Alignment: Overall Summary

The instructional materials for Grade 9 partially meet the expectations of alignment. Discrete standards and skills instruction and practice are mostly present, providing students opportunities to practice reading closely, writing and speaking in different modes, and demonstrating comprehension. Texts included over the course of the year are high quality and appropriately rigorous, and provide some opportunity for students to build knowledge of topics and themes. The materials partially support this knowledge building consistently, and the teacher may have to supplement to give more time and practice on  deep vocabulary and integrated skills practice. 

See Rating Scale
Understanding Gateways

Alignment

|

Partially Meets Expectations

Gateway 1:

Text Quality

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

Gateway 2:

Building Knowledge

0
15
28
32
24
28-32
Meets Expectations
16-27
Partially Meets Expectations
0-15
Does Not Meet Expectations

Usability

|

Not Rated

Not Rated

Gateway 3:

Usability

0
23
30
34
N/A
30-34
Meets Expectations
24-29
Partially Meets Expectations
0-23
Does Not Meet Expectations

Gateway One

Text Quality & Complexity and Alignment to Standards Components

Meets Expectations

+
-
Gateway One Details

The materials for Grade 9 meet the expectations of Gateway 1. Texts are high quality and appropriately rigorous, and associated tasks and questions assure students will have to read closely. Speaking and listening and writing instruction is provided consistently and attends to appropriate depth and breadth of modes, genres, and types. The teacher may have to do some supplementing to assure each student has applied practice with language and grammar, although some lessons are present. 

Criterion 1a - 1f

Texts are worthy of students' time and attention: texts are of quality and are rigorous, meeting the text complexity criteria for each grade. Materials support students' advancing toward independent reading.
15/16
+
-
Criterion Rating Details

The materials for Grade 9 include appropriately rigorous and complex high quality texts for students to build their reading and comprehension. Texts include different genres and modes to assure a breadth and depth of reading appropriate for the grade.

Indicator 1a

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

The materials reviewed for Grade 9 meet the criteria for anchor texts being of publishable quality and worthy of especially careful reading.

The materials contain anchor texts that are well-crafted, content rich, and include a range of student interests, engaging students in careful reading. While skills-based Chapters 1-4 do not include anchor texts, the majority of the text excerpts included in the chapters are of publishable quality. The anchor texts included in the genre/mode Chapters 5-11 are of quality. 

Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • In Chapter 1: Starting the Conversation, students read an excerpt from “Stop Googling. Let’s Talk” by Sherry Turkle. Turkle’s article, published in the New York Times, provides students with an engaging take on communication in the digital age. This relevant excerpt shares reflections from Turkle’s research with which students can identify.
  • In Chapter 4: Using Sources, students read “Alone in the Crowd,” an interview by Michael Price. The text is an interview with Sherry Turkle that appeared in Monitor on Psychology published by the American Psychological Association. The text provides an insightful look into the psychological impacts of social media, a high-interest topic with which students can connect. 
  • In Chapter 6: Argument, students read "What’s Wrong with Cinderella?" by Peggy Orenstein. This Central Text was written by a best-selling and widely published author, and it is an approachable selection on the high-interest topic of gender stereotypes.
  • In Chapter 9: Narrative, students read "La Gringuita" by Julia Alvarez. This Central Text is culturally relevant and explores the thought-provoking topic of language and power. It was written by a critically acclaimed and popular author.
  • In Chapter 11: Mythology, students read excerpts from The Odyssey by Homer. This Central Text is Common Core exemplar that is timeless and has classic themes and rich language.

Indicator 1b

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

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

The materials include texts that are an appropriate mix of informational and literary texts. A wide variety of informational and literary text are integrated throughout each chapter. Anchor and supplementary texts result in a wide distribution of genres and text types as required by the standards, including, but not limited to: nonfiction articles, art, autobiography, graphic novel, data, speech, tragedy, memoir, interview, essay, opinion, satire. 

The emphasis is on each of the major genre/modes: fiction, argument, poetry, exposition, narrative, drama, and mythology. In the genre/mode chapters, there is effort to balance informational and literary text, where appropriate.  For example, Chapter 5 focuses on Fiction, but five nonfiction texts in the Conversation are paired with the literary Central Text, “Two Kinds.” 

Examples of literary texts include, but are not limited to:

  • Chapter 1 - Bizarro Comics by Dan Piraro (comic strip)
  • Chapter 2 - “Driving the Car” by Jenny Allen (poem)
  • Chapter 3 - from “Inhibition” by Sylvia Plath (short story excerpt)
  • Chapter 5 - “Story of an Hour” by Kate Chopin (short story)
  • Chapter 7 - “Let America Be America Again” by Langston Hughes (poem)
  • Chapter 10 - The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet by Shakespeare (drama)
  • Chapter 11 - The Odyssey by Homer (epic poem)

Examples of informational texts include, but are not limited to:

  • Chapter 2 - “I (Heart) the Emoji Revolution” by Britt Peterson (opinion)
  • Chapter 4 - “Professors See Shift in Academic Attitudes on Wikipedia” by Melissa C. Rodman (article)
  • Chapter 6 - “Letter From Delano” by Cesar Chavez (letter)
  • Chapter 8 - “My Daughter’s Homework is Killing Me” by Karl Taro Greenfield (diary)
  • Chapter 9 - “By Any Other Name” by Santha Rama Rau (nonfiction narrative)
  • Chapter 11 - “The Psychology Behind Superhero Origins Stories” by Robin Rosenberg (article)

Indicator 1c

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 9 meet the criteria for texts having the appropriate level of complexity for the grade level (according to quantitative analysis and qualitative analysis).

The materials include a majority of anchor texts that are appropriately placed for the grade level. Most anchor texts have the appropriate level of complexity according to quantitative and qualitative analysis and relationship to their associated student task. Chapters 1-4 do not have anchor texts; rather, they include text excerpts that are used to teach reading and writing skills. The excerpts have the appropriate level of complexity for the grade level. In the genre/mode chapters, most texts are within the Grade 9-10 Lexile band. Those that are above or below the band have appropriate qualitative measure and the related tasks are appropriately connected to the text. 

Examples of anchor texts that are within the Lexile band for Grade 9 include:

  • In Chapter 7, students read the poem “Home Court’s” which has a Lexile of 980L. 
  • In Chapter 9, students read “La Gringuita” which has a Lexile of 1110L.
  • In Chapter 10, students read The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet. Though the text does not have a Lexile rating, it is a classic text for Grade 9.
  • In Chapter 11, students read excerpts from The Odyssey which has a Lexile of 1010L.

Examples of anchor texts that are above or below the Lexile band, but are appropriate based on qualitative measures and related tasks include:

  • In Chapter 5, students read “Two Kinds” which has a quantitative measure of 840L. Though the text is below grade level, it is paired with classic Grade 9 short stories such as “The Cask of Amontillado” and “The Most Dangerous Game.” Tan’s story is an excellent start to topic of success and the pressures of achievement many students face. The related, culminating task is a literary analysis essay that requires understanding and explanation of epiphany.
  • In Chapter 6, students read “What’s Wrong with Cinderella?” The quantitative measure is 1150L. Though it is in the stretch Lexile band, the Central Text will help students unpack gender stereotypes and open discussions into a larger conversation about how media shapes ideas of gender roles, which is an interesting topic for students. The related task is a series of questions related to activities done in class and scaffolded by the teacher. These questions lead to the culminating task to write an argumentative essay referencing at least two texts from the unit.
  • In Chapter 8, students read “The Politics of the Hoodie” which has a quantitative measure of 1350L. Though this Central Text is above grade level, the subject matter should be of interest to students. Some students may need additional guidance to understand the finer points and distinctions of the essay; however, the topic and timeliness of the text makes it an appropriate essay for Grade 9. The related task is a compare/contrast activity where students answer questions after reading a series of texts that are at grade level and compare it to this text.

Indicator 1d

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 9 meet the criteria for materials supporting students’ literacy skills (understanding and comprehension) over the course of the school year through increasingly complex text to develop independence of grade level skills (Series of texts should be at a variety of complexity levels).

The materials are intentionally designed and organized to encourage and support the development of specific skills for interacting with texts of increasing difficulty across chapters and throughout the year. To accomplish this, texts are grouped and structured to build knowledge and fluency. The organization of each chapter into Conversations and Workshops allows students to read and analyze increasingly complex texts while practicing discrete, identifiable skills. The range of text complexities, subjects, and types provides opportunities for growth. Additionally, the materials provide the necessary prompts and supports for students to become metacognitive and reflective about their growth as a reader, writer, thinker, speaker, and listener. 

The first four chapters focus on establishing communication skills in the classroom: “discussing ideas civilly, listening actively, writing clearly and with voice, reading actively and critically, and using sources skillfully and responsibly.” These initial chapters break down the skills into small, manageable, instructionally-scaffolded activities. The skills students learn in the first four chapters are woven throughout the rest of the chapters through instruction and assessment in reading and analyzing texts in a variety of genres and modes. Each of the genre/mode chapters is organized into three ordered sections with a combination of low-level approachable texts, grade-level texts, and challenging, conceptually complex texts. 

Skills build on one another, as well as the complexity of the texts to support students’ literacy skills. In the genre/mode chapters, there is a full range of the Lexile stretch band providing opportunities to challenge students. The complexity of anchor texts support students’ proficiency in reading independently and analyzing text at grade level by the end of the school year as required by grade level standards. The Teacher’s Edition of the materials includes teacher tips for organizing and differentiating instruction to meet the standards and the demands of a variety of learners.

Example of how reading skills are taught over the course of the year to meet grade level standards:

  • In Chapter 3: Reading, students learn basic close reading strategies for comprehension, such as annotating a text, using context clues, understanding vocabulary, noting sentence structure, summarizing a text, distinguishing between reading for understanding and reading for interpretation, and analyzing visual texts. For the culminating activity, students read Sylvia Plath’s “Initiation” (1120L) and are directed to annotate while reading. After reading, students answer comprehension, analysis, and metacognitive questions such as to write a summary, determine a theme, analyze author’s style, and “Identify any challenges or difficulties you had reading this text and the methods you used to try to overcome them.” For all the questions, students are reminded they can review reading challenges on specific pages of the chapter.
  • In Chapter 5: Fiction, Workshop 1: Essential Elements of Fiction, students review elements of fiction and engage in reading three selections in Section 1: “The Veldt” by Ray Bradbury (650L), “Reindeer Games” by Sherman Alexie (520L), and “Mirror Image” by Lena Coakley (650L). The difficulty of the readings progress with each section of the unit creating many opportunities for students to demonstrate understanding by answering questions. For example, after reading “The Veldt,” students answer,  “Describe George and Lydia as parents. How does Bradbury use characterization to illustrate their strengths and weaknesses?” This is the type of continuous analysis practice that extends from the earlier experience analyzing “Initiation” in Chapter 3. 
  • In Chapter 11: Mythology, Section 3, students read excerpts from a contemporary verse play adaptation of The Epic of Gilgamesh. At the end of the selection, students complete Topics for Composing activities, including an Extension activity that requires independent reading: “Acquire a copy of another version of the story of Gilgamesh and locate a passage that has significant differences in the word choice and/or use of figurative language from this version you have been reading. Explain the effect of these changes on the readers’ understanding of the characters, theme, or tone of the story.” 


Indicator 1e

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 9 partially meet the expectation 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 materials provide quantitative information and general qualitative information for most texts. Rationale for educational purpose and placement in the grade level is indirectly addressed in the materials, though it is not provided with the text in the Teacher’s Edition. Rather the Lexile Analysis is located on the Teacher’s Resource Flash Drive and includes Lexile score, word count, mean sentence length (MSL), and mean log word frequency (MLF). Texts with a Lexile below 650L include a quantitative analysis of decoding, semantics, syntax, and structure. Some qualitative information is found in the first pages in the Teacher’s Edition stating that the purpose for including a wide range of texts is to address “a ninth-grade classroom with students of widely varying abilities and backgrounds.” Beyond this, the materials lack substantial qualitative information concerning the selection and placement of texts. 

Overall, though detailed quantitative measures are provided and some potential difficulties are mentioned, the materials do not include a purpose or rationale for placing the texts within the grade level and sections other than how they might contribute to the discussions in the chapter and the fact that they are ordered in terms of complexity.

Examples of how the materials provide text complexity analysis and rationale include, but are not limited to:

  • Each chapter has a Chapter Planning Guide that includes a Text Overview and Pacing section that provides “a snapshot of each reading, with an emphasis on what qualities might make the text approachable— or challenging— for students, including such characteristics as time period, sentence structure, vocabulary, and context.”  These notes also include a brief commentary on potential topics and conversations that are related to the selection. 
  • Chapters 1-3 focus on conversational, reading, and writing skills, and Chapter 4 focuses on utilizing sources. No detailed text complexity analyses or Lexile levels are provided for the texts in Chapter 1-4. 
  • In Chapters 5-10, these genre/mode chapters include three sections containing increasingly challenging texts. Section One includes “brief and approachable texts to build foundational skills.” These are “entry-level texts that all students could read and analyze with minimal background information.” Section two texts are “texts representing grade-level complexity for ninth grade,” including “the chapter’s Central Text: a model text in the genre or mode.” They are “designed to be exemplars of the mode/genre elements and of a level that teachers can reasonably expect ninth graders to be able to read and analyze, although they may need additional context and teacher support.”  Following Section Two is a Conversation which is a “thematic cluster of texts dealing with a specific issue in the Central Text. [This is a]n opportunity to engage with multiple texts and respond with an informed argument.” Section Three provides “the most challenging texts in each chapter, approach the level of challenge seen in an actual AP® English class. The texts are rich and sophisticated in terms of language, conceptual or thematic complexity, structure, and necessary context.”
  • In Chapter 9: Narrative, Introduction, Chapter at a Glance, an overview and potential challenges are included for each text in the chapter. The qualitative description for the short story, “Starting Out,” states what students will learn while reading: “The essential elements of narratives are shown in ‘Starting Out,’ a short piece about a young woman claiming her identity as a writer. In this workshop, students learn about the critical components of first person POV, characterization, conflict, setting, reflection and theme, and ‘truth’ and artistic license with examples pulled straight from the opening narrative.” In the Lexile Measures Summary, the text is not rated.

Indicator 1f

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

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

Across the materials and within individual chapters, students have access to texts from a variety of genres and levels of difficulties that support students’ individual growth as readers. In addition to the core suggested texts, teachers have access to additional texts that can be assigned to developing grade-level readers. Throughout each chapter, students read a variety of text types and lengths from a range of disciplines with appropriate levels of support. The texts are arranged to increase in difficulty as the students progress through the chapter. The materials incorporate three text sections which include a volume of texts at increasing complexity: foundational, grade level, and challenging.  These scaffolded text sections encourage reading independence at grade level and beyond. Texts types include short nonfiction pieces, poetry, nonfiction articles, narratives, dramas, and mythology. 

Examples of the range and volume of reading that meet the criteria for this indicator include, but are not limited to:

  •  In Chapter 1: Starting the Conversation, students read informational chapter material; listen to a TED talk called “The Power of Introverts;” observe and analyze a cartoon; read and listen to two essays from National Public Radio’s “This I Believe” project: “In Praise of the ‘Wobblies’” by Ted Gup and “Returning to What’s Natural” Amelia Baxter-Stoltzfus; and read an excerpt from the article “Stop Googling. Let’s Talk,” by communication researcher, Sherry Turkle.
  •  In Chapter 5: Fiction, students read the anchor text, Amy Tan’s “Two Kinds,” and the supporting texts: “Ambush,” by Tim O’Brien, “The Veldt” by Ray Bradbury, “Reindeer Games” by Sherman Alexie, “Mirror Image” by Lena Coakley, the graphic story “Square Eyes” by Anna Mill and Luke Jones, and “The Cask of Amontillado” by Edgar Allan Poe.
  • In Chapter 7: Reading Poetry, students read the shape poem, “Easter Wings,” by George Herbert; the found poems, “Find Your Way” and “You—American Boy.” by Jenni B. Baker; and classic texts like “The Raven” by Edgar Allan Poe, “Sonnet 18: Shall I Compare Thee…” by William Shakespeare, and “Because I Could Not Stop for Death” by Emily Dickinson. 
  • In Chapter 10: Drama, students read the anchor text, Shakespeare’s, The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet. An accompanying foundational text is Gonzalez's play, Boxcar — El Vagon, and a challenging text is Ryback’s play, A Roz by Any Other Name.

Criterion 1g - 1n

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

The materials for Grade 9 support text-focused reading, writing, speaking, and listening, providing students with consistent questions and tasks that require close reading. Culminating tasks provide the teacher understanding of which standards and skills students have mastered, and how deeply they understand the text. Writing practice and instruction attends to text-based writing as well as developing strong writing process. Language and grammar instruction may require the teacher to do extra work to assure that students are receiving comprehensive, consistent practice. 

Indicator 1g

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 9 meet the expectation 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).

The materials include questions and tasks that require careful reading over the course of a school year; students must provide evidence from texts to support claims. Most questions, tasks, and assignments require students to answer literal and inferential questions and complete tasks with text evidence. Students also work independently and collaboratively to respond to and generate text-specific questions. In the first four chapters, lessons are focused on skills associated with one type of task per chapter: Starting the Conversation, Writing, Reading, and Using Sources. In these four chapters, students are not required to answer text-dependent questions about specific elements of text, rather they engage with texts by applying skills referring to the texts they read. The following seven genre-based chapters require students to regularly answer specific, text-based questions. During reading, students refer to the text to answer Close Reading and Check for Understanding questions. After reading selections, students refer to the text for Understanding and Interpreting questions; Analyzing Language, Style, and Structure questions; and end-of-chapter multiple choice exams.

Additionally, Culminating Activities are text-dependent. Test bank items are both literal and inferential text-dependent questions that require students to gather text evidence about the roles of specific details, the meaning of specific phrases, character development, and vocabulary analysis. The process supports a text-centric curriculum and approach to multiple literacy skills.

Examples of text-dependent questions, tasks, and assignments include, but are not limited to:

  • In Chapter 2: Writing in Context, Section 2: Writing in Context, students read quotes from Martin Luther King Jr.’s 1963 “I Have a Dream” speech to learn about how language choices create tone: “As you read the quote, can you hear King’s voice? How does he sound? How might we describe his tone? Fiery? Grand? Uplifting? Resolute?”
  • In Chapter 3: Reading, Section 2: Reading for Understanding: What this Text is Saying, Activity 1: Reading for Understanding, students read “How to Breathe” by Malia Wollan and write a summary by “identifying the stated or unstated main idea and at least two or three supporting details. Compare your summary with a classmate and discuss the similarities and differences between them.” 
  • In Chapter 4: Using Sources, Section 4: Analyzing Sources, Activity 1: Analyzing Sources, students “Read the source, annotating key points and highlighting sections that seem promising as direct quotations. Then summarize the source in one or two sentences.” The Reflection activity instructs students to “compare the key passages you selected, particularly those noted as potential quotations. Discuss why each of you chose as you did, particularly when you choose different phrases of passages.” In the Teacher’s Edition, the Teaching Ideas resource states, “write a journal about Eliot’s point that boys and girls learn differently because of the experiences to which they are more likely to be exposed (nurture) and not their “innate brain wiring” (nature). Have students consider... how the nature-versus-nurture argument influences their thoughts about the effects of same-sex education.” 
  • In Chapter 6: Argument, Section 1, students read “Why School Should Start Later in the Day” by Lisa Lewis and answer the explicit multiple choice test bank question, “Which of the following is not part of Lewis's argument about the effects of early school days on student athletes (pars. 7–8)?” The test bank also includes multiple choice items that draw on inferences from the text: “Which of the following is an important  assumption underlying Lewis's argument?” In the Teacher’s Edition, Teaching Ideas and Check for Understanding suggestions include asking students to identify the claim in a paragraph and then evaluate whether the provided evidence strongly supports the claim.
  • In Chapter 9: Narrative, Section 1, students read “By Any Other Name” by Santha Rama Rau. After reading, students answer Understanding and Interpreting questions: “How is the reader expected to interpret the actions of the headmistress when she changed the girls’ names to English versions (par. 3)? Is she just a bumbling but mostly harmless figure, or were her actions of ill intent?”
  • In Chapter 11: Mythology, Section 1, students read the short story, “The Treasures of the Gods” by Neil Gaiman. During reading, they complete a close reading activity: “Loki begins unveiling ‘treasures’ in paragraph 85. Ask students to consider how Loki’s attitude changes over the course of this section to paragraph 120. What does this reveal about Loki’s character, and how does this create a contrast with Loki’s character in Part I?”

Indicator 1h

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

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

The materials contain sets of high-quality sequences of text-dependent questions and activities which develop skills to assist in completing and demonstrating their learning in the accompanying culminating activity. Each chapter has one or more culminating tasks that provides opportunities for students to demonstrate what they know and are able to do. Students follow a sequence of activities in reading and writing workshops that build to the culminating task. Workshops are designed to help students synthesize and apply their learning from the chapter.

Chapters 1-4 include a culminating task that requires students to incorporate the skills they practiced through the readings, text-dependent questions, and activities in the chapter. The genre/mode chapters include three Workshops that serve as culminating tasks. In the first Workshop, students study the essential elements of the genre through reading increasingly complex selections and answering text-dependent questions on these readings, which lays the groundwork for understanding the integrated standards presented. These tasks help prepare them for the second and third Workshops where they analyze a piece of writing and compose their own work in the genre. In each chapter, every activity and every question relate to the final two workshops. The many Seeing Connections; Understanding and Interpreting; Analyzing Language, Style, and Structure; and Topics for Composing text-dependent and text-specific prompts posed after each text allow students to learn and practice integrated skills specific to each genre.

Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • In Chapter 1: Starting the Conversation, students learn a set of skills on the topics of active listening, academic discourse, and the elements of presentation. At the end of the unit, students complete two culminating tasks: “Write a short speech on the topic of a community to which you belong." "Present your speech with verbal and nonverbal delivery elements in mind.”
  • In Chapter 2: Writing, students are instructed on the topics of voice and tone, writing in context, word choice, sentences, punctuation, and paragraphs. The activities for these topics build to the Culminating Activity: “Write a unified and coherent academic paragraph on the importance of community.”
  • In Chapter 3: Reading, Culminating Activity, students annotate, summarize, and analyze Sylvia Plath’s “Initiation.” Throughout the chapter, students answer a variety of texts both written and visual, such as an Activity: Style, Tone, and Meaning question where students read a selection from “Speech at the Nixon Library” by Pat Buchanan and examine his diction and syntax to infer his attitude towards immigration. The practice in style analysis supports the independent reading and analysis of “Initiation” in the Culminating Activity. 
  • In Chapter 5: Fiction, students complete three Writing Workshops. In Workshop 1, students practice analyzing and writing narrative fiction throughout the chapter. After reading the Central Text, “Two Kinds,” students answer: “Though the story is written from Jing-mei’s perspective, Tan uses direct and indirect characterization to shape the other characters in the story. Rewrite a scene in the story from a different point of view.” Then in Workshop 2, students use the skills they learned about analyzing fiction to write a formal analysis of a self-chosen passage from the chapter. In Workshop 3: Writing an Analysis of Fiction, multiple stories and related questions are used to help students prepare to write a literary analysis about an epiphany: “Explain what causes the epiphany in ‘Two Kinds.’ Explain what the epiphany reveals about Jing-mei.” The scaffolded instructions include: “Let’s practice some analysis using a small passage from the Central Text..A typical writing prompt for an analysis of fiction might read: In many works of literature, characters experience an epiphany. An epiphany is a sudden realization that has a major impact on the character’s life. Explain what causes this epiphany, and how this epiphany develops the character and reveals a theme.” Students are reminded to break down the prompt and find the definition of epiphany.
  • In Chapter 7: Poetry, Workshop 2: Writing Poetry, students engage in text specific activities to help them build skills for the culminating activity of creating and revising their poems. For example, in Activity: Syntax students examine poems from Billy Collins, Emily Dickinson, and Adrienne Su and to rewrite the poems with different line breaks, punctuation, and word arrangement. This activity would help students think about their own syntax in their work. 
  • In Chapter 8: Exposition, Workshop 2: Writing an Exposition, students examine a series of texts throughout the unit to help develop their drafts such as identifying the main idea in an excerpt from Susan Cain’s Quiet, exploring use of examples in Rebecca Solnit’s Men Explain Things to Me, and studying description in Alan Weisman’s “Earth Without People.” 

Indicator 1i

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 9 meet the criteria that materials provide frequent opportunities and protocols to engage students in speaking and listening activities and discussions (small group, peer-to-peer, whole class) which encourage the modeling and use of academic vocabulary and syntax.

Materials and supports provide grade level appropriate opportunities for discussions that encourage the modeling and use of academic vocabulary and syntax through an intentional focus on evidence-based discussions. The first chapter, Starting the Conversation, focuses on academic dialogue, discussion, and listening skills and includes a rationale that states students should consider not just what they say, but how they say it. Students learn the academic vocabulary of voice, dialogue, active listening, debate, and consensus. The Teacher’s Resource Flash Drive also includes teacher-led protocols for speaking and active listening that serve as models for different discussion settings (partner, small group, whole class). In the genre/mode chapters, a section called Conversation provides practice on the speaking and listening skills introduced in Chapter One. This section contains a collection of texts with instruction and activities focused on the discussion of a topic and associated essential questions.

Each chapter section includes activities which encourage the use of academic vocabulary and syntax. Students use Think Aloud activities to practice using academic vocabulary in their discussions, such as compare and contrast and cause and effect. The sections on active listening and engaging in academic conversations provide detailed instruction on how to participate in evidence-based discussions. 

Teacher materials provide support and direction for teachers to fully implement grade level standards and grow students’ speaking and listening skills. The Teacher’s Edition includes frequent activities and questions that could be used to prompt discussions, as well as Teaching Ideas to guide discussions. The Teacher’s Resource Flash Drive contains protocols for discussion modes such as the Fishbowl and Socratic Seminar and grading rubrics for all types of discussion. The appendix includes two speaking and listening topics: listening effectively and effective group communication. 

Examples of opportunities and protocols for speaking and listening include, but are not limited to:

  • In Chapter 6: Argument, Workshop 1: Essential Elements of Argument, the Teacher’s Edition suggests the teacher conduct a Think Aloud with the text, “Beyond Education Wars” by Nicholas Kristof: “Consider reading this article to your students. This will allow you to ‘think aloud’ as you read. In this way, you can model the kind of reading you hope they will do in this chapter. For example, marvel at the image of ‘waves of idealistic Americans.’ How does the absurdity of a wave of idealistic Americans crashing on the shores of education help us understand the writer’s tone as he speaks about a series of moments led by idealistic People?” The Teacher’s Edition also references the guidelines for conducting an effective Think Aloud activity in the TRM Instructional Strategies supplement (found in the Teacher’s Resource Flash Drive): “This technique might first be modeled by the teacher, but ultimately the responsibility should be released to the students to ‘think-aloud’ either in small groups, or as a class. You can simplify the list of instructions above to help guide their inquiry.” 
  • In Chapter 8: Exposition, Workshop 1: Essential Elements of Exposition, Activity: Compare and Contrast, students answer questions in a discussion format: “With a partner or small group, compare and contrast your favorite music with theirs. What similarities do the styles of music share? What are the differences?”  Later in the workshop, students use the previous activity to discuss: “When you are finished, share your paragraph with a partner and discuss how writing about the cause/effect relationships helps the reader understand your music’s impact better.” 
  • The Speaking and Listening Appendix, Section: Effective Group Communication, includes information for students on the following topics: Setting an Agenda, Understanding Small Group Roles, How to Frame Disagreements, Resisting Groupthink, and Group Decision Making. Under Group Decision Making, specific academic vocabulary for discussion is presented to students when they are encouraged to utilize the argumentation strategies of devil’s advocacy and dialectical inquiry in order to make the best decision for the group.
  • In Chapter 9: Narrative, Conversation, students read a group of texts related to the topic “What Is the Relationship between Language and Power?” Afterward, they participate in a Socratic Seminar, a model for small group or whole class discussion, where they use evidence from the texts they read to have a “Conversation about language and power as well as these essential questions:
    • How does race pertain to the relationship between language and power?
    • What impact does age have on language and the way it relates to power?
    • How does gender affect the power of language?
    • How can we see that some languages have more power than others?”

Indicator 1j

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

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

The materials support students’ listening and speaking about what they are reading or researching with examples of follow-up questions. The Teacher’s Edition includes Teaching Ideas, Building Context notes, and Close Reading activities in the margin that often suggest ways that teachers can engage students in classroom discussion to enhance their understanding of a text. Discussions occur before, during, or after reading. In the Teacher’s Edition, most chapters provide suggestions for speaking and listening activities, such as Socratic Seminars, think-pair-share, synthesis roleplaying, Philosophical Chairs, and Fishbowl. These activities require students to speak and listen about what they read and research and often require students to support with evidence from the text. They often present their findings to other students, either in a small group or to the whole class. A Speaking and Listening Appendix includes instruction for creating a speech, making a presentation, listening effectively, and using effective group communication.

Evidence includes, but is not limited to: 

  • In Chapter 1: Starting the Conversation, students learn how to use academic voice and active listening to participate in an academic conversation related to two articles. They read “I Fought to Defend Colin Kaepernick’s Actions” by Brian Adam Jones and “Letter to Presidents and Athletic Directors of the University of Texas System” by William H. McRaven. They then write a written response to the question, “Was Kaepernick justified in not standing? Why or why not?” Then they participate in an academic discussion: “Start the dialogue by sharing your response with a partner or small group while practicing the active listening strategies described in the previous section (p. 6). Then, add to each other’s ideas, challenge one or two, and try to find consensus on the topic, but don’t worry if you do not fully agree with each other. Be sure to use the sample questions and statements to guide your conversation.”
  • In Chapter 8: Exposition, Section 1, students read the article “Why Teenage Girls Roll Their Eyes” by Lisa Damour. In the Teacher’s Edition, before reading the selection, a Building Context note suggests that teachers “get students thinking about mannerisms that are, perhaps, unique to a specific group. It might help to have them work with a partner and craft a short list of what they might call ‘signature’ physical behaviors of teenagers (or of teachers, if you are brave) and what they feel motivates those behaviors. Given how attentive teenagers can be to nonverbal cues, the brief discussion will create a starting point for dialogue with Damour’s text.”
  • In Chapter 9: Narrative, students read a group of texts related to the topic “What Is the Relationship between Language and Power?” Afterward, they participate in a Socratic Seminar where they use evidence from the texts they read to have a “Conversation about language and power as well as these essential questions: How does race pertain to the relationship between language and power? What impact does age have on language and the way it relates to power? How does gender affect the power of language? How can we see that some languages have more power than others?” Teachers are also directed to the Teacher’s Resource Flash Drive for instructions on how to hold a successful Socratic Seminar, which includes prompting students who are speaking to cite evidence for their claims.
  • In Chapter 10: Drama, Section 3, Workshop 2: Writing Drama, the Teacher’s Edition suggests: “After students complete these final reflections, perhaps arrange student desks in a large circle and have each student read his or her response to the class.” This provides an opportunity for students to speak about and listen to a shared class project. 
  • In the Speaking & Listening Appendix, Part 4: Citing Sources in Speeches, students are instructed to provide evidence in discussions using relevant sources and include citation of sources within the flow of their speech.  Students are provide the following sentence frames: “According to . . . ,” use another phrase for the next. “As reported by . . .”; “In the opinion of . . .”; and “Wired journalist, Emily Dreyfuss writes that . . .”

Indicator 1k

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 9 meet the criteria for materials include a mix of on-demand and process writing grade-appropriate writing (e.g. grade-appropriate revision and editing) and short, focused projects.

The materials include a mix of both on-demand and process writing that cover a year’s worth of instruction, including short, focused projects that incorporate digital resources where appropriate. Writing tasks and projects are aligned to the grade-level standards. The writing activities offer frequent opportunities for a variety of writing activities ranging in length and depth, and include opportunities for revision. Chapter 2: Writing is dedicated to lessons that build students’ writing skills in the areas of voice and tone, writing in context, word choice, sentences, punctuation, and paragraphs. Each of the genre/mode chapters includes two writing workshops related to the featured genre/mode. For example, the poetry chapter contains a writing workshop for writing poetry and for writing an analysis of poetry. In the Fiction and Exposition chapters, students participate in Activities that include on-demand writing tasks, and in the Workshops, students complete extended multi-draft writing projects with step-by-step processes for analyzing, drafting, and editing. 

After reading selections, students are given a range of Topics for Composing such as analysis, research, personal, and argument. In the Teacher’s Edition, the Topics for Composing prompts are bolstered by pedagogical details for teachers. Teachers are provided with teaching tips and close reading prompts to extend the embedded on-demand writing. Teaching Ideas throughout the chapters suggest that students participate in quickwrites, journals, brief responses, and reflections in order to deepen their understanding of texts.

Examples of short or on-demand writing activities include, but are not limited to:

  • In Chapter 2: Writing, students read an excerpt from Jimmy Santiago Baca’s essay, “Coming into Language” about Baca’s experience learning to read and write in prison. A Teaching Idea suggests students answer the on-demand prompt: “With Baca, writing became a way to freedom from the dire situation in which he found himself. His purpose and motivation, therefore, were clearly established. Some people, though, find writing not freeing, but laborious and difficult. Consider talking with students about how writing, which is thinking made visible, can sometimes make the writer feel vulnerable. You could then have them write a Quickwrite about either: 1. What other barriers they may encounter that might interfere with their purpose or motivation to write. 2. How writing empowers them, like it did with Baca, to express themselves and be heard.”
  • In Chapter 4: Using Sources, Analyzing Sources, students read four selections on the topic of single-sex classrooms: from “The Case against Single-Sex Classrooms” by Margaret Talbot,“We Wouldn’t Segregate Workplaces by Gender — So Why Schools?” by Barbara Speed, from “Girls-in-STEM Programs & My Single-Sex Education Experience” Alicia McGeachy, and from “The Myth of Pink and Blue Brains” Lise Eliot. After reading, students complete a writing activity: “Write a paragraph explaining to what extent you believe single-sex classrooms improve or hinder academic success.”
  • In Chapter 5: Fiction, Workshop 2: Writing Fiction, students complete multiple activities to write a creative piece where students address setting, protagonists, conflicts, antagonists, plot, and point of view. For example, in Activity: Setting, students answer questions, draw a picture or take a photograph of their settings, and “Write a few sentences that would appear in your story to describe one or more of your settings.” The Teaching Ideas also suggests students post their images on the wall and each student is given sticky notes to write down words that describe the setting. The student uses the peer feedback to help describe the setting, and the Teaching Idea continues, “Tell students to think of it as crowdsourcing the language needed to vividly portray the scene.” The short, focused writing activities are part of a larger project with opportunities for revision. 

Examples of longer, process writing activities include, but are not limited to:

  • In Chapter 6: Argument, in Workshop 2: Writing an Argument, “Students write an argument about a topic they are passionate about, staking a claim that is debatable.” The detailed ten-step process guides students through all aspects of writing a multi-draft essay: topic, claim, audience, points, evidence, rhetorical appeals, counter arguments, introduction, conclusion, and draft. 
  • In Chapter 8: Exposition, Workshop 2: Writing an Exposition, students complete activities to compose an exposition. In the Activity: Drafting, students use the earlier activities in the Workshop to begin their first draft. The activity instructs on organization of evidence, use of transitions with examples of transition words, and consideration of tone when composing their draft. A Teaching Idea suggests students participate in a peer editing activity and guides the teacher through the process, offers sample questions, and a table for writer’s questions and partner’s solutions. 
  • In Chapter 11, Mythology, Workshop 3, Writing an Analysis of Mythology, students read and analyze a model analysis essay and then complete a six-step process to write an analysis: Step 1: Identifying Archetypes, Step 2: Analyzing the Archetypes, Step 3: Finding a Focus and Creating a Thesis Statement, Step 4: Proving Your Point, Step 5: Expanding to an Essay, and Step 6: Revising and Editing.

Indicator 1l

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 9 meet the criteria for materials provide opportunities for students to address different types/modes/genres of writing that reflect the distribution required by the standards. Writing opportunities incorporate digital resources/multimodal literacy materials where appropriate. Opportunities may include blended writing styles that reflect the distribution required by the standards.

The materials provide multiple opportunities for students to learn, practice, and apply different genres/modes of writing that reflect the distribution required by the standards for a whole year’s use. Types of writing include narrative, poetry, analysis, argument, research, and exposition. Writing activities connect to Central Texts and accompanying text sets either as prompts, models, anchors, or supports. While journal activities are often metacognitive or reflective, the majority of opportunities are text-dependent and require text evidence. 

Throughout the chapters, students are given Topics for Composing in response to reading selections that cover a variety of modes/types such as analysis, argument, research, exposition, personal, comparison, and multi-modal. There are two in-depth Writing Workshops in each of the genre/mode chapters that focus on a particular mode of writing and walk the students through the process of composing and analyzing each mode. These Writing Workshops include  both writing and analyzing the following genre/modes: fiction, argument, poetry, exposition, narrative, drama, and mythology. Culminating activities in each chapter require students to write about chapter selections in different modes. Each lesson offers a purpose for the writing, a teaching and modeling section, examples to help guide students, and independent writing time. In addition to models for students, the Teacher’s Edition provides annotations for discussing the models with students. Opportunities for students and teachers to monitor progress include writing rubrics, reflection sections of Workshops, and Check for Understanding/Teaching Idea asides. 

Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • In Chapter 2: Writing, Voice and Tone, Teaching Ideas suggest teachers monitor student progress in the writing tasks: “Students can also go back to the first activity they did on page 29 (What Are You Writing?) and think about what tone they might have taken in each of the writings they listed and why. Students might benefit from the option to record their responses so that they can hear their changes in tone. You might prompt students to create a word wall to make a visual chart of categorical tone words that they can use in their writing. For example, what words would fit under the category ‘Angry’?” These types of Teaching Ideas are found throughout every chapter.
  • In Chapter 5: Fiction, Part 2, students read Etgar Keret’s short story, “What, of This Goldfish, Would You Wish?” After reading, students complete Topics for Composing questions: “Comparison: Research other stories that contain wish-granting elements. What commonalities do they share? What lesson or moral do these tales seem to share, and why do you think that moral is important to understand?”
  • In Chapter 7: Poetry, Workshop 2: Writing Poetry, students complete “a multipronged process of drafting and revising their own poetry.” The Teacher’s Edition includes a rubric that includes a section for revision: “Writing demonstrates thorough and thoughtful revision of the final product.” The Workshop refers students to texts in the chapter when introducing writing activities to help them understand speaker and voice. The Teaching Ideas create opportunities for student/teacher supports through peer reads, class shares, and small response groups. In Writing Workshop 3: Writing an Analysis of Poetry, students write an analysis of poetry: “Read this poem, and in a well-developed essay, explain the speaker’s attitude toward the subject. You should focus on only one or two poetic elements, such as imagery, figurative language, diction, syntax, form, or sound.” The students choose the poem for their analysis. 
  • In Chapter 9: Narrative, Writing Workshop 2: Writing a Narrative, students “write a narrative about something that has happened in their lives, choosing an event that they can write about in an interesting way. Students employ characterization techniques, build conflict and setting, and develop dialogue, blocking, and structure. They will also think critically about theme, reflection, and the opening in order to effectively present an account of their experiences.” In Workshop 3: Writing an Analysis of Narrative, students write “a thorough analysis in response to prompts about the author’s intentions using structures and guidance.” In the beginning of Workshop 3, the Teacher’s Edition offers a rubric for analysis found in the Teacher’s Resource Flash Drive. The Workshop also includes activities where students “Look back through the narratives in this chapter,” and refer back to the Central Text “La Gringuita” by Julia Alvarez. The Activities also provide support throughout the process by breaking down the writing task into stages: thesis, finding support, body paragraphs, introductions, conclusions, and a culminating revising and editing activity. Also, the Teaching Ideas suggest sentence frames, context boxes, and paragraph graphic organizers for additional student support. 
  • In Chapter 11: Mythology, Workshop 2: Writing a Mythic Text, students write their own example of a myth: “A step-by-step section, Workshop 2 reviews the various mythological elements covered earlier in the chapter using portions of Homer’s Odyssey as the model. In the process, it guides students through the various elements of creating their own mythic narrative utilizing the various conventions of the genre.” A Teaching Idea states that students should make a narrative frame that “provides the opportunity for coaching before they are too deep in the process.” The Workshop includes writing tasks in Activities that refer to the Central Text and accompanying texts in the chapter.

Indicator 1m

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 9 meet the criteria for materials including frequent opportunities for evidence-based writing to support sophisticated analysis, argumentation, and synthesis.

The materials provide frequent opportunities across the school year for students to learn, practice, and apply writing using evidence in Activities, Teaching Ideas, Check for Understanding, and Culminating Activities. Writing activities focus on analysis and claims developed from close reading a variety of texts and sources to provide supporting evidence to answer questions and prompts in the Understanding and Interpreting; Analyzing Language, Style, and Structure; and Topics for Composing sections. While these prompts could be used in discussion, the Teacher's Edition suggests they be used as routine evidence-based writing prompts. After reading selections from the chapter, the Topics for Composing activities require students to write argument, analysis, and expository essays using evidence. 

Most student writing activities require close reading and working with sources to answer questions. After reading Central Texts and text sets, students answer questions that reference the readings, and they must provide supporting evidence in responses. In addition to text-specific prompts, at the end of each Conversation, students practice evidence-based writing using higher-level thinking prompts in the Entering the Conversation section that require evidence from multiple texts. Also, throughout each chapter, students read short excerpts that relate to the texts in the Seeing Connections component. These components include evidence-based writing tasks that prompt students to synthesize texts. As an additional support, teachers are provided with Close Reading prompts that analyze portions of the texts in detail. 

Two of the introduction chapters, Chapter 2: Writing and Chapter 3: Using Sources, focus specifically on providing instruction and examples for developing evidence-based writing. 

Each genre/mode chapter includes at least one evidence-based writing activity in which students provide evidence to support analysis, argument, and/or synthesis. Writing Workshops at the end of each genre/mode chapter require students to compose analysis and argument essays that require them to choose a text, develop a focus for their writing, and use evidence from the chosen text to support their writing. Each genre/mode chapter also includes a synthesis Conversation relating ideas students read in the Central Text to other texts in the section. Chapter Six is devoted to studying and composing arguments. Subsequent chapters build on these skills and provide increasingly complex analysis tasks that require the use of evidence for support. 

Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • In Chapter 1: Starting the Conversation, Section 3: Academic Conversations, Activity: Engaging in Academic Conversation, Activity: Challenging the Conversation, and Activity: Entering the Academic conversation, students practice using evidence from their own responses from a series of writing prompts and then participate in a discussion. The question asks, “Was Kaepernick justified in not standing? Why or Why not?” and students use a series of texts focusing on that topic. However, it is not explicitly stated that the student would have to cite evidence from the texts written by the students or provided in the materials. 
  • In Chapter 4: Using Sources, Culminating Activity, students answer prompts and must reference at least two sources. Before reading, they are provided different approaches to close reading: “read critically, but objectively, note phrases or sections that seem especially important [...], keep track of information to document the source, and summarize your source.” Students practice using evidence in their writing, but also use tools to read closely to create opportunities to use evidence in their writing. 
  • In Chapter 5: Fiction, Writing Workshop 3, students write a literary analysis essay: “In many works of literature, characters experience an epiphany. An epiphany is a sudden realization that has a major impact on the character’s life. Explain what causes this epiphany, and how this epiphany develops the character and reveals a theme.” They refer to the Central Text to practice how to read and annotate in preparation for writing the essay. Afterward, they choose one of the texts in the chapter to analyze. They are instructed to read and annotate the text, find a focus, create a thesis statement, and support with evidence from the text. 
  • In Chapter 6: Argument, Section 1, students read “Why School Should Start Later in the Day” by Lisa Lewis. While reading, a Teaching Idea suggests that the teacher “look closely at this paragraph as a whole class and ask students to identify the claim (or point) made in the paragraph,” and continues with having students answer whether or not the evidence supports the claim. The Teaching Idea offers practice for students before they read Question 1 at the end of the reading: “Identify at least three of the separate points she makes and analyze the evidence she uses to support those points.” 
  • In Chapter 8: Exposition, students participate in a Conversation about “the notion that what we wear makes a statement, whether intentionally or not, and that the politics of clothes has an influence on, and is influenced by, many factors.” Students read the six texts in the Conversation. After reading, they “enter the conversation by finding another text that adds an additional perspective and by developing your own argument about the politics of clothes.” Students write an essay in which they synthesize the information from the additional text they chose and the other texts in the Conversation, using evidence from all texts to make a claim and defend their argument. 
  • In Chapter 9: Narrative, Section 2, Topics for Composing, students read “My Father’s Previous Life” by Monique Truong and answer the evidence-based writing prompts: “Analysis. Overall, what is Truong suggesting about families in her narrative? Be sure to use evidence from the text to support your response. Argument. Truong asks, ‘Can you miss someone you’d never met?’ She answered, ‘yes.’ Do you agree or disagree? Why?”
  • In Chapter 10: Drama, Writing Workshop 3: Write an Analysis of Drama, students write an analysis essay of the Central Text, Romeo and Juliet: “Analyze how the playwright uses elements of drama — such as dialogue, setting, and stage directions — to develop the characters and reveal a theme of the play.” In Step 4: Proving Your Point, students are instructed: “The way we prove that in academic writing is by drawing evidence directly from the text and combining that with our own commentary.” Students are then further guided on how to gather, organize, and present evidence.


Indicator 1n

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

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

The materials include instruction of the CCSS grammar and conventions standards. The materials also include some opportunities for students to demonstrate application and to improve fluency language standards through practice and application. There are opportunities for students to continuously improve their fluency and ability to apply conventions to their own writing through the use of Teaching Ideas such as writing portfolios, essay-length writing tasks, and revising and editing activities. However, the materials neither explicitly promote and build students’ ability to apply conventions and other aspects of language to their own writing nor provide instruction of grammar and conventions in increasingly sophisticated contexts. 

The materials provide a Correlation Guide to the CCSS and cite the Writing Workshops and Guide to Language and Mechanics as their sources of instruction and practice with stand-alone lessons and assessments. The introductory section of the materials suggest that grammar exercises are located throughout the chapters and occur in the context of reading and writing, but these exercises are limited. Also, in the Writing Workshops, students are not provided with explicit grammar instruction or opportunities for application of skills in context; the Writing Workshops simply provide students with opportunities to grow in their language fluency through writing practice and application. Some opportunities are provided for students to demonstrate application of skills primarily within Chapter 2: Writing. However, students are not provided the opportunity to learn or practice discrete grammar and conventions skills within the context of their readings throughout the year; the only opportunities for in-context practice is in their writing. 

The resources for grammar instruction are found in ancillary materials, particularly the Teacher’s Resource Flash Drive and appendices, including rubrics for assessment of conventions, reproducible worksheets with answer keys, grammar exercises (quizzes), and Grammar Workshops. These fourteen Workshops include tiered activities that explain grammar concepts and include practice activities; the teachers can assign Workshops based on student need. Definitions and examples of key grammar concepts are found in the Grammar Refresher boxes at the beginning of the appendix materials. The teacher resources also include an extensive list of Grammar Girl podcasts (not connected to materials). 

Examples of activities that meet the criteria for grammar in writing include, but are not limited to:

  • In Chapter 2: Writing, Section 4: Sentences, Activity: Fragments, students “return to the story activity titled ‘The Trip’ that you completed on page 45. Try inserting a sentence fragment somewhere in your revision. Share your sentence fragment addition with a partner. Discuss the thinking behind the idea and placement of the fragment.” There is also a Teaching Idea that suggests students return to an advertising activity and answer “How many of these are fragments?” Then, students are encouraged to “discuss the effectiveness of using fragments in advertising and how these ads would be different if not written in fragments.” 
  • In Chapter 2: Writing, Sentences, Activity: Subordination and Coordination, students have access to sentence-level conventions practice within the chapter without the context of a text: “For each pair of simple sentences below, combine them to create one complex sentence and one compound sentence. Then discuss which sentence you prefer and why. Additionally, in Chapter 2: Writing, Sentences, Activity: Subordination and Coordination, Reflection, students have access to a reflection prompt concerning their own writing choices: “Look at the decisions you made for each pair of sentences. Which sentence, compound or complex, do you find best suits your purpose, and why?”

Examples of activities that do not meet the criteria include, but are not limited to:

  • In Chapter 2: Writing, Section 4: Sentences, Teaching Idea, students are encouraged to keep a portfolio of their own writing as a way to track progress: “Students can monitor the writing goals they set and return to drafts to continue to revise and edit.” The Teaching Idea creates the potential for students to grow their fluency and to build on their ability to apply conventions to their own writing, but the instruction is not explicit.
  • In Chapter 3: Reading, Active Reading, Activity: Contextual Challenges, Word-Level Challenges, the Student Edition gives one example of a homonym, arms: “The warlord found a cache of Cold War–era Soviet weapons and built a lucrative business selling arms to other countries.” Teachers are directed in the margin: “For more practice with homonyms, see the Grammar Workshop on commonly confused words in the back of the book.” While the materials do mention a grammatical concept, no explicit direction is provided to build students’ abilities to apply conventions in the authentic context of reading.
  • In Chapter 6: Argument, Writing Workshop, Step 6: Revising and Editing, students are directed to editing and revision checklists with topics for review. However, the materials redirect students to the Appendix: Grammar Workshops instead of providing grammar instruction in context of their writing within the task.
  • In Chapter 6: Workshop 3: Writing an Analysis of Argument, Activity: Revising and Editing, students are asked to “Read through your paper looking for specific revising and editing opportunities. Instead of looking for everything all at once, look for grammar errors first—spelling, punctuation, subject-verb agreement. Each time you read through your draft, focus on one particular element and fix those errors before moving on to another.” No instructions are provided for which errors to fix or focus on.
  • In the Appendix: Grammar Workshop, in Grammar Workshop 1, Active and Passive Voice, Activity 1: Identifying Passive and Active Voice, students learn how to understand active and passive voice. In the first activity, they “underline the complete subject and double-underline the verb or verb phrase. Then, [they] identify whether the sentence is in the active voice or the passive voice.” In Activity 4: Revising Passive Voice in Your Own Writing, students demonstrate application of fluency in practice questions and identify the convention covered in their own writing. In the first Grammar Exercise on Identifying Linking Verbs, found in the Teacher Resource section, students answer a series of multiple-choice questions that ask them “Which word in the following sentence is a linking verb?” Teacher Resource activities are optional.

Gateway Two

Building Knowledge with Texts, Vocabulary, and Tasks

Partially Meets Expectations

+
-
Gateway Two Details

The materials for Grade 9 partially meet the expectations of Gateway 2. Texts are organized together to build students' knowledge of topic and theme, and consistent attention is paid to engaging with close reading in service of this. Writing instruction is structured to be comprehensive and build skills that are clearly accelerated over the course of the year. While culminating tasks are present, they inconsistently serve to build knowledge with the content of the texts being studied, instead focusing more on the separate skills being learned. Vocabulary instruction and building independent reading is also present, but is inconsistent, and the teacher may have to supplement to assure all students receive comprehensive support in these areas.

Criterion 2a - 2h

Materials build knowledge through integrated reading, writing, speaking, listening, and language.
24/32

Indicator 2a

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

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

The materials include texts that are organized specifically for the chapter in which they are placed. The texts in the first four chapters are used to build the skills of speaking, writing, reading, and using sources. The remaining seven chapters are genre/mode chapters that have texts related to the genre or a specific mode of writing: fiction, argument, poetry, exposition, narrative, drama, and mythology. 

In Chapters 1-4, the logical sequence of texts, series of sufficient lessons, and scaffolded activities are connected to the skill of the chapter. Texts are in sections to support students in reading proficiently and independently. Each chapter has a text set that includes a Central Text and series of accompanying texts. The sequenced text sets require students to compare texts in ways that build proficiency in comprehension and analysis. The Teacher’s Edition includes scaffolding tools to help students build knowledge on the topic of each chapter, such as building context, vocabulary instruction, close reading of passages, and speaking and listening prompts.

In Chapters 5-11, the organization of each genre/mode chapter includes three Workshops: one for reading and responding to questions and prompts about texts in the genre/mode, one that focuses on writing in the genre/mode, and one that requires students to write an analysis of a piece of writing in the genre/mode.  In Workshop 1, the Conversation section is a collection of texts that students synthesize on a particular topic and/or question. Because of the number and increasing difficulty of texts, the ways that students interact with the texts, and the topic-driven synthesis required to complete tasks, students build knowledge and are able to comprehend and analyze complex texts proficiently. 

Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • In Chapter 1: Starting the Conversation, students learn the skills of academic discourse and establishing an academic voice. The chapter is organized into a series of lessons and activities that are designed help students understand how to engage in effective speaking and listening in the classroom. They learn about voice, listening to gain new information, listening to engage in conversations, the content of a presentation, and effective delivery of a presentation. The reading selections and activities lead to a culminating activity where they present a speech about a community to which they belong. The chapter uses texts to gain skills in active listening and speaking, not necessarily for the purpose of comprehension or analysis of the texts themselves. Chapters 2-4 follow a similar pattern with different skills.
  • In Chapter 6: Argument, Conversation, Workshop 1, students learn the essential elements of argument. They read and respond to various selections of argumentative writing with increasing complexity and participate in a Conversation based on the essential question: “How does media shape our ideas of gender roles?” Students read “What’s Wrong with Cinderella?” by Peggy Orenstein and accompanying texts, such as “I’m a Twelve-Year-Old Girl. Why Don’t the Characters in My Apps Look Like Me?” by Madeline Messer. One question after reading asks, “How would Orenstein respond to Messer’s interest in being able to play video games with female characters?” The readings and conversation help students comprehend and analyze texts and prepare them for the tasks of writing an argumentative essay and writing an analysis of an argumentative selection at the end of the chapter.  
  • In Chapter 8: Exposition, Workshop 1, students learn the essential elements of exposition. They read and respond to various selections of argumentative writing with increasing complexity and participate in a Conversation based on the essential question: “How does clothing reflect who we are?” The readings and conversation help students be able to comprehend and analyze texts and prepare them for the tasks of writing an expository text and writing an analysis of an expository selection at the end of the chapter.  For example, they read the Central Text “The Politics of the Hoodie” by Troy Patterson and a series of accompanying texts on “the role that clothing plays in crafting a persona, whether intended or otherwise [...]?” As students read the series of texts they are asked questions dealing with the central issue, but also are asked to compare texts. For example, after students read “Labels, Clothing and Identity: Are You What You Wear?” by Michelle Parrinello-Cason, students explain how Patterson would respond to a series of points made by Parrinello-Cason. The texts are centered around a topic and comparing texts within the series creates deeper comprehension. 
  • In Chapter 10: Drama, Conversation, students read Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare with a series of related readings on the issues of community and tribalism. The chapter introduction explains, “The texts included range in subject matter and level of difficulty, but they all tie in thematically to many of the issues that arise in Shakespeare’s play.” As students read the text sets accompanying the play they are asked a series of questions about each text and also to compare the texts within the series, all related to the central topic. For example, after students read from The Social Conquest of Earth, they answer the following questions: “In what way do Romeo and Juliet contradict Wilson’s claims? How might Wilson explain Romeo and Juliet’s desire to break from the ‘in-group’ tribalism of their families?”

Indicator 2b

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

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

The materials have higher order thinking questions in the form of both text-dependent and text-specific questions. These questions are embedded in student activities and used as guides when analyzing texts. The questions, tasks, and guided reflections connected to multiple, related texts provide evidence of student understanding of definitions and concepts, help students make meaning and build understanding of texts, and prepare them for culminating tasks. The materials offer opportunities for students to analyze the language, craft, and structure of texts; students build understanding by exploring higher order thinking questions. 

Starting in Chapter 3, questions require students to analyze the language, key ideas, details, craft, and structure of several texts, which allows students to build understanding of texts with increasing sophistication. The Teacher’s Edition also includes questions for Vocabulary, Close Reading, and Check for Understanding to ask during reading. In the genre/mode chapters, each chapter is organized into three sections with increasing complexity: Section 1 Foundational, Section 2 Grade-level, and Section 3 Challenging. After reading, students answer increasingly complex questions for each text: Understanding and Interpreting questions progress from comprehension to interpretation and Analyzing Language, Style, and Structure questions analyze author’s craft and structure. After reading the Central Text, the Topics for Composing prompts offer different ways students can write or speak about texts. 

Examples of sequenced higher order thinking questions include, but are not limited to:

  • In Chapter 3: Reading, students focus on sentence-level challenges including a sentence from the essay, “On Being Ill” by Virginia Woolf: “Read the following sentence from an essay by Virginia Woolf. Reread the sentence multiple times and try to break down its structure and word order to help you understand and get to the ‘heart of the sentence.’” 
  • In Chapter 4: Using Sources, students identify plagiarism using sources: “Earlier in this chapter, you read an excerpt from ‘Why ‘Grit’ May Be Everything for Success’ by Amy Rosen from the website, entrepreneur.com (p. 138). Following is a paragraph using that source to support an opinion. Is the paragraph an effective use of Rosen as a source, or does it constitute plagiarism? Working with a partner or small group, explain how you reached your conclusion.”
  • In Chapter 4: Using Sources, the Culminating Activity provides text-specific questions: “The texts that follow present three different views on the impact of social media on social skills and our sense of community. 1. Read the three texts, being sure to analyze the sources as you read by following the steps on page 126. 2. Then, write a response to the following prompt including references to at least two of the sources, using the approaches presented on pages 130–34: To what extent do you believe that social media discourages or promotes positive community connections? 3. Review your work to be sure that you did not commit unintentional plagiarism. (See pages 142–43.)”
  • In Chapter 5: Fiction, Section 2: Fiction, Activity 2: Edgar Allan Poe, “The Cask of Amontillado”, the section includes three Seeing Connections activities. First, students read an obituary of Poe written by Rufus Griswold and answer, “How does Griswold characterize Poe in this obituary? Why do you think that this characterization of Poe has lasted throughout the 150 years since his death?” Second, students read a comic adaptation of “The Cask of Amontillado” and answer, “What changes and adaptations did the author and illustrator of this version make? How do these changes affect what the reader knows and feels about Montresor and Fortunato at this point in the story? How do their visualizations of the text compare to your own?” Third, students view three images of the final scene in the story and answer, “What is in common among the images and what is different? What textual evidence from the story likely led to each depiction? Which one is closest or furthest away from your own imagining of the scene?” 
  • In Chapter 6: Argument, students read and analyze arguments with increasing text complexity. In Section 1, students read the article, “Why School Should Start Later in the Day” by Lisa Lewis, and answer questions about content: “Lewis makes the overall claim that high school should start later in the day, and then she makes several points to prove the overall claim. Identify at least three of the separate points she makes and analyze the evidence she uses to support those points.” In Section 2, students read the article, “Is it Immoral to Watch the Superbowl” by Steve Almond, answer questions about content: “What is Almond’s central claim? What points does he make to support that claim?” In Section 3, students read the article, “Let’s Kill All the Mosquitos” by Daniel Engber and answer questions about content: “From the title alone, we quickly recognize Engber’s overall claim, but what are the main points that he tries to make to prove the claim?”
  • In Chapter 6: Argument, students read “September 13, 2001: Hatred is Unworthy of Us” and answer, “Pitts writes that, ‘Hatred on account of culture or religion is unworthy of us at any time’ (par. 9). In this context, why does he use the word ‘unworthy’? What are the specific purposes behind this usage? How does this statement help you understand Pitts’s message?”
  • In Chapter 7: Poetry, Section 3, students read “Ode on a Grecian Urn” by John Keats and answer a sequence of questions: “Who is speaking? How does this speaker address the urn? In lines 15–20, the speaker is describing a different portion of the scene on the urn. How is this scene similar to and different from the scene in the first stanza? How does the phrase ‘Cold Pastoral!’ (l. 45) signal a shift in this poem? What is its effect? Keats essentially makes the argument that anticipation is better than the actual experience. Is this true? Explain your own reasoning.”
  • In Chapter 9: Narrative, Section 2, students read the Central Text, “La Gringuita” by Julia Alvarez, and answer, “Besides giving her power over her parents, what other effects did learning English have on Alvarez? What is achieved by starting her narrative with the incidents of language confusion and hostility of the first three paragraphs? Overall, what is Alvarez suggesting about the role of language in shaping identity? What evidence from the narrative supports your interpretation?”
  • In Chapter 10: Drama, students read three dramas with accompanying thematic texts of increasing complexity. In Section 1, students read a section of Boxcar - El Vagon by Silvia Gonzalez and answer questions about the content: “What is Roberto’s tone with and treatment of Manuel in Scene 1? What does this say about his character?” In Section 2, students read The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare and answer questions about the content: “Act 5 begins with Romeo recounting another dream. How does Romeo interpret the meaning of his dream?” In Section 3, students read A Roz by Any Other Name by B.T. Ryback and answer questions about the content: “Throughout the play, Ryback shares insight into Rosalind’s current and past relationships. What do we learn about Rosalind’s experiences with relationships through her conversation with Vera? What evidence can you find to support your observations?”

Indicator 2c

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

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

The materials include sets of questions and tasks to analyze across multiple texts and a single text. Most sets of questions and tasks support students’ analysis of knowledge and ideas. Throughout the year, integrating knowledge and ideas is embedded in students’ work. The materials provide guidance to teachers in supporting student literacy skills to show growth by the end of the year. Students have opportunities to learn about and analyze the content and structures of a variety of texts of increasing complexity. They have frequent opportunities to practice these developing skills and demonstrate their knowledge and ideas.

Each chapter contains text-dependent questions and tasks that require students to integrate knowledge and ideas both in individual texts and across multiple texts. The Seeing Connections sections require students to compare ideas across texts. The Conversation sections require students to compare and synthesize their understanding of a group of texts that are connected to an issue in the Central Text. After each supplementary text in the Conversation, students compare an aspect of the reading with the Central Text. Additionally, leveled prompts at the end of the Conversation challenge students with increasing abstraction and complexity. The materials also offer culminating activities through the Entering the Conversation sections where student use the knowledge they built in the chapter using a variety of texts in their responses. 

Between the text-specific activities, culminating activities, teaching ideas, and workshops, the materials contain a coherently sequenced set of text-dependent and text-specific questions and tasks that require students to build knowledge and integrate ideas across both individual and multiple texts. Each of the chapter-specific instruction and skills are reinforced across texts through discrete and routine practice. While the majority of questions and tasks are text-dependent and/or text-specific, some are metacognitive or reflective tasks that continue to build knowledge and integrate ideas.

In the Teacher’s Edition, annotations support teachers in monitoring student skills and understanding while reading individual texts. In the margin, suggested activities and questions are available called Building Context, Close Reading, Check for Understanding, Key Passages, Vocabulary, and Teaching Idea. 

Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • In Chapter 1: Starting the Conversation, Activity: Listening to Gain New Information, students engage in sequenced tasks that require students to build the skill of listening while a partner reads an essay orally. Students are to summarize the essay after listening and be able to explain what the author believes. Partners repeat this activity with a second text, switching roles. After the activity, students engage in reflection: “After both partners have listened, review your notes to identify the most significant information from the essays. Then look back at the excerpts and reflect on how carefully and actively you listened. What information did you capture, and what did you miss? What challenges did you face in this listening activity?”
  • In Chapter 3: Reading, students learn techniques for annotating a text and practice the skills by reading and annotating excerpts from a nonfiction text and a poem: “NASA Team Claims ‘Impossible’ Space Engine Works — Get the Facts” by Nadia Drake and Michael Greshko and “October” by May Swenson. Afterward, they complete a reflection where they compare their experiences annotating the texts: “Explain how the annotating affected your understanding of these texts. How were your annotations for the poem different from your annotations for the nonfiction piece?” Also in this chapter, students are taught to read closely and annotate texts in order to link together ideas across an individual text. The section Reading for Understanding instructs students on how to summarize a text and the section Reading for Interpretation instructs students how to draw inferences from a text and find supporting reasons.
  • In Chapter 5: Fiction, students learn how to approach works of fiction and answer sets of text-dependent questions for individual texts and across multiple texts. For example, students read “Lelah” by Angela Flournoy and are asked Understanding and Interpreting questions, such as: “What do Lelah’s actions during the eviction (pars. 1–10), specifically her behavior toward the bailiffs, suggest about her character? Describe the setting of the Motor City Casino. How do the details of setting contribute to the plot and our understanding of Lelah’s character?” While reading “Lelah”, a short excerpt of an article is included from Scientific American, “How the Brain Gets Addicted to Gambling” by Ferris Jebr and students answer a question that integrates ideas from both texts: “In what ways could the attributes of addiction be applied to what Lelah demonstrates in this story?”
  • In Chapter 7: Poetry, Section 2, Central Text, Conversation, students read a series of texts on the topic, “What Does the Statue of Liberty Mean to Us Now?” After reading each text, students compare and contrast multiple texts. For example, after reading the poem, “Black Statue of Liberty” by Jessica Care Moore, they answer, “How is the tone toward America and the ideas of liberty in this poem similar to or different from that of the speaker in ‘Let America Be America Again’?” When reading “Let America Be America Again” by Langston Hughes students answered questions about tone specifically for that text. 
  • In Chapter 10: Drama, Seeing Connections, students read Romeo and Juliet. While reading, students integrate outside sources into their thinking. In one of the Seeing Connections sections, students read a short excerpt from the article “Romeo and Juliet Has No Balcony” by Lois Leveen. Afterward, students answer, “What does the ‘balcony’ seem to symbolize in the play, and how does an interpretation of the scene change whether the director chooses to have the characters on a balcony or not?”
  • In Chapter 11: Mythology, Section 2, Central Text Conversation, students read a series of texts on the topic, “What Makes a Hero?” After reading, students complete questions in a section titled Entering the Conversation as a cumulative activity. Students choose a prompt and follow a three-step process that requires evidence and ideas from multiple texts. For example, the section asks “Locate one additional text on this topic that you think adds to an interesting perspective to this Conversation And that relates more specifically to the prompt you are responding to. Review the chart you have been keeping throughout this Conversation and identify the texts and quotes that relate specifically to your prompt.” Students work towards a cumulative activity using multiple texts and apply skills learned throughout the Conversation.

Indicator 2d

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 9 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 through integrated skills (e.g. combination of reading, writing, speaking, listening).

The materials include culminating tasks that require students to demonstrate their knowledge of a topic. The associated questions and tasks support students as they prepare for the culminating task and provide teachers with information of whether students are on track to complete the task. However, though students read and respond to texts and demonstrate skills of different standards while reading (writing and speaking), the culminating tasks lack variation in the standards they address. The types of tasks that are missing are in-depth research, multimodal presentations, and demonstrations of speaking and listening. 

In the first four chapters, the culminating tasks are writing tasks. In the genre/mode chapters, the culminating tasks are similar across the year - the analysis of a specific text and the composition of a specific genre to gain knowledge of a topic. The workshop structure of the chapters integrate the standards in formative activities that lead to the culminating tasks where students demonstrate knowledge of the topic and genre. Workshops 1 at the beginning of the chapter reviews the essential elements of the genre; Workshops 2 and 3 serve as culminating tasks, guiding students through the process of writing in this genre and analyzing writing in this genre. 

Examples of culminating tasks that integrate all skills include, but are not limited to:

  • In Chapter 1: Starting the Conversation, students complete a Culminating Activity to draft and present a speech about a community to which they belong. This activity integrates reading, writing, and speaking skills and requires students to demonstrate mastery of the content and skills presented in the chapter. This is the only speaking culminating task in the curriculum.

Examples of culminating tasks that do not integrate all skills include, but are not limited to:

  • In Chapter 2: Writing, Culminating Activity, students write a paragraph addressing their role in a community. The introduction to this task explains “In this chapter, you have looked at the power of words, how to build effective sentences, and how to structure a solid paragraph.” The collection of tasks support the culminating activity of drafting a paragraph. 
  • In Chapter 4: Using Sources, Culminating Activity, students read three short texts with different views on the impact of social media on social skills. They analyze the texts using provided guidelines and answer the prompt, “To what extent do you believe that social media discourages or promotes positive community connections?” Students must use evidence from the provided texts but are not required to complete outside research for the assignment. 
  • In Chapter 7: Poetry, students complete two culminating activities: writing their own poetry and analyzing a poem in an essay format. Even though students have completed formative activities where they perform poetry or create a poster, they are not given the opportunity to respond to or demonstrate their knowledge of poetic elements other than through text analysis and essay.
  • In Chapter 8: Exposition, Workshop 2: Writing an Exposition, students write an expository essay on a topic of their choice as a culminating activity. This activity integrates reading and writing skills and requires students to demonstrate mastery of the content and skills presented in the chapter. 
  • In Chapter 11: Mythology, students complete two culminating activities: composing a mythic text and analyzing a mythic text. Even though students have completed formative activities where they explore Disney classics or collect images to support their study of character for example, they are not given the opportunity to respond to or demonstrate their knowledge of mythic elements other than through text analysis and essay.

Indicator 2e

Materials include a cohesive, consistent approach for students to regularly interact with word relationships and build academic vocabulary/ language in context.
2/4
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 9 partially meet the criteria that materials include a cohesive, consistent approach for students to regularly interact with word relationships and build academic vocabulary/language in context.

The materials provide teachers some guidance in vocabulary development, but mostly for ELA domain-specific vocabulary to sufficiently analyze texts. Though students have opportunities to understand key vocabulary in a single context, consistent opportunities are not provided to learn, practice, apply, and utilize vocabulary across multiple contexts.  Students are supported to accelerate vocabulary learning in their reading, but are not supported in integrating vocabulary into speaking and writing tasks.

Academic Vocabulary activities, Glossary definitions, vocabulary reflections, and Chapter at a Glance Troubleshooting Key Concepts are used to support ELA-specific vocabulary instruction. Instruction in Tier 2 and 3 academic vocabulary are included with Vocabulary in Context questions after each text prompts students to consider word relationships, an Appendix with common root words and associated vocabulary, and Vocabulary Exercises in the Teacher’s Resource Flash Drive with worksheets on the challenging words for each text. Word-Level Challenges activities in Chapter 3 provide instruction on how to use reading strategies to comprehend unknown vocabulary.  The online Launchpad Learning Curve section provides stand-alone vocabulary quizzes for students. This platform allows the teacher to track students’ progress with details of their performance. In the Teacher’s Edition, the Building Context, Instructional Strategies, and Teaching Ideas often provide examples of how to incorporate contextual language instruction in relationship to texts. Throughout each chapter, word relationships and vocabulary are integrated. Students complete worksheets to show they understand the word in context and analyze the author’s purpose in using the word. Academic vocabulary is used in lessons and appears in bold lettering; academic vocabulary check-in boxes highlight the key concepts in a section. The first Workshop of each chapter identifies the essential elements of the genre including the domain-specific vocabulary and terms associated with the knowledge demands. 

Examples of vocabulary instruction that meets the requirements of the indicator but only for a single text or out of context include, but are not limited to:

  • In Chapter 3: Reading, Word-Level Challenges, students are told to use reading strategies such as context clues, word parts, as well as reference resources in order to better understand unfamiliar words when reading. The Activity: Word-Level Challenges states, “Read the following text and identify unfamiliar words that might cause you to not understand the text. Use one or more of the strategies described above that can help you: context clues, parts of words, and use of reference resources.” In the Teaching Idea, teachers are told: “The following are words from the passage that can cause challenges for some ninth graders: bedlam, well-nigh, magnitude, diapasonic, gamut, thrice, repose.” No instruction is provided for how to teach vocabulary before or during reading.
  • In Chapter 6: Argument, Section 1, one of the after reading Vocabulary in Context questions asks, “In paragraph 3, Lewis writes that a later start time could ‘translate into extra dollars.’ What does the word ‘translate’ mean in this context? How is this use similar to or different from other uses of the word?” In the Examview Test Bank, one vocabulary question is included for the passage: “In paragraph 12, the word staggered MOST nearly means…”
  • In Chapter 9: Narrative, Teacher’s Resource Flash Drive, Vocabulary Worksheets, a worksheet is provided for the reading “By Any Other Name.” The worksheet includes selection of ten challenging words from Rau’s story and asks students to “determine the meaning of the word in the context of the sentence, and then describe the effect of the word: how the author’s word choice contributes to the meaning and tone of the sentence(s).” One prompt for this chapter states, “‘At the Anglo-Indian day school in Zorinabad to which my sister and I were sent when she was eight and I was five and a half, they changed our names’ (par. 1).” The same worksheet is provided for several texts per chapter with different words for each text, without clear application into use. 
  • In the Appendix: Vocabulary and Word Root, twenty-four common roots, origin, meanings, and example words are included, such as “-luc- (Latin) light translucent, elucidate, lucid.” The materials do not reference the appendix nor do they include instruction for how to use the resource.

Examples of instruction for domain-specific academic vocabulary include, but are not limited to:

  • In Chapter 1: Starting the Conversation, bold vocabulary words throughout the text appear in a Glossary at the end of the Student and Teacher’s Editions, such as “voice” and “active listening”. The Teacher’s Edition also has Check for Understanding that suggests “‘Voice’ is such an essential concept that you will probably want to take an extra minute or two to ensure that students understand that it is much more than just the sounds that come out of our mouths.” The chapter also has an Academic Vocabulary activity where students reflect on the terms presented in the section: voice, active listening, dialogue, debate, and consensus. 
  • In Chapter 4: Using Sources, students are introduced to key terms for evaluating resources: relevance, currency, authority, accuracy, and bias. Definitions and examples are provided, and students create a graphic organizer to apply the terms to a new reading. Students also reflect on the vocabulary presented in the Academic Vocabulary activity later in the chapter.
  • In Chapter 7: Poetry, Chapter at a Glance, Troubleshooting Key Concepts, the materials provide a guide for understanding key terms. The section suggests, “Use this guide to direct students to additional opportunities to learn and practice the essential elements of poetry,” and provides suggestions for texts and question sets within the unit. For example, the guide focuses on theme and suggests “you might want to consider practicing with the text Ways of Talking, specifically Understanding Q1, Q2, and Q6.”

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
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

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

The materials include writing opportunities and instruction aligned to grade level standards that span the whole school year, such as argumentative, narrative, and expository. Students have frequent opportunities to learn and practice writing skills needed to communicate their understanding of texts. Though the chapters are not centered around a topic, the readings in Workshops generally focus on a topic that students gain understanding through writing about that topic. Explicit instruction for writing includes model essays, peer review resources, and evaluative criteria. Guidance, protocols, and models are also offered during the four introductory chapters and in Workshops of all chapters. The Teacher’s Edition provides a variety of well-designed guidance, protocols, models, and support for teachers to implement and monitor students’ writing development, such as rubrics and Teaching Ideas, Check for Understanding, and Close Readings.

Writing is devoted to lessons and formative activities to help students build the skills of adjusting voice to suit the subject, purpose, audience, and occasion through word choice, sentence structure, and punctuation. The genre/mode chapters include three Workshops where students learn the essential elements of a genre/mode of writing, write in the genre/mode, and write an analysis of the genre/mode. The two writing Workshops provide a plan for instruction for teachers and tasks for students to work through a step-by-step process to write in the genre/mode of the chapter. While many of the Workshops have similar writing activities, more variety is available in the informal Activity and Topics for Composing sections after each text. These writing prompts cover the demands of interpreting, understanding, and analyzing language, style, and structure. They also ask students to compose in a variety of modalities such as analysis, personal, research, and argument. 

Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • In Chapter 2: Writing, Culminating Activity, after having learning about what constitutes community, the power of word choice, how to build effective sentences, and how to structure a solid paragraph, students practice their skills by writing a paragraph based on this prompt: “Write a paragraph that explores your role in a community.” The Teacher's Edition provides a rubric for the Culminating Activity located on the Teacher’s Resource Flash Drive.
  • In Chapter 4: Using Sources, students learn about source credibility and using sources to provide evidence for their claims. Throughout the chapter, students construct parts of an argument for the prompt “To what extent do you think single-sex classrooms are an effective way to improve academic achievement for teenagers?” 
  • In Chapter 5: Fiction, students write both their own piece of fiction in Workshop 2 and an analysis of fiction in Workshop 3.  Both Workshops include a Summative Assessment rubric for teachers in the Teacher’s Resource Flash Drive. Each Workshop supports students in their writing and provides models for students and teachers.
  • In Chapter 6: Argument, Workshop 2, students are guided through the step-by-step process of writing an argument essay: selecting a topic, making a claim, considering the audience, making points, including evidence, making rhetorical appeals, including counterarguments, writing an introduction, writing a conclusion, and composing a draft. These sections provide models for students and practice opportunities to apply what they learned to their own writing. The Teacher’s Edition includes a rubric to gauge student progress throughout the unit. 
  • In Chapter 7: Poetry, Workshop 1: Essential Elements of Poetry, Activity: Speaker, students engage in analytical writing: “Locate the lyrics to two or three of your favorite songs. Choose one and describe what is literally happening in the song, focusing on the speaker or the persona (not the singer).” In Workshop 2: Writing Poetry, “Students are guided through the process of drafting and revising their own poems, applying the key concepts of the chapter to their own poems.” In Workshop 3: Writing an Analysis of Poetry, “Students practice rhetorical analysis with an excerpt from the Central Text and a text of their own choosing. In a well-developed essay, students explore how meaning is found in the essential elements of poetry.”
  • In Chapter 9: Narrative, Section 1, students read the narrative “By Any Other Name” by Santha Rama Rau. After reading the selection, students complete a series of writing pieces under the heading Topics for Composing such as “Analysis: Would Rau agree with the quote from Romeo and Juliet that appears in the introduction to this reading that names do not matter? Why or why not?”
  • In Chapter 10: Drama, Workshop 2: Writing Drama, the Teacher’s Edition includes a rubric that teachers can use to gauge student progress throughout the unit. In addition, the Teacher’s Edition provides suggestions for instructors to monitor student’s development. For example, a Teaching Idea for struggling writers suggests, “If students need further support throughout this workshop, you can complete these activities as a whole class first.”

Indicator 2g

Materials include a progression of focused, shared research and writing projects to encourage students to develop and synthesize knowledge and understanding of a topic using texts and other source materials.
2/4
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

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

The materials provide some support for teachers to employ projects that develop students’ knowledge of different aspects of a topic and application of reading, writing, speaking & listening, and language skills to synthesize and analyze multiple texts and source materials about a topic; however, there is no intentional instruction or development of research skills. Students build knowledge of topics through Research questions in the Topics for Composing section after reading texts, Building Context annotations in the Teacher’s Edition, and listening and speaking Teaching Ideas in the Teacher’s Edition. Students practice reading for research with reading selections that are provided in the materials; they do not research on their own or find their own sources in any structured activities. Suggestions to do more or individual research are available in suggestion boxes of the Teacher’s Edition though they lack guidance for the teacher and few specify products for students to produce. The text does offer a series of research tasks throughout the school year; however, these are “short” projects within the units rather than “long” and independent research projects. Chapter 4: Using Evidence is dedicated to reading and writing with evidence, but the skills of the chapter are not integrated with research specifically. Research opportunities do not progress across units, chapters, or the materials in any meaningful way nor are they sequenced across the school year to include a progression of research skills that build to student independence. Research tasks are absent from the culminating activities at the end of the chapters though some Writing Workshops require research. These prompts are generally short, focused projects and do not require significant engagement or research. In many cases, the topics are used only to build knowledge of the texts and are not always relevant to student’s interests. Generally, opportunities for challenging, progressive projects are missing throughout the materials.

Examples of short research activities or suggestions in the Teacher’s Edition include, but are not limited to:

  • In Chapter 2: Writing, Writing in Context, students build context before reading Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech through optional research suggestions. A Building Context aside suggests, “students may benefit from conducting more research on the context of this speech. This will especially help them understand how the content of a speech relies heavily on the context in which it is presented.” A Teaching Idea suggests, “You might prompt students to research another speech (e.g. John F. Kennedy, Margaret Thatcher, Nelson Mandela) and compare the tone of that one with Martin Luther King’s speech.” The teacher is prompted to ask a series of questions as students research, such as “How are the tones similar? Different? For what reasons might those similarities and differences exist?” 
  • In Chapter 4: Using Sources, Activity: Finding and Evaluating Sources, students find sources of different types on single-sex education, such as “A research study with data and statistics, major magazine or newspaper article, or book, and a source that appears to lack credibility.” A Teaching Idea also suggests, “You might ask students to research some legitimate sites and some clever fakes. Have them note the difference and how to spot the fake sites and then share their findings with the class”. There are many short research activities within this unit to help students understand a myriad of ways to analyze and use sources. 
  • In Chapter 4: Using Sources, Evaluating Sources, a Building Context aside states: “Some countries create ‘firewalls’ to filter out specific content that they do not want the general population to see. Depending on technology access, parents might also have the option to set up firewalls to block content from their children’s view. You might ask students to research the ‘rules’ of Internet use and abuse in either the United States or another country. What are Internet companies doing to help curb fake news? Students can present their findings in a multi-modal presentation.” This is an example of a research suggestion that does specify a student product. However, no additional guidance is provided for teachers or students.
  • In Chapter 6: Argument, Topics for Composing, after students read the article “Why School Should Start Later in the Day” by Lisa Lewis, they respond to the prompt: “While Lewis does raise a few of the counterarguments, there are other possibilities that she does not address. Conduct research, including contacting your school or district administration, about other reasons why your school starts when it does. When you have identified these additional counterarguments, use them to write a response to Lewis’s op-ed in which you argue for one of those counterarguments."
  • In Chapter 9: Narrative, as students read the infographic, “After-School Activities by Gender,” a Teaching Idea suggests, “You might have students work in pairs to conduct research through surveys on the after-school activities of their peers at school. You can then have them gather the results and create an infographic similar to this. They could add their graphs to a class slideshow to present their findings.”
  • In Chapter 10: Drama, students read an excerpt from the play Boxcar by Silvia Gonzalez S. A Building Context section includes these ideas: “What is the history of the word Chicano, and who uses this word today? What are the cultural implications of this term? You might allow students some time to conduct research and become familiar with the etymology and current usage of the word.”
  • In Chapter 11: Mythology, Central Text, Topics for Composing, students read a selection from Homer’s The Odyssey and respond through a research project: “Do some research to identify what is known — and unknown — about the poet Homer, to whom The Odyssey is credited. Or, conduct research on the performances of The Odyssey that were shared by poets of the ancient world. How did they memorize all of the content? How and when were they performed, and for what audiences?”

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.
2/4
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 9 partially 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.

The materials include possible opportunities for independent reading that spans a wide volume of texts at grade levels and within the grade band; however, there is little guidance for how students read the texts. All independent reading is within the selections in the materials and assumed to be completed in class. No independent reading suggestions for student-chosen novels are provided, nor are there tracking systems. The texts are linked by genre and appropriately sequenced. Each chapter is divided into three parts: Section 1 includes foundational texts, Section 2 includes grade level texts, and Section 3 includes challenging texts. Also, through the Central Texts, Conversations, and Seeing Connections readings, numerous texts are presented for students. These formative reading practices prepare students to read and analyze texts independently for culminating tasks. 

While the structure of the materials do suggest that all texts provide students the opportunity to read independently, it is the instructor's decision on how to use the scaffolding supports, such as the Teaching Ideas and Building Context asides, to support and foster independent reading. These Teaching Ideas suggest teacher read alouds and pair, small group, and whole class readings as stepping stones independent reading. One such strategy, Interrupted Reading, can be found in the Teacher’s Resource Flash Drive. 

Chapter introductions and forward materials suggest additional reading selections to further students’ independence; however, there are no specific instructions on what students read independently and what is read as a class; it is assumed that students will read the texts independently unless otherwise directed to read with a partner. Students may get opportunities to read independently within an assigned task, but there is not a proposed schedule that tracks how well students are growing as independent readers. There is little direction within the materials to help teachers consider how to deliver a balance of reading inside and outside of class or whole group and independently. Additionally, there are no schedules, systems of accountability, or tracking systems for independent reading and little evidence that independent reading takes place. 

Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • In Contents, a Teacher’s Edition Teaching Idea suggests pairings for the Conversation sections for Chapters 5 through 11. For example, for Chapter 8: Exposition, the Teaching Idea suggests using Durrow's The Girl Who Fell from the Sky, Kingston’s The Woman Warrior, Potok’s The Chosen, and Satrapi’s Persepolis.  Although the materials do not suggest how to use these texts, it creates an opportunity for students to read inside and outside of class with supports and independently. 
  • In Chapter 1: Starting the Conversation, Section 3: Academic Conversation, Activity: Entering the Academic Conversation, students are provided with directions for independent reading: “Read the following articles about Colin Kaepernick, the San Francisco 49ers quarterback who in 2016 refused to stand for the national anthem played before games, choosing to kneel instead. ‘I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,’ he said. After you read, write a response to the following question: Was Kaepernick justified in not standing? Why or why not?”
  • In Chapter 7: Poetry, students read “Black Statue of Liberty” by Jessica Care Moore. A Teaching Idea suggests an idea for reading the text: “You might divide your students into groups and assign each group a stanza of the poem. You can then ask them to determine how the poem should be read aloud and practice their stanza multiple times before reading it to the class. Consider directing them to think carefully about pacing, stresses, and blocking.” A similar Teaching Idea suggests that after the instructor reads the beginning of Michael Daly’s “The Statue of Liberty Was Born a Muslim” and then “have students read this text independently. This would save time.” The Teaching Idea then provides a series of prompts to help process the text independently, such as “[...] assign a facilitator to guide the process and a scribe to track the phrases and words shared.” 
  • In Chapter 11: Mythology, Section 1, Close Reading: Gaiman’s “The Treasures of the Gods”, teachers are provided with a structured close reading prompt to support student independence: “Have students frame and reread paragraphs 10–25 and consider only those paragraphs. How does Gaiman’s use of detail and dialogue reveal Loki’s character and his values? What kind of person is he? Have students refer to at least four different pieces of evidence in the passage to support their perspective.”

Gateway Three

Usability

Not Rated

+
-
Gateway Three Details
This material was not reviewed for Gateway Three because it did not meet expectations for Gateways One and Two

Criterion 3a - 3e

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

Indicator 3a

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

Indicator 3b

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

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.).
N/A

Indicator 3d

Materials include publisher-produced alignment documentation of the standards addressed by specific questions, tasks, and assessment items.
N/A

Indicator 3e

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

Criterion 3f - 3j

Materials support teacher learning and understanding of the Standards.

Indicator 3f

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

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.
N/A

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.
N/A

Indicator 3i

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

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.
N/A

Criterion 3k - 3n

Materials offer teachers resources and tools to collect ongoing data about student progress on the Standards.

Indicator 3k

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

Indicator 3l

The purpose/use of each assessment is clear:
N/A

Indicator 3l.i

Assessments clearly denote which standards are being emphasized.
N/A

Indicator 3l.ii

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

Indicator 3m

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

Indicator 3n

Materials indicate how students are accountable for independent reading based on student choice and interest to build stamina, confidence, and motivation.
N/A

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.

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.
N/A

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.
N/A

Indicator 3q

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

Indicator 3r

Materials provide opportunities for teachers to use a variety of grouping strategies.
N/A

Criterion 3s - 3v

Materials support effective use of technology to enhance student learning. Digital materials are accessible and available in multiple platforms.

Indicator 3s

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

Indicator 3t

Materials support effective use of technology to enhance student learning, drawing attention to evidence and texts as appropriate and providing opportunities for modification and redefinition as defined by the SAMR model.
N/A

Indicator 3u

Materials can be easily customized for individual learners.
N/A

Indicator 3u.i

Digital materials include opportunities for teachers to personalize learning for all students, using adaptive or other technological innovations.
N/A

Indicator 3u.ii

Materials can be easily customized by schools, systems, and states for local use.
N/A

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.)
N/A
abc123

Additional Publication Details

Report Published Date: 10/16/2019

Report Edition: 2018

Title ISBN Edition Publisher Year
Annotated Teacher's Edition for Foundations of Language and Literature 978-1-31908-213-0 Bedford, Freeman & Worth High School Publishers 2018
Foundations of Language and Literature 978-1-45769-122-5 Bedford, Freeman & Worth High School Publishers 2018

About Publishers Responses

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

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

Educator-Led Review Teams

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

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

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

Rubric Design

The EdReports.org’s rubric supports a sequential review process through three gateways. These gateways reflect the importance of standards alignment to the fundamental design elements of the materials and considers other attributes of high-quality curriculum as recommended by educators.

Advancing Through Gateways

  • Materials must meet or partially meet expectations for the first set of indicators to move along the process. Gateways 1 and 2 focus on questions of alignment. 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).

Key Terms Used throughout Review Rubric and Reports

  • Indicator Specific item that reviewers look for in materials.
  • Criterion Combination of all of the individual indicators for a single focus area.
  • Gateway Organizing feature of the evaluation rubric that combines criteria and prioritizes order for sequential review.
  • Alignment Rating Degree to which materials meet expectations for alignment, 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.
  • Usability Degree to which materials are consistent with effective practices for use and design, teacher planning and learning, assessment, and differentiated instruction.

ELA HS Rubric and Evidence Guides

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

For ELA, our rubrics evaluate materials based on:

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

  • Building Knowledge with Texts, Vocabulary, and Tasks

  • Instructional Supports and Usability

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

X