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EL Education Earns an "A" for ELA Curriculum

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    April Hattori

NEW YORK – In its first-ever review of English Language Arts curriculum, EdReports.org (EdReports), a national nonprofit that independently reviews instructional materials, gave the middle school curriculum created by EL Education a nearly perfect score.

EdReports, which has been called the “Consumer Reports” of educational resources, gave EL Education’s Expeditionary Learning Grades 6-8 Curriculum 100 points out of a possible 102 overall in each grade. The curriculum met expectations — the highest possible score — in categories such as alignment to college- and career-ready state standards, knowledge building, and overall usability. EdReports’ review panel is made up entirely of teachers who were selected through a highly-competitive, national application process. They found that in addition to building students’ knowledge, skills, and ability to think critically, EL Education’s curriculum provides students with opportunities to do important work in their communities and solve real-world problems. The curriculum gets students “hooked” on what they’re going to learn, teaches them to become experts on a compelling topic, and finally, asks them to share with their community, peers and teachers about those topics by writing and speaking with authority.

“A strong curriculum is critical to creating classrooms where students are engaged and feel a deep connection to what they’re doing every day. We are pleased that EdReports recognized this unique focus of ours, as well as our unwavering commitment to preparing all students for college and careers,” said Scott Hartl, President and CEO of EL Education. “EL Education’s philosophy emphasizes a combination of academic rigor, character development and high-quality work, so that our students become active contributors to building a better world.”

For more than 20 years, EL Education has helped create great public schools where they are needed most, through a nationwide network of schools, coaching and professional development for educators as well as hundreds of resources including books, videos and free, open-source literacy materials.

In Baltimore, the Southwest Baltimore Charter School, which serves a historically underserved urban population, saw significant growth in its students after using EL Education’s ELA curriculum. After one school year, the percentage of students hitting their growth targets in ELA climbed 17.3 percentage points, from 32 to 49.3 percent, according to Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) scores.

“EL Education’s curriculum challenges students to think through tough questions and come up with thoughtful and deep answers. Students have to defend their answers and the evidence they're using to support them, which pushes them to think outside the box and grapple with ideas they never considered before,” said Erika Brockman, executive director of Southwest Baltimore Charter School. “Because our students are consistently challenged to think on a higher level, they are prepared to use the same kind of thinking in high school, college and life.”

Thousands of educators like Erika have already given EL’s curriculum their stamp of approval, downloading it more than 6 million times over the past three years. Currently, at least 40,000 teachers are using the curriculum across 43 states.