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SLARGrade 4 | 2021
Publisher: IstationSeries includes:
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
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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 740L–1040L are those that correspond to grade 4, within “Cycles 13–15.”
In Ciclo 13, there are four texts. There are two biographies: Platón, en busca de la justicia and Lady Trieu, guerrera vietnamita; one myth: El reto de Madre Sol; and two informational articles: El origen del fuego y su uso por los humanos and Desde la Tierra hasta el Sol: el nacimiento de la astronomía moderna. The two biographies are connected to social studies, and the informational article is about the origins of astronomy. The myth talks about how the Sun and Moon divided the day. All of these texts have specific topics that only a few students with those specific interests would find interesting.
In Ciclo 14, there are also four texts. There are two persuasive texts: Futuros programadores de Amėrica and Estimada profesora Piernavieja; two speeches: Solidaridad and Un discurso sobre la unión; and a poem: La raya. One of the persuasive texts is about students trying to convince the principal to fund a club, which is something that students relate to. The speeches are about working together, and the poem talks about living in community; these are two social studies-focused topics that attract student interest.
In Ciclo 15, there are four texts. There are three expository texts: Antídotos para la plaga del plástico, Cómo hacer un circuito solar, and El regreso de los lobos a Yellowstone; one procedural text: Cómo hacer un electroimán; and one fantasy passage: El regreso del reino. Both Cómo hacer un circuito solar and Cómo hacer un electroimán are science-focused texts; the topics relate to science experiments that students may want to do during science class. The fantasy text attracts readers as it is filled with action.
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, realistic fiction, or legends. Some of the texts include a wide array of print and graphic features, and they are connected to science and social studies. The materials include some 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 740L–1040L are those that correspond to grade 4 and Cycles 13–15. This selection contains some variety of genres.
In Ciclo 13, Platón, en busca de la justicia and Lady Trieu, guerrera vietnamita are two biographies connected to social studies. Neither includes subheadings or a timeline as graphic features. El origen del fuego y su uso por los humanos and Desde la Tierra hasta el Sol are informational texts connected to science, and they do include subheadings as a graphic feature. The biography "Platón, en busca de la justicia" in the digital content features a timeline with the title "Línea cronológica de la vide de Platón.” The informational text "Desde la Tierra hasta el Sol" in the digital content includes an illustrated timeline called "Cronología ilustrada de personajes históricos en la astronomía," illustrations, and captions as graphic features.
In Ciclo 14, there are five texts for grade 4: two argumentative/persuasive texts, two speeches, and a poem. Futuros programadores de Amėrica is one of the persuasive texts connected to science, a letter addressed to a school principal, convincing him to spend fundraising money on technology for students. The second persuasive text, also a letter, Estimada profesora Piernavieja by Alanza Eugenia Gutierrez, is about the importance of collaborating and forming a community to share ideas and grow and learn from others’ ideas. This text is connected to social studies. Neither persuasive letter contains print or graphic features beyond the glossary at the end of the text. The poem La raya by George A. Méndez provides a glossary and a list of cognates. There are two speeches connected to social studies, as they focus on social values, solidarity, and unity; however, neither includes print or graphic features beyond the glossary. The digital content includes these persuasive texts as well as pictures, captions, charts, a layout that shows the proper formatting of a letter, and bold text to denote vocabulary words that may be clicked to reveal a digital glossary.
Ciclo 15 provides five texts: four nonfiction passages and one fiction passage. The fiction passage, El regreso del reino, is a fantasy text that includes subheadings as a graphic feature. Two of the nonfiction passages are expository/explanatory texts. One is connected to science, and the other to social studies; both include subheadings. The two other nonfiction passages are procedural texts connected to science; they help students understand the characteristics of the genre. Cómo hacer un electroimán includes rich graphic and text features, including headings, italicized words, pictures and captions, and labeled diagrams.
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 740L–1040L at grade 4 within “Cycles 13–15.”
In Ciclo 13, there are four texts specific to grade 4, ranging from 740L to 1020L. Desde la Tierra hasta el Sol is an informational text with a Lexile level of 810L; it contains complex vocabulary such as heliocentrismo, geocéntrica, and desalineado. El origen del fuego y su uso por los humanos is also an informational text that includes similarly complex vocabulary; its other qualitative features (topic, graphic features, and text structure) are also similar to those in Desde la Tierra hasta el Sol. The difference is that for this second informational text, the Lexile level is 1020L. Hence, the quantitative level of these texts appears to be inconsistent with the qualitative features.
Ciclo 14 includes five texts specific to grade 4, with a range from 740L to 840L. Solidaridad is a speech with a Lexile level of 740L; the poem La raya by George A. Méndez has a Lexile level of 760L. For both texts, there is only a short description of possible skills teachers could teach using these texts. For Solidaridad, the description reads: “Este pasaje de no ficción (Discurso) puede ser usado para practicar la fluidez y para reenseñar las diferentes características de este género.” This kind of description does not include an analysis of the complexity of the text nor a rationale for its use. There is no guidance on what topics to cover, how much time to devote to a particular topic or skill, and on the sequence in which to teach the topics. There is no reference to research and evidence-based best practices. "A printable TDL, PP: Comparar y contrastar dos discursos, offers specific guidance on how the speech "Solidaridad" can be analyzed in relation to another speech, "Éxito." Students learn and practice analyzing the characteristics of speeches and compare and contrast those characteristics in two similarly themed texts."
Ciclo 15 includes five texts specific to grade 4, ranging from 740L to 970L. This range, when viewed with the rest of the texts within Ciclos 13–15, does not show a consistent increase in complexity and rigor as one moves from cycle to cycle.
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 13, Lección 1: Haciendo conexiones entre textos,” students use graphic organizers (i.e., T-charts) to identify similarities and differences (compare and contrast) between events and real experiences across two biographies, those of Miguel de Cervantes and Beethoven. The teacher starts the lesson by guiding students to understand the processes of comparing and contrasting. The teacher uses an image of an ocean and an image of a lake and asks questions that allow students to interact with the images, identifying what they see and what they do not see. Students practice completing a T-chart. During guided practice, after reading the first two paragraphs of each biography with the teacher, students complete another T-chart. They match information strips with important details and the biography to which they correspond. For independent practice, students finish reading the biographies and complete a compare-and-contrast T-chart for Cervantes and Beethoven.
Ciclo 13, Lección 3, “Haciendo conexiones entre textos (comparar y contrastar)” focuses on identifying similarities and differences between heroes in two myths. During instruction, the teacher sets the purpose of the lesson by stating: “Hoy practicaremos la destreza de comparar y contrastar con dos mitos: El mito de Aracne y El mito de Prometeo. Recuerden: al comparar dos textos se dice en qué se parecen y en qué se diferencian el uno del otro. Cuando comparamos y contrastamos, también es necesario prestar atención a los detalles que nos da el texto.” The teacher demonstrates how to use a T-chart to document not only similarities and differences between the two myths but also how to identify important details within each. Students read the title of each myth aloud, and the teacher distributes pre-cut strips to each student. Students read their strips and answer the questions “En El mito de Aracne, ¿los personajes eran dioses y humanos? ¿Eran sólo dioses o eran sólo humanos?” The teacher documents their responses using the T-chart and repeats this process with the second myth. The teacher reviews the completed T-chart and says, “Como pudimos notar, en ambos mitos hay personajes que son héroes y hay otros que son villanos.” Next, the teacher explains that students will compare and contrast the two heroes in the myths. During guided practice, the teacher instructs: “Juntos vamos a buscar en cada mito los dotes o habilidades del héroe y la heroína. Lean nuevamente los dos primeros párrafos de cada mito.” Students receive a T-chart, and the teacher asks students to first write similarities between Aracne and Prometeo. After students share their responses, the teacher guides the conversation to focus on the second underlined sentence, providing a similarity and a difference for students to annotate. For independent practice, students identify sentences within each myth that show similarities and differences between the two heroes. The teacher states: “Van a buscar las oraciones de cada mito que hablan del error trágico de Aracne y Prometeo. Estas están marcadas con el número 3. Recuerden que el error trágico es la acción que lleva al héroe a la ruina.” Using the analysis of these sentences, students then answer the questions “¿Las acciones de Aracne y Prometeo los llevaron a la ruina? ¿Qué llevó a la ruina a Aracne? ¿Qué llevó a la ruina a Prometeo?” At the end, the teacher projects the completed T-chart and allows time for students to cross-reference their own answers. This lesson’s open-ended questions challenge students to think about what they have read; tasks are strategically sequenced to support students’ analysis of knowledge.
In Ciclo 15, Lección 3, “Haciendo conexiones entre textos (comparar y contrastar),” students “identifican similitudes y diferencias entre un texto explicativo y eventos en un texto de fantasía usando organizadores gráficos (una tabla y el diagrama de Venn).” The teacher probes students’ knowledge by asking, “¿Qué saben acerca de los textos de fantasía y explicativos?” Then, looking at some graphic features, students infer (predict) the topic of the text, “¿De qué creen que va a hablar el autor?” During guided practice and independent practice, students read La partida de los lobos de Yellowstone and Atrapado and provide evidence to justify their responses. Materials instruct: “Lee y responde las preguntas. Luego, justifica tus respuestas con evidencia textual.” Guiding questions target big ideas and themes about the text, such as “¿Alguien me puede decir por qué La partida de los lobos de Yellowstone es un texto explicativo?” and “¿Alguien me puede decir la idea o tema de los dos textos?” These questions allow students to make connections between the texts. Instructions also state: “Con la persona que tengan a su lado, hablen sobre lo que tratan los textos La partida de los lobos de Yellowstone y Atrapado. Escriban cuál es la idea o tema de cada texto.” The activities in this lesson integrate knowledge of ideas and multiple TEKS, as students complete a Venn diagram to compare and contrast the texts.
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 13, Lección 4: Haciendo conexiones entre textos (comparar y contrastar)” focuses on identifying similarities and differences between the heroes of two myths. During instruction, the teacher explains comparing and contrasting: “Recuerden: al comparar dos textos se dice en qué se parecen y en qué se diferencian el uno del otro. Cuando comparamos y contrastamos, también es necesario prestar atención a los detalles que nos da el texto.” The teacher projects a Venn diagram for students and explains how to document similarities and differences. After reading the first myth, El mito de Aracne, the teacher questions students about whether characters were humans or gods. The teacher repeats the process with the second myth, Dédalo e Ícaro. The teacher then says: “Como pudimos notar, en ambos mitos hay personajes que son héroes y hay otros que son villanos. Hoy vamos a fijar nuestra atención en los personajes que son héroes. Es decir, vamos a comparar y contrastar a Aracne y a Dédalo.” During guided practice, students underline the sentence(s) in each paragraph that describe each hero. Then, students document their findings on the Venn diagram. The teacher clarifies a difference between the two heroes: “¿Vieron que con la ayuda del diagrama de Venn pudimos identificar claramente las similitudes y diferencias de estos dos personajes? Ahora subrayen la parte de cada mito que nos dice los objetos que crearon Aracne y Dédalo gracias a sus grandiosas habilidades.” During independent practice, students underline parts of the myth that show each hero’s tragic flaw and complete their Venn diagram.
In Ciclo 14, Lección 2, “Lenguaje sensorial o figurado,” students identify the meaning of sensory details or figurative language through simile. During instruction, the teacher states: “Hoy aprenderemos sobre lenguaje sensorial o figurado. Esta técnica emplea palabras que, unidas en una frase, tienen un significado diferente. Vamos a ver un ejemplo de lenguaje figurado: el símil.” The teacher guides students through the meaning and understanding of simile as figurative language and author’s choice: “Por ejemplo, en la primera oración, se lee lo siguiente: La boca de un lobo el dormitorio estaba como oscuro. ¿Creen que esa oración está correcta?” During guided practice, the teacher guides students through the completion of a worksheet, in which students organize sentences in order to make a simile that makes sense and then identify what is being compared. During independent practice, students find “símiles en el texto Doña Zoraida, la bruja del barrio. Luego que los encuentren van a completar las oraciones con las cosas que cada símil compara, tal cual como lo hicieron conmigo en la actividad anterior.” Within this lesson, there are opportunities for students to make and correct or confirm predictions as they answer questions like “¿Creen que esa oración está correcta?” However, the analysis of the (figurative) language is presented as practice without connection to the understanding of the text.
In Ciclo 14, Lección 3, “Haciendo conexiones entre textos (comparar y contrastar),” students read two speeches, Estimado soñador and Un discurso a mi papá, to identify the theme and the author’s purpose. During instruction, the teacher shows students how to use a T-chart to compare and contrast. The teacher explains that the two speeches have the same format (introduction) but different themes and author’s purposes. During guided practice, the teacher focuses on identifying the analogies within the speeches. The teacher states, “La analogía está relacionando dos cosas para explicar la relación entre otras dos cosas.” Students identify the analogies and complete a T-chart. During independent practice, the teacher explains parallelism and the call to action within the speech. Students complete their T-chart using the cards of parallelisms and call to action. This lesson includes a look at the author’s purpose and theme in the two speeches. Students have the opportunity to learn about the language used within a text (parallelism), but there are no guidelines beyond the identification of this language or how it is connected to the meaning of the text.
In Lección 1, Nivel 3, “Leer para hacer inferencias usando múltiples características de los textos,” students learn to make inferences using graphic organizers and inferencing index cards. The teacher anchors the lesson by stating: “Recuerden que es importante usar tu experiencia y conocimiento para inferir. Hacer inferencias, es como ser un detective. Necesitas descubrir lo que va a pasar en la historia con la ayuda de pistas que se encuentran en el texto.” During guided practice, with the help of the teacher, students practice making inferences using inference cards. During independent practice, students read ¿Pueden los robots ayudar a crear un futuro mejor? and answer inference questions about the text.
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 throughout the different cycles include a glossary with some academic words, but there is no guidance as to how to study or apply these words beyond 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.
“Ciclo 14, Lección 1: Vocabulario—usar claves de contexto” focuses on using context clues to determine meaning of unfamiliar or new words. During instruction, the teacher utilizes a graphic organizer and previously cut cards with words. The teacher says: “Hoy vamos a hablar sobre las claves de contexto. Estas son palabras, frases, oraciones e ilustraciones que nos ayudan a entender el significado de algunas palabras que no conocemos o que son poco comunes. Las claves de contexto son pistas o señales que se presentan en un texto.” The teacher projects the graphic organizer for the whole class. The teacher demonstrates a pre-cut card and reads a sample sentence aloud. The teacher repeats with another pre-cut card and says, “Como pudimos ver en las dos tarjetas, las claves de contexto (es decir, las pistas que nos dieron las palabras, frases y dibujos) nos ayudaron a entender el significado de las palabras cima y áreas.” During guided practice, students work in pairs to continue practicing using context clues for new or unfamiliar words. The teacher says: “Primero vamos a leer juntos el texto que está en la pizarra y cuyo título es El zoológico. Luego que lo leamos vamos a prestar atención a las palabras que están subrayadas para completar la tabla Buscando claves de contexto.” The teacher models completing the table using a definition created using context clues. The teacher allows wait time, and students read their answers aloud. During independent practice, students receive a copy of “La contaminación ambiental,” and the teacher says, “Van a leer el pasaje para luego completar la tabla con las palabras que están subrayadas tal cual lo hicimos con el texto El zoológico.” The teacher reminds students to pay attention to clues from the text and completes an example with students. After writing the meaning of the words, there is no guidance to go deeper and apply these terms beyond the given text.
In Ciclo 14, Lección 2, Vocabulario - usar claves de contexto, students “aprenden a usar el contexto como clave para entender el significado de palabras poco comunes o desconocidas.” During instruction, the teacher models the process of using context clues within sentences. In guided practice, in order to learn the meaning of the underlined words, student pairs analyze a longer text (El zoológico) that the teacher projects on the board. For independent practice, students follow the same process they just practiced, using the text “Los parques naturales,” using the following teacher instructions: “Van a leer el pasaje para luego completar la tabla con las palabras que están subrayadas tal cual lo hicimos con el texto El zoológico.” This lesson is similar to the previous one, but with different terms for guided practice and a different text for independent practice. The lesson does not provide guidance for differentiation or for furthering the lesson to use the words beyond the definition.
The book La Tierra: el día, la noche y las estaciones, at the end, includes a glossary with nine words. The words (Ecuador, eje, rota, órbita, temperatura, planeta, girando, inclinada, clima) include a translation and the definition. There are no instructions for the glossary. At the end of the passage “Desde la Tierra hasta el Sol - el nacimiento de la astronomía moderna,” there is a glossary with four words. Each word includes a picture, a definition, the sentence from the text, the paragraph where it is located, and a cognate. The instructions state, “Mira las fotos y lee las oraciones para comentar cada palabra con tus compañeros.” Even though these texts include academic vocabulary words, the materials do not include teacher guidance in selecting words to teach. Neither of these texts includes guidance for teachers or students as to how to use these terms across different texts.
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:
"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 “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.
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 3, Nivel 3: Comprensión de lectura,” during independent practice, the teacher instructs: “Ahora van a volver a leer ¡Qué felicidad! Después van a contestar tres preguntas para practicar las estrategias que aprendieron. Piensen en los detalles más importantes sobre los personajes.” So while there is an opportunity to practice independent reading, it is part of the lesson on character traits, 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. El mundo a tu alrededor has a Lexile level of 810. This book has ten total pages and six subsections, separated by bolded questions or subtitles. There are visuals such as related images and graphs to show processes. The last two pages contain a glossary with the Spanish term, English translation, and definition. 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 12, Lección 29: Escritura,” students practice writing letters to describe the weather, following a cause-and-effect format. The writing exercise is based on the expository text “La Tierra: El día, la noche y las estaciones.” Students write a letter describing the weather in two different parts of the planet (north and south), and “También deben explicar por qué las temperaturas son calientes o frías en el mes de enero.”
In Ciclo 12, Lección 34: Escritura, students practice writing a newspaper article, an “artículo periodístico sobre algún lugar asombroso del mundo.” The writing exercise is based on the passage “De paseo por el Gran Cañón de Colorado.” In this lesson, students are asked to “Imagina que eres un periodista y quieres escribir un artículo sobre ese lugar espectacular que visitaste.”
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.
In Ciclo 12, Lección 38: Escritura, students practice writing a poster or flyer. The writing exercise is based on the expository passage “El increíble ciclo del agua.” Students use the information of a sequencing map to create their poster or flyer, making sure that “sea fácil de leer, que el mensaje sea corto y que hayas tomado en cuenta la audiencia.”
In Ciclo 12, Lección 39: Escritura, students practice writing an imaginary story (i.e., “una historia sobre predecir el estado del tiempo.”) The writing exercise is based on the fictional text “Reporteros del tiempo.” Students write this story after they have answered some guiding questions and organized the information in order.
In Ciclo 12, Lección 40: Escritura, students practice writing a persuasive speech “acerca de cómo conservar o cuidar los recursos naturales.” The writing exercise is based on the expository persuasive passage “¡Pon de tu parte!” While the materials see this lesson as addressing the writing of argumentative essays, this lesson does not offer clear guidance as to how to compose argumentative texts using clear genre characteristics and craft, like the writing of a claim.
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 12, Lección 28: Escritura,” students practice summarizing a text, using “¡Una misión increíble!” Students use a graphic organizer to focus on the details of the story. The lesson asks for research on a topic, but it is unclear what this is referring to, as there is no particular topic within this summary lesson. During the drafting section, the lesson asks, “¿Cómo resumirías ‘¡Una misión increíble!’ para un amigo o amiga que no haya leído la historia?” Materials instruct: “Repasa la información que escribiste en el diagrama. Usa esta información para comenzar tu resumen en una hoja de papel aparte. Asegúrate de que incluyes los detalles y la idea principal de la historia.” Beyond this guidance, the lesson does not provide any clear explanation about summarizing or synthesizing the text.
In Ciclo 12, Lección 34: Escritura, students write a newspaper article “sobre algún lugar asombroso del mundo,” based on the passage “De paseo por el Gran Cañón de Colorado.” Students research to find an impressive place to write about. For example, “Puedes escoger un lugar en Latinoamérica como, por ejemplo, Machu Picchu, en Perú; el glaciar Perito Moreno, en Argentina; o Teotihuacán, en México.” While the background of the lesson is based on a text, there is no further guidance regarding analysis or synthesis of the text or on how to use it in the writing of the article.
In Ciclo 12, Lección 38: Escritura, students choose to write a poster or flyer, based on the expository passage “El increíble ciclo del agua.” Students reference this text as they create their own informational poster regarding the water cycle. The lesson prompts students to look at the text in order to identify the important details: “Primero, vas a leer cómo es el proceso del ciclo del agua. Luego, vas a utilizar un mapa de secuencia para escribir paso a paso el ciclo del agua. Encuentra detalles importantes que te ayuden a describir de forma clara y precisa cada paso en el proceso del ciclo del agua.” During drafting, students use the sequencing map in order to write “un breve texto descriptivo con datos importantes acerca del ciclo del agua.” While the lesson includes further guidance on how to put together the poster (structure), it does not include clear expectations regarding how to analyze the text beyond creating a sequencing map.
In Ciclo 12, Lección 39: Escritura, students write an imaginary story based on the fictional text “Reporteros del tiempo.” Students use “la tabla de secuencia para ayudarte a repasar los eventos más importantes que citaron los reporteros del tiempo.” The materials provide some questions for students to reflect on the text (e.g., “¿Qué hubiese pasado si el padre de Lucy hubiese pedido a los compañeros de clase de Lucy que adivinaran acerca del tiempo?”) Students use the answers to these questions in order to build their story about predicting the weather. The lesson does not offer further guidance on how these questions help to support a claim or synthesize the text.
In Ciclo 13, Lección 4: Haciendo conexiones entre textos (comparar y contrastar), students analyze two texts to determine how they are similar and how they are different. The students identify key phrases in the passages. After analyzing the information, they are to compose short phrases or sentences in a Venn diagram. The exercise guides students through the process of analyzing a text to show what they have learned.
In Ciclo 15, Lección 4: Haciendo conexioines entre textos (comparar y contrastar), students study the main ideas of two different texts, a fantasy and explanatory text. The goal is to complete a Venn diagram with statements to reflect what they have learned during their study of the two texts.
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 12, Lección 28: Escritura” is divided into sections that follow the writing process. During planning, students complete a diagram looking at the important details from the mentor text. During drafting, students use those details to write a summary of the text, including the main idea and the details. During revision, students add conjunctions and prepositions to combine sentences (e.g., y, pero, sino, durante, mediante, con, de), rewrite sentences to add correct meaning, and add sequence words to add specificity to the order of the story. During editing, students add a title, add complex concepts using the dictionary, add capitalization to the first word of the title, check for subjects and predicates, check punctuation marks, and check for spelling errors. For publication, students make a drawing of their summary and share it with peers: “Preséntate al grupo y habla con claridad.” This lesson includes instructions to revise and edit spelling, grammar, and punctuation, but without a teaching opportunity or in-context examples.
Ciclo 12, Lección 34: Escritura is divided into sections that follow the writing process. During planning, students read about the characteristics of newspaper articles and research information about an amazing place in the world; they use a bubble map to organize the details. During drafting, students use the information from their research to write the article. During revision, students include sentences and phrases that grab the attention of the reader, check for clarity within the text, write the ideas in order, and add conjunctions and prepositions to combine sentences. During editing, students check for legible handwriting, check for punctuation (focusing on commas), check for capitalization at the beginning of every sentence, check for the characteristics of the text, and, using a dictionary, change words for complex concepts. For publication, students show their articles to their class. The revising and editing sections do not include clear teaching or modeling guidance or opportunities.
Ciclo 12, Lección 38: Escritura is also divided into sections that follow the writing process. During planning, students use a sequence graphic organizer to record the order of the water cycle, which they learn from reading the mentor text and their research. During drafting, students follow some guiding questions as they create their poster on the water cycle. During revision, students add sentences and phrases for clarity: “Por ejemplo, puedes usar frases como ‘¡El agua es vida!’” During editing, students check for legible handwriting, check for punctuation marks, check for capitalization at the beginning of every sentence, check for phrases with correct punctuation, and, using a dictionary, change words for complex concepts. For publication, students show their poster to their class: “Preséntate al grupo y habla con claridad.” 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:
“Ciclo 13, Lección 1: Haciendo conexiones entre textos (comparar y contrastar),” includes speaking and listening opportunities focused on the text(s) being studied; the tasks require the use of clear, concise information and well-defended text-supported claims to demonstrate knowledge. At the beginning of the lesson, the teacher mentions, “Cuando se comparan y contrastan dos textos o dos imágenes, prestamos atención a los detalles, para ver en qué se parecen y en qué se diferencian uno con otro,” which directs students to pay attention to the details within the text. The teacher asks students six questions to compare and contrast two images, and students answer questions based on the images. Listening occurs when the teacher poses the questions and students listen to their peers’ responses. Speaking occurs as they answer the questions posed. While there are no sentence stems or sentence starters that offer students examples of how to respond in a way that is clear, concise, and uses well-defended text-supported claims, students demonstrate the knowledge gained as they analyze the images. Later in the lesson, students read the biographies of Miguel de Cervantes and Beethoven to practice comparing and contrasting. The teacher leads a discussion: “Juntos vamos a leer los dos primeros párrafos de cada biografía, prestando atención a los detalles subrayados en cada uno. Pida a los estudiantes que lean cada párrafo y discuta con ellos los detalles subrayados.” At this point during guided practice and later in the independent practice, students use t-charts and answer strips to demonstrate comprehension, “prestando atención a los detalles subrayados en cada párrafo.” There is no opportunity for sharing aloud or discussing the result of their analysis.
The materials provide opportunities to respond to information and topics of text. In Ciclo 13, Lección 4: Haciendo conexiones entre textos (comparar y contrastar), students choral read El mito de Aracne and El mito de Dédalo e Ícaro to compare and contrast the two myths. After reading, they respond to several questions: “¿Quién es la heroína en el mito de Aracne? ¿Quién es el héroe en el mito de Dédalo e Ícaro? ¿Quién es el villano en el mito Aracne? ¿Quién es el villano en el mito de Dédalo e Ícaro?” Students find the unique skills of the heroes/villains. Students must listen actively to respond. During guided and independent practice, students use a Venn diagram and answer strips to demonstrate comprehension and include details from the text. Again, there are no opportunities to speak about the text or about their analysis.
In Ciclo 16, Lección 4: Haciendo conexiones entre textos (comparar y contrastar), students compare and contrast two texts. During instruction, the teacher utilizes a Venn diagram and two texts to compare the author’s purpose and determine which characteristics are similar or different. The teacher guides students in the process of looking at the connections between the two selections: “Ahora vamos a buscar un detalle que sólo se menciona en el texto De néctar a miel. El texto habla sobre cómo las abejas trabajan para hacer miel. Subrayen conmigo la oración en el texto.” As they look for the details and text evidence, students complete the Venn diagram with teacher support. Students do the same thing with the second text, Mi dulce jardín. Students listen and participate in the discussion. During guided practice, students work with a partner to use a set of questions for comparing and contrasting. The teacher says: “Van a buscar y subrayar los detalles que correspondan a cada selección. Luego van a encerrar en un rectángulo los detalles que las selecciones tienen en común para luego escribirlos en el diagrama de Venn tal como lo hicimos anteriormente. El resto de los detalles que subrayaron, pertenecientes a cada selección, también lo van a escribir en el diagrama de Venn en el lugar que corresponda.” There is no clear guidance in the lesson on the speaking structure for students.
In “Nivel 3, Lección 1,” students read to make inferences using multiple text features. The lesson is divided into three parts: lecture, guided practice, and independent practice. During instruction, the teacher projects or draws a graphic organizer on the whiteboard. The teacher reads a passage to the students and guides them to complete the graphic organizer using information from the text. Students guess where the character was and select their response. The teacher reviews the correct inference. During guided practice, students work independently to read clues for making inferences. The teacher allows work time, then reviews with the students why the character is having a surprise party. During independent practice, students receive a new text. The teacher reminds students: “Recuerden prestar atención a las pistas que nos da la lectura y no olviden usar su propia experiencia para hacer inferencias. Si desean pueden subrayar las pistas que van encontrando en el texto.” Students use the graphic organizer to make inferences. Additionally, students share their answers with classmates. Here, there is evidence of opportunities to practice speaking and listening focused on the texts to grow students’ understanding. For example, students complete a graphic organizer, which allows speaking tasks requiring the use of clear, concise information and well-defended text-supported claims to demonstrate the knowledge gained through analysis and synthesis of texts.
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:
In “Ciclo 12, Lección 37: Escritura,” students create a speech about saving the Earth’s atmosphere. 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 is no guidance regarding discussion or conversation; students simply fill out the chart. As students move to publish 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 Ciclo 13, “Lección 1: Haciendo conexiones entre textos (comparar y contrastar),” students listen actively and make pertinent comments. The teacher prompts, “Presten atención a los detalles de cada imagen para que me ayuden a comparar y a contrastar las dos ilustraciones.” The teacher leads a discussion: “Juntos vamos a leer los dos primeros párrafos de cada biografía, prestando atención a los detalles subrayados en cada uno.” The materials guide the teacher to “Pida a los estudiantes que lean cada párrafo y discuta con ellos los detalles subrayados.” Students use a T-chart and answer strips to demonstrate comprehension. This activity is meant to be individual, but the lesson mentions, “Si tiene más de cinco estudiantes puede hacer la actividad en parejas.” This possibility of pair work is simply mentioned without any guidance as to how to group students or what roles the students would have in their group. Students’ independent practice and final product is to finish reading each biography, highlight important details, and complete a T-chart with similarities and differences. The lesson does not include any guidance regarding how to develop social communication skills; it does not offer an opportunity to present or perform.
In Ciclo 14, Lección 2: Haciendo conexiones entre textos (comparar y contrastar), students compare and contrast two lyrical verses. The lesson follows the gradual release model. The teacher says, “Hoy vamos a comparar y contrastar dos poesías líricas, esto quiere decir, que son poesías en donde los versos riman.” The teacher distributes a copy of the poems to each student and explains the Venn diagram. Teacher guidance states to model underlining clues within the poem, then model thinking aloud about clues that allow one to establish the poem type. The teacher repeats this process with a second poem and reviews with students how to analyze. During guided practice, students continue using the Venn diagram as a graphic organizer. The teacher models boxing sensory and figurative language while distinguishing the two poems. The teacher repeats this process until all annotations are made, then reviews the common use of figurative language in both. During independent practice, students complete a new Venn diagram. The teacher says, “En esta actividad van a terminar de completar el diagrama que hemos estado llenando, utilizando las opciones que se encuentran en cada recuadro debajo del diagrama.” The teacher provides support as needed and verifies correct completion once all students finish working. However, guidance does not include the opportunity for teamwork or presentations.
In Ciclo 15, Lección 1: Haciendo conexiones entre textos (comparar y contrastar), students work with peers at different stages of the lesson. After introducing the work and the graphic organizer, the teacher directs students, “Con el compañero que tienen a su lado, hablen sobre el orden en el que se encuentra la lista de materiales.” While there is no clear guidance regarding how to engage in the conversation, this is an opportunity to work as a team with a partner. During guided practice, students work in partners, using a graphic organizer to compare and contrast two texts that list instructions. The teacher says, “Lean los textos de instrucción Cómo hacer una maleta y Cómo lavar ropa… Luego van a analizar lo que tienen en común,” allowing students to discuss and express their thinking. After independent practice, there is no opportunity for presentations.
In Ciclo 15, “Lección 2: Características de los géneros de no ficción (texto de instrucción),” students learn how to identify and analyze the characteristics of procedural texts. The teacher prompts students through a series of question to “identificar algunas características de un texto de instrucción en Cómo sembrar un árbol.” Students listen and participate individually in the discussion. During guided practice, students work with a partner to “identificar el resto de las características: instrucciones, la sugerencia y la conclusión para luego escribirlas en la tabla, tal cual como lo hicimos con las dos primeras características (introducción y materiales).” The teacher says: “Hablen con su pareja y cuando estén de acuerdo subrayen cada característica dentro del texto. Luego escríbanlas en el lugar correspondiente dentro de la tabla.” This instruction of conversing and agreeing is important, but there is no further guidance regarding how to reach an agreement within a conversation. During independent practice, students analyze a new text, but they do so individually, and there is no opportunity for any presentation or performance.
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 12, Lección 28: Escritura,” students write a summary of a text. Students reread chapters 1–3 of the fictional text “¡Una misión increíble!” They find the important aspects and elements of the story and complete a diagram without yet coming up with a summary. Then, the materials instruct: “Usa como mínimo dos recursos (ya sea vídeo, la Internet u otro libro de la biblioteca) para investigar tu tema.” This directive to research comes without any guidance, for teachers or students, as to what topic they are going to research or why. Students create bibliography cards on the topic they selected, considering “que escribir la información exactamente como la encontraste es cometer plagio, es decir, copiar ideas ajenas.” This directive on plagiarism is the last reference to this research or these cards within the lesson, as it moves to the writing of the summary of the story. During writing, students review the information they have on the diagram, making sure that it includes “los detalles y la idea principal de la historia.” Students write, then revise and edit their rough draft, “agregando uno o más detalles coloridos a tu resumen.” For publication, students illustrate their summary of the text and share it with the group; there is no reference to the research students did at the beginning of the lesson.
In Ciclo 12, Lección 34: Escritura, students write “un artículo periodístico sobre algún lugar asombroso del mundo.” The lesson follows the writing process: prewriting, writing, and publication. During prewriting, students research “los temas de interés en la actualidad.” The material offers the same guidance of using “como mínimo dos recursos (ya sea vídeo, la Internet u otro libro de la biblioteca).” The lesson does not include clear guidance for students as to whether the information should come from a primary or secondary source. It provides questions for students to use to evaluate the information from their research but not to help them find quality resources. After students research the topic, the teacher guides them to organize their information by using “un mapa de ideas para escribir los detalles más importantes del lugar que escogiste.” Students use that information to write two paragraphs, including important details that support the main idea. This writing lesson includes guidance and assistance on the process of writing the article. For example, it includes the guiding statements: “Luego de investigar, hazte varias preguntas; Usa la información de tu mapa de ideas para escribir un artículo periodístico; Al escribir un artículo periodístico debes tener en cuenta lo siguiente; Vuelve a leer tu borrador; Al leerlo por segunda vez, tal vez encuentres algo que debas mejorar en tu composición escrita...; Al revisar tu trabajo recuerda...; Al editar recuerda...; Usa esta tabla como referencia para mejorar tu artículo y preparar un borrador final.” However, there is no clear guidance on the research components of the lesson.
In Ciclo 12, Lección 38: Escritura, students create a poster to announce a water cycle event. The lesson follows the writing process: prewriting, writing, and publication. During prewriting, students look for important details that help clearly explain the water cycle. Once again, the materials remind students to use “como mínimo dos recursos (ya sea vídeo, la Internet u otro libro de la biblioteca) para investigar.” This is the same guidance the materials offer in every lesson addressing the use of sources. Students complete a sequence map as they organize the information they find. The lesson also includes bibliography cards, but there is no guidance for students regarding how to use them. During writing, students use the information to write their presentation and must ensure “que sea fácil de leer, que el mensaje sea corto y que hayas tomado en cuenta la audiencia.” After revising and editing their poster, students showcase their work and share their writing with the group. The lesson provides a visual sample of a poster to guide students regarding the final product.
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:
The materials include interconnected tasks to demonstrate integrated skills. In “Ciclo 12, Lección 30: Escritura,” a research lesson based on “El mundo a tu alrededor: la Luna” includes a set of questions that guide students to use their reading and writing skills in creating a first draft. These questions help organize ideas: “¿En qué se parecen la Tierra y la Luna? ¿Qué diferencias hay entre la Tierra y la Luna?” The lesson provides a checklist for the final draft. Through a presentation, students apply their speaking and listening skills.
In Ciclo 12, Lección 34: Escritura, students write “un artículo periodístico sobre algún lugar asombroso del mundo.” The lesson is divided into three major parts: prewriting, writing, and publication. During prewriting, students review the term “artículos periodísticos” and how to create an article. Students select a place to research and use a minimum of two resources to investigate their chosen topic. Students write down important details in a graphic organizer. During writing, students use the completed graphic organizer to create two paragraphs containing topic sentences. A list of reminders ensures students provide all necessary information. During publication, students read their rough draft twice and revise it to make sure it includes “oraciones y frases que llamen la atención del lector,” “mensajes completos,” and “las ideas en orden y usar conjunciones y preposiciones como pero, sino, y, para, por para unir una oración con otra.” Students edit for legibility, punctuation, capitalization, text features, and vocabulary. A self-reflection handout asks questions about each piece of the writing process. After writing a final draft, students have the opportunity to present to their peers. Materials state: “Exhibe tu mensaje en el salón de clase. Preséntate al grupo y habla con claridad.” As the lesson moves through the writing process, students have the opportunity to build their knowledge.
In Ciclo 14, “Lección 1: Vocabulario—Usar claves de contexto,” students find context clues to define underlined words. The teacher instructs: “Van a leer el pasaje para luego completar la tabla con las palabras que están subrayadas tal cual lo hicimos con el texto El zoológico. Recuerden prestar atención a las pistas que nos da el texto para conocer el significado de las palabras.” While this is not necessarily a literal question, students use the text to find clues about the meaning of the underlined words. These are text-centered questions that allow students to focus their analysis and reflection.
The tasks found in most of the teacher-directed lessons, which include components of the gradual release model, integrate reading, writing, speaking, listening, and thinking. In Ciclo 15, Lección 3: Vocabulario—Usar claves de contexto, students use context clues to analyze the meaning of unknown words. The teacher models a three-step strategy to help students understand a vocabulary word. The teacher instructs: “Vamos a usar la primera estrategia: leer y circular la palabra renovación… Luego, vamos con la segunda estrategia: ¿puedo identificar un sinónimo o antónimo dentro de la palabra renovación? Ahora, practicaremos con la última estrategia: encontrar claves o palabras dentro de la oración que nos ayuden a entender la palabra desconocida.” Students go through this guided practice and then independently complete a task for new unknown words. Throughout the process, students read, speak, listen, think, and write.
The materials provide teachers with a coherent sequence of text-dependent questions. In “Nivel 3, Lección 1: Leer para hacer inferencias usando múltiples características de los textos,” the sequence begins with the instruction section; there are questions for the teacher to lead the discussion. For example, the question “¿En dónde creen que estaba Sofía?” serves to guide students on how to make inferences. During guided practice, the materials also provide the teacher with text-dependent questions like “¿Qué está ocurriendo en la casa de Carlos?” to scaffold students to master the skill. There are also graphic organizers to help students gather information and organize their thoughts. The last section is independence practice, where students need to complete the task using the knowledge they have gathered throughout the lesson.
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 states that the skill “Determine the main idea and the supporting details” is covered in all cycles for fourth grade (13 and 15). However, Cycle 13 includes one lesson on the main idea, under “Lectura avanzada” (2nd–3rd), not “Lectura fluida” (3rd–5th). In “Ciclo 13, Lección 1: Identificar la idea principal y los detalles,” students learn about this skill as they go through a gradual release lesson, with teacher support. They identify the main idea and three details within the different paragraphs of an informational text. Though not marked on the Scope and Sequence document, Cycle 14 includes two lessons on the main idea. Both Ciclo 14, “Lección 1: Encontrar la idea principal en textos de noficción,” and Ciclo 14, Lección 2: Encontrar la idea principal en textos de noficción, have the same description: “En esta lección los estudiantes encuentran la idea principal de dos textos de noficción, ‘Un discurso a mi papá’ y ‘Un discurso sobre la unión,’ usando un organizador gráfico.” They have the same description as they are exactly the same lesson. Likewise, Cycle 15 includes two lessons on the main idea. Both Ciclo 15, “Lección 1: Identificar y analizar la idea principal en textos de instrucción” and Ciclo 15, Lección 2: Identificar y analizar la idea principal en textos de instrucción have the same purpose: “estudiantes identifican y analizan la idea principal en un texto de instrucción.” Furthermore, the only difference between these two lessons is the fact that each has a different procedural text to analyze. These different lessons do not show differences in complexity, and their overall rigor is the same.
The materials include scaffolded lessons for students to demonstrate integration of literacy skills. In Ciclo 13, “Lección 2: Vocabulario, palabras homónimas,” students use context to determine the meaning of homonyms. The lesson is divided into three parts: instruction, independent practice, and dependent practice. During instruction, the teacher says, “Hoy hablaremos solamente sobre las palabras homógrafas.” The teacher writes or projects on a whiteboard to complete a graphic organizer; for larger class sizes, students can read and classify cards in partners. During guided practice, students use pre-cut sentence strips to complete a table of homographs. The teacher says, “Recuerden que las palabras homógrafas son las palabras que se escriben igual, pero tienen un significado.” The teacher completes one set of pre-cut sentence strips with students and uses a game format to make the activity fun. During independent practice, students complete an activity to utilize homographs. The teacher says: “Recuerden que las palabras homógrafas son las que se escriben igual, pero tienen un significado distinto. El contexto siempre nos ayudará a identificar el significado de las palabras homógrafas.” 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.”
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 13, Lección 1: Vocabulario,” students learn prefixes appropriate for their grade level and their meanings. The lesson provides explicit instruction; students decode words with prefixes and suffixes using gradual release. The teacher guides as students independently write their own words using the given prefixes. Throughout the lesson, students guess which prefixes should be added to a list of words, work with a partner to match the prefix, prefix meaning, and new word, and classify the word bank into the table, correctly identifying the prefix used.
In “Nivel 1, Lección 4: Fonética,” students practice forming diphthongs and hiatus. During instruction, the teacher and the students practice the sound of the vowel through a song. Then, the teacher defines and explains the difference between diphthongs and hiatus. For hiatus, the lesson includes the definition “Los hiatos pueden ser casi cualquier combinación de vocales y muchas veces llevan acento.” During guided practice, students play a game combining vowels in order to form diphthongs and hiatus. After the teacher models some more, students identify words with diphthongs and hiatus from a given list as part of independent practice.
“Nivel 3, Lección 1: Vocabulario,” focuses on homonyms. During instruction, the teacher explains that homonyms are divided into two categories: homographs and homophones. While homographs “son las palabras que se escriben igual, pero tienen distinto significado,” homophones “son las palabras que suenan igual, pero se escriben y tienen significados diferentes.” Students use this information to practice how to select the correct word in the context of a sentence, with the teacher’s help. For independent practice, students choose “de un grupo de palabras las que son homógrafas y las que son homófonas.”
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 en Español (Lectura Avanzada) measures foundational language skills in each critical domain of reading instruction in grades 4 and 5, which includes “Spelling, Vocabulary, Text Fluency, Comprehension.” The skills practiced in Lectura Avanzada are recursive in relation to skills from Lectura Temprana (specifically, “vocabulario, comprensión de lectura, fluidez.” It is not clear if this assessment measures phonemic and phonological awareness.
The materials include a wealth of reports for teachers. The “ISIP Skill Growth Details Report” provides data on foundational skills, students’ growth, and 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 Exploración del espacio, Lulo el travieso, and Cartas a un soldado. These provide opportunities for students to practice oral silent reading with texts that grow in complexity.
In “Nivel 2, Lección 2: Lectura con fluidez,” students practice their fluency using the text El calentamiento global. During instruction, students work with a partner. The teacher reads with and without fluency, asking students to evaluate which reading they prefer. The teacher explains how to read with fluency, reading phrases instead of word by word. During guided practice, students use choral reading to echo the teacher’s intonation, which allows an opportunity for the teachers to monitor student progress. During independent practice, students take turns reading to a partner, who locates words inside the text. The teacher monitors students, takes notes “para llevar un control y saber quiénes leen con fluidez,” and offers support as needed.
In Nivel 2, Lección 4: Lectura con Fluidez, students practice their fluency with the help of the teacher, focusing on self-evaluation. During instruction, the teacher models the correct reading of the poem “Lunita, lunera.” Then, the teacher asks questions about the content of the poem and how it sounded. The teacher focuses on the importance of reading correctly, as a poet, as this helps in the comprehension of the text. During guided practice, students repeat after the teacher to practice intonation. During independent practice, students work with partners to choral read the poem using the intonation previously practiced. Using the chart “¿Cómo leí mi poema?” students evaluate their partner’s reading and share their evaluation. The teacher offers support as needed.
In Nivel 3, Lección 1: Lectura con fluidez, students read selected sentences from a grade-appropriate text to practice fluency. This lesson is similar to the one before. The teacher begins by modeling how to read fluently, with accuracy, expression, and intonation: “Les voy a leer la misma frase dos veces. Cuando termine de leerlas, ustedes van a escoger cuál de las frases les gustó más.” After the discussion on what makes one reading better than another, students practice. During guided practice, the teacher models reading “Los bigotes de un gato”; students choral read to echo the teacher’s intonation. The teacher specifically instructs students to lower their voices at the end of a sentence and pause briefly for commas. The teacher monitors student progress in oral reading fluency and provides feedback. During independent practice, students work “en parejas para practicar la lectura en frases con las oraciones que componen el pasaje que acabamos de leer.” Students practice listening and reading, taking turns reading fluently; their partner listens and evaluates. Students self-analyze their reading by asking their partner, “¿Se escuchó una pausa al momento de leer?” The teacher models an example with students, then observes as they work in pairs and provides support as needed.
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, and RTI+.
In the program description, teachers find that the ISIP “Lectura Avanzada (4–5)” “measures individual progress in each critical domain of reading instruction for grades 4 and 5.” ISIP Lectura Avanzada includes vocabulary, spelling, reading comprehension, and fluency. 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 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, and 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 13, Lección 1: Vocabulario” focuses on “utilizar estrategias que permitan aplicar el significado de las raíces de origen griego.” During instruction, the teacher distributes a graphic organizer on Greek roots and instructs: “Hoy vamos a conocer el significado de algunas palabras que tienen una raíz de origen griego. La raíz es la parte de la palabra que nos dice gran parte del significado de esa palabra. Por ejemplo, la palabra fonética significa ‘parte de la gramática que estudia los sonidos de un idioma’. Fono es una raíz de origen griego que significa ‘sonido’. Por lo tanto, si conocen la raíz de una palabra, pueden conocer el significado de más palabras que tengan esa misma raíz.” The teacher projects the graphic organizer for the whole class, and students read the words under each root. The teacher explains these words and helps students understand the meanings of each root. During guided practice, the teacher explains that roots may contain a prefix or a suffix. After reading the instructions aloud, the teacher completes the first example with students, then provides positive feedback. The teacher reviews the meaning of megáfono and guides students to circle the correct answer. The teacher repeats this process until students, working in pairs, have completed the guided practice worksheet, monitoring and providing support as needed. During independent practice, the teacher says, “Ya que conocen el significado de las raíces y también de algunas palabras que las contienen, ahora van a trabajar independientemente.” The teacher projects the graphic organizer on Greek roots to guide students as they work independently. This is a continuation of the work with affixes and Greek roots and the meaning of the different words. This vocabulary 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 15, “Lección 1: Identificar y analizar la idea principal en textos de instrucción,” the teacher takes students through the gradual release of responsibility to identify and analyze the main idea. The lesson focuses on how “El título, los encabezados, las fotos y las palabras repetidas en el texto pueden ayudar a comprender la idea principal de un texto.” Students analyze different texts and identify the main idea and the details. In Ciclo 15, “Lección 1: Haciendo conexiones entre textos (comparar y contrastar),” students “identifican similitudes y diferencias entre textos de instrucción usando organizadores gráficos (diagrama en forma de T).” After direct teach and guided practice, lesson includes recommendations for upward scaffolds or extensions or guidance on how to use the lesson 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. They 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 13, Lección 1: Haciendo conexiones entre textos (comparar y contrastar),” the teacher takes the students through a direct teach followed by guided and independent practice. During the direct teach, the teacher models the T-chart to be used, specifically identifying the columns for similarities and differences. The teacher says, “Presten atención a los detalles de cada imagen para que me ayuden a comparar y a contrastar las dos ilustraciones.” The teacher asks students analysis questions, including “A) En el mar, ¿el agua es salada o dulce? B) ¿Tanto en el mar como en el lago hay peces?” Finally, the teacher guides students through reading aloud the completed T-chart comparing and contrasting the ocean and a lake and supports students as needed.
During guided practice, the teacher guides students in comparing and contrasting two biographies (i.e., Miguel de Cervantes and Beethoven), using a Venn diagram: “Juntos vamos a leer los dos primeros párrafos de cada biografía, prestando atención a los detalles subrayados en cada uno.” The teacher asks students to read aloud and discusses underlined details. The teacher says, “Vamos a completar la Tabla en forma de T como lo hicimos con las imágenes del mar y el lago, pero, esta vez, con las dos biografías.” The lesson suggests to have students work in partners (“Si tiene más de cinco estudiantes puede hacer la actividad en parejas”) as well as to have a completed example to show students.
After guided practice, the teacher provides instruction for independent practice. Students finish reading the biographies, paying attention to the underlined details in each paragraph. They finish comparing and contrasting the two texts and completing the T-chart. In this lesson, there is not a direct statement or suggestions to support students who need one-on-one support, and there is no specific section that includes an activity for a small group.
In Ciclo 14, “Lección 1: Vocabulario—usar claves de contexto,” cards with visual cues support understanding of context clues. Students complete a table to practice context clues and also use images to double-check understanding. The lesson provides different instructional approaches, but the instructions lack clear guidance on how to use them.
In Ciclo 14, “Lección 2: Lenguaje sensorial o figurado,” the teacher models, thinking aloud: “Un símil que podríamos escribir sería Mi hermana tiene cabellos rubios como el oro. La palabra clave que vamos a subrayar es como.” The teacher prompts students to problem solve:“¿Qué palabra de la oración les deja ver que es un símil?” Then: “En este símil podemos ver que hay una comparación directa entre dos cosas que se asemejan entre sí.” Like most of the lessons under the “developed” and “fluent” stages, this lesson offers guided and independent practice, but there is no clear guidance on collaborative learning practices within all of the lessons.
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 13,” the teacher finds the text Desde la Tierra hasta el Sol: el nacimiento de la astronomía moderna, which includes a glossary of four vocabulary words. Each of the words includes its cognate for students to learn. There is no guidance as to how to use this information.
In Ciclo 15, the teacher finds reading lessons in Spanish within the Lexile level range (740–1400) for grade 4. 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. SIP (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 the 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.
“Ciclo 12, Lección 1: Identificar prefijos y sufijos” is a vocabulary lesson on prefixes and suffixes. Its visuals support students’ understanding of the skill. In the student activity, a box contains a few sentences and the word with the prefix/suffix underlined. Right next to the box is another box where students can break apart the word and write its definition. These boxes are preceded by a picture that helps students understand the concept or term being analyzed within each one; it is not distracting.
In Ciclo 12, “Lección 40: Escritura,” students synthesize information to create new understanding. The graphics and visuals are not too large or overwhelming; they do not distract the learner from the content. After each subheading, there is enough white space to help students see and read the information that follows. Bullet points allow for student engagement. The information that students use to evaluate their work is organized in a table, which helps them clearly see the information. The graphic organizer that students use to organize their ideas (i.e., bubble map) leaves enough space and is easy to navigate and complete.
In Ciclo 13, “Lección 1: Haciendo conexiones entre textos (comparar y contrastar),” students identify similarities and differences between events and biographical experiences. The materials provide quality picture support in lesson resources; the teacher utilizes picture cards and guides students through a T-chart to compare and contrast each picture. One picture shows a boat on the ocean with clouds, birds, and the sun in the background. Another picture shows a duck in a pond with a frog on a tree in the background. The teacher reviews the completed T-chart with students, saying, “¡Han hecho un excelente trabajo! Ya que comparamos y contrastamos la imagen del mar y la del lago, es decir, discutimos sus similitudes y diferencias, les voy a mostrar la Tabla en forma de T, en donde podrán ver claramente en qué se parecen y se diferencian estas dos imágenes.” Next, students receive several handouts, including a T-chart for comparing and contrasting, companion texts, a details table, and strips with information from each text. The activity pages are well-organized and do not include any other components that distract from the task. For example, the table for documenting details about Cervantes and Beethoven includes a consistently-used heading with an image, title of lesson, and Istation information. The student directions are clear. For example, directions state: “Luego de que hayas terminado de leer ambas biografías, escribe los detalles de los dos últimos párrafos de cada lectura en la columna correspondiente.”
The text “Solidaridad” is a “pasaje de no ficción (Discurso) que puede ser usado para practicar la fluidez y para reenseñar las diferentes características de este género.” As most texts, it includes a vocabulary section. In this section, the images support the definition of the word, allowing students to make a connection to the text without being distracted and helping them comprehend.
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.
This item is not scored.
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.” Comparing the number of resources within this list to the number within the “Books and Passages” document, there is a lack of equity. 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 “Ciclo 15, Lección 1: Vocabulario,” students learn about the Greek and Latin roots of Spanish words. The teacher sets the purpose of the lesson: “Hoy vamos a practicar las raíces latinas y griegas en diferentes palabras. Recuerden que la raíz de una palabra es la parte de la palabra que contiene el significado principal. Cuando conocemos la raíz de una palabra, nos puede ayudar a determinar y comprender su significado de una manera más fácil.” The lesson and the activities are written in authentic Spanish, using terms like aerolínea (Greek root) and pronombre (Latin root).
In the book Estudiando en otro país (760L), students find a simplistic story (97 total words) about a child who moves from El Salvador to Texas; it describes how he adjusts to a new school in a new country and makes friends. While students may find the topic of the book (immigration) relatable, the materials do not include any reference to cultural diversity or any guidance to address socio-cultural competence.
The fluency practice passage “El regalo de Nochebuena” (840L) is a two-page Spanish text that explores a seemingly fictional story of an adolescent girl looking for the perfect Christmas gift. The text includes authentic academic Spanish, and some students may relate to the story; however, the materials do not include a literature response opportunity for students to reflect on this.
Another fluency practice passage that includes material on socio-cultural diversity is “Un país lleno de países” (880L). Camila learns about her family’s heritage as she and her classmates find out why the United States is a country of immigrants. This passage includes three comprehension questions at the end, but there is no guidance as to how the teacher can use these beyond making sure that students understood what they read. In other words, there is no guidance to support the development of socio-cultural competency.
The book La Leyenda de la llorona (1240L) by Anamaría Fernández is a story about a group of friends who tell each other scary stories while they are in their treehouse. Julio tells the story about La Llorona, which is a traditional legend. Materials state: “Una leyenda se transmite de generación en generación. No se sabe si es real o no, pero muchas personas dicen que sí es verdad.” The legend is about a woman who haunts a river, mourning her children and scaring others. While the text does not mention the cultural background of the legend, its inclusion represents an opportunity for students to learn about a traditional legend. However, the materials do not include any guidance regarding how to discuss the socio-cultural dimensions.
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