Alignment: Overall Summary

Alignment

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Meets Expectations

Gateway 1:

Text Quality

0
17
32
36
33
32-36
Meets Expectations
18-31
Partially Meets Expectations
0-17
Does Not Meet Expectations

Gateway 2:

Building Knowledge

0
15
28
32
28
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
31
30-34
Meets Expectations
24-29
Partially Meets Expectations
0-23
Does Not Meet Expectations

Gateway One

Text Quality & Complexity and Alignment to Standards Components

Meets Expectations

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-
Gateway One Details

Grade 6 instructional materials meet the expectations for text quality and complexity and alignment to the standards. Most tasks and questions are text based and grounded in evidence. The instructional materials include texts that are worthy of students' time and attention and provide some opportunities for writing about texts to build strong literacy skills. Practice with speaking and listening protocols is prevalent. Some speaking and listening activities may need to be supported with extensions to dive deeper into the text, but focus on teaching protocols and modeling academic language are in place. Materials include frequent opportunities for evidence-based writing to support careful analyses, well-defended claims, and clear information appropriate for the grade level. Materials also provide explicit instruction of the grammar and conventions standards for grade level as applied in increasingly sophisticated contexts, with opportunities for application both in and out of context.

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.
18/20
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-
Criterion Rating Details

Texts are of quality and are rigorous, meeting the text complexity criteria for Grade 6. Students engage in a range and volume of reading in service of grade level reading proficiency although support for students to grow skills over the school year are inconsistent. The materials meet the criteria that support materials for the core text(s) provide opportunities for students to engage in a range and volume of reading to support their reading at grade level by the end of the school year.

Indicator 1a

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Benchmark Grade 6 meet the criteria for anchor texts being of publishable quality and worthy of especially careful reading and consider a range of student interests.

The texts provided throughout Grade 6 include anchor texts that are rich in language and engaging. Texts across units cover various content areas with multicultural themes which supports a wide range of text types. The quality and depth of the texts support multiple reads for multiple purposes. Texts are used to expand big ideas, build academic vocabulary, and facilitate access to future texts.

  • In Unit 2, Week 1, students read “In Hiding” which is a monologue about Anne Frank. The text contains theater stage directions and an interior photo of the secret passage in the house Anne Frank was hiding in. In Week 2, students read an excerpt from Roll of Thunder, Hear my Cry by Mildred D. Taylor called “Cassie’s Fight.” The excerpt contains engaging dialogue between Cassie and her father and descriptive verbs such as, promised, swirled, and accused.
  • In Unit 3, Week 1, students read “Rachel Carson: A Clear Vision.” This text has detailed biographical information about Rachel Carson as well as descriptive adjectives such as countless, destructive, and modern. In Week 2, “Teddy Roosevelt and Nature” is an excerpt from Theodore Roosevelt: An Autobiography a published work of his beliefs about the environment and why he fought to protect it. The text contains black-and-white photos of Teddy Roosevelt as well as photos of Yosemite National Park and Theodore Roosevelt National Park.
  • In Unit 4, Week 1, students read “The Road Not Taken” by Robert Frost. The poem contains rhyming couplets and a theme for worthy of analysis. In Week 3, students read “The Letter,” which is an excerpt from Return to Sender by Julia Alvarez. The text contains rich characterizations and rich language. For example, the style is contemporary language usage but includes some Spanish words. The author’s choice of words provides rich opportunities for students to gain and broaden their knowledge base and personal perspectives.
  • In Unit 7, Week 1, “The Golden Age of Greece” by Catherine Goodridge and “Ancient Egypt’s Golden Empire” by Vidas Barzukas contain photos of art and architecture to show ancient civilizations. In Week 2, students read "Rome’s Augustan Age" by Tracey Telling and, in Week 3, students read “The Golden Age of the Inca Empire” by Vincent Banks. Both texts are organized by main idea and details and provide students with engaging content about ancient civilizations.

Indicator 1b

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Benchmark Grade 6 meet the criteria for materials reflecting the distribution of text types and genres required by the standards at each grade level.

The instructional materials provide a balanced mix of literature and informational text. Text genres represented include, but are not limited to, informational texts, biographies, folktales, historical fiction, poetry, realistic fiction, myths, fables, and fairy tales. Anchor texts include 14 literary texts and 26 informational texts. Examples include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • “Aristotle and Democracy” by Michael K. Smith (Unit 1, Week 1, Short Read 1, Informational Text)
  • “Mafatu’s Journey” by Armstrong Sperry (Unit 2, Week 3, Extended Read 2, Legend)
  • “Rachel Carson: A Clear Vision” by Catherine Goodridge (Unit 3, Week 2, Extended Read 1, Autobiography)
  • “Going West” by Christopher Paul Curtis (Unit 4, Week 2, Extended Read 1, Historical Fiction)
  • “Robot Cops” by Judi Black (Unit 5, Week 1, Short Read 1, Informational Text)
  • “Midwinter Day” by Susan Cooper (Unit 6, Week 3, Extended Read 2, Fantasy)
  • “Rome’s Augustan Age” by Tracey Telling (Unit 7, Week 2, Extended Read 1, Informational Text)
  • “The South Pole” by Jules Verne (Unit 8, Week 1, Short Read 1, Science Fiction)
  • “Perry Opens the Door to Japan” by Monica Halpern (Unit 9, Week 1, Short Read 2, Informational Text)
  • “Wind Power: Pros and Cons” by Tabitha Jones (Unit 10, Week 3, Extended Read 2, Opinion)

Indicator 1c

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Benchmark Grade 6 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.

In each Unit, the anchor texts have the appropriate quantitative level of complexity for the grade band (Grade 6-8 Band of Lexiles 925-1185). The overall text measure is based on an analysis of four dimensions of qualitative text complexity. These four dimensions are: Purpose & Levels of Meaning, Structure, Language Conventionality & Clarity, and Knowledge Demands. The tasks of each anchor text is at the appropriate level for Grade 6 according to the ELA standards. Texts with the appropriate level of complexity for Grade 6 students include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • In Unit 2, Week 1, students read “In Hiding” dramatized by Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett.
    • Quantitative: Lexile 1000.
    • Qualitative: The theme is subtle with the actions of multiple characters conveying meaning on many levels. The narrative structure is play form with an introduction longer than the piece itself that compresses history, biography, and the surrounding story. The introduction creates a time shift, as well as implying historical situations that have an impact on the narrative. Language is contemporary, but includes historical terms from the era, and many sentences are complex or compound with subordinate clauses and transitional phrases.
  • In Unit 3, Week 2, students read “Teddy Roosevelt and Nature.”
    • Quantitative: Lexile 1010.
    • Qualitative: The purpose of the text is to describe Teddy Roosevelt’s relationship with nature. The dual modes employed present a nuanced, subtle view of the subject. The text has sentences which are complex with subordinate clauses, and the language is a combination of formal writing with unfamiliar vocabulary, as well as instances of figurative language.
  • In Unit 5, Week 3, students read “Updating Archaeology” by Ken Floyd
    • Quantitative: Lexile 970
    • Qualitative: The purpose is to describe advances in archaeology using a vast array of historical and scientific facts that require sifting and interpretation. The structure is chronological, building to the present day while interweaving an array of disciplines in a complex, multi-leveled discussion. The text contains graphic features, including a timeline and several sidebars. Text language is formal textbook style with complex sentences involving both subordinate and transitional clauses and a great deal of domain-specific vocabulary.
  • In Unit 7, Week 2, students read “Rome’s Augustan Age” by Tracey Telling.
    • Quantitative: Lexile 1020.
    • Qualitative: The predominant text structure is chronological. Various themes are broken out and examined in depth. Students encounter one diagram and a number of primary source historical quotations, which add a layer of meaning. Complexity is also high because of knowledge demands.
  • In Unit 10, Week 3, students read “Wind Power Pros and Cons” by Tabitha Jones.
    • Quantitative: Lexile 1190.
    • Qualitative: The text is straightforward with two debate-style arguments presented side-by-side. Students encounter a chart, two sidebars, and an experiment that requires them to carry out a physical piece of work. Vocabulary includes some unfamiliar words and is journalistic in style. Several complex and compound sentences are in the text. There are complicated arguments that make reference to numbers and statistics.

Indicator 1d

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Benchmark Grade 6 partially meet the criteria for materials supporting students’ increasing literacy skills over the course of the school year. (Series of texts should be at a variety of complexity levels appropriate for the grade band.)

The complexity of anchor texts that students read provides an opportunity for students’ literacy skills to increase across the year through a series of texts that include a variety of complexity levels. In the Teacher’s Resource System, lessons contain the gradual release of responsibility guide teachers through teaching complex texts. The scaffolded components of the lessons include teacher modeling and teacher think-alouds. In Guided Practice, scaffolds include rereading to find text-dependent evidence, note-taking in a graphic organizer with text details, and collaborative conversations between students about the text. Although scaffolded activities are provided throughout the materials, all Short Read texts are shared and analyzed over Week 1, all Extended Read texts have one week each for analysis. More complex texts do not receive increased instructional and analysis time. There are specific weekly routines for close reading and rereading that do not allot additional time for more complex text.

  • Throughout Unit 1, Weeks 1, 2, and 3, the anchor texts of the Short and Extended reads range in quantitative Lexile levels of 940-1040 (Grade band of 6-8 has a Lexile level of 925 - 1185) and an 11-14 qualitative level which is of substantial to highest complexity. In Week 1, students read and analyze the Short Read texts, “Aristotle and Democracy” and “The Iroquois Confederacy.” For both Short Read texts, student determine central idea and key details. In Week 2, students read and analyze the Extended Read 1 text, “Queen Elizabeth I of England,” and students determine central ideas and key details. In Week 3, students read and analyze the Extended Read 2 text, “Queen Elizabeth II of England,” and students determine central ideas and key ideas.
  • In Unit 5, Weeks 1-3, students are engaged in reading informational science and informational social studies texts ranging from 970L to 1170L during whole group reading. In Week 1, students read and analyze the Short Read texts, “Robot Cops” and “Robots in the Workplace.” For both Short Read texts, students identify key details. In Week 2, students read and analyze the Extended Read 1 text, “Probing the Ocean,” and students identify key details and central ideas. In Week 3, students read and analyze the Extended Read 2, “Updating Archaeology,” and students identify key details and determine central idea.

The tasks students complete over the three week unit are similar, and there is a missed opportunity for the tasks to increase in rigor when the tasks are repetitious.

  • In Unit 2, Week 3, Lesson 14, students compare and contrast two texts, “Cassie’s Fight” (Extended Read 1) and “Mafatu’s Journey” (Extended Read 2). The teacher reads the Close Reading Question: “In ‘Cassie’s Fight’ and Mafatu’s Journey,’ both characters face challenges. Compare how each story approaches challenges. How are the challenges facing Cassie in ‘Cassie’s Fight’ similar to and different from the challenges facing Mafatu?” During Guided Practice, student participate in Collaborate Conversation: Peer Group and complete a Venn Diagram. During Share, students share their answers to the close reading question. In Apply Understanding, during independent time, students write several sentences to compare and contrast themes in the two texts. Students are reminded to use the Venn Diagram.
  • In Unit 9, Week 3, Lesson 14, students compare and contrast two texts, “Going Out” (Extended Read 2) and “The Silk Road, Yesterday and Today” (Short Read 2). The teacher reads the Close Reading Question: “The introduction of ‘Going Out’ states that the author followed two migrant workers to tell their story. What is the purpose of telling the story in this way? How is the effect different from the writer’s presentation in ‘The Silk Road, Yesterday and Today?’” During Guided Practice, students participate in Collaborative Conversation: Peer Group and complete a Venn Diagram. During Share, students share their conclusions to the close reading question. In Apply Understanding, during independent time, students write one or more paragraphs to respond to the Close Reading Prompt. Students are reminded to use details from the Venn Diagram.

Indicator 1e

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

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

The Program Reference Guide provides rationale for the texts in the materials.

  • Shared Readings connect to the unit topic and are intended to be used to model fluency.
  • Texts for Close Reading selections are designed to capture students’ interest and imagination. These texts state standards for achievement.

Each unit has a Guide to Text Complexity for the Short Reads and Extended Reads. A quantitative (Lexile score) and total qualitative measure based on analysis of the four dimensions of qualitative text complexity (purpose and levels of meaning, structure, language conventionality and clarity and knowledge demands) are provided. The four dimensions of qualitative text complexity form a rubric. Using this rubric, texts receive a score out of four for each dimension and those scores are added together to determine the overall score. Examples of analysis provided include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • In Unit 1, Week 1, the first Short Read is “Aristotle and Democracy” which has a Lexile level of 940. The total qualitative measure is substantial complexity. The second Short Read is “The Iroquois Confederacy” which has a Lexile level of 980. The total qualitative measure is substantial complexity. In Week 2, the Extended Read is “Queen Elizabeth I of England” which has a Lexile level of 950. The total qualitative measure is substantial complexity. In Week 3, the Extended Read is “Queen Elizabeth II of England” with a Lexile level of 1040. The total qualitative measure is the highest complexity.
  • In Unit 9, Week 1, the first Short Read is “Marco Polo, China Trader” which has a Lexile level of 1000. The total qualitative measure is moderate complexity. The second Short Read “Perry Opens the Door to Japan” has a Lexile level of 1030. The total qualitative measure is moderate complexity. In Week 2, the Extended Read “The Silk Road, Yesterday and Today” has a Lexile level of 1060. The total qualitative measure is substantial complexity. In Week 3, the Extended Read “Going Out” has a Lexile level of 970. The total qualitative measure is substantial complexity.

Indicator 1f

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Benchmark Grade 6 meet the criteria that support materials for the core text(s) provide opportunities for students to engage in a range and volume of reading to support their reading at grade level by the end of the school year.

The instructional materials provide clear opportunities and explicit supports for students to engage in a volume of reading. Each Unit offers students a variety of text types, topics and disciplines in order for students to become independent readers at the grade level. Students have an opportunity to participate in interactive read-alouds, silent reading, choral reading, echo reading, partner reading, and independent reading. Trade books for independent reading are available.

Each Unit provides students with multiple opportunities to engage with text. These opportunities include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • The focus of Unit 2 is Characters at Crossroads. Throughout Unit 2, students engage in two short reads and two extended reads. The genres and texts in Unit 2 are as follows: Week 1, a monologue short read (“In Hiding”); Week 1, a myth short read (“Jason’s Challenge”); Week 2, a historical fiction extended read (“Cassie’s Fight”); and Week 3, a legend extended read (“Mafatu’s Journey”). During small group reading, independent reading, and conferring, students read from six texts, such as Rodrigo and the Dogs and The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. Students can read and participate in Reader’s Theater with The Completely Cool Clothing Company or The Three Musketeers. Trade books are available in the Unit, such as I Lived on Butterfly Hill by Marjorie Agosin and The Wall: Growing Up Behind the Iron Curtain by Peter Sis.
  • The focus of Unit 10 is Understanding Our Energy Resources. Throughout Unit 10, students engage in two short reads and two extended reads. The genres and texts in Unit 10 are as follows: Week 1, an informational science short read (“Why Does the Wind Blow”); Week 1, an informational science short read (“Wind at Work”); Week 2, an informational science extended read (“Energy Choices”); and Week 3, an opinion extended read (“Wind Power: Pros and Cons”). During small group reading, independent reading and conferring, students read from six texts, such as Energy Sources for the 21st Century and The Human Footprint. Students can read and participate in Reader’s Theater with Ponce de Leon and the Fountain of Youth or Theodore Roosevelt: Speak Softly and Carry a Big Stick. Trade books are available in the Unit, such as Strike! The Farm Workers Fight for Their Rights by Larry Dane Brimner and Open the Door to Liberty by Anne Rockwell.

Criterion 1g - 1n

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

The Grade 6 instructional materials meet expectations for alignment to the standards with tasks and questions grounded in evidence. Most questions, tasks, and assignments are text-dependent and build towards a culminating task that integrates skills. The instructional materials provide multiple opportunities for evidence-based discussion that encourage the modeling and use of academic vocabulary and partially support student listening and speaking about what they are reading and researching. The materials include frequent opportunities for different genres and modes of writing. Materials meet the expectations for materials including explicit instruction of the grammar and conventions standards for grade level as applied in increasingly sophisticated contexts, with opportunities for application both in and out of context. Materials reviewed provide many tasks and opportunities for evidence-based discussions and writing using evidence from texts to build strong literacy skills.

Indicator 1g

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Benchmark Grade 6 meet the criteria that most questions, tasks, and assignments are text dependent/specific, requiring students to engage with the text directly (drawing on textual evidence to support both what is explicit as well as valid inferences from the text).

Teacher materials provide complete support for planning and implementation of text-dependent/specific questions, tasks and assignments for all learners through modeling, guided practice and applying understanding with scaffolding for light, moderate, or substantial support throughout the year. The Read Aloud Handbook, Build Reflect Write Handbook, and the E-book provide text-dependent questions, writing prompts, and speaking opportunities requiring students to engage in the text and make real world connections. Text-dependent/specific reading mini-lessons are included each day requiring all students to cite text evidence to support their answers explicitly or using valid inferences from the text. During whole-group, students are asked to answer a variety of literal, inferential, and evaluative questions by re-reading for evidence and or annotating key details.

  • In Unit 3, there are Reading Closely questions provided for the short reads and extended reads in the Text Evidence Questions for Close Reading. When reading “Teddy Roosevelt and Nature,” students are asked, “Why does Roosevelt think that the animals in Yellowstone Park seem tamer than wild animals he might find outside of a park? Reread paragraph 2. How do Roosevelt’s words help explain his respect for John Burroughs and John Muir?. Reread the first four lines of paragraph 2. What does Roosevelt mean by the phrase “sealed volume”?
  • In Unit 5, Week 1, Lesson 2, the Teacher Edition states, “After reading, ask students to discuss the questions with a partner. Before students begin, remind them to refer back to the text and their annotations to support their answers. Students should jot their ideas in the margins of their text. They should be prepared to share their ideas with the class. Possible responses are included in the chart below.” Students then answer questions such as: “What are robot cops?” and “Why do police departments use robot cops?” Students provide an answer and evidence from the text.
  • In Unit 7, Week 3, Lesson 3, students read and annotate using “The Golden Age of the Inca Empire.” Students work in pairs to share key details found in paragraphs 1-5 and how these details can help determine the central idea.
  • In Unit 7, using “Achievement of Ancient Cultures” examples of inferential questions in Short Read 1 and Extended Read 1 include: “How did the statues of Athena and Zeus differ from the statues of everyday mortal subjects?”, “What might explain this difference?” and “What does the quotation from Terence (page 17) tell the readers about Roman tastes in entertainment?”
  • In Unit 10, Week 3, Lesson 3 students answer the question, “What ideas do you get from the photographs in this selection? Do you think the author is writing in support of wind power? Tell why or why not.” Students must use key details from the text to support their answer.

Indicator 1h

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Benchmark Grade 6 meet the criteria for having sets of high-quality sequences of text-dependent/specific questions and tasks build to a culminating task that integrates skills (may be writing, speaking, or a combination).

Culminating tasks of quality are evident across a year’s worth of material. Teachers and students are provided with a Unit Big Idea and a Unit Essential Question. The Essential Question is restated at the beginning of each week in the unit. Tasks are supported with coherent sequences of text-dependent questions related to the unit Big Idea which prepares students for success on the culminating tasks. Culminating tasks are varied throughout the year and provide opportunities for students to demonstrate what they know and are able to do in speaking and writing and integrates standards in reading, writing, speaking, listening, and language.

  • In Unit 2, the Essential Question is, “How can people inspire and change us?” Students study texts from different time periods and prepare to write a historical fiction narrative based on a time period they are interested in. In Week 1, Lesson 3, students read and analyze a mentor text. In Week 2, Lesson 10, students use dialogue to help establish characters. In Week 3, students revise, edit, and publish their writings with technology.
  • In Unit 8, daily tasks support students as they build toward the culminating task of creating a multimedia presentation. In Week 1, Lesson 3, students focus on purpose and audience as they view a sample presentation and respond to the following prompts during a quick write; “Imagine viewing a new multimedia presentation. What is the author’s main purpose for creating it? Who is the author’s intended audience for the presentation? What type of media does the author use to appeal to this audience?” In Week 1, Lesson 6, students watch a mentor presentation and look closely at its structure and elements. Partners share their observations and complete a quick write. Students begin planning their own presentations during Week 1, Lesson 9. Students evaluate and choose a topic for their multimedia presentations and write to explain why the topic was chosen and how it meets the criteria.
  • In Unit 9, the Big Idea is Economic Expansion. A video introduces the Big Idea. The Essential Question is “What does it mean to be a citizen in a global society?” In this unit, students read and compare selections about economic expansion in the past and today to understand what it means to be a citizen in a global society. The unit culminating task is writing a news report. Tasks during Weeks 1-3 guide students to the culminating task by adding progressive supporting activities. In Week 1, students examine the purpose and the audience for a news report, analyze a mentor text, analyze facts and details, brainstorm to narrow the focus, and select and take notes from credible sources. In Week 2, students develop the script with facts and details, provide a concluding statement, gather images, and create a storyboard for their news report. In Week 3, students use precise language and domain-specific vocabulary, revise to maintain an objective tone, rehearse/record their news report, share their project, and review and reflect. During reflection in Week 3, Lesson 15, students are asked, “How do you feel this assignment helped your speaking and listening skills develop?”, “What was the most challenging part of writing and presenting a news report?” and “What helped you with that issue?”

Indicator 1i

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Benchmark Grade 6 meet the criteria for materials providing frequent opportunities and protocols for discussions (small groups, peer-to-peer, whole class) that encourage the modeling and use of academic vocabulary and syntax.

Teacher materials provide support and direction needed for teachers to implement grade level standards in speaking and listening and help scaffold instruction for students who need extra support. Multiple modeling opportunities are well supported across the year. Materials provide multiple opportunities and support of protocols and implementation focused on using academic vocabulary and syntax for evidence-based discussions as well as teacher guidance across the year’s curricular materials to support students’ increasing skills. These materials are found in the Review and Routines section titled “Build Respectful Conversation Habits” and “Turn and Talk”.

During each unit, students have collaborative discussions with a partner multiple times a day. Weekly lessons offer multiple collaborative opportunities daily, with modeling and explicit directions provided to facilitate evidence-based discussions with a focus on academic vocabulary and syntax. Students utilize graphic organizers that require students to cite their evidence in whole group, small groups, and peer work to use academic vocabulary and syntax. Each week, students apply the understanding of their evidence-based conversations and share out their findings to the whole group. Examples include but are not limited to:

  • In Unit 1, Week 1, Lesson 1, students participate in Collaborative Conversation: Peer Group. Peer groups are to generate questions about forms of government. During Share, a student from each peer group is called on to share the group-generated open-ended questions. Another student is call on to summarize initial responses.
  • In Unit 2, Week 1, Lesson 10, students demonstrate understanding of connotations and nuances of word meanings. Working with a partner to analyze connotations from “Jason’s Challenge,” students record their findings in a three-column Word Meaning and Connotation Chart. Partners discuss the meanings.
  • In Unit 3, Week 3, Lesson 8, students participate in Collaborative Conversation: Partner. Partners discuss the key details they underlined in “John Muir and Nature” as they attempt to answer the following close reading prompt: “Reread the introduction on page 22. How does this information help the reader understand John Muir’s writing? What key details do the introductory materials provide?”
  • In Unit 6, Week 1, Lesson 14, students engage in Collaborative Conversation: Peer Group. Groups complete the Compare and Contrast Chart to identify similarities and differences between the two quests in “The Legend of El Dorado” and “The Sword Excalibur” and the important ideas each author uses to approach the theme of success. Students are encouraged to ask one another clarifying questions and agree on information to add to the chart. The teacher monitors group discussions and remains aware of students who may not be participating or comprehending the group task. The group presenter shares out the group's findings.
  • In Unit 9, Week 2, Lesson 1, students use the Build, Reflect, Write process. The teacher tells students their goal is to develop a deeper understanding of what it means to be a citizen in a global society. Students use Turn and Talk to Share Knowledge by engaging in a brief conversation with a partner to answer two questions. Students are encouraged to refer to their “Build, Reflect, Write” notes for new content knowledge and insights from last week’s readings and discover how these ideas affect thinking about the Essential Question.

Indicator 1j

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Benchmark Grade 6 partially meet the criteria for materials supporting students’ listening and speaking about what they are reading and researching (including presentation opportunities) with relevant follow-up questions and supports.

The practice of speaking and listening about specific texts and concepts in Grade 6 is embedded in students' day to day work and supported by the teacher. Students do a lot of citing of sources in their speaking and listening work, although the support for this to grow student comprehension of the texts is inconsistent over units.

Some speaking and listening engages students to use the text as a vehicle for practicing speaking, but does not thoroughly link this back to the text beyond citation. For example, in Week 2, Lesson 1, students work with a partner to listen and summarize their peer’s ideas and perspectives. Teacher modeling opportunities serve as a support to students as well as using Build, Reflect, Write notes. Follow-up questions include “What did you learn about the different characters you read about last week?” and “How does thinking about these characters help you answer the Essential Question?” The focus of the work students engage in here is about referencing the text in service of answering questions and in growing skills with reading strategies.

In Unit 3, Week 1, Lesson 4, the teacher calls on presenters to share the groups’ circled details and their ideas for the author’s point of view. Throughout the presentation, students build on their ideas by asking clarifying questions. The focus of the lesson is on the students' responding to one another more than considering the text itself.

Another example is in Unit 4, Week 2, Lesson 14 . When students participate in a Challenge Writing activity they specifically incorporate speaking and listening into the work. Students compare two character’s voices by writing a dialogue between two people with different personalities. Students write a two-sentence summary of the character and lines of dialogue between the two characters. Students practice saying the lines of dialogue aloud to see if the character’s voice match the summary descriptions. The teacher calls on several groups to share their answers to the reading question. The presenter uses the notetaker’s notes to present the group’s answers. The teacher encourages students to discuss the evidence and conclusions and whether they agree or disagree with them. Again, the focus of this work is on the speaking, but not on understanding the texts themselves.

In some speaking and listening work, students are engaged in practicing these skills and using text-specific discussions to grow their comprehension of the material and topics at hand. Without the specifics of the texts, students would not have the same rich experiences in these representative examples:

In Week 3, Lesson 1, after reading informational texts about Ancient Rome and the Inca Empire in South America, students make intertextual connections about what makes a civilization great. Students work with a partner to engage in a brief conversation to share their answers to the following questions: “What have you learned about the cultural achievements of ancient Greece, ancient Egypt, and ancient Rome?” and “How do these ideas affect your thinking about the Essential Question?” In this example, students are asked to read texts closely and cull specific information from the text which is then synthesized with their communication practice. The partner work supports this synthesis with specific focus on the text.

Another example shows students engaging in talking about close reading of multiple texts. In Unit 10, Week 3, Lesson 14, students compare and contrast one author’s presentation of information with that of another. Students are provided opportunities to determine which makes the stronger argument of the two selections, “Wind at Work” and “Wind Power: Pros and Cons.” Students are provided the opportunity to collaborate with their peers and utilize supporting follow-up questions. In this instance, the core of the speaking and listening is grounded in the text work.

Indicator 1k

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 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.

Materials include multiple, varied opportunities for both on-demand and process writing tasks that span the year’s worth of instruction. Writing projects, tasks, and presentations are connected to texts of various genres, topics, and themes. Each unit includes daily, on-demand writing and the Performance Tasks have process writing over a three week span. Writing tasks are aligned to grade level standards, embedded into student work, provide occasions for short and extended writing and allow students to learn, practice, develop, and apply writing skills throughout the year. Lessons culminate by having students respond to prompts in their Build, Reflect, Write manuals which lay the foundation for advanced writing tasks that students will engage in throughout the unit. Students are provided opportunities to work through various writing process stages throughout the year by writing to sources, answering text-dependent questions, taking notes (annotating), completing graphic organizers, research projects, and presentations. Students write and revise informative, opinion, and narrative pieces focusing on topics such as ideas, voice, word choice, organization, and sentence fluency. Examples of the mix of on-demand and process writing include, but are not limited to:

  • In Unit 2, after reading “In Hiding” and “Jason’s Challenge”, students compare historical characters to mythical characters. Students respond to the following writing prompt: “Write a monologue from the point of view of Jason or Jason’s father. Describe your reaction to the King’s banquet. Use details from Jason’s Challenge to help you write your monologue.”
  • In Unit 3, Week 1, teachers guide students through an analysis of a Mentor Informative Report and how to apply that analysis to their writing. In Week 2, teachers guide students to read and analyze a new prompt based on the texts for Close Reading. Students plan and organize their own writing in response to these prompts. In Week 3, teachers guide students to draft, revise, and edit their response to the writing prompts.
  • In Unit 6, Week 1, Lesson 9 students work to complete process writing an argument essay by gathering evidence from both print and digital sources. Using multiple resources such as the Note-taking Chart, Argument Essay Anchor Chart, and Writing Checklist, students write claims, reasons, and cite evidence to support their argument. Support and feedback is provided through conferring and monitoring.
  • In Unit 8, Week 1, Lesson 3, students plan, draft, and revise a multimedia presentation based on a natural process that happens in Earth Science. Students have an opportunity to rehearse and share their presentations with the class at end of the unit. This culminating task combines words, visuals and sounds in a single presentation. For example, the presentation might include text to read: words and music, drawings, photographs, charts to look at and videos or animations to watch.
  • In Unit 10, Week 1, teachers introduce the Limerick genre and guide students through the prewriting steps in the writing process. In Week 2, teachers guide students through the drafting, revising and editing, and publishing steps in the writing process and in Week 3, students reflect on their writing in different genres and text types.

Indicator 1l

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Benchmark Grade 6 meet the criteria for materials providing opportunities for students to address different text types of writing that reflect the distribution required by the standards.

Materials provide a progression of multiple opportunities across the school year for students to learn, practice, and apply narrative, opinion, and informative writing. The materials provide tasks for students to use different genres/modes of writing, which are both connected to texts and stand-alone writing projects. The instructional guide provides supports for teachers to assist students as they progress in writing skills such as: graphic organizers, checklists, and rubrics. Each unit has mentor and anchor texts to support student writing which is embedded daily.

Each week focuses on a different writing genre, appropriately aligned to the text. Mini-lessons are scaffolded throughout the week in order to support student outcomes. Exemplar writing samples and other instruction support accompany each unit.

  • In Unit 1, Week 1, Lesson 6, students read and write a journal entry using a mentor text using the prompt: “You are a citizen of ancient Greece who has heard Aristotle give a speech on government. Write a fictional journal entry in which you record your memories, thoughts and feelings about that experience. Make sure to use facts and details from “Aristotle and Democracy” in your journal entry.”
  • In Units 2 and 10, narrative writing is featured. In Unit 2, students write a historical fiction story. In Unit 10 students creating a limerick.
  • In Units 4 and 6, argumentative writing is featured. In Unit 4, students write an Argumentative Essay using author’s claims and reasons to support their ideas. Unit 4, students analyze an author’s claim in an argument by analyzing reasons the author uses to support the claim. In Unit 4, Week 1, Lesson 6, modeling support for teachers is given to help student analyze texts and make claims. Writing exemplars for each writing type are given under the drop down menu “Writing Exemplars.” In Unit 6, students write an Argumentative Essay using credible print and digital sources and organizing the claims and reasons for the argumentative essay. In Unit 6, Week 1, students begin the process of writing an argument essay. In Lesson 9, students gather evidence from both print and digital sources. Using multiple resources Note-taking Chart, Argument Essay Anchor Chart, and a Writing Checklist, students write claims, reasons, and cite evidence to support their argument. Teacher support and feedback is provided through conferring and monitoring.
  • In Units 3, 5, 7, 8, and 9, informative writing is featured. In Unit 3, students write an informative report. In Unit 3, Week 3, students write an informative report. In Lesson 10, students evaluate the information they’ve gathered. In Unit 3, Week 3, Lesson 14, students write one or two paragraphs to respond to the close reading prompt during independent writing time. Students use notes from the Evidence/Conclusion Chart to organize their thoughts. Teachers use students’ writing to assess their ability to compare the author's points of view. In Unit 5, students write an informative report with digital sources and facts and details from texts. In Unit 7, students evaluate online sources, take notes from credible online sources and print sources. In Unit 8, students prepare a multimedia presentation which includes researching and preparing an explanatory text including many facets of multimedia. In Unit 9, students write a news report with facts and details for the script.
  • In Unit 7, Week 3, Lesson 11, students write several sentences about the author’s claim concerning the Inca Empire’s engineering feats, and describe the evidence the author uses to support this claim during independent writing time. Students cite text evidence to support their idea.
  • In Unit 9, Week 1, Lesson 3, during a Quick Write, students answer the following questions: “What are some reasons that a person would create a news report?”, “Who is the audience for such a report?” and “How might the audience affect the types of media the reporter chooses to use?” The teacher uses students’ writing to evaluate their understanding of the purpose and audience for a news report.

Indicator 1m

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Benchmark Grade 6 meet the criteria for materials including frequent opportunities for evidence-based writing to support careful analyses, well-defended claims, and clear information appropriate for the grade level.

Materials provide frequent opportunities that are varied and build writing skills over the course of the school year. Materials provide opportunities for students to learn, practice, and apply writing using evidence. Writing opportunities are focused around students’ analyses and claims developed from reading closely and working with texts and sources to provide supporting evidence. Students are required to respond to evidence-based writing prompts in the Build, Reflect, Write notebook. Prior to responding to the text, students are provided pre-work that adequately supports their responses. Students frequently generate ideas by closely reading text. Instructional support for teachers is provided throughout the units to guide students’ understanding of developing ideas and components of structured writing. Examples of opportunities include, but are not limited to:

  • In Unit 1, Week 3, Lesson 13, students complete a performance task to read and analyze a mentor narrative response. Students look for ways to improve the text according to the rubric. Analyzing the text in this way provides opportunities for students to present careful analysis and the use of well-supported claims.
  • In Unit 4, Week 1, Lesson 14, students compare and contrast themes in poems “The Road” and “In Response to Executive Order 9066.” Students write three paragraphs comparing and contrasting ways in which the two poems have a similar theme. Students fill out a chart comparing the two with theme, point-of view, poetic language, and imagery. Students provide text evidence from the chart to support their comparisons and contrasts.
  • In Unit 6, Week 1, Lesson 13, students analyze how the author develops the narrator’s point of view. Students read and annotate “The Sword Excalibur” and write sentences explaining how the author developed the narrator’s point of view in the text. Students include ideas from the How to Analyze How the Author Develops the Narrator’s Point of View Webs/charts.
  • In Unit 8, Week 1, Lesson 14, students integrate information from two texts, “The South Pole” and “Glaciers on the Move.” Students develop an understanding of how Earth inspires human endeavors. Students fill out a graphic organizer that will support their integration.
  • Unit 10, Week 2, Lesson 3, students read paragraphs 1-10 in “Energy Choices.” As students read, students annotate the text by underlining key details and putting a star next to central ideas in the margin of the text. During this process, the teacher uses student annotations to assess their ability to identify central ideas and key details.

Indicator 1n

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Benchmark Grade 6 meet the criteria for materials including explicit instruction of the grammar and conventions standards for grade level as applied in increasingly sophisticated contexts, with opportunities for application both in and out of context.

The Grade 6 program has multiple opportunities for whole class instruction aligned to the Grade 6 language standards. All grammar and conventions standards are taught over the course of the school year through reading, language, vocabulary, and writing mini-lessons. These lessons provide opportunities for teacher modeling and guided student practice. Grammar lessons are also applied to independent writing projects students work on. After the specific language standard has been taught, students the skill apply it to their own writing. Students receive direct instruction using the mentor text and dictionaries, and students have access to class charts.

Materials include instruction of all grammar and conventions standards for the grade level. Examples of each language standard include:

  • L.6.1a:
    • In Unit 1, Week , Lesson 15, Writing to Sources, students learn about subjective pronouns. Students practice rewriting sentences that are written incorrectly. For example, “My neighbor and me heard Aristotle’s speech.” becomes “My neighbor and I heard Aristotle’s speech.” During independent writing time students are instructed to, “Write two sentences that include subjective pronouns.”
  • L.6.1b:
    • In Unit 4, Week 1, Lesson 15, Writing to Sources, the teacher starts by reminding students of what they have previously learned about pronouns. Students then practice editing a series of sentences using intensive pronouns. During independent writing time students are instructed to, “Write two new sentences that use an intensive pronoun to add emphasis to a subject.”
  • L.6.1c:
    • In Unit 5, Week 1, Lesson 15, Conventions of Language: Use Appropriate Pronoun Number and Person, the teacher reviews correct number/person pronoun use with students and then has students practice editing a series of sentences for pronoun mistakes.During Independent Writing time students are instructed to, “Write two new sentences about the ways that police use robots to protect humans from harm. Use at least one pronoun in each of your sentences.”
  • L.6.1d:
    • In Unit 5, Week 2, Lesson 15, Writing to Sources, students learn about recognizing and correcting vague pronouns in a model text. Students then work with a partner to revise other sentences with vague pronouns. During Independent Writing time students solidify their learning with the prompt, “What is one way that vague pronouns can cause confusion?”
  • L.6.1e:
    • In Unit 3, Week 1, Lesson 15, Research & Writing, the teacher emphasizes the importance of using standard English in student writing, “It is important to be able to recognize variations from standard English, so you don’t use them unintentionally in a formal situation.” Students then practice correcting a series of sentences. During independent writing time, students are instructed to, “Write two sentences about Jane Goodall using standard English.”
  • L.6.2a:
    • In Unit 3, Week 2, Lesson 15, Research & Writing, students learn about restrictive and nonrestrictive elements. With a partner, students analyze underlined phrases that are restrictive or nonrestrictive elements. During independent time, students write to the question: “How can you determine whether a phrase is restrictive or nonrestrictive?”
  • L.6.2b:
    • In Unit 2, Week 1, Lesson 8, Word Study & Vocabulary, students learn about spelling open syllable words and complete a five column open syllable sorting chart to locate and record open syllable words from the text “Jason’s Challenge.”
  • L.6.3a:
    • In Unit 6, Week 1, Lesson 15, Process Writing, students learn how varying sentence patterns help keep reader’s interest, share their writing style, and share meaning through teacher modeling and peer practice.
    • In Unit 6, Week 1, Lesson 15, Conventions of Writing: Vary Sentence Patterns, the teacher explains the importance of varying sentence to students and demonstrates by showing examples of repetitive sentences such as, “Explorers came to the New World. Explorers searched for gold. Explorers wanted to find gold in El Dorado.” The teacher then models for students how sentences can be combined and the writing can be reworked to something more interesting like, “When explorers came to the New World, many searched for gold. Some believed they would find those riches in a city called El Dorado.” Students then work with a partner to practice revising more sentences.
  • L.6.3b:
    • In Unit 6, Week 2, Lesson 15, Process Writing, the teacher explains the importance of maintaining consistent style and tone throughout a piece of writing and then shows students examples of inconsistent style/tone in pieces of writing. Students then work with a partner to revise sentences with inconsistent style/tone.

Gateway Two

Building Knowledge with Texts, Vocabulary, and Tasks

Meets Expectations

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Gateway Two Details

Grade 6 instructional materials meet expectations for building knowledge with texts, vocabulary, and tasks. The instructional materials support the building of knowledge through repeated practice with appropriate grade-level complex text organized around a topic. Academic vocabulary is addressed in each module. There is partial evidence of the materials providing coherently sequenced questions and tasks to support students in developing literacy skills, although some teacher supplementing and reorganizing may be needed. Culminating tasks often require students to read, discuss, analyze, and write about texts while students participate in a volume of reading to build knowledge.

Criterion 2a - 2h

28/32

Indicator 2a

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

The materials reviewed for Benchmark Grade 6 meet the criteria that texts are organized around a topic/topics (or, for grades 6-8, topics and/or themes) to build students’ ability to read and comprehend complex texts independently and proficiently.

There are 10 units of study, and most units focus on a Science or Social Studies based topic. Within these topic-driven units are three lessons. These lessons include two Short Reads and two Extended Reads designed to build knowledge and vocabulary around the identified topic. Supplemental and leveled texts also support this topic with a balance of literary and nonfiction texts. Each unit is driven by an Essential Question that frames the unit of study and provides real-world relevancy to the unit. A focused line of inquiry tasks is included in additional resources, providing students with multiple opportunities to build knowledge and subsequently build more vocabulary and increase reading ability. Students read across text sets organized around a topic. Culminating tasks for each unit reflect student engagement levels with the text and depth of understanding of the topic.

  • In Unit 3, Relationships in Nature, he essential question is, “What roles can we play in the balance of nature?” Students read and compare texts about people’s experiences in the natural world to gain an understanding of the role we play in the balance of nature. In Week 1, the teacher explains that over the next three weeks, students will read informational texts that describe how human behavior affects the natural world. In Weeks 1-3, students use the following texts to dig deeper into the content of the information and grow their vocabulary: “The Night it Rained, Part 1 and 2,” “The Secret Egret,” “Stewards of the Land: Teddy Roosevelt and John Muir,” “Teddy Roosevelt and Nature,” and “John Muir and Nature.”
  • In Unit 7, Achievements of Ancient Cultures, the Essential Question is, “Why do we consider certain civilizations great?” Students read and compare selections about ancient cultures to analyze what makes civilizations great. Week 1, the teacher explains that over the next three weeks, students will read a number of texts about why each civilization is considered “great” and use them to discuss the essential question. In Weeks 1-3 students use the following texts to dig deeper into the content and grow their vocabulary: “The Wonders of Babylon,” “VIPs of Ancient Egypt,” “Welcome to Greece,” “The Golden Age of Greece,” “Rome’s Augustan Age,” and “The Golden Age of the Inca Empire.” While there is much information to be learned, the focus of these lessons is on a global question rather than a topic.
  • In Unit 8, Exploring Earth’s Structures, the Essential Question is “How does Earth itself inspire human endeavors?” Students have multiple opportunities to read a series of texts on exploring earth’s structures such as: “The South Pole,” “Glaciers on the Move” and “Studying Earth’s Core” to build vocabulary. Connect Across Disciplines Inquiry Projects deepen students’ understanding of the Essential Question through inquiry-based learning. Projects utilize connected texts to answer the Essential Question. Projects utilize connected texts to answer the Essential Question. Projects include a report on polar ecosystems and a volcano map.

Indicator 2b

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Benchmark Grade 6 meet the criteria that materials contain sets of coherently sequenced questions and tasks that require students to analyze the language, key ideas, details, craft, and structure of individual texts.

Short reads, extended reads, and independent readings assist students in developing a deeper understanding of key ideas. Language lessons provide opportunities for students to explore word choices and text structure. Sequences of questions and tasks support students’ skill development in analyzing components of texts, so students may navigate the content, draw conclusions and articulate their evidence-based opinions.

Opportunities are provided for students to analyze language, key ideas, details, craft, and structure of texts in order to determine main idea, describe text structures, and explain author’s reasoning. To support students in developing a deep conceptual understanding of texts in each unit, questions and tasks are scaffolded, becoming progressively more complex. Questions accompanying the texts require students to use inferential knowledge to deepen their understanding of the texts. Questions and tasks push students’ thinking around the text structure, language and author’s craft.

  • In Unit 2, the initial Short Read is “In Hiding”, an excerpt from The Diary of Anne Frank. After reading the excerpt, students engage in the following:
    • Lesson 2, after reading “In Hiding,” students determine central idea and key details.
    • Lesson 4, after reading “In Hiding”, students analyze how a scene specifically contributes to the development of the plot.
    • Lesson 5, after reading “In Hiding”, students analyze how an author develops a character’s point of view.
  • In Unit 4, students are guided by the Essential Question: “How does the journey through life influence a person’s point of view?” Students read and compare the perspectives in different selections to analyze point of view. Students are provided with extensive opportunities to analyze the language, key ideas, details, craft, and structure of individual texts. In Week 2, Lesson 8, students use their knowledge of metaphor and plot development to demonstrate their understanding of how the two are connected in “Going West.”
  • In Unit 8, Week 3, Lesson 8, following an extended-read mini-lesson, students analyze the author’s purpose in “Studying the Earth’s Core.” Students reread paragraphs 1-3 to determine the author’s purpose in the section and how this section relates to the central ideas of the text as a whole.
  • In Unit 10, students use close reading questions requiring them to analyze the structure of the text, author’s intent and language as they engage with the topics within the texts. These questions are located in the supplemental resource, Text Evidence Questions. From “Why Does the Wind Blow?” students answer: “According to the author, why is it generally less windy inland than it is near the coast?” From “Wind at Work” students answer: “How would improvements in battery technology affect the case against wind power?” From “Energy Choices” students answer: “Why does the author include a variety of different quotations at the end of the article?” From “Wind Power: Pros and Cons” students answer: “According to both authors, Denmark and the United States use subsidies to promote their energy plans. How are the subsidies used in each country, and what has been their impact?”

Indicator 2c

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Benchmark Grade 6 partially meet the criteria that materials contain a coherently sequenced set of text-dependent questions and tasks that require students to analyze the integration of knowledge and ideas across both individual and multiple texts.

The materials for Grade 6 contain many coherent questions and tasks that support students’ development in analysis of knowledge and ideas as well as providing opportunities for students to analyze across multiple texts as well as within single texts, but texts are often focused on basic understanding of the texts and not on building knowledge.

Examples of text-based questions and tasks that do not necessarily build knowledge include, but are not limited to the following examples.

  • In Unit 2, the topic is Characters at Crossroads. Using multiple texts, students complete tasks, such as:
    • Week 1, Lesson 14, students compare and contrast two texts, “In Hiding” and “Jason’s Challenge” to understand how the two genres add to their understanding of the topic. The focus is on the thematic elements rather than the content within the texts themselves.
    • In Week 2, Lesson 6 students use paragraph 1 of “Stewards of the Land” and paragraph 2 of “Teddy Roosevelt and Nature” to compare and contrast two introductory paragraphs to look for similarities and differences. In Lesson 8, students use the text “Teddy Roosevelt and Nature” to interpret figurative language. While text-focused, students are not directed to build knowledge beyond text structure and literary components.
    • In Week 3, students identify key details and the central idea using “John Muir and Nature.” In Lesson 4, students use a direct quote chart to help them understand direct quotes and avoid plagiarism. This activity is focused on the text, but is about writing skills rather than the text itself.

Other sequences of questions and tasks do provide practice with building knowledge. Some examples include:

  • In Unit 3, the Big Idea is relationships in nature. The unit is introduced with a video. The essential question is “What roles can we play in the balance of nature?”. In this unit, students read and compare selections about people’s experiences in the natural world to develop an understanding of the role we play in the balance of nature. During weeks 1-3 activities progressively build to the end project of writing an informative report addressing the big idea and essential question.
  • In Week 2, Lesson 7, students use their notes from research they conducted from multiple sources to learn about the topic and share that information with others. In Lesson 11, students read “Rome’s Augustan Age” an informational text about ancient Rome focusing on strategies to draw inferences about aspects of daily life in ancient Rome and compare them to their own daily life experiences. The close reading question is, “How is the entertainment in ancient Rome similar to and different from your entertainment?” This question accesses student experience while also engaging students in deepening their historical knowledge.

Indicator 2d

The questions and tasks support students' ability to complete culminating tasks in which they demonstrate their knowledge of a topic (or, for grades 6-8, a theme) through integrated skills (e.g. combination of reading, writing, speaking, listening).
2/4
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Benchmark Grade 6 partially meet the criteria that the questions and tasks support students’ ability to complete culminating tasks in which they demonstrate their knowledge of a topic (or, for grades 6-8, a theme) through integrated skills (e.g. combination of reading, writing, speaking, listening).

Each Unit concludes with culminating tasks requiring students to draw from multiple texts across the Unit. These tasks reflect students’ understanding of the unit strategies or skills. Daily tasks prepare students for the culminating tasks and provide teachers with feedback. Students demonstrate an integration of skills to demonstrate mastery of the unit skill or strategy. However, completion of culminating tasks does not always demonstrate knowledge of a topic.

There are tasks provided during Small-Group and Independent Reading. Materials contain a Build, Reflect, and Write reflection sheets that take place during Reader’s Workshop: Texts for Close Reading. Students reflect upon the unit’s topic and essential question.

Examples of culminating tasks that reflect students' understanding of unit skills and strategies through integrated skills include the following:

  • In Unit 3, tasks for speaking and listening strategies include collaborative discussions, interpret and explain information presented in diverse media and formats, and delineate a speaker’s argument and specific claims. In Week 1, Lesson 6, students learn how to evaluate the copyright and author of print sources to determine whether a particular source is reliable and credible. Students work with a partner to evaluate the copyright and author of each remaining source. Partners share their ideas about the sources and discuss any differences of opinion as ideas are added to the chart. During independent time, students answer the following question, “When conducting research, what are some of the reasons you would avoid something written by a particular author?” Student writing serves to evaluate their understanding of evaluating the copyright and author of print sources.
  • In Week 2, Lesson 1 students practiced strategies to help them read informative texts about people who took active roles in preserving the balance of nature. While reading, students evaluated the causes and effects of a key event. They also analyzed figurative language in order to understand how writers use personification. In Week 2, students use those same strategies, as well as others, to help them read a longer text. Partners discuss and analyze key events and figurative language using these questions; “How can you decide which events in someone's life were especially important?, “How do you evaluate the effects of a specific event?,” and “What is personification and why is it an example of figurative language?” Students review their annotations and margin notes for “Rachel Carson: A Clear Vision” and “Stewards of the Land: Teddy Roosevelt and John Muir” as they discuss these text analysis strategies. Students share with the class a summary of their partners discussion. In Week 3, Lesson 7, students are provided with a research sample and work with a partner to practice paraphrasing. Students come together to discuss with each other how they paraphrased information that was given.
  • In Unit 5, Technology in the 21st Century, the culminating task requires students to integrate information in different media or formats to develop coherent understanding. To prepare for this task, in Week 1, Lesson 14, student integrate information from two texts (“Robot Cops” and “Robots in the Workplace”) to develop a coherent understanding. Students collaborative collaborate with a peer group to complete the Integrate Information Chart. The groups presenter shares the group’s conclusions. During independent time, students write several sentences integrating information from the two texts to support their analysis. In Week 2, Lesson 14, students integrate information in different media or formats from “Robot Cops” and “Probing the Ocean Deep” to develop a coherent understanding. Students work in a peer group to identify how robots are used in different situations for similar purposes.
  • In Unit 7, tasks for speaking and listening include collaborative discussions to interpret and explain information presented in diverse media and formats, and delineate a speaker’s argument and specific claims. In Week 1, Lesson 2 students brainstorm topics for their informative report due at the end of the unit. With a partner, students fill out a brainstorming chart and discuss the information. In Week 2, Lesson 1, students begin planning an informative report about a history topic that interests them. Students brainstorm a topic, develop a focus, use credible print and digital sources to gather information, and plan their reports. In Lesson 4, students write the introduction of an informative report by clearly and effectively capturing the reader’s attention. Students work with a partner to discuss ideas for an introductory paragraph and then, during independent time, will begin writing their introduction. In Week 3, Lesson 15, students finalize their writing and use computers to create their final copy of the informative report. Students evaluate their own work using a rubric.

Also included are two other opportunities for culminating tasks, however these are optional:

  • There are optional tasks provided during Small-Group and Independent Reading. Materials contain a Build, Reflect, and Write reflection sheets that take place during Reader’s Workshop: Texts for Close Reading. Students reflect upon the unit’s topic and essential question. However, not all students have the opportunity to work through the close read texts.
  • Materials contain Connect Across Discipline Inquiry Projects which require students to read, write, think, speak, and listen to apply the content knowledge they have gained. These projects can be found in the Additional Resources section of the Teacher’s Resource System volume. However, these projects are optional, and time is not allotted in planning to complete the tasks.

Indicator 2e

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Benchmark Grade 6 meet the criteria that materials include a cohesive, year-long plan for students to interact with and build key academic vocabulary words in and across texts.

The instructional materials include a cohesive, year-long plan for students to interact and build key academic vocabulary words in and across texts. A scope and sequence is provided allowing for identification of the academic and domain-specific vocabulary for each week within the unit of study. Vocabulary instruction is highlighted throughout each unit and is addressed both explicitly and embedded in context. Teachers are provided guidance and suggestions outlining differentiated support in order to meet the needs of various learners that is cohesive and spans across the year.

Opportunities are provided for students to use and respond to the words they learn through playful informal talk, discussion, reading or being read to, and responding to what is read. Word study and vocabulary mini-lessons are a part of the instruction each week with a text to accompany the lessons. Vocabulary builds throughout the week and across texts within a one-week period. Specific texts are used which focus strictly on domain specific vocabulary. Academic vocabulary is also a part of the unit assessment as well as the weekly assessment.

Vocabulary lessons highlight the most relevant vocabulary words aimed at building knowledge of the unit topic and support comprehension. To support students’ understanding of complex texts, the following vocabulary words and mini-lessons are targeted. Opportunities to interact and build vocabulary include:

  • In Unit 1, Week 1, students learn vocabulary in three texts, “Aristotle and Democracy,” “The Iroquois Confederacy,” and “The Mayflower Compact.” During Build Vocabulary Mini-Lesson 4, students determine the meaning of domain-specific vocabulary as it is used in the texts. The vocabulary word citizen is in both “Aristotle and Democracy” and The Iroquois Confederacy.” Students also use context clues to determine the meaning of legislative and judicial.
  • In Unit 2, Week 1, vocabulary words come from shared, mentor, and extended texts. With Building Vocabulary, stricken, shining and clamor from “Jason’s Challenge.” The instructional focus is Demonstrate Understanding of Connotations and Nuances of Word Meanings. For Making Meaning with Words, vocabulary words from shared mentor and extended texts are betrayed and discrimination in “In Hiding” and manipulates in “Jason’s Challenge.” The instruction focus is building word knowledge by using vocabulary routines to introduce the words and having students complete the “Making Meaning with Words” glossary on the inside back cover of their Texts for Close Reading.
  • In Unit 6, Week 1, vocabulary words from shared, mentor, and extended texts are audacity, transformation, infections, tensions, slavery, commencement, encampment from “A Civil War Soldier Named Hannah.” The Word Study instruction focus is introduce and apply noun suffixes. For Making Meaning with Words, vocabulary words from shared mentor and extended texts are ambition, cherished and idle in “The Ballad of Mulan” and grasping in “Mulan Joins the Army.” The instructional focus is building word knowledge by using vocabulary routines to introduce the words and having students complete the “Making Meaning with Words” glossary on the inside back cover of their Texts for Close Reading.
  • In Unit 7, Week 1, Lesson 4, students reread to find context clues to domain-specific words about ancient civilizations and check definitions, using a dictionary or other references, and expand them to be more precise. Students work with a partner and select one domain-specific word and identify context clues that help them to define the word. In Week 3, students demonstrate understanding of word relationships. The teacher displays and distributes a Word Relationship Chart. Partners select one example and complete the chart for it by rereading the text to underline clues that help them determine these word relationships.
  • In Unit 10, Week 1, vocabulary words are in the shared, mentor, and extended texts. Harmful, devastating and critical are in “Wind at Work.” The Build Vocabulary instructional focus is determine the connotative meaning of words. For the Word Study lesson, vocabulary words are wind and light from “Why Does the Wind Blow,” wind and down from “Wind at Work” and content, wind, down, hail, tears, light, rose and entrance from “The Six Winds.” The instruction focus is introduce and apply homographs and these words are also spelling words. For Making Meaning with Words, vocabulary words from shared mentor and extended texts are originates and retains in “Why Does the Wind Blow” and critical in “Wind at Work.” The instruction focus is building word knowledge by using vocabulary routines to introduce the words and having students complete the “Making Meaning with Words” glossary on the inside back cover of their Texts for Close Reading.

Indicator 2f

Materials include a cohesive, year-long plan to support students' increasing writing skills over the course of the school year, building students' writing ability to demonstrate proficiency at grade level at the end of the school year.
4/4
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials include embedded writing across the year using a variety of well-designed guidance, protocols, models, and support for teachers to implement and monitor students' writing development. The writing instruction supports students’ growth in writing skills over the course of the school year, building students’ writing ability to demonstrate proficiency at grade level at the end of the year. Students write to address multiple topics over both short and extended time frames and are provided with mentor texts, writing prompts, and rubrics to help them self-evaluate writing, as well as give teachers a clear picture to evaluate and give feedback. The required time the weekly lesson would take, along with the amount of writing students are responsible for, is balanced and takes place during each 3-week unit. Students are provided time to adequately refine and reflect on their writing before moving on to a new topic. Discussion regarding writing also takes place with peers and with the teacher.

Students participate in both on-demand and process writings throughout the year. Students are required to respond to evidence-based writing prompts in the Build, Reflect, Write notebook. Prior to responding to the text, students have pre-work to support their response. Students read and reread texts, use annotation, cite text evidence to support their ideas and opinions, and write short analytical responses. Students are provided objectives directly related to the writing process during the lessons.Writing requires students to synthesize information gathered while engaging with text sets and use the writing to demonstrate comprehension of complex texts. Writing is used as a vehicle for research and building knowledge, and range of writing activities and increase in rigor from the beginning to the end of the school year. To provide comprehensive support, teacher materials to support students’ writing development by providing well-designed lesson plans, models and/or exemplars, and protocols to support student writing. Materials attend to not just end results of writing work, but also provide guidance for practicing, revising, and creating.

  • The Benchmark Program Reference Guide includes a component that outlines writing alignment: Writing Aligned to Common Core Expectations. This resource shows the writing progression and distribution of writing types and skills for grades K-6.
  • In Unit 2, students learn to write historical fiction.
    • In Week 1, teachers introduce the Historical Fiction genre and guide students through the prewriting steps in the writing process: brainstorm, evaluate ideas, and plan.
    • In Week 2, teachers guide students through the drafting steps in the writing process by establishing a situation and introducing characters, using description and dialogue to develop characters and story events, providing a conclusion, and using reference materials to check spelling.
    • In Week 3, teachers guide students through the revising, editing, and publishing steps in the writing process by using descriptive words to develop characters and setting, adjusting pacing of events to engage audience, editing the writing using proper case of pronouns and correct spelling and creating a title.
  • In Unit 5, students learn to write an opinion essay.
    • In Week 1, teachers introduce the Opinion Essay and guide students through the prewriting steps in the writing process; brainstorm, evaluate ideas, and plan by reading and analyzing a mentor text, analyzing how an author develops the topic (facts and details), using facts and details to support a main idea, analyzing a video source for facts and details, and using appropriate pronoun number and person.
    • In Week 2, teachers guide students through the drafting steps in the writing process by analyzing the prompt and planning the text, developing the topic with facts, definitions, and details, analyzing information from a video, organizing ideas, and recognizing and correcting vague pronouns.
    • In Week 3, teachers guide students through the revising, editing, and publishing steps in the writing process by introducing a topic with an effective opening paragraph, incorporating facts, definitions, and details from sources, improving fluency by using pronouns, correcting pronoun shifts, and evaluating and reflecting on writing
  • In Unit 6, students use Process Writing to write an argument essay. In Week 3, teachers guide students through the revising, edition, and publishing steps in the writing Process. Sequential mini-lessons are provided, helping students to organize their ideas, draft, revise, edit and publish their argument essay. In Week 3, Lesson 4, students are provided with modeling text, a writing checklist, and an argument essay anchor chart.
  • In Unit 9, students write a News Report.
    • In Week 1, teachers guide students through an analysis of a News Report text type and how to apply that analysis to their writing by introducing the purpose and audience for a news report, analyzing a mentor text, analyzing facts and details, brainstorming to narrow the focus, and selecting and taking notes from credible sources.
    • In Week 2, teachers guide students through the drafting steps in the writing process by introducing the news report, developing the script with facts and details, providing a concluding statement, gathering images for news show, and storyboarding the news report.
    • In Week 3, teachers guide students through the revising, editing, and publishing steps in the writing process by using precise language and domain-specific vocabulary, revising to maintain an objective tone, rehearsing/recording news show, sharing, and reviewing and reflecting.

Indicator 2g

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Benchmark Grade 6 meet the criteria that materials include a progression of focused research projects to encourage students to develop knowledge in a given area by confronting and analyzing different aspects of a topic using multiple texts and source materials.

The instructional materials provide a Program Reference Guide component that outlines writing alignment. This resource shows the writing progression and distribution of writing types and skills for grades K-6. In Units 8, 9 and 10, students conduct research independently or with a peer. In each unit, students conduct research to write in a different mode. Daily research and writing process mini-lessons support students’ independent work. In addition to a progression of writing tasks that increase in complexity across the grade levels, tasks also increase over time vertically through the grade levels. In Grade 6, students participate in independent/peer research projects. Research opportunities are sequenced throughout the year to include a progression of research skills that build to student independence. Opportunities are provided for students to integrate their language skills across units and topics. Students are provided with robust instruction, practice, and application of research skills throughout their grade level reading, writing, speaking, listening, and language skills. These skills are supported and put into practice as they build knowledge about a topic or topics. Support for students to develop and apply research skills are explicitly provided throughout each unit. The mini-lessons and topic-driven text sets support teachers in employing projects that develop students’ knowledge of different aspects of a topic.

  • In Unit 1, Connect Across the Disciplines, there are three choices in inquiry/research projects pertaining to the Essential Question of: “Why might societies form different types of government?”
    • Write a Classroom Code: Students research information on Hammurabi’s code, develop a code of “laws” for the classroom and create a presentation of the code, and share thinking with peers.
    • Produce a Time Travel Talk Show: Students research information on Hatshepsut and Queen Elizabeth II to compare their power and roles, write and produce an interview with the two queens, summarize key points and evaluate evidence in each interview, share thinking with peers.
    • Make a Science Safety Rule Poster: Students research information and visuals on the Nile River and the Aswan Dam to compare past and present, create a multimedia presentation on the effects of the Aswan Dam, summarize the presentations of others and evaluate their use of evidence, consider the role of government in environmental decisions, and share thinking with peers.
  • In Unit 3, Weeks 1-3, Writing to Sources, students write an informative report based on print sources and online sources.
    • In Week 1, students learn to search for relevant print sources and evaluate print sources.
    • In Week 2, learn to search for relevant online sources and evaluate online sources.
    • In Week 3, students learn to use direct quotes and learn how to paraphrase in their informative writing.
  • In Unit 5, Connect Across the Disciplines, there are three choices of inquiry/research projects for the Essential Question of: “How do we take responsibility in making advances in technology?”
    • Hold an Ancient Science Fair: Students research contributions to science and technology by ancient cultures, present these contributions in displays and experiments for a science fair, summarize learning from the exhibits, and share thinking with peers.
    • Develop an Ad Campaign: Students research information and visuals on the health of the nearest ocean, create an ad campaign on the importance of cleaning up and protecting the ocean, analyze evidence in support of an issue, and share thinking with peers.
    • Diagram Machines: Students analyze and make diagrams of simple machines to describe the parts and functions, evaluate diagrams of simple machines, and share thinking with peers.
  • In Unit 8, Weeks 1-3, students complete a process writing task of creating a Multimedia Presentation.
    • In Week 1, students organize ideas, introduce the purpose and audience, analyze a mentor text, brainstorm and evaluation ideas, organize ideas, concepts and information, and plan visuals to clarify information.
    • In Week 2, students introduce and develop the topic using facts and details, provide a concluding statement, and gather images for the presentation
    • In Week 3, students revise and rehearse for their multimedia presentation.
  • In Unit 9, Connect Across the Disciplines, there are three choices of inquiry/research projects for the Essential Question of: “What does it mean to be a citizen in a global society?”
    • Write Letters from the Silk Road: Students research information on Silk Road travel at a chosen time, write and present a descriptive letter detailing an imaginary journey on the Silk Road, and share thinking with peers.
    • Produce a Roman Travel Show: Students research information and visuals on ancient Roman commerce, create a video travel show, draw conclusions based on presentation, and share thinking with peers.
    • Stage an International Conference on the Environment: Students research solutions to climate change for specific nations, write and present a position paper on climate change, collaborate with others to reach agreement, and share thinking with peers.

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 materials reviewed for Benchmark Grade 6 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.

Benchmark materials provide the opportunity for students to read independently throughout the school year. The materials include a resource in Program Support titled, “Managing Your Independent Reading Program,” which details the expectations for teachers and students to be reading both in class and independently at home. The “Managing Your Independent Reading Program” includes: resources for organizing independent reading, the classroom library, room arrangement, anchor charts, mini-lessons for promoting independent reading, reading response journals and logs, discussion groups and book recommendations, guidance for conferring with students, and information on growing your classroom library. According to Benchmark materials, “Students should also be encouraged to develop a routine of reading daily at home for a minimum of 20 minutes, either independently or with a parent.” In the independent reading stage, students are required to self-select and to read materials at their own ‘just-right’ levels.” For Fluent Readers, the Five-Finger Method is recommended for book selection:

  1. Choose a book that you would like to read.
  2. Turn to any page and begin reading.
  3. If there are five words you can’t pronounce or that you don’t understand, the book is too difficult for you.
  4. Repeat the process until you find a “just-right” book.

A tracking system is recommended in the “Managing Your Independent Reading Program” to track students’ independent reading in the form of a reading log and reading response journal. Reading response journals are kept by students and used to record personal responses to texts they have read or will read. Teachers demonstrate proper techniques, provide mini-lessons on how to respond to literature and model several prompts by listing them on chart paper, and hang the paper on the wall. The reading log is also suggested as an independent reading tracking tool. In reading logs, students keep a record of what they have read by writing the book title, author, illustrator, genre, and date read.

There is sufficient teacher guidance to foster independence for all readers and procedures are organized for independent reading included in the lessons, for example, as stated in the text, “Within Benchmark Advance, students may participate in daily independent reading during the Independent and Collaborative Activity block, while the teacher meets with small groups of students to conduct differentiated small-group reading instruction, model fluency skills through reader’s theater, or reteach skills and strategies.” Students complete a variety of reading activities in the reading block. Students have shared reading and mentor read-alouds each week. There are also a set of small group texts that will be used in small group time. Each set of texts is leveled according to Guided Reading levels. Student independent reading materials span a wide volume of texts at grade levels. These texts titles are included as a teacher resource, Recommended Trade Books.

Gateway Three

Usability

Meets Expectations

+
-
Gateway Three Details

Criterion 3a - 3e

8/8
+
-
Criterion Rating Details

Indicator 3a

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

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

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

Indicator 3d

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

Indicator 3e

The visual design (whether in print or digital) is not distracting or chaotic, but supports students in engaging thoughtfully with the subject.
0/0
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

Criterion 3f - 3j

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

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

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

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

Indicator 3i

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

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

Criterion 3k - 3n

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

Indicator 3k

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

Indicator 3l

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

Indicator 3l.i

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

Indicator 3l.ii

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

Indicator 3m

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

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

Criterion 3o - 3r

Materials provide teachers with strategies for meeting the needs of a range of learners so that they demonstrate independent ability with grade-level standards.
8/10
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Criterion Rating Details

Indicator 3o

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

Indicator 3p

Materials regularly provide all students, including those who read, write, speak, or listen below grade level, or in a language other than English, with extensive opportunities to work with grade level text and meet or exceed grade-level standards.
2/4
+
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Indicator Rating Details

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

Indicator 3r

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

Criterion 3s - 3v

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

Indicator 3s

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

Indicator 3t

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

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
+
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Indicator Rating Details

Indicator 3u.ii

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

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

abc123

Report Published Date: 2018/03/16

Report Edition: 2018

Title ISBN Edition Publisher Year
Texts for Close Reading Unit 5 978‑1‑4900‑9185‑3 Benchmark Education Company 2015
Texts for Close Reading Unit 8 978‑1‑4900‑9188‑4 Benchmark Education Company 2015
Texts for Close Reading Unit 7 978‑1‑4900‑9195‑2 Benchmark Education Company 2015
Texts for Close Reading Unit 4 978‑1‑4900‑9200‑3 Benchmark Education Company 2015
Texts for Close Reading Unit 5 978‑1‑4900‑9201‑0 Benchmark Education Company 2015
Texts for Close Reading Unit 3 978‑1‑4900‑9207‑2 Benchmark Education Company 2015
Texts for Close Reading Unit 3 978‑1‑4900‑9215‑7 Benchmark Education Company 2015
Texts for Close Reading Unit 8 978‑1‑4900‑9220‑1 Benchmark Education Company 2015
Benchmark Advance Teacher Resource System Gr 6 Unit 1 and 2 978‑1‑5125‑2314‑0 Benchmark Education Company 2018
Benchmark Advance Teacher Resource System Gr 6 Unit 3 and 4 978‑1‑5125‑2315‑7 Benchmark Education Company 2018
Benchmark Advance Teacher Resource System Gr 6 Unit 5 and 6 978‑1‑5125‑2316‑4 Benchmark Education Company 2018
Benchmark Advance Teacher Resource System Gr 6 Unit 7 and 8 978‑1‑5125‑2317‑1 Benchmark Education Company 2018
Benchmark Advance Teacher Resource System Gr 6 Unit 9 and10 978‑1‑5125‑2318‑8 Benchmark Education Company 2018
Texts for Close Reading Unit 1 978‑1‑5125‑7849‑2 Benchmark Education Company 2015
Texts for Close Reading Unit 1 978‑1‑5125‑7851‑5 Benchmark Education Company 2015

Please note: Reports published beginning in 2021 will be using version 1.5 of our review tools. Version 1 of our review tools can be found here. Learn more about this change.

ELA 3-8 Review Tool

The ELA review criteria identifies the indicators for high-quality instructional materials. The review criteria supports 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 review criteria 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 complements the review criteria 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.

The EdReports rubric supports a sequential review process through three gateways. These gateways reflect the importance of alignment to college and career ready standards and considers other attributes of high-quality curriculum, such as usability and design, as recommended by educators.

Materials must meet or partially meet expectations for the first set of indicators (gateway 1) to move to the other gateways. 

Gateways 1 and 2 focus on questions of alignment to the standards. Are the instructional materials aligned to the standards? Are all standards present and treated with appropriate depth and quality required to support student learning?

Gateway 3 focuses on the question of usability. Are the instructional materials user-friendly for students and educators? Materials must be well designed to facilitate student learning and enhance a teacher’s ability to differentiate and build knowledge within the classroom. 

In order to be reviewed and attain a rating for usability (Gateway 3), the instructional materials must first meet expectations for alignment (Gateways 1 and 2).

Alignment and usability ratings are assigned based on how materials score on a series of criteria and indicators with reviewers providing supporting evidence to determine and substantiate each point awarded.

Alignment and usability ratings are assigned based on how materials score on a series of criteria and indicators with reviewers providing supporting evidence to determine and substantiate each point awarded.

For ELA and math, alignment ratings represent the degree to which materials meet expectations, partially meet expectations, or do not meet expectations for alignment to college- and career-ready standards, including that all standards are present and treated with the appropriate depth to support students in learning the skills and knowledge that they need to be ready for college and career.

For science, alignment ratings represent the degree to which materials meet expectations, partially meet expectations, or do not meet expectations for alignment to the Next Generation Science Standards, including that all standards are present and treated with the appropriate depth to support students in learning the skills and knowledge that they need to be ready for college and career.

For all content areas, usability ratings represent the degree to which materials meet expectations, partially meet expectations, or do not meet expectations for effective practices (as outlined in the evaluation tool) for use and design, teacher planning and learning, assessment, differentiated instruction, and effective technology use.

Math K-8

  • Focus and Coherence - 14 possible points

    • 12-14 points: Meets Expectations

    • 8-11 points: Partially Meets Expectations

    • Below 8 points: Does Not Meet Expectations

  • Rigor and Mathematical Practices - 18 possible points

    • 16-18 points: Meets Expectations

    • 11-15 points: Partially Meets Expectations

    • Below 11 points: Does Not Meet Expectations

  • Instructional Supports and Usability - 38 possible points

    • 31-38 points: Meets Expectations

    • 23-30 points: Partially Meets Expectations

    • Below 23: Does Not Meet Expectations

Math High School

  • Focus and Coherence - 18 possible points

    • 14-18 points: Meets Expectations

    • 10-13 points: Partially Meets Expectations

    • Below 10 points: Does Not Meet Expectations

  • Rigor and Mathematical Practices - 16 possible points

    • 14-16 points: Meets Expectations

    • 10-13 points: Partially Meets Expectations

    • Below 10 points: Does Not Meet Expectations

  • Instructional Supports and Usability - 36 possible points

    • 30-36 points: Meets Expectations

    • 22-29 points: Partially Meets Expectations

    • Below 22: Does Not Meet Expectations

ELA K-2

  • Text Complexity and Quality - 58 possible points

    • 52-58 points: Meets Expectations

    • 28-51 points: Partially Meets Expectations

    • Below 28 points: Does Not Meet Expectations

  • Building Knowledge with Texts, Vocabulary, and Tasks - 32 possible points

    • 28-32 points: Meet Expectations

    • 16-27 points: Partially Meets Expectations

    • Below 16 points: Does Not Meet Expectations

  • Instructional Supports and Usability - 34 possible points

    • 30-34 points: Meets Expectations

    • 24-29 points: Partially Meets Expectations

    • Below 24 points: Does Not Meet Expectations

ELA 3-5

  • Text Complexity and Quality - 42 possible points

    • 37-42 points: Meets Expectations

    • 21-36 points: Partially Meets Expectations

    • Below 21 points: Does Not Meet Expectations

  • Building Knowledge with Texts, Vocabulary, and Tasks - 32 possible points

    • 28-32 points: Meet Expectations

    • 16-27 points: Partially Meets Expectations

    • Below 16 points: Does Not Meet Expectations

  • Instructional Supports and Usability - 34 possible points

    • 30-34 points: Meets Expectations

    • 24-29 points: Partially Meets Expectations

    • Below 24 points: Does Not Meet Expectations

ELA 6-8

  • Text Complexity and Quality - 36 possible points

    • 32-36 points: Meets Expectations

    • 18-31 points: Partially Meets Expectations

    • Below 18 points: Does Not Meet Expectations

  • Building Knowledge with Texts, Vocabulary, and Tasks - 32 possible points

    • 28-32 points: Meet Expectations

    • 16-27 points: Partially Meets Expectations

    • Below 16 points: Does Not Meet Expectations

  • Instructional Supports and Usability - 34 possible points

    • 30-34 points: Meets Expectations

    • 24-29 points: Partially Meets Expectations

    • Below 24 points: Does Not Meet Expectations


ELA High School

  • Text Complexity and Quality - 32 possible points

    • 28-32 points: Meets Expectations

    • 16-27 points: Partially Meets Expectations

    • Below 16 points: Does Not Meet Expectations

  • Building Knowledge with Texts, Vocabulary, and Tasks - 32 possible points

    • 28-32 points: Meet Expectations

    • 16-27 points: Partially Meets Expectations

    • Below 16 points: Does Not Meet Expectations

  • Instructional Supports and Usability - 34 possible points

    • 30-34 points: Meets Expectations

    • 24-29 points: Partially Meets Expectations

    • Below 24 points: Does Not Meet Expectations

Science Middle School

  • Designed for NGSS - 26 possible points

    • 22-26 points: Meets Expectations

    • 13-21 points: Partially Meets Expectations

    • Below 13 points: Does Not Meet Expectations


  • Coherence and Scope - 56 possible points

    • 48-56 points: Meets Expectations

    • 30-47 points: Partially Meets Expectations

    • Below 30 points: Does Not Meet Expectations


  • Instructional Supports and Usability - 54 possible points

    • 46-54 points: Meets Expectations

    • 29-45 points: Partially Meets Expectations

    • Below 29 points: Does Not Meet Expectations