Alignment to College and Career Ready Standards: Overall Summary

The instructional materials reviewed for Grades 9-12 meet expectations for alignment and usability in all grades. Lessons and tasks are centered around high-quality texts. Texts provided with the materials 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. Materials build knowledge and skills through integrated reading, writing, speaking, listening, and language. The instructional materials meet expectations for use and design, teacher planning, learning of the standards for students and professional learning support for teachers. Standards-aligned assessment, differentiated instruction, and support for learners are accounted for within the materials. Suggestions for technology use are present. Overall, the 9-12 materials attend to alignment to the standards and to structural supports and usability.

See Rating Scale
Understanding Gateways

Alignment

|

Meets Expectations

Gateway 1:

Text Quality

0
15
28
32
30
28-32
Meets Expectations
16-27
Partially Meets Expectations
0-15
Does Not Meet Expectations

Gateway 2:

Building Knowledge

0
15
28
32
30
28-32
Meets Expectations
16-27
Partially Meets Expectations
0-15
Does Not Meet Expectations

Usability

|

Meets Expectations

Not Rated

Gateway 3:

Usability

0
23
30
34
33
30-34
Meets Expectations
24-29
Partially Meets Expectations
0-23
Does Not Meet Expectations

Gateway One

Text Quality & Complexity and Alignment to Standards Components

Meets Expectations

+
-
Gateway One Details

The materials meet the expectations of Gateway 1. The materials include texts that are of high quality and provide students the opportunity to read deeply and broadly across multiple genres and text types, and support access to increasing rigor and challenge over the course of the school year. Most questions and tasks are text-based as well as are the majority of written and spoken student tasks. Students have opportunities to learn and practice varied writing modes in different lengths, both on-demand and via process writing. The materials partially meet the expectations of supporting the language demands of the grade.

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.
15/16
+
-
Criterion Rating Details

The materials include texts that are of high quality and provide students the opportunity to read deeply and broadly across multiple genres and text types, and support access to increasing rigor and challenge over the course of the school year. Materials partially meet the expectations for anchor texts and series of texts connected to them being accompanied by a text complexity analysis and rationale for educational purpose and placement in the grade level. Materials meet the criteria for materials supporting students’ increasing literacy skills over the course of the school year.

Indicator 1a

Anchor/core texts are of publishable quality and worthy of especially careful reading.
4/4
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 9 meet the criteria for anchor texts being of publishable quality and worthy of especially careful reading and consider a range of student interests.

Texts are written by well-known writers/authors. The texts provide high interest, relevant, and current topics appropriate for the grade level that encompass multiple universal and multicultural themes relevant to the units’ topics. Examples include:

  • In Unit 1, students read Killer of Enemies by Joseph Bruchac, a highly engaging dystopian plot in a graphic novel format accessible to many readers. The hero is from the Apache culture and is female, which provides a non-traditional rendering of a popular genre.
  • In Unit 2, students read Up From Slavery, an autobiographical work by Booker T. Washington that recounts his experiences from a slave child during the Civil War to becoming one of the most prominent African American figures of his time.
  • In Unit 2, students read The Souls of Black Folk by W.E.B. DuBois, a collection of essays on race, sociology, and African American literary history.
  • In Unit 2, students read Fields of Fury: The American Civil War by James McPherson, a Pulitzer Prize award-winning historian. This story describes the events of the American Civil war and its effects on the country and a family.
  • In Unit 3, students read Funny in Farsi: A Memoir of Growing Up Iranian in America by Firoozeh Dumas, an engaging, humorous, high interest memoir.
  • In Unit 4, students read Promises to Keep: How Jackie Robinson Changed America by Sharon Robinson, an engaging story of a popular American hero, high interest for adolescent readers.
  • In Unit 4, students read Sports and Society by Scott Witmer, written in a high interest case study format, covering a wide variety of sports which is appealing to many readers.

Indicator 1b

Materials reflect the distribution of text types and genres required by the standards at each grade level.
*Indicator 1b is non-scored (in grades 9-12) and provides information about text types and genres in the program.
0/0
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 9 reflect the distribution of text types and genres required by the standards at each grade level.

The materials reflect a balance of informational and literary reading selections. Teachers have a variety of options from which to select what material students read together in the class. Similarly, students have a variety of choices on what to read independently.

The materials include core texts that teachers use for instructional shared reading. In addition, there are a variety of anchor texts for teachers to use as read alouds and/or experts as shared reading in the classroom. There are few short stories available in the texts provided.

The reading materials for Grade 9 include a variety of text types, including Autobiography, Biography, Drama, Economics, Guide, Historical Fiction, History, Investigation, Personal Viewpoint, Realistic Fiction, and Science.

Literary texts include but are not limited to:

  • Killer of Enemies by Joseph Bruchac
  • The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros
  • Funny in Farsi: A Memoir of Growing Up Iranian in America by Firoozeh Dumas
  • Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson
  • Raiders Night by Robert Lipsyte

Informational texts include but are not limited to:

  • Political Systems (Ethics in Action) by Scott Witmer
  • Up From Slavery by Booker T. Washington
  • Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass by Frederick Douglass
  • The Souls of Black People by W.E.B. DuBois
  • Old Friend from Far Away: The Practice of Writing Memoir by Natalie Goldberg
  • Promises to Keep: How Jackie Robinson Changed America by Sharon Robinson
  • Sports and Society by Scott Witmer
  • “Are Organized Sports Better for Kids Than Pickup Games?” by Kathleen McAlpin Blasi

Indicator 1c

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 9 meet the criteria for texts having the appropriate level of complexity for the grade according to quantitative analysis, qualitative analysis, and relationship to their associated student task.

The materials are designed for schools to determine which units they want to teach at which point in the school year. ARC Core has its own readability system (Independent Reading Level Assessment - IRLA), and, when cross-referenced with Lexile scores, the majority of texts align with the recommended Lexile grade bands.

Core texts for Grade 9 students fall within the recommended measurement levels. Texts that fall below the recommended grade band serve as informational resources or mentor texts for the unit task; texts which are quantitatively lower are typically paired with more rigorous texts. Grade 9 materials utilize multiple primary source texts, as well as renowned texts that are appropriate quantitatively and qualitatively.

Examples of grade level texts that fall within the appropriate Lexile band include:

  • The Souls of Black Folk by W.E.B. Du Bois has a Lexile score of 1280L. This is a timeless text and primary source that serves as a critical reference for students to study the history and people of the Civil War. This text is paired with a below grade level text that helps support knowledge building of the topic.
  • Sports and Society by Scott Witmer has a Lexile score of 1190L. Published by Heinemann and recommended for ages 12 and up, this informational text from the Ethics series engages students in examining the relationship of sports in society throughout history. The Lexile score is partly due to sports terminology and some political/social lingo.

Examples of texts that fall below the Lexile band, but are still appropriate include:

  • Killer of Enemies by Joseph Bruchac has a Lexile score of 860L. This Young Adult book is recommended for ages 14-17, contains several genre types, and covers mature concepts for which background knowledge is needed. This text is appropriate as the text structures and content are more advanced.
  • War, Terrible War: 1855-1865 by Joy Hakim has a Lexile score of 820L. Though below grade level, this text serves as a reference to build student knowledge as they deconstruct more complex texts and gather research on the Civil War. As a paired text, this complements the core text, The Souls of Black Folk by W.E.B. DuBois, which is above grade level.
  • The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros has a Lexile score of 870L and is qualitatively rigorous. This novel serves as a core text, and it is paired with a grade level text to serve as a mentor text for writing memoirs. This widely renowned text is engaging and relatable for students, and, in pairing with a grade level text, is an appropriate mentor text for writing memoirs.

Indicator 1d

Materials support students' literacy skills (understanding and comprehension) over the course of the school year through increasingly complex text to develop independence of grade level skills (Series of texts should be at a variety of complexity levels).
4/4
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 9 meet the criteria for materials supporting students’ increasing literacy skills over the course of the school year. (Series of texts should be at a variety of complexity levels appropriate for the grade band.)

The materials provide a wide variety of texts that are both grade-band appropriate, as well as leveled ancillary texts that support the theme while helping students to continue to build their literacy skills. The materials direct the teacher to model a variety of literacy skills and methods while working with students to build knowledge, provides them the opportunity to practice those skills in a carefully scaffolded setting, and eventually moves them to demonstrating their skills independently.

The program uses the following structure:

  • Unit 1 is a Literacy Lab where students are introduced to the program's structure. Students begin their year with core literary and informational texts referred to as “hook books”-- grade level texts that are high-interest and paired to build knowledge and engage students in topics that will provide a foundation for literary and informational text analysis conducted through both discussion and writing. During Unit 1, students undergo initial assessments with the IRLA to determine instructional supports that may be needed and to help determine appropriately-leveled books for daily reading in self-selected texts. Students set goals with their teacher based upon their reading skill level to demonstrate their ability to read increasingly more complex texts and to write with greater sophistication. In this unit, students work with the Core fiction text, the paired informational texts, and their self-selected independent reading texts to build core analytical reading skills of theme, literary elements, authors (and bias), genres, and world knowledge. The unit is divided into weeks beginning with Phase 1: Initiate Academic and Writing Community and Phase 2: Initial Assessment and Goal Setting, during which students analyze denotative vs. connotative language, patterns of world changes, and figures of speech. In Phase 3: Strategic Instruction/Building Expertise, students shift to analyze author’s purpose, evaluate literature and informational text, write a proficient literary essay, and revise, edit, and publish.
  • Unit 2 is an Informational Research Lab that focuses on the Civil War era using thematic inquiry. Throughout Unit 2, students work to build skills to read and deeply analyze informational text, including:
    • Identification of the central idea of the text
    • Analysis of how the author develops the central idea over the course of the text
    • Identification and linking of key details and supporting ideas to the central idea of the text
  • Students work to develop their own piece of informational writing using mentor texts. Within their writing they learn to:
    • Develop a central idea with a focus on word choice (including an understanding of connotation vs. denotation)
    • Appropriately incorporate figurative language into their writing to add depth and texture to their writing
    • Work through the writing and revision process
    • Prepare visuals, edit, publish, and present their work
  • Unit 3 is a genre study focusing on memoirs. Throughout the unit, students develop their literary analysis skills through:
    • Character-theme analysis, setting-theme analysis, and plot-theme analysis
    • Exploration of author’s purpose/theme
    • Examination of the personal transformation highlighted by the author, including the turning points and changes that occurred as a result of events in the author’s life
    • Consideration of alternative perspectives

Midway through the unit, they begin work on a comparative analysis writing of their own as well as a short story using the memoirs from the unit as mentor texts.

  • Unit 4, an argument research lab, focuses the topic of sports and society. Argument writing and research are the primary focus as students read increasingly complex texts as they begin working through a series of six research questions that guide students as they prepare to compose their own argument piece. These questions guide the students as they read the unit’s texts, conduct research, and are designed to bring coherence to their writing. The research questions/tasks include:
    • Introduce your sport, including basic rules and objectives.
    • Where in the world is this sport most popular? Why? (geography)
    • What are the most important events in the history of this sport? (history)
    • Who are the 3 most influential people associated with this sport? Why? (role models)
    • How has this sport been related to issues of race, class, and gender? (social issues)
    • How do people make money from this sport? (economic issues)
    • How does this sport influence our society?

Throughout all units, students receive instruction that meets the needs for remediation, growth, and challenge and are monitored closely to assure growth in reading, writing, speaking/listening, and literacy skills.

Indicator 1e

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 9 partially meet the expectations for anchor texts and series of texts connected to them being accompanied by a text complexity analysis and rationale for educational purpose and placement in the grade level.

Only the core texts that are provided by the publishers are accompanied by a rationale. The materials assign grade-level core and accompanying texts based on the IRLA system that considers quantitative and qualitative text complexity.

The materials provide a color coding system for supplementary text that is found at the beginning of each unit (pg. 30). This system provides a taxonomy of reading levels and corresponding colors at each level. This information is a guide for teachers in the use of reading baskets for the 100-Book Challenge reading activities for each unit. Resources at the end of each unit (pg. 359) list the color coded levels for each “Hook Book” in the series. A one-page guide, “Text Complexity and Title Selection” provides short rationales for how the publisher determined text complexity, the process for selecting paired core texts, and the requirements for Core Novels and Core Informational Texts are also provided at the beginning of each unit (pg. 50).

A text complexity analysis and qualitative information for the core and anchor texts are included with the materials. Qualitative information is included outlining the placement. For example, the text complexity analysis is provided for Hakim’s War, Terrible War with a Lexile score of 820L that falls within the 4-5 grade band. Publishers provide the following rationale: “Our qualitative analysis places this text at the 9th-10th grade level because:

  • Purpose/Structure: Moderately Complex. Organization of the text is chronological, however, there are frequent gaps in time ranging from months to years.
  • Language: Very Complex. Sentence structure is dense and complex. Text contains abstract and overly academic language.
  • Knowledge Demands: Very Complex. The text requires discipline-specific knowledge in multiple areas including geographical and political terminology, economics, and early American history.”

Indicator 1f

Anchor and supporting texts provide opportunities for students to engage in a range and volume of reading to achieve grade level reading proficiency.
2/2
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 9 meet the expectations for anchor and supporting texts providing opportunities for students to engage in a range and volume of texts to achieve grade level reading.

Students are asked to read 100 books during the year and to participate in the 100 Book Challenge, which includes reading independently for 30 minutes a night. The instructional materials provide daily opportunities for students to read a variety of texts in and out of class in order to become better independent readers. Core and accompanying texts, as well as the leveled library texts, encompass a diversity of topics in history, culture, science, technology, politics, geography, and current social issues. Most core texts in each unit are within or slightly above the recommended grade level band; however, the independent reading libraries are leveled so that students can practice and build reading skills at their individual reading levels as indicated by the publisher’s IRLA leveling system.

The daily and weekly components of lesson plans contain high expectations for a range of reading tasks. Students read a substantial volume of literary and informational texts across each unit. Literacy blocks are designed around a variety of reading tasks such as reading and discussing, a Readers’ Workshop piece in which students apply reading strategies to text they’ve read, as well as allotted time for independent reading from self-selected texts. Each unit (pp. 56-57) includes a roster of lesson components with times allotted to each component, organized by 75-90-minute or 120-minute blocks. Each literacy block establishes a weekly goal of 5 hours of student reading. This includes “some time spent reading texts within the Thematic Unit and some time in complete free-choice.”

The Literacy Lab in Unit 1 is designed to develop student interest in reading and to build reading skills and habits. Teachers assess student reading levels in Unit 1, and Reading Log Sheets are provided in Units 2-4 to track student independent reading of fiction and nonfiction texts. The materials also offer a 100 Book Challenge for students to engage in a volume of independent reading. Students are offered a choice of texts, research subtopics, writing tasks, and positions to argue.

Criterion 1g - 1n

Materials provide opportunities for rich and rigorous evidence-based discussions and writing about texts to build strong literacy skills.
15/16
+
-
Criterion Rating Details

Most questions and tasks are text-based as well as the majority of written and spoken student. Students have opportunities to learn and practice varied writing modes in different lengths, both on-demand and in process. The materials partially meet the expectations of supporting the language demands of the grade.

Indicator 1g

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 9 meet the criteria that 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; this may include work with mentor texts as well).

Materials for the literacy and research labs across all four modules provide an inquiry-based structure for students to engage with informational and literary texts directly. Teachers are provided discussion starters, key questions, writing prompts, graphic organizers, and instructional support tasks for students to collect and analyze textual evidence that builds toward a research topic or literary theme. The directions for teachers set the focus and purpose for reading, so students are prepared to discuss text-dependent questions. Students are asked to work in small groups or with partners first, then questions are discussed with the whole group.

The questions are not all text-specific, but are text-dependent. The publisher is transparent about the philosophy to build students’ “habits of mind” by providing a framework of inquiry; instead, the reading/writing questions (Research Questions), graphic organizers. and instructional tasks follow a general format that is designed to be used across multiple thematic units and across grade levels. Each of the four units per grade level provides a uniform set of text-dependent questions for the Core Text for that unit. Questions require students to read closely and to make inferences drawing on textual evidence. Teachers and students have reading choices within the four units, and text-dependent questions may be universally applied to texts throughout the school year. The materials specify that teachers decide when and how to use text-dependent questions. Moreover, the materials provide example questions to support the process and prompt teachers to create text-specific questions, as well.

In Unit 1, Lesson 1, Week 1, Day 1: Read Like a Literary Critic…For Theme & Beyond, teachers are instructed to “[s]et the standards that students will use text evidence to support all conclusions.” Students are asked a set of questions that cover basic comprehension; purpose, agenda, and theme; prediction; craft; and reader response. Question examples include:

  • What did the author say? Why did they say it?
  • Based on what you’ve read so far, what issues might the author want to explore in the this book? What supports your hypothesis?
  • Any hypothesis on what his/her theme will be on this issue? How did they say it?
  • Which parts of the book so far drew your interests? Why?
  • Which parts weren’t interesting? Why?

As part of the Read/Discuss Complex Text component of the lesson for Unit 1, Week 5, Days 1-2, students analyze author’s purpose in informational and fictional texts by responding to questions, including:

  • Why do you think the author wrote this book? How do you know?
  • What connections can you draw between this purpose and the content of the text (a character, event, problem, etc.)?
  • What connections can you draw between this purpose and the style of the text (language, tone, format, etc.)?

In Unit 2: Informational Research Lab-The Civil War Era, Week 1, Day 2, students reread an informational text to identify bias. Teachers are provided a series of questions about the author, including:

  • Who is the author? How is s/he qualified to write about the text?
  • The facts in text _____ is presented as a fact/the truth. Is it completely true/factual? How do we know? Who else thinks it’s true/factual besides the author?
  • What words do you notice that explicitly signal an opinion (e.g., I believe, They think)?
  • What words do you notice that implicitly signal an opinion/ judgment (e.g., dirty, best?)
  • What is missing from the text? Based on what you know, what information is missing?
  • Whose perspectives are missing? Do you think these exclusions were intentional or unintentional?

These questions require students to refer back to the text and can show student growth in understanding of informational text.

Other questions in Unit 2 include: "Why do you think the author wrote this this part this way? What might the author be suggesting here? How does this relate to the Research question?"

In Unit 3: Week 4, Day 2: Conflict Resolution, the lesson places students in small discussion groups to analyze the role of conflict in the Core Novel. Students are tasked to discuss: "Which conflict is MOST important to this novel (the central conflict)? Why?" Students are also instructed to: "Justify your argument with evidence from the text. Why does the author include other conflicts? What role does each play in the text?" (p. 180).

In Unit 4: Argument Research Lab-Sports and Society, students are asked questions such as: "What is the author saying about...? How do you know? How does this relate to what other authors have written about …? Where does the author use strong opinion words when describing the topic? Why do you think s/he uses these words?" In addition, teachers are instructed to use "a short section from the Central Text (or other content relevant text), [to] model how you use clues in the text to help you determine the author’s perspective/point of view: What does s/he believe about this topic? Why?” (p. 99). Teachers offer students a range of comprehension strategies to support their analysis of author perspective including: explicit, implicit, word choice, repetition, structure, images, and author’s argument. (p. 99).

Indicator 1h

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 9 meet the criteria that materials contain sets of high-quality sequences of text-dependent and text-specific questions with activities that build to a culminating task which integrates skills to demonstrate understanding.

Daily, students read, write, and discuss texts guided by questions and tasks that are organized for students to gather details or to practice skills needed for the culminating task. Culminating tasks, which are generally smaller weekly tasks as well as significant writing pieces or presentations, provide opportunities for students to demonstrate knowledge and ability of what they have learned. Generally, tasks require students to gather details or information using research questions and graphic organizers to craft an essay, report, debate, narrative, or dramatic interpretation. Tasks are supported with coherent sequences of text-dependent questions and tasks.

Unit 1 builds student interest and stamina in reading and utilizes more text-to-self questions than other modules. Unit 1 also offers a list of writing prompts teachers can use; however, some of these prompts are not text-dependent or text-specific. In Unit 3 (Memoirs) students write a constructed response at the end of each week for Weeks 1-4. The constructed response for Week 1 focuses on the genre study. Weeks 2-4 focus on the central theme of the text and how the author uses the literary elements to develop the theme. The culminating task in Week 5 & 6 is writing a comparative essay. Weeks 7-9 is writing and presenting a short story based on the genre focus. In Unit 4, the students engage in Argument Labs. Students’ culminating task at the end of each week in Weeks 1-4 is a debate. These are smaller debates that will lead to a more formal debate at the end of the unit. The culminating task for Weeks 5-7 is to draft, revise, and edit an argument based on their research in Weeks 1-4. The culminating task for Weeks 8-9 is to publish and present the debate (argument) formally. Other examples from specific units include:

In Unit 1, students read the paired core texts, Killer Enemies by Joseph Bruchac and Political Systems (Ethics of Politics) by Scott Witmer, and select independent texts to build their stamina for reading and text analysis skills to “read and write like an expert.” The introductory materials outline the unit framework and the sequence of student study. Each week builds student skill in analyzing informational and literary texts, and the instructional materials provide models of sequenced questions for students to use across multiple texts. Examples of sequenced text-dependent questions in this unit are:

  • Recommended Model for Culminating Task: Critiquing the Core Text (Week 6, Days 1-2): What do you believe to be this author’s purpose for writing this text? How effective do you think s/he is in accomplishing that purpose? Is this book worth reading? Why or why not? What details, events, or analyses does the author include to accomplish his/her purpose? Which, if any, are ineffective? What word choice/language, figures of speech, and/or structures does the author use effectively to accomplish his/her purpose? Which, if any, were ineffective?
  • Point of View & Bias: To what is the author blind? What matters to her? How does this effect [sic] her writing? How does she use rhetoric to advance her point of view/purpose? Refer to the Identifying Bias chart and Aristotle’s Rhetorical Devices chart. Does the author give sufficient, relevant evidence and logical reasons to support his/her claims? Why or why not? How might any gaps/fallacies relate to his/her point of view or purpose? Should people read this book? Is it relevant to issues that society grapples with today? Or is there another book in the same genre/on similar themes that does a better job?

In Unit 2, the introductory information states that students “build Speaking, Listening, and Language facility as they collaborate, analyze, and debate across each day” and that the Research Labs integrate “Content & Language Arts Learning into One Seamless System” where the culminating task “requires proficiency in BOTH Reading (RI.2/5) and Writing (W.2) Standards” Building to the culminating tasks occurs through reading class and independent texts. Students are asked text-dependent questions: "What is the author’s main idea in this text? How does the author support this main idea with key details?" Students write about these types of questions first and then share their thinking with a partner or small group. Students spend five weeks using readings and their own research to write about and discuss research questions/topics that build to the culminating research-based informational book. Other examples of sequenced text-dependent questions in this unit are:

  • Practice in Identifying Structure to Write to Text (Week 3, Day 4): "Which structure is the writer using in this text? How do you know? Map out the supporting ideas/key details on the appropriate graphic organizer. Is this organizing structure typical for this mode/discipline? If there are multiple structures, combine/modify the organizer as necessary. Consider having students create their own structure map for a given text. How does the structure of the text relate to the author’s central idea? Why do you think that? Why did the author put ____ first? How does the choice of leaving ___ to the end shape the reader’s understanding of the central idea? How do the text features clarify or confuse the organizing structure? Why does it matter that the author used this structure? Is this choice appropriate to the central idea of this text? Is this the most appropriate structure for the content? Why or why not? Does the author use this structure effectively? Why or why not? If you could change one thing about the structure of this text to make it more clear or to better support its central idea, what would you change and why?"

In Unit 3, the lesson plan for Week 1, Day 1 establishes the foundational skills of having deep understanding of the distinctive characteristics of literary and informational genres. Students are invited to become “experts” with a self-selected genre and respond to a series of text-dependent questions: "What is ____ (genre)? What novels in this genre have you read? Why do you think people read books in this genre? Who are leading authors?" Students also engage in a review activity of the key terms (setting, character, plot, theme, language) associated with literary genres, using a chart, which will be applied to the Unit 3 culminating task of writing a personal memoir. Later, students use literary elements as the guiding framework to discuss a series of text-dependent questions related to the core novel: "What did you notice about the literary elements of this novel? How might this be important to understanding this genre? Why? Are there any generalizations you can draw (based on this book and others you’ve read) about ____ (setting) in this genre?"

In Unit 4, Week 3, students read for research focusing on Conflicting Viewpoints. As students read, they are asked to think about the author of the book: "What is his/her point of view on this topic? What conflicting viewpoints does s/he address and respond to? Are there other viewpoints s/he should have addressed?" Students are also instructed to flag sentences/passages where an author addresses conflicting viewpoint(s). These questions and activities support the culminating task of debating.

Indicator 1i

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 9 meet the criteria for materials providing frequent opportunities and protocols for evidence-based discussions (small groups, peer-to-peer, whole class) that encourage the modeling and use of academic vocabulary and syntax.

The instructional materials set the expectation that students will talk daily with peers about what they are reading. In each lesson, students discuss text-dependent questions. In addition, the instructional materials provide protocols and steps for partner, small group, and large group discussions in which students communicate with peers around shared texts and independent reading selections. CCSS Speaking and Listening standards are highlighted within instructional materials, including the use of Accountable Talk methods, sentence stems, and rubrics for reflecting on discussion. Lessons prompt teachers to model patterns for daily practices that establish student discussion routines. Teachers are given strategies and tips on how to address struggling students’ needs.

Instructional materials and supports provide grade level appropriate opportunities for student discussions that encourage the modeling and use of academic vocabulary and syntax. While addressing key concepts of the embedded research questions, students are frequently prompted to reread texts to identify technical vocabulary and to share definitions and examples with a partner. The materials prompt teachers to have students highlight high-leverage vocabulary during group share and provide lesson call outs that highlight how lessons are designed intentionally to support and to enhance the oracy and literacy skills of all students, including language learners at all levels of language proficiency.

The Unit 1 Scope and Sequence document of the ARC Core Overview outlines Speaking and Listening task across all four units, specifically:

  • Speaking & Listening #4: Present information, findings, and supporting evidence such that listeners can follow the line of reasoning and the organization, development, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.
  • Speaking & Listening #5: Make strategic use of digital media and visual displays of data to express information and enhance understanding of presentations.
  • Speaking & Listening #6: Adapt speech to a variety of contexts and communicative tasks, demonstrating command of formal English when indicated or appropriate.

There are opportunities for partner sharing in each unit; each lesson contains embedded instructions for the teacher as well as student discussion protocols. Examples include:

  • In Unit 1, Week 1, Day 3, students participate in a collaborative writing partner share in which they share their favorite word, phrase, or sentence with a partner then with the class. In Unit 1, Week 2, Days 4 and 5, teachers are instructed to “[m]odel the partner share routine you expect students to participate in every day. Spend extra time establishing this now. No matter how old your students are, explicit direction on how to share appropriately (e.g., turn to face your partner, one person speaks at a time, active listening, etc.) is important for making this run smoothly” (p. 88). Students are instructed to “work with a partner (sitting next to you). Decide who is going to go first (e.g., person with the next birthday, person closest to the door, etc.). Partner #1 will have 60 seconds to talk about which books hooked them and which didn’t and why, citing text evidence. Then, we’ll switch and Partner #2 will have 60 seconds” (p. 88).
  • In Unit 2, Week 1, Day 1, the introduction phase of the unit sets the expectation for student talk. The teacher instructions provide direction and prompts for how to arrange the classroom for effective small group discussion: “Arrange desks in pairs (or tables). Ensure every student has an assigned partner with whom to work.” In step two of the lesson, Assessing Background Knowledge, students are to “write, map out, or at least share orally everything they already know about this Unit with a partner.” Different options are suggested to the teacher, speaking and listening being one option.
  • In Unit 3, Week 5, Day 1, students read, write, and discuss complex text. Teacher directions prompt instructors to monitor engagement and to ensure all students are on task, highlighting an upcoming formative assessment #5 of Day 1, Week 5. Students share their writing with their partners, and partners adjust their claims until each person answers the question, “So what?” The group weighs each individual claim and decides on one to share with the whole group. This activity demonstrates evidence of listening in Unit 3. Additionally, there is an Accountable Talk Partner Share at the end of the Day 1, Week 5 lesson. In pairs, each student partner takes one minute to share 1) evidence usable in his/ her comparison essay and 2) how s/he may refine her/his claim. Then, anyone in the group who is not yet satisfied with her/his claim shares important literary elements of the story, or gives a plot synopsis so that the group can help her/him to think about other potential theme statements/claims that may work with this text and the Central Text.
  • In Unit 4, Week 1, Day 2, teachers are prompted to have students discuss informational texts by selecting one of the following instructional tasks: "Each partner takes 1 minute to share what s/he thinks was the most interesting thing AND the most important thing s/he learned, and justify the difference; Who learned something really interesting? What reasoning and piece of text evidence supports your opinion?; Who learned something really important? What makes it important? What reasoning and piece of text evidence supports your opinion?; and, Who found an example of an author stating an opinion/making a claim? Did the author provide evidence or reasoning to support this claim?" These questions ask students to provide evidence when making a claim, and after the partner share, students share with the entire class.

Indicator 1j

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 9 meet the criteria for materials supporting students’ listening and speaking about what they are reading (or read aloud) and researching (shared projects) with relevant follow-up questions and supports.

The instructional materials provide opportunities for students to talk and to question peers and teachers about ideas, texts, research, analytical strategies, and writing throughout the year. Materials across all Labs present discussion as a daily expectation, and at times a rubric is provided to evaluate or to structure discussion. Speaking and listening instruction that supports student growth over the course of the school year is applied frequently and includes facilitation, monitoring, and instructional supports (such as clear directions for implementation) for teachers. Most unit lesson structures provide opportunities for teachers to pose questions, model, and guide class discussion as well as opportunities for students to share with peers. Speaking and Listening activities that demonstrate student comprehension of the texts associated with daily lessons are linked to the readings and to larger projects. Speaking and listening work requires students to marshal evidence from texts and sources. Students are encouraged to work both independently and together in the creation of various artistic, spoken, written, and digital representations of information. Student discussions are often based on text-dependent questions where they must use textual evidence to support their answers. At the end of each unit, students are asked to present their compositions or learning products through speaking and listening. In addition, the Teacher’s Edition of the Argument Research Lab, Unit 4, provides teacher guidelines to engage students in a debate that demonstrates student end-of-year proficiency in analyzing author’s argument and use of literary elements. Moreover, Accountable Talk structures are embedded within the materials as students employ academic talk through partner share, small group discussion, conferences, peer reviews, and whole class discussion. Throughout the debate process, students use the Toulmin’s Argument Framework to ensure that they provide both evidence and reasoning to support their claims.

Students create a final research project in which they share findings in a peer-to-peer platform. The lesson in Unit 1, Week 1, Day 1 outlines relevant follow-up questions and supports related to the culminating project, including student directions to “Sell the Big Picture.” To ensure that students meet the writing demands of college, students are instructed to “create at least ___ short writing pieces and ___ longer (_ page) papers.” Teachers are directed to “[o]utline the final writing projects expected of students this year.” Writing instructions include: "Let’s look at some of the amazing work of past student authors; What is a theme of your life so far? Why? Use Toulmin’s Argument Framework to structure your response; Share an example of what you have written in response to the writing prompt; Write for 10-20 minutes; Share writing with a partner.”

In Unit 2, Week 1, Day 2, an instructional support for teachers, “Conversational Moves,” offers sentence starters to students. In addition, a teacher sidebar quotes Fisher and Frey’s book, Close Reading and Writing From Sources: “Oral Rehearsal: Evidence Based Discussion In Preparation for Evidence Based Writing. The relationship between oral language, reading, and writing has been described by many researchers over the decades, but we especially like a phrase introduced by Bereiter and Scardamalia (1982), which reminds us that as teachers we should always be moving students from conversation to composition. Students need to read about and discuss at length complex texts that can be mined for ideas and information, provoke reflection, and persuade through reasoning and logic. The practice of using evidence in writing begins with learning how to use textual evidence in discussion” (p. 1). These philosophical and practical reminders help teachers to make the connections for students to read, research, and speak in the academic setting.

In Unit 4: Argument Research Lab-Sports and Society, the Research reading protocol includes a section for Discussion in pairs and whole group. Students are instructed to “Partner Share: Each partner takes 1 minute to share what s/he thinks was the most interesting thing AND the most important thing s/he learned, and justify the difference.” Additional student prompts include, “Who learned something really interesting? What reasoning and piece of text evidence supports your opinion? Who learned something really important? What makes it important? What reasoning and piece of text evidence supports your opinion? Who found an example of an author stating an opinion/making a claim? Did the author provide evidence or reasoning to support this claim? Who found an issue/controversy related to our Unit?”

Indicator 1k

Materials include a mix of on-demand and process writing grade-appropriate writing (e.g. grade-appropriate revision and editing) and short, focused projects.
2/2
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 9 meet the criteria for materials, including a mix of on-demand and process writing (e.g. multiple drafts, revisions over time) and short, focused projects, incorporating digital resources where appropriate.

The ARC Core framework sets the expectation that students will write daily and includes rubrics, guidelines, lesson structures, and prompts for writing. Each unit of the materials embeds a variety of writing types and genres to allow students to engage in a mix of both on-demand and process writing as well as to participate in individual teacher conferences about their writing. Students often have choices on what to write in response to their reading, such “Opinions about the Text (Opinion/Argument), Personal Connections to the Text (Personal/Nonfiction Narrative), and/or Creative Writing Inspired by the Text (Fiction Narrative).” Writing is done independently and collaboratively with frequent opportunities for students to share and review writing with peers.

Teachers are encouraged to use exemplar texts as models for students or model the writing type for students. Daily writing practice and quick writes on constructed responses typically build to a constructed response or weekly writing task that prepares students for a final writing project in each unit that requires students go through the phases of the writing process (drafting, revising, editing, and publishing). The ARC Core framework does not include digital resources as a tool for teachers and students to use when writing. However, it does use digital resources as a platform for publishing student work, such as Twitter, Goodreads, Amazon, etc.

The Literacy Lab Routines Teacher Checklist for Unit 1, Week 1 states, “Students write daily. Teacher uses student writing as evidence and feedback loop for assessing success of literacy block instruction.” On Day 1, teachers are instructed to inform students of the volume of writing they will complete over the course of the unit: “You will create at least ___ short writing pieces and ___ longer (_ page) papers." Outline the final writing projects expected of students this year. In Week 1, students write an About (Myself) the Author Biography Page. The prompt directs students to create their own short biography to preface the pieces they will write and publish throughout the year. This is an example of a short, 15-20 minute writing piece that builds to the culminating writing piece at the end of the unit.

In Unit 2, Week 1 students write daily for 10-15 minutes. Teachers model how to write a five point answer using the rubric included. Teachers model how to use textual evidence in their responses using the “Show me the evidence” chart as well as model MLA citation to accompany the evidence. During this time, teachers establish the expectation that students will write every day for at least 10–15 minutes. In Unit 2, Week 1 Day 2, students write for 10-30 minutes in response to a prompt to write two paragraphs about the same set of facts from your research today: 1) An objective paragraph to inform readers of “only the facts” and, 2) A persuasive paragraph that includes your opinion to convince your readers to do something related to the facts.

In Unit 3, students read and model exemplary memoirs or personal stories. Students engage in an extended writing process to compose an essay in which they make a claim based on a the unit Core Text and one of the memoir texts read independently that addresses a similar issue or theme. Students then will write their own memoirs. Some routine lesson expectations for writing as indicated on the Read/Write/Discuss Complex Text guide for teachers include:

"Writing Task

  • Test Prep: Ask and answer the Key Question (or part of it) for the shared or a self-selected text.
  • Writing that Builds Authors: Write for more engaging/meaningful reasons connected to the Focus/Concepts.

Model/Mentor

  • Text Shared Text, pre-written teacher example, or live demonstration modeled by the teacher.

Collaborative Writing Focus

  • Will students revise today? For what? Why? How does it relate to students’ needs as demonstrated in their work? Grammar and spelling improve fastest when students inquire into how language works at the moment of need, when they care about how a piece that matters to them will look/read.”

In Unit 4, the organization of the writing in the unit progresses from the student of Research Questions that include short and on-demand writing tasks connected to the research and writing required of the final projects, specifically an argumentative essay and debate. In Unit 4, Week 3, Day 2, a Write to Text Writing Prompt asks students to “deepen or clarify their learning about today’s Research Question” and relates to the idea of point of view/conflicting viewpoints. The materials offer possible writing prompts: “Improve upon a passage you read by adding and responding to an additional conflicting viewpoint. Outline two conflicting viewpoints on the issue of _____. Use evidence from our Central Text and at least one other text to support your answer.” This is an example of an on-demand write since the Write to Text tasks are a suggested 15-30 minute time frame.

Indicator 1l

Materials provide opportunities for students to address different types/modes/genres of writing that reflect the distribution required by the standards. Writing opportunities incorporate digital resources/multimodal literacy materials where appropriate. Opportunities may include blended writing styles that reflect the distribution required by the standards.
2/2
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 9 meet the criteria for materials providing opportunities for students to address different text types of writing (year long) that reflect the distribution required by the standards. May include “blended” styles.

In the four units (Literacy Lab, Research Lab, Genre Study, Research Lab), students have multiple opportunities across the school year to focus on a variety of different types of writing, to learn from models, and to practice. Each unit at each grade level contains opportunities for students to read, discuss, and write texts from different genres. Students write in a variety of modes using mentor texts. The final writing projects for each unit provide students with options for publishing. During these writing experiences (formal writing, quick writes, constructed responses) students learn, practice, and apply different genres/modes of writing that reflect the distribution required by the standards.

Throughout the ARC framework, the teacher serves as a Writing Coach during student writing time, checking for understanding, observing students writing, and making sure students are making adequate progress. Teachers are provided monitoring prompts and activities for their PLC time with their colleagues, which guide them to monitor the progress of students' writing. Students are provided with rubrics and collaborative structures which provide them the opportunities to monitor their own progress. Writing prompts are connected to texts as prompts, models, anchors, and support.

By the end of the year, students will have written substantial compositions across the three main writing types: informative, argumentative, and narrative in tasks that include literary analysis, debates, personal narratives, research reports, peer reviews, reader’s response journals, and more.

The “Big Idea” overview for Unit 1: Week 1, Day 4 establishes a focus on different types of genres. Students will “Compare two or three texts (TV shows, movies, video games, etc.) of the same genre (e.g., sci-fi, horror, etc.)” and respond to the following: “What are the issues/ characters/settings/conflicts/themes like? What generalizations about the genre can you make? Justify your generalizations using evidence from texts in the genre.” Teachers are instructed to emphasize the commonalities among literary elements of different genres including “structures, and/or craft (e.g., language choices). These “rules”/consistencies/generalizations, provide the author a structure in which to develop his/her theme(s).”

In the introduction of Unit 2, there is a rubric for how to write a proficient informational text and a guideline for teachers, including:

  • Write About/Write Like Writing, Task Test Prep: Ask and answer the Key Question (or part of it) for the shared or a self-selected text.
  • Writing that Builds Authors: Write for more engaging/meaningful reasons connected to the Focus/Concepts. (e.g., What is the theme of your life so far? or What body part is the MOST important for classifying a bug?)
  • Model/Mentor Text Shared Text: Pre-written teacher example, or live demo?
  • Collaborative Writing Focus: Will students revise today? For what? Why? How does it relate to students’ needs as demonstrated in their work? Grammar and spelling improve fastest when students inquire into how language works at the moment of need, when they care about how a piece that matters to them will look/read.

In Unit 3, the types of process writing include a comparative essay and a short story to fulfill the writing standard for this grade level and to support both teachers and students in monitoring progress. In Unit 3, Week 5, Day 1, students are beginning to draft a comparative essay. The writing instruction for the day is related to drafting a comparative theme statement. Teachers monitor students progress in writing this statement with Teacher Work monitoring as seen throughout the units and group discussion as student progress monitor.

In Unit 4, the types of process writing include an argumentative essay that is presented as a debate. In Unit 4, Week 2, Day 2, during the Research Writing part of the lesson, teachers are directed to set a focus and model to whole class, small group, or individual students as needed for the 15-30 minute independent writing writing portion of the lesson. As the Writing Coach, teacher are instructed to “Check for Understanding: Observe students as they write. Make sure students are making adequate progress. Share Good Examples: As you locate great examples in students’ work, point them out to the class” (p. 154). This is an example of specific monitoring the teacher does while students work independently. Following the independent writing time, students have a Collaborative Writing task where they “review the written answers of all group members and then either nominate an individual answer or work together to combine their work into a new answer. The goal is to provide best possible answer to the prompt; better than the answer of the other groups and is an example of students monitor the progress of their own writing."

Indicator 1m

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 9 meet the criteria for materials including frequent opportunities for research-based and evidence-based writing to support analysis, argument, synthesis and/or evaluation of information, supports, claims.

The instructional materials meet the expectations for frequent writing opportunities across every unit. Each unit prompts teachers to use the daily instructional model which includes generally 20-40 minutes of writing. Each day students identify text evidence to support various research questions across the year. Each inquiry-based unit is organized around a series of research questions that help students become knowledgeable about a specific topic through reading a variety of texts on that topic. The program addresses research-based and evidence-based writing through whole class and independent tasks across every unit.

The materials require students to demonstrate sophisticated analysis, argumentation, and synthesis of text in a number of written tasks at each grade level and across units. Students receive comprehensive supports as they use textual evidence to craft arguments such as the use of exemplars, writing workshops, and teacher feedback as they move through the writing process. The supports are designed to engage students in careful analysis of text using clearly articulated arguments.

Throughout all units, students practice narrative, argumentative, and informational writing based on using evidence from texts. Unit 4, the argument research lab, specifically teaches students the Toulmin Argument Framework for supporting claims and rebuttals. Various graphic organizers and rubrics are provided to help students organize their writing.

During Unit 1, students write daily and teachers collect writing as baseline samples. By the end of Unit 1, students will have practiced writing in a variety of genres, both in response to text and trying to write like the authors they read. They will take at least 2 pieces of writing through to publication (one narrative and one argument). By the end of Unit 2, students publish a well-researched informational text for a meaningful audience that demonstrates their expertise on a given topic (Grade 9 - The Civil War). By the end of Unit 3, students write four short essays (constructed responses) and one longer literary essay analyzing multiple texts in the genre study (Grade 9 - Memoir). Students write and publish a short story/picture book in the genre of study. Students will publish their own piece in the genre of study. By the end of Unit 4, students write four short essays (constructed responses) and one longer literary essay analyzing multiple texts in this genre. Students write and publish a short story/picture book in the genre of study (Grade 9 - Sports and Society). Specific examples from each unit include:

  • In Unit 1, Week 2, Days 4-5, students use a matrix of writing prompt suggestions including, “Opinions about the Text” in which students formulate and write about their own opinions using supporting textual evidence, for example, “I agree/disagree with the author’s theme in ___ because…” The Unit 1, Week 4 Framework is focused on author’s use of figurative language. Students analyze text and craft opinions supported by textual evidence to evaluate its effectiveness. For example, “The author’s use of _(specific example of figurative language)_ was effective/ ineffective because…”
  • In Unit 2, Week 3, Day 4, students complete a “Write to Text” activity in which they work independently or in pairs to analyze an author’s organizational structure. Students respond to the prompt “What is the central idea of the text? How does the author develop this central idea over the course of the text?” and may use a Thinking Map to scaffold their writing.
  • In Unit 3, Week 1, Day 2, students practice using evidence to answer a question in the Writing Prompt: “What about the setting will be most important to this book? Why? Use evidence from the text to support your answer.” The teacher models how to answer a question that is connected to a text by making a claim, choosing text evidence, and explaining the reasons for taking that position. A graduated grading tool with points, Rubric for a Proficient Answer, is provided. Teachers are directed to remind students about the usage and structure of mechanics: “Direct Quotations: When you want to copy a phrase, a sentence, or an entire passage that someone else wrote, you must use quotation marks and you must cite your source, including page number.” While students practice answering the question, teachers remind that “the goal this week is for students’ writing to earn three points for: claim, evidence, reasoning” (p. 94).
  • In Unit 4, students complete a culminating research-based essay. In the prefatory materials, students are introduced to Toulmin’s Argument Framework (p. 78-79), which includes how to use evidence to support research-based claims. This essay requires students to synthesize multiple sources, ideas, and evidence to support their ideas.

Indicator 1n

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 9 partially meet the criteria for materials including instruction of the grammar and conventions/language standards for grade level as applied in increasingly sophisticated contexts, with opportunities for application context.

The materials do not teach the language standards explicitly. Students do have opportunities to practice and to apply grammar and conventions/language skills at grade-level in a variety of contexts; however, there is little evidence of direct instruction of these skills other than the modeling of grade-level writing conventions during the editing phase of the culminating task. Teachers may need to support students who need extra instruction to acquire and practice these standards.

The language standards for word meaning and usage are included more frequently throughout the unit as students read and analyze texts. Students demonstrate their understanding in writing responses to questions and in the culminating tasks. Grammar and conventions are taught in a sequence consistent with the demands of the standards and are integrated with the reading and writing instruction. The materials provide opportunities for students to grow their fluency with these standards through practice and application. Across a school year, materials have students apply conventions and other aspects of language within their own writing. However, over the course of the year’s worth of materials, grammar/convention instruction is not used in increasingly sophisticated contexts but rather within a framework structure.

Unit 1 indicates that the focus standard for language in the unit is to determine unknown word meaning. Some examples include:

  • In Week 2, Days 4-5, students practice Using Context Clues. Students are instructed to “Practice noticing new vocabulary, categorizing it by Tier, and discussing what each word might mean based on evidence from the text.” If students have difficulty, teacher prompts ask: "What might this word/phrase mean? What in the text supports your answer? Synonym: What is a good synonym for this word?” (p. 179).
  • In Week 3, Days 1-3, students practice Word Choice: Denotative vs. Connotative. Students are instructed to “Practice distinguishing among the connotations of words with similar denotations (e.g., thin, slender, frail, trim, or determined, strong-willed, stubborn, rebellious) including how each word might create a different tone (e.g., formal v. informal, sincere v. sarcastic, serious v. humorous, dark/gloomy v. light/playful)” (p. 211).
  • In Week 3, Days 4-5, students focus on identifying and correctly using patterns of word changes that indicate different meanings or parts of speech. Students are instructed on Greek and Latin word parts and how to use them to “practice noticing new vocabulary and using word parts to help determine both denotation(s) and connotation(s)” (p. 273). The directions for this section are exactly the same as Days 1-3 and do not specifically show students how to use word parts to determine meaning. A list of 12 common roots and words that come from those roots are included in the teacher materials, but no teacher direction is provided for how to use them other than that they can add to students vocabulary by being part of 25,000 English words.
  • In Week 6, Day 5, students revise, edit, and publish their literary critique. They use an 11-point scale that has conventions at the bottom with one point given if students “use correct grammar, spelling, and conventions” (p. 390). An Editing checklist has specific elements to check in the student’s own writing as well as a peer editor section. The 16-point checklist includes the categories word usage, sentence structure, punctuation, capitalization, and spelling (p. 398). None of these elements have been explicitly taught in the unit.

In Unit 2, in Week 4 the language standard Word Choice: Denotation and Connotation is the focus and students write a constructed response showing their understanding. Students are reminded to use correct grammar, punctuation, and spelling when writing the response, but the grading rubric reflects the RI 2 standard for reading, not writing. Also, in Week 5, a Rubric for a Proficient Informational Text that includes two language standards, language (use precise language and domain-specific vocabulary to demonstrate expertise on a topic and keep the reader engaged/entertained) and conventions (attend to the norms and conventions of the discipline) is provided for the final essay. Also, in Week 8, students edit on Days 1-5 (p. 457). Each day has a part of the lesson that includes a modeling section where the teacher uses the work of a student volunteer and the Editing Skills Card for a different section of the language standard. After modeling how to edit elements such as noun-verb agreement and sentence structure, students read their work out loud to a partner looking for the specific elements modeled by the teacher.

In Unit 3, Week 6, Day 2, students are revising for “powerful language.” Instructional materials include a lesson on how to incorporate powerful language into their writing, specifically students look at verbs, nouns, and descriptors. In this lesson, students are introduced to "Emotional Appeals Pathos/Emotion" to engage the emotions of the listener/reader. The teacher then reads an essay draft (from a student or one the teacher wrote). The class begins to revise for “Powerful Language,” and students meet in groups to finish the process. Students then look for “Powerful Language” in their independent reading and share what they found. Finally, students revise the language in their essay to strengthen its emotional appeal. More "Strategies for Successful Word Choice" are provided for the teacher to use with students.

In Unit 4, Week 7, Day 5, in the last part of the revision process, the teacher uses a student volunteer to model how a writer edits to correct spelling, including frequently misspelled homonyms (it’s, its; there, their, they’re; to, too, two). Then students work together to improve the spelling in their essays. Finally, the teacher works with individuals as they edit to ensure that their work is reasonably error-free.

Gateway Two

Building Knowledge with Texts, Vocabulary, and Tasks

Meets Expectations

+
-
Gateway Two Details

The Grade 9 materials meet the expectations of Gateway 2. Texts are cohesively organized into sets and are engaged alongside a comprehensive writing and research plan. The partially meet the criteria that materials contain a coherently sequenced set of text-dependent and text-specific questions and tasks that require students to build knowledge and integrate ideas across both individual and multiple texts. Questions and tasks support students’ ability to complete culminating tasks. Materials provide a design, including accountability, for how students will regularly engage in a volume of independent reading either in or outside of class.

Criterion 2a - 2h

30/32

Indicator 2a

Texts are organized around a topic/topics or themes to build students' knowledge and their ability to comprehend and analyze complex texts proficiently.
4/4
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 9 meet the criteria that texts are organized around a topic/topics to build students’ knowledge and their ability to read and comprehend complex texts proficiently.

Each unit is centered around a topic and/or genre, and students build knowledge through inquiry via a variety of literary genres and different types of informational text. Each unit has a core text, anchor texts, and leveled libraries that students read focused around a particular genre. Students read, analyze, and write about a grade-level novel for each unit. Anchor texts are additional texts centered around the genre/topic. Teachers can use these as read alouds and/or copied excerpts for shared reading experiences. Leveled libraries also center around a genre and/or topic. Students read independently at least four novels in the genre, or about the topic, within each unit.

  • In Unit 1, texts are part of the Literacy Lab focused on analysis of theme, interaction of individuals over the course of the text, structure of the text, and how multiple texts address a theme/topic. Though there is no topic for this unit, the two core texts can be used to analyze standards and fall within the appropriate grade band to build reading proficiency of complex texts: Killer of Enemies by Joseph Bruchac which is considered the “fictional hook book” and Political Systems by Scott Witmer, the paired informational text. The core texts are intended as whole group shared independent reading, while the additional texts are used as read alouds in class.
  • In Unit 2, students focus on “the people, places, events, and issues surrounding the CIvil War Era.” Topics include slavery (and its history), industrialization, states’ rights, the Civil War, Reconstruction, and how the Civil War changed the nation. Students read three classic literature texts: Up From Slavery by Booker T. Washington, The Souls of Black Folk by W.E.B. Du Bois, and Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass by Frederick Douglass. It is paired with Terrible War 1855-1865 by Joy Hakim. These core and paired texts build knowledge around the topic of The Civil War from a literature standpoint. The additional texts are mostly informational texts to provide context for the War or a different perspective like the life of women during the War.
  • In Unit 3, students learn about the genre of memoirs and how they are created from an author’s recollections and perspective. Students select independent reading from a Genre Library in which texts are organized by difficulty level. Students select a minimum of 4 novels from the memoir genre and must choose from at least 2 reading levels. Students read for 15-30 minutes during Independent Reading.
  • In Unit 4, students learn about the impact of sports on our society through readings about various sports, the history of sports (including information about the genesis of the Olympic Games), and how sports and athletes impact society. For this unit, students will read the classic cores Promises to Keep: How Jackie Robinson Changed America by Sharon Robinson and Jackie’s Nine: Jackie Robinson by Sharon Robinson along with Sports and Society by Scott Witmer. Additional texts are available on the topics of sports and society at a variety or reading levels ranging from 6th-12th grades to support students building knowledge on the topic.

Indicator 2b

Materials contain sets of coherently sequenced higher order thinking questions and tasks that require students to analyze the language (words/phrases), key ideas, details, craft, and structure of individual texts in order to make meaning and build understanding of texts and topics.
4/4
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 9 meet the criteria that materials contain sets of coherently sequenced higher order thinking questions and tasks that require students to analyze the language (words/phrases), key ideas, details, craft, and structure of individual texts in order to make meaning and build understanding of texts and topics.

The Literacy and Research Lab units are structured so that students engage with texts to build understanding through sequenced graphic organizers and question sets and to analyze all aspects of the Common Core Standards. Materials include coherently sequenced sets of of questions that teachers use for modeling and student practice around determining central idea, word study, author’s purpose, text organization, and other features. Questions are general for all units and provide a framework for teachers to build questions for individual texts. Most question sets are coherently sequenced and give students ample opportunity to analyze language and author’s word choice, key ideas and important details, author’s craft and structure, and other components of text.

By the end of the year, most items are embedded in students’ work rather than taught directly, thereby increasing student independence. Questions and tasks require evidence of student understanding of the definitions and concepts of the components identified in each unit, and help students to make meaning and build understanding of texts and topics. As students progress through the grades, the complexity of texts increases to meet their individual growth. An RtI Levels Chart for the Start of School is provided that shows what is a proficient level for the beginning and end of school year for each grade level.

  • In Unit 1, Week 1, Day 2, students work with partners during a second read of the text. Students are asked a comprehension question: "What did the author say?," a craft and structure question: "How did they say it?," and metacognitive questions: "What new knowledge did I get from this? What confused me?" In the same lesson, students are also asked to make a claim and support it with evidence, and to identify one of the author’s themes in the CORE Novels. These questions help students to make meaning and build understanding of texts and topics.
  • In Unit 2, Week 4, Day 4, students are to read informational texts to identify figurative language. During the close reading of the text, teachers use the model/guided practice method to "look back at the text to analyze how word choice develops and supports the central idea of a text.” Teachers are provided with quality examples of text-dependent questions to ask during the guided practice, such as: "Identify an important word choice: I notice the author chose to use __. What is the meaning of that figurative word/ analogy? What proof can you find in the text to support this understanding?" Students then analyze the texts independently by answering prompts such as: "Evaluate the author’s word choices: What did you notice about his/her choices? Do they indicate any bias, either fair or unfair?; Connect to the central idea: How do the author’s word choices help to develop the central idea?" These questions require that students refer back to the text.
  • In Unit 3, Week 4, Day 3, students are asked to identify and to describe the most essential episodes in the plot. Students work together to create a list of five essential episodes, to rank them in order from most to least important, and to justify their choices with text evidence. In their independent reading, students identify where an episode begins and ends. Explain what makes the episode important, and how the author uses it to advance the plot, develop a character, and or communicate his/her theme (p. 187-188).
  • In Unit 4, Week 2, Day 2, while researching, students have a 1-on-1 conference with the teacher. Teachers are instructed to question students about author’s point of view, including: "What do you think is the author’s perspective in this book? What makes you think that?" If students have trouble identifying an author’s perspective, additional support questions are provided: "What is the topic? Where does the author use strong opinion words like best, incredible, terrible when describing the topic? Why do you think s/he uses these words? What point is s/he trying to make? What does the author think or believe about this topic? What makes you think that?" The questions refer back to the text and require students to provide textual evidence to support their understanding and analysis of the author's perspective.

Indicator 2c

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 9 partially meet the criteria that materials contain a coherently sequenced set of text-dependent and text-specific questions and tasks that require students to build knowledge and integrate ideas across both individual and multiple texts.

The ARC Core framework is designed intentionally to be text-dependent rather than text-specific allowing teachers the freedom to select their own readings and related questions. No question is tied to a specific text, rather each unit is structured to take students through a series of research questions around chosen subtopic within the overall topic being studied, or a series of analysis questions related to standards. The publisher does offer one set of text-specific questions for the Unit 1 Core novel, but there are no other text-specific questions offered throughout the curriculum.

Most analytical questions and tasks within the lessons apply to individual texts; however, student discussion and graphic organizers help students cross-reference multiple texts to prepare for their unit tasks. With the exception of the research questions, all other questions and tasks are general to enable teachers and students can transfer them across any texts. Because of this, opportunities for students to analyze knowledge and ideas across specific texts is limited and little guidance is provided for how the texts may relate and would be left to the teacher to interpret. Additionally, teachers may need to create models and examples of well-crafted, text-specific questions to accompany the lessons.

Unit 1 is the only unit that provides text-specific questions. Examples include:

  • “How would you describe the setting (where and when)? What makes you say that? Which words or phrases best convey the setting?
  • What does “haven” mean? What are its connotations? How do you think the author is using it here? What makes you say that? Read pages 3-7. Students pair/share: What do you notice so far? What are you thinking? Why?"

Support questions, if necessary:

  • "What is a 'gemod?' How do you know? What does this tell us about the world in the novel?
  • How would you describe the narrator? Why? What makes you say that?
  • Who do you think is in charge in this world? What makes you say that?”

In Unit 1, Week 2, Days 2 and 4, a “Read Like an Author” component provides general questions such as “What did you like about the way the author groups supporting ideas/key details?” (p. 85-86).

In Unit 2, Week 4, students are engaged in “Repeated Reading” examining the “Development of a Central Idea.” Student instructions read, “Let’s look back at the text to analyze how word choice works to develop and support the central idea of a text. Model/Guided Practice Work through the text with the class to examine the effect specific word choices have on the text. • Identify an important word choice: I notice the author chose to use __(selected word choice)__. What is the denotation of that word? • Generate synonyms: What other options did the author have for this word? • Analyze the author’s choice: Why do you think the author chose this word instead of the other options? Does the word you selected have a positive or negative connotation? What emotions or other meanings does the word suggest? What proof can you find in the text to support this understanding?”

In Unit 3, Week 1, Day 2, students focus on the literary element of setting which is established at the beginning of the lesson: “Today, students will practice identifying, describing, and analyzing the settings in a variety of texts in this genre. They will also begin to generalize about settings in this genre.” After independent reading, the suggested questions are “What is the setting of this book so far and why do you think it will matter to the story? What evidence from the text best supports your answer? What generalizations can you make about settings in this genre? How might setting be important to this genre as a whole?” Later in the unit, in Week 2, Day 5, the focus of reading is to analyze how authors use characters to develop the theme. A central question is offered at the beginning of the lesson: “Today, students will demonstrate their understandings of characters in the genre and how authors use characters to develop themes. They will write a short essay in response to the Key Question: What is a central theme of this text? How does the author use literary elements to develop this theme?”

In Unit 4, the Sports and Society introduction reads “Each unit of ARC Core is a framework, not a script where teachers use the structure to craft specific lessons that work in their individual contexts. Use the following pages as examples to support lesson planning. They contain text-specific examples of how one might turn the genre framework into a specific lesson.”

Indicator 2d

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 9 meet the criteria that the questions and tasks support students’ ability to complete culminating tasks in which they demonstrate their knowledge of a topic through integrated skills (e.g. combination of reading, writing, speaking, listening).

The materials provide multifaceted, culminating tasks in which students are asked to demonstrate proficiency in multiple reading and writing standards. In the materials, students read, write, informally speak, and listen by participating in think-pair-shares and accountable talks, and by revising and editing drafts. Prior to writing formally in the unit culminating task, students read mentor texts and work collaboratively through activities and questions that provide opportunities to develop comprehension and knowledge of a topic or topics through integrated skills. Throughout the program, “Teacher Work & Monitor for Engagement” directions prompt teachers to document and record their observations as students write and discuss as formative assessment evidence that informs their instruction and provides qualitative and quantitative information about student readiness to complete culminating tasks. Once students finish the final written culminating tasks they are given presenting/publishing options.

The introductory materials indicate in which units the reading, writing, and speaking and listening standards are addressed. While each unit focuses on a specific type of writing and may address certain reading standards aligned to that writing type, the materials indicate that the majority of writing, reading, and speaking and listening standards are addressed across all four units. Though each unit culminating task requires a significant piece of writing, the teacher can recommend how students will present their work such as peer reviews, oral presentations, slide shows, drama, blogs, debates, brochures, etc.

In Unit 1, the culminating task is a literary analysis essay on a specific topic. Students demonstrate their comprehension of texts about the topic and their knowledge of literary devices in the readings related to the topic. The speaking and listening activities are collaborative discussions and share-outs with partners or small groups in activities and tasks that lead up to publishing of the culminating task. Multiple standards from reading, writing, speaking and listening, and conventions are evaluated on the culminating task and throughout the unit.

In Unit 2, the Informational Research Lab builds student knowledge of people and events in the Civil War era through a core informational text, recommended paired readings, and student selected texts. Each week, students study a different aspect of informational text analysis focused on determining central idea and gathering supporting evidence through practice questions and tasks. Students are also introduced to reading, discussion, and writing structures that will be used across the year. Daily lessons include close reading and teacher modeling of reading for a focused purpose. Students engage in prompted accountable talk about texts and write collaboratively or independently about texts through structured text-based questions and/or graphic organizers. For the culminating task, students produce an informational book about their person of study. Students spend time reviewing peer work and discussing their own before publishing their writing. Materials recommend various ways for students to publish their work such as blog entry, school website, a local periodical or newspaper, class-based media or newspaper, PowerPoint, or social media.

In Unit 3, Week 1, Day 3, students participate in a literary analysis discussion group that will prepare them for the culminating task of discussing their own short story. Sample student questions include: "Read what you wrote as you listened. Who are the characters in this story so far? Have we been introduced to a protagonist and an antagonist? What other character types have we met so far? What is each of these characters like? What can you learn about each of these characters through his/her thoughts? Actions? Body language? Reactions to other characters? How does the author use events and/or dialogue to tell you about this character? How/why do you think these characters will matter to the story? What evidence from the text best supports your answer?

In Unit 4, students have a choice of a variety of ways to present their culminating tasks which include essays, positions on issues raised during classroom debates and discourse, and expertise with research questions. These presentations can be as simple as sharing with their partner or as formal as organizing an event to which parents and/or community members are invited as the audience. "Peer Reviews" ask students to read each other’s essays, sign their names to a list of readers, and make one or two positive comments about the essay. "Evaluation/Reflection” has students reflect on their own writing and score it using the "Final Project Scoring Rubric." Other presentation options include “Oral Presentation to Small Group” in which each student plans and delivers an oral presentation on his/her topic to a small group, “Classroom Swap” where students go to another classroom and have each student read his/her essay to a student from the new classroom, and “Fair/Museum” in which students plan displays and/or dress in costume and invite other students and/or families in for a visit. Final Projects can be on display or presented in small groups.

Indicator 2e

Materials include a cohesive, consistent approach for students to regularly interact with word relationships and build academic vocabulary/ language in context.
4/4
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 9 meet the criteria that materials include a cohesive, year-long plan for students to interact and build key academic vocabulary words in and across texts.

Materials include a consistent approach for students to regularly interact with word relationships and build academic and figurative language in context. Overall, students are provided support in accelerating vocabulary learning with vocabulary in their reading and speaking tasks.

In the ARC Core Framework, the foundation for studying language is a significant part of the Unit 1 Literacy lab designed to build student skills in determining word meaning, identifying denotation and connotation, studying word relationships, and analyzing figurative language in the context of literary and informational text. The IRLA toolkits guide students as they learn roots and affixes to support their ability to determine word meanings as they encounter unfamiliar vocabulary.

The Unit 1 materials provide teacher guidance outlining a cohesive, regularly-occurring vocabulary development component, including an emphasis on interaction with key academic vocabulary with and from a variety of text types. Students engage with new vocabulary and have frequent opportunities for practice in discussion and written work.

Students are provided frequent opportunities to identify and study unknown words and technical vocabulary from texts, using context clues. Additionally, there are lessons within the units where students analyze the purpose of author's word choice. There is a lesson in each unit providing an opportunity for students to use powerful language in their writing tasks. Teachers model and use academic vocabulary necessary for building literacy and analytical skills. Students discuss vocabulary in groups, utilize it in writing tasks, and track new words in a notebook regularly.

In Unit 1, Week 2, Days 4-5, there is an entire section devoted to vocabulary development called Vocabulary 101/Academic Vocabulary. This two-day framework focus is to “Introduce and Review the Three Tiers of Vocabulary. Introduce the concept that academic language is one of the major differentiators between levels.” During the Read/Discuss Complex Text part of each daily lesson, students “practice noticing new vocabulary, categorizing it by Tier, and discussing what each word might mean based on evidence from the text. If students have difficulty, teachers are instructed to ask a series of questions encouraging the use of context clues and synonyms to help determine meaning." During the Reader’s Workshop, the focus is to “Flag at least one new word you want to learn and share” and during the Accountable Talk portion of the Workshop students discuss: “What new word did you notice? What Tier might it be? Why? What do you think it might mean? Why?” (p. 231).

In Unit 2, the Language focus is centered in Week 4 where students read informational texts and develop a central idea through word choice. The focus is on denotative, connotative, and figurative language analysis in the text. Those academic terms are explicitly taught, but any vocabulary related to each text is not specifically listed and is left to the teacher to determine.

In Unit 3, the Research Lab Daily Structure document contains guidelines for a variety of discussions of academic vocabulary including “Literary Analysis, Text-Dependent Questions, Academic Vocabulary Work, Repeated Close Reading.” A component of the Day 1 Lesson Focus for each unit is for students to examine “target vocabulary and/or text structure,” specifically how an author of the given genre uses words and phrases to communicate. According to the rubric for the culminating writing task, students are evaluated, in part, on using “words, phrases, and clauses as well as varied syntax to link the major sections of the text, create cohesion, and clarify the relationships between claim(s) and reasons, between reasons and evidence, and between claim(s) and counterclaims.”

In Unit 4, one of the goals for the unit is to have students create a glossary of terms essential to understanding his or her sport. A student handout includes a column for the word and a column for the definition. Students are also provided a list of words titled “Sports and Society Vocabulary.” This list is divided into six categories; Sports Concepts, Economics, Sports People, Sports Events, Sports Rules, Sports Groups.

Indicator 2f

Materials contain a year long, cohesive plan of writing instruction and practice which support students in building and communicating substantive understanding of topics and texts.
4/4
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 9 meet the criteria that materials contain a year long, cohesive plan of writing instruction and tasks which support students in building and communicating substantive understanding of topics and texts.

The materials support students’ increasing writing skills over the course of the school year though engagement with texts. Each of the four units is built on a series of research questions that allow students to read, write, and discuss daily to develop substantive understanding of the texts and topics. Some of the topics covered in-depth are the Civil War era, the memoir genre, and controversial issues in sports. Writing lessons and projects are authentically integrated with reading, speaking, listening, and language throughout the units providing students with a variety of tasks and prompts; however, the daily instructional model and unit structures are similar across units allowing students understand the expectations and process of writing across the year. Students learn and practice writing skills during the beginning of the units and then formally apply what they have practiced at the end of the units, writing formal pieces using the writing process.

The materials contain a year-long, cohesive writing plan that engages students in the use of textual evidence to support analysis, arguments, and claims. Most of the writing tasks provide scaffolding for crafting strong and clear written pieces through the use of the writing process as well as teacher and peer feedback. Most written tasks require students to make meaningful connections between texts and their own writing. Writing instruction supports students’ writing ability to demonstrate proficiency at grade level at the end of the year, and the instructional materials include a variety of guidance, protocols, models, and support for teachers to implement and monitor students’ writing development. Teachers are asked to model writing through think alouds and to use mentor texts as supports for student writing. Also, teachers engage in weekly PLC meetings to discuss the progress of student writing and are provided a variety of questions and activities to monitor writing.

  • In Unit 1, Week 3, students analyze word choice and use of new vocabulary specifically in their writing. In the assignment, Writing Focus #1, students pick the three most important words used by the author and explain what role they played in shaping the text in terms of meaning, tone, and/or theme. Students use evidence to support their answers and then read this piece to a partner. In assignment, Writing Focus #2, teachers provides students with a choice of prompts to build writing engagement and to provide opportunity to experiment with new vocabulary in their writing.
  • In Unit 3, the Genre Study Lab - Memoirs, students answer a series of research questions based on their in-depth study of memoirs. For the first 4 weeks, students use provided text-based questions, rubrics, and graphic organizers to study elements of the genre: central message, character analysis, conflict, and the use of dialogue in varied memoirs and texts. After analyzing multiple texts, students spend week 5 and 6 drafting a comparative essay on two memoirs. In Week 7, students do quick writes to practice story writing, and in Weeks 8 and 9, students draft, revise, publish, and present their own memoirs. Throughout the unit, students write analytical responses to the texts they are reading and share their writing with peers for feedback. The unit also includes teacher modeling of writing types and building narratives.
  • In the Unit 4 introductory pages, the curriculum provides four writing cards “Elements of Argument, #1 Drafting, #2 Revising, and #3 Editing” to guide and support students through the writing process of an argumentative essay on the topic of Sports and Society. Instruction for argument as a writing genre begins with teachers using carefully scaffolded whole-group instruction to teach all students to read, write, present, and evaluate arguments. Then students practice making claims and supporting those claims with relevant evidence and logical reasoning. Next, students produce a final argument essay that makes a claim related to their research topics and defends that claim with evidence and reasons from their research. This process is repeated multiple times throughout the unit to lead up to the final project. These protocols and instructions help build student’s growth in writing argument, one aspect of the required standards.

Indicator 2g

Materials include a progression of focused, shared research and writing projects to encourage students to develop and synthesize knowledge and understanding of a topic using texts and other source materials.
4/4
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 9 meet the criteria that materials include a progression of focused, shared research and writing projects to encourage students to synthesize knowledge and understanding of a topic using texts and other source materials.

Over the course of the year, the four units of the ARC Core Framework require students to explore ideas and gather information to write informational reports, literary analyses, genre pieces, and arguments. Students develop knowledge of topics through research, and the three units that include research projects culminate with essays. While the materials do not provide a structure for including research from sources other than the books included with the materials, there is an expectation that students will find information online.

In each unit, students read core texts, teacher-chosen texts, and independent reads selected from the publisher-provided leveled text sets to build a body of evidence. Unit activities require students to synthesize information by utilizing multiple graphic organizers, writing tasks, reader response tasks, and structured discussions completed as a whole group, within small groups, or as individuals. Generally, lessons allow time for students to engage in all three learning settings. Instructional materials provide students with daily independent reading, research, writing, and discussion opportunities per the model lesson framework.

The materials provide opportunities for both “short” and “long” projects across grades and grade bands. Each grade level in Unit 4 has similar skills, objectives, and standards addressed. The progression of research skills do not change from grade level to grade level; however, progression is achieved through the complexity of text and topics students are reading about within each unit and the application of those skills to the topics.

While there are no research activities in Unit 1, students engage in a Literacy Lab. Instructional materials indicate that the purpose of the Literacy Lab is for students to “fall in love with reading through books,” (p. 48). During this unit, students do not engage in a substantial research project, but instead read modern pieces of literary and informational text to practice writing in a variety of genres and to build knowledge of literary elements, word choice, text analysis, discussion methods, and healthy writing practices.

Examples of research activities are:

  • In the introduction of Unit 2, students are given a Skills Card/Research Card with the final project prompt: “Become an expert on one Civil War Era person” and seven guiding questions to answer throughout the unit (68). A Resources Check Sheet is provided for students to track minor and major sources from the leveled Research Library text set to answer the questions. Instructional materials indicate that students are “ready for in-depth research IF [they] found 3 or 4 books each containing a lot of information on the topic” (p. 81). To help students answer the guiding questions, Final Project Organizers forms help scaffold the scope of required research into manageable chunks for students. All readings, whether independent or aloud, are from the Research Library, and students must synthesize information from multiple texts to answer the Research Questions/Topics and complete the final research project.
  • In Unit 2, students are given a Works Consulted Page: Books and a Works Consulted Page - Websites as part of the Final Project Organizer. No further instructions are given for how to consult websites to research, nor is any class time devoted to online research. For example, during Week 4, Day 5, students close read an informational text. Teacher instructions state, “Today, make sure students are marking up the text as they identify possible evidence to support their thinking on the central idea/supporting ideas and details. Select a rich passage of grade-level complex text (from the Central Text or another text) that will build students’ knowledge of the focus Science or Social Studies concept(s). Make sure the passage is sufficiently complex and has structures and language worth analyzing” (p. 301). A teacher could choose a website from which students might read, but that is not the intention of the framework, which is to use the Research Library provided. If a teacher chooses to have students use and find websites, there are no instructions for teachers to help students find websites themselves within the unit.
  • In Unit 3, Week 5, students begin to draft a comparative analysis essay on theme by using a Thinking Map which requires them to draw evidence from two texts that will help to develop and synthesize their knowledge about the thematic topic of 2 texts. The weekly lesson plans outlining the writing process for the comparative analysis essay includes a Collaborative Writing piece as well as an Accountable Talk piece in which students discuss text evidence from sources. Sample student directions include “Each partner takes one minute to share evidence s/he found to use in his/her comparison essay and how s/he may refine her/his claim” (p. 216).
  • In Unit 4, the culminating assignment expects students to research a topic of choice and to publish a final project; for Grade 9, each student will research a sport. Students read fiction and non-fiction books about their topic. They have a home-school connection where they interview a friend, family member, or someone else in the community who plays a sport. Students have a Research Check Sheet that guides them to determine if the sources they are choosing have enough information on their topic: “Before choosing a topic on which to become an expert, make sure there is enough information available on that topic to make it possible to complete a whole project about it.” During Week 1, teachers introduce a progression of research writing that will occur during the unit. Teachers are encouraged to “Select a good piece of writing with which to introduce the Unit of Study. Ideally, this text is an argument and/or introduces a variety of controversies/issues related to the Unit. This text will be read, re-read, and analyzed multiple times over the course of several days, so make sure it is well written, engaging, and content-rich.”

Indicator 2h

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 9 meet the criteria that materials provide a design, including accountability, for how students will regularly engage in a volume of independent reading either in or outside of class.

Though students read a core set of texts in each unit, the materials are designed to offer students a voluminous amount of independent reading; students read independently every day in each unit. The publisher created its own text leveling and student reading leveling system called the IRLA (Independent Reading Level Assessment), in which students are able to choose books for Independent Reading at their appropriate level. The Teacher’s Guide offers an overview of the reading program and page 30 of the Unit 1 Literacy Lab shows how each reading level from early grades to 12th builds on a specific reading skill.

Students have “Independent Reading in Leveled Libraries” daily in class for 20–40 minutes. In all four units students are expected to read at least four novels in the genre/topic of study on his/her own (these can be any levels, from the Genre Library or elsewhere). Reading homework for all units is suggested to be at students’ independent reading level. A reading culture is outlined in the prefatory materials, which strives for 100% on-target in-class reading and 95% on-target home reading through specific routines. The framework provides two leveled texts sets - the 100 Book Challenge and the Hook Book Library - both of which are designed to help students find a book that is engaging and at their reading level. The independent reading books from these libraries may be below grade level, but the texts read during in-class independent reading are at or above grade level.

  • In Unit 1, during each daily Literacy Block laid out by the framework, students participate in 15-30 minutes of sustained independent reading in class. “Students practice applying today’s Focus to self-selected texts at a variety of levels. At least a portion of the reading is spent with texts within the Thematic Unit” (p. 61). The framework also suggests a Weekly Goal: “Students read for 5 hours a week, with some time spent reading texts within the Thematic Unit and some time in complete free-choice. Reading time can be spread across the school day and/or at home” (p. 61). Unit 1, Week 4, introduces the Home Coach as a system to help students engage and remain accountable for their at-home reading. Teachers are instructed to “establish a connection with each student’s home coach. Organize a parent information session. Call homes. Use this week to: Determine who will serve as home coaches (parents, grandparents, older siblings, etc.). Help home coaches understand the goals of home reading, and ways to ensure success. Set up in-class support systems (e.g., enlisting volunteers) for students who may need a surrogate home coach. Build routines for taking books home.” (p. 297).
  • Unit 2, the Informational Research Lab, follows the same expectations outlined in Unit 1. Students engage in daily independent reading of core texts and student-selected texts. At the beginning of the unit, students sample the leveled text sets to help determine their topic of study and choice of texts. The Unit 2 Introduction shares the expectation for reading in the inquiry-based units (2-4): “Read at least 30-60 minutes a day from self-selected texts, including texts on the topic and general wide reading.” (p. 14). Unit 2 also explains the framework for the Reader’s Workshop as the purpose of moving students to independence, including a Focus for Independent Reading/Accountable Talk, and IRLA Conferences/Strategy Groups for Today.
  • In Unit 3, teachers are given a focus for student’s independent reading during Week 1. “Transfer to Independent Reading” Focus for Independent Reading/Accountable Talk - Ask and answer the Key Question (or part of it): "Will constraints need to be placed on student choice to ensure they have texts that work with the Key Question/Concepts? (Common constraints: read at least one fiction book or one informational text on ____, or one biography, etc.) Don’t constrain choice for all 30 minutes. IRLA Conferences/Strategy Groups for Today, Teacher coaching focuses on: 1st: reading engagement, 2nd: strategic instruction to move reading levels Allocate time equitably, not equally—spend more/more frequent time with students who are furthest behind/making the least reading growth."

Gateway Three

Usability

Meets Expectations

+
-
Gateway Three Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 9 meet the criteria that materials are well-designed and take into account effective lesson structure and pacing. ARC Materials provide review and practice resources such as evidence and reading logs, reference charts, task checklists, constructed response rubrics and writing rubrics for larger writing projects, graphic organizers, masters, research cards (which include questions), and informational writing cards. Alignment documentation is provided for all questions, tasks, and assessments as general guidance to the teacher.

The introductory materials of each Teacher Edition outline the standards that are addressed in each Literacy and Research lab, and the Teacher Editions explain the purpose of the ELA/Literacy standards for instruction and how they support the curriculum across the year. Materials include instructions to parents/guardians for how students are to incorporate the independent reading at home and the role of the parent/guardian in that success. Materials contain the Independent Reading Level Assessment (IRLA) Conferencing & Formative Assessment Independent Reading Levels & Student-Teacher Conferences, which consistently assess student progress. Both the IRLA Framework and the weekly units consistently provide opportunities for teachers to observe student progress in specific standards, whether reading or writing.

Materials contain ample resources and guidance for student accountability with independent reading based on student reading choice and motivation. The ARC Core Literacy Block is designed to embed all the best practices of culturally and linguistically responsive teaching into a literacy framework centered on meeting the needs of the unique students in each room, in order to ensure that each child reads, writes, and collaborates on grade level. Materials are compatible with a variety of web-based internet browsers and follow universal programming style. The IRLA leveling system provides teachers the ability to digitally track how individual students are gaining proficiency in reading grade-level literary and informational texts. Materials are designed to be customized to local contexts and prompt teachers to use technology for students to publish their work to share with the class at the end of each unit.

Criterion 3a - 3e

null
8/8
+
-
Criterion Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 9 meet the criteria that materials are well-designed and take into account effective lesson structure and pacing. The framework is designed to allow teachers the freedom to adjust the pacing of daily lessons within weekly plans as needed. ARC Materials provide review and practice resources such as evidence and reading logs, reference charts, task checklists, constructed response rubrics and writing rubrics for larger writing projects, graphic organizers, masters, research cards (which include questions), and informational writing cards. Alignment documentation is provided for all questions, tasks, and assessments with the “knowledge” that this is a framework with general guidance to the teacher.

Indicator 3a

Materials are well-designed (i.e., allows for ease of readability and are effectively organized for planning) and take into account effective lesson structure (e.g., introduction and lesson objectives, teacher modelling, student practice, closure) and short-term and long-term pacing.
2/2
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 9 meet the criteria that materials are well-designed and take into account effective lesson structure and pacing.

The materials demonstrate effective lesson structure and take into account pacing. An ARC Literacy Lab Overview is provided for each unit. Components of the lesson are available for 120- or 75-90-minute literacy blocks and offer ranges of minutes within. The suggested times allotted for activities gives teachers flexibility in pacing lessons across days, weeks, and units according to the needs of students. A number of other supports give teachers options to effectively pace and structure learning.

The blocks of time for English in materials are for 90-120 minutes. The publisher materials state, “ARC frameworks are intended to be flexible structures that educators adjust as needed. Although the Literacy Lab is organized into “6 weeks,” it is common for educators to need 8 or 9 weeks in the first year.”

Each unit begins with students reading and analyzing texts based on the unit’s topic. Then students turn that analysis into a formal writing process. The first unit is a Literacy Lab where students focus on components of literature the first four weeks and then write literary critiques the last two weeks being a 6 week unit. Units 2, 3, and 4 are all 9 week units. Unit 2 is a research units where students are researching information based on a social studies or science topic. Unit 3 focuses on researching a specific genre. Every unit has a similar daily structure. Students read complex text, they write to the text, they read independently, and then write independently. Students read the complex text daily for about 15-30 minutes. They read independently for about 20-40 minutes. They write for about 20-40 minutes daily.

There are also checklists, rubrics, and reading logs for teachers to track student progress through the lessons. Focus Standards are provided each week, as well as an overview of the daily lesson plans. During Week 1 there is a day by day detailed instruction, after that there is a framework in the following weeks. Daily lessons provide teachers the outline of the lesson, as well as prompts for what the teacher may say or how to present tasks. These plans also include a column of teacher notes for additional guidance and research. The Literacy and Research Lab instruction includes parts such as CCSS Mini-Lessons, Read-Discuss Complex Text-Readers’ Workshop, Writing, Read-Alouds, Small group and whole group work, Text-based discussions, and reflection opportunities. The Research Labs instruction includes goals for expertise, reading, writing, vocabulary, art, and final projects. Each unit also comes with a series of graphic organizers for collecting text evidence, independent reading support, task rubrics, and discussion rubrics/guidelines.

In the prefatory materials in each unit, the materials explicitly state that the framework provides teacher self-direction: “There is no perfect script that will work for all personalities and all classrooms. Instead, we give you a highly structured framework that works in general from which you will need to create the version that works for you, in your district, in your school, in your classroom, with your students” (Unit 1 p. 41).

A Pacing Guide provides a breakdown of each daily literacy block, either the 120 or 75-90 minute block. There are three parts to each daily block: Read/Write/Discuss Complex Text, Reader’s Workshop, and Writing. The Guide reminds teachers there is flexibility in the pacing: “Depending on the lesson and student energy, teachers may spend more time writing or more time reading” (Unit 1 p. 60-61).

Additional pacing support is provided for the weekly lesson topics. For example, In Unit 1, the suggested time frame is 6 weeks. In Unit 2, the suggested time frame is 9 weeks. The curriculum is broken into three phases: Phase 1: Initiate Academic Community, Phase 2: Initial Assessment and Goal Setting, Phase 3: Strategic Instruction/Building Expertise. The first two phases are the reading portion of the unit while the third phase is for the larger writing/research project. The Guide reminds teachers there is flexibility in pacing: “*Weeks are approximate. Teachers should be welcome to expand or condense as needed” (Unit 1 p. 56).

Indicator 3b

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 9 meet the criteria that the teacher and student can reasonably complete the content within a regular school year, and the pacing allows for maximum student understanding.

ARC publishers indicate that the materials are inquiry based and encourage self-directed learning with an emphasis on independent reading and study. Though there are guidelines for 165 lessons which can be completed in a school year, the publishers also indicate that the curriculum should be considered a framework. On Page 59 of the unit introduction, publishers indicate that there is “no perfect script that will work for all personalities and all classrooms. Instead, we give you a highly structured framework that works in general from which you will need to create the version that works for you, in your district, in your school, in your classroom, with your students.”

The framework is designed to allow teachers the freedom to adjust the pacing of daily lessons within weekly plans as needed. In the prefatory materials in each unit, a Pacing Guide is provided with the weekly lesson topics. For example, In Unit 1, the suggested time frame is 6 weeks. In Unit 2, the suggested time frame is 9 weeks. The curriculum is broken into three phases: Phase 1: Initiate Academic Community, Phase 2: Initial Assessment and Goal Setting, Phase 3: Strategic Instruction/ Building Expertise. The first two phases are the reading portion of the unit while the third phase is for the larger writing/research project. The Guide reminds teachers there is flexibility in pacing: “*Weeks are approximate. Teachers should be welcome to expand or condense as needed” (Unit 1 p. 56).

Also in each unit, a Pacing Guide provides a breakdown of each daily literacy block, either the 120 or 75-90 minute block. There are three parts to each daily block: Read/Write/Discuss Complex Text, Reader’s Workshop, and Writing. The Guide reminds teachers there is flexibility in the pacing: “Depending on the lesson and student energy, teachers may spend more time writing or more time reading” (Unit 1 p. 60-61).

The “Guide to Lesson Plan Decision-Making” materials indicate that teachers can organize Readers’ Workshop and Writing components “in any order,” allowing the flexibility to structure according to the needs of individual students or classes. Moreover, the general template for lesson planning indicates that “The pacing and italics are all suggestions,” suggesting that teachers may structure learning according to the needs of individual students and classes. In addition, the “Guide to Lesson Plan Decision-Making” materials prompts teachers to consider “What will students create by the end of the this lesson/week/unit” indicating that they have the flexibility to pace content as they see fit.


Indicator 3c

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 9 meet the criteria that the student resources include ample review and practice resources, clear directions, and explanation, and correct labeling of reference aids (e.g., visuals, maps, etc.)

ARC Materials provide review and practice resources such as evidence and reading logs, reference charts, task checklists, constructed response rubrics and writing rubrics for larger writing projects, graphic organizers, masters, research cards (which include questions), and informational writing cards. The lessons provide teacher guidance for modeling, as well as opportunities for independent or small group practice. Teachers are prompted to give clear directions, and directions are also found on the graphic organizers or checklists provided in the units. The materials provide teachers with directions and guidance on usage and how to direct student use and also provide blackline masters that teachers copy and distribute to students.

The practice resources are specifically designed for each unit to help students to complete the culminating project. All other practice resources, such as questions posed by the teacher that students either speak or write about, are teacher directed. The reference aids and resources are correctly labeled. Teacher directions are very clear and an appendix in each unit provides lesson planning materials general to the unit. In the prefatory materials, all the worksheets for students are compiled together.

In Unit 1, students are provided with a reading survey, the Toulmin’s Argument Framework, a College- Ready Reader Scale, a Writer’s Log, a Genre Record Chart, a Genre Profile Chart, an Interest Inventory, Editing Checklist, etc. In the first section of the daily lessons of Unit 1, Week 1, Day 4, teacher’s lead a lesson on the CCSS standard that connects genre and theme. Students use the handout, Genre Profile, in small groups while reading/discussing the Core novel. In the second section of the daily lesson, students determine the genre of their chosen books and consider “why it matters to the text.” Students fill in the Genre Profile independently with the characters, setting, plot/events, theme, structure, and language of their books. There are no directions provided to students on the worksheet. All the directions for completion are in the teacher’s edition and are part of the first section of the day’s lesson: Read/Discuss Complex Text. There are suggested questions to guide students in understanding how character, setting, etc. are related to genre. This is similar for all handouts in all units.

In Unit 3, one of the handouts students receive is CCSS RL.2/3 Thinking Map College and Career Readiness Anchor Standards. To achieve Standard R.2, students determine central ideas or themes of a text and to analyze their development and to summarize the key supporting details and ideas. To achieve Standard R.3, students analyze how and why individuals, events, or ideas develop and interact over the course of a text. Categories are included in a graphic organizer for students to complete.

Units 3 and 4 include a number of resources and documents related to the content, including graphic organizers, mapping documents, genre cards, sequencing organizers, thinking maps, rubrics, reading surveys, and other visuals and graphics that support student learning of specific content. Some of the resources, such as the reading surveys, are offered in several languages. Each of the resources is designed in a uniform fashion in terms of fonts and font size. The resources have visual appeal and are clearly labeled and titled.

Indicator 3d

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 9 meet the criteria that materials include publisher-produced alignment documentation of the standards addressed by specific questions, tasks, and assessment items.

Alignment documentation is provided for all questions, tasks, and assessments as a framework with general guidance for the teacher. Standards connect to all areas of the program and are included in the introductory materials for each unit, as well as on the writing rubrics, lesson planners, and assignments. An instructional focus is articulated at the beginning of each week. Within the daily lessons, standards are repeated and are connected to specific activities. Culminating performance projects are connected to the standards as well, and several handouts provide students with teacher explanations of their connection to the standards. Teachers are provided a rubric for scoring these tasks.

The Unit 1 Literacy Lab requires students to address W.1 by writing a literary critique. Students are reminded of the CCSS Reading Literature standards (RL.2, RL.3, RL.4, RL.5, RL.6, RL.7, RL.9) covered in the unit. Some examples of how this instruction is achieved over the unit include:

  • In Unit 1, Week 4, in the Week 4 Framework pages, different figurative language devices are explained in great detail with mini-lessons that connect to the different standards for the unit. The mini-lesson for hyperbole, for example, states: “Teacher Work: Post the 9-10 Common Core Language Standard #5. Introduce the figure of speech hyperbole,” followed by a definition and lesson to help students understand and practice the device before reading a passage that contains hyperbole (p. 317).
  • In Unit 1, Week 5, the culminating writing task is introduced and a rubric that directly connects to CCSS W.1 for writing a proficient answer is provided. Students follow the writing process: “Claim: Introduce a precise, knowledgeable claim that is debatable, defensible, narrow, and specific. Establish the significance of the claim” through “Conclusion: Provide a concluding statement or section that follows from and supports the argument presented.”
  • In Unit 1, Week 6, engage in the editing and revision processes with a rubric designed to connect to CCSS W.5/W.6/L.1/L.2.

The Unit 2 Research Lab requires students to synthesize information across texts and to write an informational book on their choice of topic in their Civil War Era research study. Students refer back to the CCSS Reading Information standards (RLI.1, RI.2, RI.3, RI.4, RI.5, RI.6, RI.7, RI.9, RL.9) they covered in the unit with a focus on RI.7, creating visuals for their informational book.

The “Guide to Lesson Plan Decision-Making” in Unit 3, Memoir, indicates that each lesson is structured around Language Arts standards and that “These should be some subset of the Language Arts Focus Standards of the Unit which are being taught and practiced in-depth across the Unit.” Students focus on Standard R.9: Analyze how two or more texts address similar themes or topics in order to build knowledge or to compare approaches that the authors take. In Week 1, Day 1 the first lesson is an introduction: KWL on what students are going to research and become an expert on. The standard is listed on the activity, “ 1. Introduce Research Project: CCSS R.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.
0/0
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 9 meet the criteria that the visual design (whether in print or digital) is not distracting or chaotic, but supports students in engaging thoughtfully with the subject.

All materials contain a simple, clean visual design that is neither distracting nor chaotic. The font, size, margins, and spacing are easily legible and with little variation. The consumable handouts present a neat, consistent layout that easy to understand with sufficient space for student notation. The supporting documents and resources engage students with a clearly labeled and focused purpose for the task.

Units are organized in a similar structure. The lessons are provided in a clear outline format and are accompanied by graphic organizers, charts, rubrics, worksheets, tables and other blackline masters that are easy to read and understand. Materials to be printed for students contain no distracting images and are user-friendly for students.

Criterion 3f - 3j

Materials support teacher learning and understanding of the Standards.
7/8
+
-
Criterion Rating Details

The instructional materials for Grade 9 include annotations and suggestions that are presented within the Literacy Lab and Research Lab Teacher Editions. The introductory materials of each Teacher Edition outline the standards that are addressed in each Literacy and Research lab, and the Teacher Editions explain the purpose of the ELA/Literacy standards for instruction and how they support the curriculum across the year. Materials include instructions to parents/guardians about how students are to incorporate the independent reading at home and the role of the parent/guardian in that success.

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.
1/2
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 9 partially meet the criteria that materials contain a teacher’s edition with ample and useful annotations and suggestions on how to present the content in the student edition and in the ancillary materials. Where applicable, materials include teacher guidance for the use of embedded technology to support and enhance student learning.

The ARC Teacher’s Edition contains a volume of information, including annotations and suggestions for presenting unit content, as well as guidance on the use of embedded technology to enhance student learning. The IRLA school pacing guide provides supports for how to engage with the curriculum. The instructional materials regularly prompt teachers to model learning tasks and to share explicit directions with students. Teachers are also provided general questions, writing prompts, rubrics, and examples of how to address standards, vocabulary, discussion, and other topics. The teacher materials provide guidance for tracking student reading progress, recommendations for student projects, and rubrics or guidance for scoring student work and holding conferences with students

There are prefatory materials that thoroughly explain the purpose of each unit and how/when instructional handouts/graphic organizers should be presented to students. The weekly lessons have annotated sidebars with suggestions and recommendations for teaching different skills and standards; in fact, many annotations in the curriculum function as examples from outside experts and sources that might be provided in a professional development setting. Finally, the curriculum provides an online resource, SchoolPace, where teachers can visit the IRLA Resource Center.

Annotations and suggestions are presented within the Literacy Lab and Research Lab Teacher Editions. These annotations and suggestions present the structure of the lesson; however, some teachers may need more support and guidance with presenting material. Guidance in analyzing or teaching the unit texts is not provided; the materials do not contain specific answers or anticipated student responses.

Unit 4, teacher directions state, “have students write, map out, or at least share orally everything they already know about this Unit with a partner. Map the information on the board. Discover the boundaries of what the group knows and understands. Attempt to generate questions.”

An example of generic directions from Unit 4 read, “We are going to collect fascinating facts we learn about __(Unit)__. Today, something incredible I learned was _____. I’m going to add it to our “WOW!” Chart. Turn to your neighbor and share the most interesting thing you learned about our Unit today.”

Indicator 3g

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 9 meet the criteria that materials contain a teacher’s edition that contains full, adult-level explanations and examples of the more advanced literacy concepts so that teachers can improve their own knowledge of the subject, as necessary.

There is educational research found throughout this program providing the rationale and background knowledge for teachers as professionals and life long learners. The Teacher Editions for each unit contain ample descriptions, explanations, and examples of instructional literacy concepts that help students to deepen their understanding of the content being presented. All directions and explanations provide adult-level suggestions for how to teach the content. Prefatory materials thoroughly explain the purpose of each unit and how the literary concepts connect to the instruction. The weekly lessons have annotated sidebars for teaching different literary skills and standards, and many annotations in the curriculum function as examples from experts and resources that might be provided in a professional development setting.

The teacher materials contain multiple ways for teachers to build their own knowledge, including recommending external online resources for teacher development and literacy instruction support. Materials routinely offer supports and ideas for teacher PLCs, building data walls, and building student literacy.

In Week 5 of the Unit 1 Literacy Lab, the materials provide explanations and examples of Aristotle’s Rhetorical Devices, as well as adult-level examples of literary critiques to build teacher knowledge for teaching students how to analyze and critique literature.

The Reader’s Workshop for Week 2, Days 1-3 inspires teachers to explain how students must select and read increasingly complex text. “‘Conferring For A Growth Mindset’ helps teachers understand how a student’s fixed mindset is established and provides guidance on helping them overcome the challenge in the context of pushing them to read more difficult texts.”

Teacher directions further read, “A good argument includes: • A central claim (opinion) that is debatable, defensible, narrow, and significant* • Evidence that supports the claim • Reasoning that explains how the evidence leads to or supports the claim often through a rule or a set of criteria. (Also known as a warrant.) • A rebuttal that acknowledges the potential reservations of a counterargument and effectively argues against them. *The claim often includes a qualifier that limits or lessens the scope of the claim to make it more defensible” Similar callout and annotations are found throughout the units.

In Week 7, Day 3 of Unit 2, (p. 309), teachers are provided a one-page reference chart on Word Choice which defines and gives examples of denotation, connotation, various types of figurative language, and parts of speech to guide students in considering their own word choice in writing.

Indicator 3h

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 9 meet the criteria that materials contain a teacher’s edition that explains the role of the specific ELA/literacy standards in the context of the overall curriculum.

The introductory materials of each Teacher Edition outline the standards that are addressed in each Literacy and Research lab, and the Teacher Editions explain the purpose of the ELA/Literacy standards for instruction and how they support the curriculum across the year. The Teacher Edition routinely offers CCSS mini-lessons with teacher guidance for what that looks like and how to engage students. Each weekly overview indicates what the focus standards for the week are and the first two weeks of instruction provide a one to two page framework for the teacher and student work in order to address the focus standards. This framework is used throughout the unit, and the curriculum emphasizes how the units, weekly lessons, and daily lessons, and individual parts within the daily lessons connect to the standards. Typically the specific wording of the standard is listed with each activity. Within weekly lesson plans, there are standards listed next to lessons; in every unit, there is a “Pacing Guide” at the beginning of each unit that states the week and the standard being focused on; and in Unit 1, there is a Scope and Sequence page that includes the CCSS included in each unit.

Pages 14-15 of the Unit 1 Literacy Lab provide the CCSS Reading, Writing, Speaking & Listening, and Language standards that are addressed throughout all four units, as well as the Scope & Sequence for which standards are individually highlighted in each unit. The Unit 1 Scope and Sequence for Q1, the 1st 6-8 Weeks of School, reads as follows:

  • Reading #1: Read closely to determine what the text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; cite specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions drawn from the text.
  • Reading #4: Interpret words and phrases as they are used in a text, including determining technical, connotative, and figurative meanings, and analyze how specific word choices shape meaning or tone.
  • Reading #10: Read and comprehend complex literary and informational texts independently and proficiently. + Introduction/Review of all Reading Standards

The introductory documents of Unit 2 include an “Informational Writing Research Lab: An Inquiry Community of Researchers & Authors,” (p. 14) that describes how routines and activities built in Unit 1 are extended into Unit 2. The information is accompanied by the CCSS Focus Standards. Moreover, the last portion of the teacher materials for Unit 2 provide the vertical progression of all grades 6-12 ELA Common Core Standards.

Indicator 3i

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 9 meet the criteria that materials contain explanations of the instructional approaches of the program and identification of the research based strategies.

The ARC curricular materials provide descriptions of the instructional approaches featured. Throughout the program, instructional reasoning is explained and ELA experts are cited. This information is accompanied by the emphasis of evidence-based strategies and references to their origins. Many teacher-facing annotations serve as examples vetted by prominent academics in the field and as resources delivered in professional development settings. The introductory materials for the Literacy and Research Labs, for example, provide a series of explanations and research-based approaches such as inquiry, literacy development, reading culture, school success, and social purpose, to support the publisher rationale for the curriculum. Moreover, research-based strategies are embedded within units as lesson sidebars, and Works Cited/Consulted sections highlighting the foundational research used to design the program are included in each unit as well.

Several pages are devoted to explaining the program rationale for building student knowledge through teachers and students as researchers. The program also emphasizes student choice and ownership in learning as seen in this provided quote by Mike Anderson, author of Learning to Choose; Choosing to Learn: “When students leave school, they will enter a world where self-motivation, creativity, autonomy, and perseverance are all critically important, and these are characteristics that are hard to practice in an environment centered on standardization and compliance.”

The ARC Core Overview documents in the Teacher’s Editions contains an informational article “What Reading Does for the Mind” (p. 26) that explains the instructional approach of requiring students to complete a large volume of reading. It outlines the effects of reading on student achievement and includes a citation to find more information.

Indicator 3j

Materials contain strategies for informing all stakeholders, including students, parents, or caregivers about the ELA/literacy program and suggestions for how they can help support student progress and achievement.
0/0
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 9 meet the criteria that materials contain strategies for informing all stakeholders, including students, parents or caregivers about the ELA/literacy program and suggestions for how they can help support student progress and achievement.

Materials provide reading logs and supports for parents/guardians who are embraced as “home coaches” and encouraged to sign contracts to support student reading. Signed contracts, as well as student progress reports, are logged into the online tracking system, School Pace. Teachers are provided with letters outlining guidelines for the 100 Book to send home for a signature; these letters are printed in English, Spanish, and Chinese. The concluding materials for the Unit 1 Literacy Lab offer teachers in-depth guidance for sharing the reading program with parents to create a partnership that includes recommendations for rallies, assemblies, parent meetings, and incentives. Teachers are prompted to include the outside community and are given model letters that can be used to request sponsors for the reading program. Materials also provide several pages to send to parents or home coaches as a guide for supporting reading, understanding phonics, and clarifying the IRLA color/coding system.

In addition, ARC provides a letter to parents/guardians about the purpose of each unit. Materials include instructions to parents/guardians as to how students are to incorporate the independent reading at home and the role of the parent/guardian in that success. Parents/guardians are provided with instruction for what to observe in their student’s independent reading, how to assess if they are making progress, and evaluation/checklists to track progress.

Criterion 3k - 3n

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 9 contain the Independent Reading Level Assessment (IRLA) Conferencing & Formative Assessment Independent Reading Levels & Student-Teacher Conferences, which consistently assess student progress. The IRLA gives a framework for assessing and tracking student reading level, and the teacher determines what skills or strategies should be addressed in differing types of instruction. Both the IRLA Framework and the weekly units consistently provide opportunities for teachers to observe student progress in specific standards, whether reading or writing. The materials contain ample resources and guidance for student accountability with independent reading based on student reading choice and motivation.

Indicator 3k

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 9 meet the expectations that materials regularly and systematically offer assessment opportunities that genuinely measure student progress.

The Independent Reading Level Assessment (IRLA) Conferencing & Formative Assessment Independent Reading Levels & Student-Teacher Conferences consistently assess student progress. The teacher materials indicate that the IRLA introduced in the Literacy Lab in Unit 1 is used to diagnose student reading levels and track their progress over the year. The assessment system helps teachers to identify what skills and strategies students have mastered or need to focus on.

Students are also assessed by a unit task that generally requires a substantial writing piece in the mode that they have studied in the unit. Teachers are provided with checklists, rubrics, notetakers, protocols for conferencing, and student exemplars. The daily framework for lessons prompts teachers to monitor students and provide immediate feedback given through student and teacher conferencing.

In Unit 3: Memoir, pages 22 & 23 provide a rubric for W.3 to score student work and short answer responses for the unit task of writing a memoir. Page 24 offers guidelines for teachers to complete a pre-assessment of students and use the provided rubric to score:

  • “Part 1: Have students read a short text in the genre. The text should be at grade level.
  • Part 2: Ask students to write a response to the question: What is a central theme of this text? How does the author use literary elements to develop this theme?”

In Unit 4: Sports and Society, page 5 provides the Final project rubric to score student work for the unit task of writing an argument. To support student learning around W.1, page 27 provides a detailed rubric for assessing student work as they practice argumentative writing.

Page 26 offers guidelines for teachers to pre-assess students based on the provided rubric:

  • “Ask students to write an argument related to the text they have just read. (e.g., Should school administrators be able to go into students’ lockers without students’ permission?)
  • Take a position and provide 3 good pieces of evidence in support of that position.”

Teachers are provided with checklists, rubrics, notetakers, protocols for conferencing, and student exemplars. There are pre and post assessments, writing rubrics, and assessment guides. Students are constantly assessed with immediate feedback given through student and teacher conferencing.

Indicator 3l

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

Indicator 3l.i

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 9 meet the criteria that assessments clearly denote which standards are being emphasized.

The IRLA Framework state the standards clearly, and each assessment component found in the materials articulates the learning standards assessed. The prefatory materials, teacher instructional notes, and sidebars contained within the daily lessons provide thorough explanations that refer regularly to the standards.

The materials provide teachers recommendations for daily assessment or monitoring of student work that are connected to standards-aligned units. Unit pre-assessments are recommended for teachers to assess students based on the writing standard addressed. Rubrics assessing the writing standards are provided in each unit, as well as rubrics or checklists for editing, discussion, and student responses.

Weekly goals, such as those found in Unit 1, Week 5 (p. 277), are clearly denoted with learning standards. The goals are then formatively assessed throughout the week.

In Unit 4, Week 2, Day 2, the topic of focus is Author’s Purpose. On the first page of the day’s lesson, the standard R.6 is named, along with the standard as it is written from below and above the grade level taught. Next, the teacher is provided with more guiding questions about the depth that author’s purpose means for Common Core: “The deep question here is what does the author believe? How do you know? How might the author’s background or experience shape his/her perspective? What does s/he want you, the reader, to believe/think? Why? Does the author state his/her point of view by making an explicit claim, or is it implicit? If it is implicit, what evidence can you find that would help you infer this author’s point of view?” (p. 153). These questions help the teacher guide students as they determine author’s purpose beyond just point of view or basic inform/persuade/entertain purposes. Also, as teachers begin instruction on Author’s Purpose, there is a sidebar note: “Use the instruction of Common Core Standards to deepen students’ knowledge and interest in the Unit. Be careful not to let the Standards instruction overwhelm the content focus” (p. 154). Teachers then guide students in a close read of the Core Text with the guiding question “What does s/he believe about this topic? Why?” (p. 154).

Indicator 3l.ii

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 9 meet the criteria that materials the criteria that assessments provide sufficient guidance to teachers for interpreting student performance and suggestions for follow up.

ARC materials present teachers with rubrics and suggestions for assessments. The IRLA gives a framework for assessing and tracking student reading level and the teacher determines what skills or strategies should be addressed in differing types of instruction. As part of the curriculum, teacher work includes “1-on-1 Conferences: Baseline Reading Levels Use the IRLA/ENIL to conduct 1-on-1 formative assessment conferences to identify student baseline reading levels. Document Use the Status of the Class/eIRLA to document your observations about individual students’ levels. Goal: Baseline reading level for each student entered in SchoolPace by the end of Week 3. Accountable Talk Partner/Group Share Share a summary of a section/text that proves you understood what you read. Invite a few students to share out with the whole group.”

Most interpretation and follow up from assessment is done during the Monitor Engagement section of the daily lesson, as well as one-on-one student conferences. Teachers are given frameworks for these conferences, rubrics for scoring student work, and general recommendations for sharing work or grouping students. The culminating tasks in each unit have generic grading rubrics used for multiple tasks throughout the unit. There are tips for how teachers can use information from unit formative assessments in their PLC work.

In Unit 1, Week 5 (p. 310) offers teachers guidance on reviewing writing samples with a teacher review team, “Look for patterns within and across classes. Discuss implications for grade-level instruction/planning.”

In Unit 3, Week 1, Day 5, after students write Constructed Response #1, the sidebar offers teachers suggestions to Reflect and Plan around student work: “Evaluate Constructed Response #1 (using building-recommended rubric or W.1 Rubric) to evaluate the effectiveness of this week’s instruction. Plan for next week how to most effectively meet students’ needs in whole-group, small-group, or individual remediation (p.119).

  • Literary Elements: Are there students who need additional support identifying literary elements? Who? Which elements?
  • Task Writing: Are there students who need additional support with task writing/constructed response? What part(s) of writing (e.g., responding to the prompt, organization of ideas, using text evidence)?
  • Reading Levels: Are there students whose reading levels will prevent them from succeeding when responding to grade-level text. What is the plan to accelerate these students’ reading growth?”

In the introductory pages of Unit 4, page titled “Grade-Level Common Core Instruction for All Students” describes how rubrics are used in the units. “Rubrics scaffold students’ thinking, teaching them how to build a proficient answer one component at a time. Rubrics make the expectations for a proficient answer clear to everyone, allowing students to take charge of their own learning. An effective rubric, used appropriately, ensures that all students, regardless of reading level, master grade-level thinking” (p. 64). The same rubrics for writing are provided for small, formative writing tasks throughout the unit and the culminating writing task at the end of the unit. The rubric for a proficient answer for argument is points based and includes organization of the writing form from claim through conventions (p. 79).

Indicator 3m

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 9 meet the criteria that materials should include routines and guidance that point out opportunities to monitor student progress.

The materials regularly provide routines and guidance that indicate opportunities to monitor student progress on a variety of skills and concepts being learned throughout each unit. Both the IRLA Framework and the weekly units consistently provide opportunities for teachers to observe student progress in specific standards, whether reading or writing. Individual or small group conferencing opportunities are provided for reading progress checks. Writing progress checks are offered in the form of small formative writing tasks that build to the larger culminating tasks.

The Materials are designed to track student progress daily through the Independent Reading Level Assessment (IRLA) that guides teachers to assess and monitor student reading levels. Teachers determine those skills and strategies that students have mastered and need to learn. Materials to document student progress through logs, class charts, and an online tracking system are provided. Teachers and students set Power Goals and routinely monitor these through assessment and one-on-one conferencing. Both small group and writing protocols and rubrics are provided. The unit tasks come with scoring rubrics and are presented to the class. Each lesson includes specific formative assessment opportunities for teachers to monitor student progress with side notes about addressing instruction or further assessment opportunities. Materials prompt teachers to monitor and conference with students frequently.

“Accountable Talk” is a routine present in daily lesson plans. In Unit 2, teachers are encouraged to “Spend extra time” establishing the routine at the beginning of the unit (p. 14).

Indicator 3n

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 9 indicate how students are accountable for independent reading based on student choice and interest to build stamina, confidence, and motivation.

The framework is designed to build students’ independent reading. The materials contain ample resources and guidance for student accountability with independent reading based on student reading choice and motivation. Materials are designed to build student reading stamina across the year. Shared and independent reading are built into the daily lesson framework via the recommended 20-40 minutes for independent reading. Students are held accountable through conferences with peers, groups, and whole class, as well as individual check-ins with the teacher. Students also track their reading though logs that are shared with their parent or home reading coach. Independent reading is provided through the texts used for class research, as well as the 100 Book challenge found in Unit 1 (p. 372) which includes the rationale, how the program works, the home reading portion, the incentives, and goals (for schools and district); these include Back to School Night skits, Family Workshop ideas, using parents & families as volunteers, and Year-End Awards Celebration ideas. This material includes having parents and families as partners in ongoing education. There are sample letters to enlist volunteers for reading coaches.

The 100 Book Challenge Library rotates weekly or biweekly. Students are encouraged to read anything they want and the leveling system guides them to select texts at their reading level. Students complete a Reading Survey and are provided with a Reading Level Checklist that helps them to determine if a text is too hard, too easy, or in the Reading Zone. Teachers are given specific instruction on how to monitor, encourage, and adjust. Teachers frequently document student reading status and teacher materials gives suggestions and follow up to keep students engaged during independent reading time.

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.
10/10
+
-
Criterion Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 9 meet the criteria that materials provide teachers with strategies for meeting the needs of range of learners so the content is accessible to all learners and supports them in meeting or exceeding the grade-level standards. The ARC Core Literacy Block is designed to embed all the best practices of culturally and linguistically responsive teaching into a literacy framework centered on meeting the needs of the unique students in each room, in order to ensure that each child reads, writes, and collaborates on grade level. Within the framework, there are suggestions for students who are reading above grade level. The daily instructional framework for ARC requires that students spend time in small-group and whole group discussion.

Indicator 3o

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 9 meet the criteria that materials provide teachers with strategies for meeting the needs of range of learners so the content is accessible to all learners and supports them in meeting or exceeding the grade-level standards.

The ARC materials thoroughly support teachers to use the Independent Reading Level Assessment (IRLA) to evaluate, monitor, and increase student reading levels. Using the assessment helps teachers to determine the skills and strategies needed or mastered and to document them on paper and an online tracking system. Teachers then address student needs using whole-group, small-group, and one-on-one conferencing. Based on the reading data, teachers and students set Power Goals and follow conferencing protocols to support each student. Materials offer guidance to teachers to help students who are stuck or need additional support. Both small group and writing protocols and action plan documents are provided.

In Unit 1, a “Reading Survey” (p.93) is provided in three languages. The purpose is to help teachers gauge student perceptions of their enjoyment of reading and its relative difficulty. However, no specific strategies are offered beyond the brief scoring matrix at the bottom of the sheet: e.g., students with a score of 15-20 are encouraged to “Keep looking for a ‘Hook Book.’”

In Unit 2, teachers are directed to, “Monitor for Engagement” and to “Ensure all students are on task, working in success-level reading.” The teacher directions state, “ Formative Assessment/Strategic Reading Instruction Strategy Groups with 1-4 Students with the Same Power Goal Work with students in small strategy groups of 1-4 students to provide targeted and strategic instruction on individual Power Goals,”

In Unit 3, Week 8, Day 1, an informational article titled “Unstick Stuck Writers” (p. 349) provides instruction as follows.

  • Things a student can do independently to unstick themselves: 1. Write a description of your main character or other characters (what do they look like, what do they like to eat, what are they wearing right now—anything to help picture that character) 2. Figure out the ending first; write what happens there. 3. Describe the setting— as exactly and precisely as you can. 4. Draw a picture of the story, the setting, a character, etc.
  • Things a teacher can do to guide a student who is stuck: 1. Pose a statement to the student about his/her story (Your characters are very angry) and ask the students to ask questions about the statement (Why is this guy angry? How angry? Are all the characters angry?). These questions can become the basis for writing. 2. Ask why (aim to elucidate the causes and effects the student has/has not included).

In Unit 4, Week 2, Day 3, and article titled “Conferencing Moves” (p. 108) provides instruction as follows. “If students are having trouble locating relevant information, consider:

  • Do they understand the key Science/ Social Studies concepts? (This is the most common cause of research problems in Research Lab classrooms. If Grade Level Instruction was effective at teaching the key concepts, research usually goes very smoothly.)
  • Have they picked a topic that doesn’t fit the Prevent Frustration and Failure criteria (see Week 1, Day 3)? (This is the second most common cause of research problems. Switch topics now, while students can still easily catch up to their peers.)
  • Do they know how to use text features (table of contents, index) to efficiently locate information?
  • Do they skim and scan, only reading sections that look relevant?
  • Do they know to read the charts, graphs, and images? Do they know how to read them?
  • Are they using the wrong books? (too hard, irrelevant)

Indicator 3p

Materials regularly provide all students, including those who read, write, speak, or listen below grade level, or in a language other than English, with extensive opportunities to work with grade level text and meet or exceed grade-level standards.
4/4
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 9 meet the criteria that materials regularly provide all students, including those who read, write, speak, or listen below grade level, or in a language other than English, with extensive opportunities to work with grade level text and meet or exceed grade-level standards.

The ARC materials provide regular opportunities for all learners to engage with grade-level text. The framework is structured so that teachers can use the Independent Reading Level Assessment (IRLA) to assess, monitor, and augment a student reading levels. Students also have daily practice with Core, Anchor, and Independent Reading texts; these text sets help students move towards grade-level reading. Within the weekly and daily lessons, all students read a grade-level Core text together and work to understand and to analyze the text through specific reading standards. Independent reading opportunities give students access to reading at their assessed level of reading to build to independence at grade level. Students who read below grade level can become engaged in reading texts that interest them to help them improve their reading level. The framework allows teachers to track student progress in meeting grade-level reading standards.

The ARC Core Literacy Block is designed to embed all the best practices of culturally and linguistically responsive teaching into a literacy framework centered on meeting the needs of the unique students in each room, in order to ensure that each child reads, writes, and collaborates on grade level. All students are provided with the same grade level texts and questions. There are opportunities for partner and small group work, and teachers may strategically place students into specific partnerships or groups. There are opportunities in the materials for the teachers use the “Formative Assessment/Writing Coach Check for Understanding” to observe students as they write to ensure students are making adequate progress in their note-making. Teachers are routinely prompted to support learners who are stuck or struggling with the material or content.

This statement is provided in the introductory materials of each unit: “English Language Learners The WIDA Can Do Descriptors are included as potential ways to scaffold English language learners’ successful participation in grade-level reading, writing, and conversation with their peers around grade-level complex text.”

An “ARC Literacy Lab Routines Teacher Checklist” (p.68) guides teacher practice to ensure all students are engaged with grade-level text, e.g. the first domain of the rubric assesses grade-level instruction, specifically, “Teacher and student engage in Standards-Based Grade-Level Instruction daily.”

In Unit 2, teachers are instructed to “Consider groupings that effectively support today’s learning goals (to become an expert on RQ #3 on their topics). Since the focus is on content, some language learners might benefit from working with a partner who speaks the same home language, reading in English, then discussing in their home language. Or pair language learners with students who are proficient in English and have chosen the same topic. “

In Unit 2, the materials indicate, “If the modified sentence frames suggested for the Practice Rubric prove challenging for language learners, simply copy the Writing Focus on the board and point to the five components of a Proficient Answer, per the rubric, which they have been using since Day 1: • Introduce the text/topic • Objective Summary • Opinion • Evidence • Citation (Sentence starters: I want to research... Define the topic... This is the most interesting to me because…)”

In Unit 3, sidebar instructions to the teacher provide guidance for below grade level readers: “Accommodating ELLs and Remedial Readers: Ideally all students do Independent Reading in the genre. However, it is paramount that students experience success-level reading: reading where their own skill base is self-extending (i.e., learning to be better readers by reading). When faced with the choice between having a student do his/her Independent Reading with success level books or with books in the genre that are too hard for her/him, choose success level first” (p. 101). This sidebar is found repeated in all units.

In all daily lessons, during the Independent Reading Teacher Work section, the teacher is instructed during conference time: “One-on-One Conferences/Very Small Strategy Groups: Use the majority of Independent Reading time to work with individual students, focusing your attention on your most struggling readers” (p. 133).

Indicator 3q

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 9 meet the criteria that materials regularly include extensions and/or more advanced opportunities for students who read, write, speak, or listen above grade level.

Independent Reading Level Assessment (IRLA) is used to determine, monitor, and research a student's reading level. The teacher determines the skills and strategies each student has mastered and which he needs to learn next. Teachers then address those needs using whole-group, small-group, and one-on-one conferencing. Materials are provided for documenting student progress in the IRLA. Teachers are provided with reading level guides and formative assessment conferencing protocol that is used daily to monitor and interpret student performance. Teachers and students set Power Goals at the student’s level. There is guidance for teachers to assist students in reaching the goal set.

Both small group and writing protocols and action plan documents are provided. Every lesson includes specific formative assessment opportunities for teachers to monitor student progress. Teachers meet with students, monitor progress, and document student performance daily. Students are encouraged to choose books from the Book Boxes to reach beyond their reading levels. Students who complete a task early are often instructed to work with a peer to better help the peer understand the process. Within the framework, there are suggestions for students who are reading above grade level.

The Unit 1 “Reading Survey” (p. 93) is provided to help teachers gauge student perceptions of their enjoyment of reading and its relative difficulty. Advanced students with a score in the high range of 20-24 are labeled “Engaged Reader” and told to “Keep reading!”

A “College-Ready Readers Scale” is provided in Unit 1 (p. 96) a tool for assessing a student’s current independent reading practices.

Indicator 3r

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 9 meet the criteria that materials provide opportunities for teachers to use a variety of grouping strategies.

The daily instructional framework for ARC requires that students spend time in small-group and whole group discussion. Reading often takes place as whole class with the Core text, and while independent reading is always an individual activity, conferencing with students begins as individual and moves to small group as teachers feels comfortable with student engagement in independent reading.

The introductory materials indicate that ”students participate in intellectual discourse around the text, genre and Focus Standards: Partner Share, Discussion Groups, [and] Whole Group Debrief.” Each unit offers some guidance around being instructionally strategic in one-on-one and small-groups. The materials suggest that students discuss with a partner, small group, or whole class during the Read/Discuss portion of the daily lesson. Teachers are prompted daily to engage students in Accountable Talk through pair-share, small- and whole- group discussion. Students also work frequently in peer-review or peer-conferencing settings. There are also partner or small group writing opportunities.

In Unit 3, Week 1, Day 3 students engage in an “Accountable Talk Partner Share: Each partner takes one minute to share about the characters of his/her book and characters in the genre.

  • Select a character. What is s/he like? Why do you think s/he will matter in the story? What evidence from the text supports your answer?
  • What generalizations can you make about characters in this genre? What types of characters might be important to this genre as a whole?

Also in this lesson, students engage in a “Discussion Group: Each group works together to identify one generalization they want to share with the whole class about characters in this genre.”

The “Strategic Instruction: One-on-One/Small-Group Teacher Checklist” (p. 312) encourages teachers to use flexible grouping that includes a mix of group, individual, and small strategy groups.

Indicator 3s

0/
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 9 are web-based, compatible with multiple internet browsers (e.g., Internet Explorer, Firefox, Google Chrome, etc.), “platform neutral” (i.e., Windows and Apple and are not proprietary to any single platform), follow universal programming style, and allow the use of tablets and mobile devices.

The materials are compatible with a variety of web-based internet browsers and follow universal programming style. Reviewers able to access materials on Chrome, Explorer, and Safari and to view materials on iPhone and iPad.

Indicator 3s3v

0/
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 9 are compatible with a variety of web-based internet browsers and follow universal programming style. While students regularly are invited to use technology to research topics, there is little explicit support for teachers to guide students in developing navigation skills for this area. The IRLA leveling system provides teachers the ability to digitally track how individual students are gaining proficiency in reading grade-level literary and informational texts. As ARC units are designed to be transferable across multiple texts and/or topics, the materials are designed to be customized to local contexts. At the end of each unit, materials prompt teachers to use technology for students to publish their work to share with the class.

Indicator 3t

0/
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

While students regularly are invited to use technology to research topics, there is little explicit support for teachers to guide students in developing navigation skills for this area.

The Introductory materials for many of the units indicate that one of the ARC focus standards is R7: “Integrate and evaluate content presented in diverse media and formats, including visually and quantitatively, as well as in words.” For the unit performance tasks, students are invited to use technology to perform research and publish their work. However, there is little guidance for students or teachers in developing technological skills for this area, and specific media is not highlighted for use.

The Teacher Edition prompts teachers to seek help from librarians and other resources to help with using technology. There is a section called “Digital Solutions;” however, its purpose is not clear. In the research units there is a page called “Works Consulted Page” where students list the sources used for their research. It is assumed that students use the internet to become “experts” on their research topics because the materials provide no substantive guidance in this area.

In Unit 2, the Week 8, Day 1 lesson plan contains a sidebar “A Note on Mediums” that suggests encouraging students to evaluate print and digital resources as a means of communicating ideas (p. 348). While some students may choose to present published pieces digitally, i.e. PowerPoint, there are no specific guidelines as to what makes this medium effective for learning.

Indicator 3u

0/

Indicator 3u.i

0/
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 9 include opportunities for teachers to personalize learning for all students, using adaptive or other technological innovations.

Lessons are personalized for all learners through independent reading and Reader’s Workshop. There is also a Building Instruction of Units of Study section of the Teacher’s Edition that provides the framework for teachers to plan and build their own personalized units of study. The use of adaptive or other technological innovations is not present in materials.

The IRLA leveling system provides teachers the ability to digitally track how individual students are gaining proficiency in reading grade-level literary and informational texts. The materials provide extensive guidance on entering reading levels into SchoolPace (pp. 166-167).

Indicator 3u.ii

0/
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 9 meet the criteria that materials can be easily customized for local use.

The materials provide teachers and students ample flexibility within the outlined structure. As ARC units are designed to be transferable across multiple texts and/or topics, the materials are designed to be customized to local contexts.

The lessons provided can be easily adapted to a variety of classrooms. Teachers can personalize lessons for all learners via independent reading and the Reader’s Workshop. Text-Based questions and tasks found throughout the units are applicable across multiple texts. Students have an abundance of choice in terms of selecting reading materials; the Book Boxes can be customized to address students’ needs and reading levels.

Indicator 3v

0/
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 9 meet the expectations that materials include or reference technology that provide opportunities for teachers and/or students to collaborate with each other (e.g., websites, discussion groups, webinars, etc.).

Teachers use a digital platform from ARC to track student reading progress based on the one-on-one conferencing and assessments. At the end of each unit, materials prompt teachers to use technology for students to publish their work to share with the class. In Unit 1, Week 6, for example, the Teacher Edition states, “Teacher Work: Decide how students will publish their literary critiques. For example,

  • Create a book
  • Blog entry
  • Class/school website
  • Submit to relevant periodical/newspaper
  • Class newspaper/periodical/journal/portfolio
  • PowerPoint
  • Social Media.”

Criterion 3s - 3v

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 9 are compatible with a variety of web-based internet browsers and follow universal programming style. While students regularly are invited to use technology to research topics, there is little explicit support for teachers to guide students in developing navigation skills for this area. The IRLA leveling system provides teachers the ability to digitally track how individual students are gaining proficiency in reading grade-level literary and informational texts. As ARC units are designed to be transferable across multiple texts and/or topics, the materials are designed to be customized to local contexts. At the end of each unit, materials prompt teachers to use technology for students to publish their work to share with the class.

Indicator 3s

Digital materials (either included as supplementary to a textbook or as part of a digital curriculum) are web-based, compatible with multiple Internet browsers (e.g., Internet Explorer, Firefox, Google Chrome, etc.), "platform neutral" (i.e., are compatible with multiple operating systems such as Windows and Apple and are not proprietary to any single platform), follow universal programming style, and allow the use of tablets and mobile devices. This qualifies as substitution and augmentation as defined by the SAMR model. Materials can be easily integrated into existing learning management systems.
0/0
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 9 are web-based, compatible with multiple internet browsers (e.g., Internet Explorer, Firefox, Google Chrome, etc.), “platform neutral” (i.e., Windows and Apple and are not proprietary to any single platform), follow universal programming style, and allow the use of tablets and mobile devices.

The materials are compatible with a variety of web-based internet browsers and follow universal programming style. Reviewers able to access materials on Chrome, Explorer, and Safari and to view materials on iPhone and iPad.

Indicator 3t

Materials support effective use of technology to enhance student learning, drawing attention to evidence and texts as appropriate and providing opportunities for modification and redefinition as defined by the SAMR model.
0/0
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

While students regularly are invited to use technology to research topics, there is little explicit support for teachers to guide students in developing navigation skills for this area.

The Introductory materials for many of the units indicate that one of the ARC focus standards is R7: “Integrate and evaluate content presented in diverse media and formats, including visually and quantitatively, as well as in words.” For the unit performance tasks, students are invited to use technology to perform research and publish their work. However, there is little guidance for students or teachers in developing technological skills for this area, and specific media is not highlighted for use.

The Teacher Edition prompts teachers to seek help from librarians and other resources to help with using technology. There is a section called “Digital Solutions;” however, its purpose is not clear. In the research units there is a page called “Works Consulted Page” where students list the sources used for their research. It is assumed that students use the internet to become “experts” on their research topics because the materials provide no substantive guidance in this area.

In Unit 2, the Week 8, Day 1 lesson plan contains a sidebar “A Note on Mediums” that suggests encouraging students to evaluate print and digital resources as a means of communicating ideas (p. 348). While some students may choose to present published pieces digitally, i.e. PowerPoint, there are no specific guidelines as to what makes this medium effective for learning.

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 reviewed for Grade 9 include opportunities for teachers to personalize learning for all students, using adaptive or other technological innovations.

Lessons are personalized for all learners through independent reading and Reader’s Workshop. There is also a Building Instruction of Units of Study section of the Teacher’s Edition that provides the framework for teachers to plan and build their own personalized units of study. The use of adaptive or other technological innovations is not present in materials.

The IRLA leveling system provides teachers the ability to digitally track how individual students are gaining proficiency in reading grade-level literary and informational texts. The materials provide extensive guidance on entering reading levels into SchoolPace (pp. 166-167).

Indicator 3u.ii

Materials can be easily customized by schools, systems, and states for local use.
0/0
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 9 meet the criteria that materials can be easily customized for local use.

The materials provide teachers and students ample flexibility within the outlined structure. As ARC units are designed to be transferable across multiple texts and/or topics, the materials are designed to be customized to local contexts.

The lessons provided can be easily adapted to a variety of classrooms. Teachers can personalize lessons for all learners via independent reading and the Reader’s Workshop. Text-Based questions and tasks found throughout the units are applicable across multiple texts. Students have an abundance of choice in terms of selecting reading materials; the Book Boxes can be customized to address students’ needs and reading levels.

Indicator 3v

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 9 meet the expectations that materials include or reference technology that provide opportunities for teachers and/or students to collaborate with each other (e.g., websites, discussion groups, webinars, etc.).

Teachers use a digital platform from ARC to track student reading progress based on the one-on-one conferencing and assessments. At the end of each unit, materials prompt teachers to use technology for students to publish their work to share with the class. In Unit 1, Week 6, for example, the Teacher Edition states, “Teacher Work: Decide how students will publish their literary critiques. For example,

  • Create a book
  • Blog entry
  • Class/school website
  • Submit to relevant periodical/newspaper
  • Class newspaper/periodical/journal/portfolio
  • PowerPoint
  • Social Media.”

Additional Publication Details

Report Published Date: Mon Sep 17 00:00:00 UTC 2018

Report Edition: 2017

Title ISBN Edition Publisher Year
IRLA CCSS Version 8 978-1-63437-885-7 American Reading Company 2017
IRLA CCS Version 8 Conference Notebook 978-1-63437-982-3 American Reading Company 2017

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 HS Rubric and Evidence Guides

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

For ELA, our rubrics evaluate materials based on:

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

  • Building Knowledge with Texts, Vocabulary, and Tasks

  • Instructional Supports and Usability

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

X