Frequently Asked Questions About Learning List

As the school year shifts into high gear, we are getting a lot of questions about our service. Here are answers to the most frequently asked questions.

What is Learning List?
Learning List is a subscription-based instructional materials review service designed to help improve student learning by empowering educators to chooseand use instructional materials most effectively.

We created Learning List in 2013 to help districts become better informed consumers of instructional materials. Initially, districts used our reviews to facilitate their selection of materials. Over time, subscribers began telling us that our reviews also helped them identify the best parts of their existing materials to use to teach each standard. As one instructional coach explained, “We use your alignment reports as a GPS through our materials to ensure that we’re using the pages that teach each standard fully.”

What types of materials do you review?
We have reviewed over 2500 of the most widely used instructional materials, including:

  • Materials in the four core subjects, 12 Advanced Placement courses, Tech Apps and 85 CTE courses;
  • Comprehensive and supplemental materials, including RtI, testprep, criterion-referenced test banks, and professional development resources;
  • Publisher produced and free open educational resources (OERs);
  • State-adopted and non-adopted materials (i.e., materials that were not submitted for state adoption); and
  • English and Spanish versions of materials.

Subscribing districts get access to all published reviews and may request reviews of additional materials as part of the subscription. That’s why Learning List is a service, not just a website. [Read more…]

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“Bundling” Citations to Achieve Alignment

Do your teachers ever tell you that the material you have just purchased is not aligned to the standards? If so, breathe deeply and read on…

At Learning List, we have learned the scope of the citations listed in the publisher’s correlation can be determinative of whether a material is aligned to the Common Core State Standards (CCSS), Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) or Advanced Placement (AP) standards.

What do we mean? Some publishers’ correlations consist of citations that cover one or two pages. Those citations are “narrow” in scope. Other publishers’ citations are broad in scope, consisting of a range of pages, a wholeBook module, a chapter, or a 15-minute video.  Both types of citations have their merits; broader citations are most likely to incorporate all of the knowledge and skills dense standards require; narrow citations can be useful instructionally, because they pinpoint more precisely where certain content or a skill is addressed in the text. [Read More …]

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New Reviews: Sensible Solutions’ “A Common Sense Guide for Teaching Common Core Literacy”

Sensible Solutions’ A Common Sense Guide for Teaching Common Core Literacy is a resource to support grade 6-12 educators in transitioning to the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) for literacy. The print-based Guide clarifies the CCSS and the progression of literacy standards across grade levels. Learning List has completed reviews of the materials for grades 6-12.

Reason to Celebrate: Districts Gain More Freedom in the Instructional Materials Selection Process

In today’s EdWeek, Catherine Gewertz discusses how some states have relaxed their control over instructional materials and are providing districts with more freedom in choosing their classroom resources. The increased freedom in selecting instructional materials has been a reason to celebrate in many districts. But administrators are quick to acknowledge that the new freedom comes with some challenges…

Weird Al’s “Instructional Material”

People often ask what is the definition of “instructional material.” Though we’ve adopted an expansive definition of “instructional material, ” you won’t find this video reviewed on LearningList.com even though it is one of the more popular lessons about grammar with over 14 million views. However, we thought we’d just share it to ease your transition back into the school year.

Publishers: Meet Learning List (Part 2)

Earlier this week, we began our series on the 15 questions that are most commonly asked of Learning List by those who develop and deliver content. The series began with the answers to five of those questions. In this installment, we’ll address five more.

To Be or Not to Be: Are Publishers Aligned to Standards?

Today, Learning List released market insights drawn from hundreds of alignment verifications we have completed.  Although Learning List reviews both comprehensive and supplemental instructional materials, this analysis only included materials that publishers claimed to be aligned to 100% of the relevant standards.  Learning List’s Subject Matter Experts (experienced educators) found that, on average, those materials were aligned to: 87% of Common Core …

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Is Handwriting Better Than EdTech in the Classroom?

As 1-to-1 and BYOD* initiatives proliferate in K12 education across the country, keyboarding skills increasingly are taking precedence over handwriting instruction in elementary school classrooms. In June, Scientific American cited a 2014 study by psychologists at the University of California Los Angeles and Princeton found that college students who took notes using longhand had better retention and understanding of lecture information than students who took notes on laptops. In light of these findings, educators may want to seek a balance between instruction in keyboarding and handwriting skills, particularly in the elementary grades.

May Texas School Districts Use Instructional Materials Aligned to the Common Core Standards?

Today, the Texas Attorney General issued the much-anticipated opinion GA 1067, addressing “Use of the Common Core State Standards Initiative by Texas school districts to teach state standards.” We were among the sources asked whether the AG’s opinion prohibits Texas school districts from purchasing instructional materials aligned to the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). The Austin American-Statesman has a brief article …

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