Alignment: Overall Summary

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The Springboard Language Arts Common Core Edition 2018 materials for Grade 8 partially meet the alignment expectations. The materials include appropriately rigorous texts to engage students in reading and writing as well as working to build research skills. Tasks and questions provided offer students practice in academic speaking and listening as well as comprehensive writing skills development over the course of the school year. The materials partially meet the expectations of growing students' knowledge and academic vocabulary as they engage with increasingly rigorous texts and tasks. Supports for research, overall writing, and independent reading is present.

See Rating Scale Understanding Gateways

Alignment

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Partially Meets Expectations

Gateway 1:

Text Quality

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

Gateway 2:

Building Knowledge

0
15
28
32
26
28-32
Meets Expectations
16-27
Partially Meets Expectations
0-15
Does Not Meet Expectations

Usability

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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

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Gateway One Details

The SpringBoard Grade 8 instructional materials meet the expectations for text quality and complexity and alignment to the standards. The instructional materials include texts that are worthy of students' time and attention and that support students’ advancing toward independent reading. The materials provide opportunities for rich and rigorous evidence-based discussions and writing about texts to build strong literacy skills.

Criterion 1a - 1f

Texts are worthy of students' time and attention: texts are of quality and are rigorous, meeting the text complexity criteria for each grade. Materials support students' advancing toward independent reading.
20/20
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Criterion Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 8 meet the criteria for text quality and complexity. The materials include an appropriate distribution of texts suggested in the CCSS for Grade 8. In addition to literary texts, the program supports student access to strong informational texts. Anchor texts within the materials are of publishable quality, worthy of especially careful reading, and consider a range of student interests. Texts have the appropriate level of complexity for the grade according to quantitative analysis, qualitative analysis, and relationship to their associated student task. Over the course of the year, materials support students’ increasing literacy skills through a series of texts at a variety of complexity levels appropriate for Grade 8. The materials are accompanied by text complexity analyses and rationales for purpose and placement in the grade level, and the program’s anchor and supporting texts provide opportunities for students to engage in a range and volume of reading to achieve grade level reading proficiency.

Indicator 1a

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 8 meet the criteria for anchor texts being of publishable quality and worthy of especially careful reading and consider a range of student interests. The core materials include texts in the majority of the units across the yearlong curriculum that are of publishable quality. Texts are well-crafted and content-rich, engaging students at the grade level for which they are placed. The texts include published texts, excerpts from published texts, and published authors. Texts can be examined multiple times for multiple purposes, such as building academic vocabulary and facilitating access to future texts. They offer personal perspectives on a variety of topics.

Examples of texts that demonstrate high quality include:

Unit 1

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

Unit 2

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

Unit 3

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

Unit 4

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

Indicator 1b

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 8 meet the criteria that materials reflect the distribution of text types and genres required by the standards. Grade 8 materials include texts that represent a balance of literary and informational readings and span multiple types of text, including poems, essays, articles, films, editorials, myths, novel excerpts, short stories, memoirs, novels, biographies, and autobiographies. Examples from each unit include:

  • In Unit 1, text types include novels, short stories, poetry, news articles, autobiography, and an essay. Examples include, but are not limited to:
    • Excerpt from A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L-Engle
    • "The Drummer Boy of Shiloh" by Ray Bradbury
    • "A Man" by Nina Cassian
    • "Soldier home after losing his leg in Afghanistan" by Gale Fiege
    • Excerpt from The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave by Frederick Douglass
    • "A Definition of a Gentleman" by John Henry Newman.
  • In Unit 2, text types include essays, short story, novel, and articles. Examples include, but are not limited to:
    • "Grant and Lee: A Study in Contrasts" by Bruce Catton
    • "Harrison Bergeron" by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.
    • The Giver by Lois Lowry or Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
    • "Banned Books Week: Celebrating the Freedom to Read"
    • "Private Eyes" by Brooke Charlton
    • "How the Brain Reacts" by Marcel Just and Tim Keller
  • In Unit 3, text types include memoir, poem, children's book, film, excerpted play script, novel excerpt, primary sources, and news articles. Examples include, but are not limited to:
    • Excerpt from Night by Elie Wiesel
    • "First They Came for the Communists" by Martin Niemoller
    • Terrible Things: An Allegory of the Holocaust by Eve Bunting
    • Life is Beautiful directed by Roberto Benigni
    • Excerpt from The Diary of Anne Frank by Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett
    • Excerpt from The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne
    • Excerpt from Elie Wiesel's Nobel Peace Prize Acceptance Speech
    • Excerpt from: Do Something! A Handbook for Young Activists by Vanessa Martir, Nancy Lublin, and Julia Steers
    • "Wangari Maathai" from BBC News
  • In Unit 4, text types include essays, satire, short story, novel, poetry, comedic skit, drama, informational text, and film. Examples include, but are not limited to:
    • "Made You Laugh" by Marc Tyler Nobleman
    • "Underfunded Schools Forced to Cut Past Tense From Language Programs" from The Onion
    • "The Open Window" by Saki
    • "A Day's Work" from The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain
    • "They Have Yarns" by Carl Sandburg
    • "Who's on First?" by Bud Abbott and Lou Costello
    • Excerpt from A Midsummer Night's Dream by William Shakespeare
    • "Fear Busters - 10 Tips to Overcome Stage Fright" by Gary Guwe
    • A Midsummer Night's Dream, film

Indicator 1c

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 8 meet the criteria for texts having the appropriate level of complexity for the grade according to quantitative analysis, qualitative analysis, and relationship to their associated student task.

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

In Unit 1, the overall quantitative levels are 770-1230. Novel excerpts, poetry, and historical essays are qualitatively complex to very complex. Students work within single texts and compare/contrast components of the materials.

  • Activity 1.6: Text: The Odyssey by Homer. Lexile-1130. Qualitative: Moderate. Task Demand: Moderate-Analyze.
  • Activity 1.13: Text: The Narrative of The Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave by Fredrick Douglass. Lexile-1180. Qualitative: Moderate. Task Demand: Moderate-Analyze.

In Unit 2, the overall quantitative levels are 820-1590. Novels, poetry, and media articles are qualitatively complex and are coupled with activities that call for synthesizing evidence across texts.

  • Activity 2.16: Text:“Banned Books Week: Celebrating the Freedom to Read,” from the American Library Association. Lexile-1230. Complex. Qualitative: Low Difficuly. Task Demand: Accessible.
  • Activity 2.13: Text: "The Science Behind Distracted Driving" from KUTV Austin. Lexile-1040. Qualitative: Low Difficuly. Task Demand: Moderate-Analyze

In Unit 3, the overall quantitative levels are 610-1350. Thematically- and topically-organized film, poetry, novels, and articles fall into a broad range of qualitative complexity. Students engage in working across texts.

  • Activity 3.16: Text:from Do Something: A Handbook for Young Activists by Nancy Lublin with Vanessa Martir and Julia Steers. Lexile-950. Qualitative: Low. Task Demand: Accessible.
  • Activity 3.17: Text: “Wangari Maathai - Wangari Maathai rose to prominence fighting for those most easily marginalized in Africa- poor women.” Lexile-1200. Qualitative: Moderate Task Demand: Moderate.

In Unit 4, the overall quantitative levels are 900-1500. Satirical essays, exposition and explanatory pieces combine with poetry and are qualitatively accessible for students to negotiate working across texts. Tasks are integrated reading-writing-speaking-listening and synthesize skills and knowledge learned over the course of the school year.

  • Activity 4.4: Text:f“Underfunded Schools Forced to Cut Past Tense From Language Programs,” from The Onion. Lexile-1500. Qualitative: Moderate. Task Demand: Moderate-Analyze.
  • Activity 4.6: Text:from “Brothers,” by Jon Scieszka. Lexile-1110. Qualitative: Low. Task Demand: Moderate-Analyze.

Indicator 1d

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

he instructional materials reviewed for Grade 8 meet the criteria for supporting students’ increasing literacy skills over the course of the school year. (Series of texts should be at a variety of complexity levels appropriate for the grade band.) Series of texts are at a variety of complexity levels appropriate for the grade band.

Texts support students' increasing literacy skills over the course of the school year. The overall reading and writing demands gradually increase in complexity and challenges over the course of the school year as they incorporate previously-taught components and move students to synthesize literacy skills.

Students progressively build literacy skills through work with a variety of texts over the course of the school year. Texts sets are at various complexity levels, quantitatively and qualitatively, and therefore support learners as they develop literacy skills and background knowledge to support independent and proficient reading practices.

The overall reading and writing demands start at an accessible range in Unit 1 and gradually increase in complexity and challenges over the course of the school year. This range includes measures of quantitative and qualitative demand. Students encounter texts with lower quantitative demands at the beginnings of each unit as skills are introduced, and then they practice with increasingly complex texts as the units continue. For example, in Unit 1, early texts measure quantitatively at 770 and 960 Lexile, but at the end of the unit texts have a measure of 1130 and 1230. Coupled with the qualitative richness, these text sets provide a strong background for students to grow skills as they have access to grade-level texts. Online supports include Close Reading and Writer's Workshops which give students scaffolded instruction and multiple opportunities to access texts and gain experience in writing for different purposes and audiences.

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

Indicator 1e

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 8 meet the criteria that anchor texts and series of texts connected to them are accompanied by a text complexity analysis and rationale for purpose and placement in the grade level.

The materials contain core texts and supporting texts that are accompanied by a text complexity analysis and rationale for educational purpose and placement at grade level. The publisher includes a complete Text Complexity Analysis for each text used. This document includes a text description, a locator for where it is used, a section on context, a chart of the quantitative and qualitative measures, the qualitative considerations, the task and reader considerations, and the placement considerations.

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

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

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

Indicator 1f

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 8 meet the criteria that support materials for the core text(s) provide opportunities for students to engage in a range and volume of reading to support their reading at grade level by the end of the school year.

There are numerous opportunities for students to engage in a range and volume of texts throughout the year. Furthermore, students are given many opportunities over the course of school year to practice oral and silent reading fluency, and self-monitor their progress. Materials include a breadth and depth of text types. Student and Teacher Editions contain an extensive list of suggested fiction and nonfiction texts, correlated to each unit’s theme, along with Lexile level, in the front of each unit. Students are instructed at beginning and midpoint of each of four units to select a text from the list, or a similar one of their own, corresponding to unit’s theme. Students keep a Reader’s/Writer’s Notebook through the course of the year’s study. There, they record connections between anchor text and text selected for independent reading. The journal also serves as a repository for self-reflection on the success of reading strategies employed; multiple reading for multiple purposes, rereading, visualizing, and summarizing. Students also use journal to monitor growth in reading fluency, but there isn't a consistent way for the teacher to track a students' growth. The texts provide ample opportunities for students to engage in a range and volume of reading to achieve grade level reading mastery. Additional support is given to struggling readers and English Language Learners, as well as extension opportunities for those reading above grade level. Online programs include Desmos and Linc, and all selections are available as audio versions for practice of oral fluency.

There are numerous opportunities for students to engage with a range and volume of texts throughout the year both in print and in mixed media. Suggested independent reading texts and support texts, when combined with anchor texts, provide a robust collection of opportunities for students to read broadly and deeply. Texts range in length and form from online articles to plays and novels.

As teachers monitor the progress of their students through the First Read portion of the lesson, they are guided to evaluate if the mode is effective for the students’ skills and for the complexity of the piece. The Teacher Wrap offers suggestions for how to make adjustments, such as Step 5 in Unit 1, Activity 1.13: “Based on the observations you made during the first reading, you may want to adjust your reading mode. For example, for the sermon, you may decide for the second reading to read aloud certain complex passages, or you may group students differently. For the poem, you might switch from choral reading to independent reading.”Through this monitoring and through the targeted intervention provided through the Foundational Skills Workshop, teachers are supported in “equipping students with the literacy foundations that will enable them to make progress in their challenging ELA coursework.”

The Teacher Edition Front Matter provides different ways to obtain knowledge and awareness of students’ strengths and weaknesses in reading through the Foundational Skills Workshop which offers Observational Look-Fors "to identify possible gaps in foundational reading skills when you observe students struggling with reading or writing task; Foundational Reading Skills Screening Assessment to get more detailed information about an individual student’s foundational reading skills; a Diagnostic Checklist and Individual Progress Monitoring Chart to make an individualized plan for foundational reading skills intervention; and a Group Planning Chart to plan small-group instruction for students who will benefit from the same intervention plan.” While the Foundational Skills Workshop includes teacher supports for understanding students' literacy gaps, the workshop does not provide ample supports for teachers to identify and assess the literacy gaps.

Students practice independent reading throughout the school year through the inclusion of two independent reading assignments with each Unit. Students establish their independent reading schedules as can be seen in Activity 1.3 and have the opportunity to relate their independent reading selections to the study occurring in class through Independent Reading Links such as the one in Activity 1.4: “Examine the opening chapter of your independent reading book and write about how it sets the context for the hero’s challenges. What mood does the author set in the opening of your book? How is it similar to or different from the mood that is set in the poem in this activity?”

Criterion 1g - 1n

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

The SpringBoard Grade 8 instructional materials meet the criteria for alignment to the CCSS with tasks and questions grounded in evidence. Most questions, tasks, and assignments are text-dependent and require students to engage with the text directly and to draw on textual evidence to support both what is explicit as well as valid inferences from the text. The materials contain sets of high quality, sequenced, text-dependent, and text-specific questions with activities that build to a culminating task which integrates skills to demonstrate understanding. Culminating tasks are rich and varied, providing opportunities for students to demonstrate what they know and are able to do in speaking and/or writing over the year. The materials provide frequent opportunities and protocols for evidence-based discussions--small groups, peer-to-peer, whole class--that encourage the modeling and use of academic vocabulary and syntax, and most materials support students’ listening and speaking about what they are reading and researching (including presentation opportunities) with relevant follow-up questions and evidence. The instructional materials also include instruction of grammar and conventions and are applied in increasingly sophisticated contexts with opportunities for application context. The materials include a mix of on-demand and process writing ; short, focused projects incorporating digital resources where appropriate; and frequent opportunities for evidence-based writing to support analyses, well-defended claims, and clear information appropriate to the grade level. The program provides a variety of opportunities for students to write in the modes of argument, explanation, and narrative with writing assignments connected to texts and/or text sets.

Indicator 1g

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 8 meet the criteria that most questions, tasks, and assignments are text-dependent, requiring students to engage with the text directly (drawing on textual evidence to support both what is explicit as well as valid inferences from the text).

Teacher materials provide support for planning and implementation of text-dependent writing, speaking, and other activities. Every anchor and supporting text has a Second Read component that asks students to look at a particular section of the text, and complete a text-dependent activity. Questions students have about the text are recorded daily in students-required Reader’s/Writer’s notebook. The Teacher Wrap in both online and print teacher’s editions provides extensive guidance to teachers, as well as suggested answers to text-specific activities. Students record, revise, and edit their responses digitally with online text, and are encouraged to use digital tools such as Highlight, Note, Mark, Annotate, and Question to help with understanding. Further support is provided to students digitally through Zinc and Desmos.

Examples of text-dependent activities include:

In Unit 1, Activity 1.5, students read "The Drummer Boy of Shiloh" and use the annotation component to answer text-dependent questions:

  • "What textual evidence in the beginning of the story shows that the boy is afraid? The word ‘harvested’ is used figuratively in paragraph 10. How do you know it is used figuratively, and why did the author choose this word? Consult reference materials to find the meanings of 'ramrod' and 'flint.' Relate these words to the meaning of the sentence in paragraph 12. How does the sentence convey the boy’s mood? How did Joby join the army? What is significant about that? Consult reference material to find the meaning of the word 'drowse.' How does that word create a contrast in paragraph 44? What shift happens in paragraphs 44, 45, and 46? Use textual evidence in your answer. How does the general’s comment, ‘Do you know now you’re general of the army when the general’s left behind?’ prove to be a decisive moment in the conversation between him and Joby?" These questions are comprehensive, but they are surface-level and do not dive deeply into textual analysis or synthesis."
  • "Summarize the Departure Stage of the Hero’s Journey as it relates to Joby in 'The Drummer Boy.' Embed at least one direct quotation in your summary to strengthen your response." This does not require an in-depth analysis for the text as multiple direct quotations can be chosen.
  • Students complete a graphic organizer after being instructed to "Reread a chunk of the text to identify and evaluate the narrative elements listed. Now that you have identified and evaluated the narrative elements of the story, determine its central idea. Write a summary of the central idea, supporting your interpretation using evidence from the text. Explain how the author communicates the idea that Joby is now ready to start his journey.” The graphic organizer asks students to provide evidence to support their analysis of the text; however, clear guidance is not provided for students to note if they have strong evidence to support their claim.

In Unit 2, Activity 2.3, students read "Harrison Bergeron" and follow the same type of annotation to complete a close read using Key Ideas and Details and Craft and Structure questions. Following the Second Read questions, students complete a chart in which they provide an interpretation of the questions “What ‘ideal’ is the society based upon? What did the society sacrifice in order to create this ‘ideal’ life? How was this utopian ideal transformed into a dystopian reality? What new problems were created?” and must support their interpretation with evidence. At the end of the Activity, students are given a comprehension question: "How does “Harrison Bergeron” convey the conflict between the needs or ideals of society and the realities of individuals? Be sure to provide examples from the text and use at least one direct quotation to support your ideas, include a reference to utopia and dystopia, [and] use active voice unless you choose passive voice for a certain effect."

In Unit 3, students read multiple texts that explore the history of the Holocaust and select people who have worked to make a difference. When reading an excerpt from The Boy in the Striped Pajamas in Activity 3.11, students use the annotation prompts as they read. Many of the questions ask students to refer back to the text: "Analyze the description and dialogue. Why is the watch so important to Shmuel? What does it symbolize for him? What inferences can you make about the setting? Provide details that help form your inferences.”Additionally as seen in the Teacher Wrap for this activity, teachers are provided with the means for supporting student comprehension in the Leveled Differentiated Instruction Box: “Support students’ comprehension by asking them to make predictions. Have them read through paragraph 15 and then stop to fill the left side of a Venn diagram with their predictions. After they finish reading, have them fill out what actually happened in the right side of the Venn diagram. Matches can be moved to the overlapping section.”

In Activity 4.2 students read the text, "Made You Laugh" by Marc Tyler Nobleman and respond to questions such as, "What is the author’s argument in this essay? Cite specific evidence from the text in your response."

Indicator 1h

Sets of high-quality sequences of text-dependent questions and tasks build to a culminating task that integrates skills (may be writing, speaking, or a combination).
1/2
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 8 partially meet the criteria for having sets of high-quality sequences of text-dependent/specific questions and tasks build to a culminating task that integrates skills (may be writing, speaking, or a combination).

Sets of text dependent questions build to culminating tasks throughout the school year. Culminating tasks frequently integrate literacy skills ( tasks may focus on writing or speaking) and provide students opportunities to demonstrate what they know and are able to do in speaking and writing. Culminating tasks happen at the midpoint and endpoint of each of four units, eight in all.

Following are samples representative of the culminating tasks in the Grade 8 resources. Skills development, particularly in writing, is strong. Materials refer to culminating tasks as Embedded Assessments. Students are exposed to the demands of these assessments at beginning and midpoint of each unit, and there is extensive support throughout the unit for students at all levels. Culminating tasks connect with texts consistently, although the central focus of these productions does not always privilege the learning within the texts. Connections to the texts studied are not always explicit or robust.

Examples of the culminating tasks include:

  • In Unit1, Embedded Assessment 1.1: Write a Hero's Journey Narrative. This task represents a culmination of student learning throughout the first half of Unit 1 as previous text-dependent tasks have focused on learning the elements of narrative text and the content of a hero's journey. For example, students learn how to write effective narratives through an “[examination] of the opening chapter of [their] independent reading” selection, an examination of the Hero’s Journey archetype structures using print and non-print text in Activities 1.2, 1.4, 1.5, 1.6, and 1.7, and drafting, revising, and illustrating an original Hero's Journey archetype. After collaboration in writing groups, students will publish their story and reflect on their learning.
  • In Unit 2, Embedded Assessment 2.2: Write an Explanatory Essay. The sequence of text-dependent tasks throughout the unit support student success with this assessment as students write a compare/contrast response to expository text using textual evidence to support a central idea in Activity 2.2, read informational and classic literary texts and use evidence from these texts in a written response to literature, and engage in a study of two novels concurrently, examining and making connections among literary elements and engaging in related discussion. Students work with texts throughout the process as models to support their understanding of the expository essay. Additionally, the materials in the second half of Unit 2 focus on supporting writing with tasks that require students to analyze a model argumentative essay, marking the text for the claim, evidence, reasoning, and counterclaims; use the steps of research process to write a research question; locate and evaluate sources; and use a writer's checklist to outline and write the argumentative essay.
  • In Unit 3, Embedded Assessment 3.2: Presenting a Multimedia Campaign. This culminating task reflects student learning from this unit guided by a series of text-dependent tasks focused on the use, purpose, and impact of media. Students study visuals from public service announcements in Activity 3.14 to analyze purpose and effect, read images and slogans from various websites to evaluate how media enhances presentation of information, and apply this understanding to an analysis of written texts to discover purpose, audience, tone and argumentative elements of a speech. Additionally, students analyze informational texts and websites about efforts that have made a difference, explaining how specific media types appeal to different target audiences. In this example, students merge understanding of the texts themselves with the forms and modes in which they are developed to make meaning.
  • In Unit 4, Embedded Assessment 4.1: Writing an Analysis of a Humorous Text. Throughout the unit, text-dependent tasks are sequenced to culminate in this task. Students analyze the complexity of humor by reading closely and writing an objective summary of informational text in Activity 4.2, engaging in a close read of film and literary text, analyzing how speakers and authors use anecdote and satire to create humor, and use Socratic Seminar techniques (Activity 4.5) to explain theme through humor. Students continue to deepen their knowledge and build writing skills as they evaluate a sample student essay in Activity 4.11 and conduct research to build background knowledge. To develop their own culminating task, students must have a strong understanding of the texts and tasks that precede the assignment.

Indicator 1i

Materials provide frequent opportunities and protocols for evidencebased discussions that encourage the modeling and use of academic vocabulary and syntax. (May be small group and all-class.)
1/2
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 8 partially meet the criteria for materials providing frequent opportunities and protocols for evidence-based discussions (small groups, peer-to-peer, whole class) that encourage the modeling and use of academic vocabulary and syntax.

Students are provided opportunities for collaborative discussion using pair-share, small group discussion, jigsaw, whole class discussion, and Socratic seminars; however, discussion protocol and clear teacher guidance is not evident. Strategies are listed and defined. There is little guidance or direction for teachers and students. Strong guidance regarding the utilization of academic vocabulary and syntax is not present.

Each unit offers opportunities to engage with academic vocabulary in three separate differentiated lessons associated with the texts of the unit as well as in preliminary activities where students create a QHT (Questions, Heard, Teach) chart for the academic vocabulary they will encounter in the unit, which are provided in the Contents section of each unit. While academic and content specific vocabulary is listed in the beginning of each unit, and definitions are provided at point of use and in glossaries in the student and teacher edition, with audio available in Springboard Digital, the focus on vocabulary building resides in the process and does not focus deeply into apply academic vocabulary in a larger context. Additionally, to support ELL students, teachers are provided a list of cognates for the unit in the Planning the Unit section of their text and in Springboard Digital, and the textbook contains a glossary with first the English word and definition followed by its Spanish counterpart.

Examples of opportunities for evidence-based discussions include, but are not limited to:
  • In Unit 1, Activity 1.5a, students work in groups to complete the Academic and Social Language Preview associated with “The Drummer Boy of Shiloh” in Activity 1.5. The Teacher Wrap provides guidance for grouping students to collaborate on the study and review of this academic vocabulary. Similar opportunities are provided in Activity 1.6a for The Odyssey in Activity 1.6 and in Activity 1.13a for the collection of texts in Activity 1.13. There is no evidence of how teachers will encourage students to engage with this Academic Vocabulary in future text-based discussions after the culmination of this Lesson.
  • In Unit 2, Activity 2.3: Language and Writer’s Craft: Embedding Direct Quotations, students study examples of paraphrases and direct quotations embedded in a paragraph and complete a chart “citing evidence by embedding quotes from the text” before engaging in a class discussion over their charts and use of direct quotations.
  • In Unit 2, Activity 2.6, students are introduced to the concept of the Socratic Seminar and the rules of collegial discussion before engaging in a Socratic Seminar over the texts leading up to this activity and their in-class novel.
  • In Unit 4, Activity 4.1, students are guided to complete a QHT chart for the academic vocabulary introduced on the Contents page of the unit as they are in all of the units, but given the additional goal of being able “to move all words to the ‘T’ column [comfortable enough to teach] by the end of the unit.” There is no evidence of how teachers will encourage students to engage with this Academic Vocabulary in future text-based discussions or practice teaching these words after the culmination of this Lesson.
  • In Unit 4, Activity 4.15c: Interact in Meaningful Ways: Academic Collaboration, students work with a partner or in small groups to ask and answer questions about a dramatic scene from A Midsummer Night’s Dream “in collaborative conversations, demonstrating active listening, and drawing upon an expanding pool of language resources for discussing literature” and to “express and support opinions of the scene in conversation.” Students are provided ways of discussing the text through the provision of sentence starters for their responses to each of the questions. There is no further direction provided.

Indicator 1j

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 8 partially meet the expectations for indicator 1j. Materials supporting students’ listening and speaking about what they are reading and researching (including presentation opportunities) with relevant follow-up questions and supports. In every speaking and listening activity, the students are asked to use evidence from the text at hand, although main ideas and core themes may not be explored consistently.

Materials develop students' skills with focused discussions such as Socratic Seminars and Literature Circles, in which students participate in speaking and listening that is grounded in their reading and researching, and although the students are asked to use evidence from the text at hand, main ideas and core themes are not consistently explored.

Speaking and listening tasks and activities in the Grade 8 materials include active listening, audience, choral reading, clarity of pronunciation and speaking voice, debate, philosophical chairs, drama games, expert group, eye contact, facial expression, feedback, fishbowl strategy, group discussions, inflection, jigsaw group, literature circles, movement, multimedia presentations, oral interpretation, oral introduction, oral presentation, oral reading, pantomime, props, rate, reader's theater, rehearsal, role playing, sound, tableau, tone, visuals, and volume. The index directs students to where they can find text references and instruction of speaking and listening skills.

Although each activity is intended to be anchored by the text, it is noted that there is little accountability for teachers to support students who either do not comprehend the material and/or who work with the speaking and listening activities without referencing the text.

  • In Unit 1, Activity 1.8, students participate in collaborative discussions. Teacher assigns specific roles and goes over guidelines and discussion protocols. The instructional focus is on learning the protocols in preparation for the editing and revising of their hero narrative. Teachers are guided in ways to assess student understanding in the Teacher Wrap by having them ask students to “summarize the assignment and guidelines for each ‘job’" and to “make sure students understand that revision and editing are two distinct steps in the writing process [by asking] a variety of students to state the differences in their own words.” If students need additional practice with this skill, the Adapt suggestion in the Teacher Wrap provides the suggestion that teachers have students “work in pairs to revise and edit short paragraphs in their Reader/Writer Notebook.” While this speaking and listening work is connected to texts, the overall focus is on the act of speaking versus in service of comprehending the texts at hand.
  • In Unit 1, Activity 1.10, students present findings to class about tone, using outline frames to prepare for presentation. When other groups are presenting, students are instructed to listen and take notes. The Teacher Wrap recommends as students are creating their charts prior to their presentations that teachers “circulate to check for understanding and to clarify confusion.” Focused support for the teacher does not consistently support what to do should students demonstrate misunderstanding.
  • In Unit 2, Activity 2.6, students contribute analysis and evidence relating to the assigned topic in a Socratic Seminar. Oral discussion sentence starters are provided, and students set two specific and attainable speaking and listening goals. In the Teacher Wrap, teachers are provided with suggestions for ensuring balanced sharing during the Socratic Seminar. This focus is, again on the actions but less focused on assuring comprehension of the texts.
  • In Unit 3, Activities 3.9-12, students work collaboratively to present an effective oral reading. They apply analysis of Holocaust narratives by transforming selection of text to a found poem they present to class. During panel discussions, students evaluate quality of students' interpretation of evidence. The Teacher Wrap provides guidance for teachers in monitoring students progress and adapting the assignment to ensure understanding. In this instance, teachers are provided more targeted support to assure students' comprehension.
  • In Unit 4, Activities 4.16-20, students form acting companies and rehearse. Acting companies participate in dress rehearsal. Individuals reflect and plan to address strengths and challenges as a performer. The Teacher Wrap provides guidance for teachers in monitoring and assessing students progress such as in Activity 18 where teachers are instructed to “work with each group” as they plan their action sequences to make sure they “are on the right track” and to “review student work in the graphic organizer” and “observe if students are able to demonstrate their analysis through an improved commitment to their character as they rehearse.” Directions for teachers here support their focus on the text alongside the action of speaking and demonstration.

Indicator 1k

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 8 meet the criteria that materials include a mix of on- demand and process writing (e.g., multiple drafts, revisions over time) and short, focused projects, incorporating digital resources where appropriate.

Grade 8 materials provide opportunities for students to complete different modes of writing. On-demand writing occurs throughout the year in almost every Activity and is bolstered by almost-daily practice with annotation work. Process writing is scaffolded over the course of the school year and is a core component of the program. Materials include writing instruction aligned to the standards for the grade level, and writing instruction spans the school year.

The student edition includes writing instruction on skills such as brainstorming, controlling ideas, details, dialogue, drafting, editing, evaluating, providing feedback, outlining, planning, prewriting, quick writes, research, revision strategies, multimedia components, writing process, writing prompts. The Planning Unit section of the teacher’s edition provides an explanation of expectations of Embedded Assessments, as well as a comprehensive Instruction and Pacing Guide. A Writers Workshop is available online for extra support.

Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • In Unit 1, Activities 1.2-4, students engage in on-demand writing by practicing transforming written imagery and detail into illustrations. Students complete this type of writing repeatedly throughout the unit.
  • In Unit 1, Activities 1.5-8, students use process writing over ten class periods, as they draft the beginning and middle of a narrative, work in writing groups to create a writer's checklist, provide specific feedback for revision and editing, and continue to revise as they draft the end of the narrative.
  • In Unit 1, Embedded Assessment 1, students again engage in process writing by, following collaboration with writing groups to strengthen writing through revision and editing, students write a narrative, publish, and reflect on writing.
  • In Unit 2, Activity 2.2, students write on-demand by writing a compare/contrast response to informational text.
  • In Unit 2, Activity 2.3, students practice embedding direct quotations and apply learning by writing a response to literature in an on-demand prompt.
  • In Unit 2, Embedded Assessment 1, after working through stages of writing process and collaborative writing groups, students write an expository essay, publish, and reflect.
  • In Unit 2, Activities 2.12-16, students write debatable claims, conduct and cite research, create annotated bibliography, and form and support claims, using research.
  • In Unit 3, Activities 3.4-5, students write on-demand by responding to an expository writing prompt to analyze how themes in multiple genres connect.
  • In Unit 3, Activities 3.6-8, students use process writing to conduct research from websites, researching a specific Holocaust victim. Work in collaborative groups to transform research into talking points for panel discussion.
  • In Unit 4, Activities 4.2-3, students write on-demand a summary of informational text and again in Activities 4.8-10 in response to expository writing prompts.
  • In Unit 4, Embedded Assessment 1, students use process writing to write an analysis of a humorous text by writing a multi-paragraph essay, working through all stages of writing process, publishing, and reflecting.

Indicator 1l

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 8 meet the criteria that materials provide opportunities for students to address different text types of writing that reflect the distribution required by the standards.

Grade 8 materials have students work with different types of writing tasks, learning and practicing in different genres/modes as outlined by the standards for Grade 8.

Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • In Unit 1, writing opportunities include writing a narrative (a "hero's journey") in Embedded Assessment 1.1 and a definition essay in Embedded Assessment 1.2.
  • In Unit 2, writing instruction includes writing an expository essay in Embedded Assessment 2.1 and argumentative essay in Embedded Assessment 2.2.
  • In Unit 3, writing instruction includes an analysis of a narrative text in Activity 3.5 and an argumentative essay in Activity 3.15.
  • In Unit 4, writing instruction includes an analysis of humorous text via expository/explanatory essay in Embedded Assessment 4.1.

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

Indicator 1m

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 8 meet the criteria that materials include frequent opportunities for evidence-based writing to support careful analyses, well-defended claims, and clear information.

Grade 8 materials include frequent opportunities for evidence-based writing to support careful analyses, well-defended claims, and clear information. In addition to requiring text-based evidence in responding to questions for each selection, there are many opportunities for evidence-based writing.

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

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

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

Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • In Unit 1, Activity 1.7, students “Identify steps in the Hero’s Return. Mark the text to indicate evidence of each step."
  • In Unit 1, Activity 1.12, students are asked "How does Stone use the example strategy to support definition? Cite textual evidence to support your analysis."
  • In Unit 1, Activity 1.13, students “Explain how Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass were heroic... Provide [specific and relevant facts, details, examples and quotations from anthology to support topic sentence and thesis and] to develop ideas."
  • In Unit 3, while students read the "Address by Cesar Chavez, President United Farm Workers of America, AFL-CIO" in Activity 3.19, they are prompted to answer these questions using evidence: "What is the claim Cesar Chavez is making? Summarize the logic of Chavez's argument about the relationship between human health and pesticides. How has the author depended on logical reasoning and relevant evidence? How does Cesar Chavez satisfy the call to action part of the argument he is making?"
  • In Unit 4, Activity 4.4, a graphic organizer is included that supports students' eliciting evidence from the story "Brothers" by Jon Sziescka. After completing the organizer, students practice writing analytical topic sentences using specifics from the organizer. This progression of working from reading to note-taking to organizer to frame to writing is common throughout the program.

Indicator 1n

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 8 meet the criteria that materials include explicit instruction of the grammar and conventions standards for grade level as applied in increasingly sophisticated contexts, with opportunities for application both in and out of context.

Grade 8 materials include language skills that are taught explicitly and then applied in increasingly sophisticated contexts. Grammar and conventions are taught in a sequence consistent with the demands of Grade 8 standards and are integrated with reading and writing instruction.

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

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

Some language work is embedded, so students encounter it in context, with guidance such as the note in Activity 2.2 that engages students as they read “Grant and Lee: A Study in Contrasts” to "Note the usage of the conditional mood in paragraph 9: 'If the land was settled … he could better himself.' How does the use of the conditional support the main idea of this paragraph?" These Grammar and Usage prompts connect with lessons throughout the units.

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

Examples include:

Unit 1

  • Activity 1.7: Prepositional phrases
  • Activity 1.11: Appositives

Unit 2

  • Activity 2.2: Conditional tense
  • Activity 2.3: Conventions-ellipses and brackets usage, active and passive voice, embedding direct quotes
  • Activity 2.6: Imperative and interrogative

Unit 3

  • Activity 3.2: Analyzing roots and affixes
  • Activity 3.4: Participle verb forms
  • Activity 3.10: Pronoun antecedents, punctuation using ellipses, colons, exclamation points, dashes, and parentheses
  • Activity 3.19: Verb tenses-present progressive, using fragments for effect

Unit 4

  • Activity 4.4 Verbals-participles, infinitives, and gerunds
  • Activity 4.6: Active voice and passive voice
  • Activity 4.8: Word connections: multiple meanings, word relationships; Grammar and Usage: connotation and denotation
  • Activity 4.15: Performance using punctuation cues consistently and naturally to inform vocal delivery

Gateway Two

Building Knowledge with Texts, Vocabulary, and Tasks

Partially Meets Expectations

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Gateway Two Details

The SpringBoard Grade 8 instructional materials partially meet the expectations for building knowledge. The instructional materials build knowledge through integrated reading, writing, speaking, listening, and language. Questions and tasks, worked alongside an overall academic vocabulary study, inconsistency develop students' knowledge building. The teacher may have to supplement with rich activities to redirect students to the core meanings of the texts and overall focus. The systems for growing writing, research skills, and independent reading are in place to support literacy development.

Criterion 2a - 2h

26/32

Indicator 2a

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

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

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

Guidance for struggling students is incorporated into the curriculum. Each anchor and supporting text includes a Second Read activity, which asks students to look closely at selected excerpts and passages to answer text dependent questions. The Independent Reading lists also include specific suggested informational and literary texts corresponding to the theme.

Reading, questions, writing tasks, and speaking and listening activities all revolve around the study of choices made and how they impact society while growing knowledge about subtopics within each unit. Students have ample opportunity during collaborative discussions to share connections between concepts taught in class and their independent reading, and are provided opportunities to demonstrate new knowledge and stances on the themes and topics in culminating activities. There is teacher support embedded in Teacher Wrap to redirect or reteach should students misunderstand core work or need comprehension .The online Close Reading Workshops include strategies to support students in determining what each text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from what it does not say explicitly. Students have ample opportunity during collaborative discussions to share connections between concepts taught in class and their independent reading, and are provided opportunities to demonstrate new knowledge and stances on the themes and topics in culminating activities.

  • Unit 1: The Challenge of Heroism: This unit presents the topic of heroes. Readings include novels, short stories, poetry, sermon, article, essay, and autobiography all on the topic of heroism. The Unit begins through looking at the challenges that arrive with the act of one’s heroism, and reviews the qualities and characteristics of a hero. The Unit also focuses on a hero’s journey and analyzes the true meaning of a hero.
  • Unit 2: The Challenge of Utopia: This unit presents the topic of a utopia. The novel The Giver is utilized to study a utopian society along with its benefits and drawbacks when comparing it to the current dynamic within the modern world. The unit also analyzes the existence and challenges of heroes in a utopian society and how to identify a heroic journey.
  • Unit 3: The Challenge to Make a Difference: This unit presents the topic of the Holocaust with a variety of genres including memoir, poetry, children's literature, film, drama, fiction, speech, article and informational text. Readings, questions, writing tasks, and speaking and listening activities all revolve around the study of challenges that individuals and groups face, specifically the struggles and hardships endured by groups of people, along with how they work through these challenges. The first half of the unit focuses primarily on the Holocaust and how individuals advocated for groups in an attempt to make a meaningful change.
  • Unit 4: The Challenge of Comedy: This unit presents the nature and elements of comedy. More specifically, students learn about the nuances of comedy and the types of comedy. The unit explores humorous texts to understand the reasoning behind why writers and speakers utilize comedy in an attempt to convey the truth.

Indicator 2b

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

The materials for Grade 8 meet the criteria for materials containing sets of coherently sequenced questions and tasks that require students to analyze the language, key ideas, details, craft, and structure of individual texts.

In most texts, students are provided opportunities to analyze language and author's word choice as they read, through sidebar word meaning and word connection lessons and questions that prompt them to interact with text to find examples of figurative, sensory and vivid language, as well as roots and affixes and other components of language. Lessons and questions require them to interact with the text to find examples of figurative, sensory and vivid language, as well as roots and affixes, etc. The tasks throughout each unit, as well as culminating activities, set expectations and purpose for analyzing structure and craft through activities and questions for each Anchor and Supporting text. In addition, support is given for struggling students in the Teacher Wrap, which gives strategies such as chunking, scaffolding, and rephrasing questions. English Learners are supported through specially designed lessons in each unit that go along with Anchor Texts, but are specifically structured to help students comprehend the text through Close Reading, Academic Vocabulary and Collaborative Discussions lessons, that provide scaffolded vocabulary instruction, and guided close reading opportunities.

The Planning the Unit section at beginning of each unit gives suggestions for Graphic Organizers that will assist English Learners in that unit. Leveled Differentiated Instruction activities are found in each unit, offering the instructor suggestions for scaffolding challenging tasks that lead to the culminating assessments. These suggestions model differentiation techniques that can be used to adapt tasks throughout each unit. In each Unit Opener, there is a one page summary of differentiation strategies that can be found in the unit. Each text contains a Second Read component and questions are specifically labeled as Key Ideas and Details, and Craft and Structure, The Teacher Wrap in print and digital edition provides teachers with a host of options to help differentiate instruction to reach all learners. A representative example of this is shown in Unit 3 Activity 3.11,students read an excerpt from The Boy in the Striped Pajamas as a foundation for their learning goals of presenting talking points on a Holocaust narrative in a panel discussion and of delivering an oral reading and explaining the thematic focus of a passage. After the second read of the passage students answer a series of questions:

  • Key Ideas and Details: What inferences can you make about the setting? Provide details that help form your inferences.
  • Key Ideas and Details: Quote one or more lines of dialogue that show Bruno’s perspective lacks an understanding of Shmuel’s situation and explain why.
  • Craft and Structure: Examine paragraph 16 that talks about “The Fury.” Who is this and why does Bruno call him “The Fury”?
  • Key Ideas and Details: How does the following dialogue reveal theme: “You’re on the wrong side of the fence though”?
  • After the Second Read questions, students complete a series of questions and graphic organizers in the Working from the Text exercise designed to help them analyze theme and present a panel discussion and a dramatic interpretation of the text:
    • How does the theme “finding light in the darkness” connect to the passage about Shmuel and Bruno?
    • Fill in the graphic organizer above with information from the passage. Use your notes to prepare talking points that will guide a meaningful discussion of the text.
  • At the end of the activity students write a summary of the excerpt and explain how “the characters, setting, and plot relate to the theme,” which ties into the Embedded Assessment for the first part of the unit to present a panel discussion over a narrative read by the group explaining how the theme of “finding light in the darkness is developed throughout the narrative.”

Indicator 2c

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 8 partially meet the criteria that materials contain a coherently sequenced set of text-dependent questions and tasks that require students to analyze the integration of knowledge and ideas across both individual and multiple texts.

Students read to analyze a variety of texts and engage with questions and tasks to understand the forms through which ideas are conveyed, such as poetry, essay, novel, and film. Rich texts are used as a vehicle to learn the component parts of texts, but students are not guided to engage in deeper critical thinking about the texts themselves.

Students read to analyze a variety of texts to understand storytelling. Through close reading and analyzing the narrative elements that skilled writers use to develop text, students learn to write real and imagined narratives. Students analyze components, organizational structures, and language of narrative text. Students closely read several short stories, analyzing plot development, figurative language, and theme. Students read across several genres with related themes, and opportunities to uncover and understand the core themes, content, and characterization. Texts are supported in Teacher Wrap as well as in the student edition with several support structures and strategies, including specialized Leveled Differentiated Instruction guides, specially designed English Language Development lessons. Close reading activities are embedded in every anchor and supporting text second read. Digital Support is also provided through Close Reading Workshops and online programs. While students are steeped in these elements, they are not consistently supported in building knowledge beyond the text structures. Some questions and series of questions support knowledge building, while others focus on reading strategy work that puts knowledge and content comprehension secondary. The materials consistently do not include a coherently sequenced set of questions requiring students to analyze the integration of knowledge and ideas across both individual and multiple texts. Consistent opportunities are not provided throughout the year-long materials to meet the criteria of this indicator.

Examples include:

  • In Unit 1, Activity 1.13, the learning targets indicate that students will "Analyze two sets of texts about two historical heroes" and "Compare a poem of tribute to an autobiographical excerpt." After this, they will write a written response. Teachers and students are given guidance to consider during reading: "As you read, think about how these authors see Lincoln as a heroic figure. Use the following table to record details about Lincoln’s character expressed in each of the texts you just read." The action of note-recording may support some students in growing their understanding of the materials, but may not provide enough for teachers to ensure all students have deep understanding of the texts.
    • Teachers are given notes on focus in each of the pieces in the Teacher Wrap: “Whitman seems more focused on Lincoln’s determination to save the American nation, whereas Dr. Gurley is more focused on Lincoln’s dedication to liberty for all.”

There are Second Read questions that guide students through a rereading of "Frederick Douglass":

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

There are Second Read questions that guide students through a rereading of "from The Narrative of The Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave":

  • What images in paragraph 2 does Douglass use to describe his first feelings of freedom and his fear of capture?
  • What did the “Liberator” write about? Why did it send “a thrill of joy” through Douglass’s soul?
  • What kind of mental, emotional, and physical courage did Frederick Douglass convey in this excerpt from his autobiography?

After reading, students are given a cross-text prompt: "Compare Hayden’s poem to Douglass’s autobiographical narrative. What topic of the autobiographical narrative do you see reflected in Robert Hayden’s tribute to Douglass?" The expository writing prompt asks students to do some comparison from the texts and provides these directions:

  • "Walt Whitman and Dr. Phineas Gurley treat the death of Lincoln as the death of a heroic figure. Robert Hayden also presents Frederick Douglass as a heroic figure. How does Douglass’s autobiographical writing give detail to an understanding of Douglass as a heroic person?" The breadth of answers that students may deliver here will necessitate the teacher refocusing on who needs more support around comprehension. However, the supports in place are focused on the tasks of writing
  • Think about the texts you just read. Explain how Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass heroic. Draft a definition paragraph using the example strategy. Be sure to:
    • Begin with a topic sentence that answers the prompt.
    • Provide supporting detail and commentary to develop ideas.
    • Use formal style and appropriate diction for the purpose and audience.
    • Reflect on your writing: How does use of the example strategy strengthen a definition?

With each reading assignment, teachers are instructed in the Teacher Wrap to monitor students’ progress and to make sure that they are engaged with the text and annotating it as instructed in the Setting a Purpose for Reading steps in the activity. If students struggle with the Second Read questions, teachers are given the means for scaffolding the questions to provide them with support in that area. However, the focus provided in the materials consistently targets the strategies and practices of reading work, instead of assuring students have deep understanding of the text meaning.

Indicator 2d

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

The instructional materials for Grade 8 partially meet the criteria that 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, and listening).

Each unit contains two "Embedded Assessments" that act as culminating activities. They include the following activities: writing a personal narrative, writing a short story, responding to literature, writing an expository essay, researching and debating a controversy, writing an argumentative letter, researching and presenting Shakespeare, and performing Shakespeare. Text-dependent questions and lessons throughout each unit build towards these embedded assessments. However, the culminating tasks do not necessarily promote the building of students’ knowledge of the theme/topic, instead focusing solely on the skills in the end products themselves.

Tasks emphasize the completion and synthesis of more than one skill learned and practiced, usually inclusive of a writing skill. Over the course of the unit, students practice short writing by responding to prompts. Students read texts and are prompted to write and work in speaking and listening tasks prior to working with the culminating task. The teacher support is provided in Planning Unit, and Unit Overview sections, in Teacher Wrap in digital edition, as well as specialized Leveled Differentiated Instruction guidance. Three specialized lessons in each unit provide support for English Learners in accessing anchor texts. Independent Reading suggestions correlate to each unit’s theme, with literary and informational text suggestions at a variety of ability and interest levels. Close Reading activities are embedded in the second read of each anthology selection.

In the forward of each unit in Teacher's Edition, in Planning the Unit section, there is a comprehensive Instructional Activity and Pacing Guide that outlines expectations of Culminating Tasks and maps students' sequence of instructional expectations toward mastery of skills needed. This structure and focus does support students' development in writing to prompts and preparing materials while accessing reading, writing, speaking, listening, and language skills in concert.

In Unit 1, students write a "Definition Essay" after reading a series of poems, sermons, and other texts about historical figures and literary characters who embody heroism and character. The instructions include strong support around the writing of the essay, scaffolding students' experiences through the writing process (for example, providing samples of introductory paragraphs and thesis statements.) The prompt for the assignment is as follows (1.9)

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

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

Another example is in Unit 3. For Embedded Assessment 1, "Presenting Voices of the Holocaust," students are to "Present a panel discussion in front of your peers in which you explain how the theme or central idea of “finding light in the darkness” is developed in a narrative you have read." However, the culminating task focuses on development of the product itself, instead of re-engaging students with the texts to build knowledge and find connections to other themes and concepts. Guidance for the culminating task includes questions: Planning: How was the theme or central idea of “finding light in the darkness” developed in your Holocaust narrative? How did supporting details such as character, plot, and setting contribute to the theme?How can you use the organizers supplied in the unit to help you plan your final presentation? How will you assign talking points to each group member to include an introduction, at least two supporting details, and a conclusion? Reflecting: After completing this Embedded Assessment, think about how you went about accomplishing this task, and respond to the following: How was the theme or central idea of “finding light in the darkness” developed in the different Holocaust narratives that you heard about in the panel discussions? What did you learn from studying and discussing narratives about the Holocaust that you can apply to your own life? In the rubric, there is only one element of one component that attends to connecting the work to the texts read: "provides relevant elaboration to develop the topic, including textual evidence, details, commentary, and questions." All other rubric components are about the writing and presentation skills.

As identified in the above examples, students do engage in skills-integrated culminating tasks. However, the focus is consistently on the task itself, rather than building knowledge or thinking deeply about the texts in service of transferring critical thinking skills to other texts and concepts.

Indicator 2e

Materials include a cohesive, year-long plan for students to interact with and build key academic vocabulary words in and across texts.
2/4
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 8 partially meet the criteria that materials include a cohesive, year-long plan for students to interact with and build key academic vocabulary words in and across texts. Students do have year long engagement with vocabulary; however, the majority of word work focuses on literary terms and less time is used for engaging in Tier II practice.

Grade 8 materials include a list at the beginning of each unit with academic and literary terms that are tied to instruction of the unit is provided for teachers in Unit Overview and provide teachers with guidance for incorporating vocabulary and its ongoing relevance in the Teacher Wrap of the Unit Overview. The Tier 2 Academic vocabulary is given less support than the literary terms. Vocabulary is repeated in various contexts with largely literary terms and Tier 2 Academic Vocabulary being repeated and applied across texts. Vocabulary essential to the understanding of a text is given attention through point of use definitions and pronunciation and students are supported to accelerate their vocabulary through reading, speaking, and writing tasks including the supplementary support of three Academic and Social Language Preview activities per unit.

Materials provide some teacher guidance for long-term attention to vocabulary in the Teacher Wrap for the Unit Overview such as suggesting teachers have students add unfamiliar words to a Word Wall which will remain posted through the entirety of the unit. Students are given a list of academic and literary terms at the beginning of each unit with Tier 2 words for academic discourse being referenced throughout the year, such as the introduction of the Coherence in Unit 1, Activity 1.14, its extensive development throughout Unit 2, and continued use in Unit 3 such as in Activity 3.5 Analyzing an Allegory and in Unit 4 such as in Activity 4.6 Satirical Humor. Unfamiliar words are glossed along side texts to allay comprehension issues, but embedded vocabulary work is not consistent across texts and units.

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.
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 8 meet the criteria for materials supporting 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.

Grade 8 materials contain writing assignments, Embedded Assessments, that are aligned to 8th grade standards and span the entire school year. Writing lessons are well-designed and include planning, revising, editing, and rewriting steps as well as scoring guides for each Embedded Assessment, which are associated with the texts, text sets, topics or themes from the unit.

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

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

Examples include:

  • In Unit 1, Activity 1.9, students unpack Embedded Assessment 2, which has students write a multi-paragraph essay that develops their definition of heroism. Students develop the skills necessary to complete the Embedded Assessment through smaller activities throughout the second half of the unit such as Activity 1.12, which guides students in how to define and strategies for definition such as by function, by example, and by negation, before having them read the article, “Where I Find My Heroes,” guiding them through brainstorming their definition using a graphic organizer, and having them define the function of a hero citing texts they have used throughout the unit.
  • In Unit 2, Activity 2.1, students unpack Embedded Assessment 1, which is a compare and contrast essay of life in a dystopian society with life in modern society. In Activity 2.2: Explanatory Writing: Compare and Contrast, students review the foundations of compare and contrast and a graphic organizer that illustrates different ways to organize the paper before reading the comparative piece, “Grant and Lee: A Study in Contrasts.” After the reading students analyze the organizational structure of the piece and build upon lessons in Coherence learned in Unit 1 by studying transitional words specific to compare and contrast before practicing these techniques in “a short compare/contrast paragraph comparing Robert E. Lee and Ulysses S. Grant.” The Teacher Wrap provides teachers with a suggestion for building connections: “The focus of this reading is structure. Bruce Catton’s essay is a powerful example of effective comparison/contrast writing about two heroic figures in American history. Connecting this reading to students’ previous study of heroism and connecting heroic traits to the study of character development in the novel they will be reading will provide a bridge between the learning of the previous unit and that of this unit.”
  • In Unit 4, Activity 4.6, students practice writing an analytical paragraph. The materials include a list of commonly used transitional words and phrases and how they can be used in writing. An excerpt from the table, Emphasize: definitely, extremely, obviously, in fact, indeed, in any case, absolutely, positively, naturally, surprisingly, always, forever, perennially, eternally, never, emphatically, unquestionably, without a doubt, certainly, undeniably, without reservation.

Indicator 2g

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 8 meet the criteria that materials include a progression of focused research projects to encourage students to develop knowledge in a given area by confronting and analyzing different aspects of a topic using multiple texts and source materials.

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

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

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

Further examples include:

  • In Unit 3, Embedded Assessment 2, students create a multimedia campaign that requires students to work together to gather information to support their project. There are directions to evaluate the credibility of sources and identify the best source material for the work. Students are required to cite sources and provide a Works Cited page or an Annotated Bibliography. The project includes a rubric that identifies components of research so that students can identify strengths and weaknesses in their own process.
  • In Unit 4, students learn about Shakespeare as part of the larger theme of comedy and satire. Students are given prompts and a graphic organizer to complete via identifying details about Shakespeare's life and craft. Some content is found within the texts themselves, others students must identify outside the text using external sources.

Indicator 2h

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 8 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.

Grade 8 materials include close reading and independent reading prompts and questions for students to engage out of class time as they read their self-selected texts. Throughout the units there are prompts connecting the class reading with students' independent reading, marked as Independent Reading Links.

The Planning the Unit section at beginning of each unit contains a suggested reading list that corresponds to the unit theme. This list is categorized by literary and nonfiction texts, and gives the Lexile level to accommodate students’ varying abilities and interests. The first activity in Unit 1 sets up a mechanism for students to self monitor their reading progress, comprehension, and fluency. The grade-level-specific Close Reading Workshops are designed to help teachers guide students as they develop the skills necessary for close reading of a broad range of high-quality texts of increasing complexity. These models can be used to support or extend the instruction already in the SpringBoard materials and serve as models for differentiation.

Examples from the Close Reading Workshop include:

  • Activity 1 provides guided reading instruction that emphasizes multiple readings, vocabulary development, and close-reading strategies with a complex text.
  • Activity 2 gradually releases students from teacher-guided instruction and modeling to a collaborative analysis of a visual text to which students apply the skills and strategies of close reading.
  • Activity 3 releases student to closely read texts independently to respond to analysis of question and to make connections to previous texts.
  • Activity 4 requires students to respond to synthesis writing, presentation, or discussion prompts to demonstrate their mastery of the close-reading skills they have practiced in the workshop.

Text and author suggestions are included for teachers to support students seeking independent reading choices. Each unit outlines specific independent reading suggestions that correlate to unit objective and include, in the teacher edition, a list of suggested texts for independent reading, as well as possible formative assessment questions. Support for building independent reading is included, such as guidance around setting deadlines and methods to keep track of reading, as well as suggestions around length of texts for students to engage with at different times (e.g. during research-heavy sections of the unit, shorter texts might be a better option for independent reading).

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

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

Gateway Three

Usability

Not Rated

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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

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Criterion Rating Details

SpringBoard Grade 8 materials meet the criteria for being well designed. Materials take into account effective lesson structure and pacing. Materials can reasonably be completed within an academic year. There are ample resources as well as publisher produced standards alignment documentation.

Indicator 3a

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 8 meet the criteria that materials are well-designed and take into account effective lesson structure and pacing.

Grade 8 materials contain four units, each with a range of 16-20 activities or lessons and two Embedded Assessments designed with a consistent instructional plan. Each of the units is divided into two halves with each half concluding with one of two Embedded Assessments. Each unit opens with Planning the Unit and Unit Overview for teacher guidance: Planning the Unit describes all instructional and assessment goals for the unit and provides pacing for the unit as well as the list of texts; the Unit Overview provides a descriptive narrative of the unit’s breadth and a sequential listing of unit activities and associated texts. Instructional activities are designed to be delivered over single and multiple days while the lessons within activities are designed for a 50-minute class period and is indicated within the Teacher Wrap, “an instructional roadmap alongside the student pages.”

The first lesson in each unit provides learners with a preview of the unit’s general learning targets and learning strategies and is followed by Making Connections to develop links between new learning, existing knowledge, and the culminating assessments. Thereafter, each activity or lesson opens with an introduction of specific learning targets, followed by a specific learning strategy, grammar structure, or reading strategy, and the establishment of the reading purpose. The prereading activities are followed by the text or texts, Second Read questions, Working from the Text practice, and Writing to Sources, all crafted to support learning targets in developing literacy skills. The pacing of individual lessons is appropriate for classes with time allowed for supplementary activities as well.

Indicator 3b

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 8 meet the criteria that the teacher and student can reasonably complete the content within a regular school year, and the pacing allows for maximum student understanding.

Grade 8 materials contain a four-unit curriculum that can be effectively delivered over the course of a 30-36 week academic year allowing sufficient time for practice with instructional materials to ensure opportunities for standards’ mastery by the end of the course. Instructional Activities and Pacing Guide, provided in Planning the Unit, indicates the total number of 50-minute class periods for the unit’s completion and further delineates the associated activity number and suggested class periods for delivery of those lessons. Additionally, Teacher Wrap, within the margins of the teacher’s edition, indicates the time to be allotted for each lesson and offers support for block scheduling by indicating combinations of 50-minute sessions or extensions of lessons, optional instructional materials, and the expectation of homework as part of enrichment and/or the class assignment.

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.).
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 8 meet the criteria that student resources include ample review and practice resources, clear directions, and explanation, and correct labeling of reference aids (e.g., visuals, maps, etc.).

Grade 8 student resources include a variety of resources demonstrating specific and clear directions, easy-to-find references and accurate labels. Other resources available to students include text collections, close reading, performance tasks, independent reading plans, as well as digital interactive tools such as Writer’s Notebook, text boxes to record answers, and highlighting tools for annotations.

Close reading material in the form of Second Read questions provide students with questions for key details, craft, and structure designed to engage students in careful textual analysis. Text-dependent and text-specific writing opportunities and writing workshops appear with regularity throughout the units to deepen thought and allow practice with newly taught skills as well as integration of ideas among concepts and skills. Directions for activities are clear and often make use of graphic organizers and rubrics to help students more clearly see the relationship of concepts as well as understand the expectations set before them.

Indicator 3d

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 8 meet the criteria that materials include publisher-produced alignment documentation of the standards addressed by specific questions, tasks, and assessment items.

Examples of materials of publisher-produced alignment documentation of the standards addressed include, but are not limited to the Common Core Correlations page, which can be found next to the login portal on the homepage of Springboard Digital and a list of Common Core focus standards and additional Common Core Standards addressed for each activity in the Teacher Wrap for the activity.

Additionally, California ELD standards are included in the nine ELD activities in each unit.

Indicator 3e

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 8 meet the criteria that the visual design (whether in print or digital) is not distracting or chaotic, but supports students in engaging thoughtfully with the subject.

Grade 8 materials' visual design, whether referencing the textbook or online curriculum, supports student engagement in literature and literacy without distraction. The units offer engaging visual prompts and graphics appropriate for Grade 8 students. The materials are logically presented through balance in layout and appropriate use of white space throughout both the print and digital textbook. Activities with essential information and tasks are found at the center of the page while supplementary and enrichment information are found in the margins. Additionally, the pdf version of the student text includes space for notes in the margins when there is no additional information provided.

Graphic Organizers are large enough for students to fit their notes and are free of pictures and distractions. Additionally, these graphic organizers are also available to be copied from the End Matter of the teacher text.

In Springboard Digital, supplementary and enrichment items in the margin are presented in colorized text boxes separated from the page body: Grammar and Punctuation, blue; Word Connections, red; Independent Reading Links, orange; Literary Terms, yellow; Level 2 Academic Vocabulary, beige; and Level 3 Academic Vocabulary, lavender. Standard unit activities are identified through colorized title fonts. For example, Learning Targets, Learning Strategies, Preview, Setting a Purpose for Reading, Second Read, and Working from the Text appear in blue font while literary titles are printed in green. Assessments and writing assignments are also coded in colorized banners, i.e., Check Your Understanding in purple, Writing to Sources in green.

Criterion 3f - 3j

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

The SpringBoard Grade 8 materials meet the criteria for supporting teacher learning and understanding of the standards. Materials contain useful annotations and suggestions as well as adult-level explanations and examples of advanced literacy concepts. The Specific ELA/Literacy standard roles, instructional approaches and research based strategies are identified and explained. Materials contain strategies for informing all stakeholders about the ELA/Literacy program.

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.
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 8 meet the criteria that materials contain a teacher’s edition with ample and useful annotations and suggestions on how to present the content in the student edition and in the ancillary materials. Where applicable, materials include teacher guidance for the use of embedded technology to support and enhance student learning.

Planning the Unit, opening each of the four units, offers teachers a roadmap in preparation for the unit’s presentation while Teacher Wrap and Teacher to Teacher provide teachers daily step-by-step instructions for delivery. Sample student responses are found in the teacher edition.

In addition to detailing discrete components of the unit (e.g. goals, pacing, assessments, etc.), Planning the Unit unpacks the Embedded Assessments, suggests texts for independent reading, lists English Language Development resources available for each activity, describes instructional activities within the pacing guide, suggests advance preparation of learning guides for differentiated instruction, provides a detailed unpacking of language demands for embedded assessments, and suggests cognates appropriate to the unit for inclusion on a word wall.

Daily support and suggestions are provided to the teacher through Teacher Wrap and Teacher to Teacher following Springboard’s four-step approach to instruction: Plan--Teach--Assess--Adapt. Additionally, the marginal guides offer suggestions for student support with instruction on approaches found effective for other teachers and methods for scaffolding questions to differentiate instruction to support of student learning. For example, in Activity 3.10, Teacher Wrap suggests, “If students need additional help determining the mood of this drama, ask them to work with a partner to brainstorm adjectives that might be used to describe the mood of a play. Then have them go through the play and look for clues about mood. Ask them to imagine what the overall feeling would be on stage and in the audience as the play is performed. Encourage students to put all of this information together to write an accurate description of the mood of this play.”

Within the teacher edition, sample responses to Second Read questions and completed graphic organizers provide teachers an indication of what student responses should include.

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.
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 8 meet the criteria that materials contain a teacher’s edition that contains full, adult-level explanations and examples of the more advanced literacy concepts so that teachers can improve their own knowledge of the subject, as necessary.

The teacher edition Front Matter supports teacher knowledge regarding the relevance of academic vocabulary as well as knowledge differentiating between Tier 2 and Tier 3 vocabulary, i.e. “Academic Vocabulary features that discuss Tier Two terms and concepts that students will use in academic discourse” and “Literary Term features that equip students with Tier Three language from the domains of literature, literary analysis, writing, and rhetoric.” Additionally, the Front Matter establishes the relevance of text features and rigor to preparation for College and Career Readiness. Key Themes of English Language Arts Instruction explains “SpringBoard is designed to help students make meaning of complex texts and prepare them for the rigorous textual analysis expected of them in Advanced Placement (AP) English and college courses. The skills students acquire in SpringBoard allow them to think critically about and respond thoughtfully to important topics in all disciplines, and in society.”

The teacher edition End Matter provides teachers with a complete list of reading and writing strategies both defining strategies and establishing purpose behind the strategies. For example, the definition of the reading strategy SIFT is “Analyzing a fictional text by examining stylistic elements, especially symbol, imagery, and figures of speech in order to show how all work together to reveal tone and theme” and its purpose is “To focus and facilitate an analysis of a fictional text by examining the title and text for symbolism, identifying images and sensory details, analyzing figurative language and identifying how all these elements reveal tone and theme.”

Teacher Wrap provides teachers with the information they need to frame the lesson and establish its relevance for students. For example, in Unit 1, Activity 3 provides framing in Step 1: “Scenes from Big Hero 6 are provided as examples of each of the steps within the stages of the Hero’s Journey archetype. Watch and discuss. Students may also be familiar with heroes’ journeys such as those presented in The Lion King, The Hobbit, and Star Wars: A New Hope. Talk about other movies with which students are familiar that are examples of the Hero’s Journey archetype.”

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.
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 8 meet the criteria that materials contain a teacher’s edition that explains the role of the specific ELA/literacy standards in the context of the overall curriculum.

Connections between specific ELA/literacy standards and the context of the overall curriculum are offered within the teacher edition Front Matter, Planning the Unit, and Teacher Wrap. Specifically, the Front Matter explains the “instructional design assures teachers and students that everyday activities are building a foundation of skills and knowledge that will help students perform on the assessments, which ultimately align with the standards” and promises to help “students develop the knowledge and skills needed for Advanced Placement as well as for success in college and beyond without remediation.” The Front Matter continues by explaining, “While not every student will take an AP class, we believe strongly that ALL students should be equipped with the higher-order thinking skills, knowledge, and behaviors necessary to be successful in AP classes and post-secondary education. SpringBoard focuses on content connections, pre-AP strategies, and writing tasks anchored in the skills and knowledge necessary to be successful on the AP exams.”

Planning the Unit provides a list of activities within the unit that focus on refining “important skills and knowledge areas for AP/College Readiness.” Clickable CC icons linked to standards associated with the task at hand are included in the margin of the online teacher’s edition.

Teacher Wrap lists Focus Standards and Additional Standards Addressed at the beginning of each lesson. Within the instructional guide are also listed the Common Core standards associated with each of the Second Read questions.

Indicator 3i

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 8 meet the criteria that materials contain explanations of the instructional approaches of the program and identification of the research-based strategies.

The teacher edition Front Matter provides both clear explanation of instructional approaches and identification of research-based strategies relied on throughout the text. Additionally, the text provides an explanation for Springboard’s instructional approach. The section Research-Based Pedagogy sites the use of Wiggins and McTighe’s Understanding by Design instructional model and the American Institute for Research “focus on students moving through multiple levels of cognitive engagement: progressing fluidly from understanding and comprehension, to analysis, and ultimately to synthesis.” Springboard also sites application of Charlotte Danielson’s facilitation and flexibility methodologies, Marzano and Pickering’s research on “building students’ background knowledge in the area of Academic Vocabulary development” and “Robyn Jackson’s work on rigorous instruction.”

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.
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 8 meet the criteria that materials contain strategies for informing all stakeholders, including students, parents or caregivers about the ELA/literacy program and suggestions for how they can help support student progress and achievement.

Found under Teacher Resources of the Springboard Digital Dashboard are Family Letters for each of the programs four units. Letters are available in English and Spanish. Each letter provides an overview of the unit including the unit’s essential questions, a description of the unit’s two Embedded Assessments, a narrative description of the skills students will practice and learn, as well as a brief overview of the texts students will be reading. The letter concludes with specific tips on how parents can support their child’s progress in learning. Additionally, available in the student pdf Front Matter, is a letter from Springboard to the student introducing the benefits of the Springboard program and highlighting key features of the text and methods to increase learning and achievement.

Criterion 3k - 3n

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 8 meet the criteria for offering teachers multiple resources and tools to collect ongoing data about student progress on the Standards. Materials regularly and systematically offer assessment opportunities, denote standards being emphasized, and indicate how students are accountable for independent reading.

Indicator 3k

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 8 meet the criteria that materials regularly and systematically offer assessment opportunities that genuinely measure student progress.

Short-cycle and long-term assessments integrated within each of the four units provide opportunities for measuring student progress both formatively and summatively. Most activities feature Check Your Understanding and Writing to Sources, short-cycle assessments allowing teachers to measure student proficiencies and adjust or adapt instructional methods. Long-term assessments are offered twice during the unit, one midway through the unit’s activities and the second at the unit’s end. Lessons and related formative assessments preceding the Embedded Assessments typically lead towards the culminating performance task.

Also provided within the program materials are supplementary workshops for close reading, writing, and foundational skills as well as supplementary materials for grammar instruction. Each of these lesson sets also include assessment components consistent with the organization and structure of the core curriculum. Additionally, the Springboard Digital Dashboard provides an Assessments link offering teachers short-cycle End of Lesson/Activity assessments and End of Unit assessments as well as choices between Springboard developed assessments or custom-built assessments.

Indicator 3l

The purpose/use of each assessment is clear:
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Indicator 3l.i

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 8 meet the criteria that assessments clearly denote which standards are being emphasized.

Common Core Standards emphasized by instruction and assessment are noted in the Common Core Correlations chart found on the Springboard Digital log-in page. Each ELA Common Core Standard is correlated to unit and activity numbers and/or Embedded Assessments (EA) addressing the listed standard. Additionally, Teacher Wrap lists both Focus Standards and Additional Standards Addressed for each Embedded Assessment.

Indicator 3l.ii

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 8 meet the criteria that assessments provide sufficient guidance to teachers for interpreting student performance and suggestions for follow-up.

Springboard’s four-step structure, Plan-Teach-Assess-Adapt, provides a roadmap towards assessment that includes checkpoints and suggestions for adapting lessons and strengthening student skills before they are asked to demonstrate specific skills on culminating embedded assessments. The progression of these four steps is found in Teacher Wrap on the margins of the teacher edition. For example, after following Plan and Teach steps in Unit 1, Activity 10: Assess instructs teachers to review: “Check student responses to the Check Your Understanding task to ensure they have replaced walked, first with a word that connotes joy (e.g., bounded, skipped) and then with a word that connotes anger (e.g., stormed, stomped).” After the assessment, Adapt suggests, “If students need additional help finding nuances, have them work in pairs and reread the text and examples on this page and discuss in small groups. Have pairs use the Active Listening Notes graphic organizer.”

Indicator 3m

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 8 meet the criteria that materials include routines and guidance that point out opportunities to monitor student progress.

Teacher Wrap indicates opportunities for monitoring student progress in reading and expression of ideas. Teacher Wrap provides sequentially detailed steps for teaching each lesson. Included within instructional notes for teachers are guides and prompts for monitoring student progress. Additionally, instructional notes indicate what teachers should be monitoring. For example, in Unit 1 Activity 6, teachers are instructed, “As students are reading, monitor their progress. Be sure they are engaged with the text and annotating details about Odysseus. Evaluate whether the selected reading mode is effective.” The Assess portion of the Teacher Wrap indicates what teachers should be assessing in each activity and offers suggestions for adapting the lesson for students who are struggling or needing more practice.

The Front Matter of the teacher edition introduces teachers to supplemental resources supporting “the development of foundational reading skills for students who need continued support with these foundations to become successful at the secondary level.”

  • The first of these resources is the Foundational Skills Workshop which “supports teachers in planning and delivering intervention instruction to those students who will benefit from one-on-one or small-group lessons in phonics, word recognition, and fluency.” These materials include Observation Look-Fors, Foundational Reading Skills Screening Assessment, Diagnostic Checklist, Individual Progress Monitoring Chart, and Group Planning Chart.
  • The second resource is Routines for Teaching Foundational Skills which “presents mini-lessons and techniques that teachers can incorporate into the core ELA instruction to differentiate for students who need it.”
  • The Teacher Edition also provides an Independent Reading Log for students to record “progress and thinking” about “independent reading during each unit.”
  • Also provided are a range of graphic organizers for ELA and ELD tasks that can be used to monitor student reading and understanding before moving students into writing assignments.

Indicator 3n

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 8 meet the criteria that materials indicate how students are accountable for independent reading based on student choice and interest to build stamina, confidence, and motivation.

Springboard allows for students to read independently based on “choice and interest to build stamina, confidence, and motivation” and asks students to show accountability for their independent reading in a variety of ways. Students are required to select a text for independent reading “twice a unit, at the beginning and after the first Embedded Assessment.” Reading selections should relate to the themes of the unit. While Springboard provides a list of suggested readings, students should not be limited by the list. Rather, students should be urged “to do their own research and select a title that intrigues them.” As students progress in their reading, they are held accountable through an independent reading log and encouraged through independent reading links with activities asking them to respond to questions, conduct further research, connect classroom texts and themes, discuss ideas in book talks, and make recommendations to peers. To further support and encourage independent reading, related tasks appear as independent reading checkpoints in the margins of the student edition.

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.
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Criterion Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Grade 8 meet the criteria for providing strategies for teachers to meet the needs of a range of learners so that they can demonstrate independent ability with grade-level standards. Teachers are provided with strategies to support all learners within the core curriculum and through the Teacher Resources tab on the SpringBoard Dashboard. Every lesson in the SpringBoard program offers opportunities for students to work in groups.

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.
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 8 meet the criteria that materials provide teachers with strategies for meeting the needs of range of learners so the content is accessible to all learners and supports them in meeting or exceeding the grade-level standards.

Springboard curriculum provides accessible content through the integration of texts at varied Lexile level texts in the core curriculum and as suggested titles for independent reading. The unit texts range from slightly below grade level, typically used with introducing a new concept, to at grade level and above grade level. The Practice of Reading Closely, found in the teacher edition Front Matter explains the range of texts as a means of bringing “readers up to the level of the text, not the level of the text down to the reader.” Each unit also offers a list of suggested narrative and expository text titles, along with Lexile levels, for the Independent Reading Assignments occurring twice in each unit. As in the core curriculum, suggested texts range from below grade level to above grade level allowing students to choose a text of interest that also connects at reading level.

Teachers are provided with strategies to support learners within the core curriculum and through the Teacher Resources tab on the Springboard Digital Dashboard. Within the core curriculum, Teacher Wrap provides step-by-step guidance in teaching each lesson. Within most steps, teachers are offered advice, alternatives, suggestions for connecting new and existing knowledge and skills, and methods for scaffolding in class-reading and assignments. Additionally, Teacher to Teacher and Leveled Differentiated Instruction call out boxes within Teacher Wrap provide specific instruction and guidance for learners needing extra support and English language development. Additional support for English Language Learners is provided with lessons in each unit tied to three anchor texts. These lessons focus on Academic Vocabulary, Close Reading, and Collaborative Discussion.

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.
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 8 meet the criteria that materials regularly provide all students, including those who read, write, speak, or listen below grade level, or in a language other than English, with extensive opportunities to work with grade level text and meet or exceed grade-level standards.

The Front Matter of the teacher edition outlines where English Language Learner resources are located in the materials. Examples include:

  • Planning: In the Planning the Unit section, a list of academic and literary terms for each unit are given, along with the Spanish cognates, where available. Audio pronunciation is available in both English and Spanish, as well as audio definitions in English. Content vocabulary specific to anthology texts is provided at point of use, with audio pronunciation and definitions available in digital edition, as well as definitions and cognates where available. Unit overview provides a list of Graphic Organizers that English Language Learners will need to be successful in each unit.
  • Leveled Differentiated Instruction: Color-coded sidebars in the digital Teacher Wrap offer numerous and extensive suggestions and activities for five levels of language proficiency; Level 1 representing initial stage of language development, Level 5 representing the stage nearest to proficiency, as well as Support and Extend suggestions. These features found throughout materials scaffold challenging tasks embedded in the program, “providing the tools that learners at various levels of proficiency need in order to successfully participate in or complete tasks that build toward culminating assessment.” These strategies can be adapted to other tasks throughout the materials. “As students move along this continuum of proficiency, teachers can select flexibly form the leveled scaffolding options provided in order of offer the amount of support that enables students to complete the task successfully while still being appropriately challenged.” Further support is given for each text in anthology, where Teacher Wrap offers Scaffolding the Text Dependent Questions, strategies to help struggling students locate text evidence by rephrasing, chunking, and scaffolding questions.
  • English Language Development Activities: Every unit features a set of nine English Language Development Activities that teachers can use to provide differentiated support to students who are developing Academic English. These interactive, digital activities are built around three unit texts and support students’ comprehension with guided close reading. They use a scaffolded approach focused on academic and social vocabulary development, text analysis, and collaborative academic discourse. California’s English Language Development Standards are provided in Teacher Wrap alongside each lesson, as well as in teacher and student editions under lesson title. Strategies for specific Emerging, Expanding, and Bridging levels of English Language Development are provided in Teacher Wrap alongside each lesson, with most tasks and targets focused on the Production Strand.
  • English Language Development Graphic Organizers: These are tools teachers can use to scaffold reading, writing, speaking and listening tasks, suggestions for specific organizers are given in Unit Opener section of each unit.
  • English Language Development Strategies: Located at point of use of content vocabulary, such as "bracero.” These are techniques teachers can use to boost students’ ability and confidence with academic language.
  • Language Demands of the Embedded Assessment: This is an unpacking of the Embedded Assessments that specifies the word-, sentence-, and text-level features of the academic language that students need to develop as they work through the unit.
  • Initial Screening Assessment: A screening tool that provides teachers with essential information about students’ education history, home language proficiency, and English language proficiency.
  • Foundational Skills Workshops and Routines for Teaching Foundational Skills: Online Materials that offer guidance to teachers on how to support students who need continued practice with literacy foundations to become successful at the secondary level, such as left to right text directionality, and conventions of punctuation and capitalization in American English.
  • Family Letters: Customizable letter templates in both English and Spanish that help teachers connect with families to encourage their active engagement in students’ learning.
  • Zinc: Online program provides targeted vocabulary and informational text instruction.
  • Workshops: Online Writing and Close Reading Workshops specifically target writing and reading genres.

Teacher Resources tab at each grade level is an English-Spanish Glossary, although currently, the resource bears a 2014 copyright. Also provided within the Teacher Resources tab is a Flexible Novel Unit allowing teachers to replace the novel suggested in the core curriculum with a novel differentiating for student needs. The Flexible Novel Unit provides a teacher planning dashboard, a student view of the adjusted Embedded Assessment, and a teacher view complete with marginalia guidance following the four-step Plan-Teach-Assess-Adapt protocol. Also provided within the Teacher Resources tab are materials for grammar instruction and interventions, (also provided in the teacher edition End Matter), and learning strategies.

Indicator 3q

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 8 partially meet the criteria that materials regularly include extensions and/or more advanced opportunities for students who read, write, speak, or listen above grade level.

The Leveled Differentiated Instruction text box within the Teacher Wrap offers opportunities to extend the learning for those students who read, write, speak, or listen above grade level. However, many of these extensions are merely time fillers or busy work and do not serve to provide challenges or new learning opportunities.

  • For example, Activity 1.1: Previewing the Unit, Understanding Challenges asks all students to analyze and collaborate to discuss quotes and identify connections between the concept of challenges and heroism. The Extend activity merely asks students to work with their discussion partner to find an additional quote - more work, not different work.
  • A better example is found in Activity 2.3, an extension activity ties into concepts of a utopian society being studied in the class novel, and asks students to research and write about other utopian references, such as Shangri-La and the Garden of Eden.
  • Another example of an extension activity missing the mark is found in Activity 4.4: Humorous Anecdotes. The class instruction asks students to analyze how authors convey humor in speech and writing, the extension merely asks students to look at each instance of humor and discuss how the humor was effective. There is no difference in activity or learning target.

Advanced Placement/College Readiness skills covered in Grade 8 materials include:

  • Reading to make careful observations of textual detail and draw an interpretive conclusion about the meaning and value of a piece of writing (4.4, 4.5, 4.8)
  • Reading to become aware of how stylistic effects are achieved by a writer (4.8, 4.9)
  • Analyzing literature using the language of literary analysis (4.5, 4.10)
  • Applying effective strategies and techniques in own writing ( 4.2, 4.4, 4.11)
  • Controlling tone, establishing and maintaining voice, achieving appropriate emphasis through diction and sentence structure (4.4, 4.14, 4,16)

SAT Connections, In this unit students will practice important skills that will help them succeed on the SAT and other college readiness exams through Language Checkpoints

Indicator 3r

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 8 meet the criteria that materials provide opportunities for teachers to use a variety of grouping strategies.

Every lesson offers opportunities for students to work in groups whether reading, writing, or speaking and listening about texts. “Specific strategies for collaboration and oral communication are taught and practiced leading to the development of independent, skillful conduct of academic discussions.” The materials regularly and repeatedly ask students to work as partners and in small groups. Among the means used to and for grouping are Think-Pair-Share, heterogeneous groups, simple partnering, forming small groups based on interest, working as whole class in discussions and guided writing, and forming jigsaw groups to build and share information and ideas. Additionally, students are grouped for purposes of peer editing and feedback, practice with speaking and speech delivery, and reading discussion groups. Specific English Language learner support is provided through three Collaborative Discussion lessons in each unit, tied directly to core texts.

Criterion 3s - 3v

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 8 support effective use of technology to enhance student learning. The materials work relatively well on multiple digital platforms and using multiple internet browsers. However, the program does not work on all mobile devices. The digital materials are effectively accessed through Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Safari, and Internet Explorer. However, when access is attempted using Android devices, an error message indicating screen size and resolution are not supported. The message suggests site visitors use a larger device to log into SpringBoard. Provided within the Teacher Resources on the SpringBoard Digital dashboard are a number of tools allowing teachers to customize the curricular content of the materials. Also, the digital SpringBoard Dashboard offers a link to Professional Development for teachers as well as a link to the Springboard Community where teachers can collaborate with other teachers who have SpringBoard.

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.
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 8 partially meet the criteria that digital materials (either included as supplementary to a textbook or as part of a digital curriculum) are web-based, compatible with multiple internet browsers (e.g., Internet Explorer, Firefox, Google Chrome, etc.), “platform neutral” (i.e., Windows and Apple and are not proprietary to any single platform), follow universal programming style, and allow the use of tablets and mobile devices.

The materials work relatively well on multiple digital platforms and using multiple internet browsers. However, the program does not work on all mobile devices. The digital materials are effectively accessed through Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Safari, and Internet Explorer. However, when access is attempted using Android devices, an error message indicating screen size and resolution are not supported. The message suggests site visitors to use a larger device to log into Springboard.

Indicator 3t

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 8 meet the criteria that materials support effective use of technology to enhance student learning, drawing attention to evidence and texts as appropriate.

SpringBoard Digital effectively uses technology by providing interactive tools for close reading exercises, vocabulary work, populating graphic organizers, and supporting evidence-based writing. In the digital and print edition, space is provided to answers questions, attach sticky notes, highlight and mark text with annotations. Students and teachers can add vocabulary to the existing lists provided by the program as well as edit close-reading questions. Additional opportunities for learning provided within the Teacher Resources tab on the SpringBoard Dashboard offer consistent organization and structures for using technology as a tool in the learning process. The teacher edition provides tips for sharing documents via external programs such as Google Docs. Additionally, there is a digital SpringBoard community supporting conversations among teachers from across the hall or across the country. The additional resources also include online workshops/webinars.

Indicator 3u

Materials can be easily customized for individual learners.
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Indicator 3u.i

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 8 partially meet the criteria that digital materials include opportunities for teachers to personalize learning for all students, using adaptive or other technological innovations.

Using a generally accepted definition for adaptive technology as objects or systems specifically designed to increase or maintain the capabilities of people with disabilities, reviewers conclude there are few examples of such in the materials. Indeed, the technology available through the digital version allows users to change font size, populate graphic organizers, use word processing technologies, annotate text, and hear audio pronunciations of some vocabulary words, but there is no text to speech or speech to text adaptations which would truly be adaptive and useful those with hearing, vision, and disabilities related to the hands. Additionally, the program allows teachers to edit questions and use alternative texts, but these means of personalizing instruction are not within the realm of adaptive technology.

Indicator 3u.ii

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 8 meet the criteria that materials can be easily customized for local use.

Provided within the Teacher Resources on the SpringBoard Digital Dashboard are a number of tools allowing teachers to customize the curricular content of the materials. At each grade and within each unit, a Flexible Novel Unit supports a teaching decision to replace the suggested novel in the core curriculum with a novel differentiating for local needs. The Flexible Novel Unit provides a teacher planning dashboard, a student view of the adjusted Embedded Assessment, and a teacher view complete with marginalia guidance following the four-step Plan-Teach-Assess-Adapt protocol. Also provided within the resources is a Custom Assessment builder to create Common Core aligned questions to check for understanding. The Letter to Parents, also available through Teacher Resources, is customizable for local needs. Additionally, many features within the unit activities are customizable, supporting the professional judgment of classroom teachers.

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.).
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 8 meet the criteria that 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.)

The digital SpringBoard Dashboard offers a link to Professional Development for teachers as well as a link to the Springboard Community where teachers can collaborate with other teachers who have Springboard. Springboard also provides the ability to create “‘digital ‘sticky’ notes that can be inserted on-screen and offer on-demand planning and notation for teacher suggestions or student work” as well as “the ability to edit teaching commentary, personalizing it by adding notes and comments to lesson.”

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Additional Publication Details

Report Published Date: 03/16/2018

Report Edition: 2018

Title ISBN Edition Publisher Year
Springboard English Language ArtsGrade Grade 8 Student Edition 978-1-4573-0837-6 Copyright: 2018 2018
Springboard English Language ArtsGrade Grade 8 Teacher Edition 978-1-4573-0844-4 Copyright: 2018 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.

About Technology Information

EdReports requested that publishers fill out The Instructional Materials Technology Information document about each of their products that met our alignment criteria. This document does not evaluate the quality or desirability of any product functionality, but documents features in order to empower local schools and districts with information to select materials that will work best for them given their technological capabilities and instructional vision.

Please note: Beginning in spring 2020, reports developed by EdReports.org will be using an updated version of our review tools. View draft versions of our revised review criteria here.

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 3-8 Rubric and Evidence Guides

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

For ELA, our rubrics evaluate materials based on:

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

  • Building Knowledge with Texts, Vocabulary, and Tasks

  • Instructional Supports and Usability

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Math K-8

Math High School

ELA K-2

ELA 3-5

ELA 6-8


ELA High School

Science Middle School

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