexity and alignment to the standards with tasks and questions grounded in evidence. The instructional materials also include texts that are worthy of student's time and attention. The Grade 7 instructional materials meet expectations for alignment to the standards with tasks and questions grounded in evidence, and the instructional materials provide many opportunities for rich and rigorous evidence-based discussions and writing about texts to build strong literacy skills. High-quality texts are the central focus of lessons, are at the appropriate grade-level text complexity, and are accompanied by quality tasks aligned to the standards of reading, writing, speaking, listening, and language in service to grow 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.
20/20
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-
Criterion Rating Details

The instructional materials meet expectations for text quality and complexity. Anchor texts include rich texts and topics that are engaging for a Grade 7 student. Anchor texts and text sets include a mix of informational texts and literature. Texts have the appropriate level of complexity for the grade according to quantitative and qualitative analysis and relationship to their associated student task. Specific measures are given for qualitative, quantitative, and reader and task considerations. The materials support students increasing literacy skills over the year, and students are provided with many opportunities to engage in a range and volume of reading.

Indicator 1a

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 7 meet the expectations for anchor texts being of publishable quality and worthy of careful reading. Anchor texts include rich language and topics and stories engaging for Grade 7 students. Texts consider a range of student interests including (but not limited to) Chinese Revolution, American Gothic literature, 14th Century Renaissance Italy, Mid-20th Century urban America and small-town American South, the Gold Rush and neuroscience.

Anchor texts that have won awards or are written by award-winning authors include the following:

  • Unit A: Red Scarf Girl: A Memoir of the Cultural Revolution, Ji Ji Jang
  • Unit B: A Raisin in the Sun, Lorraine Hansberry
  • Unit C : Brain Science. A research collection of informational texts focused on the science and research of the nature of the brain.
  • Unit D: “The Tell-Tale Heart," “The Cask of Amontillado," and “The Raven,” Edgar Allen Poe, a text set of poetry and short stories
  • Unit E: Romeo and Juliet highlights, William Shakespeare, Summer of the Mariposas, Guadalupe Garcia Mccall
  • Unit F: The Gold Rush Collection, a comprehensive text set on the central topic, the Gold Rush. The various works that make up the text set are a mix of informational (historical) and literary texts. They include articles, letters, journal entries, journalism, correspondence, essay, with a strong representation of primary source materials. Included are "The Gold Rush Diary" by Ramon Gil Navarro, California: The Great Exception by Carey McWilliams, “Pioneers! Oh, Pioneers!” from Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman, and Roughing It by Mark Twain.

Anchor text sets include a mix of genres, including novels, informational texts, autobiographies, poetry, speeches, letters, historical documents.

Indicator 1b

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 7 fully meet the expectations for reflecting the distribution of text types and genres required by the standards. Anchor texts and text sets include a mix of informational texts and literature. Supplemental texts within the units are also a mixture of literature and informational texts. Text sets include a mix of genres, including novels, informational texts, autobiographies, poetry, speeches, letters, historical documents. Text sets illustrating the mix of informational texts and literature include the following:

Literature

Unit A: Red Scarf & Narrative

  • Red Scarf Girl: A Memoir of the Cultural Revolution, Ji-li Jang

Unit B: Character and Conflict

  • A Raisin in the Sun, Lorraine Hansberry
  • "Harlem," Langston Hughes
  • "Huge Success" press release

Unit D: Poetry and Poe

  • "The White Horse," D.H. Lawrence
  • "El Silencio"/"The Silence," García Lorca
  • "A narrow fellow in the grass," Emily Dickenson
  • "The Tell-Tale Heart," Edgar Allen Poe
  • "The Raven," Edgar Allen Poe (animated adaptations)

Unit E: Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet

  • Excerpts from Romeo and Juliet, William Shakespeare
  • Summer of the Mariposas, Guadalupe Garcia McCall

Unit F: The Gold Rush Collection

  • "Pioneers! O Pioneers!" from Leaves of Grass, Walt Whitman

Informational:

Unit C: Brain Science

  • Phineas Gage: A Gruesome but True Story About Brain Science, John Fleischman
  • "Demystifying the Adolescent Brain," Laurence Steinberg
  • "The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat," Oliver Sachs

Unit D: Poetry and Poe

  • "The M'Naghten Rule," Queen M'Naghten
  • Mark Twain's and Rufus Griswold's reviews of Poe's work (in Quest)

Unit F: The Gold Rush Collection

  • "California Culinary Experiences," The Overland Monthly, Prentice Mulford
  • "Oh My Darling Clementine," Percy Montrose
  • "The Magic Equation," from California: The Great Exception, Carey McWilliams
  • Roughing It! Mark Twain
  • "Letter the Tenth: Amateur Mining-Hairbreadth 'Scapes, &c.," from The Shirley Letters from California Mines in 1851-1852, Dame Shirley

Other Media:

Unit A: Red Scarf Girl and Narrative

  • Propaganda Art/Posters

Unit B: Character and Conflict

  • Photos: Chicago in the Early 1950's, Jacob Lawrence paintings
  • Film, A Raisin in the Sun

Unit E: Romeo and Juliet

  • Clips from Baz Luhrmann's 1996 Romeo and Juliet; 1968 Romeo and Juliet
  • Illustrations

Unit F: The Gold Rush Collection

Photos and Artwork

  • Gold Mining at Sutter's Mill, Coloma, California, Unknown Artist (19th century)
  • The Last War-Whoop, A.F. Tait (1856)
  • California Gold Diggers. Mining Operations on the Western Shore of the Sacramento River, (1849-1852)
  • Westwards of Course of Empire Takes Its Way, M.J. Morgan & Co. (Lithographer) (19th Century)

Throughout the instructional materials, a wide distribution of genres and text types is found, including, but not limited to the following examples:

  • Travel Journal (i.e., Mark Twain)
  • Poetry (i.e., "A narrow fellow in the grass," Emily Dickinson)
  • Short Story (i.e., "The Cask of Amontillado")
  • Artwork (i.e., Head of Auburn Ravine, Unknown Artist (1852))
  • Play (i.e., Raisin in the Sun)
  • Novel (i.e., Red Scarf Girl: A Memoir of the Cultural Revolution, Ji-li Jang)
  • Letters (i.e., "Letter the Tenth: Amateur Mining-Hairbreadth 'Scapes, &c.," from The Shirley Letters from California Mines in 1851-1852, Dame Shirley)
  • Animation (multimedia), "The Raven," Edgar Allen Poe
  • Primary Source (i.e., M'Naghten Rule, Queen M'Naghten, 1843)


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 instructional materials reviewed for Grade 7 fully meet the expectations of indicator 1c. Texts are appropriately rigorous, meeting the text complexity criteria for the grade. Materials support students’ advancing toward independent reading. The majority of texts have the appropriate level of complexity for the grade according to quantitative and qualitative analysis and relationship to their associated student task. Following are some representative examples of how the program meets the requirements of indicator 1c in terms of overall rigor and complexity. Some examples are above or below the quantitative band, but are appropriate for 7th grade when accounting for qualitative measures and the associated tasks:Unit A, Red Scarf Girl and Narrative includes the text Red Scarf Girl: A Memoir of the Cultural Revolution by Ji Li Jang. The quantitative measure for this text (780 Lexile) falls below the lower ranges of the CCSS stretch band of 955L–1155L. As the initial read in the first Unit of Grade 7, this would seem to be an appropriate quantitative measure to use early in the school year when quantitative and Reader and Task complexity are considered.

The qualitative complexity of this text would seem to be “moderately complex." While the organization of the text structure is only slightly complex due to the clear chronology and predictability, remaining qualitative indicators fall within the very complex range. Conventionality of language features are “moderately complex.” Though mostly explicit and easy to understand, the underlying abstract nature of the political backdrop may be challenging for some students. Vocabulary is generally familiar and contemporary, and the conversational nature of the memoir is written as a young girl would speak. The subject specific vocabulary relating to the Chinese culture and politics would move it to the moderately complex level. Sentence structure in primarily simple and compound, with some complex construction (e.g., "And a performer, just like my mother used to be, touring the country, the world, to tell everyone about the New China that Chairman Mao had built and how it was becoming stronger and stronger"). The meaning, on the surface appears to be slightly complex. Some aspects of the text would seem to be topically easy for Grade 7 students to understand because they could easily relate to many of the life experiences and feelings of the main character; however, there may be a disconnect due to the unfamiliarity of the cultural and political values presented during the Chinese cultural revolution which would cause an increase in the knowledge demand component of qualitative complexity to the moderately complex level.

Example text: "Seventeen years after Liberation, the newspapers told us, our schools were not bringing us up to be good red socialists and communists, as we had thought, but revisionists. We thanked heaven that Chairman Mao had started this Cultural Revolution, and that the Central Committee of the Communist Party had uncovered the mess in our schools. Otherwise we would not even have known that we were in trouble. What a frightening idea!"

The Reader and Task considerations would indicate this text is appropriately placed for Grade 7. Even though students may not connect with the specifics of Ji-Li’s experiences, there is universality to her relationships with family. Tasks presented provide ample scaffolding (sentence starters for writing about the main character’s feelings, portions read aloud by students/acted out, background knowledge provided through study of visuals) to support student participation and success with this unit. The text is clearly used to get students into close reading and responding to questions with text-based evidence.

In Unit B, Character and Conflict, a main text is A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry. The quantitative measure for this text is 860 Lexile, and the qualitative measures are very complex in meaning, vocabulary life experiences and cultural knowledge. It is moderate complex in text organization, conventionality, and sentence structure. Reader tasks require students to look deeply at race and human struggles. This can be difficult content for young readers but with a lower reading level students can access the text with more analysis. Activities are associated through the Quest to provide more context for students who may not be familiar with the hardships discussed in the play.

Unit C, Brain Science, includes Phineas Gage: A Gruesome, but True Story About Brain Science. Quantitatively, Phineas Gage falls squarely in the middle of the ranges of the CCSS stretch band of 955L–1155L at 1030 Lexile. The qualitative measures are slightly complex for purpose, text organization and conventionality. It is moderate complex for sentence structure and subject knowledge, and complex for vocabulary. Qualitative Measures would place the text at a “Very Complex” level. The biographical story of Phineas Gage is used as a lead in to explore challenging scientific content. This leads to a comparison of two more complex scientific theories of the Phrenologists and Whole Brainers. While text features are not extensively used, there are extensive graphics that range from primary source photographs, to intricate scientific diagrams. Conventionality, and sentence structures are very complex and vocabulary is dense in academic language. The discipline specific subject matter, coupled with intertextual reference to outside theories makes knowledge demands very complex.

Example Text: "Until Professor Macmillan turns up solid proof, we can’t say for sure if Phineas drives a Concord stagecoach in Chile, but the driver’s job would be much the same on any six-horse coach—hard, tiring, and sometimes exciting."

"There is always a tiny gap between the axon terminal of one neuron and the dendrite of the next. The gap is called a synapse. It is bridged by signaling chemicals called neurotransmitters. A message travels as an electrical impulse through the axon, down the body of the nerve cell, to the axon terminal. There the electrical impulse is converted into a chemical neurotransmitter to float across the synapse to the next neuron."

The Reader and Task considerations indicate lower level tasks such as sequencing, explicit comprehension questions, and students use paired discussion to clarify understanding of scientific content. The use of sentence stems support citing text evidence in written response to the reading. In later lessons, the students compare and contrast information and synthesize information from the text to support a claim.

Unit E includes Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet which has a quantitative measure of 880 Lexile, which puts it in the 4-5 grade span. However, the qualitative measures are very complex for meaning, text organization, and subject knowledge. It is exceedingly complex for vocabulary, and conventionality, as well as antiquated structures employed by Shakespeare.

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
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-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials for Grade 7 fully meet the expectations of indicator 1d, supporting students as they grow their literacy skills over the course of the school year. By the end of Grade 7, students have support and opportunities to be reading texts that meet the requirements for the end of the Grade 7 and possibly beyond. The aggregate score assigned the reading selections in the Grade 7 curriculum appears to increase over the course of the year in complexity.

The program starts with texts at the beginning of the grade band in terms of rigor and complexity. Texts "maintain" the grade band complexity and toward the end of the year, students are presented with increasingly complex texts. During instruction there are many formative assessment opportunities to help a teacher guide decisions about their students' learning, and there are summative benchmark assessments that are to be given after three weeks of instruction then after 20 weeks of instruction. The online library offers opportunities for students to select independent reading texts that are on their level of reading along with differentiated opportunities embedded in the program, to support their building stamina with reading alongside being presented with the increasingly complex texts.

Over the school year, students are engaging with challenging texts in increasingly sophisticated and rigorous ways. Following is a sample of how the program organizes tasks and texts to support growing students' skills over the school year:

  • Unit A in Grade 7 starts with a writing sub-unit, then goes into a close read of Red Scarf Girl: A Memoir of the Cultural Revolution, Ji Li Jiang. The high quantitative level combined with a fairly uncomplicated narrative structure and simple reader tasks starts off the year. Tasks and reading grow more complex through the following units, with higher demands on the student to work through text.
  • From examining differences in characters thoughts and actions to revising to strengthen elaboration in a narrative writing task in Unit A, students move to analyzing character’s unconscious motivations and themes in Unit B, Character and Conflict.
  • In Unit C, Brain Science, students are engaging in research and case studies on different theories related to the unit topic. In the end, producing evidence-based writing to support an argument.
  • Poetry and Poe, Unit D in the series, requires students to evaluate the credibility of a fictional author in multiple medias and genres, including film, poetry and prose.
  • In Unit E, Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, read in selected scenes provides an opportunity to explore Shakespeare’s language and connect characters’ development to a conceptual idea. Paired with a less demanding novel, students are exposed to difficult concepts in text as they navigate multiple texts to build knowledge.
  • In Unit F, The Gold Rush Collection, students read various historical and cultural documents examining social, political and economic issues. Students take a research topic from beginning to end, starting by developing a question, conducting research, debate ideas and synthesize multiple ideas and documents in order to write an essay and create a multi-media project.
  • The final unit is Intermediate Story Writing where students create a believable character and write an original short story.

Indicator 1e

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

The materials for Grade 7 fully meet the expectations of indicator 1e. How the publisher identifies text complexity is laid out at a glance in the Teachers Program Guide (TPG) on page 33, with specific measures given for qualitative, quantitative, and reader and task considerations. There is also provided a complexity index that places the text holistically within the 6th-8th grade band. The materials reviewed use an aggregate score for a unit based on text complexity.

The program uses quantitative, qualitative, and reader and tasks measures to place the unit within a 6-9 grade band. The visual of this is the familiar triangle with each section providing information for each component’s complexity. Alongside this triangle is a grid that uses the Amplify formula to present an overall complexity score. On pages 44, the analysis and rationale are presented which states that texts are sequenced for text complexity as well as to intentionally build content knowledge and skills through each grade and throughout the program.

With this method, Amplify has placed units in an order that shows increasing text complexity. This ordering also creates increasing complexity of the skills students require to meet grade level Common Core standards. This is seen within units when, for example, Unit 7C, Brain Science, students begin with learning about informational literacy, and begin constructing an evidence-based argument. The culminating research project builds on the skills previously learned. Also, Poetry and Poe Unit 7D requires students to evaluate the credibility of a fictional narrator moving to a compare and contrast essay on different perspectives.

Lexiles are used as the quantitative measure, a scale of .5-5 is used for the qualitative measure and reader and task are identified within a scale of .5-5. The complexity index was developed by Amplify to “reflect aggregate scores as a guideline to present appropriate curriculum materials and track the students’ path through each grade.”

Page 241-244 of the TPG discusses the rationale for the selection of text for the core units. It calls out “stair casing” the text complexity, explains how the digital environment was designed to help students “tap into the power” of the selected texts, the importance of student engagement in selection of the texts and activities, and the importance in including traditional texts.

Pages 246-318 of the TPG provide a unit by unit discussion of where the texts fit in the sequence of knowledge building by describing both prior knowledge and future learning that will build upon the texts. Additionally, recommendations for enrichment activities, independent reading, and interdisciplinary connections are provided.

The Appendix to the TPG lays out the research foundations for Evidence in indicator 1c and 1d reflect that the texts in the program are of quality and meet the text complexity ranges for the Grade 6 level. The program also has a digital library which allows students to choose from a range of simpler texts to more complex texts for independent reading purposes. There is a teacher edition guide (3-ring binder, page 33) that gives an overview of each unit. It lists the genres and the qualitative measure, quantitative measure and reader and task measure to give an overall text complexity range. It does not list this for each text within the unit. On pages 44-47 of the teacher guide the progression of content and skills is explained. It addresses text complexity. On pages 323-336, in the teachers guide the approach to research is given that explain the selection process for the texts in the program.


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.
2/2
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials for Grade 7 fully meet the expectations for indicator 1f, providing opportunities for students to engage in a range and volume of reading to achieve grade level reading over the course of the school year. There are many opportunities outside of the core coursework that supports students to practice with different texts in and out of the topics being studied at the time.

The Amplify Library provides more than 600 texts including a range of genres and texts of varying complexity. The online texts come in a format with the ability for students to highlight and annotate text supporting students' engagement with different texts. The Reading Tracker encourages students to read broadly, following students year to year and can be accessed to provide a view of the breadth of independent reading that is being done by a student over time. To assist students with book selection there are starter lists by genre/subject (page 680-700 of TPG), independent reader’s guides that group works around each unit of study (page 710-736 of TPG), books encountered on Lexica (a game embedded in the library), and peer recommendation lists.

Oral reading is addressed primarily through the “Working with Text Out Loud” and “Working with Text as Theater” learning experiences within the program. Students regularly read along while they listen to a dramatic reading as well as performing themselves with the text orally. Page 95 of the TPG specifically addresses Foundational Skills. Among the areas discussed here are that there are Teacher Tips that are embedded in the lessons that provide purposeful attention to oral reading skills and offer ways for teachers to be more explicit and intentional with reading strategies for students who struggle with phonics and phonological awareness. Differentiation strategies give specific information about how to use the audio and video recordings and how to provide additional fluency work for students who struggle with this foundational skill. There is access to a resource www.freereading.net that is to be used for Tier III intervention activities that can be used in conjunction with Amplify’s supplemental reading intervention program Burst: Reading.

Students regularly listen to professionally read audio versions of the reading while following along with the text. Students often act out sections of dialogue within texts that are not written as plays, in order to capture different characters’ speech patterns and reveal traits. (For example, the dramatic reading in “The Tell-Tale Heart” allows students to hear the quickening pacing of the plot indicated by the switch to shorter sentences and before practicing a small section of Red Scarf Girl to read aloud, students listen to a comically monotonous read-aloud to encourage them to put expression into their reading.

Flex Days are built into the curriculum to provide extra time to revisit or expand on the curriculum. Reading assessments are built into the program and are short quizzes to check understanding. Checks occur throughout the week in the lessons as independent or "solo" tasks. Each of the units provides time for students to be read to, to read aloud and with partners at times. The audio is another tool used by the program to support the development of reading skills.

Criterion 1g - 1n

Materials provide opportunities for rich and rigorous evidence-based discussions and writing about texts to build strong literacy skills.
14/16
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Criterion Rating Details

The Grade 7 instructional materials meet expectations for alignment to the standards with tasks and questions grounded in evidence. Sequences of text-dependent questions and tasks build to culminating tasks to support students' literacy learning. The instructional materials provide frequent opportunities for evidence-based discussion that encourage the modeling and use of academic vocabulary. Materials include instruction aligned to the standards, including well-designed plans, models, and protocols to support student writing. The materials include frequent opportunities for different types of writing addressing different types of text with both on demand and process writing included. Students write throughout the year with support to use text in careful analyses, using text-specific evidence to support their thinking. The program addresses evidence-based and evidence-supported writing in varied assignments. Opportunities for grammar instruction are built into the program that include both in context and out of context instruction. Materials reviewed provide many opportunities for rich and rigorous evidence-based discussions and writing about texts to build strong literacy skills.

Indicator 1g

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

The Grade 7 instructional materials fully meet the expectations of indicator 1g. The majority of questions and tasks students complete are text-dependent and/or text-specific, engaging students in going back to the text. The Grade 7 unit has several opportunities for students to respond to text-dependent questions in the form of Multiple Choice Questions (MCQ). Throughout all of the units, there is a combination of text-dependent and non-text-dependent questions. Non-text dependent questions are used to build knowledge and connections for students in the readings they will encounter. Some of the more difficult readings (e.g., those with more complex language and/or content) are supported by asking students questions that help them make connections for better understanding. Students are required to provide evidence from the text to support their responses in almost all of the questions throughout the unit. Several of the questions require longer responses that a short written responses and ask students to make inferences as well.

The units in the Grade 7 are dense with text- dependent questions in the form of multiple choice questions used to assess reading comprehension as well as constructed responses that delve more deeply into the texts. Students are required to provide text evidence throughout the units in responding to questions and prompts. Most often, responses show an understanding of the text at an inferential level. Each unit, focuses on how the writer has crafted his/her narrative and students are examining the text for examples.

Some text-dependent questions and tasks that students will encounter in the Grade 7 materials include the examples listed here:

Unit A- For Red Scarf Girl, the text dependent questions are combined multiple choice text dependent questions to check comprehension and constructed responses with short answer responses. Both types of questions require students to understand the text on multiple levels. Many of the questions prepare students for a writing task, such as the following:

  • How hopeful do you think Ji-li is at this moment in her story?
  • Which details in the Prologue lead you to think so?
  • Compare how Ji-li felt in her home at the beginning of the story to how she felt after the Red Guards searched her home. Use details from the setting to show your thinking., Why didn’t Ji-li go through with her plan to change her name?
  • Think of one or two reasons and explain them using details from the text.

UNIT B: In the Character and Conflict unit the text dependent questions combine multiple choice questions to check comprehension with constructed responses that focus on characterization and author’s language.

  • What is one thing that your character (Travis or Beneatha) wants right now?
  • What obstacle gets in his or her way, and how does he or she react? Make sure you cite textual evidence to support your answer.
  • Describe how your character reacts to Mama’s choice to buy the house. Does this reaction surprise you? Why or why not? (If you are following Beneatha, use what you know to imagine how she would respond). Make sure you cite textual evidence to support your answer.
  • Choose one simile from “Harlem” and one character from “A Raisin in the Sun” whose actions connect to that simile. Why did you connect that simile to that character? What does this character do or say that makes you connect the character to the simile? Make sure you cite textual evidence to support your answer.

UNIT C: Brain Science combines multiple choice text dependent questions to check comprehension with constructed responses to further understanding of the materials. Much of the emphasis in this unit is for students to track their misunderstandings within the text, and then to work through those misunderstandings. Questions in this unit require students to not only use text, but to formulate their own responses leading to argument and informative writing. Some examples are:

  • Fleischman writes, "Phineas should have been dead long before this" (17). Argue for or against Fleischman's claim, using textual evidence.
  • Drivers who are under 25 years old get in more car accidents than drivers over 25 years old. Using textual evidence, explain why.
  • How are Phineas and Mrs. B similar? Describe 1–2 symptoms/behaviors of frontal lobe damage and show how both Mrs. B and Phineas exhibit these behaviors.

UNIT D: Poetry and Poe combines multiple choice text dependent questions to check comprehension with constructed responses, which combines multiple choice text dependent questions to check comprehension with constructed responses. Some questions tap prior knowledge and experience, but then build to deeper text-dependent questions. Some examples are:

  • In what ways do the images in the poem make snakes seem not scary? In what ways do images in the poem make snakes seem scary? Why might Dickinson have included both types of images? Use specific images from the poem to make your arguments.
  • Do you agree or disagree with the narrator’s description [“Tell Tale Heart”] of what is happening? Use details from the text to explain your answer.
  • Could Fortunato have figured out what Montresor’s plan was before he was chained to the wall? Use two details from the text to explain your response.

UNIT E: Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet” and The Summer of the Mariposas includes multiple choice text dependent questions throughout the unit to check comprehension, however, there are only a couple of opportunities for constructed responses within “Romeo and Juliet.” While the constructed response questions do not explicitly state that students are to use text evidence, this expectation has been established in prior units. There are numerous SOLO multiple choice comprehension checks that contain text dependent questions. Here are a few examples of questions in this unit:

  • Although Tybalt, a Capulet, is the one who stabs Mercutio, Mercutio curses both the Montagues and the Capulets. Explain why he blames both the Montagues and the Capulets for his death. Cite textual evidence to support your answer.
  • First, describe how Romeo has changed during the entire Fight Scene. Then, explain why he first refuses to fight Tybalt but is later eager to kill him.
  • What is this hero’s special characteristic or source of strength? Explain how this characteristic helped the hero succeed on the journey.
  • Does Odilia’s family become whole by the end of the story?
  • Is transformation or change positive or negative in Summer of the Mariposas?

UNIT F: The Gold Rush Collection contains a scavenger hunt where students comb texts by doing close reading to answer a number of text dependent questions. In addition, there are several opportunities for constructed response where students are applying the knowledge gained through the scavenger hunt to new questions.

  • Read chapter 11, “Danger,” in Murphy, Gold Rush Dog. Select one of the texts or the images from The Gold Rush Collection and compare it to Sally’s experience. Choose two similar details and two different ones. Describe the details you selected and explain why they are similar and why they are different.
  • Read chapter 12, “There’s Gold in Them Hills,” from A History of US 5: Liberty For All? 1820–1860 by Joy Hakim. List three new details about the California gold rush that you learned from Joy Hakim’s chapter. How do these details support or refute what you learned so far?).

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
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Indicator Rating Details

The Grade 7 instructional materials fully meet the expectations of indicator 1h, as sequences of text-dependent questions and tasks to build to culminating tasks to support students' literacy learning. All units end with a writing task that requires students to take what they have learned and evaluated throughout the unit and apply to the task, citing evidence from the associated texts. There are different types of writing required within the culminating tasks. Questions, as evidenced in 1g, build their knowledge to a deeper understanding of text and the craft of writing through multiple questions addressing character, setting, and other writing elements.

The writing tasks require evidence based arguments, narratives, and information research. From Unit A to the last unit, students are building their writing skills in addition to the text dependent questions they are challenged to address. Samples from the materials that represent this indicator include the following:

The culminating task in Unit A is an essay: "Choose one moment from the text that shows what she was like before this change. Use details from this moment to describe what Ji-li is like before the change." This prompt is supported by the tasks done while reading the text which also focused on a moment in time and the changes in the main character over time. Students refer back to work done while reading the text when they identified “moments” on a personal chart or on the class chart. The text-dependent questions throughout the unit highlight either the adults or the students and set up the context for the culminating essay.

The culminating task in Unit B is an essay: Identify the theme and its effect on the development of one of the characters. Be sure to cite evidence (quotes and inferences) to support your claim. Choose to write about either Walter or Mama. Begin by describing one way your character changes from the beginning to the end of the play. Compare this...1. How does this character act in the beginning of the play when obstacles get in the way of what he or she wants? To this...2. How does this character act in the end of the play when obstacles get in the way of the same thing that he or she wants? Walter and Mama want many things, but for this essay, focus on: Mama wants to improve life for her family. Walter wants to be the head of the family. NOTE: Focus on just one thing that each character wants in both scenes so that you can focus your comparison on the change in actions across two scenes.

The culminating task for Unit C is to develop a research question, research to find information, and then write a short piece in response to the question. With the scavenger hunt format emphasizing close reading of a variety of sources to answer specific questions. Brain Science has students writing a culmination essay: Compare Phineas's behavior and brain to those of an adolescent. This requires that students pull information from multiple texts. The quest that is incorporated into this unit, Perception Academy, is provides opportunity for debate, however this was not clear from the descriptions in the guides. It did say, “The Quest is structured like a good thriller: First, students recognize that something is amiss, but they don’t understand what it is; next they read Oliver Sacks’s excerpts to learn about and explore what is 'happening' to them; and finally they widen and deepen their understanding of brain disorders by working collaboratively.”

In Unit D students write a culmination essay: "Choose a narrator from one of Poe’s texts that we’ve read and answer the following question: Can you trust that the narrator is accurately describing what’s happening in the story or poem? Why or why not? Use your answer to make a claim about whether or not you can trust the narrator’s account of events, and support your claim with textual evidence." After providing the M’Naghten Rule, students debate—as courtroom lawyers—whether the narrator is legally sane or whether the narrator is legally insane in two of the poems.

In Unit E, Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, students write a culminating essay: Essay prompt: "Did the power of love contribute more to Romeo’s death or were the forces of hatred more of an influence on Romeo’s death, or both?"

In Unit F, The Gold Rush Collection, students write a culminating essay from among two choices:

  • Research Option 1: Argumentative Essay, "Was the gold rush good for the state of California?"
  • Research Option 2: Informative Essay, "Who was John Sutter? Who was Elsa Jane Guerin? Go to My Work to see your Evidence Chart in the Independent Work: Conduct Your Research activity from the previous lesson. What idea are you trying to explain in your research essay? Write a claim statement that answers the question for the research option you chose. Your claim statement should be written as a complete sentence, and make a clear point that can be supported by the evidence you have gathered."

The unit concludes with a media project and presentation. Students will create an interactive timeline using myhistro.com. This project requires students to revisit their research to find relevant information for the timeline. Within Sub Unit 4 there is an opportunity for a Socratic seminar. Students create open-ended questions from the texts in the unit to form the seminar content.

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.)
2/2
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Indicator Rating Details

The materials fully meet the expectations for indicator 1i, providing students frequent opportunities to practice academic vocabulary and syntax in their evidence-based discussions. Each unit/lesson is set up in the same manner, beginning with a vocabulary lesson. Then it poses a class discussion topic and offers other opportunities for students to work in pairs or small groups to have discussions. On pages 134-141 in the teacher guide, the vocabulary words for each unit/lesson are listed.

Frequent oral language opportunities to do Think-Pair-Share, peer questioning in groups, and partner talk. Sentence frames are provided to support students who need more help applying new vocabulary and syntax.

Samples of how students get practice in modeling academic vocabulary include work with Socratic seminars and debates. Some examples of this are listed here:

  • Unit C: Brain Science 101- Students work with a partner to examine their answers, look again at the text to consider sources of misunderstandings, and try to choose the right answer again. Students discuss why they chose specific passages in order to generate additional language that describes how the text grabs their attention, highlighting specific word choices and structures.
  • Unit D: Tell-Tale Heart-- students discuss evidence and revise storyboard panels to reflect their interpretation of what is happening.
  • Debates: In the Poetry and Poe unit, lesson 5, students work in groups argue that the narrator of the story is either legally same or insane. Students work together to orally discuss their observations and thoughts while finding evidence in the text and recording it on their evidence sheet. In the “Tell Tale Heart” lessons, students from opposing sides of debate practice the same piece of text to each defend their position.

Examples of different listening and speaking activities that support students' development with practicing language over the course of the school year include the following:

  • Unit A: Students act out the scene in which townspeople destroy a fourolds shop sign, in order to experience the scene’s intense mix of excitement and violence.
  • Unit B: Students use the new information from the play’s long opening stage directions to show more about each character as they act out the first part of the first scene again.

Lessons typically begin with discussion and end with sharing. Some of these discussions are around the text and others focus on things like crafting writing. Teachers and students are given vocabulary and terms with which to work in these sections.

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.
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Indicator Rating Details

The Grade 7 materials fully meet the expectations of indicator 1j. Students have multiple opportunities for text-dependent discussions in each unit. Each lesson has an opportunity for the teacher to pose a question and have the class discuss it. In addition, each lesson provides opportunities for students to share with partners.

For example: in Unit 1 subunit 3 lesson 1: Students point out specific details in the poster and explain how each might have shaped how people felt about Chairman Mao. (This is a whole class opportunity). In lesson 3 students work with a partner to act out the scene in which townspeople destroy a four olds shop sign, in order to experience the scene’s intense mix of excitement and violence.

Each Unit/lesson is set up in the same manner generally, starting with a vocabulary lesson, then posing a class discussion topic. The materials offer other opportunities for students to work in pairs or small groups to have discussions. The discussions are always text-dependent and the students are instructed to answer questions citing evidence from the text. Videos, audio recordings or photos/images are sometimes used to promote/start the discussion. The materials include dramatic readings, debates, and other protocols for teachers to provide students multiple opportunities and ways to build their speaking and listening skills while using the texts as anchors.

In the teacher guide, questions are provided as models for teachers to move student discussions and listening skills. Pedagogy for the program include three areas that address speaking and listening. Daily Lesson Patterns include 15-25 minutes at the beginning of each lesson for collaboration and interpretation. Included are the following:

  • Working the Text Out Loud
    • (Page 78, Teacher Program Guide): Early units have students listening to, and sometimes watching a dramatic reading of the text.
    • This includes follow-up discussions that ask students to consider how the performer interprets the texts, students are asked to interpret and make meaning out of the texts.

Some examples of these materials meeting the expectations of these indicators include:

  • Reading the Novel: In Unit B, Raisin in the Sun, students are introduced to the play by reading a passage from Scene One so that they can understand the format and basic relationships in the play.
  • Working with Text as Theater
    • For example, in Raisin in the Sun, students use the new information from the play’s long opening stage directions to show more about each character as they act out the first part of the first scene again.
    • Romeo and Juliet: Students practice memorization strategies they will use to learn the Prologue
  • Debate
    • Unit D Poetry & Poe, Sub Unit 2, The Tell-Tale Heart, Lessons 5 & 6, students work in groups to prepare and present an argument in a debate. Evidence for how this work meets the standards is shown here, “They can use evidence from anywhere in the story, but they must be able to explain how that piece of evidence demonstrates 1 of the conditions.
    • Students are engaged in activities that require debating ideas and push to use language purposefully and respond to other students and what they say

Quests

Students must participate in speaking and listening when engaging in the Quests, which are interactive and collaborative. Quests create multiple opportunities for students to work in pairs, small groups, and as a class. The discussions, both “in character” and “out of character” within the contexts of the works they read are critical to each lesson. As an example from the Brain Science unit, students move through the periods of a school day as though they have one of the perception disorders detailed in the Oliver Sacks book, The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat. Students master excerpts from this difficult non-fiction text, building on the work they’ve done during the neurology unit so far.


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.
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials meet the expectation of a mix of on-demand and process writing and short, focused projects. Students write both "on demand" and "over extended periods." On Demand Writing is included in multiple lessons within a collection. Students are required to write 10-15 minutes a couple times a week on different topics. Culminating writings are built from the regular writing tasks completed in the context of reading and writing instruction.

On-demand writing activities happen almost daily, with students answering text-specific questions and prompts. Notebook structures (such as the Misunderstanding Notebook used in Unit C) support this type of student demonstration in a low-stakes environment. Higher-stakes essay prompts are also employed throughout the materials. One Unit selection of on-demand writing includes:

  • For Unit B: A Raisin in the Sun Lesson 3: What is one thing that your character (Travis or Beneatha) wants right now? What obstacle gets in his or her way, and how does he or she react? Refer to your chart for ideas.
  • Lesson 9: Describe how your character reacts to Mama’s choice to buy the house. Does this reaction surprise you? Why or why not? (If you are following Beneatha, use what you know to imagine how she would respond.)
  • Lesson 11: Describe exactly how your character reacts to Lindner’s visit, and then explain why Lindner represents an obstacle for your character.

Process writing builds over the school year. The lessons usually start with a focus on the body of the essay before considering its other parts. As the year progresses, each essay assignment adds a new structural element on which students focus. By the end of the year, students are writing essays that flow from their internalized understanding of argumentative structure, rather than adhering to the rules of a formula. Each Lesson Overview for the first essay lesson explains the logic behind its sequencing of elements and provides details about writing an essay on each unit’s text. Revision is addressed in the context of authentic writing. An example that sums up how process writing is employed:

Unit F: Students spend six lessons researching and writing a five-paragraph essay. This lesson sequence reinforces skills learned in earlier units including writing a compelling introduction and a strong conclusion. Students also learn how to create in-text citations, frames for quotes, and a Works Cited page. The unit concludes with a media project and presentation where students create an interactive timeline using myhistro.com.

Indicator 1l

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

The materials meet the expectations providing opportunities for students to address different text types of writing that reflect the distribution required by the standards. Materials provide frequent opportunities across the school year for students to learn, practice, and apply writing using evidence. Materials provide opportunities that build students' writing skills over the course of the school year. Writing opportunities are focused around students’ analyses and claims developed from reading closely and working with sources.

Some examples that show how the materials meet the expectations of these indicators include, but are not limited to:

Argument Examples:

  • Unit A: Build your claims from the up: draw the claims you make straight from the text.
  • Unit C: Choose a narrator and make a claim about whether or not you can trust that narrator’s account of events. Include 2–3 reasons why you can or cannot trust that narrator.

Informative/Explanatory Examples:

  • Unit B: Identify the theme and its effect on the development of one of the characters. Be sure to cite evidence (quotes and inferences) to support your claim.
  • Unit C: Compare Phineas's behavior and brain to those of an adolescent.

Narrative Examples:

  • Unit A focuses on students writing about how they feel. They explore adding details and giving feedback. This unit focuses on the details and really painting a picture in a readers mind. Example: Choose one brief moment from the last time you ate lunch at school. Zoom in on that moment and write at least five detailed sentences about it. At the end of the unit the students are expected to write an essay using the text to make a claim. In addition they must respond to:
  • Unit G: Intermediate Story Telling: This unit is consistent with grade 6 and grade 8 in that is provides an opportunity for students to write narrative and incorporate the elements of the narrative studied for the year. Each year builds on the previous writing tasks and narrative elements.

Indicator 1m

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

The materials for Grade 7 fully meet the expectations of indicator 1m, providing frequent opportunities for students to practice evidence-based writing. Students write throughout the year with support to use text in careful analyses, using text-specific evidence to support their thinking. The program addresses evidence-based and evidence-supported writing in varied assignments. One of the highlighted learning experiences in the program involves choosing the best evidence. This is addressed through the themes (making meaning, language development, effective expression, and content knowledge):

Making Meaning: After students find a piece of evidence to support their claim or their answer to a text-dependent question they are asked to write 1-2 sentences to explain how this evidence led them to this answer or connects to their claim.

  • Language Development: Students will learn and practice “describing your evidence.” In other words, noting those aspects of your chosen evidence that best illustrate your idea. As they describe what they notice in those words, students are encouraged to comment at the word level, explaining how an author’s particular word choice impacts the meaning of a sentence or passage.
  • Effective Expression: The lessons present multiple opportunities for students to compare how they are using the text to build a claim or develop an understanding. The structure around these moments allow students to learn how to express their ideas and listen to another perspective.
  • Content Knowledge: Lessons present multiple opportunities for students to compare how they are using the text to build a claim or develop an understanding. As students review how they might support a particular claim based on the text, they share and become cognizant of the knowledge they are gaining through their close reading.

Some specific examples that represent this program's evidence-based writing include the following. All tasks require students to identify specific components of the texts read:

  • Unit B has opportunities for students to write to prompts using the text and citing evidence throughout the whole unit. Here are two examples:
    • Identify the theme and its effect on the development of one of the characters. Be sure to cite evidence (quotes and inferences) to support your claim.
    • At the end of the unit the students are expected to write an essay on the following prompt: Students choose which of the 3 scenes they want to compare to the final scene and write more about.
  • In Unit D, the essay focuses on trusting the credibility of a narrator. Students respond to the prompt based on the reading: Can you trust that the narrator is accurately describing what’s happening in the story or poem? Why or why not?
    • Choose a narrator and make a claim about whether or not you can trust that narrator’s account of events. Include 2–3 reasons why you can or cannot trust that narrator.
  • Unit E includes a technology component to the writing:
    • Students highlight evidence that supports the ideas that the power of love, the forces of hate, or both, are responsible for Romeo’s death.
    • Review each of the passages you've studied. You can find each excerpt by clicking NEXT.
    • Highlight in red the places where Shakespeare shows the power of love.
    • Highlight in blue the places where Shakespeare shows the forces of hate.
    • Make sure to click HAND IN on the final passage when you have completed your highlights.
    • Stake a claim about the forces of hatred vs. the power of love.
  • Unit F: Students research and gather information to write an essay.

The Grade 7 materials include daily writing instruction and practice, end of unit writing, and digital platform writing work.

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.
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Indicator Rating Details

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. Opportunities for grammar instruction are built into the program. The program includes three PDFs named Mastering Conventions with over 1,000 pages of exercises for grammar skills. The program has embedded grammar throughout the curriculum and in each unit.

In Unit 1, the Getting Started sub-unit focuses on jump-starting student writing by developing their focus and stamina. Continuing throughout the unit with regular opportunities for writing and connections to selected texts, students develop their idea and build their sense of syntax. The lessons start with practice in communicating ideas effectively and develop ideas before formal grammar instruction begins.

Examples:

  • Lesson 4: Write about a moment when you were nervous.
  • Lesson 5: Write about a recent moment that took three minutes or fewer.

Revision Assignments are provided and provide time for students to practice revising their own writing. Revision assignments are provided as part of the Flex Days. Each revision assignment focuses on one of the following five areas:

  • Complete sentences
  • Pronoun use
  • Subject-verb agreement
  • Verb tense
  • Sentence combining

Teachers are encouraged to review each student’s work for the skill they need to work on and provide the lesson appropriate and most beneficial for the student.

Flex Days and Over-the Shoulder conferencing (OTSC) with targeted feedback allowing teachers to “regularly instruct students on grammar” and focus on individual skills for individual students. Flex days are designed to pace the grammar instruction and contain a regular time for review, reinforcement and/or extension activities to help all levels of students. Lessons include short drills and revision assignments to practice the skills. Flex Days examples:

  • Flex Day, Grammar 2: Unit 1, Lesson 3: Defining and Identifying Nouns
  • Flex Day, Grammar 8: Unit 3, Lesson 14: Keeping Verb and Tense Consistent in Complex Sentences

The OTSC is targeted feedback for students. Each grade level provides models of how a teacher would respond to specific concerns in a text. Teachers are instructed to “point to the sentences, name the skill, and comment on it.” A few examples of the types of feedback provided include, but not limited to;

  • “This subordinate clause makes it clear how truly strange his behavior appeared.”
  • “These three complete sentences clearly illustrate your idea, and make it easy to follow.”

Rubrics are provided in the TPG to track student progress with their control of grammar in the writing prompts. For example, a conventions rubric has the following language to guide teachers and students:

1 Needs Improvement

2 Developing proficiency

3 Proficient

4 Exceeds expectations

Student writes a minimum of 25 words, but there are many fragments and/or run-ons that prevent the reader from understanding the writing.

Student writes a minimum of 50 words, and most sentences are complete. Errors impeded the reader’s ability to understand the writing.

Student writes a minimum of 95 words, and most sentences are complete and punctuated correctly. Errors might detract the reader, but do not impede the reader’s ability to understand the writing overall.

Student writes a minimum of 130 words, and, almost all of the sentences are complete and punctuated correctly.

Gateway Two

Building Knowledge with Texts, Vocabulary, and Tasks

Meets Expectations

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Gateway Two Details

The instructional materials meet expectations for Gateway 2,in which materials support building students' knowledge with texts, vocabulary, and tasks. The instructional materials support the building of knowledge through repeated practice with complex text organized around a topic or theme, the building of key vocabulary throughout and across texts, and providing coherently sequenced questions and tasks to support students in developing literacy skills. Culminating tasks require students to read, discuss, analyze, and write about texts while students participate in a volume of reading to build knowledge. By integrating reading, writing, speaking, listening and language development, students engage in texts to build literacy proficiency so that students will independently demonstrate grade-level proficiency at the end of the school year.

Criterion 2a - 2h

32/32

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.
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials for Grade 7 fully meet the expectations of indicator 2a. Texts within units are connected by topics (and sometimes theme, which is appropriate for grades 6-8). Students learn about character development and conflicts in Unit B, about brain science in Unit C, and about the American Gold Rush in Unit F. Unit D builds students' knowledge of poetry and the works of gothic American author Edgar Allan Poe, while Unit E focuses on Shakespeare's work with Romeo and Juliet. Unit A- Red Scarf Girl clearly has a topic that is explored (the Chinese Cultural Revolution), but this is done through only a primary text and “close reading” of propaganda posters.

Students build knowledge via multiple texts and activities. Some examples of how students grow their knowledge in these units include the following examples:

The Character and Conflict unit includes a collection of texts that vary from a press release to poetry and plays. A Raisin in the Sun and Carson McCullers’s short story “Sucker” are both grounded in a nuanced, deeply compassionate understanding of how people facing hardships can inflict harm they never intend on the people around them. The texts are all connected by the backdrop of African American culture which brings them topically together with the Langston Hughes poem Harlem and the Quest, “The Black, White, and Blues in Chicago” that are also a part of the text sets within the unit.

  • Unit C- Brain Science- The collection of texts for this unit include Phineas Gage: A Gruesome but True Story About Brain Science, John Fleischman, "Demystifying the Adolescent Brain," Laurence Steinberg, "Passage of an Iron Rod Through the Head," J.M. Harlow, "The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat," Oliver Sachs. Texts are all around the topic of the brain. Phineas Gage: A Gruesome but True Story About Brain Science, as well as The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat, are case studies of the brain, and the article “Demystifying the Adolescent Brain” is about how students’ own brains develop and how it impacts their behavior. The Perception Academy Quest takes students through a series of linked activities that focus on brain disorders and how they affect what we perceive and how we respond to the world around us.
  • Unit D- Poetry and Poe- Texts are all around the topic of poetry, more specifically, poems that contain visual imagery. Included in this text set are D.H. Lawrence’s “The White Horse,” García Lorca’s “The Silence,” and Emily Dickinson’s “A narrow fellow in the grass,” “The Tell-tale Heart”, “The Cask of Amontillado” and “The Raven” by Edgar Allen Poe.
  • Unit F- The Gold Rush Collection – This research set contains multiple texts around the topic of the Gold Rush. The text set for this unit includes California Culinary Experiences," The Overland Monthly, Prentice Mulford, "Oh My Darling Clementine," Percy Montrose, Sights in the Gold Region, and Scenes by the Way, Theodore T. Johnson, "The Magic Equation," from California: The Great Exception, Carey McWilliams, "Good Haul of Diggers," from Digger: The Tragic Fate of the California Indians from the Missions to the Gold Rush, Jerry Stanley , Roughing It! Mark Twain, "Letter the Tenth: Amateur Mining-Hairbreadth 'Scapes, &c.," from The Shirley Letters from California Mines in 1851-1852, Dame Shirley.

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.
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Indicator Rating Details

The materials for Grade 7 fully meet the expectations of indicator 2b. Throughout the year, students are given ample opportunities to analyze language and authors’ word choices, study the craft and structure of texts, and identify and analyze key details. The tasks associated with language, key ideas, details, craft, and structure are logically sequenced and appropriate in their increasing complexity. The early units are more accessible due to the more common language and more contemporary themes and topics presented. As the year progresses, students encounter more difficult language and complex interpretation, through the complex scientific texts in Brain Science, and the less familiar structures and archaic language in Poetry and Poe and Romeo and Juliet. Finally, as the year ends, students must work more independently with higher level texts while doing their research for the Gold Rush Unit.

Following are samples that illustrate how students are provided practice and support to understand and grow knowledge around different elements of texts:

In Unit A, Red Scarf Girl, Students identify words and phrases the author uses to evoke a particular emotion. Select 10 words from the reading that best capture how Ji-li feels. Students analyze different word choice as it impacts and supports the text.

Unit B Character and Conflict- Texts in this unit provide opportunities for analyzing characters’ responses to conflict and appreciating the author’s development of ideas over the course of a piece of fiction. This unit then pushes students to use close textual analysis to notice larger structural moves that the authors make across the narratives. Students are supported in this analysis through charts that are made and displayed on the wall. Following are some examples of prompts for students showing how this works in this Unit:

  • By tracing the characters’ dreams at each point in the play, students can keep track of the significance of the quick plot movements and appreciate how Hansberry builds a seething image of Walter’s frustrated dreams that climaxes in one heartbreaking outburst.
  • The essay asks students to look at scenes before and after this climax, noticing Walter’s and Mama’s growth after this heartbreak.
  • Why did you connect that simile to that character? What does this character do or say that makes you connect the character to the simile?
  • What do you notice about how this text looks? What makes it different from other texts we’ve read so far?

Some lessons focus student work very specifically on the content vocabulary and knowledge from the topic at hand. In Unit C, Brain Science, students reread the passage that was read aloud, choose a visual representation of the term "myelination," and explain the evidence for their choices in writing.

In Unit E, Romeo and Juliet, students highlight words and phrases that offer clues about the setting, characters, and plot of the play. They then share their findings to understand the how the antiquated language develops the plot and character and shows the larger theme.

Attention is paid to phrases and word choice throughout the materials. For example, in Unit F, Gold Rush Collection, students attend to the repeated patterns in the writing to support their understanding of how the text was constructed: "This document is broken up into sections. What are some of the words and ideas that all or most of the sections seem to have in common? You may want to even just list some of the words you see repeated over and over again in each section."

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.
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Indicator Rating Details

The Grade 7 materials fully meet the expectations of indicator 2c. There are ample opportunities for students to gain practice and build knowledge with text dependent questions and tasks throughout the year with multiple texts within the units. Some of these questions relate to one text and others require students to use information from multiple texts. The strong layering of topics within each unit leads to deeper understandings and integration of knowledge and ideas. Additionally, this is further supported by the connections between units within the grade level and across grade levels.Many lessons contain a section titled “Connections to other lessons” that assists the teacher with understanding how pieces both in the past and future fit together.

In Unit A, Red Scarf Girl, students engage with multiple choice text dependent questions to check comprehension with constructed responses (ex. How hopeful do you think Ji-li is at this moment in her story? Which details in the Prologue lead you to think so?, Compare how Ji-li felt in her home at the beginning of the story to how she felt after the Red Guards searched her home. Use details from the setting to show your thinking., Why didn’t Ji-li go through with her plan to change her name? Think of one or two reasons and explain them using details from the text.) Students use the story and the other associated texts (including the propaganda posters) to grow their understanding of the texts themselves and the topic.

Unit F supports students' knowledge through their work with multiple text and types such as Roughing It! by Mark Twain, "Letter the Tenth: Amateur Mining-Hairbreadth 'Scapes, &c.," from The Shirley Letters from California Mines in 1851-1852 by Dame Shirley. Student tasks include having students answer questions and engage in tasks using evidence from multiple texts.

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).
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Indicator Rating Details

The materials for 7th Grade fully meet the expectations of indicator 2d. Sets of high-quality sequences of text-dependent questions and activities build to culminating tasks that demonstrate students' knowledge of the topic/s being studied through the texts. Reading, writing, and speaking and listening are employed together to support students' integrated skills as they grow their knowledge and skills. Throughout the year, there are multiple opportunities for s Socratic seminars after students have studied texts. Students create open-ended questions from the texts in the unit to form the seminar content and share and build their new learning through this structure. Additionally, culminating tasks include essays and presentations. Following are some tasks that represent how the program works with this indicator:

Unit A- Red Scarf Girl contains a culmination essay: Choose one moment from the text that shows what she was like before this change. Use details from this moment to describe what Ji-li is like before the change. This prompt is supported by the tasks done while reading the text which also focused on a moment in time and the changes in the main character over time.

Unit C, Brain Science: To really develop and demonstrate a deep level of understanding of the non-fiction texts, students practice writing that describes basic facts, explains concepts, and convinces the reader of an opinion. Much of the early writing that students do in the unit happens in the Misunderstanding Notebook in order to build up students’ ability to write very informally about non-fiction text while making careful distinctions between closely linked concepts. The culminating task for this Unit is an essay: Compare Phineas's behavior and brain to those of an adolescent. To complete this task that answers the prompt while demonstrating their new knowledge of brain science, students pull information from multiple texts.

In Unit F, Gold Rush Collection, students write a culminating essay from among two choices:

  • Research Option 1: Argumentative Essay-- Was the gold rush good for the state of California?
  • Research Option 2: Informative Essay-- Who was John Sutter? Who was Elsa Jane Guerin?

Unit F concludes with a media project and presentation, for which students create an interactive timeline using myhistro.com. This project requires students to revisit their research to find relevant information for the timeline.

Indicator 2e

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

The materials for grade 7 meet the expectations of indicator 2e. Materials include a cohesive, year-long plan for students to interact and build key academic vocabulary words in and across texts. Vocabulary instruction is designed for students to master up to 500 new words every year. Words are chosen for their support of comprehension of texts, unfamiliar words that appear in middle school texts. Repeated encounters with vocabulary- through texts, activities, interactive multimedia, teacher talk, games, audio and video shorts-- support students as they interact with new words and practice them in and out of contexts.

The "Reveal tool" is an online feature that identifies (reveals) new words for the student and gives a contextual definition to enable students to continue reading with minimal interruption. The tool tracks the words a student needs help with so the teacher can access this later. It also puts them in a personal glossary for the students.

Vocabulary Instruction is embedded in daily lessons. The first 5 minutes of each class is devoted to vocabulary using the vocab.app. The app focuses on both text specific words as well as academic language. Students start at a certain level and increase levels based on progress.

Some samples of the application activities include the following:

  • L4a Panorama Words in Context. Students activate markers in a visual panorama to animate the context for a word.
  • L4b Roots Exist- Morphology. Students look at words thematically using both the Greek and Latin roots and assembling words using the roots.
  • L5b Two of a Kind- Analogy- Students learn types of analogies such as item category, whole part, cause/effect. Distinguish among connotation of words with similar denotations.
  • L5c Extreme Weather Vacation-students learn synonyms, antonyms, and word nuances associated with vocabulary about weather and weather systems.

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.
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials for Grade 7 fully meet the expectations of indicator 2f. The 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. Writing progresses throughout each unit and a final assignment is to write an essay covering the unit. Essays build throughout the year and differ in how students typically write essays. Students work with poetry, prose, informational and argumentative writing, and narrative and story writing.

Each assignment adds a new structural element to the essay so that by the end the essay is flowing with an internalized understanding of argumentative structure. The Overview section that begins each unit explains the logic behind its sequencing of elements and provides details about each unit writing.

Following are some examples that represent how the program's writing sequences work:

Unit A: Red Scarf Girl: A Memoir of the Cultural Revolution-- Students write answers to the prompts as they read:

  • Lesson 1: How hopeful do you think Ji-li is at this moment in her story? Which details in the Prologue lead you to think so?
  • In this last moment of the scene, Ji-li feels a mix of emotions. Describe the different emotions that you think are going on inside her. Use words from anywhere in the scene to show your thinking.
  • Lesson 5: Most of Ji-li’s classmates had no trouble writing da-zi-bao that criticize their teachers, but Ji-li couldn’t. Why were some of her classmates so eager to write da-zi-bao? Why was it so hard for Ji-li?
  • Lesson 7: What happens to Du Hai’s feelings during this scene? What makes him feel the way he does?
  • Lesson 8: Why do you think Ji-li’s voice broke when she looked in Teacher Gu’s eyes?
  • Lesson 9: Compare how Ji-li felt in her home at the beginning of the story to how she felt after the Red Guards searched her home. Use details from the setting to show your thinking.
  • Lesson 10: What kind of birthday did Ji-li have (happy, sad, exciting)? Describe the feeling of the birthday party. Explain how the details created that feeling.
  • Lesson 11: Why didn’t Ji-li go through with her plan to change her name? Think of one or two reasons and explain them using details from the text.

At the end of the Unit, students engage with an Essay Prompt: What is one way Ji-li changes over the course of her story? Choose one moment from the text that shows what she was like before this change. Use details from this moment to describe what Ji-li is like before the change.

In Unit C: Brain Science, students to work with challenging informational texts and complex ideas. In order to help them, the writing in the beginning includes jotting down their misunderstandings as they the read to more fully grasp the difficult concepts being introduced, and the teacher is provided support to identify misunderstandings and skills where extra practice is needed. Questions and prompts follow a sequence and are then culminated in a writing task at the end of the Unit.

Over the course of the year, students also work on process writing, developing components and integrating their writing skills into the units at hand. Some specific support includes the following mini lessons and supports, which occur over the course of the school year:

  • develop evidence into structured paragraphs
  • refine a claim statement to best express the drafted argument
  • revise to strengthen use of evidence
  • craft an introduction to engage the reader
  • practice writing a conclusion
  • polish for conventions

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.
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Indicator Rating Details

The materials for Grade 7 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. There are two culminating research units in the Grade 7 materials. The first one falls third in the sequence of seven units, while the second one comes six out of seven. Both projects develop over the course of the unit, introducing the students to a variety of genres and information relevant to the topic.

In Unit C, Brain Science, students practice identifying the differences among primary, secondary, and tertiary sources, in addition to learning to identify the credibility and uses of sources. Students generate their own research questions but are provided sources to start with. The unit focuses on argument writing after students have learned the research methods and concerns. The unit ends with a culminating activity that synthesizes all the work/skills they learn throughout the unit.

The primary purpose of this unit is for students to become practiced at reading and writing about informational, non-fiction texts and to learn how to build knowledge from those texts around one topic. Identifying and learning from misunderstandings is a major theme of this unit and a particular focus of the students’ work with this first text, Phineas Gage. The text itself teaches brain science through stories about 19th century scientists’ reactions to one particular medical case in which a man survived an iron rod going through his head. The reader has to distinguish between what we know about the brain today and what the scientists thought was true at various points in history. Students track their misunderstandings throughout the unit to experience what a scientist experiences.

Students work through a case study to see how the brain works and then move to more accessible texts and end with a Quest that requires multiple case studies to help students compare and contrast various brain injuries.

Example prompts from Case Studies:

  • Students choose 1 patient who exhibits the same symptoms/behaviors as a patient with frontal lobe damage. They highlight and create comparisons among several studies.
  • Students read an essay that compares Peggy's case study to that of Mrs. S. They find the claim and then look for evidence and good descriptions of the evidence.

Throughout the unit, students are writing short response to compare the case studies and other perspectives in the readings.

For the Argumentative Writing section, students complete more research and look for details to support ideas. By the end of this unit, students will write an extensive paper comparing the brain of a character and an adolescent.

Students spend time "working like a scientist" throughout this unit. They are given multiple opportunities to explore and ask questions. In the end, they will work on a Quest. The Quest is structured like a mystery or thriller: First, students recognize that something is amiss, but they don’t understand what it is; next they read Oliver Sacks’s excerpts to learn about and explore what is “happening” to them; and finally they widen and deepen their understanding of brain disorders by working collaboratively. Students carry out investigations constructing explanations and designing solutions.

After researching and taking notes, students use their lists as jumping off points to develop their observations about how Phineas's behavior compared to that of an adolescent.

Detail for students to learn research writing practice includes specific checklists, such as guiding questions:

  1. Have I found 2–3 valid sources that provide useful information about my topic?
  2. Is the information I’ve gathered focused on my topic?
  3. Do I have enough information to write an introduction, 2 body paragraphs, and a conclusion?
  4. Are there any gaps in my research?

Students are guided through the writing with editing, revision, research and peer response. The teacher shares models, rubrics and over- the- shoulder conferences, all of which are fully supported in the teacher materials.

A concern for program is that students have a choice with some Units and may choose to write only in the informative or argument for a final research product. Although this may occur, students are working with both writing tasks throughout both research units, which both require students to read and analyze informative, narrative and argument text types.

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 materials for Grade 7 fully meet the expectations of indicator 2h. The 7th grade materials support students' independent reading via teacher plans and student supports. During independent reading students set weekly goals, reflect on their own reading, and log progress by describing and critiquing one strategy they have used and when they decide on another strategy they could try.

327-336 of the TPG lays out the Independent Reading program. It sets out three goals: 1) Making Reading More Independent – This involves setting up and guiding the selection and then letting students decide what to read. 2) Making reading more social- By providing book sharing sessions, and 3) Making reading more about the book and less about the essay- Assignments are lighter than those around core texts not graded, and involve choice to hold students accountable while still making the focus on the reading itself.

The Reading Tracker (following p736 of TPG) requires that students log progress weekly in relation to a goal that they have set for weekly reading (#pages). It also requires reflection on reading by responding to prompts (done when student is halfway through the reading). Reflection relates to how challenging the text is for the student, paraphrasing text, noticing aspects of the story structure supported with text evidence. Students also track their reading path by identifying texts by genres of fiction and non-fiction, identity of the character time of the setting, and location of the setting. There are additional strategies called out to support independent reading such as book talks, teacher modeling through think-alouds, book sharing, partner reading, vocabulary work in context, writing and online book pages for sharing. Suggestions for accountability are writing on shared documents, online posts, one-on-one conferences with students.

The world of Lexica, an extra resource, requires that students encounter characters and objects that “wander in and out” of books in the Amplify library. Reading choices and reading progress has consequences in the game which supports independent reading.

Gateway Three

Usability

Meets Expectations

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Gateway Three Details

The instructional materials meet expectations for instructional supports and usability. The use and design of the materials facilitate student learning. The materials take into account effective lesson structure and pacing, and the pacing allows for maximum student understanding. Materials are designed to ease teacher planning and support teacher learning and understanding of the standards. Standards addressed and assessed in each lesson are clearly noted and easy to locate. The materials reviewed provide teachers with multiple strategies for meeting the needs of a range of learners. Content is accessible to all learners and support them in meeting or exceeding the grade level standards. Students who read, write, speak, or listen below grade level or in a language other than English are provided with some opportunities to work with grade level text and meet or exceed grade level standards.s. Materials also provide students who read, write, speak, or listen above grade level some extension and advanced opportunities. Materials also support the effective use of technology to enhance student learning.

Criterion 3a - 3e

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8/8
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Criterion Rating Details

The use and design of the instructional materials facilitate student learning. The design of the materials is consistent, simple, and not distracting. The annual pacing guide makes lesson structure and pacing clear. The thirty-six weeks of instruction is reasonable for a school year. All resources include clear directions, explanations, and standards alignments.

Indicator 3a

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 7 meet the expectations that materials are well-designed and take into account effective lesson structure and pacing.

The lesson architecture appears on pages 101-103 of the TPG. The daily lesson begins with 5 minutes of Building Vocabulary where students work independently on the vocabulary activities while the teacher checks in with students. This is followed by 15-25 minutes Collaborate and Interpret where one of the following tasks is performed: Working with Text Out Loud, Working Visually, Working with Text as Theater, Choosing the Best Evidence, or Using Text as Referee. Next is the 15-25 minute Produce segment which includes Writing for an Authentic Audience, Revising, or Debate. In the 5-10 minute Prepare for Independent Work part of the lesson, students wrap up their learning with sharing, discussion, and introducing the Solo. The daily lesson ends with 20-60 minutes of Independent Work time where students complete the Solo, read independently, play in the World of Lexica, create a video for ProjectEd, or Build more vocabulary with VocabApp.

In the teacher’s digital guide there is a clear structure and pacing laid out for each lesson and each lesson segment. For example, in the Poetry and Poe lesson segment, for six minutes students review one scene from "The Cask of Amontillado" and consider how Poe leaves clues about Fortunato's demise. One minute is devoted to defining dramatic irony, three minutes are devoted to a dramatic irony short answer, and two minutes are devoted to discussion.

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
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 7 meet the expectations that the teacher and student can reasonably complete the content within a regular school year, and the pacing allows for maximum student understanding.

The annual pacing guide for 7th grade appears on pages 40-41 of the TPG. The 7 units are taught over a 36 week/180 day school year.

Indicator 3c

The student resources include ample review and practice resources, clear directions, and explanation, and correct labeling of reference aids (e.g., visuals, maps, etc.).
2/2
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet expectations that the student resources include ample review and practice resources, clear directions, and explanation, and correct labeling of reference aids (e.g., visuals, maps, etc.).

The Student digital materials contain ample practice resources within each lesson segment. The predictable format that is used throughout each lesson makes it easy for students to follow along and engage with the texts as well as the activities. Tasks are chunked to provide frequent practice with a skill throughout the lesson. The directions are clearly written, and texts and work spaces are provided conveniently alongside. Writing is strongly supported in the organization of the student materials. Students’ written responses are preserved within the lesson and show up later for sharing. They are also easily accessible within a section of the program called “My Work.” Of particular strength are the Solo activities that often act as a formative assessment where students can display their competence with a text independently. In addition to the directions given within the student materials, there are scripted oral supports within the teacher’s materials for the teacher to use during instruction.

For example, in Unit B Character and Conflict, Sub Unit 4, Lesson 1, students share the highlights they made in the Solo with a partner and ask each other "What do you think about Pete and Sucker so far?" and "What lines of text are giving you that impression?" Students are prompted to individually record the main points of their conversations in the space provided and answer the following questions: "About what did you and your partner agree?" and "About what did you disagree?"

Indicator 3d

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 7 meet the expectations for materials including publisher-produced alignment documentation of the standards addressed by specific questions, tasks, and assessment items.

An overview and alignment for each unit appears in the TPG on pages 58-64. The specific standards are identified by lesson as being taught explicitly or practiced in the sub units. Additionally, in the digital teacher’s edition, Skills and Standards are called out for each lesson sequence:

For example, Gold Rush Unit F, Sub Unit 3, Lesson 2 cites CA CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.7.2, CA CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.7.2.A, CA CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.7.3, CA CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.7.3.A, CA CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.7.3.B, and CA CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.7.9.

Indicator 3e

The visual design (whether in print or digital) is not distracting or chaotic, but supports students in engaging thoughtfully with the subject.
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 7 contain visual design (whether in print or digital) that is not distracting or chaotic, but supports students in engaging thoughtfully with the subject.

The student online edition is well laid out with a predictable format and ease of use. There are supporting graphics that are not distracting that serve as recognizable links within the content rather than as illustrations. The use of drop down menus and expanding windows keeps the screen clean. When students are reading text or engaging in tasks, the design provides easy access to everything students need without extra distraction.

Criterion 3f - 3j

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

The instructional materials meet expectations for teacher learning and understanding of the standards. The materials include a teacher's edition with annotations and suggestions on how to present the content. The materials include adult-level explanations and examples and explanations of the role of specific standards in the context of the overall materials. The instructional approaches of the program are explained in the context of the overall curriculum. Strategies for informing stakeholders about the program and about how they can support student progress and achievement are provided, and overall, the materials do support teacher learning and understanding of the standards.

Indicator 3f

Materials contain a teacher's edition with ample and useful annotations and suggestions on how to present the content in the student edition and in the ancillary materials. Where applicable, materials include teacher guidance for the use of embedded technology to support and enhance student learning.
2/2
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Indicator Rating Details

Materials reviewed for Grade 7 meet the expectation for materials containing 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.

The program includes a teacher’s edition with each lesson containing an overview, prep, connections to other lessons, vocabulary, skills and standards, and tips on differentiation. Throughout the lesson, suggestions on how to present the content are provided. Materials also include specific guidance for embedded technology.

Indicator 3g

Materials contain a teacher's edition that contains full, adult-level explanations and examples of the more advanced literacy concepts so that teachers can improve their own knowledge of the subject, as necessary.
2/2
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Indicator Rating Details

Materials reviewed for Grade 7 meet the expectation of materials containing 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.

The program includes a Teacher Program Guide which includes a program overview, pedagogical approach, pacing guides, guidance for skill instruction, assessment, universal design, and more: https://resources.learning.amplify.com/ela/resources/ela-california-edition/teacher-program-guide/

Also, a section of the Teacher Program Guide addresses technology & Multimedia: https://resources.learning.amplify.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/Strategic_Use_of_Technology_and_MultimediaCA-program-over.pdf

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
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Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet expectations for materials containing a teacher’s edition that explains the role of the specific ELA/literacy standards in the context of the overall curriculum.

The Teacher Program Guide includes unit overviews that show the connection between standards and the Amplify program. The guide provides program organization maps broken down by sub-units to indicate how the Common Core Standards are aligned to the instructional program.

https://resources.learning.amplify.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/Unit_Overviews_and_AlignmentsCA-program-over.pdf

The Amplify approach to standards based instruction is further clarified in their document on skill instruction and practice.

https://help.learning.amplify.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/Skills_instruction_and_practiceCA-Assess.pdf

Indicator 3i

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

Materials reviewed for Grade 7 meet the expectations for materials containing explanations of the instructional approaches of the program and identifying research-based strategies.

Amplify ELA provides a guide to their research-based strategies in the research base section of the teacher’s program guide that fully goes into detail to explain the implementation model.

https://resources.learning.amplify.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/Research_BaseCA-Appendix.pdf

The guide also includes the pedagogical approach: https://resources.learning.amplify.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/Pedagogical_approachCA-Assess.pdf

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
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Indicator Rating Details

Materials reviewed for Grade 7 contain multiple strategies to inform stakeholders about the program including discussion of the program’s approach to feedback and revision, guidance to teachers on supporting student progress through identifying areas of concern through formative assessments, and enlisting support of parents through home/school communications

Resources are found at https://resources.learning.amplify.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/Home-School_ConnectionCA-Extended.pdf and https://resources.learning.amplify.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/Assessment_and_FeedbackCA-Assess.pdf.

Criterion 3k - 3n

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

The instructional materials meet expectations for providing teacher resources and tools to collect ongoing data about student progress on the standards. Formative and summative assessment opportunities are provided throughout the materials. All assessments clearly indicate which standards are being emphasized, and teachers are provided guidance on how to interpret student performance and suggestions for follow-up. Routines and opportunities to monitor student progress are included throughout the materials.

Indicator 3k

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

Materials reviewed for Grade 7 meet the expectations for materials regularly and systematically offering assessment opportunities that genuinely measure student progress. There are ample opportunities for assessment placed throughout the program to serve formative needs and to pinpoint summative progress towards standards.

Formative Assessments include Over-the-Shoulder conferences, Spotlight, Solo, and Reading Comprehension Checks. Reading Comprehension checks are placed within each text in the form of a multiple choice “Solo” which checks explicit and implicit understanding. The TE indicates that these “Solos” will occur about 3 times weekly and provide formative assessment for both the class as a whole and individual students. Over-the-shoulder conferences are a staple of the Amplify ELA program and enable teachers to provide nuanced feedback and subtle individualized direction while every student works on a common activity. Over-the-shoulder conferencing is such a key part of the Amplify lessons that a technical feature to support it has been built into the digital lesson structure. When teachers see the symbol and click on it, they see 3-4 squares that describe characteristics of student behavior or student work, specific to the activity that teachers should look for. When teachers click on one of these squares, the system provides direction to the teacher about how to support students approaching the activity in different ways. These context-specific over-the-shoulder conferences always include an “on-track” example and a way to push the “on-track” student further.

The instructional materials include Summative Assessments. End of Unit Essays require the student to write about the text and cite evidence from the text. End of Unit assessments integrate reading and writing skills. The twice yearly summative assessment provides analysis that is tied directly to standards.

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
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Indicator Rating Details

Materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the requirement for assessments clearly denoting which standards are being emphasized.

Amplify ELA includes three grades that are each built on seven units of instruction. Within each unit, several sub-units divide a unit’s texts and skills into manageable learning goals. Pages 50-71 in the teachers edition outline which standards are taught in each unit and sub-unit.

Indicator 3l.ii

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

Materials reviewed for Grade 7 meet the expectations of assessments providing sufficient guidance to teachers for interpreting student performance and suggestions for follow-up.

TE: Rubrics and examples of student work are included, the gradebook tracks student scores, student goal setting

Indicator 3m

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

Materials reviewed for Grade 7 meet the expectation for including routines and guidance that point out opportunities to monitor student progress.

The following provide opportunities to monitor student progress:

  • Over-the-shoulder conferences allow the teacher to provide “in the moment” feedback to students as they work through a challenging activity or complete a writing prompt
  • Sharing is part of the writing routine. Students produce a specific idea about a text.
  • Spotlight is a digital app that allows teacher to highlight student examples and project those to use for instruction or appreciation.
  • Revision agreements ask students to do a short piece of differentiated revision on one of their pieces of writing. Student practice a particular skill at the same time as they practice the skill of revising itself.
  • Written comments allow students to have the teacher’s recorded feedback. Targeted comments both provide specific feedback on the piece of writing and a small model to guide future writing.
  • Reading comprehension check is a series of 5-8 multiple choice questions tied to a text that the students have not seen before. This is part of the students’ independent work or solo activity.

Indicator 3n

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

Materials reviewed for Grade 7 indicate how students are accountable for independent reading based on student choice and interest to build stamina, confidence, and motivation.

The materials include a Digital library, and Lexica motivates students to read outside of school. The materials include a Reading Tracker. Pages 639-736 in the teachers guide provide a student guide to the digital library and offer students choices and selections. This includes Starter lists, Independent Reader’s Guides, Lexica, and Peer recommendations. Strategies to support independent reading include Book talks, teacher modeling via think-alouds, book sharing, and partner reading. Accountability and Progress are tracked by digital readers, book sharing conversations, one-on-one conversations, and reading trackers.

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.
8/10
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Criterion Rating Details

The instructional materials meet expectations for providing teachers with strategies for meeting the needs of a range of learners so that they demonstrate independent ability with grade-level standards. The materials provide teachers with strategies for meeting the needs of a range of learners and opportunities for teachers to use a variety of grouping strategies. Materials regularly provide support for students who read, write, speak, or listen below grade level or in a language other than English and additional extensions and advanced opportunities are available for students who read, write, speak, or listen above grade level.

Indicator 3o

Materials provide teachers with strategies for meeting the needs of a range of learners so the content is accessible to all learners and supports them in meeting or exceeding the grade-level standards.
2/2
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Indicator Rating Details

Materials reviewed for Grade 7 meets the expectations for providing teachers with strategies for meeting the needs of range of learners so that the content is accessible to all learners and supports them in meeting or exceeding the grade-level standards.

As noted in the TE on pages 210-216, Amplify uses Universal Design to meet all students where they are and encourage growth. The following is a list of the strategies used to engage all learners:

  • Modeling- Teachers demonstrate how to perform certain tasks, provide examples of student work, and model thinking process aloud
  • Formative Assessment Practices- Teachers monitor student understandings and progress through "understanding checkpoints" and provide elicit feedback
  • Language Production Supports- Teachers provide sentence frames and word banks to enable all students to produce academic writing and speech
  • Background Knowledge- Teachers connect new learning to student experiences and prior learning.
  • Visual Supports: The materials use visuals to guide student language and content learning
  • Oral Language Support: Teachers provide opportunities for students to practice academic discourse frequently.
  • Attention to Language Forms: Teachers foster discussion of how to effectively use words and conventions to convey meaning in context
  • Working with Text Aloud: The materials encourage performance of theater exercises with text, viewing performances of text, and hearing audio versions of required readings as needed
  • Working with Routines: The materials include clear, structured routines that are established at the beginning of the year.

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
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Indicator Rating Details

Materials reviewed for Grade 7 partially meet expectations for materials regularly providing all students, including those who read, write, speak, or listen below grade level, or in a language other than English, with opportunities to work with grade level text and meet or exceed grade level standards.

Lessons are coded for different levels. In each lesson there is a differentiation lesson with multiple variations. It is located right at the bottom of the first page and is available to all students. Teachers can combine the lessons and the differentiation easily. Teachers are provided with supports to guide them through the instruction with a variety of learners (disabilities, reading below level, advanced, and EL). Supports include grouping strategies, focusing different students to different parts of the reading, and stopping before discussions to do partner read alouds. Targeted support for students who are learning English is limited.

Flex Days are embedded in each unit to allow students to catch up or move ahead with a variety of activites, including Quests, vocabulary, and language work. Students can work on revisions during these days as well, although there is limited specific support for teachers to assure implementation of this differentiation. On these days, teachers can direct students individually to work on the skills they need, but may need additional support from external resources.

Three levels of differentiation are provided for the most difficult primary source documents in the Collection. Adapted versions, paraphrased versions, and Spanish version are provided. Alternative vocabulary exercises are also available.

Indicator 3q

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

Materials reviewed for Grade 7 meet the requirements for regularly including extensions and/or more advanced opportunities for students who read, write, speak, or listen above grade level.

Flex Days provide time for advanced students to read from the Amplify library and expand vocabulary and language knowledge through games. Supplemental texts to provide additional reading and engagement for advanced learners are identified to accompany all units in the Amplify library.

The instructional materials include extensions and advanced opportunities throughout. For example, over the Shoulder conferences include guidance for the teachers to push students more deeply about a particular topic. Throughout the materials, teachers are provided challenge questions to support the advanced learners. Challenge Writing Prompts are also available.

Indicator 3r

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

Materials reviewed for Grade 7 meet the expectations of providing ample opportunities for teachers to use grouping strategies during lessons.

Within the lessons, students work in collaborative groups and pair-share partners, and teachers are provided with tips on how to organize students. Teachers are encouraged to group students by ability and by language use at different times. Students have the opportunity to work with heterogeneous and homogeneous groups. When students work with partners, sometimes they choose their partners and other times the teacher chooses. For example, in Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet Unit E, Sub Unit 1, Lesson 1 students ELL students are assigned to work with non-ELL students or ELL students at a different level.

Indicator 3s

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Indicator Rating Details

The instructions materials partially meet expectations that digital materials (either included as supplementary to a textbook or as part of a digital curriculum) are web-based, compatible with multiple Internet browsers (e.g., Internet Explorer, Firefox, Google Chrome, etc.), “platform neutral” (i.e., 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.

Some difficulties were encountered when downloading the materials. The downloads didn't work on a PC using Explorer or Firefox. The downloads didn't work on a Mac using Firefox 45.02 or safari.

On a laptop running Windows 10 Home version 1511, everything was accessible using Chrome version 49.0.2623.112. The teacher and student digital program were accessible using Firefox version 45.0.2, but the texts could not be accessed. Using Internet Explorer 11, the teacher and student digital program were accessible, but the texts could not be accessed.

On HTC Android phone Chrome version 50.0.2661.89 everything was accessible, including texts, but it was difficult to move around the pages and see the full content on the program.

Indicator 3s3v

0/
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials support effective use of technology to enhance student learning. Materials reviewed are compatible with multiple Internet browsers and operating systems, follow universal programing style, and are accessible on mobile devices. Materials support the effective use of technology throughout modules and lessons and can be easily customized for individual learners. Materials support the use of adaptive or other technological innovations and include or reference technology that provides opportunities for teachers and/or students to collaborate with each other.

Indicator 3t

0/
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 7 support effective use of technology to enhance student learning, drawing attention to evidence and texts as appropriate.

Technology is used in the following ways:

  • research, integration of dynamic media, and sharing of ideas
  • express and publish information and opinions using digital media and technology (Evidenced in Research units)
  • virtual library with eReader and scaffolds, audio support, and interactive questions
  • Storyboard authoring tools
  • research collections
  • apps/quests
  • learning about using reliable resources and being responsible with internet

Indicator 3u

0/

Indicator 3u.i

0/
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials meet expectations that digital materials include opportunities for teachers to personalize learning for all students, using adaptive or other technological innovations.

The materials are easily differentiated to meet the different needs of students. The materials provide real time data to give feedback and help teachers respond to student needs. The eWriter includes feedback tools, so teacher feedback is immediate for students. They can view and comment as students are in the process of writing and make immediate adjustments.

Indicator 3u.ii

0/
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed can be easily customized for local use. Differentiation and extension opportunities available throughout the instructional materials allow many opportunities to personalize learning as appropriate for students. Teachers are also able to add notes to the materials.

Indicator 3v

0/
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

Materials include some technology that provides opportunities for teachers and/or students to collaborate. For example, teachers can use Spotlight to showcase student work for other students to see.

Criterion 3s - 3v

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

The instructional materials support effective use of technology to enhance student learning. Materials reviewed are compatible with multiple Internet browsers and operating systems, follow universal programing style, and are accessible on mobile devices. Materials support the effective use of technology throughout modules and lessons and can be easily customized for individual learners. Materials support the use of adaptive or other technological innovations and include or reference technology that provides opportunities for teachers and/or students to collaborate with each other.

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 Rating Details

The instructions materials partially meet expectations that digital materials (either included as supplementary to a textbook or as part of a digital curriculum) are web-based, compatible with multiple Internet browsers (e.g., Internet Explorer, Firefox, Google Chrome, etc.), “platform neutral” (i.e., 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.

Some difficulties were encountered when downloading the materials. The downloads didn't work on a PC using Explorer or Firefox. The downloads didn't work on a Mac using Firefox 45.02 or safari.

On a laptop running Windows 10 Home version 1511, everything was accessible using Chrome version 49.0.2623.112. The teacher and student digital program were accessible using Firefox version 45.0.2, but the texts could not be accessed. Using Internet Explorer 11, the teacher and student digital program were accessible, but the texts could not be accessed.

On HTC Android phone Chrome version 50.0.2661.89 everything was accessible, including texts, but it was difficult to move around the pages and see the full content on the program.

Indicator 3t

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 7 support effective use of technology to enhance student learning, drawing attention to evidence and texts as appropriate.

Technology is used in the following ways:

  • research, integration of dynamic media, and sharing of ideas
  • express and publish information and opinions using digital media and technology (Evidenced in Research units)
  • virtual library with eReader and scaffolds, audio support, and interactive questions
  • Storyboard authoring tools
  • research collections
  • apps/quests
  • learning about using reliable resources and being responsible with internet

Indicator 3u

Materials can be easily customized for individual learners.
0/0

Indicator 3u.i

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

The instructional materials meet expectations that digital materials include opportunities for teachers to personalize learning for all students, using adaptive or other technological innovations.

The materials are easily differentiated to meet the different needs of students. The materials provide real time data to give feedback and help teachers respond to student needs. The eWriter includes feedback tools, so teacher feedback is immediate for students. They can view and comment as students are in the process of writing and make immediate adjustments.

Indicator 3u.ii

Materials can be easily customized for local use.
0/0
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed can be easily customized for local use. Differentiation and extension opportunities available throughout the instructional materials allow many opportunities to personalize learning as appropriate for students. Teachers are also able to add notes to the materials.

Indicator 3v

Materials include or reference technology that provides opportunities for teachers and/or students to collaborate with each other (e.g. websites, discussion groups, webinars, etc.).
0/0
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

Materials include some technology that provides opportunities for teachers and/or students to collaborate. For example, teachers can use Spotlight to showcase student work for other students to see.

Additional Publication Details

Report Published Date: Mon Aug 01 00:00:00 UTC 2016

Report Edition: 2016

Title ISBN Edition Publisher Year
http://www.amplify.com/curriculum/amplifyela Copyright: 2016 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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