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The TRR reports for K–8 and high school science are now available. The new Instructional Materials Review and Approval (IMRA) rubrics for K–3 and 4–8 English language arts and reading, K–3 and 4–6 Spanish language arts and reading, and K–12 mathematics are now available for review. Provide public comment through December 15, 2023, or sign up for a November focus group.
The quality review is the result of extensive evidence gathering and analysis by Texas educators of how well instructional materials satisfy the criteria for quality in the subject-specific rubric. Follow the links below to view the scores and read the evidence used to determine quality.
Section 1. Spanish Language Arts and Reading Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) and English Language Proficiency Standards (ELPS) Alignment
TEKS Student %
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ELPS Student %
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|Grade||TEKS Student %||TEKS Teacher %||ELPS Student %||ELPS Teacher %|
The materials include some high-quality texts for SLAR instruction, covering some range of student interests. The texts are of quality and well-crafted, but they do not cover a wide array of disciplines. The materials offer some diverse texts; however, they do not include increasingly diverse and complex contemporary, classical, and multicultural texts.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
The teacher toolbox contains the document “Pasajes y libros de Istation Español,” which provides a chart with Lexile levels and the estimated grade level. The document states that “although Lexile measures are not linked directly to grade levels, it is possible to estimate the Lexile measures of typical texts at various grade levels.” Looking at the chart, texts with Lexile levels 500L–740L are those that correspond to grade 3, within “Cycles 9–12.”
In Ciclo 9, the teacher finds one text, ¡Todos ayudamos! This is a realistic fiction text about the importance of helping and working together. The text is simplistic and without a rigorous plot for third grade.
In Ciclo 10, the only third-grade-level text is Las arañas. It is an expository text that focuses on the science topic of spiders.
In Ciclo 11, there are five texts. There are three expository texts: Mascotas, El bosque amazónico en peligro, and Los incendios forestales; one folktale: El regalo del desierto; and one fiction text: Los monos aulladores: Parte 1 y 2. The expository texts are science-focused, with interesting topics like how to take care of pets and forest fires. The folktale narrates the life of a girl who talks to nature. The fictional text is an adventure story about going to the rainforest, which includes great plot twists.
Ciclo 12 contains the largest number of third-grade-level texts out of any cycle. There are three expository texts: El mundo a tu alrededor: Nuestro sistema solar, Los recursos naturales, and El increíble ciclo del agua; four fictional texts: Una misión increíble, Las estaciones en el campo, ¡La mejor feria científica de la escuela Los Nogales! and Reporteros del tiempo; a collection of poems: Miremos desde arriba; a persuasive text: ¡Pon de tu parte!; and a letter: “De paseo por el Gran Cañón del Colorado.” The expository texts continue the science-focused themes, as these deal with space, natural resources, and the water cycle, all of which can be used as extended reading material for students. In the text iUna misión increíble!, students can relate to the main character, Carlos, who is playing in his spaceship when his mom calls him for dinner. Also, in ¡La mejor feria científica de la escuela Los Nogales! one of the characters, Mateo, is in a wheelchair, which allows for children with special needs to connect to the story. The persuasive text is about recycling, and the collection of poems is about the Moon.
The materials include some variety of text types and genres across content that meet the requirements of the TEKS. The materials include both literary and informational texts, but they do not cover drama, biographies, legends, myths, or procedural texts. Some of the texts include a wide array of print and graphic features, and they are connected to science and social studies; however, the materials do not include multimodal or digital texts.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
The teacher toolbox contains the document “Pasajes y libros de Istation Español,” which provides a chart with Lexile levels and the estimated grade level. The document states that “although Lexile measures are not linked directly to grade levels, it is possible to estimate the Lexile measures of typical texts at various grade levels.” While this program includes a variety of text types and genres across content that meet the requirements of the TEKS, these are not clearly sorted for each grade level. Looking at the chart, texts with Lexile levels 500L–740L are those that correspond to grade 3, within “Cycles 9–12.” This selection contains some variety of genres.
In Ciclo 9, there is only one text specific to grade 3, ¡Todos ayudamos! It is a realistic fiction text.
In Ciclo 10, the only text for grade 3 is Las arañas, an informational text about spiders. This text is connected to science.
In Ciclo 11, there are five texts. These include three informational texts (e.g., Los incendios forestales and El bosque amazónico en peligro, both science-focused texts). The latter describes how humans are destroying the rainforest and how we can protect it. Both texts include print and graphic features, like headings, bold words, pictures and captions, maps, labeled diagrams, and a glossary, but they do not include a table of contents or index. Also in Ciclo 11, there are two literary texts. One is El regalo del desierto (author unknown), a folktale (“cuento tradicional”), in which a grandfather narrates the story of a girl who was able to communicate with animals and plants. These plants ultimately provide many gifts to her people (e.g., néctar de agave, tunas, nopal).
Ciclo 12 includes fictional texts such as Las estaciones del campo and Reporteros del tiempo. iUna misión increíble! is another literary text (fiction); it contains a variety of print features, including dialogue and graphic features that enhance the meaning for the reader. The materials include a table of contents; however, a glossary and the use of bolded words are absent. Informational texts include El mundo en tu alrededor: Nuestro sistema solar and Los recursos naturales, both of which are science-focused. iPon de tu parte! is the only argumentative text for third grade. The text persuades and informs readers about how to reduce, reuse, and recycle. The materials do not include any third-grade informational or argumentative texts connected to social studies. Miremos desde arriba includes three different poems by two different authors. These poems are about the Moon. Additionally, Ciclo 12 includes a text in the form of a letter: a girl narrates parts of her trip to the Grand Canyon in “De paseo por el Gran Cañón del Colorado.”
The materials include texts that are somewhat appropriately challenging, with some appropriate level of complexity to support students at their grade level. The publisher does not include a text-complexity analysis of the texts. Materials include Lexile levels as an appropriate quantitative measure, but they lack an explanation of the qualitative features that guide placement within the grade level.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
The teacher toolbox contains the documents “Etapas de lectura de Istation Español” and “Pasajes y libros de Istation Español.” The first one provides “una guía de las características del lector y del texto que los educadores deben tomar en consideración al seleccionar materiales y recursos de lectura para sus estudiantes.” The chart is divided into grade groups, not individual grades, and Lexile levels. The second document provides a chart with Lexile levels and the estimated grade level; it states that “although Lexile measures are not linked directly to grade levels, it is possible to estimate the Lexile measures of typical texts at various grade levels.” This means that while this program includes texts that vary in complexity, these are not clearly sorted for each grade level. The rationale of using Lexile levels to provide an estimate of grade-level equivalency puts texts with Lexile levels 500L–740L at grade 3 and within “Cycles 9–12.” Therein, the teacher finds 18 texts with different levels of complexity.
In Ciclo 9, ¡Todos ayudamos! is a realistic fiction text; it is the only text specific to grade 3 and has a Lexile level of 680L. Ciclo 10 also offers only one grade 3 text, Las arañas; this is an informational text about spiders with a Lexile level of 580L. For both texts, there is only a short description of possible skills teachers could teach using these texts. For ¡Todos ayudamos! the description reads, “Este texto de ficción realista se puede usar para enseñar análisis y características de los personajes y la idea principal.” This kind of description does not include an analysis of the complexity of the text nor a rationale for its use.
In Ciclo 11, El bosque amazónico en peligro (620L) is an informational text that includes 653 words and contains content vocabulary (e.g. cultura, petróleo, nativo) that adds to its complexity. Los incendios forestales (660L), also an informational text, with 713 words, includes more rigorous vocabulary (e.g., adaptado, cuadrilla, carbonizado), which provides for a different level of complexity. However, neither text includes an analysis of its complexity or a guide for teachers regarding how to use it.
Within Ciclos 9–12, there are texts that are not within the Lexile level range for grade 3. In Ciclo 11, La bruja Filomena, which has a Lexile level of 1180L, includes sentence length and structures that are not appropriate for this grade level. The following sentence is an example: “También llevaba su libro de hechizos, su sombrero puntiagudo y algunos ingredientes especiales para hacer pociones mágicas.”
Alma Flor Ada, a biography, also within Ciclo 11, has a Lexile level of 1490L, which is the highest of all the texts within the program. The materials do not include a rationale explaining the educational purpose and grade-level placement of the texts, nor do they include considerations for increasing rigor.
The materials contain questions and tasks that support students in analyzing and integrating knowledge, ideas, topics, and connections within and across texts. Most questions and tasks build conceptual knowledge, are text-specific/dependent, target some complex elements of the texts, and (though clear guidance is sometimes missing) integrate multiple TEKS. Questions and tasks provide some opportunities for students to make connections to personal experiences, other texts, and the world around them and to identify and discuss important big ideas, themes, and details.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
In “Ciclo 10, Lección 1: Identificar características de los personajes,” students work on identifying character traits within literary texts. In this lesson, students learn about two animals: a turtle and a hare. Students analyze and compare the animals within the same text. The lesson includes multiple questions to guide the discussion and help students understand the text. In the direct teaching portion, as the class talks about fables, the teacher asks, “¿De qué trata el cuento?” and “¿Creen ustedes que la liebre se portó de una manera correcta?” During guided practice, students reflect on “¿Qué quiere decir tomar turnos?” “¿De qué creen que trata el cuento?” and “Cuándo Clara y Julián se sientan a pensar lo que pasa, suponemos que están….” During independent practice, using a different text, students continue practicing identifying character traits as they respond to “¿De qué creen que trata?” “¿Han visto una emergencia en un parque alguna vez?” and “¿Qué creen que le pasó a Pepe en el hospital?” These questions allow students to analyze the actions of the characters and make personal connections to them via a discussion of themes within the text. The tasks complement the questions: Students glue a card for each character to a piece of paper and write “un par de palabras para describirlos.”
In Ciclo 11, Lección 1, “Identificar características de los personajes,” focuses on describing the characters of a text and the reasons for their actions. During instruction, the teacher explains people, animals, or objects can be part of a story, then says, “Vamos a leer una fábula y vamos a identificar a los personajes y sus atributos. Recordemos que las fábulas nos dan una lección o moraleja.” The teacher provides brief practice with “Lalo y Toni,” for students to identify the characters: Lalo, the dog, and Toni, the cat. Students answer questions to identify characters and their attributes (e.g., “¿Quiénes son los personajes que forman parte de esta historia?” “¿Quién es Lalo?” and “¿Quién es Toni?”). Meanwhile, the teacher documents their answers on a graphic organizer projected to the whole class. During guided practice, the teacher begins a one-page story, “Pelusa y Pecas,” to continue identifying characters and their attributes. The teacher asks, “¿Quién es el personaje?” “¿Cómo es Pelusa?” and “¿Qué le gusta hacer a Pelusa?” These questions support the students’ examination of complex elements of the story. The teacher follows up with “¿Qué podemos decir de Pelusa?” This allows students to analyze the character, not simply define it. After finishing the story, during independent practice, the teacher states, “Vamos a describir a los personajes. En cada una de estas tarjetas hay atributos de cada uno de ellos. Vamos a separar estos atributos para describirlos.” Students engage in a card sort activity with character names (Pelusa, Pecas) and attributes (“gata, gato, feo, bonita, buena vida, descuidado”). The teacher reads the cards aloud; students arrange the cards according to each character.
In Ciclo 11, Lección 1, “Identificar la idea principal de un cuento o fábula tradicional,” students use the same story, “Pelusa y Pecas.” This time, the lesson addresses a different standard, which is to identify the main idea. The materials use the same text in several lessons to address multiple TEKS. This lesson also gives instructions for students to re-read the story: “Pueden leer la historia varias veces para encontrar la información necesaria.” During guided practice, the teacher asks and discusses the following probing questions: “¿Quién es el otro personaje?” “¿Qué problema tiene Pecas?” “¿Qué hace Pelusa?” “¿Qué problema tiene Pelusa?” and “¿Qué hace Pecas?” These questions allow students to analyze the actions of the characters in order to understand the plot and main idea of the story.
In Ciclo 11, Lección 20, “Escritura,” students connect the ideas from a mentor text, Mascotas, to their own context. The lesson begins with the teacher saying, “¿Has tenido alguna vez una mascota? Escribe sobre tu mascota y asegúrate de incluir detalles acerca de cómo cuidarla.” The teacher then states: “En el texto Mascotas leímos sobre diferentes tipos de mascotas. En tu opinión, ¿qué animal sería la mejor mascota?” These open-ended questions challenge students to think about what they have read and to connect it to their own knowledge as they engage in their own writing.
The materials contain some questions and tasks that require students to analyze the language, key ideas, details, craft, and structure of individual texts. The questions and tasks support student analysis of the literary/textual elements of texts by asking students to analyze, make inferences, and draw conclusions about the author’s purpose in some cultural, historical, and contemporary contexts; students provide evidence from the text to support their understanding. There are also some opportunities for students to compare and contrast the stated or implied purposes of different authors’ writing on the same topic. Also, some of the questioning and tasks allow students to make and correct predictions about a text, using text features, characteristics of genre, and structures with and without adult assistance. At the same time, the materials fail to have any clear guidance or questioning regarding the study of the language within texts to support students’ understanding.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
In “Ciclo 11, Lección 1: Gramática,” students learn how to replace nouns with pronouns. The teacher states, “Hoy vamos a sustituir algunas palabras utilizando pronombres.” Students need to comprehend the text to use the correct pronouns. During independent practice, students work on a fill-in-the-blank activity. The noun is written under the blank, and students use the appropriate pronoun to replace it. This lesson provides students the opportunity to learn about the use of language, but there are no guidelines beyond the identification of this language or how it is connected to the meaning of a text.
In Ciclo 12, Lección 1, “Identificar la estructura del texto y reconocer palabras claves para cada estructura de texto,” students identify four types of text structures and recognize key words. They learn four structures: compare and contrast, cause and effect, description, and sequence. The teacher takes students through the gradual release process. The teacher anchors the lesson by stating: “La estructura es la manera en que los autores organizan las ideas que quieren comunicar. De esto se trata la estructura de un texto y hoy aprenderán a identificar cuatro de ellas.” The teacher further explains each structure and the key words that help identify the structure. For guided and independent practice, students analyze the author’s choice of structure as they read different texts and statements.
In Ciclo 12, Lección 1, “Identificar el propósito del autor,” students work on identifying the author’s purpose in a text. During the direct teach, the teacher shows different types of books and asks the following questions: “¿Para qué leería alguien este libro?” and “¿Qué quiere este escritor que nosotros hagamos?” Then, students choose between persuade, inform, entertain, explain, or describe when answering “¿Cuál creen que es el propósito de este libro?” Throughout the lesson, students identify the author’s purpose and fill in the blank in a worksheet, but there is no opportunity to analyze the text and focus on the language to promote students’ understanding of it.
Ciclo 12, Lección 1, “Comparar y contrastar,” focuses on comparing and contrasting using a Venn diagram. During instruction, the teacher defines comparing and contrasting and offers examples of terms used to compare and contrast. For example, terms used for comparing include parecido, similar, ambos, también, and igual; terms for contrasting include diferente, desigual, no, and pero. The teacher also demonstrates how to use a Venn diagram for annotating. During guided practice, after the teacher explains the parts of the Venn diagram, students compare and contrast a crocodile and a shark; the teacher provides positive feedback. The teacher guides this activity with the following questions: “¿Qué es algo que ambos pueden hacer?” “Piensen en el cuerpo del cocodrilo y del tiburón. ¿Son diferentes? ¿Cómo?” Students may answer in any order. During independent practice, students complete their Venn diagram.
In Ciclo 12, Lección 1, “Predecir el resultado usando claves o pistas,” students use context clues to make predictions. The teacher anchors the lesson by stating the importance of making predictions: “Hoy vamos a aprender a usar claves o pistas para hacer predicciones cuando leemos un texto, un libro o una historia. ¿Qué hacen las personas cuando juegan ajedrez? Escuche las respuestas. ¿Porqué se ven tan concentrados? ¿Qué creen que están pensando? En muchos juegos, como damas,ajedrez o baloncesto, los jugadores tienen que pensar la jugada que vas a hacer. Antes de hacerla jugada, tratan de adivinar lo que el otro jugador hará.” During guided practice, students read Mía se llena de valor, focusing on details that help them understand the main character, Mía, and keys to predict what is going to happen. Students reflect on the text by responding to the questions “¿Por qué Mía está sola? ¿Por qué Mía no sale a jugar con otros niños? ¿Qué le pasó a la niña de cabello largo?” The responses allow them to predict (infer) what will happen next. The teacher asks, “¿Qué piensan que va a hacer Mía?” The teacher guides the students through this exercise. During independent practice, students read El sueño de Gino, searching for “pistas que les ayuden a hacer una predicción, es decir, a imaginar lo que pasará al final de la historia.”
The materials do not include a cohesive, year-long plan for students to interact with and build key academic vocabulary in and across texts. While the materials include some opportunities for vocabulary enrichment, there is no year-long plan for building academic vocabulary, including ways to apply words in appropriate contexts. The materials do not include scaffolds and supports for teachers to differentiate vocabulary development for all learners.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
Under the toolbox tab, the materials include the “Istation Español Scope and Sequence,” which provides a list of online activities and teacher-directed lessons by skill. The document follows a sequenced plan and shows the cycle where lessons can be found and the standard for each lesson. There is a “Vocabulary” section for each grade-level span, “Grades 3rd–4th” and “Grades 4th–5th.” Within each Vocabulary section, there is a list of Vocabulary skills that teachers can identify within the cycle provided. The Vocabulary section includes lessons on phonics and word analysis (e.g., parts of speech, affixes, roots, homonyms), lessons on spelling (e.g., high-frequency words), and some lessons on context clues. This document does not include a list of academic vocabulary words to be discussed within a year-long plan nor specific lessons on building academic vocabulary in and across texts.
Most lessons on unknown words and context clues follow the gradual release model, which scaffolds the content. However, because these lessons are designed for intervention, there is no support for differentiation within them. In addition, most of the books and passages available for third grade (500L–740L) throughout “Cycles 9–12” do not include any glossary or academic word activity. In the few cases in which the text includes a glossary with some academic words, there is no guidance as to how to study or apply these words beyond the text. There is no evidence that word meanings are taught with examples related to a text as well as examples from other contexts with which students might be more familiar.
In “Ciclo 9, Lección 2: Vocabulario,” students use a Frayer model to determine the meaning of unknown words. The Frayer model, referred to as the “Mapa de cuatro cuadrados,” allows students to work through the process of determining the meaning of unknown words by writing the word, its definition, and a sentence using the word and drawing an illustration. During instruction, the teacher models the process and rules of using this graphic organizer. In guided practice, students, working in pairs, put a model together like a puzzle after receiving the different cards for each section of two models. The teacher offers instructions and guides the activity: “Ahora juntos vamos a formar dos mapas de cuatro cuadrados. Les voy a entregar a cada pareja ocho tarjetas. Nuestra tarea será unir cuatro tarjetas para formar el primer mapa y luego unir cuatro más para formar el segundo mapa. Es como armar un rompecabezas.” For independent practice, students receive two models with the word and the image; they determine the meaning (multiple choice) and write a sentence with the term. The activity does not provide guidance for differentiation or for furthering the lesson to analyze the words within a text.
In Ciclo 12, Lección 2, “Usar claves de contexto,” students use context clues to understand the meaning of unknown words. The teacher begins by modeling the “context” of a term: “Estoy caminando pausadamente. Ahora voy a escribir muy pausadamente. Escriba muy lentamente la palabra pausadamente en el pizarrón.” During guided practice, the teacher guides students to analyze the context within a sentence to understand the meaning of underlined words. For independent practice, the teacher instructs: “Lee cada párrafo. Piensa en la palabra que está subrayada. Busca claves y subráyalas. Escribe el significado de la palabra en la línea.” Students use the “Claves de contexto” sheet to read each paragraph and find clues to identify the meaning of underlined words. After writing the meaning of the words, there is no guidance to go deeper and apply these terms beyond the given text.
The book Reporteros del tiempo, which is divided into two chapters, includes two graphic sources with a list of vocabulary terms, “Materiales para meteorólogos principiantes.” The first one, three pages long, includes 11 terms with the definition and an image that represents the term. The second, a two-page document, is similar to the first one with seven terms. All of the terms included are related to the topic of weather reporting. There are no instructions for these documents. The play La aventura de los galeotes includes a vocabulary list at the end. Each of the words includes a picture, a definition, the sentence from the text, and the paragraph where it is located (two include cognates). The instructions state, “Mira las fotos y lee las oraciones para comentar cada palabra con tus compañeros.” Neither of these texts includes guidance for teachers or students as to how to use these terms across different contexts.
The materials do not include a clearly defined plan to support and hold students accountable as they engage in independent reading. There are no clear procedures or protocols that, along with adequate support for teachers, foster independent reading. Materials do not provide a plan for students to self-select texts and read independently for a sustained period of time, nor do they include opportunities for planning and accountability for achieving independent reading goals.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
The “Istation Español Program Description” establishes that in order to boost student learning, “Istation at Home includes online and printable books for students to self-select and read or reread. Choosing books from Istation’s online library allows students to practice skills which aid in reading fluency and build their confidence as readers.” There are no further procedures or protocols regarding independent reading or monitoring this activity beyond this description of the availability to self-select books or passages. Students complete the “Istation Seguimiento Individualizado de Progreso” (ISIP) assessment on the student-facing app and are assigned a computer-based learning pathway based on their results. As students work through the program’s “Cycles” of online lessons, the program collects data and automatically moves students through the program based on their performance. The Cycle ranges of the program are Cycles 1–9 (grades K–1); Cycles 10–12 (grades 2–3); and Cycles 13–18 (grades 4–5). Teachers and students cannot adjust student placement within the Cycles.
The materials include a collection of “fiction and informational books and passages in the Interactive Curriculum that support reading skills instruction for each teaching cycle.” The document “Guía de Istation Español: Libros y pasajes” provides a list of books and passages in the program, including the Lexile number, the type of text, the cycle, the skill, and the strategies students practice through each text. This document does not offer guidelines on how or when to use these texts.
The materials also provide the “Guía para Padres: Cómo utilizar Ipractice eficazmente,” which provides a sample of a recommended schedule of using Istation at Home. Within the schedule, it lists “Merienda y/o lectura independiente (15-20 min).” This document also includes the section “Libros,” with an activity list, the grade level, and the recommended time to spend working in the activity. For grades 1–3, the document includes the activities “Leo el mundo” and “Libros avanzados I y II,” but it does not include a book list or the genres to focus on. There is no section for grades 4 and 5, and the list of parent resources for this section are lessons on grammar.
Students also find other passages through the “ISIP Oral Reading Fluency” (ORF) assessment, which “measures a student’s ability to read fluently and accurately in grades K–5.” ISIP Oral Reading Fluency printable passages allow students to read on-level text, not as part of an independent reading practice but as a progress monitoring tool. Passages include a mix of fiction and nonfiction, and there are enough to do monthly progress monitoring without seeing any repeats. Hence, these passages are for determining students’ independent reading level in terms of fluency.
The materials include “Teacher-Directed Lessons” that follow the gradual release format; they end with independent practice, which sometimes includes an opportunity to read independently. However, these opportunities are not part of a consistent plan for independent reading.
In “Lección 2, Nivel 2: Comprensión de lectura,” during independent practice, the teacher instructs: “Ahora quiero que lean el primer párrafo de Henry y las dos ideas principales escritas debajo. Solo una idea principal es la correcta. Enciérrenla en un círculo.” So while there is an opportunity to practice independent reading, it is part of the lesson on the main idea and not part of a plan to support independent reading.
Even with the inclusion of books and passages, the materials do not provide a plan to hold students accountable for independent reading. ¡Una misión increible! has a Lexile level of 670. This fictional book presents 23 double-sided pages and three chapters. There are plenty of visuals, almost one per double-sided page. There are no student directions or activities for post-reading, nor is any guidance provided as to how to track this reading.
The materials provide some support for students to develop composition skills across some text types for some purposes and audiences. Materials provide students with limited opportunities to write literary texts to express their ideas, informational texts to communicate ideas, and correspondence in a professional or friendly structure. There is no opportunity to write argumentative texts to influence the attitudes or actions of a specific audience on specific issues.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
The program provides “computer-adaptive testing in its assessment and instruction products.” After the assessment, students work on material that addresses their needs. The “Program Description” shows the specific domains within ISIP, the assessment tool. Written communication is one of the domains tested from kindergarten to grade 3, but it only tests spelling and writing conventions, not writing composition. Within the digital platform, there are no activities targeting written composition. Since students are not assessed in this skill, the reports do not include the “Teacher-Directed Lessons on Writing” as part of the recommendations for intervention.
The materials include twenty Teacher-Directed Lessons (TDLs) on Writing, with only student guidance, for “Lectura fluida” (grades 3 to 5), but these lessons are not identified by grades. Furthermore, the “Istation Español Curriculum Correlated to the TEKS” for each of the three grades includes these lessons, which are located within Cycle 11 (21–25) and Cycle 12 (26–40). In order to get an idea as to which grade these lessons are mostly aligned to, one looks at the “Istation Español TEKS TDLs (ISIP & Instruction) Master List.”
In “Ciclo 11, Lección 21: Escritura,” students practice writing an informative paragraph. The writing exercise is based on the expository text “El bosque amazónico en peligro.” Students research and write an informational paragraph on a topic about the tropical rainforest, which they select from a list. The lesson instructs students to offer an opinion on the topic: “Termínalo con una oración que exprese tu opinión acerca del tema que escogiste.”
In Ciclo 11, Lección 22: Escritura, students practice writing a news article or a fictional story about a forest fire. The writing exercise is based on the expository text “Los incendios forestales.” Students select an audience and decide which type of writing would be better to offer a perspective on forest fires. Once selected, students make sure they follow the structure of that genre.
Ciclo 11, Lección 23: Escritura provides students opportunities to write a letter: “para escribirle una carta diciendo todo lo que aprendiste acerca del desierto.” The materials refer the students to the book El regalo del desierto and a graphic organizer to write facts and details about the desert (plants, animals, people). Students research and receive guidance on the structure of this type of writing, then write the letter.
Ciclo 11, Lección 24: Escritura focuses on writing a “reportaje de un diario acerca de una aventura.” The writing exercise is based on the fictional story "Los monos aulladores (parte 1)." As students write this report on an adventure, the lesson guides them to select an audience for that report, “Imagina que algún día tus nietos encuentren tu historia y la lean. Trata de hacerla emocionante para que cuando ellos la lean la disfruten tanto como lo hiciste tú al escribirla.”
In Ciclo 11, Lección 25: Escritura, students practice writing a letter to a hero. The writing exercise is based on the story “Los monos aulladores (parte 2).” Students write this letter, following some guiding questions about the order of the content, in order to thank a person for being a hero. The lesson guides students to explain “en tu carta el problema y la solución.”
In Ciclo 12, Lección 26: Escritura, students practice writing a descriptive story about an imaginary trip. The writing exercise is based on the expository text “El mundo a tu alrededor: Nuestro sistema solar.” Guiding questions ensure students include as many details as possible in their description of their imaginary trip within the solar system.
In Ciclo 12, Lección 27: Escritura, students write a biography about a famous scientist. The writing exercise is based on the expository text “Exploración del espacio.” The lesson instructs students to imagine themselves as reporters interviewing the scientist and write their biography based on the answers to the questions “Al entrevistarlo puedes hacer preguntas como las siguientes: ¿en dónde nació? ¿cuántos años tiene? ¿cuántos hermanos tiene? ¿en dónde estudió? ¿qué descubrimiento hizo?”
In Ciclo 12, Lección 36: Escritura, students write a recommendation to convince their peers to read a book. The writing exercise is based on the story "La mejor feria científica de la escuela Los Nogales." The lesson instructs students to use a story map of the story to help them write a recommendation that will convince their peers to read the story."
"In Ciclo 12, Lección 37: Escritura, students write a speech to convince extraterrestrials not to rob the Earth of its atmosphere. The writing exercise is based on the expository text "La Tierra: la atmósfera. Students are instructed to use a graphic organizer of the text's main ideas to compose a persuasive speech to convince creatures from another planet not to steal the Earth's atmosphere for their planned lunar colony.
Although the materials include written tasks that require students to use text-supported claims to demonstrate some knowledge gained through the reading of texts, there is no consistent guidance on the type of analysis and synthesis of texts required to create clear, concise, and well-defended claims. There are limited opportunities for students to use evidence from texts to support their opinions and claims and to demonstrate through writing what they have learned from the texts.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
Most of the writing lessons follow the same structure, addressed only to students. The first section states the type of writing and topic. The next section is “Antes de escribir el borrador,” in which students find some guidance on the type of writing, on the use of an organizer to analyze a text provided in the materials, and on the need to do some research: “Usa como mínimo dos recursos (ya sea vídeo, la Internet u otro libro de la biblioteca) para investigar tu tema.” The next section, “Escribe un borrador,” includes some guiding questions to help students build their first draft. After that, sections reflect the writing process: revising and editing. These lessons include instructions for students on how to complete their writing, but they do not include guidance for teachers to teach or model the different tasks of analyzing and synthesizing.
In “Ciclo 11, Lección 21: Escritura,” students write an informational paragraph, based on the expository text, “El bosque amazónico en peligro.” The lesson asks students to “Haz preguntas y escoge uno de los siguientes temas.” The lesson does not include any guidance regarding which type of questions to ask, how to analyze or synthesize the text, or how to support a claim.
In Ciclo 11, Lección 22: Escritura, students choose to write a news article or a fictional story about a forest fire, based on the expository text “Los incendios forestales.” The lesson directs: “Completa el organizador gráfico. Escribe en el recuadro más grande una oración con una idea principal. Después, escribe los detalles que apoyan la idea principal en los recuadros pequeños. Puedes volver a leer el libro para tener más ideas.” These instructions ask students to go back to the text as they gather the main idea and details, but there is no guidance on how to do this.
In Ciclo 11, Lección 23: Escritura, students write a letter (“para escribirle una carta diciendo todo lo que aprendiste acerca del desierto”) based on the text “El regalo del desierto.” They use a graphic organizer to write facts and details about the desert (plants, animals, people) found in the text. They then use that information to write a letter about what they have learned. During the drafting section, there is guidance about the structure of the letter, but it is not until the revision section that students find some guidance about supporting their ideas: “Elabora ideas claves añadiendo más evidencia que apoyen los hechos, detalles y ejemplos en donde sea necesario. Si necesitas ayuda puedes volver a leer la historia ‘El regalo del desierto.’” There is no further explanation or modeling as to how to do this.
In Ciclo 12, Lección 26: Escritura, students write a descriptive story about an imaginary trip, based on the expository text “El mundo a tu alrededor: Nuestro sistema solar.” Using a characteristics analysis chart, students look at “las similitudes y diferencias de algunos objetos que se encuentran en la órbita del Sol, según lo que leíste en ‘Nuestro sistema solar.’” They use these characteristics as they write their story.
In Ciclo 12, Lección 27: Escritura, students write a biography about a famous scientist, based on the expository text “Exploración del espacio.” Students use the Internet of other resources to look for information about an important scientist. In referring to the text, the lesson states, “Galileo Galilei se convirtió en un científico famoso por haber mejorado el telescopio. Gracias a su descubrimiento, otras personas pudieron observar mejor el espacio. Existen otros científicos famosos como, por ejemplo, Carl Sagan, quien fue un gran proponente de la búsqueda de vida en otros planetas. Está también Tim Berners-Lee, quien inventó la Internet.” While the background of the lesson is based on the text, there is no further guidance regarding analysis or synthesis of the text or on how to use it in the writing of the biography.
In Ciclo 12, Lección 1: Desarrollar conclusiones, "Students gather clues from a text to come to a conclusion. The students write the clues into a graphic organizer. After analyzing the clues, they are to compose a conclusion based on the evidence they have gathered. The exercise guides students through the process of analyzing a text to show what they have learned.
In Ciclo 12, Lección 1: Hacer inferencias, "Students gather clues from a text to come to make an inference. The students write the clues into a graphic organizer. After analyzing the clues, they are to compose an inference based on the evidence they have gathered. The exercise guides students through the process of analyzing a text to show what they have learned.
The materials include a limited amount of opportunities to apply composition convention skills without increased complexity. Students have the opportunity to publish their writing. These opportunities facilitate students’ coherent use of the elements of the writing process as they compose multiple texts; they also provide some practice and application of the conventions of academic language when speaking and writing. Grammar, punctuation, and usage are taught only within separate lessons independent from the composition writing lessons, even though the composition lessons include students editing their own writing. There is not a year’s worth of learning opportunities.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
The 20 “Teacher-Directed Lessons on Writing” are all organized in a similar way and only include guidance for students. Each lesson is divided into sections that resemble the writing process. The first section includes the type of writing students work on and the topic. The second section, “Antes de escribir el borrador,” is similar to the planning part of the writing process; it includes some guidance on the characteristics of the genre and the work and research needed to gather information on the topic. The third section, “Escribe un borrador,” is similar to the drafting part of the writing process; it provides some guiding questions or instructions to help students write their first draft. Subsequent sections reflect the other parts of the writing process: revising and editing. Each lesson includes sections titled “Al editar recuerda…” and “Al revisar tu trabajo recuerda…” in which students review and apply conventions of academic language in their writing. As it pertains to speaking and publication, each lesson includes the short section “Publica tu borrador final,” in which students are prompted with the task of presenting to their peers: “Preséntate al grupo y habla con claridad.” This phrase is present in almost every writing lesson as a way to complete the writing process. The lessons do not include guidance for teachers to teach or model spelling, grammar, and punctuation, even if these are mentioned in the revising or editing sections; lessons do not include any guidance on increasing the complexity of the lessons.
“Ciclo 11, Lección 21: Escritura” is divided into sections that follow the writing process. During planning, students select between different topics to research; then, they research their chosen topic, using a concept map and bibliography cards to document important details. During drafting, students select a topic sentence, utilize their research to develop the body of the paragraph, and conclude the paragraph with their opinion regarding the topic. During editing, students edit their writing to ensure capital letters begin each sentence, correct subject-verb agreement, correct adjectives of origin (e.g., Brasil, brasileño; Venezuela, venezolano), and elevated vocabulary using a dictionary or thesaurus. For publication, students may present to the class, speaking with clarity. This lesson includes instructions to revise and edit spelling, grammar, and punctuation but without any teaching opportunity or in-context examples.
Ciclo 12, Lección 26: Escritura is again divided into sections that follow the writing process. During planning, students complete a chart about the similarities and differences between objects in orbit using a given text. During drafting, students use that information from the chart to write a story about an imaginary trip. During revision, students add sentences with descriptive details; they make sure sentences make sense and are tied coherently while also adding sentences that make the story interesting. During editing, students check for subjects and predicates, complex concepts using the dictionary, colorful adjectives, legible handwriting, and punctuation marks. For publication, students share with peers: “Reúnete con tus compañeros en pequeños grupos y comparte la recomendación que escribiste. Preséntate al grupo y habla con claridad.” The revising and editing sections do not include clear teaching or modeling guidance or opportunities.
Ciclo 12, Lección 27: Escritura is divided into sections that follow the writing process. During planning, students pick and research information about a famous scientist using a graphic organizer. During drafting, questions guide students in writing the biography. During revision, students add adjectives, including superlatives, and interesting details. During editing, students look for capitalization issues, add complex words using the dictionary, write with legible handwriting, and check for spelling errors in words with m before p and b. For publication, students present their bibliography to their classmates, speaking clearly. The lesson does not include any guidance as to what “habla con claridad” entails as students present. There is also no clear guidance or examples within the revision and editing sections.
The materials do not meet the criteria for this indicator. While there are some writing activities, there are no grade-level instructional activities in cursive handwriting. In the same way, the materials do not offer guidance for teachers to support or assess students’ handwriting development.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
Most writing lessons target the teaching and practice of the writing process, but they do not include instruction in cursive handwriting.
In “Lección 24: Los monos aulladores,” students go through the writing process while writing “Una historia de aventura.” However, the lesson does not mention or support instruction in cursive handwriting or print directionality. The only mention of handwriting is the direction to students to “escribir con letra legible.”
Lección 33: Cazadores de fósiles: en busca del dinosaurio also takes students through the writing process, but it does not provide support for instruction in cursive handwriting. Students revise their writing, then edit the draft and must “escribir de manera legible usando letra cursiva.” A provided final copy checklist does not ask students to evaluate the use of cursive writing. There is no evidence of year-long support for grade-level-appropriate instruction in cursive handwriting in the form of graphic organizers, prediction strips, or manipulatives.
The materials do not include a plan for procedures or supports for teachers to assess students’ handwriting development. There is no evidence that materials provide teachers year-long guidance for assessing, measuring, and supporting students’ handwriting development. Practice using whiteboards and dry-erase markers and interventions do not appear in any listed lessons.
The materials support students’ listening and speaking about the texts. The materials offer speaking and listening opportunities for students to demonstrate comprehension. Though there are some oral tasks that engage students in the use of text-supported claims, these opportunities are mostly within the instruction part of the lesson and not during independent work; this does not allow students to demonstrate knowledge through speaking.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
In “Ciclo 12, Lección 1: Identificar la idea principal y los detalles,” the materials provide opportunities to respond about information and topics of a text. The lesson is divided into three parts: “Enseñanza,” “Práctica guiada,” and “Práctica independiente.” During instruction, the teacher explains the steps for finding the main idea. The teacher reads the reading aloud, which allows the students to practice listening to a text. Students respond to the following questions through a group discussion: “¿Qué hacen los agentes de la policía para que las personas obedezcan la ley? ¿Qué hacen los agentes de la policía cuando hay peligro?” While students answer these questions, the teacher completes a graphic organizer and affirms the main idea of the text about police providing safety. During guided practice, the teacher asks students to read aloud from the handout about the details and main idea. Students study details about foods bears eat. The teacher guides the conversation and allows students to continue speaking about the details. During independent practice, students read a different passage to practice finding the main idea. The teacher guidance states: “Recuérdeles que deben buscar los detalles importantes, decidir cuál es la idea general que conecta los detalles y, finalmente, escribir la idea principal.” By asking students to look at the details within the text, the teacher requires the use of clear, concise information and well-defended text-supported claims to demonstrate knowledge. Students need to gather text evidence to complete a graphic organizer to demonstrate their knowledge of the main idea. There is no opportunity for sharing aloud or discussing the result of their analysis.
In Ciclo 12, “Lección 2: Hacer inferencias,” students listen actively and make pertinent comments and inferences. In the “Instruction” section, after explaining the purpose of the lesson, the teacher says, “Ahora escuchen para que hagan una inferencia: Tres amigos juegan en la nieve. Hacen un muñeco grande. Al otro día los despierta la luz del sol. ¡Su muñeco ha desaparecido! ¿Qué pueden inferir?” After listening to the brief scenario, students make inferences and share their responses. The “Guided Practice” section of this lesson also provides opportunities for students to share information through collaborative activities by playing an inference game. The teacher guides and motivates “a los estudiantes a pasar al frente a dar sus pistas o claves y a los otros compañeros a que presten mucha atención para inferir las respuestas.” In the “Independent Practice” section, students read and look for clues to infer what happened, allowing them to demonstrate comprehension by writing their inferences in the provided handout. The lesson encourages teachers to remind students to “buscar las pistas o claves importantes,” which is another opportunity to look for text evidence as students come up with their inferences. But again, there is no conversation or speaking opportunities about the text.
In “Ciclo 12, Lección 2: Resumir usando un texto de ficción,” students summarize a story. The lesson is divided into three parts: Instruction, Guided Practice, and Independent Practice. During the Instruction section, the teacher asks, “¿Quién me puede decir lo que sucedió en la historia de los tres cerditos? ¿Alguien se acuerda qué pasó en la historia de Caperucita Roja?” These open-ended questions provide students the opportunity to speak and listen to their peers’ responses. During the Guided Practice section, students work in pairs to create a summary of their chosen story. The teacher projects a graphic organizer and guides students to answer questions using their own words to summarize. During Independent Practice, there is no opportunity for students to share aloud or discuss the result of their analysis.
The materials engage students in some productive teamwork and in some student-led discussions in informal settings, but not in formal settings. The materials do not provide guidance for students to develop social communication skills. There is some evidence of opportunities for students to give organized presentations/performances and speak in a clear and concise manner using the conventions of language. The materials do not include guidance for non-verbal communication.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
“Ciclo 12, Lección 1: Ortografía” focuses on writing of “palabras sobresdrújulas” and is divided into three parts: instruction, guided practice, and independent practice. During instruction, the teacher reviews orthographic accentuation: “Las palabras sobresdrújulas siempre se van a escribir con tilde o acento gráfico. Además, siempre llevan el acento en la sílaba anterior a la antepenúltima sílaba. Es decir, esta sílaba es la que tiene el sonido más fuerte en la palabra.” The teacher explains other characteristics of “las palabras sobresdrújulas,” distributes a handout with passages to each student, and reads with students to ensure correct circling of example words. During guided practice, students practice with example words on a handout. The teacher says: “En cada oración van a encontrar subrayada una palabra sobresdrújula. Ustedes van a colocar la tilde o acento gráfico en la sílaba que corresponda. Recuerden que las palabras sobresdrújulas llevan el acento en la sílaba anterior a la antepenúltima sílaba.” The teacher allows sufficient wait time and verifies students have completed the handout correctly. During independent practice, students accent words using the provided sentences. The teacher says, “Ahora que ya aprendieron lo que son las palabras sobresdrújulas y cuándo acentuarlas, van a practicar solos.” Throughout the lesson, the teacher explains directions and provides support as necessary but does not offer an opportunity or any guidance for the students to work with peers or present their work to the rest of the class.
In some of the comprehension lessons (e.g., Ciclo 12, “Lección 1: Desarrollar conclusiones”; Ciclo 12, “Lección 1: Hacer inferencias”; Ciclo 12, “Lección 1: Identificar la causa y efecto”) teachers offer all of the instructions and the students simply follow them and fill out a worksheet; there is no possibility of intersecting with peers or presenting work.
Ciclo 12, “Lección 1: Identificar la secuencia de eventos,” provides some guidelines for interaction during guided practice, as the teacher invites “a algunos voluntarios a realizar tres acciones para que los compañeros relaten los eventos en el orden en que sucedieron.” As the selected students are acting out different actions, peers are not interacting with each other, but simply reacting. There is no team activity or presentation during the lesson.
In Ciclo 12, “Lección 1: Identificar propósito del autor” students work together. During guided practice, the teacher says, “Con un compañero, usen esta lista de propósitos y den ejemplos de libros para cada uno.” Students also pair up in Ciclo 12, “Lección 2: Resumir usando un texto de ficción,” as they work with a peer to provide a summary.
In Ciclo 12, “Lección 38: Escritura,” students create a poster on the water cycle. After reading about the water cycle and learning about the characteristics of a poster, students follow the writing process from draft to editing. Throughout, the teacher leads the process, provides guidance, and asks questions that allow students to evaluate their own work. During the last stage of the lesson, “Revisa tu borrador final,” students use a chart to make sure their work is correct; the teacher says, “Usa la tabla a continuación para evaluar tu trabajo o el de un compañero de clase.” At this point, students evaluate the work of their peers, but there still is no guidance regarding discussion or conversation; students simply fill out the chart. As students move to the publication of their work, the teacher mentions, “Exhibe tu trabajo en el salón de clase. Preséntate al grupo y habla con claridad.” This is an opportunity for a presentation, but besides the instruction of “speak with clarity,” there are no guidelines regarding the conventions of language.
In the teacher-directed lesson “Prioridad—Prosodia,” teachers demonstrate and model how to read with emotion (prosody). As the teacher models this read-aloud, students listen; then, they take turns reading part of the poem, as “Los estudiantes tomarán turnos leyendo el extracto con prosodia.” While this lesson includes guidance on prosody, it is focused only on the reading of text; it does not focus on social communication skills. Furthermore, this lesson does not provide guidance on teaching students how to organize a conversation or a presentation.
The materials engage students in some short-term and sustained recursive inquiry processes to confront and analyze various aspects of a topic using relevant sources. Within the lessons, there is no support for the identification and summary of high-quality primary and secondary sources. The materials include some support for students as they organize their ideas, but they do not include clear guidance for presenting ideas and information in accordance with the purpose of the research and the appropriate grade-level audience. While the lessons include a section for publishing and sharing results, there is no guidance as to how to use an appropriate mode of delivery, whether written, oral, or multimodal.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
The materials embed the inquiry (research) components within the writing lessons in “Cycles 11 and 12.” Each lesson follows a similar structure and format: read the guiding questions, research the topic, and check the final product at each step of the writing process using a checklist. Because most of the lessons do not include guidance on the grade level, it is difficult to ascertain if there is grade-level appropriateness. The focus of these lessons is primarily the writing process, and the majority of them do not include extensive guidance on inquiry skills and mode of delivery of the research (presentations). For example, there are no lessons that help students identify and summarize high-quality primary and secondary resources, such as categorizing sources into primary and secondary sources or explaining the difference between both types of sources.
In “Ciclo 11, Lección 21: Escritura,” students identify and gather relevant information from a variety of sources. Teachers guide them to “escribir un párrafo acerca de un tema que escojas.” Before they write the paragraph, students investigate a minimum of two sources. The instructions state, “Usa como mínimo dos recursos (ya sea vídeo, la Internet u otro libro de la biblioteca) para investigar tu tema.” The lesson does not include guidance as to how to select the resources. The rest of the lesson takes students through the writing process. Under the section “Publica tu borrador final,” students share their writing with the group, and the only guidance for the presentation is “habla con claridad.”
In Ciclo 11, Lección 23: Escritura, students write “una carta diciendo lo que has aprendido acerca del desierto.” The lesson follows the writing process: prewriting, writing, and publication. During prewriting, students read a text and use a graphic organizer to document facts and details about each category (plants, animals, and people of the desert). During writing, the materials again offer students the same guidance of using a minimum of two sources and using a graphic organizer to write paragraphs. The lesson does not include guidance on how to choose the resources. Students move to revising and editing their rough draft. During revision, each student “elabora ideas claves añadiendo más evidencia que apoyen los hechos, detalles y ejemplos en donde sea necesario.” Materials also state, “Si necesitas ayuda puedes volver a leer la historia El regalo del desierto.” During publication, students send their letter to a friend or acquaintance, as well as display it within the classroom.
In Ciclo 12, Lección 26: Escritura, students “escriben una historia descriptiva acerca de un viaje imaginario.” Students use the expository text Nuestro sistema solar to gather information before they begin to write their draft. The materials include an analysis chart to help students organize facts found in the text while again instructing them, “usa como mínimo dos recursos (ya sea vídeo, la Internet u otro libro de la biblioteca) para investigar tu tema.” The lesson does not provide guidance on how to select quality and relevant resources in order to accomplish this research.
In Ciclo 12, Lección 27: Escritura, students write “una biografía sobre un científico famoso.” Students begin the lesson by researching famous scientists. The instructions state, “Usa libros de la biblioteca o la Internet para investigar sobre científicos famosos que han hecho algún descubrimiento importante a lo largo de la historia.” Using the example of Galileo Galilei, whom students read about in “Exploración del espacio,” the teacher explains how a scientist discovers something important that changes history. Students organize their research and create a bibliography in a provided organizer. At this point, the lesson does not support the identification of primary or secondary sources; it does not include a checklist or questions for students to consider and identify quality sources. In the section “Escribe un borrador,” the teacher provides a review of the type of text students will be writing (i.e., biography) and offers some guiding questions that students may need to answer, like “¿En dónde nació? ¿Cuántos años tiene? ¿Cuántos hermanos tiene? ¿En dónde estudió? ¿Qué descubrimiento hizo?” When students reach the revision stage of their writing, they use a checklist to help them rate their writing at each writing stage. Materials state, “Usa la tabla a continuación para evaluar tu trabajo o el de un compañero de clase.” For publication, students present their work to the group and exchange biographies with peers so that they can “conocer y saber más acerca de los descubrimientos más importantes en la historia.” The lesson also suggests that students combine all of the biographies into a “libro llamado Biografías de científicos famosos o pueden inventar otro título.”
The materials contain interconnected tasks that build student knowledge and provide opportunities for increased independence. Activities within the lessons follow a gradual release model; questions and tasks are designed for students to build and apply knowledge and skills in reading, writing, speaking, listening, thinking, and language. Most lessons contain text-dependent questions and tasks integrating ideas and knowledge across multiple texts. The tasks within the materials, which include some components of vocabulary and fluency, provide increased independence.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
“Ciclo 11, Lección 21: Escritura” focuses on writing a paragraph about a self-selected topic. It is divided into three major parts: prewriting, writing, and publication. During prewriting, students create questions about a provided list of topics, then use a minimum of two resources to research. The materials provide a graphic organizer for documenting important details. During writing, students write a rough draft utilizing provided bibliography cards; they also write topic sentences. The teacher asks students to “utiliza los hechos importantes que escribiste en tus tarjetas para desarrollar el cuerpo del párrafo. Termínalo con una oración que exprese tu opinión acerca del tema que escogiste.” To publish, students first revise rough drafts for sentence variety and elaboration. Next, students edit subject-verb agreement, word usage, capitalization, and spelling. A checklist provides guidance on student self-evaluation. After writing a final draft, the teacher instructs students: “Junto a tus compañeros de clase, agrupa los párrafos de acuerdo con el tema que escogieron y luego colócalos alrededor del salón. Preséntate al grupo y habla con claridad.” As the lesson moves through the writing process, students have the opportunity to build their knowledge.
Ciclo 11, Lección 24: Escritura focuses on writing “un reportaje de un diario acerca de una aventura.” This writing lesson also follows the writing process and allows students to build their knowledge through questioning and self-reflection. During prewriting, students recall a text about an adventurous event. Then, students brainstorm personal adventures and pick the most exciting memory. Students utilize a graphic organizer to sequence their story and complete bibliography cards from a minimum of two resources. During writing, students use completed bibliography cards and a sequencing graphic organizer to write their story in first-person point of view with suspenseful details. During publication, students read their rough draft twice and revise to ensure “Usar preposiciones y conjunciones como enlaces” and “frases preposicionales.” While editing, students review word usage, spelling, legibility, and punctuation. The self-reflection handout asks questions about each part of the writing process.
In Ciclo 12, “Lección 1: Hacer inferencias” includes opportunities for students to speak, listen, read, write, and think. Students think when the teacher states, “Ahora les voy a dar otras dos pistas y ustedes van a hacer la inferencia.” Students listen as the teacher speaks. The teacher asks, “¿Qué sabemos de Kim en este primer párrafo? ¿Cómo llegó Lisa a ser tan buena jugando damas?” These are text-centered questions that allow students to focus their analysis and reflection. Once they have practiced the process of making inferences, students are ready for independent work. The teacher instructs students, “Ahora lean este otro pasaje y busquen pistas para hacer inferencias” and “escribe una inferencia que vaya de acuerdo con tus pistas.” The lesson includes components of gradual release (instruction, guided practice, and independent practice), as in most teacher-directed lessons.
The materials contain a sequence of questions and tasks that integrate multiple literacy skills. Ciclo 12, “Lección 1: Desarrollar conclusiones,” allows the students to analyze the integration of knowledge by drawing conclusions from the poem Lunes misterioso. The teacher instructs: “Vamos a leer este poema. Juntos vamos a tratar de llegar a conclusiones. Presten atención a las claves que podrían estar conectadas para saber qué es lo que está pasando y por qué está pasando.” During independent practice, students read the passage “Esfuerzo en equipo.” Here, students have an opportunity to read, write, and speak using text evidence. While reading the passage aloud, the teacher asks questions to help students find the relevant information. The teacher motivates students to “escribir la información en la gráfica y a escribir la conclusión en el último recuadro.” Through questioning, students build their knowledge and use it during independent practice.
The tasks found in the teacher-directed lessons, which include components of the gradual release model, integrate reading, writing, speaking, listening, and thinking. Questions that allow students to build knowledge in the process of analyzing the text guide the majority of the tasks. For example, in Ciclo 12, “Lección 1: Identificar la idea principal y los detalles,” students identify the main idea of a passage. The class reads the passage “Agentes de la policía,” and the teacher guides the discussion by asking text-dependent questions such as “¿Cuándo nos pueden ayudar los agentes de la policía? ¿Qué hacen los agentes de la policía para que las personas obedezcan la ley? ¿Qué hacen los agentes de la policía cuando hay peligro?”
The material incorporates the components of vocabulary. Activities integrate the four language domains and thinking. Lessons target vocabulary skills such as synonyms, context clues, and homophones and homographs. In “Nivel 3, Lección 1: Vocabulario,” students read sentences and identify the homophones and homographs (traje, rayar, rallar). However, most activities do not include syntax.
The materials provide a scope and sequence of lessons, which are distributed throughout the different cycles; however, there is no guidance as to how to spiral or scaffold them throughout the year. For some of the literary skills, lessons in each grade level are limited, and there is no distributed practice over the course of the year. The lessons include scaffolds for students to demonstrate integration of literacy skills, but it is not clear how to spiral these over the school year.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
The materials’ description states: “Each student receives an individualized and adaptive scope and sequence based on the initial ISIP assessment results, data from monthly assessments, and frequent embedded skill checks.” This is how the computer adaptive program works, but the materials also include teacher-directed lessons.
The materials provide tasks that are organized by “Cycles.” The “Scope and Sequence” lists a brief description of the skills and shows the cycle(s) in which they are targeted. This document also has a section titled “ISIP Intervention Lesson,” with some tasks and lessons introduced at the beginning of the year and some at the end of the year; complexity and rigor do not necessarily increase. Many of Istation's printable teacher-directed lessons are tiered, which provides teachers a way to determine which lessons are appropriate for their students. The description of the instructional tiers (or "niveles" in Spanish) are as follows: Tier 1: On track to meet grade-level expectations; Tier 2: At some risk of not meeting grade-level expectations; Tier 3: At significant risk of not meeting grade-level expectations. The teacher can use lower grade’s lessons to help differentiate and incorporate Tier 2 and Tier 3 lessons.
Lesson design includes scaffolds for students to demonstrate integration of literacy skills. The comprehension lessons are divided into “Enseñanza, Práctica guiada, Práctica independiente” to gradually release responsibility. Most lessons provide graphic organizers to support students’ thinking. The “Program Description” explains: “These printable lessons are most often used for intervention when students are struggling with specific skills. However, teachers can also use the lessons for reinforcement and extra learning in large-group, small-group, and one-on-one instruction. They provide a scaffolded lesson structure that builds from basic to complex skills and includes interdisciplinary content in science and social studies.” However, the lessons do not provide recommendations for spiral review over the year; they do not state when the skill is first taught or spiraled. Lessons do not provide complexity level or rigor guidance to the teacher.
The Scope and Sequence document states that the skill “Determine the main idea and the supporting details” is covered in all cycles for third grade (9–12). However, Cycle 9 does not include lessons on the main idea; Cycle 10 does include one. In “Ciclo 10, Lección: Identificar la idea principal,” students learn about this skill as they go through a gradual release lesson, with teacher support. In Cycle 11, we find two lessons on the main idea. Both Ciclo 11, “Lección 1: Identificar la idea principal de un cuento o fábula tradicional,” and Ciclo 11, Lección 2: Identificar la idea principal de un cuento o fábula tradicional, have the same description: “En esta lección los estudiantes identifican la idea principal del texto ‘Pelusa y Pecas,’ usando un organizador gráfico.” Both use the same type of graphic organizer and do not demonstrate any difference in complexity or rigor. Cycle 12 also includes two lessons on the main idea: Ciclo 12, “Lección 1: Identificar la idea principal y los detalles,” and Ciclo 12, Lección 2: Identificar la idea principal y los detalles, are similar, as in both “los estudiantes usan diagramas u organizadores gráficos para identificar los detalles y la idea principal del texto.” Contrary to the lessons in Cycle 11, these do show some difference in complexity: In Lesson 1, the teacher guides the lesson more. In Lesson 2, the teacher only provides guiding questions. However, the overall rigor of these lessons is the same.
The materials include scaffolded lessons for students to demonstrate integration of literacy skills. In Ciclo 12, “Lección 1: Identificar prefijos y sufijos,” students identify prefixes and suffixes in order to determine the meaning of a word. The lesson is divided into three parts: instruction, independent practice, and dependent practice. During instruction, the teacher uses the metaphor of a puzzle: “Cuando leemos podemos encontrarnos con palabras largas que parecen ser difíciles. Tal vez queramos pasarlas por alto, pero pueden ser unas palabras importantes para comprender la historia. Para entender lo que significan las palabras largas, pensemos que son como un rompecabezas. Cada pieza, o parte de la palabra tiene su significado e importancia.” The teacher distributes an activity about parts of a word. The teacher reads a word and instructs students to identify the prefix with a signal. The teacher explains how prefixes change word meanings and instructs students on breaking a word into the prefix and base. During guided practice, students receive an activity to divide word parts, which allows them to practice dividing words and determine the word’s meaning. During independent practice, students receive a handout about working with prefixes and suffixes, which provides four brief scenes with two-sentence captions. The teacher observes and supports students as needed.
The materials provide systematic instruction and practice in most foundational skills, including opportunities for phonics and word analysis skills. Students have adequate grade-level foundational skills instruction and opportunities to achieve grade-level mastery. The materials systematically develop knowledge of grade-level phonics patterns and word analysis skills as delineated by the TEKS. Students have opportunities to practice grade-level word recognition skills to promote automaticity, and they have some opportunities to practice and apply word analysis skills both in and out of context. The materials include building spelling knowledge and systematic instruction in orthographic rules and patterns. The materials specifically attend to supporting students in need of effective remediation.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
The document “Alineamiento de SLAR TEKS and Istation Español” provides teachers with a guide of all the skills taught within the program and their correlation to SLAR standards. This document provides a list of online activities as well as “Teacher-Directed Lessons” (TDLs). However, the document does not include the new literacy standards. Also, the materials provide a “Scope and Sequence,” found in the “Teacher Resources” section. This document includes a “Phonics and Word Analysis” section along with a brief description of the skills and the cycle(s) in which corresponding activities can be found. Some of the foundational skills are Phonics and Word Analysis, “Fluency,” and “Vocabulary.” Not all of the foundational skills include activities for every grade. For example, in third grade, “decoding words with a prosodic or orthographic accent” appears to be absent.
The materials state: “Student placement in the scope and sequence and the skills taught and practiced in a cycle are based on need. Skill level as measured in Istation’s Indicators of Progress (ISIP™ Español) Benchmark and Continuous Progress Monitoring System is the primary consideration when placing students.” The “ISIP” identifies and supports students’ needs after each (monthly) assessment. The program is adaptive and places students where they need the support. The Scope and Sequence offers teachers a guide as to where they can find lessons and passages for intervention and acceleration.
In “Ciclo 8, Lección 12: Destreza fonológica/Fonética,” students work on combining syllables to form words with the letters k, w, x, y, and vowels. During instruction, the teacher says, “Para formar una sílaba juntamos una consonante con una vocal o una vocal con una consonante.” The teacher demonstrates cards with consonants and cards with vowels and explains how adding each vowel to the consonant k creates a different syllable. The teacher also reviews the consonants w and x as well as how to combine compound syllable sounds such as /ks/. Students chorally read after the teacher’s modeling. During guided practice, students identify missing syllables from cards with words and pictures. The teacher explains the three different sounds the consonant x can make, modeling pronunciation of each. Students complete words including karate, kayak, Washington, Texas (j), Xavier (j), Kenia, Wendy, boxeo (ks), kilo, kiwi, Wilfredo, México (j), taxi (ks), xilófono (s), koala, Xóchil (s), saxofón (ks), Wumaro, Kuwait. During independent practice, students receive a handout with missing syllables, including words reviewed during instruction and guided practice to allow some automaticity.
Ciclo 12, Lección 1: Vocabulario focuses on identifying prefixes and suffixes. During instruction, the teacher demonstrates the importance of this skill: “Cuando leemos podemos encontrarnos con palabras largas que parecen ser difíciles. Tal vez queramos pasarlas por alto, pero pueden ser unas palabras importantes para comprender la historia.” The teacher models breaking down large words into parts, developing knowledge of grade-level phonics and word analysis skills. During independent practice, the teacher distributes a new handout for working with prefixes and suffixes; students write the meaning of the underlined words.
In “Nivel 1, Lección 1: Comunicación escrita,” students learn how to write using “acentos ortográficos,” depending on the type of word: “agudas, llanas, esdrújulas y sobresdrújulas.” This lesson, while still following the gradual release model, is written like a script for teachers, with steps in each part of the lesson. During instruction, the teacher explains that all words have an “acento,” but not every “acento,” and state: “La sílaba tónica es la sílaba más fuerte de la palabra. Sin embargo, no todas las palabras llevan el acento escrito. Por eso, aprender las reglas de acentuación nos ayudará a identificar y a escribir correctamente las palabras que llevan acento. Las palabras se dividen en sílabas y siempre empezamos por la última sílaba para acentuar.” The students receive a sheet with the different types of words: “Clases de palabras: agudas, llanas, esdrújulas y sobresdrújulas.” The teacher explains each rule and reads the list of words along with students. During the independent practice, students take a test; the teacher repeats the word twice and uses it in a sentence to support students.
The materials include a diagnostic tool and provide opportunities to assess student mastery, in and out of context, at regular intervals for teachers to make instructional adjustments. Through the use of the diagnostic tool, teachers assess students’ growth in, and mastery of, foundational skills. There is guidance and direction to respond to students’ individual literacy needs. The materials support teachers in working with students to self-monitor, use context to confirm or self-correct understanding, and employ rereading when appropriate.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
The “ISIP Español” assessment serves as a diagnostic tool and checks for understanding of skills over the course of the year. The materials recommend assessing students monthly (specifically, at the beginning of each month) to allow for maximum classroom instruction time. ISIP assessments are available in “Lectura Temprana” (prekindergarten through grade 3) and “Lectura Avanzada” (grades 4–5). The “Libreto para el dia de la evaluación” provides Spanish-language guidance for administrators of assessments. It also provides the following recommendations that teachers use while administering the test: “Para atender a los estudiantes,” “Mejores prácticas,” “Algunos acomodos que debe considerar.” Teachers may offer on-demand assessments at any point of the year, and these may be “used as benchmarks and as continuous progress monitoring tools.”
The assessments come in the form of computerized adaptive testing (CAT), which utilizes test questions ranging from easy to difficult in order to measure the exact ability and development of the student. The program assigns students an instructional Tier based on the student’s performance. This individual performance analysis also includes “Overall Reading Ability,” which guides instruction and at-home targeted practice.
ISIP Español (Lectura Temprana PK-3) measures “Phonemic and Phonological Awareness, Listening Comprehension, Vocabulary, Reading Comprehension, Text Fluency, Written Communication.” It is based on standards and early reading curriculum expectations from both the U.S. and Latin American countries.
The materials include a wealth of reports for teachers. The “ISIP Skill Growth Details Report” provides data on foundational skills, students’ growth, and the need for intervention. The “Progress Report” shows student progress and skills teachers need to reteach or re-introduce. To address students’ specific literacy needs, teachers use the “Priority Report” to identify the skill(s) students need help with and create an intervention plan. The report offers suggestions of “Teacher-Directed Lessons” (TDLs) to address the different skills; “Estas lecciones pueden ser utilizadas como instrucción de intervención con grupos pequeños o individualmente.” To help in this process of intervention, the “Creating Small Groups” section provides a quick guide to setting up small groups for intervention. Also, the “Teacher Station” provides activities and lessons that “can be used to supplement the curriculum in a variety of ways” (e.g., mini-lessons, reteach lessons, small groups).
For students to be able to self-monitor, the materials include the “ORF Rate Chart,” which is a tool that students use to record their individual progress as it relates to reading fluency; “Cada estudiante sombreará su propia ‘Tabla de velocidad.’”) Teachers monitor and support students with fluency through the use of “ISIP ORF” (Oral Reading Fluency), which allows students to record themselves reading grade-leveled passages. Teachers listen to the recording and offer feedback. In addition to the “Fluency Chart,” students monitor their progress through the use of the “ISIP Tracking Data Sheet,” which is used to set goals.
The materials provide consistent opportunities for students to practice and develop oral and silent reading fluency; students read a wide variety of grade-appropriate texts at the appropriate rate and with accuracy and expression to support comprehension. Students have the opportunity to read grade-level texts as they make meaning and build foundational skills. The materials include explicit instruction in oral reading fluency, including instruction in phrasing, intonation, expression, and accuracy. There are opportunities and routines for teachers to monitor and provide corrective feedback on phrasing, intonation, expression, and accuracy.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
The “ISIP Oral Reading Fluency” allows students to record themselves reading after accessing a virtual recording studio. Students select a passage for a minute, and while there is no immediate feedback after reading each text, the teacher accesses the recordings to offer feedback and support. Students use the recording studio only once a month; if they try to use it before the next month, a message appears: “Ya tomaste fluidez de lectura este mes.” The system includes grade-leveled passages as well as different pages within the “Teacher Resources”—“a collection of oral reading fluency practice resources arranged by grade level.” It also includes “lessons on accuracy, rate, and prosody (expression) as well as practice passages.” Students record their individual progress as it relates to reading fluency in their “ORF Rate Chart.”
Also, the materials include a variety of books and texts with Lexile levels from 620 to 1450. The list includes varied genres (e.g., fiction, informational texts, biographies). Some of the titles included are Las arañas, Rojo va a la escuela, and Una misión increíble. These provide opportunities for students to practice oral silent reading with texts that grow in complexity.
In “Nivel 2, Lección 8: Lectura con Fluidez,” students practice their fluency with the help of the teacher, focusing on punctuation. During guided practice, the teacher models fluency by focusing on intonation: “Vamos a practicar nuestra entonación. Yo voy a leer y ustedes van a repetir después de mí usando el mismo tono de voz.” The teacher reads the poem “¿El parque o la ciudad?” using the appropriate intonation when question and exclamation marks are used. Students repeat after the teacher. The teacher focuses on the importance of reading punctuation correctly as they help comprehend the text. During independent practice, students work with partners to choral read the poem using the intonation previously practiced. Students may read the poem several times to improve their fluency.
In Nivel 2, Lección 23: Lectura con fluidez, students make meaning and build foundational skills by observing the teacher model precision, expression, and speed. The teacher states: “Para leer con precisión debemos leer las palabras correctamente y sin saltarnos ninguna. Es decir, debemos pronunciar todas las sílabas que componen una palabra y no saltarnos ninguna palabra de la lectura.” After the teacher models reading with intonation, precision, and expression, students read a new passage, practicing fluency by following what they have heard from the teacher. During this guided practice, teachers provide feedback to students. As they move to the independent practice, students read independently. The teacher takes notes on incorrect pronunciation, substitutions, omissions, and inversions but does not provide any immediate feedback. The materials offer guidance to teachers regarding how to analyze the data gathered from these observations: “Reste el número de errores del número total de palabras leídas. Este número refleja el número de palabras por minuto que el estudiante ha leído correctamente. Si el alumno vacila por más de tres segundos, diga la palabra y cuéntela como un error.” Teachers monitor words read correctly per minute in order to guide student instruction at school and at home.
In Nivel 3, Lección 22: Lectura con fluidez, students read a grade-level text while the teacher monitors fluency. This lesson follows a similar format as the ones before. The teacher begins: “Los buenos lectores leen con fluidez. Para leer con fluidez siempre debemos leer con precisión, expresión y rapidez.” Then, the teacher reviews and models precision, reading every word in the sentence using proper intonation and appropriate speed. During guided practice, students read together with the teacher, specifically to practice appropriate speed, and the teacher provides corrective feedback on intonation, expression, and accuracy. During independent practice, students read silently first, then read aloud. The teacher marks reading errors in order to calculate a words-per-minute student score.
The materials include a developmentally appropriate diagnostic tool and guidance for teachers, students, and administrators to monitor progress. While there is no variety in the diagnostic tools, the materials do include guidance to ensure consistent and accurate administration. The diagnostic tool measures most content and process skills for SLAR, as outlined in the SLAR TEKS. Students are able to track their own progress and growth.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
The “Istation’s Indicators of Progress (ISIP) Español” is a formal computer-adaptive assessment that is automatically given at the beginning of the year and every month after that. The “User’s Guide,” found in the “Help Center” on the online home screen, provides detailed information about the assessment. Because the assessment is intended to be ongoing, strategic, and purposeful, “Additional On Demand Assessments can be given at any time during the school year.” These assessments can be used as benchmarks and as a continuous progress monitoring tool. ISIP measures students’ individual progress in different areas of literacy. The results help teachers identify the level (Tier) at which students are performing in the different areas (“Vocabulary, Comprehension, Written Communication, Text Fluency”). As defined within the document “Recursos educativos para el maestro,” “El sistema de evaluación ISIP registra el progreso de cada alumno de una manera individual y en concordancia con los estándares educativos para el desarrollo de la lectura de acuerdo al nivel que el alumno está cursando.” Istation currently offers three performance scale options for grouping students. All three performance scales use nationally normed Istation’s Indicators of Progress (ISIP™) to provide accurate insight and determine whether students are on target to meet end-of-year grade-level expectations. Plus, teachers and administrators get the formative data they need to differentiate instruction. Schools can change scales at any time during the academic year. The three performance scales are: Levels (Quintiles), Instructional Tiers, RTI+.
In the program description, teachers find that the ISIP “Lectura Temprana” measures individual progress for prekindergarten through grade 3; “It is based on standards and early reading curriculum expectations from both the U.S. and Latin American countries.” The materials are aligned with the SLAR standards, and so is the diagnostic tool. Online, under the “Tools” tab, the “Istation Español Curriculum Correlated to the TEKS” includes a chart indicating where in the curriculum cycles the standards are addressed through “Teacher-Directed Lessons” and whether the standards are assessed through ISIP. If a skill is not assessed through ISIP, it is still covered in the lessons.
As a computer-based tool, ISIP guides students to answer different questions. The Recursos educativos para el maestro states: “El computador formula las preguntas para cada estudiante en un formato entretenido, el cual ha sido desarrollado en animación. El narrador inicia cada sección de la evaluación con una breve instrucción sobre cómo usar el computador para contestar las preguntas.” Teachers find guidance on their role during administration within the User’s Guide. For example, the “Assessment Day Script” provides test administrators with suggested wording when administering the ISIP: “Say: ‘Today we will be using the computer to play some games that will assess your skills in (reading/math). It is important that you listen carefully, follow the instructions, and do your very best.’” A section on “Best Practices” also guides teachers when administering the assessment. In the “Beginning of Year Implementation Guide,” teachers find best practices for beginning the school year with the program. It also provides a “what to do” for monthly activities and weekly activities, as well as the recommended weekly usage for students, based on their Tier.
The assessment provides teachers with the data they need to conduct differentiated learning through the creation of small groups or through a whole group lesson, if that is what is needed. Recursos educativos para el maestro provides guidance on this issue: “La evaluación ISIP ayuda al maestro a formar estos grupos de acuerdo a los resultados individuales. El maestro debe formar los grupos de trabajo con estudiantes que tengan una misma necesidad académica. Sin embargo, si el maestro encuentra que hay más de dos tercios (66%) de los alumnos que presentan una misma dificultad con alguna de las destrezas de la evaluación, se recomienda dar la lección a todos los alumnos en el salón de clase.” The teacher also uses ISIP as a progress monitoring tool in order to modify intervention: “Es importante hacer un seguimiento del progreso de los estudiantes y modificar la lección según las necesidades individuales. Utilice los resultados de la evaluación para modificar las lecciones adecuadamente.” The “ISIP Summary” document explains how to read the “ISIP Summary Report,” which shows the number and percentage of students in the classroom at each instructional Tier or level for each skill assessed during the current assessment period. Aside from printing instructions, the ISIP Summary suggests uses for instructional purposes, just as mentioned above.
Another diagnostic tool within the materials is the “ISIP Oral Reading Fluency.” The “ISIP Oral Reading Fluency—How To Guide” states that “the ORF assessment allows teachers to automatically measure oral reading fluency from digitally recorded passages for students in grades K through 5 in both English and Spanish.” However, the guide also states auto-scoring is not yet available for grades 4 or 5 or in Spanish. The suggested frequency of this assessment is monthly, and it includes guidance for teachers on accessing student assessment data reports. These reports include an ISIP Summary, a student summary handout, and a student history summary. Guidance on interpreting scores is included, but for grades 1–3 only. Because no norms for grading in Spanish have been established, the guide refers to a 2010 national study conducted by the Secretary of Public Education in Mexico, which can help interpret scores. The guide also includes information about “On-Demand Assessments” for when a student needs to retake an assessment. Teachers can access printable resources such as a “Student Access Guide for ISIP Reading ORF,” “ISIP ORF Example Passages,” “ISIP ORF Teacher Resources” on norming, Lexile, and grade-level charts. There are also separate video tutorials for students, teachers, and parents.
The materials offer guidance on how students not only set goals but also track their own progress. In the “Classroom” page menu, the “Goals” section guides students to “arrange one-on-one student data conferences to review goals from the previous month and discuss next month. Student goals can be used to help build motivation and maximize student growth.” This information is presented in a two-bar graph format; one bar represents the student assessment score, and the other one the recommended goal for the next assessment. It also allows teachers to modify students’ goals. In the User’s Guide, teachers find the “Setting Personal Goals” sheet. Students, working with their teacher, set their personal goals within the program. Teachers track students’ progress using “ISIP Data Tracking Sheet for Classroom Teachers”; students track their progress using the “Monthly ISIP Reading Overall Scores Chart.” Also, students can compare their first and second oral reading fluency attempts and chart their progress using the “ISIP ORF—Rate Chart.”
Materials include guidance for teachers and administrators to analyze and respond to data from the diagnostic tools. The materials support teachers with guidance and direction to respond to individual students’ needs in all domains, based on measures of student progress appropriate to developmental level. The diagnostic tools yield meaningful information for teachers to use when planning instruction and differentiation. There is some variety of resources and teacher guidance on how to leverage different activities to respond to student data, as well as guidance for administrators to support teachers in analyzing and responding to data.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
Several reports allow teachers and administrators to access data and respond to it. The “Reports Overview” is a great guide for teachers and administrators, as it provides suggested uses and best practices for utilizing the program’s reports; there are also suggested pages and reports to access after the assessment. On this page, administrators and teachers read and view samples of all the reports in the program. There is a description for each report, suggested uses for instructional purposes, guiding questions, and snippets of each of the reports. Upon clicking on the title of each report, administrators and teachers are taken to a page with more information about that particular report. There is information on how to build custom reports, save them to the home page, print, and export detailed reports. A variety of resources and teacher guidance allow teachers to leverage different activities to respond to student data and provide guidance for administrators to support teachers in analyzing and responding to data. There are also explanation videos for the reports.
The “Classroom Page,” which lists students in alphabetical order, shows current “ISIP” status and activity for the current and previous week. This page is used to view completion status, identify student Tier/level, and track student usage of the online instructional component.
The ISIP “Summary Report” shows the number and percentage of students at each instructional level/Tier for the current month. It provides information for teachers to adjust instruction based on students’ performance. The report categorizes data by color-coded Tiers/levels for teachers to easily identify the number and percentage of students in each category. The report includes the student name, the overall reading score and level, and the score and level for each subtest. Teachers can use this report for “identifying skills that need emphasis in the classroom; identifying students in need of additional support; grouping students for targeted instruction; determining which skills need to be retaught in whole-group or small group instruction.” Guiding questions help teachers and direct their response to students’ needs (e.g., “What is your class’ biggest strength as a whole? What are the areas for targeted support? When drilling down to view whole class growth, what do you encounter? What do you think is contributing to your class’ trend? What is your plan for addressing these areas of need?”)
The “Classroom Summary Report” provides student performance data from the most recently completed ISIP assessment as well as the current instructional cycle/unit the student is working on. The report groups students by their instructional Tier or level and highlights “Critical Intervention” students who score in the 10th percentile or lower. Materials suggest using this report for “identifying skill strengths and areas for growth that need emphasis in the classroom, identifying students in need of additional support, grouping students for small-group instruction, and identifying skill level of materials for small-group instruction.” Guiding questions for teachers to analyze data from the report include “How can this report help in forming small groups or one-to-one for targeted instruction? How can the data on this report help the teacher locate teacher resources which match students’ abilities?”
The ISIP “Skill Growth in Reading” shows student growth throughout the year. Teachers use this report as a way of “monitoring the class’s progress in skill acquisition, evaluating the effectiveness of instructional support, and determining the need for whole group instruction.”
The ISIP “Priority Report” alerts teachers of students needing additional support and provides lessons based on areas for targeted support. The report lists the students who struggle on the ISIP assessment or lack progress in skill acquisition during the interactive instruction. Based on students’ information, the report recommends specific “Teacher-Directed Lessons” for the teacher to consider when planning whole or small group instruction. A lesson is provided for teachers to use with Critical Intervention students. Teachers click on the plus sign by the student’s name, which reveals a history of lessons completed along with intervention notes, the intervention used, and how it impacted student learning. The “About This Report” section provides detailed guidance on how to interpret the report and helps teachers plan instruction and differentiation. The instructions for the ISIP Priority Report explain how to run the report as well as how to interpret the report codes and information within the report. They also suggest specific uses for other instructional purposes like “documenting interventions provided and discussing student performance with administrators or intervention team” weekly or as needed to plan and document interventions.
Online, the “Administrator” tab includes an “Executive Summary Report.” It is available only to those who have manager-level accounts at the school or district level. This report shows the number and percentage of students at each instructional Tier/level by grade for the current month. It provides a color-coded graph to easily identify the number of students in each grade level under each Tier (i.e., red for students who are below grade level, yellow for students on grade level, green for students who have mastered the skill). While the materials do not provide a template to develop action plans, this information assists administrators in supporting teachers in analyzing and responding to data.
The materials include frequent, embedded opportunities for monitoring progress that accurately measure and track students’ progress. The frequency of progress monitoring is appropriate for the age and content skill.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
The “ISIP” assessment diagnostic tool serves as both a beginning-of-the-year assessment and as a monthly progress monitoring tool. Students automatically take the assessment the first time they log into the program each month. While the ISIP assessment frequency is monthly, there is also the possibility of “On-Demand Assessments,” which allow teachers to schedule specific assessments for students. The On-Demand Assessment choice is listed under the “Classroom” tab; teachers assign an On-Demand Assessment if they consider it appropriate for the students. After making this selection, a student roster appears along with the recommended assessment. For example, there are two On-Demand Assessments listed for one student (“Comprehension” and “Vocabulary”); the teacher decides which assessment the student will take. The recommended criteria to reassess students is to run the “Tier Movement” report, which identifies students that significantly dropped from Tier 1 to Tier 3 from one month to the other. Furthermore, teachers have the choice of adding an assessment based on the student's performance. The materials offer this recommendation regarding On-Demand Assessments: “On-Demand Assessments allow a teacher to progress monitor more frequently than the automated monthly ISIP. We recommend using this feature sparingly to prevent over-testing a student; however, it does allow teachers to assign a subtest in mid-month to determine the student's progress in a specific area.”
After each assessment, teachers access different reports to track student growth. First, teachers look at the “ISIP Summary,” which helps “identify skills that need emphasis in the classroom; identify students in need of additional support; group students for targeted instruction; determine which skills need to be retaught in whole-group or small-group instruction.” It states: “If the majority of a class shows weakness in vocabulary, for example, then this could be retaught for the whole group with some high-low student pairings for independent practice. If a minority of students show a weakness in vocabulary, then this could be addressed in small-group instruction using Teacher-Directed Lessons from Istation or another district-provided resource.” The document suggests reviewing monthly or after the most recent assessment. The materials also include a five-minute tutorial video as guidance for this type of report.
Additionally, teachers find the “ISIP Skill/Domain Growth Details” report, which “shows a specific student’s overall ability score through the current month and the score for each skill assessed. Teacher documentation also appears within the skill/domain as noted by the teacher within the Priority Report.”
The “Priority Report” guides teachers in the process of intervention. It lists lessons that provide students opportunities to practice a specific skill. The lessons allow teachers to make observations and provide support while students practice the skill through guided and independent practice. This report indicates which students experienced difficulty in a particular part of the “Interactive Instruction” and offers recommendations on “Teacher-Directed Lessons” that address the specific skills. After administering an intervention lesson, teachers keep track, monitor progress, and document notes (e.g., still needs improvement, needs to be retaught, made progress). Teachers use the “ISIP Reading Student Graphs” to track student progress and complete the “ISIP Data Tracking Sheet” to keep track of students’ monthly scores, goals, targeted focus, and more. After students have completed the ISIP Assessment, teachers will have access to reports by logging in to www.istation.com. The reports include ISIP Summary Report, Classroom Summary Report, ISIP Skill Growth, The Priority Report, The Student Summary Handout, The Progress Report, and The Usage Trend Report.
The materials include some guidance, scaffolds, supports, and extensions that maximize student learning potential. Materials provide recommended targeted instruction and activities for students who have not yet mastered the content, but they do not provide the same type of instruction and activities for students who have mastered content. The additional enrichment activities are not for all levels of learners.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
The materials include a diagnostic tool (i.e., a computer-based tool) that helps teachers understand each student’s academic development. The “ISIP” assessment provides teachers with the data they need to conduct differentiated learning through the creation of small groups or through a whole group lesson. The “Classroom Summary” and “Priority Reports” identify students who score in the 10th percentile or lower, highlighting these as “Critical Intervention” students. Istation currently offers three performance scale options for grouping students. All three performance scales use nationally normed Istation’s Indicators of Progress (ISIP™) to provide accurate insight and determine whether students are on target to meet end-of-year grade-level expectations. Plus, teachers and administrators get the formative data they need to differentiate instruction. Schools can change scales at any time during the academic year. The three performance scales are: Levels (Quintiles), Instructional Tiers, RTI+. These reports focus on interventions and suggested lessons for Tier 3 students; they do not include guidance regarding how to use the materials and activities to target those students who have mastered content.
While there is no guidance for this, teachers can access some information about Tier 1 or 2 instruction through the “search by skill” tool within the “Teacher Resources” page. Teachers select among 11 topics and search for lessons for that skill. The search provides a list divided into two categories: resources without a specific “Cycle” and resources for specific cycles. The former includes the Tier level for each lesson, but this is not included for the lessons within cycles. The lessons do not include the grade level in the information; so, for example, “Lectura fluida” includes three grades, but teachers do not know to what grade the Tier is related.
Using this search tool, and looking for lessons (with Tier reference) within Lectura fluida (3rd–5th), teachers find no lessons for six of the skills: “Comprensión auditiva, “Fonética,” “Lectura fluida,” “Conocimiento de la letra impresa,” “Conocimiento de los géneros,” and “Gramática y reglas de la escritura.” For “Destreza fonológica,” there are two lessons (one Tier 1 and one Tier 3). For the skill “Vocabulario” there are six lessons (two Tier 1 and four Tier 2). In the section “Comprensión de lectura,” there are 15 lessons. However, only two lessons—“Lección 1, Nivel 3: Resumen” and “Lección 3, Nivel 3: Identificar características de los personajes”—actually relate to comprehension. The other listed lessons are reading fluency lessons, which are also listed within the skill of “Fluidez” (five Tier 1, four Tier 2 and four Tier 3). Under “Escritura,” the teacher finds five lessons (two Tier 1, two Tier 2 and one Tier 3), including the two that were under the Destreza fonológica. Similar to the teacher-directed lesson within the cycles, these lessons follow the gradual release approach, which takes students through a direct teach, guided practice, and independent practice, but they do not include scaffolds or extensions.
The teacher-directed lessons within the cycles do not include guidance as to how to differentiate the content depending on the student’s Tier.
“Ciclo 12, Lección 1: Gramática” focuses on identifying and using conjunctions with compound subjects and predicates. During instruction, the teacher explains the objective: “Hoy vamos a aprender sobre conjunciones. Las conjunciones son las palabras que utilizamos para unir oraciones o palabras entre sí, es decir, las conjunciones son palabras que enlazan. Existen dos tipos de conjunciones: las coordinantes y las subordinantes. Hoy les hablaré sobre las coordinantes. Estas son las que usamos para unir dos palabras u oraciones que tienen el mismo nivel de importancia dentro de una oración.” The teacher writes the coordinating conjunctions for the whole class: y, e, ni, o, u. In order to review how to create a compound subject or predicate using coordinating conjunctions, the teacher provides two example sentences. During guided practice, students continue to practice using coordinating conjunctions to form compound subjects and predicates. Students identify conjunctions in sentences. The teacher reminds students to observe the underlined words, and a student volunteer reads the first sentence. Then, the teacher questions students on which part of the sentence contains the compound subject or predicate and provides positive feedback. During independent practice, the teacher instructs: “Primero van a copiar cada oración dentro de la caja que corresponda. Por ejemplo, la oración que tenga subrayado el predicado compuesto, la van a escribir en la caja que dice oraciones con predicado compuesto. Luego van a encerrar en un círculo la conjunción coordinante que se encuentre en la parte subrayada de la oración, tal cual lo hicimos en la actividad anterior.” Here, the materials provide a different activity to practice the same skill. Students use a different set of sentences and classify them by compound subject or compound predicate, then circle the conjunction. This is a continuation of the work they have been doing in identifying conjunctions, using them to form sentences. This grammar lesson does not include differentiation or specific guidelines on how to use it for different levels of learners, and neither do the comprehension lessons (which follow the same gradual release format).
In Ciclo 12, “Lección 1: Identificar la idea principal y los detalles,” the teacher takes students through the gradual release of responsibility in identifying the main idea and details using an informational text. In Ciclo 12, “Lección 1: Comparar y contrastar,” the teacher guides students through comparing and contrasting. After direct teaching and guided practice, students independently complete a Venn diagram; the teacher instructs: “Me gustaría ver si pueden utilizar el diagrama de Venn para comparar y contrastar.” Neither lesson includes recommendations for upward scaffolds or extensions or guidance for students who have mastered the content.
The materials include some variety of instructional methods that appeal to a variety of learning interests and needs. The materials support some flexible grouping and multiple types of practices, but they do not offer clear guidance or structures to achieve effective implementation through differentiation. Support for developmentally appropriate multimodal instructional strategies is not clearly evident.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
Most lessons include direct teaching, guided practice, and independent practice, as well as opportunities for various teaching strategies.
In “Ciclo 9, Lección 2: Identificar los verbos en tiempo pasado,” students identify past tense verbs. First, during the direct teach portion, a script provides teacher guidance on sequencing and encourages student participation: “Un estudiante va a sacar una tarjeta del recipiente, leerá el verbo en silencio y me dará la tarjeta a mí. Luego, el estudiante va a actuar según el verbo que está escrito en la tarjeta. Los demás estudiantes deben adivinar cuál es el verbo.” The teacher models selecting a card, reading silently, and returning to the teacher before acting out the verb while other students guess the verb.
During independent practice, the teacher distributes a “Trabajando con verbos” handout to each student. Directions specify: “Lee las palabras en el recuadro. Luego lee las oraciones y escoge el verbo correcto para completar los espacios en blanco de cada oración.” The teacher observes and provides support as needed. The instructions for the activities do not state that they can be embedded into learning centers or used in collaborative groups. They fall under independent practice, without clear direction on possible activity implementations for different groups.
In Ciclo 10, “Lección 1: Identificar características de los personajes,” the teacher finds “Enseñanza” which is a set of verbatim instructions to support direct instruction (e.g., “¿De qué trata el cuento? Dé tiempo suficiente para que algunos alumnos puedan volver a contar el cuento.”) This part of the lesson encourages student participation through questioning. At the end of the lesson, during the “Practica independiente,” students provide description words for each character: “Después de pegar todos los personajes en su hoja, quiero que escriban un par de palabras para describirlos.” This activity engages students in indirect learning by allowing them to describe the characters in their own words and not limiting them to only one appropriate answer.
In Ciclo 11, Lección 1, students differentiate and use commonly confused words. The teacher writes or projects the list of commonly confused words; students read along. During guided practice, the teacher distributes “Practica dirigida” to each student and says: “Hoy vamos a completar oraciones con términos comunes. Ahora corten los cuadros al final de la página que contiene los términos comunes.” Then, during independent practice, the teacher distributes “Práctica independiente.” Students work with unknown words; after reading the words in the box, they complete each sentence with the correct term. The teacher observes and provides support as needed. Students write in terms from the provided word bank to complete the sentences/questions.
In Ciclo 11, “Lectura avanzada, Lección 1: Identificar características de los personajes,” the teacher finds instructions that can be used to support all learners: “Ponga las tarjetas con los nombres Pelusa y Pecas encima de la mesa. Mezcle y ponga las tarjetas de los atributos donde los estudiantes puedan verlas.” This activity can be used for all students. While the lesson provides clear instructions on how to conduct the activity, it does not offer teacher guidance on how or when to use multimodal instructional strategies.
The materials do not include supports for English Learners (ELs) to meet grade-level learning expectations. Since the materials are all in the first language, they do not provide accommodations for ELs with various levels of English language proficiency. The materials do not encourage strategic use of students’ primary language as a means to develop linguistic, affective, cognitive, and academic skills in the target language (e.g., to enhance vocabulary development).
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
The materials do not include linguistic accommodations for ELs with various levels of English language proficiency. The materials are in Spanish, and there is no guidance or support for English instruction. The program description states: “Istation Español is different from a translated literacy program that has been trans-adapted from English to Spanish. Learning is enhanced through purposeful lessons with Latin culture and literature.” The materials do not use Spanish to develop linguistic, affective, cognitive, and academic skills in English. The materials include, in some instances, translations into English of vocabulary words, but there is no guidance regarding how to use these translations.
In “Ciclo 12,” the teacher finds the text El mundo a tu alrededor: Nuestro Sistema Solar, which includes a glossary. Each of the words includes a translation of the word in English. There is no guidance as to how to use this information.
In Ciclo 12, the teacher finds reading and writing lessons in Spanish within the Lexile level range (500–740) for grade 3. Since the materials are all in Spanish, there are no accommodations for various English proficiency levels. The materials do not encourage strategic use of students’ primary language as a means to develop linguistic, affective, cognitive, and academic skills in the target language.
While the materials include plans with practice and review opportunities that support instruction, these do not provide enough lessons for a year-long design. There is a cohesive plan to build students’ concept development, but it does not consider how to vertically align instruction that builds year to year. The materials lack clear guidance on spiraled review and practice of knowledge and skills in all domains throughout the span of the curriculum.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
The “Istation Español Scope and Sequence” document serves as a guide to inform teachers and program users of the skills taught in Istation Español from prekindergarten to grade 5. The document is organized by grade-level bands: 2nd–3rd, 3rd–4th, and 4th–5th. This format allows some vertical alignment of skills and knowledge from the previous and the next grade level (except for grade 5), but it lacks the possibility of looking at the whole program’s vertical alignment from the early grades until grade 5. Each section contains the “Interactive Istation Español Curriculum” information as well as “Teacher-Led Small Group Instruction,” which includes “ISIP Español” and “Istation Espanol.” Teacher-Led Small Group Instruction outlines opportunities for review and practice in all “Cycles” based on the “Priority Reports.” While the document does not list the specific lessons, these appear as recommendations within the report. These opportunities are based on the reports, so there is no clear guidance for spiraling materials beyond the specific needs of each student. Istation provides teachers with a correlation document that is aligned with the TEKS. This document guides teachers with identifying lessons, both digitally and in print, for every standard in each grade level.
The Scope and Sequence lists the skills, including grade-appropriate foundational literacy skills, learned and practiced throughout the cycles. Istation’s Interactive Instruction provides individualized student placement based on ISIP™ assessment results, systematic, explicit delivery of research-based instruction and practice, differentiated instruction based on scope and sequence, assessments, and student interaction, carefully organized instructional path, lessons that allow for guided practice, opportunities for student agency, and engaging multimedia and teaching techniques that maximize opportunities to learn, practice, and review skills. Teachers can search for a general skill, including “Listening; Book and Print Awareness; Phonological and Phonemic Awareness; Phonics and Word Analysis; Writing and Spelling; Technology; Vocabulary; Fluency; Comprehension.”
The grade-specific “Istation Español Curriculum Correlated to TEKS SLAR” documents offer a view of how different resources address standards in multiple strands and domains. The strands are “1 —developing oral language; 2—using metacognitive skills to both develop and deepen comprehension of increasingly complex texts; 3—responding to an increasingly challenging variety of sources that are read, heard, or viewed; 4—recognizing and analyzing genre-specific characteristics, structures, and purposes within and across increasingly complex traditional, contemporary, classical, and diverse texts; 5—using critical inquiry to analyze the authors’ choices and how they influence and communicate meaning within a variety of texts, as well as analyzing and applying author's craft purposefully in order to develop his or her own products and performances; 6—the writing process; and 7—inquiry and research process.” A table shows the correlation between SLAR TEKS (and STAAR) and the online activities, identified by lesson and cycle for quick access. Teachers see the activities that are available online as well as the
“Teacher-Directed Lessons” along with the cycle number, but there is not enough material for teachers to develop a year-long plan to build students’ concept development.
Students move through “Interactive Instruction” at their own pace after being placed in their instructional path based on their “ISIP” scores. The materials categorize El Mundo de los géneros interactive online activities into three themes—“past, present, and future”—that engage students to review and practice skills. The “future” theme includes a section on science fiction, which allows teachers to review its components using illustrations. This Interactive Instruction provides “Differentiated instruction based on scope and sequence, assessments, and student interaction”; “Opportunities for experiential learning and student agency”; and “Engaging multimedia and teaching techniques that maximize opportunities to learn practice and review skills.” Istation Español informs teachers of the special needs of each student, offering suggestions on additional intervention or extension lessons. While this creates a connection between the interactive experience of the program and the classroom through the teacher-directed lessons, there is not enough guidance or materials for teachers to use within the classroom.
In order to create the year-long plan, the materials include the “Beginning of Year Implementation Guide,” which provides best practices for beginning the school year with the program. It includes before assessments, monthly activities, weekly activities, recommended usage, reports available, and contact information for questions or support.
The materials include implementation support for teachers and administrators. A scope and sequence document shows the TEKS and how they are presented throughout the program across the different grade levels. There are resources, guidelines, and support for teachers and administrators to implement the program, but there are not enough resources within the materials for a school year’s worth of instruction. There is also no realistic pacing guide.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
The “Scope and Sequence” outlines “the framework of skills that are taught, practiced and reviewed in Istation Español” and is “divided into sections based on grade level bands.” The “Istation Espanol Curriculum Correlated to TEKS” document provides teachers with a list of activities and “Teacher-Directed Lessons” by TEKS. The information is organized in a table that includes the online activities and lessons for each skill and the cycle in which they are found. Istation’s Interactive Instruction provides individualized student placement based on ISIP™ assessment results, systematic, explicit delivery of research-based instruction and practice, differentiated instruction based on scope and sequence, assessments, and student interaction, carefully organized instructional path, lessons that allow for guided practice, opportunities for student agency, and engaging multimedia and teaching techniques that maximize opportunities to learn, practice, and review skills. Furthermore, the materials include a key at the top of each page for teachers to easily identify the type and purpose of the activities (i.e., “D = Lesson Skills & Comprehension; P1 = Passage 1; P2 = Passage 2; RT = Reteach Passage; N/A = Not Applicable”) This supports the teacher in planning for small group instruction. The skills are TEKS-aligned and grade-appropriate; a table also shows the STAAR connection. Using these documents, teachers identify the skills covered in each cycle and plan accordingly.
The scope and sequence document explains the process of implementation and how students are placed within the cycles of instruction. The system, through the “Istation’s Indicators of Progress (ISIP™ Español)” diagnostic tool, measures students’ skill level using the “Benchmark and Continuous Progress Monitoring System.” After testing, materials place students within a cycle based on need. They state: “Each cycle provides intensive and direct instruction, practice and repetition with multiple opportunities for skill application.” The results also “determine when a student is ready to transition to more challenging instruction, including advancement beyond current grade level skills.” If, on the other hand, a student needs remediation, “Istation Español automatically notifies teachers when students would benefit from additional intervention or extension activities.”
As part of the implementation, the “Etapas de lectura de Istation Español” document provides a quick overview of the characteristics of the reading stages and an overview of the levels used in the program. For example, the document outlines characteristics of the reader, characteristics of the text, and Lexile range. “Lectura avanzada” includes third-grade skills and a Lexile range of 500–740. “Lectura fluida” includes third, fourth, and fifth-grade skills and a Lexile range of 740–1040. Regarding the flexibility of the resources, guidance states: “Estos recursos fueron diseñados con el propósito de proveer una gran variedad de lecciones y materiales de intervención para todos los estudiantes, especialmente los que enfrentan dificultad y necesitan más apoyo en los conceptos básicos de la lectura. Esta variedad otorga a los maestros la flexibilidad de diferenciar su instrucción de lectura de manera efectiva.”
The “Help Center” contains a resource section. The “User’s Guide” provides a wealth of resources, such as “Getting Started with Istation” to “Research Studies.” In Getting Started with Istation, teachers learn about installing the program, importing student rosters, and steps for getting started. The “Beginning of Year Implementation Guide” lays out the best practices for beginning the school year with the program. It includes implementation information that is useful for both teachers and administrators in sections like “Before the First Assessment,” “Monthly Activities,” “Weekly Activities,” “Recommended Weekly Usage,” and “Reports.” The Before the First Assessment section includes “Istation Application Navigation,” which explains how to log in to the program to view interactive instruction. The interactive activities show an estimated time frame to support teachers with the planning process, but there is no recommended sequence or pacing guide.
Within the User’s Guide, there is a resource page for “Administration.” Here, administrators learn more about the program, such as viewing data reports and the logistical aspects of program implementation. In the “Administrator or Specialist” feature, the “Administration Page” lists and briefly describes the components of the “Administrator Tab.” In this tab, administrators can access “ISIP” and “Istation Español” reports. These reports provide an overview of program implementation at the district or campus level. The ISIP “Summary Report” shows “the number and percentage of students in each instructional group for the current month.” A color-coded graph allows administrators to easily identify the number of students under each Tier (i.e., red for students who are below grade level, yellow for students on grade level, green for students that mastered the skill). The “School Year Transitions for Administrators” document is a how-to for transitioning to a new school year. While it does not offer instructional support to teachers and administrators, it offers support regarding how to prepare to implement the materials for students successfully. It is important to note that all the documents that are available for teachers in the User’s Guide can definitely be used by administrators to provide guidance and support to teachers in implementing the materials. The materials do not provide a feedback template, but this information assists administrators in providing effective feedback based on students’ performance.
As mentioned above, students move through the program’s Interactive Instruction at their own pace after being placed in their instructional path based on their ISIP score, which makes this a self-adapted program. Therefore, the materials do not offer a pacing guide. Students advance in their learning path and continue to work on TEKS-based instruction throughout the year. The materials include Teacher-Directed Lessons for teachers to enhance the learning experience, but there are not enough for a year’s worth of instruction; teachers use the information from the ISIP results to offer these lessons as interventions, not as part of an instructional program.
The materials provide implementation guidance to meet variability in programmatic design and scheduling considerations. The materials provide guidance for strategic implementation without disrupting the sequence of content that must be taught in a specific order following a developmental progression. While there is no specific guidance for LEAs, teachers and administrators find programmatic and scheduling considerations as they incorporate the program.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
The “Beginning of Year Implementation Guide” provides best practices for beginning the school year with the program, including before assessments, monthly activities, weekly activities, recommended usage, reports available, and contact information for questions or support.
The “Before the First Assessment” section provides tips for teachers regarding technology and best practices for administering assessments. These include ensuring the app is downloaded and ready for student use, user accounts, headset, log-in cards, monitoring, and familiarization with student-view.
The “Monthly Activities” section provides a checklist for consistent data collection and review, with directions for scheduling on-demand assessments as needed. The first activity is consistent with students taking the “ISIP” assessment every month, as that provides the needed data. Teachers check the ISIP “Summary Report” and, after the second monthly assessment, the “Skill Growth Report.” If needed, teachers schedule the “On-Demand Assessment.”
The “Weekly Activities” section provides a plan for weekly implementation. First, teachers plan for students’ use of the program technology and check “Priority Reports” for alerts by student and skill. Based on that information, teachers administer linked and recommended “Teacher-Directed Lessons,” documenting and saving intervention work on the Priority Report. Teachers plan face-to-face intervention based on Priority Report recommendations. Teachers use the “Teacher Station en Español” to follow up.
The “Recommended Usage” section provides time usage according to “Tiers,” which are organized by levels. For example, Tier 1 includes Levels 3, 4, and 5, with a target usage time of 30 minutes. Tier 2 includes Level 2 with a target time of 40 minutes. Tier 3 includes Level 1 with a target usage time of more than 40 minutes.
The “Reports” section provides detailed information about the different reports available in Istation, including ISIP Summary, Priority, Skill Growth, and “Student Summary Handout.” Each report includes guidance about administration and documentation over time.
These reports serve as the guide for integrating the program with the classroom learning experience. The scope and sequence states: “Integration with the Classroom is an essential component of the curriculum framework. Classroom teacher-led interventions are recommended through Priority Reports based on ISIP™ Español results and interaction with the reading curriculum. Supplemental teacher-led instruction is recommended to extend or reinforce student learning.” In other words, since the materials do not explicitly refer to an order, the teachers use the reports and the scope and sequence to determine the Teacher-Directed Lessons to extend or reinforce student learning. Per the Beginning of Year Implementation Guide, performance on the monthly assessment assists in lesson alignment and the learning progression.
While there is no specific guidance for Local Education Agencies, the materials include some guidance regarding how to incorporate the program. They state: “Istation offers research-based instruction that aligns to state-specific standards and Common Core State Standards (CCSS).” The “Istation Espanol Curriculum Correlated to TEKS” serves as a guide for districts to understand how the program fits its own curriculum. This document provides a very simple way to show all the skills covered in the program, which are directly aligned with the state standards. To incorporate materials into the district curriculum framework, administrators identify the skills needed by grade-level bands. ISIP (Istation's Indicators of Progress) is an automated computer adaptive testing (CAT) system that automatically assigns a monthly assessment to each student (unless otherwise specified through the ISIP Configuration Settings). It can be given more often if desired. The monthly assessments are given the first time a student logs on during a calendar month. For example, if a student logs in on September 1, an ISIP Assessment will be given. If the student does not log in until September 15, an ISIP Assessment will still be given when the student logs in. Additional On-Demand Assessments can be given at any time during the school year. ISIP Assessments can be used as benchmarks and as continuous progress monitoring tools. They state: “Istation collaborates with schools to design targeted and customized professional development sessions. All professional development specialists have real-world instructional and technical experience and provide interactive learning based on adult learning theory and brain-based learning. Bilingual specialists are available, too.”
The materials provide guidance on fostering connections between home and school. They support some development of strong relationships between teachers and families. The materials clearly specify activities for use at home to support students’ learning and development.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
There are several resources related to home-school connection guidance, including a “Parent Portal Walkthrough” video in Spanish, a “Guía para padres: Cómo utilizar Ipractice eficazmente (Parent Guide: How to Use Ipractice Effectively),” and the “Empower Educators” page.
The Parent Portal Walkthrough Video guides parents on how to interpret/read student reports; it provides parents with an overview of the program. It also walks parents through the available resources on Istation, student reports, and how to use the “Lexile—busca un libro.” These materials are available to parents in Spanish. While not explicitly stated, parents can have their students find a book and practice repeated readings with them. In the “Resource” section, parents can print resources, including lessons (e.g., “Reading with Expression”).
In the Guía para padres, available in English and Spanish, parents find snapshots of the different skills covered in the products, a detailed list of activities available in “Ipractice” (home component), parent resources, and video links that show how to deliver a lesson at home. This information helps parents understand the design of the program and offers tips; there is also a sample daily schedule on how to best support the student. The instructions on the schedule come from the teacher: “Padres: Por favor, pidan a sus hijos que sigan este horario durante su trabajo en Istation esta semana.” The “Parent Guide” links to books and passages as well as activities for home use. Additionally, it includes notes for parents or tutors that provide instruction and guided practice information. Parents utilize the “Lexile—Find a Book” tool to find books on a variety of topics for their child’s Lexile level or by grade level. The books include Amazon purchase links and local library links. A support email allows parents to request additional support.
This resource includes “una lista de lecciones y recursos del Portal para Padres para apoyar el aprendizaje en casa.” Skills within the lessons include sounds, letters and sounds, vocabulary, reading comprehension, alphabet stories, games, books, songs, word analysis (middle school), fluency, links for self-selected reading, and an arcade. The organization of Ipractice en Espanol is consistent across grades. Practice areas include songs, letters, games, lessons, books, exploration, and stories by verb tense (past, present, future). The list contains the lesson’s cycle number and a summary of the lesson or book up to grade 3. These summaries are not available for grades 4–5; however, the list does provide the activity name along with the message “Disponible próximamente en 2020.” Within this resource, the “Portal para Padres—Lección de vocales en español” video walks parents through how to access a lesson through the parent portal. Parents must have their student’s login information for access. Once in the portal, parents can access books and lessons, which are very similar to those of the teacher and include activities.
The Empower Educators Page includes a page “For Parents and Caregivers.” This page provides “Downloadable Resources” divided by section: “At Home Learning,” “Logging In,” “Oral Reading Fluency,” “The Istation Application,” “Istation Parent Portal,” “Red Cape Classroom” (“offering brief yet insightful and actionable tips for at-home instruction during this transition to remote learning” with “recordings on Youtube at IstationEd,” and “COVID-19 Resources.” At-Home Learning resources include two versions of a “Remote Assessment Guide for Parents and Caregivers,” a “Parent Guide for Using Ipractice Effectively,” and an “At Home Learning Parent Playbook.”
The At Home Learning Parent Playbook contains suggestions and strategies parents can employ to help support their student(s), especially remote learners. This section supports the development of strong relationships between teachers and families. The At Home Learning Parent Playbook in English and Spanish allows teachers to provide research-based tips that parents can easily use at home (e.g., “Porque los niños necesitan una rutina,” “Cómo crear un salón de clase en casa,” “Integre el aprendizaje combinado,” “Mantenga a sus hijos centrados,” “Enseñe a sus hijos a llevar un diario,” “Los principios básicos de una estación de aprendizaje”). This manual makes recommendations to parents regarding how to foster strong relationships between teachers and students (e.g., “Mantenga una comunicación abierta. Recuerde que no está solo. Haga un esfuerzo por comunicarse a diario con los maestros y aliente a sus hijos a que hablen con sus compañeros de clase.”)
The materials, in the digital and print formats, include visual design that is neither distracting nor chaotic. Within the lessons and different texts, there is an appropriate use of white space and design that supports student learning without being distracting. The pictures and graphics, when included, support student learning and engagement.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
The digital components of the materials follow a game-style format, which serves student learning without being distracting. Furthermore, the lessons and the assessments within the digital platform are neither distracting nor chaotic and serve as a cause for students’ focus.
The teacher-directed lessons include appropriate use of white space and design that supports student learning. The margins around the content are consistent throughout. The materials use the same font and, for the most part, the same size throughout, except for headings, subheadings, and vocabulary words. Materials include pictures and graphics that are supportive of student learning and engagement without being visually distracting. There is evidence that pictures and graphics for students’ use adhere to User Interface Design guidelines. The images within the glossary of the texts are relatable, relevant, and colorful. The graphic organizers include text that is legible and also supports learning and engagement.
In “Nivel 1, Lección 3: Identificar y usar antónimos,” students identify, use, and explain the meaning of antonyms. The text for students is presented on one page. The font style and size remain consistent, with the title being larger than the body of the text. There is one visual that supports the story, learning, and comprehension. The student activity “Actividad de antónimos” provides students with a sentence including the vocabulary word underlined; students use it to rewrite the sentence using an antonym. The margins and white space are consistent throughout.
In the passage “El tubo del tiempo,” the white space is consistent throughout the page. The color visual is located at the top of the page to draw the reader’s attention. Space between paragraphs and font are also consistent throughout the story. After the passage, there is a vocabulary section with instructions for students: “Mira las fotos y lee las oraciones para comentar cada palabra con tus compañeros.” Each of the four vocabulary cards includes a definition, a sample sentence, and the word cited in the passage; some words have a cognate. There are quality pictures found for each vocabulary term, which supports the lesson and helps students comprehend.
The text El regalo del desierto “es un texto de ficción o cuento tradicional que se puede usar para enseñar: inferencia, análisis de personajes, problema y solución, resumir y predecir los resultados.” This story includes authentic pictures in color that look real and connect with the story to support students’ comprehension.
This item is not scored.
The materials do not provide clear guidance specific to bilingual program models. While there is some current and relevant research on Spanish literacy development and second language development and acquisition, the materials include no guidance on how they could be applied within a particular bilingual program model.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
The materials include two similar programs, one in English and the other in Spanish. These programs include similar components (assessments, books, lessons, reports), but there is no specific information on how to implement them within bilingual settings (for instance, time allotment for each language). The “Istation Spanish Program Description” states that “ISIP Español can be effectively used in conjunction with a variety of language program models, including: Transitional bilingual education - early exit, Maintenance bilingual education - late exit, One-way Spanish immersion, One-way dual language immersion, Two-way dual language immersion, etc.” Beyond this, the materials do not offer clear guidance or recommendations on how they could be applied with a particular bilingual program model. Furthermore, this guide does not mention using the English language proficiency standards (ELPS) in the program or as a guide to developing “ISIP Español.”
The “Class Summary Report” “supports biliteracy reporting for students who take both the English and Spanish ISIP” and allows teachers to see the English and Spanish reports side by side. Teachers use the “Biliteracy Reporting” to “identify students in need of additional support, group students for small group instruction, and identify the skill level of materials for small group instruction.” The frequency of review recommended is as needed for instructional purposes. It also includes a tutorial video of about six minutes for teachers. However, the materials do not include guidance on how to use the reports in a dual-language setting, such as a biliteracy trajectory to guide teachers in understanding student performance in each language.
The materials cite relevant research on Spanish literacy. For example, the Istation Spanish Program Description states: “The specific domains and the order in which the domains and skills are presented in ISIP Español are based on an analysis of the findings and recommendations of the United States National Reading Panel and European and Latin-American research, including the latest publications from Marco común europeo de referencia para las lenguas: aprendizaje, enseñanza y evaluación (Instituto Cervantes, Ministerio de Educación, Cultura y Deporte, España; 2001).” Also: “The result is an assessment tool that uses authentic, research-based Spanish-language content to deliver accurate and precise analyses of student proficiency.”
The materials also include articles, written by the publisher, that speak to second language acquisition. For example, the article “How Data Boosts Dual-Language Learning” states: “Empirical evidence has shown that students acquire second language faster when they are proficient readers in their native language.” The director of curriculum at Istation describes the environment that non-native English speakers require to succeed, including opportunities to practice the four language domains. This article contains guidance about tools for an effective dual-language classroom. It outlines best approaches, backed by researchers like Irene Fountas and Gay Su Pinnell (“small-group reading model”) and Gail Boushey and Joan Moser (“The Daily 5”). The section on “Istation Reading and Istation Español” states: “Both Istation Reading and Istation Español include formative assessments, personalized data profiles and abundant collection of teacher resources to help educators measure student learning and introduce new reading skills. However, each resource also includes distinct literacy lessons that are culturally authentic for the language in use.” Additionally, the article includes citations from Lisa Capra, a dual-language instructional specialist using a 50-50 bilingual program model in the School District of Palm Beach County; she finds Istation is an effective program in serving both language learners as well as differentiating. Aside from the information provided, this article does not include guidance for teachers or administrators on how to actually implement the program within a bilingual program or how to create cross-linguistic connections.
Other reference articles, like “Effective Equitable Solutions for English Learners,” “Best Practices for English Learner Success,” Community Support for English Learners,” “Helping English Learner Succeed,” and “Driving Growth for English Learners,” provide information about emergent bilingual learners, including research, best practices, and findings. However, this is simply informational and not part of ISIP.
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The materials do not support teachers in understanding the connection between content presented in each language, nor do they provide guidance on how to help students understand this connection. The materials do not offer students opportunities to make cross-linguistic connections or to understand and apply the connection between the languages. The materials allow for some equitable instruction in both languages, in terms of quality and quantity of resources.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
The materials include two similar programs, one in English and the other one in Spanish, but there is no guidance for teachers regarding how to connect these. The program and materials are not intended to connect Spanish and English instruction. Per the “Istation Español Program Description”: “Each student receives an individualized and adaptive scope and sequence based on the initial ISIP assessment results, data from monthly assessments, and frequent embedded skill checks.” Students take the ISIP assessment either in English or Spanish, or both. Then, the system creates a report to guide teachers on the lessons recommended for each student, based on the language of the assessment. When students take the test in both languages, teachers access the “Biliteracy” report, which includes the students’ information for both tests. While the report provides teachers with guidance on how to address the specific needs of the students regarding skills in each language, it does not provide any guidance for cross-linguistic connections (e.g., skills that transfer).
Teachers find a list of texts in the “Guía de Istation Reading en Español: Libros y pasajes.” There is a lack of equity when comparing the number of resources within this list to the number within the “Books and Passages” document. For example, the Spanish list includes 25 books for Cycles 14–18 combined, while the English list includes about 70 titles just for Cycle 14.
The texts included within Istation Español are accompanied by a glossary of important words. The glossary in some of these texts includes cognates of the vocabulary words. In “Un discurso sobre la unión” by Luz Rivera, the glossary includes four vocabulary terms from the text with a visual representation, the definition, a citation, and cognate. The student instructions state: “Mira las fotos y lee las oraciones para comentar cada palabra con tus compañeros.” In “Desde la Tierra hasta el Sol: el nacimiento de la astronomía moderna” by George A. Mendez, the glossary also includes four vocabulary terms from the text with a visual representation, the definition, a citation, and cognate. The instructions mirror the ones from the other text. Another text that follows the same format is “Sopa tóxica en los océanos.” It includes the glossary with a definition, sample sentence using the word, picture, and cognate. Even though these texts provide a cognate list at the end, there is no support for the teacher or the student on how to use it. For example, there is no guidance for teachers to review the cognates before reading the passage in order to help students with comprehension.
The materials include separate “Scope and Sequence” guides for each language to target skills by cycle in each curriculum. Each of these similar Scope and Sequence guides is over 70 pages long, outlining cycles of instruction, skills addressed, and frequency of skills across cycles. There are no guidelines as to how to use these together, nor is there a readily identifiable document that cross-references the English and Spanish cycles of the program.
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The materials in Spanish are authentic, with some cultural relevance. Both teacher and student materials are presented in authentic and academic Spanish, as appropriate for the purpose and context of the activity. The materials support some development of socio-cultural competence, as they represent some cultural and linguistic diversity of the Spanish language and Hispanic culture.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
The program is “built from the ground up by Spanish-language educators.” Materials state that “authentic Spanish literacy intervention and supplemental instruction enhance learning through purposeful activities with Latin culture and literature.” Some of the resources included within the program are authentic and allow students to make connections to support their comprehension. The “Teacher-Directed Lessons” include authentic and academic Spanish that allows both teachers and students to follow the lesson and activities; however, there are no specific lessons about socio-cultural diversity.
The “Program Description” states that “ORF passages were developed in Spanish, not trans-adapted from English, and were leveled using a university tool that factors in multiple readability scales, including some specifically designed for the Spanish language. Passages include a mix of fiction and nonfiction, and there are enough to do monthly progress monitoring without seeing any repeats.” In the same way, the books within the materials include quality Spanish, even when translated. For example, La Tierra: La atmósfera states: “El transbordador espacial está forrado con losas especiales para evitar que se queme al entrar a la atmósfera de la Tierra.” The English version states: “The space shuttle is covered with special tiles. These tiles keep the shuttle from burning up as it enters Earth’s atmosphere.” The Spanish word forrado and the Spanish phrase que se queme are used appropriately, as these were not literal translations from the English.
While all materials include authentic Spanish, only some of the books and passages embrace heritage, and none include cultural objectives or activities for discussion and reflection to promote diversity awareness and respect. Furthermore, the materials touch upon socio-cultural competence at the surface level, without in-depth analysis or learning about other cultures and societies.
In “Nivel 2, Lección 1: Comunicación Escrita,” the materials provide the teacher with a script of the appropriate rules for the use of r and rr in Spanish: “Hoy vamos a hablar sobre la r y la doble r (rr).” The rules are written in authentic Spanish, such as using the terms r suave and r fuerte, which is appropriate for the context of the activity.
In the expository text “El bosque amazónico en peligro” (620L), students find information about the Amazon Rainforest and dangers to its survival. They learn about its location in Brazil, products made with materials from the rainforest, and some information about the native culture within the region. The text mentions the native group of the Yanomami as the ones who “cuidan de la tierra” and focuses on how mining practices have killed many within the tribe. The article goes further and focuses on the important role the Red Cross is playing in the region as they “Trabajan para proteger los derechos, conservar la cultura y mejorar las condiciones de salud de los nativos.” At the end of the article, students find four activities. Three of the four student activities focus on environmental issues. In the remaining activity, students write a letter to the Red Cross thanking them for their work. Beyond this activity, the materials do not include any guidance as to how to further explore the socio-cultural characteristics of this indigenous group.
The folktale El regalo del desierto (630L) is a traditional story about a particular cultural belief about the importance of the land. The tale is about a boy spending his summer with his grandparents in the Arizona desert. His grandfather tells him that people used to find everything they needed within the land and that every creature is connected to that land. The boy likes the desert because it is “Tohono O’odham” (“En la lengua de sus antepasados, Tohono O'odham significa gente del desierto). Thus, students learn about beliefs from a different culture, though the text does not include the information about which culture or tradition is represented. However, the materials include no guidance as to how to specifically use this text to support the development of socio-cultural competence.
In the realistic fiction passage “El comienzo” (680L) by Jessica Rosario-Valentín, the main character, Ambar, tells a story about her move from Puerto Rico to Texas. This topic appeals to some students that may see a connection to their own immigration story, but there is no guidance to explore this topic further. The story also describes a tradition from Puerto Rico: “Mi hermano brincó como loco, le dio a mi abuela un abrazo de oso y le pidió la bendición. Esa es una costumbre puertorriqueña: saludar y despedirse pidiendo la bendición de todos los familiares adultos.” The inclusion of this tradition provides non-Puerto Rican Latino students with diverse cultural information, but again the materials do not include guidance as to how to address it. The glossary at the end of the text features four vocabulary terms from the text. Each term includes a visual, definition, and citation; one includes its cognate. The vocabulary includes the word alborotado, a regional Spanish term, but there is no guidance on how the word may be used differently in Spanish-speaking countries.
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