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English 11 Q1

Utah Open High School

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Note that this resource was reviewed during the Spring 2013 review period. The resource may or may not have been updated since the review. Check with the content creator to see if there is a more recent version available.


This resource was reviewed by OSPI in Spring 2013. Learn more about the review process and the data analysis approach.

The version reviewed was: 6/14/2012.

Background from OER Project Review Team
Mountain Heights Academy, formerly known as Open High School of Utah, is an online public charter school that builds its own curriculum from existing open source content and from teacher-created materials. This course includes a Moodle course file that is available for download. For assessment validity reasons, all OER courses are course content only and do not include assignments, forums, quizzes, or exams. This should factor into the viewer's analysis of the review results.

Publishers' Criteria (Learn more)

Chart with scale from 0 (Strongly Disagree) to 3 (Strongly Agree). Quality of Text: 1.83, Quality of Questions and Tasks: 1.13, Writing: 1.0.

EQuIP (Learn more)

Not Recommended (0.8)
Chart with scale of 'meets criteria' from 0 (None) to 3 (All). Alignment: 1.0, Key Shifts in the CCSS: 1.25, Instructional Supports: 0.75, Assessment: 0.25.

Achieve OER (Learn more)

Chart with scale from 0 (Weak) to 3 (Superior). Explanation: 1.5, Interactivity: 1.75, Exercises: 0.67, Deeper Learning: 0.75.

See standard error chart for the review scoring

Reviewer Comments (Learn more)

Extreme (0.5)

English 11 Q1 is a set of lessons broken into eight topics starting with Puritans and ending with Walt Whitman poetry. Although this review includes numerous links for readings, videos, interviews, interactive sites, it has very few assignments for students that connect to the aforementioned. The few student assignments included were instructions for students to take notes, “think about” (which included questions directing students back into the text), be ready to demonstrate what you know (which didn't explain how students were to do so), watch and think, and use this game to review comma splices.

While the readings are rich, there are very little opportunities for students to re-read, discuss or write about the readings; it is as if the reviewed material are the readings only and the entire student activity section is missing. The reviewed materials could be a part of an independent study unit that needs no teacher support as all materials are accessible to students by clicking on the included links (other than specific, clear, concise assignments which are missing).

There are directions for students to use the PaperRater website before submitting their personal narrative; however, there is no specific prompt for the narrative, no rubric and really no connection between all of the readings and the inferred narrative essay other than the fact that some of the readings are personal narratives. No rubric exists for the personal narrative either.

Two broken links were found in this review: "Watch - On William Bradford" under topic 2.2 and "Watch - Frederick Douglass" under topic 4.1.

While, I would use a number of the interactive links found in this review, the reviewed materials would need significant revision by adding text-centered activities with clear instructions and rubrics with student expectations before they would be ready to bring into the classroom and Common Core aligned.

I would use these materials in my classroom: Disagree
(On a 4 point scale: Strongly Disagree, Disagree, Agree, or Strongly Agree)

Because Utah Open High School's unit on English 11 Q1 is basically a MOOC (Massive Open Online Course), it addresses many of the Common Core Writing, Reading of Literature and Reading of Informational Text Standards. From the informational writing of William Bradford to the fiery sermon of Jonathan Edwards to the poetry of Anne Bradstreet, the texts show great text complexity (along with text dependent question exercises). The interactive Colonial House from Interactive History was fascinating (although there were some technical difficulties).

On the negative side, the Qwiki References were "no longer available". Also, the Maya Angelo YouTube video had been removed. One concern with the unit is that the technical problems would be an impediment to the type of inter-active learning that is intended.

However, this is one of the best units for encompassing the shift to rigor in the CCSS. The student short response writing is text dependent. The vocabulary needed for rhetorical elements and poetic devices is covered through direct instruction and student application exercises. The unit builds knowledge of Early American history, culture and writers. In balance of texts, there is literary nonfiction, informational documents and poetry. For instructional supports, this unit has many engaging elements such as its use of various formats like inter-active history sites, grammar games and audio podcasts. The objectives are easy to understand and the activities are on grade-level.

But the pre-reading and vocabulary activities that would aid struggling readers are not included. Another area that is lacking is in the scoring/answer guides that accompany Frederick Douglass, Anne Bradstreet, Walt Whitman, and Abraham Lincoln's writing. We use study guides that are text-dependent (often line by line) for these readings and the comprehension is increased for the lower level readers. Also, more extensions could be added for advanced students.

This unit uses Writing Tips and Writing a Personal Narrative that include direction instruction from UOHS instructors. The assignment calls for a pre-write, a draft of a personal experience, a peer edit, etc. of the personal narrative. The company "Paper Rater" is used as an assessment tool for the student writer. (It is supposed to analyze a paper with detailed statistics about word choice, grammar, spelling etc. in real-time.) Although in the past, many of these computerized paper rating programs analyze for mostly complex sentence patterns and polysyllabic words.

This unit if improved by providing more instructional supports (scaffolding and formative assessments), more pre-reading and vocabulary activities and more expository/informative writing exercises would be a good to supplement for English teachers working to engage students about Early American Literature.

I would use these materials in my classroom: Strongly Agree
(On a 4 point scale: Strongly Disagree, Disagree, Agree, or Strongly Agree)

The Utah Open High School has provided the content only or an anthology of resources they are using in their on-line high school curriculum, what they have not provided is the assignments, forums, quizzes or exams. Therefore, you really cannot tell the structure of the lesson or what students are being asked to do with the material they are reading, watching, or listening to.

What this resource does provide teachers, departments or districts is a foundation of resources to build a solid set of units based on the instructional practices that align with the instructional framework adopted by their school district. The resources themselves are of high quality and many have interactive components. They are foundational pieces of literature and provide links where they can legally be found in writing in through audio making them accessible to low-level readers as well as ELL and SPED students. Teachers have created slideshare videos modeling practices that could inspire the same in other schools, possibly providing opportunities for flipped classrooms.

Topic 7 & 8 has more process and provides some text-based questions as well as videos where the teacher models the analysis of figurative language. There are still many pieces missing in these topics but there was more structure provided here, particularly if you listen to the videos.

If you are looking for a completed unit, this one is not it. If you are looking for instructional materials organized around themes of American Literature, then this would be a resource to look at and then you can create your own learning experiences for students that align with your districts learning framework.

I would use these materials in my classroom: Agree
(On a 4 point scale: Strongly Disagree, Disagree, Agree, or Strongly Agree)

The focus of this unit is a chronological study of American literature from the pilgrims to Walt Whitman. It has the feel of being designed for distance or online learning. The designer has chosen a few key authors for study, including Anne Bradstreet, William Bradford, Jonathan Edwards, Frederick Douglass, Abraham Lincoln, and Walt Whitman. Each author has a representative work in the unit. The course has a Moodle component, but this component was inaccessible to this reviewer. It may have contained more explanation about the connection of the pieces. The rigor of the texts was high because they are early American writings; also the content matter and world views are distant from 21st century teenagers. The unit depends on the teacher to create the coherence among the texts. In terms of engagement with the texts, most involved reading the text online with little guidance and very little in the way of questioning or discussion. In terms of scaffolding for the students struggling to connect with the texts, little was offered. The author writes, "You may need to read each passage several times to understand the passage Of Pilgrim Plantation." Rereading would not be effective scaffolding for most. There are some interesting videos, audios, and a particularly unusual interactive link to the Colonial House site, which allows the student to explore colonial life. The unit needs more structure for analysis of the texts, analysis of the general thread or narrative of American literature running through the set of texts, complex assignments, specific guiding questions, writing that is in line with CCSS goals, and assessments. The writing assignment was to write personal narrative about the student’s personal experience. Common Core would ask for an analysis or argument based on the texts.

I would use these materials in my classroom: Disagree
(On a 4 point scale: Strongly Disagree, Disagree, Agree, or Strongly Agree)

Creative Commons License
This work by the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.