Strategies for Reviewing Adaptive Materials

Over the last year, many of our subscribing districts requested reviews of adaptive materials. The concept behind adaptive materials is admirable: different content is presented to each student based upon the student’s performance on each task or assessment. In essence, these products offer the promise of an individualized instruction for each student.

However, districts should not assume that “adaptive” means “aligned to standards.” Many adaptive materials assign content based on skill mastery rather than mastery of the standards. Based on our experience, districts would be advised to carefully review the alignment of adaptive materials to the standards they are needed to support before using them.

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5 Things to Look For If Selecting Online Materials

J Kelly Brite

Recently, at a friend’s birthday party, the conversation quickly turned to back-to-school issues. Several friends began discussing their school district’s continuing adoption of online materials. One friend commented that when her older son’s school had moved to online materials almost exclusively last year, he did fine in his Economics class but really struggled in Physics. She told him to check out a textbook for that course, and almost immediately, his grades improved. My friends then began comparing how their children each learn and debating the relative virtues of printed versus online materials.

That conversation reminded me of the blog post we published recently about a Hechinger Report article titled, “A Textbook Dilemma: Digital or Paper?” Several of the points in this article align with distinguishing features we observe in our reviews of online materials. 

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Print Versus Digital Materials: What the Research Says

Thought Catalog Unsplash

If your district is gearing up for an adoption this year, part of your selection calculation likely will be whether to purchase print or digital/online materials.  An article in the Hechinger Report  titled, “A Textbook Dilemma: Digital or Paper?” may be useful.

The article discusses Patricia Alexander’s review of research on this topic. Ms. Alexander is an educational psychologist and a literacy scholar at the University of Maryland. Despite numerous (878) potentially relevant studies on the topic, Ms. Alexander pointed out that “only 36 [studies] directly compared reading in digital and in print and measured learning in a reliable way.” Despite the need for further research on this topic, Ms. Alexander found that numerous studies affirm the finding that: “if you are reading something lengthy – more than 500 words or more than a page of the book or screen – your comprehension will likely take a hit if you’re using a digital device.” This pertained to college students as well as students in elementary, middle, and high school.    

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Spanish Language Arts and Reading (SLAR) Product Reviews

students writing

Learning List has reviewed each of the five Spanish language arts and reading (SLAR) materials submitted to the Texas Education Agency in response to the Proclamation 2019. Below are brief discussions of each of the SLAR products. Learning List has reviewed each of the corresponding English language arts and reading (ELAR) products referenced in descriptions.

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Are Digital Resources or Textbooks More Effective? OECD Weighs In

Are digital resources more effective than textbooks? They are certainly more trendy these days. Although Learning List has reviewed hundreds of instructional materials in both formats, it’s difficult for us to say that one format is better than another.

Models Matter

When selecting materials, one important criterion educators should consider is the instructional model on which the material is based. Resources should mirror and support the model the district uses or else instruction may become disjointed. Over the next few months, Learning List’s blog will discuss the instructional models most frequently implemented in the products we review. Our discussion will seek to highlight the key attributes of each model and clarify where a particular model may or may not be an appropriate structure for content.

Infographic: What are Districts Buying?

As Texas districts prepare for the 2015-2016 school year, we analyzed the IMA purchasing data* to identify trends that could offer valuable insights for districts and publishers alike.

Take a look a this infographic (click to download) …

Learning List and Publishers Collaborate to Benefit Educators and Students

As the industry-leading instructional materials review service for schools and districts, Learning List has designed a robust review process specifically intended to inform educator choice. As one curriculum director observed:
“Learning List was built from the ground up to respond specifically to educators’ needs. And it does.”

Before Buying Instructional Materials, What Would You Ask?

In the July 15th issue of Education Week, there was a tech-related article about personalized learning titled: “Before Buying Technology, Asking ‘Why?’ ” The same can be asked about the K12 instructional materials selection process. Before you purchase anything, ask “Why?” Why is your proposed selection the best choice? We seek your reply to: What Key Question(s) Do You (the Educator) Ask Before Purchasing Instructional Materials?

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