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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. English Language Arts and Reading Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) and English Language Proficiency Standards (ELPS) Alignment
TEKS Student %
TEKS Teacher %
ELPS Student %
ELPS Teacher %
Section 2. Texts
Section 3. Literacy Practices and Text Interactions
Section 4. Developing and Sustaining Foundational Literacy Skills
Section 5. Supports for All Learners
Section 6. Implementation
Section 7. Additional Information
|Grade||TEKS Student %||TEKS Teacher %||ELPS Student %||ELPS Teacher %|
The materials include leveled texts for ELAR instruction that cover student interests. The fiction texts include relatable themes, and the nonfiction texts include topics of interest for students. Most texts are created specifically for the materials with some evidence of the quality produced by experts in various disciplines. The texts in the materials increase in complexity, as demonstrated by their Lexile levels. The texts include contemporary, traditional, and multicultural diverse texts. The materials do not include classical texts.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
The texts are created for the materials and organized in cycles by Lexile levels; these cycles correspond with the student’s reading performance within the program. Cycles 7–14 are appropriate for use with grade 3 students of varying reading performance levels. These cycles include 90 full-text, leveled readers and 50 passages from a variety of genres.
Bert and Gert, written by Sylvia Kim, is a contemporary fiction student reader with a Lexile level of 560. In the story, two characters encourage each other to try new things. The language and content are relevant and interesting to students in grade 3. The text includes sensory language (e.g., “The ice feels like glass”). The author is listed in the text; however, evidence was not found to establish the credibility of the author as an expert.
Pets, written by Ian McBee, is a contemporary nonfiction student reader with a Lexile level of 600. This text includes information about household pets. The book includes text features such as a table of contents. Students learn about the care of various animals at a level that is appropriate for their grades. Simple language about animal care engages learners (e.g., “There are a few things that every dog needs. They need exercise every day, to be fed twice a day, and plenty of cool, clean water to drink.”). The author is listed in the text; however, evidence was not found to establish the credibility of the author as an expert.
The Moon is a contemporary nonfiction student reader with a Lexile level of 680. This text presents factual information about the Earth and Moon. Appropriate vocabulary, photos, and illustrations support the content and text. The author of the book is not stated.
The Desert’s Gift is a contemporary fiction text with a Lexile level of 790. The text follows the main character as he spends his summer with his grandparents and explores their heritage as “Tohono O’odham” or “Desert People.” The main character expresses relatable behavior: “After a while, Danny complained that he was bored and hot. He quit working and started kicking aside fruits that had been pecked by birds.” The author of the book is not stated.
Journey Through the Triangle is a narrative nonfiction passage with a Lexile level of 720. The passage describes a journey through the Bermuda Triangle in diary format. Content vocabulary is appropriate for the topic. For example, “This was the last journal entry of Ling Lee, passenger aboard the Bermuda Beauty.” This sentence uses key vocabulary and is interesting to students in grade 3. The author of the passage was not stated.
The materials include expository/informational passages. Amazonia Alert! gives information about the rainforest, the issues that it faces, and the people who inhabit the area. Cycle 11 includes an informational text titled Homes of Many Cultures, in which students learn about the characteristics of this genre.
Cycle 11 includes a fairy tale titled Rumpelstiltskin. In this story, the Miller's daughter is taken to the castle and tasked with spinning piles of straw into gold. She gets herself out of this pickle with the help of Rumpelstiltskin and marries the king. But her troubles are not over. She has another task to complete to keep her baby away from Rumpelstiltskin. In Cycle 11, a fairy tale titled The Princess and the Pea shares the story of a princess who must endure a harrowing night to prove her royalty and find her happily ever after.
The materials include some text types and genres across content that meet the requirements of the TEKS for grade 3. Texts in the materials are labeled by Lexile level and grouped in cycles. Text types that fall within grade 3 Lexile levels include fairy tales, folk tales, myths, legends, and expository and informational texts. The materials include a limited number of argumentative texts within the grade 3 Lexile levels. The majority of text types in the materials are leveled readers and passages. The materials include print and graphic features.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
The materials indicate the grade 3 Lexile (L) range is 480L–810L. Students progress through cycles within the program and can move above their grade-level cycles based on their performance. The cycle ranges are Cycles 1–7 (grades 2–3), Cycles 7–14 (grades 3–4 and 4–5), Cycles 7–15 (grades 5–6), and Middle School Bridge and Timeless Tales (TT) Units 1–4, HumanEX, and NexLevel (grades 6–8).
Examples of literary texts include but are not limited to:
“Fun at the Pond” by R.L. Wilbanks, Cycle 7 (fiction leveled reader)
“King Zung and the Lark” by Ed Green, Cycle 8 (fable leveled reader)
“The Three Little Bugs” by Linda Jacobs, Cycle 10 (fairy tale leveled reader)
“A View From Above,” author unknown, Cycle 12 (collection of four poems)
“Man on a Wire,” author unknown, Cycle 14 (literary nonfiction passage)
Examples of informational texts include but are not limited to:
“The Colt,” author unknown, Cycle 9 (expository passage)
“George Washington Carver,” author unknown, Cycle 10 (biography article)
“Sandbox Games,” author unknown, Cycle 11 (argumentative passage)
“Hurricanes,” author unknown, Cycle 11 (informational passage)
“A Trip to the Grand Canyon,” author unknown, Cycle 12 (friendly letter)
“Our Solar System,” author unknown, Cycle 12 (expository leveled reader)
Examples of print and graphic features include but are not limited to:
“Whales,” author unknown, from Cycle 10, contains labeled illustrations, fact boxes, enlarged details of illustrations, and a labeled chart to compare types of toothed whales.
“Earth: The Changing Surface,” author unknown, from Cycle 12, includes bolded and underlined vocabulary and a glossary explaining scientific words from the text.
“Survivors!” author unknown, from Cycle 13, includes photographs with captions and labels showing animals described in the text.
Texts in the materials are not accompanied by a full text-complexity analysis provided by the publisher. The texts are at the appropriate quantitative levels, as indicated by each text’s labeled Lexile level. The materials do not include qualitative features for each text within the grade level; there is a general overview of qualitative features based on Lexile levels.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
The publisher provides the “Lexile Framework for Reading (LFR),” which includes a Lexile scale. Lexile scales are quantitative measures of text complexity, such as word frequency and sentence length. The materials provide a grade-level estimate that corresponds to the Lexile (L) level of each text. The approximate grade 3 range is 480L–810L. According to the information provided by the publisher in “LexileⓇ Levels,” students receive a Lexile score via the comprehension subtest of the “Istation’s Indicators of Progress (ISIP)” assessment. The materials suggest using this score to “match students with texts at or near their reading level (with a 75% forecasted comprehension rate) rather than using a grade-based list.” According to “Istation’s Books and Passages,” texts at the appropriate Lexile level for grade 3 include “The Twin Mice” 490L, “George Washington Carver” 580L, and “The Dirt Detectives” 670L.
According to the “Istation Stages of Reading,” each stage has general “Reader Characteristics” and “Text Characteristics” that will guide the qualitative selection of text-based on Lexile measurement and targeted skills. For example, for an “Early Reader” (200L–380L), the text characteristics are “repetitious text that contains pattern changes” and “longer sentences and tense changes.” For a “Beginner Reader” (380L–590L), the text characteristics are “text contains complex sentences, a variety of punctuation, and dialogue.”
Most questions in the materials are text-specific and integrate multiple TEKS. Questions in the materials target complex text elements and require students to identify and discuss important big ideas, themes, and details. The materials include a repeating set of prompts for students to make connections to personal experiences, other texts, and the world around them when reading a new text. The materials do not include text-specific “making connections” questions within grade 3 lessons.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
The materials include lessons on the program’s online student app. On the app, students work through automatic “Cycles” of lessons based on their reading performance on the “IStation’s Indicators of Progress (ISIP)” assessment. In addition, the app includes a limited number of texts with accompanying lessons that students self-select. The materials also have the “ISIP Advanced Reading Teacher Directed Interventions” lessons in reading comprehension, spelling, and vocabulary.
Within the automatic cycle portions of the student app, an animated teacher reminds students to use “CAPS” as they read. CAPS is an acronym that stands for “Clarify and Connect, Ask Questions, Predict or Picture it, and Summarize.” For example, before reading Power for the Planet, Mr. Marco, an animated character, reviews CAPS and shares actions he took to help conserve energy. He asks the student readers to think about the steps they can take to help the earth as they read the book.
The “Discovery Island” portion of the student app contains 19 texts within the grade 3 Lexile (L) range of 590L–730L. Students working within Cycles 12 and 13 can self-select texts and complete corresponding computer-based lessons. For example, the fiction book Mission Incredible has an accompanying lesson that teaches summarizing and making inferences. Students read and answer text-specific questions (e.g., “Why did Wendy tease Charlie about plans to travel to outer space?” and “What is the best summary of Chapter 1?”).
In “Comprehension,” Lesson 12, students determine the main idea of individual paragraphs using the expository passage “Spiders.” During the lesson, the teacher asks guiding questions to help students determine the main idea. For instance, after reading paragraph two, the teacher asks, “What kind of places do they like to live in?” Students match main idea statements with paragraphs. Students practice the skill, and the teacher assesses their learning with two additional passages.
In Lesson 13, “Author’s Purpose,” the teacher shows students a “Main Idea and Supporting Details” graphic organizer. Together, the teacher and students read a nonfiction passage, “Searching for Atlantis,” and discuss the information in the passage related to the main idea and supporting details. For instance, the teacher’s script reads, “Which sentence at the beginning of the article tells what the passage is mostly about?” The teacher helps students find the passage’s main idea and main idea of individual paragraphs. Students practice the same process using additional passages in the “Guided Practice” and “Independent Practice” portions of the lesson.
In Comprehension, Lesson 26, students compare and contrast two texts. Students first use background knowledge to compare stories with which they are familiar, such as “Cinderella” and “Jack and the Beanstalk.” Then, students read two new texts and write their comparisons of the texts on a Venn diagram. The teacher prompts students to include comparisons of the “characters, setting, problem, and resolution.” The lesson includes general prompting to help students compare the stories. For example, “I want you to think about how the story ‘Cinderella’ and the story ‘Jack and the Beanstalk’ are alike and how they are different.”
Students learn about themes in Comprehension Lessons 59, 60, and 61. The lessons are labeled “Grades 4–5”; however, the Lexile levels of the texts used in the lessons are in the range for grades 3 through 5, according to “Lexile Range and Approximate Grade Level” information provided by the publisher. In Lesson 61, students summarize and explain the message or theme of the fiction text “The Rainforest Howlers” (540L). After reading, the teacher tells students that a story’s theme is an important lesson or message about life or the world we live in. The teacher asks students, “How do they resolve their difference of opinion?” and “What do you think is the message of this story?” The teacher guides students to see that the story’s theme reflects modern ideas and facilitates a student discussion to identify details that show the story was written in modern times.
The materials contain some questions and tasks within teacher-guided lessons and independent practice that support students’ analysis of literary elements of texts. Some questions and tasks ask students to analyze, make inferences, and draw conclusions about the author’s purpose. The materials contain some opportunities to analyze the language or structure of individual texts. They do not ask students to compare and contrast the purposes of different authors’ writing on the same topic.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
In the “Cycle 11” lesson “Informational Text Characteristics,” students study text characteristics, including graphics, organization, central idea, and text features. Students read an informational article about different types of homes. They analyze the text during teacher-led discussions and activities such as “Problem and Solution Strips.” Materials state: “Authors of information text do everything on purpose. They use certain characteristics to help readers better understand the topic and to keep them interested in reading.” The teacher asks questions about the author’s choices (e.g., “What type of information is the author giving you in the subtitles?”)
In Lesson 19, “Author's Purpose,” students read examples of text, and the teacher explains whether they were written to explain, persuade, or inform. The teacher asks guiding questions like, “What was the author trying to get you to do?” Students practice identifying the purpose for listed types of writing, such as commercials and campaign speeches. Next, the teacher assigns one of the three purposes, and students write a paragraph about a topic based on that purpose. Finally, students independently read short passages and answer questions about the author’s purpose.
In Lesson 22, “Drawing Conclusions,” students read short passages and practice drawing conclusions. The teacher explains: “Authors don’t tell us every single thing we need to know about a story. They expect us to read clues from the story and to put them together with things we already know to reach a conclusion about an idea or the story.” Students use “Clues from the story” and “What I know” to make conclusions. This lesson does not explicitly include studying the language within the text to understand the author’s purpose. Additionally opportunities are included in Cycle 12 Priority Lesson, which guides students in making inferences and drawing conclusions from text and Cycle 11 Priority Lesson which gives students instruction on comprehension skills and strategies such as making inferences from text.
The materials include scaffolds and supports for teachers to differentiate vocabulary development for learners through leveled, teacher-guided lessons. The online student learning app differentiates instruction for students based on monthly assessment data. The materials include a cohesive, year-long plan for students to build academic vocabulary.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
This adaptive program relies on the monthly “Istation Indicators of Progress (ISIP)” assessment to measure student growth. Based on results, students are placed in a learning “Cycle” for the online student app and receive vocabulary instruction within the Cycle lessons. The materials also include “Teacher Resource Lessons” in reading subcategories, including vocabulary. According to the document “Istation Teacher Resource Lessons ISIP—Vocabulary,” the lessons are to “help students reach mastery level in a particular skill.” There are three tiers of lessons: “Tier 3” (Lexile levels 600–800), “Tier 2” (Lexile levels 750–900), and “Tier 1” (Lexile levels 850–1000). The interactive program places students in a level of vocabulary study individually based on the ISIP assessment results administered monthly. Students then follow learning paths that include games and activities designed to develop vocabulary focusing on different areas. Teachers can deliver small group instruction to students struggling based on the monthly ISIP assessment results and the data collected as students work on the program between monthly assessments.
The “Teacher Resource Lessons” have a script and are generally in five-lesson sets. Each lesson follows the sequence of “Teach,” “Guided Practice,” “Independent Practice,” and “Reteach.” The lessons are for small groups of students who have difficulty with a specific skill. However, if two-thirds of a class struggle with the same skill, the teacher presents the Teach and Guided Practice portions of the lesson to the whole class. There is further guidance to modify the lessons according to students’ needs and regroup students based on additional instructional needs.
Lesson 1 of each Teacher Resource Lesson begins with practice using context clues to determine word meaning in sentences that the teacher shares. Students read a Lexile leveled fiction or nonfiction passage, and the teacher models and guides students in using context clues. All lessons include guiding questions to ask students (e.g., “What do the words around the word tell me about the word?” “Are there examples or descriptions given for the word?” “Is there a word part that can help me with the meaning?”) In Lesson 2, students complete sentence stems with the words they learned in Lesson 1. In Lesson 3, students use the same words they learned to fill in missing words in a passage. Lesson 4 introduces an additional skill that varies among sets, such as root words. Lesson 5 is a review of the words learned using varying structures.
“Vocabulary 1A” is a Tier 3 lesson set. In Lesson 1, students use context clues to determine the meaning of words (e.g., reluctant). In Lesson 4, students look at words with prefixes to determine meaning (e.g., recall and reapply). Students draw “vocabulary squares” in their journal to record word meanings along with an example, definition, and illustration for each word. The lesson set includes a word meaning game and an “Examples and Non-Examples” activity where students circle the correct word description.
“Vocabulary 2B” is a Tier 2 lesson set. In Lesson 2, students use their knowledge of words taught in Lesson 1 to complete sentence stems (e.g., “The students often debate about....”). In Lesson 4, students practice using suffixes to determine word meaning and write examples of words with specific suffixes (e.g., -ful). In “Student Activity 4,” students fill in missing words in a passage using context clues. For Independent Practice, students choose three of the words to use in a sentence and write it in their vocabulary log.
“Vocabulary 4B” is a Tier 2 lesson set. In Lesson 4, students learn about homographs. The teacher writes two sentences on the board that contain a homograph (e.g., tense). Students look at sentences containing homographs and the different definitions of the words. In “Student Activity 4,” students match a sentence that includes a homograph with the correct definition of the word.
Students can self-select texts by searching for leveled texts within the online student materials. The materials include support for teachers in the form of brief descriptive documents and a video tutorial that mentions independent reading. The materials include limited resources and protocols to support independent reading and lack a clearly defined reading plan. The materials do not have a document that explicitly outlines an independent reading plan.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
Students complete the “Istation’s Indicator of Progress” (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 1–7 (grades 2–3); Cycles 7–14 (grades 3–4 and 4–5); Cycles 7–15 (grades 5–6), Middle School Bridge, and Timeless Tales Units 1–4, HumanEx, and NexLevel (grades 6–8). Teachers and students cannot adjust student placement within the Cycles.
The “Library” found under the “Book” icon of the program’s student app includes leveled books that students can self-select to read independently. There are four collections of books: “Fiction: Beginner” (61 titles, 0L–620L); “Fiction: Medium” (40 titles: 140L–870L); “Fiction: Advanced” (13 titles, 450L–810L); and “Non-Fiction” (23 titles, 170L–940L). The Lexile range for grades 3 through 5 is 480L–950L. The texts are leveled readers with no listed author. Students can sort the books by Lexile level or by title. Students scroll through images of the front covers of the books and click on their chosen book. The teacher can project the texts and read with students; students can listen to the audio in the student app; or teachers can print hard copies from a PDF file. The books are not online versions of published books.
Students who advance to Cycle 13 in the online program have access to 19 passages to self-select in the “Discovery Island” component of the materials. Students who advance to Cycle 14 in the online program have access to 10 passages to self-select in the “Exploration Station” component of the materials. There is no evidence of procedures, protocols, or support for teachers to foster independent reading with this component.
There is no specific planning guide for using the texts for independent reading. There is no evidence of a plan for students to self-select the texts, and there is no planning or accountability for students to achieve independent reading goals while reading these texts.
The materials include the printable “Bookworm Bookmark” with strategies for independent reading. The bookmark states: “What good readers do,” “Predict,” “Ask Questions,” “Clarify,” “Summarize,” “Visualize & Re-read.”
The article “Lexile Levels,” found in the “Instructional User Guide,” suggests using student Lexile scores when finding books for students. The materials’ website contains a “Find a Book” feature. Teachers can search for books based on students’ Lexile levels on this site. The site allows users to save book lists and titles for purchase from online sellers or check out at a library. The titles are not included in the materials.
The materials include support in the form of “Training Videos.” The videos provide a quick tutorial and help articles to support teachers and administrators with the initial steps in getting started using the program. The “Teacher’s Features” button includes a video about how to use the Teacher Station: “The educator will see how they can use featured Istation animation in various topics, to teach whole group, small group, or even one on one to enhance the learning experience.” Specifically, at 4:24 minutes, the speaker mentions the self-selected reading section of the program: “As they read passages, they’ll earn rewards that will be added to their profile.”
The User Guide includes the section “Literacy Work Station Activity Ideas.” The document recommends five stations: “Computer/Ipad, Library, Reading, Writing, and Word Study.” The document has a link for the “Istation Books and Passages” document in the Library section. This document lists the books and passages found in the materials, grouped by Cycle. The books and passages listed are the same texts used in the materials’ teacher-directed lessons and animated lessons. The “Stations Procedures” section states: “Students are given ‘free choice’ of books where they can read and explore any topic of interest.” Within the “Reading Work Station” section, the document lists “Independent Reading,” “Shared Reading,” and “Partner Reading.” The section again links the Istation Books and Passages document. The Station Procedures section for Independent Reading states, “Students choose a spot in the room to sit and read text at their ability level.” There are no specific protocols and procedures for independent reading.
The materials provide students opportunities to write literary texts to express their ideas, informational texts to communicate ideas, and correspondence in a professional or friendly structure. The materials do not provide students opportunities 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 materials do not provide lessons that are specific to grade 3. “Writing Extensions 21–49” are listed for grades 3 through 5 in the “Istation Reading Curriculum Correlation to the TEKS for ELAR” document. Each activity consists of directions for students to read and follow themselves. The activities do not include teacher notes or directions.
Students compose literary texts, including personal narratives and poetry, using genre characteristics and craft in Writing Extensions 21, 22, 29, 32, 34, and 37. In Writing Extension 21, students write a story about an imaginary trip in the solar system to a rocky planet, a gas giant, or the asteroid belt. The activity includes a paragraph of directions for students in the following sections: “Before You Write, Writing a Draft, Revising, Elaborate, Editing Mini activity: Nouns, and Editing Checklist.” In Writing Extension 37, students write a descriptive poem from the perspective of an animal. The activity contains the same components, with directions adjusted to match poetry writing. In Writing Extension 29, students predict what happens next in the text “Fossil Hunters” and write a continuation of the story based on their predictions. Students use an “idea web” graphic organizer to plan story details.
Students compose informational texts, including brief compositions that convey information about a topic, using a clear central idea and genre characteristics and craft, in Writing Extensions 23–26, 30, 35, 36, and 38. In Writing Extension 28, students write an email message describing the Earth’s rocks and soil. Students read the book Earth: Rocks and Soil and list the changes described in the book. Then, students take on the role of a “budding geologist” and write an email message to a pen pal, explaining the “Earth’s rocks and soil to someone from a planet that has no rocks or soil.” Students revise their work and add details. In Writing Extension 30, students write a script or a pamphlet, imagining they are planning to lead a helicopter tour of the Earth for tourists. In their writing, students describe land features and bodies of water.
According to the Istation Reading Curriculum Correlations to TEKS for ELAR document, students compose argumentative texts, including opinion essays, using genre characteristics and craft, in Writing Extensions 31 and 33. However, these activities require students to compose persuasive writing instead of argumentative writing. In Writing Extension 31, students write a speech persuading creatures in space to save the Earth’s atmosphere. In Writing Extension 33, students write a book recommendation and attempt to persuade their classmates to read the book. Students use the “Story Elements Chart” to plan their writing. Students share a summary of the book and their opinion of it, and why other students should read it.
In the activity “Argumentative Text Characteristics,” students read an argumentative text and learn about the characteristics of this type of text (e.g., claims and reasons to support the claim). The activity includes an “Optional Extensions” section, which includes three prompts for students to write. For two of the prompts, students continue their analysis of the text. The third prompt says, “Students can use a blank graphic organizer to write their argumentative text.” Writing argumentative text is not included as a core part of the activity.
Students compose correspondence, such as thank-you notes and letters, in Writing Extensions 23, 28, 35, and 38. In Writing Extension 23, students write friendly letters between pen pals from two different hemispheres, describing and comparing the weather. Directions state that the letters should include a friendly introduction and a description of the weather in the body of the letter. In Writing Extension 35, students write a letter to a hero. Students review problems and solutions from the text “The Rain Forest Howlers.” Students imagine a local hero solved a problem from the text and write a letter to that person thanking him or her.
The materials also include “Writing Rules!” lessons. The publisher’s documents and online resources contradict the grade levels listed for this resource. The Istation Reading Curriculum Correlation to the TEKS for ELAR document states that these lessons are for grades 4 and 5. They state the following lessons provide opportunities for students to compose texts: “Writing Rules: Personal Narrative,” “Writing Rules: Expository Essay,” “Writing Rules Paragraph Building: Ideas, Organization,” and corresponding teacher-directed intervention lessons. On the publisher’s website, the “Literacy Work Station Activity Ideas” page contains the subtitle “Writing Rules! Teacher-Directed Lessons (3rd–5th grade only).” The “Ipractice Teacher Station” app includes a “Writing 4th–8th” button, which takes the user into the interactive Writing Rules! lessons.
The “Writing Rules! Scope and Sequence” states that this component contains “Interactive Online Instruction” and “Teacher-Led Small-Group or Individual Instruction.” Within the “Essay Writing” section of the student-facing app, students can choose “Essay Introduction,” “Personal Narrative,” or “Expository Essay.” There is one interactive lesson path for each. For example, in Expository Essay, the animated teacher explains the components, organization, and purpose of expository writing. Students interact during the learning portion. Then, students follow step-by-step directions to complete different components of each step of the writing process and write their expository essay. In the Personal Narrative section, students learn the components of a personal narrative and compose it via interactive lessons.
The materials provide limited opportunities for students to use evidence from the text to support their claims and opinions. The materials have some opportunities for students to demonstrate in writing what they have learned through the analysis of texts.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
Students work through automated, computer-based “Cycles” of the materials on a student-facing app. Students are assigned to a Cycle based on their results on the “Istation’s Indicators of Progress” (ISIP) assessment. Lessons and activities within the app do not include written tasks or tasks that require students to use the information and text-supported claims to demonstrate the synthesis of texts. Within the Cycles, students listen to or read texts. Students respond to text by, for instance, answering multiple-choice questions, clicking the correct word, and dragging the text to the correct spot.
“Teacher-Directed Lessons” are for use with small groups of students or the whole class as needed based on data collected from ISIP. These lessons contain some opportunities for students to use text evidence to support their answers. For example, in “ISIP Advanced Reading 7A,” students work independently to reread the passage “Round and Round?” and answer multiple-choice questions. Students provide written evidence from the text for each question. Questions include “What is the effect of large heavenly bodies spinning?” and “What is the author’s purpose for writing this selection?”
In ISIP Advanced Reading 10C, students work independently to complete a chart identifying the author’s purpose for short passages. After identifying the author’s purpose, students respond to the question “How do you know?” and provide text evidence.
In “Comprehension,” Lesson 22, “Drawing Conclusions,” students use “clues from the story” and their background knowledge to draw conclusions. The teacher reads a short story to the class and asks the students, “What do we KNOW about the man that entered the restaurant?” The teacher says, “By looking at the clues in the story and putting them together with what we already know, we can draw a conclusion.” The teacher models how to draw conclusions. Students practice the strategy by reading “The Stanton Star.” On a chart, students record clues from the story and what they already know about the topic; they then draw a conclusion based on these two components and write it down.
In Lesson 13A, “Author’s Purpose,” the class reads aloud “Searching for Atlantis.” After each paragraph, the teacher asks the following opinion questions: “Why do you think details from stories about Atlantis are different from place to place?” “Why do many people believe Atlantis is just a myth?” “How has modern technology changed the search for Atlantis?” Students answer the questions using text evidence. Then, students write about the main idea of the passage using supporting details on a graphic organizer. The teacher asks the students, “What are the main ideas of the body paragraphs?” “How do they support the main idea?” “What is the conclusion?”
In ISIP Advanced Reading 4A, students practice summarizing and making generalizations. The lesson includes a multiple-choice assessment. The student directions state: “You must provide evidence from the text after each question. You may copy phrases or sentences from the passage where you found the information that best supports your answer.”
In ISIP Advanced Reading 9A, students reread the passage “When a Bark Is More Than a Bark” and write a summary. While reading, students pause after each paragraph to write the most important idea found in the paragraph. Students use their notes to write a summary of the passage.
In Cycle 12, students draw conclusions based on information in stories. After reading the poem, Monday Mystery, students think to themselves about what happened in the poem, “Do the words in the poem show or prove something that the author does not tell the reader? Which clues helped me figure it out?” Students use a graphic organizer as they come to a conclusion about the text, “Record your conclusion and the clues that helped you reach it.”.
The materials facilitate students’ use of elements of the writing process to compose multiple texts within activities that students read, follow, and complete independently. The materials include a limited number of “Teacher-Directed Lessons” related to composition conventions skills, and these lessons are not clearly indicated for grade 3. The materials provide some opportunities for practice and application of academic language when speaking and writing, including punctuation and grammar. The materials do not include the systematic teaching of grammar, punctuation, and usage. Using student checklists, students practice editing while working on their writing. It is unclear how the complexity of applied composition convention skills increases over the course of the year, as the materials do not provide guidance on sequence, alignment, or frequency of the included composition instruction; this was also unclear when reviewing the materials.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
According to the “Istation Reading Curriculum Correlated to TEKS ELAR” document, “Writing Extensions 21–49” provide opportunities for students to use the elements of the writing process to compose text. The lessons are listed for grades 3 through 5, with no specific lessons for grade 3. Each Writing Extension activity consists of directions and an assignment for students to read and complete autonomously. Within the Writing Extensions, students practice the writing process elements, including planning, drafting, revising, editing, and publishing. In “Before You Write,” the directions introduce the topic to students. In “Writing a Draft,” the directions explain the assignment. In “Revising” and “Elaborate,” the directions provide brief tips. The “Editing Mini Lesson” is a short instructional portion that includes a teaching point for students to read; students are reminded to apply it as they write. Each Writing Extension consists of an “Editing Checklist” for students to evaluate their work or a peer’s work with the ratings of “Very Well,” “Fairly Well,” and “Not so Well.” Then, there are brief directions for a final draft. Some Writing Extensions include templates for student work. There are brief opportunities to practice and apply academic language within the student directions, student mini-lesson, and Editing Checklist. For example, in Writing Extension 23, “Before You Write,” students fill in a cause-and-effect chart for the book “Earth: Day, Night, and Seasons.” In Writing a Draft, students write a draft of correspondence between pen pals in the form of a letter or an email. In Revising, the directions state: “Reread your draft for places that need improvement.” “Revise by adding a date at the top of each letter, adding a salutation and closing, and rewriting the sentences to make their meaning clear.” “Elaborate by adding details from their own experience or imagination that bring the weather to life.” In “Editing Mini-Lesson: Homophones,” students read the definition and examples of homophones and are reminded to check their work for the use of the correct homophones. Finally, students use the Editing Checklist to evaluate each stage of the writing process in the lesson. “Final Draft,” tells students to improve their work based on the checklist and “prepare a final draft.”
The materials also include “Writing Rules!” lessons. The publisher’s documents and online resources have contradicting grade levels listed for this resource. The Istation Reading Curriculum Correlation to the TEKS for ELAR document states that these lessons are for grades 4 and 5. They state the following lessons provide opportunities for students to compose texts: “Writing Rules: Personal Narrative Interventions,” “Writing Rules: Expository Essay Interventions,” “Writing Rules Paragraph Building: Six Traits, Units 1–6.” On the publisher’s website, the “Literacy Work Station Activity Ideas” page contains the subtitle “Writing Rules! Teacher-Directed Lessons (3rd–5th grade only).” The “Ipractice Teacher Station” app includes a “Writing 4th–8th” button, which takes the user into the interactive Writing Rules! lessons. The “Writing Rules! Scope and Sequence” states that this component contains “Interactive Online Instruction” and “Teacher-Led Small-Group or Individual Instruction Using Istations’ Teacher Resources.” The online instruction provides “intensive and direct instruction, practice, and repetition with multiple opportunities for skill application for students struggling in writing.” The teacher-directed interventions can be used for “targeted skill instruction for individuals and small groups.” The lessons teach writing using “six traits of good writing as the foundation for building essays in the narrative, expository and persuasive genres,” as stated in the “Interactive Instruction” section of the publisher’s website. Within the “Writing” section of the student-facing app, students can choose either “Introduction,” “Paragraph Building,” or “Essay Writing.” Paragraph Building includes one interactive lesson on each of the six traits of writing: “Ideas, Organization, Voice, Word Choice, Sentence Fluency, Conventions.” The Essay Writing section includes three choices (i.e., “Essay Introduction, Personal Narrative, Expository Essay”) with one interactive lesson path for each. For example, in Expository Essay, the animated teacher explains the components, organization, and purpose of expository writing. Students interact during the learning portion. Then, students follow step-by-step directions to complete different components of each step of the writing process.
The materials provide limited opportunities for practice and application of the conventions of academic language when speaking and writing, including punctuation and grammar. For example, in the teacher-directed lesson “Writing Rules! Unit 6: Conventions Trait,” students learn how to edit a paragraph. In Lesson 6.1A, students learn about parts of the Editing Checklist, including spelling, punctuation, capitalization, grammar, and paragraphing. In Lesson 6.1B, students use the Editing Checklist and proofreading marks to edit a paragraph, beginning with correcting spelling errors using a dictionary. Students continue editing their writing in the other categories of the checklist. Finally, in Lesson 6.1C, students independently practice editing a paragraph for basic writing conventions.
Although grammar, punctuation, and usage are addressed in the Writing Extensions and Teacher-Directed Lessons, they are not taught systematically. The materials do not provide a document describing the writing instruction as progressive or explaining the progression of writing instruction; progression was also not evident during the materials’ review. According to the Istation Reading Curriculum Correlated to TEKS ELAR document, most grammar TEKS are in Writing Extensions 21–49. Yet, some grammar TEKS are not listed in the document. The TEKS missing for grade 3 are adjectives including comparative and superlative forms; adverbs that convey time and manner; and punctuation marks, including apostrophes in contractions and possessives and commas in compound sentences and items in a series. This lack contradicts the “Istation TEKS TDLs” document, as this document shows a lesson (or multiple lessons) for all grade-level TEKS. Some TEKS are provided outside of Writing Extensions 21–49, including an “ISIP Early Reading Listening Comprehension: Prepositions” lesson. This lesson is labeled with TEKS for kindergarten only.
Most TEKS found in the Writing Extensions do not include direct instruction. Rather, there are mini-lessons, which are notes and examples for students to read themselves. Else, the TEKS are referred to on the Editing Checklist. For example, according to the Istation Reading Curriculum Correlated to TEKS ELAR document and the Istation TEKS TDLs document, the capitalization of official titles of people, holidays, and geographical names and places are listed as found in Writing Extensions 22, 23, 25, 30, 35, 38, and 46. In Writing Extension 22, the editing mini-lesson is on capitalization. However, it only provides students with rules about what to capitalize along with an example.
The materials do not include practice for students to write in cursive or instruction in cursive handwriting. The materials do not include a plan for teachers to assess students’ handwriting development.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
According to the “Reading Curriculum Correlated to the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills, English Language Arts are Reading Grades PK–5” document, “Writing Extensions 21–49,” in the “Teacher Resources,” address the student expectation to “write complete words, thoughts, and answers legibly in cursive leaving appropriate spaces between words.” The Writing Extensions include an “Editing Checklist” for students to evaluate their writing. In the “Editing” section, the checklist asks, “Did you write legibly in print or cursive?” “Did you write legibly?” The student checklists are the only mention of cursive found in the materials.
The materials include speaking and listening opportunities focused on text(s) being studied in class. The speaking and listening opportunities include limited direction and structure, hindering students’ ability to demonstrate comprehension effectively. The materials include oral tasks that ask students to use text-supported claims. The oral tasks minimally guide students to use well-defended claims or clear and concise information via provided tools and structures.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
The materials provide students with speaking and listening opportunities in the teacher-directed lessons focused on the texts being studied in class. For example, in “Cycle 10, Comprehension 10, Lesson 1,” students listen to the teacher read a passage about insects or read it independently. During the “Compare and Contrast Discussion,” the teacher tells students how to compare and contrast and record notes on a Venn diagram. Then, the lesson directions state to “facilitate a discussion about what the two passages have in common and have students highlight evidence in the text.” Specific discussion directions are not included.
In Cycle 10, Comprehension 10, Lesson 2, students make predictions after looking at pictures in the text “The Hero.” The lesson directions state for the teacher to “facilitate a discussion” using questions including “What do you think the solution to the problem will be?” and “Who do you think the hero will be in the story?” After students have read the text, the teacher helps students check their predictions and “make new ones based on the chapter [they] read. The pictures and the words work together to help us predict what will happen next.” Directions for listening and speaking are not included.
In “Skill—Comprehension, Lesson 22: Drawing Conclusions,” the teacher reads a paragraph to the students about a missing library book. Students draw a conclusion about the location of the library book and share their reasoning. The class repeats this process, first as a whole group, then with partners. The lesson directions state: “Ask partners to share their conclusions with the rest of the class, and together decide if they arrived at a valid conclusion.” The lesson asks for students’ reasoning. However, the lesson does not include directions or supports (e.g., sentence stems or discussion frames) for students to effectively state their reasoning.
In Cycle 7, students demonstrate knowledge and synthesis of a text by writing a compare and contrast paragraph using sentence frames. Materials state, “Provide sentence frames if necessary and have students use them to discuss their Venn diagrams with a partner. Students should use this time to compare their Venn diagrams with a partner and add or delete information as needed.” Then students take turns reading the paragraphs to a partner. Examples include “... and ...are both ... A big difference between ...and ...is ...”
The materials provide few opportunities to engage students in productive teamwork and in student-led discussions. The materials provide limited guidance and practice with grade-level protocols for discussion. The materials include limited opportunities for students to give organized presentations/performances and speak in a clear and concise manner.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
The lesson “Group Work...How Does It Work?” is the only lesson in the materials that provides practice with protocols for productive teamwork and discussion. This lesson is listed for grades 3, 4, and 5. In the lesson, “students will learn how to efficiently work in a group with classmates, how to give a presentation, and how to be a good audience member during a presentation.” The teacher leads a class discussion and explains that, regardless of preferences, it is important to “learn how to work with a diverse group of people on a task or project.” To form groups, students are each given a puzzle piece and find the three other students who have pieces that complete their puzzle. Students share about themselves and learn about their group members following a discussion protocol. Students share information about themselves based on colored tiles they have randomly picked. The teacher reminds students “to listen attentively when others are speaking and wait until they are finished to ask any questions. Listen and try to find connections between yourself and your teammates as they are telling things about themselves.” After groups share, the teacher asks the students reflective questions, such as “Did you find that you actually had something in common with someone from your team?” Then, students act out four jobs within their group: “Timekeeper, Materials Manager, Director, Task Manager.” Each group prepares an organized presentation about how to work in a group. The requirements for the project are: “1. Make sure that your information is organized and written or presented in a manner that is clear to your audience. 2. You must include some sort of visual component to your presentation. 3. Your presentation can be anything you want it to be: a poster, a poem, a skit, an advertisement, a TV commercial, a how-to book, a play, etc. It can be anything your group wants to do as long as it makes sense for this particular project. 4. Be creative, but use your time wisely.” The teacher reminds students how to present effectively and how to be a good audience member. During the presentations, students in the audience take notes and write a summary to remember new information. Students reflect on presentations during a class discussion and end the lesson by creating a list of rules to remember when working as a group.
Additional presentation opportunities could not be located, though there are opportunities for students to share their writing. For example, in Writing Extension 22, after students complete their final draft, they are given directions to “Share with their classmates.” In Writing Extension 37, after students publish their writing, directions state: ”Give your collection a title and a cover and share it with younger students in your school.” No additional presentation directions are provided. Writing Extensions 21–49 are listed for grades 3, 4, and 5.
The materials include some inquiry processes for students to analyze a topic. The materials do not indicate that the inquiry components are short-term or sustained; this is also not evident from the review. The materials include an introduction to primary and secondary sources; materials define them for students, provide examples, and prompt students to find and select sources for their research. The materials include some support for the summary of primary and secondary sources by providing students with steps to follow to take notes. The materials support student practice in organizing their ideas and information through the use of checklists and graphic organizers. The materials do not support students in presenting their ideas.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
The inquiry and research components in the materials for grades 3, 4, and 5 are the same. Research is found in “Writing Extension” Lessons 40–42: “Power of the Planet”; 44–46: “Coral Reefs”; and 47–49: “Ecosystem.” Each lesson set includes a directions page for students and graphic organizers.
Power of the Planet includes two teacher mini-lessons. One mini-lesson teaches primary and secondary sources, while the other teaches how to combine sentences when editing. The “Coral Reefs” and “Ecosystem” lesson sets do not include teacher mini-lessons. There is no teacher guidance for any of the lesson sets on how to teach inquiry or when to use the lessons; there is also no pacing or time allotment specified for the lessons.
In Writing Extension Lesson 40: Power of the Planet, there is a directions page for students that includes two sections: “Finding a Research Topic” and “Making a Research Plan.” The directions correspond to student graphic organizers. Steps for students include brainstorming a topic related to “green energy,” choosing a topic, writing questions about the topic, and planning where to find information. For example, students list possible primary and secondary sources to use, then complete sentence starters about locating sources (e.g., “I will look on the internet for….”). In the mini-lesson, the teacher defines primary and secondary sources. There are questions for students to ask themselves to determine if a source is primary or secondary (e.g., “Is this an eyewitness account, or was the artifact present at the event?”) For practice, students work with a partner to determine if the given sources are primary or secondary.
Writing Extension Lesson 41 includes directions for students to “research your ‘green energy’ topic and take notes on what you read.” In the “Doing the Research” section, students complete four steps: finding and exploring sources, checking sources for reliability, recording source information on the “Source Information Log,” and copying or printing sources. In the “Taking Notes” section, students read their sources and summarize information on note cards or the provided notes page. The directions tell students: “First, write the main idea of the source. Then, list details included in the source to support the main idea. Remember to include details that help answer your research question.”
In Writing Lesson 42, students write a draft, revise and edit, and work on their final draft. In the included “Editing Mini-Lesson: Compound Sentences,” the teacher defines a compound sentence, provides examples, lists coordinating conjunctions, gives reasons why the use of compound sentences improves writing, and shares steps for editing for compound sentences. Students use a “Revising and Editing Checklist” for a self-evaluation or have a peer complete it; they use the notes from the checklist to improve their draft. Students share their draft with a partner, respond to questions from their partner, and make any changes before completing a final draft. In addition to sharing the draft with a partner while editing, presentations are not in the materials.
Writing Extension Lessons 46 and 49 are similar in format to Lesson 42; however, these lessons do not have students share with a partner before publishing.
The materials contain interconnected tasks to help students build and apply knowledge and skills in reading, writing, speaking, listening, thinking, and language. Tasks include opportunities for increased independence. The materials contain a coherently sequenced set of text-dependent questions and tasks that require students to analyze the integration of knowledge and ideas within individual texts as well as across multiple texts.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
Tasks within the materials are designed to help students build knowledge and skills in reading, writing, speaking, listening, thinking, and language. In Cycle 10, “Comprehension Lesson 1: Spiders/Insects,” after the teacher introduces the text, students think of questions they would like to have answered about spiders. Students share their questions and listen to other students’ questions. The teacher records the questions and reviews text features that are in the text. Students read independently or aloud, depending on their need for support. After reading, students have a “Book Discussion,” determining if their initial questions are now answered. Students analyze language in the text by using context clues to determine the meaning of words (e.g., prey), then practice this skill with a partner. Students practice finding text features that were introduced earlier in the lesson and write them on a student page. Finally, the teacher models using the information about spiders in the text to write sentences about spiders. Students write additional sentences independently and share them with the group.
In Lesson 67, “Summarizing,” students answer text-dependent questions while learning how to summarize a story. The teacher tells students what a summary is and introduces guiding questions to use when developing a summary. The questions include “Who is the story mainly about?” and “When does the story take place?” Students integrate their knowledge of plot elements, such as character and setting, when answering these questions in order to write a summary. The teacher reads “The Mystery of the Missing Sweet Bread” to students and works with students to write a summary of the story. Students then apply this skill with another text: They read “My Puppy” independently, answer the guiding summary questions, and choose the best summary from given choices.
In Cycle 12, “Comprehension: Inferencing,” the teacher describes the difference between an inference and a conclusion. Students play a game to review making inferences by acting out and guessing emotions. During the “Guided Practice” and “Independent Practice” portions of the lesson, students read, write, speak, listen, and think about text in order to make appropriate inferences. During Guided Practice, students read short scenarios and practice making inferences. Students first work with the teacher to read a scenario and answer text-dependent questions. For example, the teacher asks students to state things they know about the main character in the scenario; then, the teacher asks, “What can we infer about the little girl in the scenario?” Students record notes on a graphic organizer in three categories: “Facts from the story”; “What I know from experience”; “I can infer/conclude that….” The teacher models taking notes, including the use of proper syntax when writing notes. Next, with greater independence, students work with a partner to read a scenario and practice making inferences. Students record notes on a graphic organizer with the same guiding questions. Next, students read the narrative fiction story “Nosebleed.” The teacher listens to individual students read aloud; the lesson directions state to “make anecdotal notes on accuracy and fluency.” The same structure repeats: First, students are working with the teacher, then with partners, then independently. Throughout the lesson, the teacher assists students in using affixes and context to determine the meaning of bolded vocabulary words in the text. For example, the teacher points out the suffix -ly and context to determine the meaning of the word expectantly.
The materials support distributed practice over the course of the year. The materials include some scaffolds for students to demonstrate the integration of literacy skills that spiral over the school year.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
Within this adaptive program, teachers place students into an individual instructional pathway based on their “Istation Indicators of Progress (ISIP)” assessment score. The materials are designed to “supplement classroom instruction” and provide students with “intervention, additional practice, and extension activities.” The materials describe that the instruction is delivered on a “needs-based” path for students.
The materials are organized in “Cycles.” According to the “Istation Scope and Sequence,” Cycles 2, 3, 5, 6, and 7 contain a cumulative letter and sound review. Skills in reading comprehension, such as setting, sequence, simple story structure, and cause/effect, are also spiraled in these cycles. Cycles 8–15 include lessons on comprehension, word analysis, fluency, and vocabulary.
For example, according to the Scope and Sequence, students practice “using evidence from the text to conclude fiction and nonfiction texts” in Cycles 8, 9, 12, 13, and 14. According to the “Istation Reading Curriculum Correlated to TEKS” document, making inferences and using evidence to support understanding is in three teacher-directed intervention lessons: “Cycle 11 Comprehension 11,” “Cycle 12 Comprehension Lesson: Inferencing and Drawing Conclusions,” and “Comprehension Lesson 24: Making Inferences, Grade 3.”
“Teacher-Directed Lessons” for “students requiring more instruction and practice” include a “Reteach” section with limited scaffolding. The lessons’ scaffolding includes explicit instruction with modeling in small groups. For example, in Cycle 10, “Lesson 19: Read High-Frequency Words in Sentences,” the suggestions for scaffolding include reducing the options for students from six words to two words. The lesson also states to give each student multiple opportunities to practice and to not move on to sentences until the words are mastered.
In Cycle 10, Comprehension, Lesson 1, students read a passage; the teacher supports students using prompts like “Do you know a word that looks like this one?” Students write information they learned about spiders. Suggested scaffolds from this lesson include “Use letter boxes to help students spell the words they are having trouble with. Draw a box for each letter—not sound—in the word that the student is struggling to spell. Help them stretch the sounds in the word and identify the letter that represents that sound.” Additional scaffolds include graphic organizers to support students with various skills such as concluding and identifying the main idea.
The materials provide systematic instruction and practice of foundational skills. The materials support grade-level phonics patterns, word analysis skills, and spelling knowledge as identified in the TEKS. The materials allow students to practice grade-level word recognition skills to promote automaticity and practice and apply word analysis skills both in and out of context. The materials specifically attend to supporting students in need of effective remediation.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
The materials include a research-based sequence of grade-level foundational skills instruction and opportunities for sufficient student practice to achieve grade-level mastery. The “Reading Program Description Guide” states that “the curriculum is organized by sequential, cumulative cycles of instruction ranging from the foundational base for reading to the final cycle.” Skills are introduced and practiced within a “Cycle” until the student shows mastery. Many skills are revisited throughout the remaining units. In grades 3 and 4, r-controlled vowels are in Cycles 7–9, and decoding words with inflectional endings are practiced in Cycles 9–11.
In the “Abbreviations Lesson,” the teacher tells students what abbreviations are and why they are used. The teacher provides categories (e.g., “Days of the Week” and “Titles”); students sort abbreviations into the correct category. Students practice reading abbreviations in sentences.
In Cycle 7, Lesson 13, “Compound Words,” the teacher demonstrates separating a word into two words. Students then fold cards to show the two words in compound words (e.g., pancakes, nametag, takeoff).
In Cycle 9, Lesson 10, students practice dividing syllables between two consonants in VCCV words (e.g., kitten).
The materials include building spelling knowledge as identified in the TEKS. In Cycle 10, Lesson 23, “Spelling—Changing the y to i,” the teacher instructs students on how and when to change the y to i when adding a suffix. Students play a game to practice the skill, spelling words like puppies, carried, and toys. There is instruction and practice in decoding using knowledge of suffixes in Cycle 10 and Cycle 11, Lesson 2; additional lessons include Vocabulary Lessons 20 and 21. In Cycle 11, Lesson 2, students read words with the suffixes -ful, -ly, -less, -er.
The materials provide opportunities for students to practice and apply word analysis skills. Students practice decoding using knowledge of prefixes in Cycle 11, Lessons 1 and 21. In Cycle 11, Lesson 1, students read words with the prefixes pre, re, un, mis, and dis. In “Spelling Lesson 1C,” Lesson 1, students learn about prefixes. The teacher writes the words unfair, retell, disagree, preview, and subway on the board. With teacher help, students state the prefix and the meaning. In Spelling Lesson 1C, Lesson 3, using a given prefix word list, students complete sentences based on word meaning.
In Cycle 11, Lesson 3, students practice decoding multisyllabic words with the phonogram -eigh. Additional instruction and practice with decoding multisyllabic words can be found in Cycle 9, Lesson 10; Cycle 11, Lesson 11; and “Phonics Lessons” 13–15, 37–41, 48–50, 51, 52, 56, and 57. These lessons focus on decoding multisyllabic words with the syllables -le and -ly, open and closed syllables, and r-controlled vowels.
The materials systematically develop knowledge of grade-level phonics patterns and word analysis skills as delineated in the TEKS. Instruction in decoding compound words and contractions is found in Cycle 7, Lesson 13; Cycle 8, Lesson 12; Cycle 9, Lesson 9; and Cycle 11, Lesson 10. In Cycle 11, Lesson 10, students separate the two words in contractions and put words together to make contractions (e.g., don’t, I’m). Students search for contractions within a paragraph and record them on a chart. Students learn what a contraction is, write contractions, and look for contractions within a passage. The contractions in the lesson include you’re, we’re, and they’ll. In addition, in Phonics Lesson 50, students practice words like catfish and earthworm by folding word cards between the two words that make up the compound word and locating compound words in sentences.
Decoding words using knowledge of syllable division is found in Cycle 9; Cycle 10, Lesson 9; Cycle 11, Lesson 11; and Phonics Lessons 13, 15, and 51–53. For example, in Phonics Lesson 15, students break words like robot and depend into syllables. Students practice decoding words using the rule that when a syllable ends with a vowel, it is a long vowel; when a syllable ends with a consonant, it is a short vowel.
In Cycle 11, Lesson 11, “Multisyllabic Words,” the teacher introduces the syllable types: closed, r-controlled, open, vowel-consonant-silent e, consonant -le, and vowel team. Students read cards with syllables and place them under the correct category. Students put two syllables together to make words.
In Cycle 11, Lesson 12, students learn the meaning of homophones. The teacher reads sentences containing homophones and shows picture cards with the meaning of the homophones. Students play a game and write sentences using the homophones correctly.
The materials provide opportunities for students to practice grade-level word recognition skills to promote automaticity, such as in the “High-Frequency Words Lessons” in Cycles 6–11. For example, in Cycle 11, Lesson 13, students play a game to practice identifying and spelling high-frequency words, including another, any, and though. The teacher shows students the word, says the word, uses the word in a sentence, and repeats the word. Next, the teacher spells the word, reads the word, and asks students to repeat the word. After this practice with the words, students play “WORDO.”
In “Skill: Phonics—Lesson 13, Decoding Multisyllabic Words,” students decode words with a VCCV pattern (e.g., kitten, magnet). Students divide the word between the consonants and say the two word parts. In “Spelling: Multisyllabic Words with Closed Syllables,” students decode and spell multisyllabic words with closed syllables like goggles and canyon. Students learn that some words have two of the same consonants in the middle, while others have two different consonants. The teacher helps students identify long and short vowel sounds to aid in spelling the words. Students practice sorting the words based on rules and spelling the words. In “Spelling: Multisyllabic Words with Vowel Diphthongs 1,” students read words like clown and foil, learn that these words contain a diphthong, and observe the spelling of the diphthongs. Students sort words with the diphthongs ou, oi, ow, and oy.
The responsive nature of the materials supports students in need of remediation. When a student’s results on the “Indicators of Progress (ISIP)” assessment reveal skill deficits, the program automatically assigns lessons appropriate to their skill level and responds to areas of need. The materials also provide “Word Analysis—ISIP Advanced Reading Teacher-Directed Interventions.” These are whole group or small group lessons that “suggest an instructional sequence to master targeted and prerequisite skills needed to improve reading.” The lessons are grouped into three tiers. Tier 3 indicates the highest level of intervention needed. Tier 1 skill lessons include “Simple Suffixes” and “-ion Ending.” Tier 2 skills lessons include “Open and Closed Syllables,” “Irregular Plurals,” and “Vowel Patterns in Accented Syllables.” Tier 3 skill lessons include “R-Controlled Vowels,” “Diphthongs,” and “Hard and Soft C and G Sounds.”
The materials include diagnostic tools; these are administered at regular intervals through the online student app. The data from assessments provides information for teachers to make instructional adjustments. The materials include tools to support and direct teachers to assess students’ growth in and mastery of foundational skills out of context in online student assessment. The materials support teachers with guidance and direction to respond to individual students’ literacy needs based on assessments; they provide teacher-directed lessons and automatically assigned lessons within the online student content. No evidence was found in the materials to support the teacher in working with students to self-monitor, use context to confirm or self-correct understanding, or employ rereading when appropriate.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
The materials include tools to support and direct teachers to assess students’ growth in, and mastery of, foundational skills out of context. These tools consist of the “Istation’s Indicators of Progress” (ISIP) “Early Reading” assessment for pre-k through grade 3, “ISIP Advanced Reading” for grades 4–8, and the “Oral Reading Fluency” (ORF) assessments for grades K–5.
The “Istation Reading Program Description” describes ISIP as “an online developmental assessment that serves as a universal screener and progress-monitoring tool that informs teachers’ decision-making and intervention strategies.” ISIP helps teachers to “identify student needs for struggling learners to advanced learners through computer-adaptive testing….”
The ISIP assessment for grade 3 assesses vocabulary, alphabetic decoding, spelling/word analysis, comprehension, and fluency. There are regular formative assessments administered at the beginning of year (BOY), middle of year (MOY), end of year (EOY), and monthly. Immediately after the BOY ISIP assessment, students are placed on an individualized online adaptive curriculum and follow it at their own pace. The MOY benchmark determines whether students are making adequate progress or need additional support. The EOY benchmark assesses whether students have achieved grade-level reading standards. The materials include monthly student assessments. It recommends that all students log on monthly to take the ISIP assessment for consistency in the reports and to help show growth over time. In addition to the scheduled monthly assessments, teachers can give an on-demand assessment to students at any time. The teacher assigns this assessment to students, which they begin the next time they log in.
The ORF assessment uses voice recognition technology to assess students’ fluency and accuracy. The program records students reading grade-level passages. The reading is automatically scored for grades 1–3. The assessment calculates a words-correct-per-minute (WCPM) score used for benchmarking and progress monitoring. This Fluency Skills Trace document is a guide for teachers that shows pieces of Istation Reading's interactive program and the ways in which it supports a carefully organized instructional plan for fluency.
The materials also include “ISIP Oral Reading Fluency Progress Monitoring” passages in various Lexile levels. Teachers listen to individual students read to assess reading fluency. The “ORF Progress Monitoring Assessment Instructions” include how to mark students’ errors in accuracy, self-corrections, and mispronunciation and how to determine words per minute. Students read a short passage and answer comprehension questions.
The materials support teachers with some guidance and direction to respond to individual students’ literacy needs based on tools and assessments. Multiple reports “provide teachers and administrators with immediate data to inform effective instructional plans for students.” A description for each type of report is found in the “Istation User’s Guide,” along with how to run the report, the suggested uses for instructional purposes, and the frequency of review. The reports include the “Summary Report,” “Skill Growth Report,” “Priority Report,” and “Student Summary Handout.”
The Priority Report “alerts teachers of students needing additional support and provides lessons based on demonstrated weaknesses,” based on an ISIP assessment or students’ interactive instruction. The materials recommend that teachers use this report “weekly or as needed to plan and document interventions.” The report groups students based on skill to facilitate whole group and small group instruction using “teacher-directed lessons and materials.” For example, in “ISIP—Alphabetic Decoding,” a four-lesson set, the materials suggest students begin receiving instruction on a specific lesson based on their ISIP results. The materials state that if a student achieves mastery within a lesson, the student can move on to the next lesson. If a student does not achieve mastery, teachers deliver the “Reteach” or “the next appropriate lesson based on the chart.” For instance, ISIP—Alphabetic Decoding, Lesson 4, is suggested for students in Tier 3. Students use letter cards to create words like top and hut. For assessment, the materials state: “Combine letter cards to spell real words and made-up words: top, lit…. Give each student an opportunity to demonstrate proficiency with blending/reading words.” During Reteach, the teacher slowly makes the individual sounds in words and guides students to blend the sounds together. No additional instructions for assessing student progress are included.
Within teacher-directed foundational skills lessons, the materials provide limited guidance for assessment. For example, after “Cycle 9, Inflected Endings: s, ing, ed,” the teacher’s directions state: “Chart progress for each student. Use data to plan and group for instruction.” There is no elaboration of how to chart progress, assess student learning in the context of the lesson, or plan for students based on results.
The “Progress Report” “shows student progress through Istation’s Cycles of Instruction by skill areas.” Once students complete the monthly ISIP, students are placed into an updated Cycle of Instruction tailored to their needs. Students move through the cycles and units of practice as they continue to work in the program.
The materials provide opportunities for students to read grade-level texts as they make meaning, build foundational skills, and practice oral and silent reading fluency. The materials include explicit instruction in fluency, including accuracy, rate, and prosody. The materials provide opportunities and routines for teachers to regularly monitor and provide corrective feedback on phrasing, intonation, expression, and accuracy.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
The materials provide students opportunities to read grade-level texts as they make meaning and build foundational skills within the student-facing app in the “Reading with ISIP” lesson cycles and the “Books” library. The materials have grade-level texts as part of the “Teacher-Directed Lessons” and “Fluency Passages” found in the online “Teacher Resources.”
The “Istation Books and Passages” document states: “Although Istation does not link directly to grade levels, it is possible to estimate the grade-level correspondences to Lexile measures of texts encountered in the Istation curriculum.” A chart shows the Lexile level (L) range of 480L–810L for grade 3. Based on performance on the monthly “Istation’s Indicators of Progress” (ISIP) assessment, each student is placed on an instructional path within the materials’ “Cycles.” Students read and interact with texts within the Cycle lessons.
Students practice fluency while reading grade-level texts found in the Books library of the student app. For example, while reading “The Twin Mice“ (490L), students practice reading a text with beginning blends, soft c, and soft g. While reading “Treasure Hunt at Pirate’s Bay”(640L), students practice reading digraphs, diphthongs, and multisyllabic words.
The materials include Lexile-leveled texts for fluency practice, such as “Fluency Passage: Going to the Vet” (420L). The materials state these passages can be used for fluency practice, administering a running record, or using the “ISIP ORF Accuracy, Rate, and Prosody” lessons.
Teacher-Directed Lessons include grade-level texts that students read and practice making meaning and building foundational skills. For example, “Lesson 16 Prefixes” teaches the prefixes dis-, mis-, re-, and un-. Students practice determining word meaning using these prefixes while reading the grade-level passage “Sal Repays.”
The materials include instruction in fluency, including phrasing, intonation, expression, and accuracy within the “Oral Reading Fluency—Rate Lesson,” “Oral Reading Fluency—Accuracy Lesson,” and “Oral Reading Fluency—Prosody Lesson.” The materials advise that each of these lessons, including rubrics and charts, can be reused with the publisher’s other grade-level passages to practice the skill. Grade 3 fluency leveled texts are in Cycles 10, 11, and 13. For example, “Cycle 10 Fluency Passages” include “Going to the Vet,” “Insects,” and “People Send Mail.”
The Oral Reading Fluency—Rate Lesson teaches students to “increase the number of words per minute read orally within their grade level range.” The teacher models a slow and fast reading rate using the passage “Water Recycled” (620L). The teacher asks for student feedback, shows students how to find words per minute, and explains that rate can affect text comprehension. Students practice reading the same text and shade their results on the “Rate Chart.”
The Oral Reading Fluency—Accuracy Lesson teaches students to “increase the number of words they can read correctly.” The teacher models reading the passage “Water Recycled” with poor accuracy, including omissions, mispronunciations, and incorrect substitutions, and charts the mistakes on the “Accuracy Table.” Students practice reading the same passage with a partner and mark each other’s miscues.
The Oral Reading Fluency—Prosody Lesson teaches students to “read with prosody: proper phrasing, pauses, and pitch.” The teacher models reading the passage “Water Recycled” with no expression or intonation and incorrect pauses. Students score the teacher’s reading using the “Prosody Rubric.” Students practice with a partner and assess themselves using the rubric.
The materials provide opportunities and routines for teachers to regularly monitor and provide corrective feedback on phrasing, intonation, expression, and accuracy. The “ISIP Oral Reading Fluency Progress Monitoring” passages are in various Lexile levels. The “ORF Progress Monitoring Assessment Instructions” include how to mark students’ errors in accuracy, self-corrections, and mispronunciation and determine words per minute. Students read a short passage and answer comprehension questions.
Within the online materials, students who demonstrate proficiency above grade level are automatically moved forward to the next set of standards. This acceleration provides differentiation in pacing but not in delivery. The materials include a limited number of learning opportunities that extend the learning for students who demonstrate proficiency above grade level. The adaptive nature of the materials has students working at their current level of mastery. Extensions included in each cycle are for mastery of that skill rather than grade-level mastery. The materials provide reports to indicate students who demonstrate proficiency above grade level. Limited planning is included for these students.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
Students take the “Istation’s Indicators of Progress” (ISIP) assessment, a computer-based test on the student-facing app that assesses reading ability. The automated program uses results to determine students’ “Instructional Tier” and learning pathway on the app, called “Cycles.” Students are assigned instruction based on their “Overall Reading Ability Index” and Instructional Tier instead of their grade level.
As stated in the “Cycle and Unit Descriptions” document, the program is designed to automatically place students at their instructional levels and move at the students’ pace. Therefore, students may be placed in, or progress to, grade-level content above their current grade level. Students and teachers cannot choose or change cycle placement. Instead of extending learning within Cycles that could be deemed “on grade level” based on Lexile levels and TEKS correlation of the materials, the program moves students to the next cycle. According to the “Interactive Instruction” section of the publisher’s website, the “Istation Reading: Cycles 1–15,” indicated for elementary grade students with “Middle School Bridge: (Timeless Tales with Paige Turner),” are designed to “transition learners from elementary to middle school content” and “Middle School Reading (HumanEX).”
According to the “Creating Small Groups” section on the website, teachers create small groups based on formative assessment data. Guided instruction in small groups can be used to include re-teach, intervention, and enrichment. Materials state: “During guided instruction, teachers differentiate the content by varying instructional materials and the level of prompting or questioning provided to students...Istation’s Teacher Directed Lessons may be used during small group, guided instruction to target students’ needs.”
There are limited examples of extensions within the material’s “Teacher-Directed Lessons.” One example is in Cycle 12, “Comprehension: Sequencing,” where students are guided through sequencing the events of the story “A Beach Vacation.” Students learn sequencing signal words, identify main events, and write main events in a sequence graphic organizer. There is “Extension or Extra Practice” at the end of the lesson. The directions for this portion state for students to complete an additional graphic organizer using a book of their choice.
The materials include a “Reports” section on the publisher’s teacher website. Report options include information on student usage, ISIP scores and trends, and student data alerts. The “Priority Report” groups students in need of intervention for specific skills. This report could include student(s) deemed by the program as “above level” who have not shown mastery in a particular skill. Or, this report could consist of student(s) who are working through a cycle of the materials that are above grade level and who have shown a weakness in an above-grade-level skill. This and other reports on the teacher website do not clearly group students who are performing above grade level for the purpose of planning learning opportunities, extensions, or differentiation.
The “Classroom Summary” report includes ISIP scores and Lexile levels, determined by performance on ISIP, for all students in the class. Specific guidance regarding how to use the provided reports to group above-grade-level students is not included in the materials.
Teachers can assign additional practice activities to students using the “Students Assignments” feature. The assignments are grouped into “Early Reading,” “Advanced Reading,” and “Science.” Students access these extension activities through the “Assignments” icon on the student app; alternatively, the teacher can project the lesson, accessing it in the “IPractice Teacher Station.” The activities are labeled “3rd–5th” or “3rd–8th.” For example, “Cause and Effect,” marked 3rd–8th, is an animated lesson that reviews the cause-and-effect text structure, provides examples in graphic organizers and texts, and has students practice by labeling and sorting cause-and-effect statements. This activity provides extra practice of cause and effect, but it does not extend the learning.
The materials provide several “Writing Extension” lessons that can be used with students who demonstrate literacy skills above their grade level. Each thematic lesson contains writing prompts or topic choices for students and directions written for students to read and follow. For example, in “Writing Extension 36: Amazonia Alert!” students follow the activity directions to write an informational paragraph about one of three given topics, including “products that come from the rainforest.” The directions include sentence starters, a “Revising and Editing Checklist,” and a note-taking page.
Materials include support for students who perform below grade level to ensure they meet the grade-level standards. The materials are a computer-based, adaptive reading program designed to meet the needs of individual students with customized learning paths based on assessment results and face-to-face intervention lessons. The materials provide lessons for use when students have skills below that expected at the grade level. The materials include guiding resources for teachers.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
According to the “Istation User Guide,” “ISIP (Istation’s Indicators of Progress) is an automated computer adaptive testing (CAT) system that automatically assigns a monthly assessment to each student.” The ISIP assessment measures a student’s reading ability and skill development and adjusts the difficulty of test questions based on student responses. The materials assign a computer-based learning path based on individual students’ ISIP results.
Istation currently offers three performance scale options for grouping students. The three performance scales are levels (quintiles), instructional tiers, and RTI+. Levels 1 and 2 target small group interventions or one-to-one interventions to provide intense or supplemental intervention to students who perform below grade-level. Additionally, students are placed in one of three tiers based on their “Overall Reading Ability Index Performance” on ISIP. Usage guidelines state that Tier 1 students should use the digital component 30+ minutes per week. Students in Tier 1 are “On track to meet grade level expectations.” Students in Tiers 2 and 3 should use the digital component 40+ minutes per week. Students in Tier 2 are “At some risk of not meeting grade level expectations.” Students in Tier 3 are “At significant risk of not meeting grade level expectations.” Students can move ahead in the program based on future ISIP scores or working through the online learning program. The RTI performance scale includes Tier 2 (targeting at or below 49th percentile) and Tier 3 (targeting at or below 25th percentile). These tiers help teachers determine the intensity of intervention students need during small group work.
In addition, the materials include intervention lessons for teachers to select and use based on student ISIP results. These scripted lessons are in two reading levels: “Advanced Reading” and “Early Reading.” Each lesson is formatted in three sections: “Teach,” “Guided Practice,” and “Independent Practice.” For example, the Tier 3 intervention lesson set “1A Reading Comprehension” includes five teacher-directed lessons that range from 15 to 30 minutes. Students read a narrative fiction passage from within the lessons. The lessons review comprehension skills, including summarizing, story elements, and predictions. The lessons include a text preview, a “Story Map” graphic organizer, vignettes to use for practice making inferences, and an assessment. The Tier 2 lesson “ISIP ER Phonological Awareness: Blending Syllables” teaches students how to blend spoken syllables into words. During “Teach,” the teacher reviews the skill. Students practice blending syllables using picture cards during “Guided Practice” and “Independent Practice.” There is a “Teacher Observation Chart” for teachers to make anecdotal notes.
The “Student Assignments” feature “allows teachers to assign additional practice activities to small groups of students or individuals.” The assignments are grouped into Early Reading, Advanced Reading, and “Science.” Students access these extension activities through the “Assignments” icon on the student app; alternatively, the teacher can project the lesson, accessing it in the “IPractice Teacher Station.” The activities are labeled “3rd–5th” or “3rd–8th.” For example, in the “Problem and Solution” activity, marked 3rd–5th, the program reviews the problem-and-solution text structure using examples, interactive graphic organizers, and short texts.
The materials provide some opportunities for students to achieve grade-level learning expectations. The materials include some accommodations for linguistics through sequenced and scaffolded lessons commensurate with various English language proficiency levels as defined by the ELPS. The materials include summaries, pictures, and some glossaries. The materials do not have native language supports or cognates, bilingual dictionaries, or thesauri. The materials do not include strategic use of the students’ first language as a strategy to develop English. The materials have a strategic program to build vocabulary; however, the materials do not contain specific information on how the program addresses English learners’ (ELs) needs.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
The materials are organized in “Cycles” that provide leveled texts and lessons based on students’, including ELs’, abilities. Monthly, students take the “Istation’s Indicators of Progress (ISIP)” assessment, and the computer-based program matches students with leveled content. The materials also include teacher-facilitated, face-to-face lessons based on students’ needs as indicated by ISIP results.
In the Cycle 12 lesson “Comprehension: Summarizing,” students read a fiction passage and summarize the text using a graphic organizer. Listed “ESL Modifications” include providing pictures of vocabulary and using sentence stems. The sentence stems are “A character named… wanted..., but.... So.... Then....” Within the lesson, the teacher guides students to determine word meaning using context, root words, and suffixes. For instance, the teacher identifies the suffix -less in spotless and defines the suffix as “without.”
The lesson “Writing Extension 12: Boats” includes writing prompts and graphic organizers for students to use as they read and write about a text. The lesson lists steps for students to revise and edit their work with a partner. Questions and sentence stems include “What part was confusing? I was confused when I read....”
In the lesson “Environmental Print: Recognizing Letters (ABC Book),” students create environmental print books with a partner. Teachers use sentence stems, such as “A is for....” Students practice reading their books with a partner.
In the lesson “Direction Words—Where Are You Going?” students practice the skill of identifying and using direction words. The lesson incorporates vocabulary usage (e.g., “Walk to the... of the table. [left]”). There are picture cards in conjunction with oral directions.
In the lesson “10A Vocabulary: Context,” students learn about using context to determine word meaning. There are ESL Modifications in the “Teach,” “Guided Practice,” and “Independent Practice” sections of the lesson. For example, a “Level 1 ESL Modification” has the teacher write scowl on the board, explain the meaning of the word, and give examples of when a person might scowl; students show and say what the word means. There is also the sentence stem “Scowl means....” This lesson has modifications for Levels 2 and 3. As the level increases, the amount of support decreases.
Cycles 7–11 include “Vocabulary Category Cards,” “Vocabulary Picture Cards,” and “Word Bank Cards.” The materials have “Suggested Uses” documents for each card type. The documents suggest games, such as “Fish for a Sentence” and “Compound Words Sticks.” The documents also suggest practice activities, such as having students place the Vocabulary Category Cards in alphabetical order, working individually or with a partner.
The materials include assessments and guidance for teachers and administrators to interpret and respond to student performance. Assessments are aligned in purpose, intended use, and TEKS emphasis. They support student learning.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
The materials provide “an automated computer adaptive testing system.” The “Istation’s Indicators of Progress (ISIP)” assessment for grade 3 assesses students in the areas of vocabulary, alphabetic decoding, spelling/word analysis, comprehension, and fluency. 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. The monthly ISIP assessment monitors students’ progress and shows growth over time.
The “Istation Reading Program Description” document states the assessments’ purpose: “Skills build on skills, and the sequence of subtests builds on prior subtests. As skills of lower-level difficulty are eliminated from the test battery, more difficult skills that rely on mastery of the prior skills are added.” The materials do not include a list of which TEKS are assessed through the ISIP assessment; however, the “ISIP Standards Report” groups standards related to each ISIP skill assessed. The “Istation Reading Program Description” document also states that “Istation’s adaptive assessments and curriculum are aligned to Texas educational standards.”
The materials include various reports with guidance for teachers and administrators to interpret and respond to student assessment results. The reports track mastery and growth for individual students and classes. The reports include the “ISIP Summary Report,” the “Classroom Summary Report,” and the “Priority Report.” For example, the Priority Report identifies students who need additional support and provides teacher-directed lessons to address student learning needs for specific TEKS deficits. Reports can be run at the class, school, or district level.
Assessment reports show student levels of performance, including Tier 1, 2, and 3 classifications. Students in Tier 3 are those needing the most intervention. The program also assigns students one of five colored levels: red, yellow, and three shades of green. Students coded “red” need the most intervention. Students coded “green” are predicted to be “Approaches,” “Meets,” or “Masters” on the STAAR test. Coding systems correspond to intervention lessons included in the materials. "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+."
There is guidance for teachers in the “Assessment” section of the publisher’s website. For example, in the “On Demand Assessment” section, videos for teachers include “Best Practices for On Demand Assessments,” “Assigning On Demand Assessments,” and “Suggested Uses for Instructional Purposes.”
The materials include year-long plans and supports for teachers to identify the needs of students and provide instruction to meet the needs of a range of learners. Due to the individualized student pacing of the materials, the materials cannot ensure grade-level success. The materials provide a year-long plan for teachers to engage students in multiple grouping structures. Plans for differentiation to support students are included; however, the plans for differentiation are not comprehensive. The materials’ online teacher platform resources include annotations and support for student learning and engaging students in the materials; there is also assistance for teachers in implementing ancillary and resource materials and student progress components.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
The materials include a year-long plan for teachers to engage students in multiple groupings and other structures. Instruction is driven by student results on the “Istation’s Indicators of Progress (ISIP)” assessment. After the assessment, each student is placed on an individualized learning pathway that is differentiated in the included skills and the level of texts. Differentiation is achieved through the use of teacher-led lessons, which are indicated for small groups or individual students based on assessment results. There are teacher-led lessons for skills in each of the program’s parts: “Listening,” “Phonics and Word Analysis,” “Writing and Spelling,” “Vocabulary,” “Fluency,” and “Comprehension.”
The “Istation Scope and Sequence” states that for grades 2–3, students complete Cycles 1–11 of instruction. For grades 3–4, students complete “Cycles” 7–14. The Scope and Sequence includes guidance for teacher-led classroom small group intervention lessons, cycle-based teacher resources, and skills-based teacher resources. Additionally, the “Writing Rules! Scope and Sequence” provides information about supplemental writing instruction and when different types of writing are best addressed within the “Cycles of Instruction.”
The materials do not include a clear, comprehensive plan for differentiation. For example, students complete their ISIP assessment and interactive instruction independently on the student-facing app. The “Istation User’s Guide” on the website includes ideas for literacy workstations and other groupings. The “Teacher Station” includes the lessons and activities students experience on the student app. These lessons can also be projected and used with students as lessons with the teacher. There are “Teacher-Directed Lessons” for use in small-group or whole-group instruction as needed based on student performance within the program.
Resources in the User’s Guide include annotations and support for engaging students in the materials; there is also support for implementing ancillary and resource materials and student progress components. For example, the “Getting Students and Teachers Started with Istation” document outlines how to engage students in the materials by taking the initial assessment; it also explains the next steps for the teacher to use assessment data to implement ancillary and resource materials. The following are also included: an overview of assessment data reports, sample reports, suggested uses, and guiding questions for the teacher to reflect on. There is a description of the purpose of “Teacher Station” lessons and information on how to access these lessons. Teacher-Directed Lessons have instructions on how to search through the materials for specific lessons.
The materials include a “Help Center,” which supports teachers in implementing resource materials. The included section “Get Started, Teachers and Administrators, Implement Istation: Day 1 through Ongoing usage” provides a step-by-step guide for implementation. The Parent Guide provides a list of all the Ipractice activities available for Istation home.
The online, adaptive portion of the curriculum includes a school year’s worth of literacy instruction, but the teacher-directed curriculum does not. The materials include supports to help teachers and administrators implement the materials as intended.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
The “Istation Scope and Sequence” outlines the knowledge and skills taught in the program and the order in which they are taught. This document is not aligned with the TEKS. The Scope and Sequence lists the “Cycles of Instruction” and the skills in each Cycle. The Scope and Sequence is organized by grade bands and skills. According to the Scope and Sequence, grades 2–3 align with Cycles 1–11; grades 3–4 align with Cycles 7–14; grades 4–5 align with Cycles 7–14; grades 5–6 align with Cycles 7–15. Due to Istation's adaptive nature, the Scope and Sequence references what cycles a student could progress through depending on their ISIP score. The check marks in the Scope and Sequence are not a definitive range of the cycles for the grade, it is what a student could see depending on their individualized placement.
The materials also include the “Istation Reading Curriculum Correlated to Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills—English Language Arts Reading Grades PK-5” document, which lists TEKS standards by grade level, the TEKS student expectation statements, the aligned student app Cycle(s), and the aligned “Istation Teacher Resources” lesson(s). For example, instruction for TEKS 3.8C (analyze plot elements, including the sequence of events, the conflict, and the resolution) is in Cycle 10 of the student app and in the Istation Teacher Resources—Cycle 12 “Comprehension Lessons.”
The online “Help Center” provides resources to support teachers and administrators in getting started with the materials. These include training videos, how-to documents, and articles. Training videos are organized into the following categories: “Getting Started,” “Teacher Reports,” “Administrator Reports,” “Teacher Features,” “IStation Overview,” and “Specialized Implementations.” Videos include information on how to “Build and Save Reports,” how to examine “Lexile Trend for a District or Campus,” and “Istation in a Balanced Literacy Environment.”
Teachers can search the Teacher Resources section of the online platform by product, skills, type, and stage of instruction. Advanced search items include searching by text, standard, and Lexile measure. Searches provide lessons and teacher guidance documents.
Teachers and administrators can access and create reports on the publisher’s website. The “Istation Reading Program Description” indicates that “Istation reports provide teachers and administrators with immediate data to inform effective instructional plans for students. Istation reports can be run at the class, school, or district level depending on the level of access and desired information.”
The materials’ computer-adaptive instruction includes a school year’s worth of literacy instruction; it can be delivered year-round. However, the Teacher Resource, or “Teacher-Directed Lessons,” do not include a school year’s worth of literacy instruction or realistic pacing guidance, routines, and support for 180-day or 220-day schedules. Students work on an individualized instructional pathway of lessons based on their results on the “Istation’s Indicators of Progress (ISIP)” assessment. The “Cycle and Unit Descriptions” page on the publisher’s website states: “Students move forward through the Istation interactive instruction at their own pace. Because the Istation curriculum is designed to place students at their individual instructional level automatically, students and teachers do not choose what activities to complete, nor can students be moved backward in the instruction. Istation performance is not intended to be used for classroom grades.”
The visual design of the student edition is neither distracting nor chaotic. The materials include appropriate use of white space and design that supports and does not distract from student learning. Pictures and graphics are supportive of student learning and engagement without being visually distracting.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
The materials include an interactive online student application and printable student handouts within the teacher-directed lessons.
The online student platform contains limited white space; however, the design does not distract from student learning. Upon opening the app, students see the “Main Menu,” which consists of small square icons and corresponding labels of sections (e.g., “Reading with ISIP,” “Books”). The icons and labels are spaced evenly across the page, and the labels are typed in an easy-to-read, medium-sized font. The background image is simple and lightened so as to not distract from the content.
The pictures and graphics are supportive of student learning without being visually distracting. The student platform includes animated characters that narrate and give directions to students within lessons and activities. The characters are also present at the beginning of assessments, but they disappear once the students begin the assessment.
Within assessments, pictures are used appropriately. For example, in the assessment of a blended sound, the program displays pictures of objects and the sound for the student to match. The pictures are clear and are appropriate for the grade level and skill. All text is legible.
Most of the screen is the text and graphics relevant to the lesson. The bottom of the screen displays the student’s name, elapsed time on the program, a question mark for help, a pause button, and a stop button.
Books or texts presented in the app have a blue background with a white page on top. The text is on the left in black and white, with a corresponding illustration on the right and a blue line separating the text and picture. For example, in “Main Idea Independent Practice,” the materials display a text about ways police officers help the community. Next to the text is an illustration of a police officer tipping his hat to greet an individual holding a cat.
The printable student materials use appropriate white space and graphics that support student learning. For example, the “Semantic Web” has a star shape in the middle of the page with ample room inside to write a vocabulary word or main idea. There are eight arrows connected to the star and enough space for students to write ideas and examples. There is white space around the graphic, and the design is grade-level appropriate.
The materials include appropriate technology components for grade-level students, support student learning, and provide appropriate teacher guidance.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
The materials include technology that supports and enhances student learning. A student-facing app provides interactive instruction. Within the student app, students access the materials’ components, including the “Istation’s Indicators of Progress” (ISIP) assessment, interactive instruction, books, and assignments.
The format of the student-facing app is appropriate for grade-level students and provides visual and auditory clues to assist students. The visual clues include animated, speaking characters to introduce content. Animations either disappear or pause while students read text or answer questions. Students can click a “question mark” button as needed to have the program repeat the instructions, words, or information.
If a student does not answer a question fast enough while taking an assessment or attempts to move forward too quickly when reading a text, the program states a prompt such as “Try your best and work as fast as you can.” Students must listen to the entire prompt before they can proceed. This prompting is repeated each time students click too soon or go too slow, likely interrupting students’ work.
Technology components are appropriate for grade-level students. For example, when reading books or texts, there is a blue background with a white page on top. The text is on the left in black, and the illustration is on the right; a blue line separates the pages. Most of the screen is the text and graphics. The bottom of the screen displays the student’s name, elapsed time, a question mark for help, a pause button, and a stop button.
In the “Books” component of the student app, students see genre and text level options: “Fiction Beginner,” “Fiction Medium,” “Fiction Advanced,” “Nonfiction.” Students select a level and a genre; they are then taken to the “Library,” which displays books in two rows of five. Once students select a book, they can read the book, listen to the book, or print the book. Some books include an introduction by an animated character and a vocabulary preview.
The teacher accesses materials through the publisher’s website. The website includes the “Search Wizard” to assist teachers in searching for lessons. “Teacher-Directed Lessons” are viewable online in PDF format. The “Toolbox” dropdown menu provides teachers with links to “Reading Level Guide,” “Instructional Tier Goals,” “State Correlations,” “Percentile Rank,” “Assessment Information,” “Glossary of Terms,” “Usage Criteria,” and “Cycle and Unit Descriptions.”
The “Istation User’s Guide” includes articles for teachers. For example, the “Interactive Instruction” article gives an overview and details about the student application, including student placement based on ISIP results, instructional paths for students, and lessons with engaging multimedia. The “Help Center” includes recorded webinars and training videos. The teacher accesses student data in the “Istation Report and Management Portal,” with reports such as “Skill Growth” and “Rate of Improvement.”
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