ELA Publishers Criteria Webinar PowerPoint

CCSS Publishers’ Criteria for
Susan Pimentel
Meredith Liben
David Liben
June 6, 2013
Welcome & Intro
Key Shifts
Text Complexity
Academic Language
Volume of Reading
Building Knowledge: Text Sets
Text-dependent & Text-specific Questions
Writing to Sources
Key Shifts in ELA/Literacy
Implications of the Three Shifts for
Instructional Materials
1. Complexity: Regular practice with complex text and
its academic language
2. Evidence: Reading, writing, and speaking grounded
in evidence from text, both literary and
3. Knowledge: Building knowledge through contentrich non-fiction.
The Shifts Build Toward College and
Career Readiness for All Students
Key Shift 1: Complex Text
What does Shift 1 mean?
• This shift is based on the fact that the ability to read and
understand complex text is foundational to college and career
• Reading Standard 10 includes a staircase of increasing text
complexity, grade by grade, from elementary through high
• Anchor Standard 10 reads, “Read and comprehend complex
literary and informational texts independently and
Key Shift 1: Complex Text
What are the implications of Shift 1 for publishers?
• To be aligned, reading passages in materials should have
appropriate complexity. (The Standards have raised the bar for
what students should read and understand at each grade.)
• Publishers should employ research-based quantitative tools as well
as qualitative tools to ensure that text complexity is appropriate for
the given grade. (That data should be available for each passage.)
• Questions tied to passages should require and reward careful, close
reading rather than skimming of complex passages.
Key Shift 1: Complex Text
Implications publishers (cont’d.)
Accordingly, passages should be of high quality so that they are
worthy of close reading. Passages should be previously
published or, at minimum, show evidence of professional
A powerful link exists between text complexity and text quality:
Only by starting with a complex text is one able to increase
reading proficiency.
When passages are not complex, they lack full development of
ideas, and thus they lack the complexity needed for CCSS-aligned
questions, which require students to locate and use evidence
from the text.
Key Shift 1: Complex Text
Implications for publishers, cont’d.
Questions should focus on words that matter most—not
obscure vocabulary but academic vocabulary and the use of
context to determine their meaning.
Other vocabulary items can cover:
Figurative language (the meaning or intended purpose, not the
identification of labels for the kinds of figurative language)
Words that impact the tone of the text
Words that have diverse meanings in different places in the text
Grade-appropriate use of strategies like roots and affixes
Key Shift 2: Evidence
What does Shift 2 mean?
This shift is based on the fact that most college and workplace
writing requires evidence and that the ability to cite evidence
differentiates strong from weak student performance on NAEP
• The Standards prioritize students’ command of evidence across
the domains of the CCSS:
Rigorously cite evidence from texts to support claims/inferences
(Reading Standard 1)
Draw evidence from texts to support analysis, reflection and
research (Writing Standard 9)
Engage in purposeful academic talk (Speaking and Listening
Standard 1)
Key Shift 2: Evidence
What are the implications of Shift 2 for publishers?
• Overwhelming percentage of reading Q’s should be textdependent, requiring students to follow the details of what is
explicitly stated and also to make valid inferences that square
with textual evidence:
Q’s should enable and require students to linger over the
specifics and particulars of texts, leading back to the text for
close reading.
Q’s should not require information or evidence from outside
the text.
All reading Q’s—text-dependent and text-inspired—addressing
the CCSS should include Reading Standard 1 (students’
command of evidence).
Key Shift 2: Evidence
What are the implications of Shift 2 for writing assignments?
Writing assignments should require students to:
Respond to text-dependent Q’s
Draw evidence from texts rather than write to
decontextualized expository prompts
Key Shift 3: Knowledge
What does Shift 3 mean?
Shift is all about reading nonfiction (makes up the vast majority of
required reading in college/workplace).
• CCSS pertain not just to ELA but also to literacy across the
disciplines of science, social studies, and technical subjects.
• CCSS require certain percentages of literature and informational
texts in instruction and assessments (modeled on NAEP):
50% informational and 50% literary at the elementary level
55% informational and 45% literary at the middle school level
70% informational and 30% literary at the high school level
(modeled on NAEP)
Key Shift 3: Knowledge
What are the implications of Shift 3 for publishers?
• At the elementary level, textbooks should include a variety of
complex passages that are strong, cogent examples of
literature, literary nonfiction and scientific, technical, and
historical writing (50:50).
• At the secondary level, ELA textbooks should include a balance
of complex literature and literary nonfiction.
• At all levels, textbooks should include:
o Coherent sequences of texts
o Effective sequences of questions so students stay focused on the
texts and learn fully from them
o Regular opportunities for research
The Three Shifts Boil Down to. . .
Texts worth reading,
questions worth answering,
and work worth doing!
Text Complexity
Google Trends
“Text Complexity”
Crisis of Complexity
• What students can read, in terms of complexity, is the
greatest predictor of success in college (ACT study).
• Gap between complexity of college and career texts, on the
one hand, and high school texts on the other is huge (4
• Too many students are reading at too low a level (less than
50% of graduates can read complex texts sufficiently).
Confirm & Extend the Preliminary Research
in Appendix A of the CCSS
Test and validate quantitative measures of text complexity and
difficulty (led by Jessica Nelson and Chuck Perfetti, U of Pitt)
In particular, assessed the capabilities of six quantitative
metrics to predict text difficulty for students on standardized
ATOS - ATOS® (Renaissance Learning)
DRP - Degrees of Reading Power® (Questar)
FK - Flesch Kincaid®
Lexile - Lexile® Framework (MetaMetrics)
SR - Source Rater© (Educational Testing Service)
RM- Pearson Reading Maturity Metric© (Pearson Education)
1. All the metrics were reliably, and often highly, correlated with how
students perform with grade-level texts across a variety of
assessments (No measure was better than any other in predicting
text difficulty for students).
2. All measures were equally good when situating informational texts
on the scale (less so with respect to narrative fiction).
3. While some variance existed between and among the measures
about where they place any single text, they all climb reliably—
though differently—up the text complexity ladder to college and
career readiness.
4. Six measures now share a common scale—anchored by texts
representative of those required in typical first-year credit-bearing
college courses and in workforce training programs.
Common Scale
Common Scale for Band Level Text Difficulty Ranges
Text Analyzer Tools
Core Bands: ATOS
0.05 – 2.48
3.53 - 6.13
0.84 – 5.75
5.42 - 7.92
4.11 – 10.66
7.04 - 9.57
9.02 – 13.93
8.41 - 10.81
12.30 – 14.50 9.57 - 12
Stretch Continuum
Determining Text Complexity
1. Run each passage through a quantitative analyzer tool and
determine its ratings.
2. Use the Common Scale to determine its placement in a
particular band.
3. Use qualitative measures (Structure, Language and
convention, Knowledge demands, Level of meaning/process)
to place a text in a specific grade.
4. Exceptions:
At times, qualitative measures will trump the quantitative
measures (narrative fiction).
For drama and poetry, only qualitative measures can be used.
Qualitative Tool Template
Structure (both story
structure and form of piece,
including genre)
Language and convention
demands (including
vocabulary and sentence
Knowledge demands (life,
content, cultural/literary)
Levels of meaning/purpose
Where in grade band does
this text belong?
What factor weighed most
Notes and
comments on
text and support
of placement in
Place a check mark in the box where you think the
passage fits based for each category described.
Too low
Too high
grade in grade(s) grade in
for band
for band
in band
Implications for Publishers
1. Pay attention to the complexity band levels as defined by the
Common Scale.
2. Be transparent about the complexity levels of the texts that
are included in textbooks, particularly with respect to the
quantitative measures.
3. Add annotations to accompany the passages in order to
provide educators with a deeper, more multidimensional
picture of text complexity to assist them in planning their
lessons and instructional focus.
4. Select texts/passages for student reading that depend not only
on text complexity but also on considerations of quality and
Text Roadmap
Remarks on the Assassination of MLK
Text Roadmap
Remarks on the Assassination of MLK
Academic Language
Academic Language
Shift one focuses on text complexity. Though there are many features
of complex text, recent work (Nelson et al 2012, Stenner and Wright
2004) shows academic language is the greatest source of difficulty
with complex text.
Academic language is vocabulary plus syntax. More complex text
contains fewer common words and longer sentences.
Implications for Publishers: Syntax
Materials need to pay far more attention to syntax. This can be done
• Calling attention to longer sentences in a text and asking students
to paraphrase them or rewrite them as two or more smaller
• Asking text-dependent questions that require integrating
information from a section of the text that includes one or more
complex sentences.
• In earlier grades, texts designed for reading aloud (more on this
• Working with sentences out of context.
Implications for Publishers: Vocabulary
Given the difficulty of catching up, materials need to pay far
more attention to vocabulary.
Academic vocabulary refers to non domain-specific words more
likely to appear in print than oral discourse e.g. perceive, vary,
product, intangible…
This can be done in two ways: direct instruction and volume of
Direct Vocabulary Instruction
In order to catch up vocabulary instruction needs to be:
• Extensive
• Efficient
• Effective
Extensive Vocabulary Instruction
• Need to teach far more words than traditionally done
• More complex text requires multiple readings, allowing for
more time and attention on academic vocabulary
• No evidence that students can’t learn more words
• This is not memorizing lists but rather learning words from the
context of rich complex text
Efficient Vocabulary Instruction
• To be efficient, need to know which words require relatively
less time and attention and which relatively more.
How much time & attention?
• Abstract/Concrete
• More multiple meanings/less or no multiple meanings
• Represents a concept, idea, event or emotion familiar to most
student’s experience
Which word would take more time & attention?
Or we can make an effort, as Martin Luther King did, to
understand, and to comprehend, and replace that violence, that
stain of bloodshed that has spread across our land, with an effort
to understand, compassion, and love.
And let's dedicate ourselves to what the Greeks wrote so many
years ago: to tame the savageness of man and make gentle the
life of this world. Let us dedicate ourselves to that, and say a
prayer for our country and for our people.
How much time and attention?
Remarks on the Assassination of MLK
Less Time & Attention
More Time & Attention
“awful grace”
Vocabulary Quadrant
Effective Instruction
Distributed vs. mass practice
Employ the context of the text
Using and thinking about the word
Holding students accountable for spelling and pronunciation
Definitions less useful
Determining words from context
Word Study
• Proficient readers don’t only know the meaning of words or the
semantic component, but also:
• Morphological
• Phonological
• Orthographic
• Grammatical
• All of the above – but especially morphology – help students
determine words from context.
• Determining words from context is essential, as reading is still
where most words are learned. Hence, a volume of reading is
essential to vocabulary development, and once again, especially for
those students behind.
Volume of Reading
• Volume of reading provides vocabulary, background
knowledge, stamina, and habit of engaged reading.
• Vocabulary and background knowledge go together.
• Traditional independent free choice reading, (DEAR, USSR..)
not enough.
Volume of Reading (How to)
• Gradated Text Sets
• Series of texts around a topic, gradually increasing in linguistic and
conceptual complexity
• Ending, beginning, or both, with a complex grade-level or above
• Assigned Readings
• Texts students can read independently, connected to topic or
theme being studied
• Connection to topic or theme allows students to independently
read more complex text, though not necessarily grade-level
• Students held accountable for texts read independently
• Complex grade-level texts read separately by all students with
abundant support
Vocabulary and Background Knowledge K-2
• What students read independently in these grades cannot
grow vocabulary, background knowledge or proficiency with
more complex syntax.
• This has to come from reading aloud.
• Books read aloud, as clearly called for on page 33 of the
standards, “…need to be selected around topics or themes
that systematically build the knowledge base of students.”
Text-Dependent &
Text-Specific Questions
Text-Dependent and Text-Specific Questions
In this next section, we’ll explore the following:
• Defining text-dependent and text-specific questions
• Why this focus in the CCSS?
• The nature of text-dependent or text-specific
• Creating a coherent sequence of questions
• Text-specific or not?
Defining Text-Dependent/Specific Questions
These questions push students to rely solely on the text for
insight and analysis of content-based ideas and information.
These inquiries must be traceable “back to the text.”
Answering these questions requires focused reliance on the
language and mechanics of the text itself, not personal
experience or opinion.
Simply put, these questions identify the text as the “expert” in
the room.
Why Text-Dependent Questions?
80-90% of the Common Core Literacy Standards require
students to become entrenched in text-specific analysis.
Aligned materials should contain 80-90% text-dependent
Text-dependent questions provide concrete ways for both
students and teachers to begin addressing the
instructional/skills-based shifts of the Common Core
The Nature of Text-Dependent Questions
Text-dependent questions provide students a wholly textdependent experience when reading complex informational
There is no reliance on personal experience or knowledge
to construct appropriate, evidence-based answers.
Personal bias is minimized in favor of the text evidence.
Text-dependent questions privilege the text and allow
students to deal with information that is directly before
Strong Sequence for Constructing Question Set
Investigate the qualitative features of the text
Identify the core understandings and key ideas of the
Start small to build confidence and check understanding
Target vocabulary and text/sentence structure
Tackle tough sections head-on
Create coherent sequences of text-dependent questions
Identify the standards that are being addressed
Create a culminating assessment by referring back to
the core understanding or key ideas
How we rated them:
1. Take the entire first paragraph and
restate it as a short sentence that tells what
the news was.
1. Text-dependent. This is a good practice
that compels readers to take account of
any complex chunk of text. It also
serves to signal to the teacher if
students are understanding.
2. The speaker says “Martin Luther King
dedicated his life to love and to justice
between fellow human beings.” What had
he been involved in and done that made
him so famous?
2. Not text-dependent. A reader would
need to tap into background
knowledge to know this information
and respond successfully. This is a VERY
common type of question!
3. The speaker offered a choice to the
audience between greater polarization or
understanding, compassion and love. Based
on the word itself and its context (in
paragraph 3), what does “polarization”
3. Text-specific and dependent. Pushes
readers to practice standard 4,
assessing the meaning of vocabulary
from its context.
How we rated them:
4. “I had a member of my family killed,
but he was killed by a white man.” Is
there anything odd about this sentence?
What race do you think the person was
who was talking? Explain your thinking
by referring to evidence in the speech.
5. Who was the speaker’s famous
brother who was killed?
6. Why was Robert Kennedy giving a
speech that night in 1968 when King was
4. Text-dependent and specific. You want
the students to notice the seeming nonsequitur, which, after the information
that King’s killer was white and anger
was deserved because of that fact,
becomes a clue. This is a challenging
question that focuses students sharply
on author’s choices.
5. Not text-dependent. You would have
to just know this from elsewhere.
6. Not text-dependent. But does this
question matter? Many adults would
think it does. This needs to be carefully
How we rated them:
7. There are three distinct points in this
speech where a choice is discussed. The
first is the one mentioned in question 2
about paragraph 3. Find each and
summarize the choice offered each time.
What observation can you make about the
way this short speech is structured?
8. Aeschylus was an ancient Greek
playwright and poet. Where did Aeschylus
say wisdom comes from? Why might it
come “against our will”?
9. According to Aeschylus, why is the grace
of God awful?
7. Text-dependent and specific. This gets
to the structure of rhetoric and is
challenging. Note the support (no
“gotchas” allowed) built in by pointing
students’ attention.
8. Also text-dependent and specific. This
directs students to carefully consider the
most challenging (and central to the
theme) point of the speech.
9. Text-dependent and specific. These
lines are so central that the designer
made them the focus of 2 questions. This
is a tough concept for students, abstract
and hard to build for oneself. It takes
multiple readings for a younger reader to
build this sense.
How we rated them:
10. Which version of America has won, in
your view: the polarized America or the
America of the compassionate
10. Not. But this is a tempting question,
since it feels essential and like it would tie
the text to its broader historical context.
Few students would be equipped to
respond well, and that capacity would have
nothing to do with experiencing this text
and everything to do with what the reader
brought to the reading.
11. This is a transcript of a speech, which
means the speech was said and then
written down. Find at least three pieces
of evidence in the form of odd sentence
structures and punctuation, or selfcorrections (do-overs) that display these
features of a transcript.
11. Text-dependent. A good exercise in
genre, text structures and language
standards. Asks students to consider the
differences between written language and
oral, and then to engage in a careful review
of the punctuation and syntax that arose
from this being a transcript. Note that you
can teach a new concept through a
seemingly pedestrian question.
Writing to Sources
Big Shifts in Writing in the Common Core
• Integrate writing with reading
• Focus on drawing evidence from texts
• Involve reading and writing across the curriculum
• Measure the most fundamental performances that
have writing at their core (writing to sources and
Writing Demands of the CCSS
• Standards ask students to master three types of
 writing arguments
 writing to inform/explain
 writing narratives
• Narrative writing gives way to arguments and writing to
explain/inform by high school (80:20)
Persuasion vs.
Logical Arguments
 Appeal to character or credentials of the writer
 Appeal to audience’s self-interest or emotion
 Can be based on personal opinion un-tethered to
 Convince because of perceived merit and
reasonableness of the claims and proof
 Supports claims with sound reasoning
 Demands relevant, sufficient evidence, statistics,
definitions for support
 Something far beyond surface knowledge is required
Old Mode of Writing Prompts Called
“Persuasive” Writing:
• Stand-alone prompts (not passage-based) that ask
students to use real or imagined examples to support
their position on the topic.
• Sample persuasive writing prompt:
“Write a persuasive letter to your principal to convince
her that mandating school uniforms is either a good or
bad idea.”
CCSS Mode of Argument Writing:
Draw evidence from a text in one of three ways:
• Students provided with several texts that have
evidence for one or both sides of an issue are asked to
make a claim about the issue using evidence from the
• Students provided with text(s) that make a claim, and
then asked to argue whether the claim is wellsupported by evidence in the text(s).
• Students provided with a text, then asked to make a
claim about some aspect of it, and support it with
Which prompt demands writing to sources?
After delivering the news of MLK’s death, Kennedy gives several
reasons why the audience should choose peace and
understanding in the face of violence against MLK. Write an essay
in which you tell about an experience in which you or someone
you know was faced with a similar challenge between choosing
revenge or choosing compassion. Include reasons to justify the
choices that were made.
After delivering the news of MLK’s death, Kennedy asks his
audience to dedicate themselves “to tame the savageness of man
and make gentle the life of this world.” Write an essay in which
you argue whether or not you feel that is the right choice for those
listening to him to make given the circumstances. Include
reasons to support your argument.
After delivering the news of MLK’s death, Kennedy asks his
audience to dedicate themselves “to tame the savageness of man
and make gentle the life of this world”? Write an essay in which
you explain what this phrase means and how the argument in his
speech arrives at this conclusion.
Draft Criteria for
High-Quality Writing Prompts
When evaluating a writing prompt (for any type of writing) for
alignment to the CCSS consider the following:
 Is the question worth asking?
 Does the prompt ask students to include evidence from the
text in their response?
 Does the prompt provide clear guidance to students?
 Does the prompt use the language of the standard where
 Does the prompt provide students with the criteria they will
be scored on?
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