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Imagine Learning Talks About the Common Core Standards

At Imagine Learning, we're quite familiar with the variety of opinions surrounding the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). Although our own programs are aligned with multiple state standards (and not just the CCSS), we know what most educators are thinking on the subject. Here, we share a few of our findings. What the Data Say In August of 2015 a nationwide PDK/Gallup poll revealed that a majority of respondents oppose the teaching of Common Core. Interestingly, black and Hispanic respondents showed a lower level of opposition, at just 35 and 50 percent respectively. In an earlier (2013) poll by PDK/Gallup, 72 percent of those polled indicated that they trust public school educators. But the same respondents also assume most educators oppose the CCSS, a view not aligned with the data. In reality, 75 percent of educators support CCSS standards.
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Imagine Learning Teaches Figurative Language

  Sleep like a rock Light as a feather Cream of the crop As big as a bus     The above phrases are examples of figurative language, all of which are commonly used in day-to-day English. Any student--especially any English language learner--can struggle with such figurative speech, particularly when the implied meaning (i.e., idiom) does not translate to the student's first language. The concept of figurative language is also difficult for struggling readers to understand, but all students need to be able to identify and use it in reading and conversation.
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Language Acquisition and the Mathematics Classroom

A guest post by Linda Hardman President of Linda A. Hardman Consulting, Inc., teacher, and developer of multiple award-winning K12 math products Imagine Learning now publishes monthly guest posts in order to stimulate conversations about K12 education across the country. Opinions expressed herein are those of the individual author and may not necessarily reflect the official opinion of Imagine Learning.   According to the Institute of Education Sciences (IES), the percentage of English language learners (ELL) in US public schools grew in the 2012–2013 school year by 9.2 percent (i.e., 4.4 million students) compared to the prior school year. Additionally, a new Pew Research Center study reported that a near-record 13.9 percent of the US population today is foreign born, with 45 million immigrants residing here. A diverse group of young students Because of these trends, students are significantly challenged to master academic language across the US. The Common Core State Standards (CCSS) for mathematics are also placing high demands in mathematics regarding abstract and quantitative reasoning, constructing viable arguments and critiquing the reasoning of others, and looking for/expressing regularity in repeated reasoning. Students and educators are even more challenged with the acquisition of academic language as a tool for mastering conceptual and procedural understanding of mathematical standards and practices. As a result of the increasing amount of ELL students and the challenges presented by the CCSS for mathematics, it is important for students to acquire both academic language skills and mathematical fluency. Moreover, the same essential reading components and first-language supports provided in reading classes also belong in the mathematics classroom.
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Meeting the Needs of Secondary Newcomer ELLs Through A Rigorous Curriculum

A guest post  Teresa Vignaroli, ELL Supervisor, Loudoun County Public Schools, Virginia; Julie Baye, ELL School Improvement and Accountability Specialist, Loudoun County Public Schools, Virginia; Giuliana Jahnsen Lewis, ELL Staff Development Trainer, Loudoun County Public Schools, Virginia Imagine Learning now publishes monthly guest posts in order to stimulate conversations about K12 education across the country. Opinions expressed herein are those of the individual author(s) and may not necessarily reflect the official opinion of Imagine Learning.   Like many other districts in the nation, Loudoun County Public Schools has experienced an influx of older English Language Learners (ELLs). Currently, nearly twenty-seven percent of our high school ELLs are proficiency level 1 students; forty-five percent are combined proficiency levels 1 and 2 students. These students bring a myriad of situations and challenges that include varying ethnic backgrounds, low socioeconomic status, differing levels of formal education, and special needs status. The varying language learner types and their unique needs indicate that there is no one-size-fits-all service delivery model nor one intervention that addresses, in its entirety, the best practices in service delivery models for high school ELLs. Research, however, indicates that ELLs must have access to standards-aligned curriculum that is rigorous and grade-level appropriate.
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Study: students see 36-65% greater gains with Imagine Learning

SEG Study Executive Summary SEG Measurement, an independent research firm, announced the completion of the first phase of a study of nearly 1,000 English language learners in grades two–five in a large California school district. Study results demonstrate that students in programs using Imagine Learning’s curriculum show greater improvement in reading than students not exposed to Imagine Learning software. The study compared growth in reading skills of students who used Imagine Learning to comparable students who did not use Imagine Learning. Students used the Imagine Learning software for approximately six months between December 2012 and June 2013. Students in second grade using Imagine Learning showed 36% greater gains in reading than students who did not use the program. Imagine Learning students in grades three–five showed 65% greater gains in reading than non-users. "Students using Imagine Learning showed statistically significant gains in reading skills and outperformed students who did not use Imagine Learning," said Scott Elliot, president of SEG Measurement. "These findings are particularly important, given that students only used Imagine learning for half of the school year. More extended use of Imagine Learning may yield even greater gains for the students."
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