Using the Publisher’s Correlation to Get the Biggest Bang-for-Your-Buck From Your Materials

Whether you are reviewing the alignment of a material before you purchase it or are planning instruction with a material you already own, the publisher’s correlation can be an invaluable resource. A correlation may be provided as a print or printable document, or it may be embedded in the material’s search-by-standard functionality. Regardless of its format, the correlation identifies which standards the material addresses, and like a map, directs you to specific content in the material that addresses those standards.*

These three tips will help you use a publisher’s correlation most effectively to get the biggest instructional bang-for-your-buck from a material.

  • If a material does not provide a correlation to your state’s standards, it probably was not designed with your state’s standards in mind. Thus, the material likely will not cover all of the content knowledge and skills your standards require students to learn. Using a material without a correlation to your state standards will cause you more work in planning instruction to ensure that your students have the opportunity to learn everything the standards require. Consider using such resources for engagement or enrichment rather than as the primary/core resource for the course. 

  • Publishers do not always intend for their materials to address all grade level standards. This is particularly true of supplemental materials, but may also be true of core materials. Before you select or use a material, check the correlation to see whether the standards you intend to teach are addressed in that material. Then, check the citations listed in the publisher’s correlation to determine which are aligned to those standards.
    • A word of caution: having reviewed thousands of PreK-12 materials, we can assure you that just because a citation is listed in the correlation, does not mean it contains standards-aligned content. Sometimes, publishers use word search tools to create their correlations. The fact that the language of a standard appears in the material does not mean that the material is aligned to that standard.
  • Individual citations (i.e., activities, lessons, quizzes) referenced in the publisher’s correlation are not always designed to align to the whole standard. A material may scaffold instruction for certain standards with the goal of achieving mastery of those standards by the end of a unit or the end of the course. As a result, not every citation listed in the publisher’s correlation will align to those standards completely. For example, the first citation listed for a standard may introduce one part of the standard. The next two citations may introduce different parts of the standard. A citation to the culminating activity at the end of the unit or course may address the standard entirely. Thus, it may be necessary to “bundle” several citations (i.e., use citations from different chapter/units in the material) to help students achieve mastery of a standard. That is another reason to check the alignment of citations before you use them. If you do not have the time to do that work yourself, Learning List’s alignment reports show you which citations are individually aligned to a standard and which must be “bundled” to achieve alignment.

If you are having trouble accessing or using the publisher’s correlation, contact us. We are happy to help you understand how to use the publisher’s correlation to facilitate your instructional planning.

*Please note that “address” is distinct from “aligned to.” Address, as used in this article, means that the material claims to have content relevant to that standard. A material is “aligned to” a standard only if it provides instruction or assesses the content of the standard in the correct context and at the level of rigor required by the standard. Addressing a standard is a necessary precursor to being aligned to the standard.

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