IMET Evolution: ELA/Literacy

An SAP literacy specialist explains how small changes to the IMET can have a big impact on users

During the past several months, I’ve been coordinating the 2015 ELA/literacy revisions to the Instructional Materials Evaluation Tool (IMET) for the Student Achievement Partners (SAP) literacy team. Last year, we added the K-2 tool and an evidence column for all of the metrics. This summer’s improvements reflect feedback from a variety of sources including people who used the tool during the past year, partner organizations, and members of our own team who, through their work in the field, identified parts of the tool that could be more useful and clear. Essentially, this year’s changes are all geared toward making the IMET more supportive for the individuals and teams using it to do the hard work of reviewing materials.

The changes almost all focus on making the “How to Find the Evidence” column for each metric much more specific and concrete so it is more helpful to users who, well, want to find the evidence of whether or not the submission is aligned on each dimension of the criterion. So each dimension is divided into two sections: “What to look for” and “Where to look.” Common Core ELA author Susan Pimentel took the initial pass at defining all the “how to find’s” and “where to find’s” and other members of the Student Achievement Partners literacy team worked on refining Susan’s work. Our collected efforts were then shared with partners and reviewers for feedback.

Here’s a before and after chart on one dimension of Alignment Criterion 1 so you can see how this guidance is now much more pinpointed:

IMET ELA Revision Before and After

While these revisions won’t necessarily yield different results than reviews done with the previous version, we hope that these changes, made in direct response to feedback from users, will improve the usability and functionality of the tool. In addition, in order to provide more support to those using the IMET, SAP will be publishing professional development modules in the fall to help districts and states engaging in this difficult and important work.

Though the improved specificity and focus of the evidence column was the focus of this summer’s improvements, we also made a few changes to the introductory materials and guidance to make it more clear what the IMET does and does not address. Essentially, the IMET focuses on CCSS alignment and quality. Because the IMET doesn’t examine all of the many considerations a district needs to contemplate when adopting materials, we provided links to other evaluation tools that could provide more fine grained analysis on other important questions. We invite you to check out this year’s model and let us know what you think.

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About the Author: Meredith Liben is the Director of the Literacy and English Language Arts team at Student Achievement Partners. Meredith has taught and administered in a wide range of settings over the past 30 years. She has taught every grade from kindergarten through grad school and has been collaborating with David Liben for the past twenty-eight years in many of these endeavors, including the founding of two innovative model schools in New York City - New York Prep, a junior high school in East Harlem, and in 1991, the Family Academy. Meredith has a bachelor’s degree in Classics and Government from Oberlin College and a master’s degree and advanced work from the University of Massachusetts and City University of New York.