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The TRR reports for K–8 and high school science are now available. The new Instructional Materials Review and Approval (IMRA) rubrics for K–3 and 4–8 English language arts and reading, K–3 and 4–6 Spanish language arts and reading, and K–12 mathematics are now available for review. Provide public comment through December 15, 2023. Visit the instructional materials webpage to view the slides and recordings from the focus groups.
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 5, within “Cycles 16–18.”
In Ciclo 16, there are five texts. There are two informational articles: El enigma de la extinción de la megafauna and El origen del fuego y su uso por los humanos; two biographies: El autor misterioso detrás de la aritmética and Lady Trieu, guerrera vietnamita; and a legend: El origen del mar. Text topics within this cycle are very specific and not of general interest; however, texts provide some diversity for students.
In Ciclo 17, there are four texts. There are two speeches: Solidaridad and Éxito; a poem: Unidos, siempre unidos; and two persuasive texts: Futuro programadores de América and A través de otro lente. The speech Solidaridad, on the topics of community-building and solidarity, includes the examples of Shakira and Gloria Estefan, whom many students will be able to recognize. Futuro programadores de América is an email sent from the student body treasurer to convince the principal that instead of using the money gathered from the carnival to form an agricultural club, students need a computer programming club. The writer says, “Futuros Programadores de América sería un club más valioso a nivel local y global.”
In Ciclo 18, there are six texts. There are three expository texts: Antídotos para la plaga del plástico, Cómo hacer un circuito solar, and Sopa tóxica en los océanos; one procedural text: Horno solar portátil; one fantasy passage: El rescate; and one science fiction text: De la oscuridad a la claridad. These texts do not expose students to other disciplines beyond science. For example, De la oscuridad a la claridad is about a STEAM competition to solve everyday problems using creativity. Students with interests beyond scientific fields cannot identify and make connections with the topics within this cycle.
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 tall tales. Some of the texts include a wide array of print and graphic features and 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 5 and “Cycles 16–18.” This selection contains some variety of genres.
In Ciclo 16, there are three texts for grade 5: a legend, a biography, and an informational text. The legend, El origen del mar, provides an explanation of how the Earth’s oceans came to be. The biography “Lady Trieu, guerrera vietnamita” in the digital content includes such graphic features as pictures, captions, a map, and bold text to denote vocabulary words that may be clicked to reveal a digital glossary. The informational text "El origen del fuego y su uso por los humanos" in the digital content includes such graphic features as pictures, captions, diagrams, subtitles, and bold text to denote vocabulary words that may be clicked to reveal a digital glossary.
Ciclo 17 provides five different grade 5 passages: two nonfiction speeches, two persuasive letters, and a free verse poem. Both speeches are connected to social studies, as they focus on social values, solidarity, and success; however, neither includes print or graphic features beyond the glossary. Futuros programadores de Amėrica is one of the persuasive texts connected to science; it is a letter addressed to a school principal, convincing him to spend fundraising money on technology for students. The second persuasive text, also connected to science, A través de otro lente by Jessica Rosario-Valentín, tries to convince the reader to eat healthier and not have to spend much in doing so. She writes, “¡Inténtalo! Tan pronto inicies este cambio, lograrás comer sanamente sin afectar tu bolsillo.” The digital content includes these persuasive texts as well with pictures, captions, charts, diagrams, 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. Unidos, siempre unidos by Jessica Rosario-Valentín is the free verse poem.
In Ciclo 18, there are six different passages: four nonfiction texts and two fiction narratives. Among the fiction stories, there is El rescate, a fantasy tale, and De la oscuridad a la claridad, a science fiction story. The former includes subheadings as a graphic feature. Sopa tóxica en los océanos by Jessica Rosario-Valentín is an informational text about ocean pollution and its effects on humans, which includes subheadings as a graphic feature and a visual glossary. There are two procedural texts connected to science. One of these, Horno solar portátil, includes rich graphic and text features, such as headings, 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 5, within “Cycles 16–18.”
In Ciclo 16, there are three texts for grade 5, ranging from 880L to 1020L. The legend El origen del mar has a Lexile level of 880L. The biography Lady Trieu, guerrera vietnamita, with a Lexile level of 920L, is of the same length and has similar qualitative features (text and sentence structure). Also in this cycle, El origen del fuego y su uso por los humanos is an informational text with a Lexile level of 1020L; it is also included in Ciclo 13 for grade 4. Hence, there does not appear to be a consistent system that takes into consideration the quantitative level and qualitative features of the texts as these pertain to grade-level equivalency.
Ciclo 17 includes five different grade 5 passages, ranging from 740L to 860L. Futuros programadores de Amėrica, a persuasive text with a Lexile level of 840L (also included in Ciclo 14), is similar to A través de otro lente, another persuasive text with a Lexile of 800L. For both texts, there is a short description of possible skills teachers could teach using these texts. The description for A través de otro lente, the description reads, “Este pasaje de no ficción (texto persuasivo) puede ser usado para practicar la fluidez y para enseñar las diferentes características de este género.” This kind of description, which accompanies each text, does not include a text-complexity analysis for central texts or 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.
Ciclo 18 includes six texts specific to grade 5, ranging from 740L to 960L. This range, when viewed with the rest of the texts within Ciclos 16–18, 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 16, Lección 3: Haciendo conexiones entre textos (comparar y contrastar),” students work in pairs to compare and contrast Querido Diario and La Casa Blanca; they complete a T-chart to examine complex elements of the text. The teacher anchors the lesson by stating: “Para comparar pensamos en el tema, en el propósito del autor, en los detalles que se mencionan en solo un texto y en los detalles que los textos tienen en común.” As students answer questions, they work through different TEKS and areas that build their knowledge. Questions include “¿Cuál es el propósito del autor de cada selección? ¿Qué detalles tienen en común las selecciones? ¿Qué detalles se mencionan en una selección, pero no en la otra?”
In Ciclo 17, Lección 3, “Haciendo conexiones entre textos (comparar y contrastar),” students use a T-chart to identify similarities and differences (e.g., the authors’ purpose, theme, call to action) between two speeches. The teacher anchors the lesson by stating: “Al hacer conexiones entre los textos pensamos en el propósito del orador, el tema y la llamada a la acción de cada discurso. En cada característica buscamos las similitudes (comparar) y diferencias (contrastar). Empecemos con el propósito de cada oradora.” Then, the teacher guides students through both texts to identify the author’s purpose. Both authors write to persuade; however, the style of persuasion in the texts is different. In the text Éxito, “el propósito de la oradora es motivar al lector a buscar el éxito,” while in Solidaridad, “el propósito de la oradora es motivar al lector a ver la solidaridad como la clave para lograr el éxito.” During guided practice, students complete a T-chart with evidence from each text. The teacher says, “Busquen el tema de cada discurso y escríbanlos en la sección del diagrama correspondiente, tal como lo hicimos anteriormente para proporcionar evidencia de cada discurso.” Then, students determine the theme of each speech, and the teacher monitors and provides help as needed. Lastly, students focus their attention to compare and contrast the “llamada a la acción” of the two speeches, which is “lo que motiva a los oyentes a hacer algo para cumplir el mensaje central del discurso.” This lesson provides questions and tasks to support students’ analysis and knowledge of the different texts.
Building on this lesson, using the same two speeches, Ciclo 17, Lección 4, “Haciendo conexiones entre textos (comparar y contrastar),” asks students to identify “las similitudes y las diferencias entre dos discursos como el propósito de los oradores, las analogías y el paralelismo usando un organizador gráfico (diagrama de Venn).” During instruction, the teacher reviews some of the basics to compare and contrast: “Al hacer conexiones entre los textos pensamos en el propósito del orador, las analogías y los paralelismos de cada discurso. En cada característica busquemos las similitudes (comparar) y diferencias (contrastar). Empecemos con el propósito de cada oradora.” The teacher distributes a Venn diagram and the texts Éxito and Solidaridad. After some students read the two speeches aloud, the teacher states, “En el discurso Éxito, el propósito de la oradora es motivar al lector a buscar el éxito usando como ejemplo a personas conocidas que llegaron al éxito.” Students document on their Venn diagram before continuing to the second text. The teacher states, “En el discurso Solidaridad, el propósito de la oradora es motivar al lector a ver la solidaridad como la clave para lograr el éxito.” Students document this information on their Venn diagram. During guided practice, students work with a partner to continue filling in their Venn diagrams using two texts. As the teacher explains, one similarity between both texts is that they use analogies: “Recuerden que las analogías son un ejemplo de lenguaje figurado en el cual la relación entre un par de cosas clarifica la relación entre otras dos cosas distintas. Busquen las analogías en cada discurso y escríbanlas en la sección del diagrama correspondiente, tal como lo hicimos anteriormente para proporcionar evidencia de cada discurso.” When students complete their Venn diagram, the teacher projects and verifies correct answers. During independent practice, the teacher explains students will focus on parallelism between both texts. The teacher says, “Importante: el paralelismo suele repetir ciertas palabras, frases u oraciones para enfatizar una idea clave.” As students complete their Venn diagrams using text evidence, the teacher provides support or clarification, as needed.
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 17, Lección 1: Haciendo conexiones entre textos (comparar y contrastar),” students read two persuasive texts to make connections across texts; they identify supporting data according to each author’s point of view and complete a T-chart. The teacher anchors the lesson: “Hoy aprenderemos sobre comparar y contrastar dos textos persuasivos. Los textos persuasivos son textos que se escriben para convencer a alguien sobre hacer o pensar en algo. El autor usa datos de apoyo (detalles) para explicar su punto de vista y convencer al lector sobre el tema. El título ayuda al lector a conocer el punto de vista de cada autor.” During instruction, the teacher shows students how to determine the author’s point of view and how to identify the supporting details for this point of view in the texts Menos tecnología, más comunicación and Siempre en comunicación. Students organize their findings on their T-chart, which allows them to compare and contrast these texts. During guided practice, students finish their T-chart. For independent practice, students receive ¡Desconéctate y enfócate! and Carta al director in order to compare and contrast the authors’ point of view regarding the same topic—the use of cellular phones in school.
In Ciclo 17, Lección 2, “Lenguaje sensorial o figurado,” students identify the meaning of sensory details or figurative language through personification or idioms. During instruction, the teacher anchors the lesson: “Hoy aprenderemos sobre lenguaje sensorial o figurado. Esta técnica emplea palabras que, unidas en una frase, tienen un significado diferente. Vamos a ver dos ejemplos de lenguaje figurado: la personificación y el modismo.” During guided practice, students identify personification and idioms by underlining the verses with personification and putting a rectangle around the verses with idioms. During independent practice, students identify personification within a poem and add the meaning for each. This activity provides students the opportunity to learn about the language used within a poem (personification and idioms), but there are no guidelines as to how these are connected to the meaning of the whole text.
Ciclo 18, Lección 2, “Características de los géneros de no ficción (Texto de instrucción),” focuses on identifying and analyzing the characteristics from a procedural text. During instruction, the teacher introduces the lesson objective, “Hoy aprenderemos sobre las características de un texto de instrucción. Un texto de instrucción explica cómo hacer algo por medio de una serie de pasos que se completan en orden. Algunos ejemplos incluyen una receta, las reglas de un juego o instrucciones para llegar a un lugar.” The teacher distributes the document “Características de un texto de instrucción,” and student volunteers read the characteristics aloud and explain them in their own words. Then, students read aloud the text Un jardín vertical, and the teacher reviews how to read the steps of a procedural text. Students work with a partner to explain the author’s purpose and review the materials needed to make the vertical garden. The teacher says, “Muy bien, sí los materiales necesarios para crear un jardín vertical se presentan en el orden en que se usarán. Escriban los materiales en la caja correspondiente en la tabla Características de un texto de instrucción/Un jardín vertical.” During guided practice, students work with a partner to analyze characteristics of a procedural text. One student underlines or circles characteristics, while the other student documents it on the table of characteristics. The teacher says, “Lean el texto de instrucción Un jardín vertical. En parejas, analicen las características del texto Un jardín vertical al identificar las instrucciones, la sugerencia y la conclusión.” The teacher reminds students to use text evidence to complete the table. Once students are done, the teacher projects the table for the whole class to verify correct answers. During independent practice, students receive the procedural text Crea tu propio cargador solar portátil to identify and analyze the characteristics of procedural texts.
In Lección 4, Nivel 2: Aprender a hacer inferencias, students learn about inferences. During instruction, the teacher explains what an inference is: “Ustedes usaron su conocimiento previo de cómo se ve una persona cuando está triste y adivinaron con conocimiento, ¿verdad? Esto se llama, hacer una inferencia. ¡Eso fue lo que hicieron!” During guided instruction, the teacher works with students as they use a passage to answer four open-ended inference questions. During independent practice, students receive a second passage and answer inference questions about it.
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 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 17, Lección 3: Vocabulario—usar claves de contexto” focuses on using context clues to determine the meaning of unfamiliar words. During instruction, the teacher says: “Hoy aprenderemos sobre claves de contexto. Las claves de contexto son pistas que nos ayudan a entender el significado de palabras nuevas.” The teacher projects a graphic organizer for the whole class. The teacher explains that clues include illustrations, phrases, or sentences, and synonyms/antonyms. Students read silently as the teacher reads aloud. The teacher models underlining the context clues used and says, “Subrayen la parte de la oración que ayudó como clave de contexto, luego escriban la definición en la hoja Practicando claves de contexto como yo la escribí.” The teacher repeats this process with number 2. During guided practice, students work in pairs. The teacher says: “Lean las oraciones y usen las claves de contexto para encontrar el significado de cada palabra. Subrayen la parte de la oración que les ayudó como clave de contexto. Luego escriban el significado en la hoja Practicando claves de contexto como yo la escribí en el número 1 y 2 que hicimos juntos.” The teacher monitors students and provides help as needed. During independent practice, students work alone to apply what they have learned. The teacher says, “Lean y usen las claves de contexto para encontrar el significado de las palabras desconocidas. Recuerden, van a subrayar la clave de contexto de la oración y luego escribirán el significado en el espacio correspondiente en la hoja Analizando claves de contexto.” The teacher monitors and provides support as needed. After writing the meaning of the words, there is no guidance to go deeper and apply these terms beyond the given text.
In Ciclo 18, Lección 1, 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 and shows how other words within the sentence help to understand the unknown word. In guided practice, student pairs continue completing the activity (sentences 3 to 5). The teacher guides the work: “Hablen con su pareja y decidan quién será responsable de leer las oraciones y subrayar la parte de la oración que les ayudó como clave de contexto, y quién será responsable de escribir el significado.” For independent practice, students work with sentences on a worksheet and match the word and meaning based on an image beside each sentence. This lesson is similar to the previous one. The lesson does not provide guidance for differentiation or for furthering the lesson to use the words beyond the definition.
At the end of the passage “El enigma de la extinción de la megafauna,” there is a glossary. Most words can be found across various academic disciplines (e.g., depredador, exitición, enigma, significativa). Each word includes a picture, a definition, the sentence from the text, the paragraph where it is located, and a cognate (except for depredador). The instructions state, “Mira las fotos y lee las oraciones para comentar cada palabra con tus compañeros.” At the end of the biography “El mundo de géneros: Lady Trieu, guerrera vietnamita,” there is also a glossary with four words. They too include a picture, a definition, the sentence from the text, and the paragraph where it is located (two include a cognate). 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 on using these terms across different contexts.
The materials do not include a clearly defined plan to support and hold students accountable as they engage in independent reading. There are no clear procedures or protocols that, along with adequate support for teachers, foster independent reading. Materials do not provide a plan for students to self-select texts and read independently for a sustained period of time, nor do they include opportunities for planning and accountability for achieving independent reading goals.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
"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 1, Nivel 3: Comprensión de lectura,” during independent practice, the teacher instructs: “Ahora quiero que lean en silencio. El cuento Mi cachorrito tiene dos párrafos. Practiquen las estrategias que aprendimos. Lean las preguntas, todas las opciones y contesten.” So while there is an opportunity to practice independent reading, it is part of the lesson on summary, 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. Alma Flor Ada has a Lexile level of 1490. This book has six pages and no chapters or distinguishable separations. There are visuals from different time periods in Alma Flor Ada’s life. Some pages contain bolded vocabulary words, but there is no glossary. 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 30: Escritura,” students practice writing a comparative essay about the Earth and the Moon. The writing exercise is based on the expository text “El mundo a tu alrededor: La Luna.” After creating a list of similarities and differences between these two celestial bodies, students write their compare-and-contrast essay, making sure they name “cada aspecto uno tras otro en orden. Asegúrate de usar las palabras claves de tu lista para explicar los parecidos y las diferencias entre estos dos vecinos del espacio.”
In Ciclo 12, Lección 33: Escritura, students practice writing a predictive narrative about what can happen after the end of a story they read in class. The writing exercise is based on the fictional text “Cazadores de fósiles: en busca del dinosaurio.” Students read the story and complete an organizer on the characteristics of a character; they use this information to make a prediction about what could happen after the story ends.
In Ciclo 12, Lección 35: Escritura, students practice writing a magazine article about natural resources. The writing exercise is based on the expository passage “Los recursos naturales.” The materials include this lesson as one opportunity to write an informational text. Students complete a graphic organizer on the central ideas of the passage (mentor text) and use that information to write an informative article.
In Ciclo 12, Lección 36: Escritura, students practice writing a recommendation “para convencer a tus compañeros de que lean una historia.” The writing exercise is based on the fictional text “¡La mejor feria científica de la escuela Los Nogales!” In Ciclo 12, Lección 37: Escritura, students practice writing a speech “acerca de cómo salvar la atmósfera del planeta Tierra.” The writing exercise is based on the expository text “La Tierra: La atmósfera.” While the materials see these lessons as addressing the writing of argumentative essays, these lessons do not offer clear guidance as to how to compose argumentative texts using clear genre characteristics and craft, like the writing of a claim.
In Ciclo 12, Lección 36: Escritura, students write a recommendation to convince their peers to read a book. The writing exercise is based on the story “La mejor feria científica de la escuela Los Nogales.” The lesson instructs students to use a story map of the story to help them write a recommendation that will convince their peers to read the story.
In Ciclo 12, Lección 37: Escritura, students write a speech to convince extraterrestrials not to rob the Earth of its atmosphere. The writing exercise is based on the expository text "La Tierra: la atmósfera." Students are instructed to use a graphic organizer of the text's main ideas to compose a persuasive speech to convince creatures from another planet not to steal the Earth's atmosphere for their planned lunar colony.
Although the materials include written tasks that require students to use text-supported claims to demonstrate some knowledge gained through the reading of texts, there is no consistent guidance on the type of analysis and synthesis of texts required to create clear, concise, and well-defended claims. There are limited opportunities for students to use evidence from texts to support their opinions and claims and to demonstrate through writing what they have learned from the texts.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
Most of the writing lessons follow the same structure, addressed only to students. The first section states the type of writing and topic. The next section is “Antes de escribir el borrador,” in which students find some guidance on the type of writing, on the use of an organizer to analyze a text provided in the materials, and on the need to do some research: “Usa como mínimo dos recursos (ya sea vídeo, la Internet u otro libro de la biblioteca) para investigar tu tema.” The next section, “Escribe un borrador,” includes some guiding questions to help students build their first draft. After that, sections reflect the writing process: revising and editing. These lessons include instructions for students on how to complete their writing, but they do not include guidance for teachers to teach or model the different tasks of analyzing and synthesizing.
In “Ciclo 12, Lección 30: Escritura,” students write a comparative essay about the Earth and the Moon, using the expository text “El mundo a tu alrededor: La Luna.” After making a list of the different words that can help recognize similarities and differences, students review the text and find these words. During the drafting section, the lesson includes guiding questions for students: “¿Cómo es la Luna? ¿Cómo es la Tierra? ¿Cómo son el tiempo, la gravedad y la atmósfera de cada una?” Students use information from the text to support their writing. The lesson does not include any examples or guidance for teachers to model how this process leads to the writing of a clear and well-founded claim.
In Ciclo 12, Lección 32: Escritura, students choose a pamphlet that describes a tour on a helicopter around the Earth, based on the expository text “La Tierra: Una superficie cambiante.” Using this text, students write “en una hoja blanca los siguientes enunciados en tres columnas diferentes: Tierra: la superficie cambiante, Cambios lentos y Cambios rápidos. Cada uno de estos encabezados está relacionado con alguna parte del libro.” Students use these details to create a pamphlet describing the different surfaces of the Earth. While the different questions help students organize the details and use these details within the pamphlet, there is no guidance regarding how to synthesize the information to build a claim.
In Ciclo 12, Lección 35: Escritura, students write a magazine article about natural resources, using the expository passage “Los recursos naturales.” After reading the text, students use a graphic organizer “para ordenar tus ideas y poder escribir tu artículo. Comienza escribiendo en el recuadro del centro el tema ‘Los recursos naturales.’ Luego, escribe en los recuadros pequeños la idea principal de cada párrafo con uno o dos detalles que apoyen cada idea. Vuelve a leer el texto cuando lo creas necesario.” During drafting, the lesson includes guiding questions that help students organize their ideas (structure of the article) and include supporting details from the research they did. The lesson does not include any teacher guidance or example regarding how to gather the information from the text.
In Ciclo 12, Lección 36: Escritura, students write a recommendation “para convencer a tus compañeros de que lean una historia.” The story is “¡La mejor feria científica de la escuela Los Nogales!” Students use a graphic organizer to review the details from the story: “Primero, completa los recuadros en el organizador gráfico que dicen quién, qué, cuándo, dónde, cómo y por qué. Luego, combina todos esos detalles para escribir un resumen de la historia en el recuadro que se encuentra en el centro del organizador gráfico.” Besides the call to write a summary using the information within the different boxes, there is no example or further explanation regarding the process. Furthermore, the lesson calls for the use of two sources in the exploration of a topic, but there is no topic explained here. Students use the information within this graphic organizer as the basis of their recommendation, but there are no clear instructions on how to organize this information in order for it to serve as supporting material for an opinion.
In Ciclo 16, Lección 3: 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 T-chart. The exercise guides students through the process of analyzing a text to show what they have learned.
In Ciclo 16, Lección 1: Identificar información importante sobre un texto de ficción para hacer un resumen, students study the main elements of fictional text. Graphic organizers and key phrases are provided to scaffold the exercise. The goal is to complete a summary 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 32: Escritura” is divided into sections that follow the writing process. During planning, students organize the information from the mentor text about the surfaces of the Earth in a three-column table. During drafting, students use those details (and further research) to create a brochure or a script for a tour guide on a helicopter trip. During revision, students check for nouns, adjectives, comparative adjectives (e.g., más que, menos que, igual de), and superlative adjectives, while also including sensory language. During editing, students check for capitalization on proper nouns, check for legible handwriting, check for spelling in words with m before p and b, and add complex concepts using the dictionary. For publication, students make sure that an image is included within the brochure or that they share their script with an audience after sharing it with the class (“preséntate al grupo y habla con claridad”). This lesson includes instructions to revise and edit spelling, grammar, and punctuation, but there is no teaching opportunity or in-context examples.
Ciclo 12, Lección 36: Escritura is divided into sections that follow the writing process. During planning, students use a story map organizer to summarize the mentor text. During drafting, students use the information from their organizer and write a recommendation for that story. During revision, students combine simple sentences into compound sentences, use commas to combine complex sentences, replace simple words for ones that show emphasis, and use sentences with pauses to avoid run-on sentences. During editing, students check for legible handwriting, check for spelling in words with m before p and b, check for capitalization at the beginning of every sentence, add dates to historic events and titles to people, and, using a dictionary, change words for complex concepts. For publication, students share the recommendation with a small group, understanding that “Debes tomar en cuenta que la mejor manera de convencer a las personas es al momento de discutir ideas y opiniones.” The revising and editing sections do not include clear teaching or modeling guidance or opportunities.
Ciclo 12, Lección 37: Escritura is also divided into sections that follow the writing process. During planning, students use an organizer to record the important ideas about the atmosphere from the mentor text. During drafting, students follow some guidance as they write a speech about saving the atmosphere. During revision, students add citations and combine sentences for clarity. During editing, students check for subjects and predicates, use quotation marks for quotes, check for spelling in words with m before p and b, change words for complex concepts using a dictionary, and check for subject-verb agreement. For publication, students share their speech with 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 materials provide teachers year-long guidance for assessing, measuring, and supporting students’ handwriting development. Practice using whiteboards and dry-erase markers and interventions do not appear in any listed lessons.
The materials support students’ listening and speaking about the texts. The materials offer speaking and listening opportunities for students to demonstrate comprehension. Though there are some oral tasks that engage students in the use of text-supported claims, these opportunities are mostly within the instruction part of the lesson and not during independent work; this does not allow students to demonstrate knowledge through speaking.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
In Ciclo 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 Ciclo 17, “Lección 1: Características de los géneros de ficción (Ficción realista),” students listen actively and respond. Students read a realistic fiction text titled Retos. They take turns to read the text aloud. Then, the teacher asks, “¿Qué personajes en este texto les recuerdan a gente que ustedes conocen?” The teacher waits for different answers from students, as they have the opportunity to respond about information and topics of text. During guided practice, students continue to speak and listen to the text as they work in pairs. Students demonstrate knowledge and comprehension as they complete a graphic organizer with teacher support. For independent practice, students read a text and underline characteristics of realistic fiction. There is no opportunity for sharing aloud or discussing the result of their analysis.
In Ciclo 18, Lección 4: Haciendo conexiones entre textos (comparar y contrastar), students compare and contrast an expository text and a fantasy using textual evidence. The teacher prompts students: “Ya que tuvieron la oportunidad de analizar el gráfico, ¿qué creen ustedes que es un texto de fantasía? Hablen con la persona que tengan a su lado.” This provides students the opportunity to respond to the question and listen actively to their peers. During guided practice, students work in pairs to complete sentence starters, responding to the open-ended questions. The teacher actively monitors group conversations and reminds students to “apoyen sus respuestas con evidencias textuales.” Students work in pairs to complete a Venn diagram. Here, the tasks require the use of clear, concise information and well-defended text-supported claims to demonstrate knowledge.
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 30: Escritura,” students write an essay to compare and contrast two texts. This lesson is student-directed and provides steps for creating bibliography cards, writing a rough draft, editing and revising, and writing a final draft. A student checklist includes questions to revise their final [writing] draft. Questions included in the checklist include “¿Usaste los signos de puntuación correctamente? ¿Usaste mayúscula en donde era necesario? ¿Escribiste con letra legible?” After writing a final draft using this editing and revising guidance, students complete a table to reflect on their writing process. As students move to publish their work, the teacher mentions, “Incluye una ilustración que muestre la Luna y la Tierra. Comparte tu trabajo con un amigo que esté interesado en lo que existe en el espacio. Preséntate al grupo y habla con claridad.” Material includes protocols for students to practice writing and an opportunity for a presentation, though there are no guidelines regarding the conventions of language. There is no opportunity for teamwork or student-led group activities.
In Ciclo 17, “Lección 1: Características de los géneros de ficción (Ficción realista)” focuses on identifying and analyzing characteristics of fiction and realistic fiction. The teacher distributes a handout with characteristics of realistic fiction to each student and projects a copy. Students first read silently while the teacher reads aloud. Next, students read aloud and underline characteristics of realistic fiction. This process is repeated and reviewed by the teacher to “afianzar la enseñanza.” During guided practice, the teacher says, “Ahora van a trabajar en parejas para seguir practicando las características de ficción realista.” Working in pairs, students complete the graphic organizer by documenting the characteristics of the text.
In Ciclo 17, “Lección 4: Vocabulario,” students work on using context clues to find the definition of unknown words. The teacher asks “a los estudiantes que se agrupen en parejas. Los estudiantes van a completar los ejercicios del 4 al 6 en parejas.” This is an opportunity for students to engage in discussions with each other. The material, however, does not provide students with sentence starters/stems to help guide their discussion. The lesson does not include any guidance regarding how to develop social communication skills; it does not offer an opportunity for presentations or performances.
In Ciclo 18, “Lección 1: Resumir textos de fantasía,” students practice the process of summarizing fantasy stories. This lesson provides opportunities to engage in discussions. The teacher asks students “que se agrupen en parejas.” Students read El triunfo de Rafael, then work in partners to write a summary of the story. The teacher guides, “hablen con su compañero y levanten la mano para participar.” This allows for student participation as they discuss with their peers.
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 30: Escritura,” students write an essay to compare and contrast the Earth and Moon. The lesson follows the writing process: prewriting, writing, and publication. During prewriting, students make two lists of keywords that help identify comparison and contrast. The lesson offers some guidance and examples as to how to create these lists: “Para comparar cosas parecidas, haz una lista con las siguientes palabras claves: ambos, similar, como, de la misma manera, lo mismo que o al igual que. Luego, en la misma hoja, escribe otra lista de palabras claves que se usan para comparar las cosas que son diferentes: pero, sin embargo, por lo contrario, a diferencia de.” Students reread “El mundo a tu alrededor: la Luna” in order to find some of these keywords within the text. At this point, the lesson once again instructs students to “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. The lesson also includes bibliography cards, but there is no guidance for students regarding how to use them. During writing, students answer some questions about the similarities and differences between the Moon and the Sun, using the keywords from their lists. The lesson does not include clear direction regarding where the information comes from (i.e., the text they read or the research they are expected to do). After revising and editing, students publish their work with “una ilustración que muestre la Luna y la Tierra.” Materials guide students: “Comparte tu trabajo con un amigo que esté interesado en lo que existe en el espacio. Preséntate al grupo y habla con claridad.” The lesson does not include a speaking rubric.
In Ciclo 12, Lección 32: Escritura, students write a script or a brochure to describe the Earth's surface via a helicopter ride. The lesson follows the writing process: prewriting, writing, and publication. During prewriting, students organize their ideas from the text “La Tierra: Una superficie cambiante.” The lesson guides: “Escribe en una hoja blanca los siguientes enunciados en tres columnas diferentes: Tierra: la superficie cambiante, Cambios lentos y Cambios rápidos.” In order to write their draft, students answer some questions about the information needed to make the brochure: “¿Qué querrán saber los turistas acerca de esos terrenos y cuerpos de agua durante el vuelo? ¿Qué les dirías durante el paseo en el helicóptero? Piensa en algunas preguntas que te podrían ayudar a crear el guión o folleto.” Using the exact same guidance as in previous lessons, the materials instruct, “También usa como mínimo dos recursos (ya sea vídeo, la Internet u otro libro de la biblioteca) para investigar tu tema.” No additional guidance is offered for teachers or students regarding the topic students are going to research. The lesson also includes bibliography cards, but there is no guidance for students regarding their usage. After writing, revising, and editing, students include at least one image in their final draft of the brochure and share it.
In Ciclo 12, Lección 35: Escritura, students write an article about natural resources. The lesson follows the writing process: prewriting, writing, and publication. During prewriting, students utilize a graphic organizer to organize the main idea and details of the text “Los recursos naturales.” While writing the draft, students answer some guiding questions about the topic and select a good title that attracts the attention of the reader. Once again, the only guidance given to students is to include at least two sources that would support their main idea and “Usa como mínimo dos recursos (ya sea vídeo, la Internet u otro libro de la biblioteca) para investigar tu tema.” The lesson guides students to include primary and secondary sources, offering examples of each: “Incluir recursos primarios (ej., entrevista hecha por ti, datos obtenidos por observación propia, documentos legales o históricos) y secundarios (ej., recortes de periódicos o revistas).” In the section “Publica tu borrador final,” students showcase their work and share it with their peers.
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:
Interconnected tasks allow students to demonstrate integrated skills. In “Ciclo 12, Lección 27: Escritura,” in a research exercise based on Exploración del espacio, students write a biography about a famous scientist. Students research (reading) in order to work on their draft (writing). Students apply their thinking and language, and the teacher says, “Imagina que eres un reportero y le haces una entrevista a un científico famoso para poder escribir una biografía.” At the end of the lesson, students engage in listening and speaking as they share their work with the class to learn more about other famous scientists.
In Ciclo 12, Lección 32: Escritura, students write “un guión o un folleto para describir la gira en helicóptero por la Tierra.” The lesson is divided into three major parts: prewriting, writing, and publication. During prewriting, students create a three-column chart aligned to the parts of the book read. During writing, students imagine they are a helicopter guide. Students use guidance questions to decide which information would be most helpful in a brochure. Students use a minimum of two resources to investigate. During publication, students read their rough draft twice. While revising, students review, “sustantivos, adjetivos comparativos,” and “adjetivos superlativos.” Students add sensory details to help the reader visualize their description. While editing, students ensure capitalization, legibility, and spelling are used correctly. A self-reflection handout asks questions about each piece of the writing process, like “¿Añadiste sustantivos y adjetivos para describir las características de la superficie de la tierra y cuerpos de agua?” allowing students to “mejorar tu guión o folleto y para preparar un borrador final.” After writing a final draft, students must add an image to their brochures or present guides to their group, speaking with clarity. As the lesson moves through the writing process, students have the opportunity to build their ideas and knowledge.
In Ciclo 12, Lección 33: Escritura, students write “una historia para predecir lo que pudiese pasar después de leer Cazadores de fósiles: en busca del dinosaurio.” Prior to writing, students read a passage they use to make a prediction of what happens after. The teacher instructs, “Usa un organizador de ideas para nombrar los detalles que muestran que el doctor Grossman no es un buen científico.” This creative writing exercise requires students to read, write, listen to instructions, and think in order to make inferences. Students speak and present their product to their colleagues, as the teacher says: “Realiza una portada con ilustraciones para tu historia. Luego compártela con algún compañero que sea menor que tú. Preséntate al grupo y habla con claridad.” This writing lesson follows the writing process; it allows students to build their knowledge through questioning and self-reflection.
In Ciclo 12, Lección 35: Escritura, students write “un artículo sobre los recursos naturales.” During prewriting, students read a text related to resources and use a graphic organizer to document the main idea and details. Students re-read the text as needed. During writing, students use the graphic organizer to capture the information. Students use guidance questions, like “¿Qué es lo que quiero informar sobre los recursos naturales?” and “¿Para qué tipo de audiencia me gustaría escribir?” to create an attention-grabbing title, create an interesting first paragraph, include examples from a minimum of two resources, and use both primary and secondary resources. During publication, students read their rough draft twice. While revising, students add words and headings that will grab the reader’s attention. Students add capital letters to the title, check for punctuation, write legibly, and check spelling. A self-reflection handout asks questions about each piece of the writing process, like “¿Escribiste párrafos que tengan una idea principal y detalles que apoyen esa idea?” This allows students to improve their article and create a final draft. Then, students exhibit their work to the class and present it to a group while speaking clearly. Throughout the lesson, different tasks integrate reading, writing, speaking, listening, and thinking as a way to move students toward increased independence.
In Ciclo 17, “Lección 1: ¿Personificación o modismo?” students identify and understand sensory or figurative language through personification and hyperbole. The teacher guides them in understanding each by providing examples from text cards. The teacher shows students the cards and states, “Recuerden que la diferencia entre una personificación y un modismo es que la personificación da atributos o cualidades humanas a animales o a objetos inanimados, mientras que el modismo es una expresión cultural para describir algo o a alguien de forma llamativa.” This guidance allows students to be able to analyze the texts and differentiate between personification and modism in order to integrate that knowledge. Using their knowledge, students engage in independent work to identify figurative language in a poem using a graphic organizer. This lesson includes components of gradual release (instruction, guided practice, and independent practice) as in most teacher-directed lessons.
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 fifth grade (17 and 18). However, Cycle 17 does not include any lessons on the main idea. Cycle 18 includes two lessons on the main idea. Both “Ciclo 18, Lección 1: Identificar y analizar la idea principal en textos de instrucción” and Ciclo 18, 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 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 “Nivel 2, Lección 4: Identificar palabras homónimas (homófonas y homógrafas),” students “aprenden a identificar palabras homónimas (homófonas y homógrafas) usando un organizador gráfico.” The lesson is divided into three parts: instruction, guided practice, and independent practice. During instruction, the teacher uses a graphic organizer to explain the process of identifying homophones and homographs. The teacher reads sentences aloud while emphasizing the word muñeca and indicates which words are homophones on the graphic organizer. During guided practice, students complete the graphic organizer with teacher support. The teacher says, “Ya vimos qué son las palabras homógrafas y homófonas. Ahora vamos a practicar.” Students identify homophones and then homographs; the teacher documents responses on the board. Students complete their graphic organizer using the information from the board. During independent practice, students receive a handout to practice identifying homonyms. The teacher instructs: “Ahora van a trabajar de forma independiente en esta hoja. Escojan qué tipo de palabras homónimas hay en cada oración, ya sean palabras homógrafas u homófonas.” The teacher observes and supports students as needed.
The materials provide systematic instruction and practice in most foundational skills, including opportunities for phonics and word analysis skills. Students have adequate grade-level foundational skills instruction and opportunities to achieve grade-level mastery. The materials systematically develop knowledge of grade-level phonics patterns and word analysis skills as delineated by the TEKS. Students have opportunities to practice grade-level word recognition skills to promote automaticity, and they have some opportunities to practice and apply word analysis skills both in and out of context. The materials include building spelling knowledge and systematic instruction in orthographic rules and patterns. The materials specifically attend to supporting students in need of effective remediation.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
The document “Alineamiento de SLAR TEKS and Istation Español” provides teachers with a guide of all the skills taught within the program and their correlation to SLAR standards. This document provides a list of online activities as well as “Teacher-Directed Lessons” (TDLs). However, the document does not include the new literacy standards. Also, the materials provide a “Scope and Sequence,” found in the “Teacher Resources” section. This document includes a “Phonics and Word Analysis” section along with a brief description of the skills and the cycle(s) in which corresponding activities can be found. Some of the foundational skills are Phonics and Word Analysis, “Fluency,” and “Vocabulary.” Not all of the foundational skills include activities per grade. For example, in fifth grade, “decoding and differentiating meanings of words, based on the diacritical accent” appears to be absent.
The materials state: “Student placement in the scope and sequence and the skills taught and practiced in a cycle are based on need. Skill level as measured in Istation’s Indicators of Progress (ISIP™ Español) Benchmark and Continuous Progress Monitoring System is the primary consideration when placing students.” The “ISIP” identifies and supports students’ needs after each (monthly) assessment. The program is adaptive and places students where they need the support. The Scope and Sequence offers teachers a guide as to where they can find lessons and passages for intervention and acceleration.
In “Ciclo 12, Lección 1: Ortografía,” students learn how to write “sobreesdrújulas” words. The teacher begins the lesson: “Hoy vamos a hablar sobre las palabras sobresdrújulas. Pero antes vamos a repasar la definición de la tilde o acento ortográfico. ¿Quién me puede decir qué es la tilde o acento ortográfico?” In one activity, students circle the word that has the fourth-to-last syllable stressed. The same lesson also provides two more activities for students to add the accent to words.
In Ciclo 16, “Lección 2: Vocabulario” focuses on using Greek and Latin prefixes to understand new words. Students learn the definitions of common prefixes and use them to complete work independently. During instruction, the teacher utilizes a graphic organizer for Latin-derived prefixes, a definitions handout, and an independent practice handout for each student. The teacher explains that prefixes modify word meanings, then models examples and how to divide words into word parts. During guided practice, students first review the definitions of common prefixes, then complete a table using hints with teacher support. During independent practice, students receive “Práctica independiente con prefijos,” which is an opportunity to practice grade-level word recognition skills to promote automaticity. Students use the word bank and graphic organizer to complete the table.
In Nivel 2, Lección 4: Vocabulario, students identify homonyms. By the end of the lesson, students not only identify homonyms, but also specify if they are “homógrafas u homófonas.” The teacher explains that homonyms are divided into two categories, homographs and homophones. While homographs “se escriben igual, pero tienen un significado diferente,” homophones “son las palabras que se pronuncian igual, pero tienen un significado distinto y una escritura diferente.” Students use this information to circle homonyms within given sentences. For independent practice, students choose “qué tipo de palabras homónimas hay en cada oración, ya sean palabras homógrafas u 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 a 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 Mochilas Esperanza, La leyenda de la Llorona, and Alma Flor Ada. These provide opportunities for students to practice oral silent reading with texts that grow in complexity.
In “Nivel 2, Lección 6: Lectura con fluidez,” students practice fluency using the text Está bien... Juega con tierra. The teacher models reading with fluency by reading sentences in three different ways. The teacher then leads a discussion on which sounded better and how the different readings affect comprehension. During guided practice, the teacher picks two students to do the same activity. Students pairs then work independently to practice fluency (specifically, speed). They evaluate their reading with a chronometer and complete a chart: “Al finalizar el minuto, el estudiante que lleva el tiempo contará las palabras que su compañero leyó correctamente. Luego, escribirá la fecha y la cantidad de palabras por minuto que leyó su compañero en la hoja El vuelo de mi fluidez.” The teacher provides support as needed.
In Nivel 3, Lección 5: Lectura con fluidez, students practice their fluency using the text El calentamiento global. This lesson is similar to the one before. The teacher models reading with fluency, including expression and appropriate speed, and discusses how these affect comprehension. After showing how to use the chronometer, the teacher explains that reading with fluency “no es deprisa ni despacio; es parecida a cuando hablas con expresión. La lectura con fluidez te ayuda a entender mejor.” During guided practice, students review vocabulary cards with images and describe what they see. Then, the teacher reminds students: “De la misma forma en que describieron las imágenes, es decir, con fluidez, pueden leer una historia. Es importante saber que leer con fluidez no es leer rápido. Es leer con ritmo y con la expresión adecuada.” During independent practice, students work in pairs to practice fluency. Just like in the previous lesson, guidance states: “Al finalizar el minuto, el estudiante que lleva el tiempo contará las palabras que su compañero leyó correctamente. Luego, escribirá la fecha y la cantidad de palabras por minuto que leyó su compañero en la hoja El vuelo de mi fluidez.” The teacher provides support as needed.
In Nivel 3, Lección 7: Lectura con fluidez, students practice reading with fluency in order to comprehend. The teacher states: “Hoy practicaremos la fluidez para comprender mejor nuestra lectura. Para esto vamos a identificar la manera correcta de hacerlo.” The teacher selects two students to share what they like about their favorite movie or book in order to evaluate the fluency of their response. Using the same wording as in previous lessons, the teacher explains what reading with fluency entails: “Es importante saber que leer con fluidez no es solo leer rápido, es leer las palabras con ritmo y expresión.” During guided practice, students continue with the activity, this time focusing on the short passage “El método científico.” The class reads the first paragraph together and discusses how they read it. Later, the teacher also models how to use a chronometer to keep track of fluency in the “El Vuelo de mi fluidez” chart. During independent practice, students work in groups of three taking turns to read the short passage and record their fluency. Materials state: “Al concluir el ejercicio, los tres estudiantes hablarán de las formas en que leyeron, la que les ayudó más y por qué.” The teacher offers 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 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 18, Lección 1: Vocabulario” focuses on determining the meaning of words with Greek or Latin roots. During instruction, the teacher sets the purpose of the lesson: “Hoy vamos a hablar sobre palabras derivadas de raíces griegas y latinas. La raíz de una palabra es la parte de la palabra que contiene el significado principal. Muchas palabras del español tienen raíces griegas y latinas. El conocer la raíz de una palabra te puede ayudar a determinar y comprender su significado.” Students work on “Raíces griegas y latinas,” which the teacher projects for the whole class. The teacher analyzes the word hemisferio and its meaning (“mitad de una esfera”). The teacher repeats this process with the word supermercado, then focuses on “las raíces griegas aero-, día- y las raíces latinas semi-, equi-, y sus palabras correspondientes.” The teacher reminds students that roots do not always appear at the beginning. During guided practice, students work in pairs. The teacher states: “Ahora trabajando en parejas, lean las siguientes oraciones y escojan la palabra correcta para completar cada oración. Luego, subrayen la raíz griega o latina de cada palabra. Finalmente, recorten la palabra y péguenla en la caja debajo de la oración correspondiente. Usen la tabla de raíces griegas y latinas para completar la actividad. Hablen con su pareja y decidan quién será responsable de leer y subrayar la raíz dentro de la palabra, y quién será responsable de recortar y pegar las palabras con las oraciones correspondientes.” The teacher monitors the room to ensure students correctly complete the activity and provides support as needed. During independent practice, students identify the Greek or Latin root within words. The teacher monitors students and provides support as needed. This 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 18, “Lección 1: Identificar y analizar la idea principal en textos de instrucción,” students “identifican y analizan la idea principal en un texto de instrucción, ‘Un jardín vertical’ usando textos cortos de instrucción.” The lesson focuses on understanding the differences between the main idea and details and how to identify these within a text. Students analyze a text and identify the main idea and the details during independent practice. In Ciclo 18, “Lección 3: Haciendo conexiones entre textos (comparar y contrastar),” students identify the differences and similarities between two texts. The teacher guides students through this skill; then, during independent practice, students apply what they learn and use a Venn diagram to compare and contrast two texts. Neither 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 16, Lección 1: Haciendo conexiones entre textos informativos,” the teacher finds instructions to model how to compare and contrast texts. Materials encourage students to work in pairs: “Pida a los estudiantes que se agrupen en parejas y que se sienten en el piso con la hoja Murciélagos y búhos en mano.” The lesson provides a graphic organizer (Venn diagram) that can be used as a hands-on activity. This lesson uses a variety of instructional approaches, such as hands-on and collaboration. However, in Ciclo 16, “Lección: Vocabulario—aprender prefijos y sus significados,” students have to match the prefix with a word to form a new word. The teacher finds instructions to be shared with students to complete the activity, but the only guidance to provide support is “Brinde apoyo y aclare cualquier duda en caso de ser necesario.” Materials do not provide a different set of instructions on how to target students’ individual needs.
In Ciclo 16, “Lección 1: Identificar información importante sobre un texto de ficción para hacer un resumen” includes guidance for the teacher to take the students through a direct teach followed by guided and independent practice. The materials include activities for each of these portions. For example, during independent practice, teachers instruct: “Ahora, van a trabajar de manera independiente. Con la información que obtuvieron de las preguntas del inicio, desarrollo y desenlace, van a escribir el resumen final de la historia de ficción Don Quijote y los molinos de viento.” The materials do not explicitly state to use these activities in centers or collaborative groups.
In Ciclo 17, Lección 2, students work on understanding the meaning of unfamiliar words. During direct instruction, the teacher prepares word cards for each pair of students. Students can complete the activity individually or in groups, depending on the total number of students in the class. The teacher models how the game works and offers examples; a volunteer repeats or paraphrases how to play the game. The lesson suggests completing a second round if time allows in order to allow students to familiarize themselves with the new words and their meanings. During guided practice, the teacher distributes a “Definiciones de palabras” handout and models completing the handout, providing support as needed. Students then work independently on “Practica independiente.” The teacher reminds students that it is important to “conocer el significado de las palabras. Así podrán comprender mejor los textos que lean.” This lesson includes much direction for teachers and students, but it fails to support developmentally appropriate multimodal instructional strategies.
The materials do not include supports for English Learners (ELs) to meet grade-level learning expectations. Since the materials are all in the first language, they do not provide accommodations for ELs with various levels of English language proficiency. The materials do not encourage strategic use of students’ primary language as a means to develop linguistic, affective, cognitive, and academic skills in the target language (e.g., to enhance vocabulary development).
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
The materials do not include linguistic accommodations for ELs with various levels of English language proficiency. The materials are in Spanish, and there is no guidance or support for English instruction. The program description states: “Istation Español is different from a translated literacy program that has been trans-adapted from English to Spanish. Learning is enhanced through purposeful lessons with Latin culture and literature.” The materials do not use Spanish to develop linguistic, affective, cognitive, and academic skills in English. The materials include, in some instances, translations into English of vocabulary words, but there is no guidance regarding how to use these translations.
In “Ciclo 16, Lección 4, Nivel 2: Identificar los enlaces—palabras y frases de transición, conjunciones,” the teacher finds lessons to target Tier 2 and Tier 3 students who are at a different Spanish proficiency level. The activities are differentiated to support students’ proficiency levels in Spanish. 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.
In Ciclo 18, the teacher finds the text Horno solar portátil, which includes a glossary of four vocabulary words. Two of the words include their cognate for students to learn. There is no guidance as to how to use this information.
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. 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.” 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.
The grade-specific “Istation Español Curriculum Correlated to TEKS SLAR” documents offer a view of how different resources address standards in multiple strands and domains. The strands are “1 —developing oral language; 2—using metacognitive skills to both develop and deepen comprehension of increasingly complex texts; 3—responding to an increasingly challenging variety of sources that are read, heard, or viewed; 4—recognizing and analyzing genre-specific characteristics, structures, and purposes within and across increasingly complex traditional, contemporary, classical, and diverse texts; 5—using critical inquiry to analyze the authors’ choices and how they influence and communicate meaning within a variety of texts, as well as analyzing and applying author's craft purposefully in order to develop his or her own products and performances; 6—the writing process; and 7—inquiry and research process.” A table shows the correlation between SLAR TEKS (and STAAR) and the online activities, identified by lesson and cycle for quick access. Teachers see the activities that are available online as well as the
“Teacher-Directed Lessons” along with the cycle number, but there is not enough material for teachers to develop a year-long plan to build students’ concept development.
Students move through “Interactive Instruction” at their own pace after being placed in their instructional path based on their “ISIP” scores. The materials categorize El Mundo de los géneros interactive online activities into three themes—“past, present, and future”—that engage students to review and practice skills. The “future” theme includes a section on science fiction, which allows teachers to review its components using illustrations. This Interactive Instruction provides “Differentiated instruction based on scope and sequence, assessments, and student interaction”; “Opportunities for experiential learning and student agency”; and “Engaging multimedia and teaching techniques that maximize opportunities to learn practice, and review skills.” Istation Español informs teachers of the special needs of each student, offering suggestions on additional intervention or extension lessons. While this creates a connection between the interactive experience of the program and the classroom through the teacher-directed lessons, there is not enough guidance or materials for teachers to use within the classroom.
In order to create the year-long plan, the materials include the “Beginning of Year Implementation Guide,” which provides best practices for beginning the school year with the program. It includes before assessments, monthly activities, weekly activities, recommended usage, reports available, and contact information for questions or support.
The materials include implementation support for teachers and administrators. A scope and sequence document shows the TEKS and how they are presented throughout the program across the different grade levels. There are resources, guidelines, and support for teachers and administrators to implement the program, but there are not enough resources within the materials for a school year’s worth of instruction. There is also no realistic pacing guide.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
The “Scope and Sequence” outlines “the framework of skills that are taught, practiced and reviewed in Istation Español” and is “divided into sections based on grade level bands.” The “Istation Espanol Curriculum Correlated to TEKS” document provides teachers with a list of activities and “Teacher-Directed Lessons” by TEKS. The information is organized in a table that includes the online activities and lessons for each skill and the cycle in which they are found. . Istation’s Interactive Instruction provides individualized student placement based on ISIP™ assessment results, systematic, explicit delivery of research-based instruction and practice, differentiated instruction based on scope and sequence, assessments, and student interaction, carefully organized instructional path, lessons that allow for guided practice, opportunities for student agency, and engaging multimedia and teaching techniques that maximize opportunities to learn, practice, and review skills. Furthermore, the materials include a key at the top of each page for teachers to easily identify the type and purpose of the activities (i.e., “D = Lesson Skills & Comprehension; P1 = Passage 1; P2 = Passage 2; RT = Reteach Passage; N/A = Not Applicable”) This supports the teacher in planning for small group instruction. The skills are TEKS-aligned and grade-appropriate; a table also shows the STAAR connection. Using these documents, teachers identify the skills covered in each cycle and plan accordingly.
The scope and sequence document explains the process of implementation and how students are placed within the cycles of instruction. The system, through the “Istation’s Indicators of Progress (ISIP™ Español)” diagnostic tool, measures students’ skill level using the “Benchmark and Continuous Progress Monitoring System.” After testing, materials place students within a cycle based on need. They state: “Each cycle provides intensive and direct instruction, practice and repetition with multiple opportunities for skill application.” The results also “determine when a student is ready to transition to more challenging instruction, including advancement beyond current grade level skills.” If, on the other hand, a student needs remediation, “Istation Español automatically notifies teachers when students would benefit from additional intervention or extension activities.”
As part of the implementation, the “Etapas de lectura de Istation Español” document provides a quick overview of the characteristics of the reading stages and an overview of the levels used in the program. For example, the document outlines characteristics of the reader, characteristics of the text, and Lexile range. “Lectura avanzada” includes third-grade skills and a Lexile range of 500–740. “Lectura fluida” includes third, fourth, and fifth-grade skills and a Lexile range of 740–1040. Regarding the flexibility of the resources, guidance states: “Estos recursos fueron diseñados con el propósito de proveer una gran variedad de lecciones y materiales de intervención para todos los estudiantes, especialmente los que enfrentan dificultad y necesitan más apoyo en los conceptos básicos de la lectura. Esta variedad otorga a los maestros la flexibilidad de diferenciar su instrucción de lectura de manera efectiva.”
The “Help Center” contains a resource section. The “User’s Guide” provides a wealth of resources, such as “Getting Started with Istation” to “Research Studies.” In Getting Started with Istation, teachers learn about installing the program, importing student rosters, and steps for getting started. The “Beginning of Year Implementation Guide” lays out the best practices for beginning the school year with the program. It includes implementation information that is useful for both teachers and administrators in sections like “Before the First Assessment,” “Monthly Activities,” “Weekly Activities,” “Recommended Weekly Usage,” and “Reports.” The Before the First Assessment section includes “Istation Application Navigation,” which explains how to log in to the program to view interactive instruction. The interactive activities show an estimated time frame to support teachers with the planning process, but there is no recommended sequence or pacing guide.
Within the User’s Guide, there is a resource page for “Administration.” Here, administrators learn more about the program, such as viewing data reports and the logistical aspects of program implementation. In the “Administrator or Specialist” feature, the “Administration Page” lists and briefly describes the components of the “Administrator Tab.” In this tab, administrators can access “ISIP” and “Istation Español” reports. These reports provide an overview of program implementation at the district or campus level. The ISIP “Summary Report” shows “the number and percentage of students in each instructional group for the current month.” A color-coded graph allows administrators to easily identify the number of students under each Tier (i.e., red for students who are below grade level, yellow for students on grade level, green for students that mastered the skill). The “School Year Transitions for Administrators” document is a how-to for transitioning to a new school year. While it does not offer instructional support to teachers and administrators, it offers support regarding how to prepare to implement the materials for students successfully. It is important to note that all the documents that are available for teachers in the User’s Guide can definitely be used by administrators to provide guidance and support to teachers in implementing the materials. The materials do not provide a feedback template, but this information assists administrators in providing effective feedback based on students’ performance.
As mentioned above, students move through the program’s Interactive Instruction at their own pace after being placed in their instructional path based on their ISIP score, which makes this a self-adapted program. Therefore, the materials do not offer a pacing guide. Students advance in their learning path and continue to work on TEKS-based instruction throughout the year. The materials include Teacher-Directed Lessons for teachers to enhance the learning experience, but there are not enough for a year’s worth of instruction; teachers use the information from the ISIP results to offer these lessons as interventions, not as part of an instructional program.
The materials provide implementation guidance to meet variability in programmatic design and scheduling considerations. The materials provide guidance for strategic implementation without disrupting the sequence of content that must be taught in a specific order following a developmental progression. While there is no specific guidance for LEAs, teachers and administrators find programmatic and scheduling considerations as they incorporate the program.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
The “Beginning of Year Implementation Guide” provides best practices for beginning the school year with the program, including before assessments, monthly activities, weekly activities, recommended usage, reports available, and contact information for questions or support.
The “Before the First Assessment” section provides tips for teachers regarding technology and best practices for administering assessments. These include ensuring the app is downloaded and ready for student use, user accounts, headset, log-in cards, monitoring, and familiarization with student-view.
The “Monthly Activities” section provides a checklist for consistent data collection and review, with directions for scheduling on-demand assessments as needed. The first activity is consistent with students taking the “ISIP” assessment every month, as that provides the needed data. Teachers check the ISIP “Summary Report” and, after the second monthly assessment, the “Skill Growth Report.” If needed, teachers schedule the “On-Demand Assessment.”
The “Weekly Activities” section provides a plan for weekly implementation. First, teachers plan for students’ use of the program technology and check “Priority Reports” for alerts by student and skill. Based on that information, teachers administer linked and recommended “Teacher-Directed Lessons,” documenting and saving intervention work on the Priority Report. Teachers plan face-to-face intervention based on Priority Report recommendations. Teachers use the “Teacher Station en Español” to follow up.
The “Recommended Usage” section provides time usage according to “Tiers,” which are organized by levels. For example, Tier 1 includes Levels 3, 4, and 5, with a target usage time of 30 minutes. Tier 2 includes Level 2 with a target time of 40 minutes. Tier 3 includes Level 1 with a target usage time of more than 40 minutes.
The “Reports” section provides detailed information about the different reports available in Istation, including ISIP Summary, Priority, Skill Growth, and “Student Summary Handout.” Each report includes guidance about administration and documentation over time.
These reports serve as the guide for integrating the program with the classroom learning experience. The scope and sequence states: “Integration with the Classroom is an essential component of the curriculum framework. Classroom teacher led interventions are recommended through Priority Reports based on ISIP™ Español results and interaction with the reading curriculum. Supplemental teacher-led instruction is recommended to extend or reinforce student learning.” In other words, since the materials do not explicitly refer to an order, the teachers use the reports and the scope and sequence to determine the Teacher-Directed Lessons to extend or reinforce student learning. Per the Beginning of Year Implementation Guide, performance on the monthly assessment assists in lesson alignment and the learning progression.
While there is no specific guidance for Local Education Agencies, the materials include some guidance regarding how to incorporate the program. They state: “Istation offers research-based instruction that aligns to state-specific standards and Common Core State Standards (CCSS).” The “Istation Espanol Curriculum Correlated to TEKS” serves as a guide for districts to understand how the program fits its own curriculum. This document provides a very simple way to show all the skills covered in the program, which are directly aligned with the state standards. To incorporate materials into the district curriculum framework, administrators identify the skills needed by grade-level bands. ISIP (Istation's Indicators of Progress) is an automated computer adaptive testing (CAT) system that automatically assigns a monthly assessment to each student (unless otherwise specified through the ISIP Configuration Settings). It can be given more often if desired. The monthly assessments are given the first time a student logs on during a calendar month. For example, if a student logs in on September 1, an ISIP Assessment will be given. If the student doesn't log in until September 15, an ISIP Assessment will still be given when the student logs in. Additional On-Demand Assessments can be given at any time during the school year. ISIP Assessments can be used as benchmarks and as continuous progress monitoring tools. They state: “Istation collaborates with schools to design targeted and customized professional development sessions. All professional development specialists have real-world instructional and technical experience and provide interactive learning based on adult learning theory and brain-based learning. Bilingual specialists are available, too.”
The materials provide guidance on fostering connections between home and school. They support some development of strong relationships between teachers and families. The materials clearly specify activities for use at home to support students’ learning and development.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
There are several resources related to home-school connection guidance, including a “Parent Portal Walkthrough” video in Spanish, a “Guía para padres: Cómo utilizar Ipractice eficazmente (Parent Guide: How to Use Ipractice Effectively),” and the “Empower Educators” page.
The Parent Portal Walkthrough Video guides parents on how to interpret/read student reports; it provides parents with an overview of the program. It also walks parents through the available resources on Istation, student reports, and how to use the “Lexile—busca un libro.” These materials are available to parents in Spanish. While not explicitly stated, parents can have their students find a book and practice repeated readings with them. In the “Resource” section, parents can print resources, including lessons (e.g., “Reading with Expression”).
In the Guía para padres, available in English and Spanish, parents find snapshots of the different skills covered in the products, a detailed list of activities available in “Ipractice” (home component), parent resources, and video links that show how to deliver a lesson at home. This information helps parents understand the design of the program and offers tips; there is also a sample daily schedule on how to best support the student. The instructions on the schedule come from the teacher: “Padres: Por favor, pidan a sus hijos que sigan este horario durante su trabajo en Istation esta semana.” The “Parent Guide” links to books and passages as well as activities for home use. Additionally, it includes notes for parents or tutors that provide instruction and guided practice information. Parents utilize the “Lexile—Find a Book” tool to find books on a variety of topics for their child’s Lexile level or by grade level. The books include Amazon purchase links and local library links. A support email allows parents to request additional support.
This resource includes “una lista de lecciones y recursos del Portal para Padres para apoyar el aprendizaje en casa.” Skills within the lessons include sounds, letters and sounds, vocabulary, reading comprehension, alphabet stories, games, books, songs, word analysis (middle school), fluency, links for self-selected reading, and an arcade. The organization of Ipractice en Espanol is consistent across grades. Practice areas include songs, letters, games, lessons, books, exploration, and stories by verb tense (past, present, future). The list contains the lesson’s cycle number and a summary of the lesson or book up to grade 3. These summaries are not available for grades 4–5; however, the list does provide the activity name along with the message “Disponible próximamente en 2020.” Within this resource, the “Portal para Padres—Lección de vocales en español” video walks parents through how to access a lesson through the parent portal. Parents must have their student’s login information for access. Once in the portal, parents can access books and lessons, which are very similar to those of the teacher and include activities.
The Empower Educators Page includes a page “For Parents and Caregivers.” This page provides “Downloadable Resources” divided by section: “At Home Learning,” “Logging In,” “Oral Reading Fluency,” “The Istation Application,” “Istation Parent Portal,” “Red Cape Classroom” (“offering brief yet insightful and actionable tips for at-home instruction during this transition to remote learning” with “recordings on Youtube at IstationEd,” and “COVID-19 Resources.” At-Home Learning resources include two versions of a “Remote Assessment Guide for Parents and Caregivers,” a “Parent Guide for Using Ipractice Effectively,” and an “At Home Learning Parent Playbook.”
The At Home Learning Parent Playbook contains suggestions and strategies parents can employ to help support their student(s), especially remote learners. This section supports the development of strong relationships between teachers and families. The At Home Learning Parent Playbook in English and Spanish allows teachers to provide research-based tips that parents can easily use at home (e.g., “Porque los niños necesitan una rutina,” “Cómo crear un salón de clase en casa,” “Integre el aprendizaje combinado,” “Mantenga a sus hijos centrados,” “Enseñe a sus hijos a llevar un diario,” “Los principios básicos de una estación de aprendizaje”). This manual makes recommendations to parents regarding how to foster strong relationships between teachers and students (e.g., “Mantenga una comunicación abierta. Recuerde que no está solo. Haga un esfuerzo por comunicarse a diario con los maestros y aliente a sus hijos a que hablen con sus compañeros de clase.”)
The materials, in the digital and print formats, include visual design that is neither distracting nor chaotic. Within the lessons and different texts, there is an appropriate use of white space and design that supports student learning without being distracting. The pictures and graphics, when included, support student learning and engagement.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
The digital components of the materials follow a game-style format, which serves student learning without being distracting. Furthermore, the lessons and the assessments within the digital platform are neither distracting nor chaotic and serve as a cause for students’ focus.
The teacher-directed lessons include appropriate use of white space and design that supports student learning. The margins around the content are consistent throughout. The materials use the same font and, for the most part, the same size throughout, except for headings, subheadings, and vocabulary words. Materials include pictures and graphics that are supportive of student learning and engagement without being visually distracting. There is evidence that pictures and graphics for students’ use adhere to User Interface Design guidelines. The images within the glossary of the texts are relatable, relevant, and colorful. The graphic organizers include text that is legible and also supports learning and engagement.
In “Ciclo 17, Lección 3: Vocabulario—Usar claves de contexto,” students analyze unfamiliar words using context clues. The teacher’s guide includes instructional support with information that is clearly stated and easily identified on the pages; sections are divided using larger font sizes, bolding, and lines. The handout for practicing context clues includes five different words with a sample sentence, a related visual, and a space for the student to create a meaning for the word. This handout has an aesthetically pleasing and minimalist design. The second student handout provides sentences for which students analyze context clues and create a meaning for the new word.
In “Ciclo 18, Lección 1: Resumir textos de fantasía,” students “resumen los textos de fantasía, ‘El triunfo de Rafael’ y ‘El rescate’ usando organizadores gráficos.” In the activity, there is a chart for students to record a summary of the story that is supported with visuals. These visuals support students’ understanding of the skill (summary) and provide further learning engagement in the activity, without being distracting.
In “Nivel 2, Lección 4: Aprender a hacer inferencias,” students make inferences and use evidence to support understanding. There are two texts. While visually each text contains too much print and appears cramped on the page, the lesson contains other graphics that support students’ learning. A chart includes guiding questions (prompts) to help students infer certain events from the texts. The information in this chart (graphic) is not distracting and supports student learning.
In the passage “El rescate,” white space is consistent throughout the page. The color visual is located at the top of the page to draw the reader’s attention. Space between paragraphs and font are also consistent throughout the story; bolded subheadings help students better follow the reading. After the passage, there is a vocabulary section with instructions for students: “Mira las fotos y lee las oraciones para comentar cada palabra con tus compañeros.” Each of the four vocabulary cards includes a definition, a sample sentence, and the word cited in a passage; some words contain a cognate. Quality pictures for each vocabulary term support the lesson and help students 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.
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The materials do not support teachers in understanding the connection between content presented in each language, nor do they provide guidance on how to help students understand this connection. The materials do not offer students opportunities to make cross-linguistic connections or to understand and apply the connection between the languages. The materials allow for some equitable instruction in both languages, in terms of quality and quantity of resources.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
The materials include two similar programs, one in English and the other one in Spanish, but there is no guidance for teachers regarding how to connect these. The program and materials are not intended to connect Spanish and English instruction. Per the “Istation Español Program Description”: “Each student receives an individualized and adaptive scope and sequence based on the initial ISIP assessment results, data from monthly assessments, and frequent embedded skill checks.” Students take the ISIP assessment either in English or Spanish, or both. Then, the system creates a report to guide teachers on the lessons recommended for each student, based on the language of the assessment. When students take the test in both languages, teachers access the “Biliteracy” report, which includes the students’ information for both tests. While the report provides teachers with guidance on how to address the specific needs of the students regarding skills in each language, it does not provide any guidance for cross-linguistic connections (e.g., skills that transfer).
Teachers find a list of texts in the “Guía de Istation Reading en Español: Libros y pasajes.” 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 “Nivel 1, Lección 30: Fluidez,” students read a mini-text about Easter and some of the celebrations. At the beginning of the lesson, the teacher sets the purpose: “Vamos a activar nuestro conocimiento previo sobre el día de Pascua. ¿Alguno de ustedes me puede decir qué sabe sobre esta celebración?” The text mentions the religious tradition aspect of the celebration while also mentioning the cultural aspect (the Easter bunny and egg hunts). At the end of the lesson, students write three facts they learned from the story. The text does not mention the cultural background of these traditions, and it does not integrate discussion opportunities to talk about bicultural reflections.
In El origen del mar (880L) by Jessica Rosario-Valentín, students find a traditional Taino legend about the origins of the oceans of planet Earth. Following the guidance provided, teachers can use this text for fluency and discussion of the elements of the genre. The materials do not include the country of origin of this legend, and they do not include any guidance on how to use this text for the development of socio-cultural competence. The text features a glossary with four vocabulary terms from the text (e.g., encolerizado, choza), including a visual, definition, and a citation. However, there is no guidance on how these words may be used differently in Spanish-speaking countries.
The fluency practice passage “Los inmigrantes” (1040L) is about how there are people from all over the world in the United States. An excerpt reads: “Al tener inmigrantes de varios lugares del mundo, en Estados Unidos se encuentran diferentes creencias, tradiciones, religiones, idiomas, culturas y comidas.” The text ends with a call to respect and value cultural differences: “Vivir en Estados Unidos, un país lleno de inmigrantes, hace que las personas aprendan a respetar y valorar las diferencias culturales para hacer un país mejor.” As in all fluency practice texts, there is no guidance for a teacher-led discussion on the importance of diversity and respect; characteristics of these cultures are not included.
The biography Sonia Sotomayor (1450L) by Anamaría Fernandez is about the Supreme Court judge who “creció en Nueva York junto a sus padres de origen puertorriqueño.” It tells of the adversity Sotomayor faced early in life with the loss of her dad, the education she received, and her appointment as the first Justice of the U.S. Supreme court of Latino descent. The biography shares that Sotomayor considers her mom the reason for her success. The text includes bold vocabulary words throughout the text, without a glossary at the end. The materials do not include any guidance as to how to use this text for socio-cultural connection and competence.
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