Training Materials for the ELA/Literacy IMET

New training modules on the IMET’s Non-Negotiables and Alignment Criteria

Editor’s note: Both the revised Instructional Materials Evaluation Tool for ELA and the professional development modules introduced in this blog post can be found for free on Achieve the Core.

New training modules are available to help prepare review teams to use the newly revised Instructional Materials Evaluation Tool (IMET) for ELA/Literacy. While referring to the criteria in the IMET can help structure a review that is focused on the Common Core Shifts and Standards, the way the criteria are applied is what will ultimately determine an effective review. Providing targeted training to potential reviewers prior to beginning a review will allow schools and districts to feel confident in the review’s outcomes.

The scoring in the IMET is contingent on two categories of criteria: the Non-Negotiable Criteria which must be met completely in order for content to be considered Common Core-aligned, and the Alignment Criteria for which a certain threshold of criteria must be met for content to be considered aligned.

Each criterion includes a set of metrics to help reviewers identify evidence; recognizing metrics in the materials is easier said than done, however, and reviewers have noted that training ahead of time can help smooth the path during the review process. In previous Aligned posts (found here and here), you’ll see the authors (each experienced educators with content expertise) found that time spent on collaborative learning with fellow reviewers, along with opportunities to practice identifying evidence of the metrics, helped them feel more confident in their reviews.

The IMET was revised in fall of 2016 in order to respond to reviewer feedback and provide a cleaner, clearer version of this comprehensive tool.  The newly revised IMET includes Building Knowledge as the third Non-Negotiable, in order to convey the importance of this Shift. The collection of Non-Negotiables matches the three Shifts in ELA instruction. Non-Negotiable 1 is High-quality Text and Non-Negotiable 2 is Evidence-based Discussion and Writing.  The new version also integrates evidence-based writing, not only discussion, into the second Non-Negotiable. Perhaps most importantly, the number of metrics was simplified and reduced, so that reviewers have clear focus around how to spend their time.

The new professional development modules described below are designed to help groups collaboratively build a deep understanding of the IMET alignment criteria and metrics and how they reflect the expectations of the Standards. Through the use of examples and non-examples, participants will gain a solid understanding of what alignment might look like in instructional materials.

The modules include PowerPoints, Facilitators’ Guides, and Participant Activities for the following topics:

Module 101

This module will help reviewers build understanding around text complexity and quality as well as how to analyze questions and tasks embedded in instructional materials. This module will cover metrics related to the following criteria:

  • Non-Negotiable 1: High-quality Text
  • Alignment Criterion 1: Range and Quality of Texts

Module 102

This module will help reviewers build understanding around the tasks, questions, and assignments that high-quality materials should provide. This module contains information and examples for metrics related to:

  • Non-Negotiable 2: Evidence-based Discussion and Writing
  • Alignment Criterion 2: Questions, Tasks, and Assignments

Module 103

This module will help reviewers understand the features and expectations of materials that truly build student knowledge.  Additionally, this module focuses on what it means to provide all students with access to aligned materials.

This module contains information and examples for metrics related to:

  • Non-Negotiable 3: Building Knowledge
  • Alignment Criterion 3: Building Knowledge with Texts, Vocabulary and Tasks
  • Alignment Criterion 4: Access for all Students

Module 104 (K-2 add-on)

This new and highly focused module is specifically designed for K-2 reviewers and can be done as a stand-alone module or attached to any of the above.  The module is entirely focused on the fourth Non-Negotiable specific to the K-2 IMET, Foundational Skills.

After completing the modules, reviewers will be able to articulate the connection between aligned materials and Common Core Shifts, understand deeply what each IMET metric calls for, and recognize examples and non-examples related to each metric.

These modules not only allow time for learning and discussion, but also for hands-on practice. Activities such as analyzing sample prompts and questions for text dependency, identifying different elements of text complexity, and finding evidence of particular metrics are all activities participants can practice.

These modules have been adapted from the ones used with the Instructional Materials Taskforce; to learn more about how the district participants from that work used the training in their instructional materials reviews, see the Instructional Materials Taskforce case study here.

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About the Author: Student Achievement Partners is a non-profit organization dedicated to improving student achievement through evidence-based action. Founded by some of the lead writers of the Common Core State Standards, the organization works closely with educators and other partners in the education field ensure the promise of the Common Core is realized in classrooms across the country.