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2015 ELA-ELD Adoption FAQs

2015 English Language Arts/English Language Development (ELA/ELD) Adoption Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ), dated October 21, 2014. Pending Approval by the Instructional Quality Commission in November 2014.

Please note that while the following general categories are used, many questions and answers overlap categories and therefore all FAQ should be carefully examined.

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Submission Process Questions | ELA Standards | ELD - Specifics Questions | Program Type 1 Questions | Program Type 3 Questions | Program Type 4 and 5 Questions | Assessment Questions | Transitional Kindergarten Questions | Additional Content Questions | District Acquisitions of Instructional Materials Questions |

Submission Process Questions
  1. Do materials have to be available in multiple languages and what languages does CA require?

    Materials submitted for Program Type 3 must be in English and in a language other than English.

    Publishers are not required to submit alternate format versions of their adopted materials in another language.

  1. What are the expectations of mid-year implementations in January 2016? Do you expect people will start using the program at that time or will they wait for the back to school 2016?

    Programs need not be SBE-approved for publishers to sell them in California or for school districts to use them. However, for those programs which were submitted in this adoption process and subsequently adopted by the SBE, that adoption was contingent upon the publisher making all requested edits and corrections. The CDE anticipates that publishers will have programs in school districts ordering them for the start of the 2016–17 school year.

  1. Must publishers include the text of the standards in instructional materials submitted for this review?

    Yes. There is no requirement on where exactly the standards must appear. Evaluation Criteria Category 2, Criterion 13 states, “A list of the grade-level standards is included in the teacher’s guide together with page number citations or other references that demonstrate alignment with the content standards.” Evaluation Criteria Category 2, Criterion 16 states, “In Program 1 Basic ELA, Program 2 Basic ELA/ELD, and Program 3 Basic Biliteracy Program, the grade-level California Common Core State Standards (CCSS) for ELA and CA ELD Standards shall be explicitly stated in the student materials as appropriate to the program types.”

ELA Standards Questions
  1. Please clarify the difference between the following:
    a) Formal and informal language
    b) Standard and nonstandard English
    See the Framework, Chapter 9, Access and Equity (PDF), for specific discussion about Standard English learners and the use of formal/informal language and standard and nonstandard English. In general, the type of language used depends on the purpose–standard English when referring to formal English writing and speaking compared to the informal language often used among peers or during informal conversations, which could include nonstandard English from other dialects, slang, or by Standard English learners
    Also see the Framework Glossary (PDF) for a definition of standard English.
  1. Please confirm or clarify the following interpretation of this standard: Spell untaught words phonetically drawing on phonetic knowledge of words not taught. As we teach phonetic elements, we then have students use their phonetic knowledge to spell unknown words with that phonetic element. We combine decoding and encoding instruction and build on a student’s phonetic knowledge.

    This would depend on the design of your program. The framework highlights that students acquire foundation skills through carefully designed systematic instruction with ample opportunities for practices. For further details regarding foundational skills, see the paper Foundational Skills of the California Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts and Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science, and Technical Subjects(PDF).

    Also see the Foundational Skills section of the Framework, Chapter 3 (PDF), which focuses on transitional kindergarten through grade 1 instruction.

  1. For the standards captured below, if students are expected to do each one by the end of the year, how is success measured? (e.g., would we show this in our pacing guide and entry points?). In our program we provide independent level and instructional level text with strong teacher support throughout the program. Do you have a recommendation on how we should document in the standards map?

    RL.3.10 - By the end of the year, read and comprehend literature, including stories, dramas, and poetry, at the high end of the grades 2–3 text complexity band independently and proficiently.

    RL.4.10 - By the end of the year, read and comprehend literature, including stories, dramas, and poetry, in the grades 4–5 text complexity band proficiently, with scaffolding as needed at the high end of the range.

    RL.5.10 - By the end of the year, read and comprehend literature, including stories, dramas, and poetry, at the high end of the grades 4–5 text complexity band independently and proficiently.

    RL.6.10 - By the end of the year, read and comprehend literature, including stories, dramas, and poems, in the grades 6–8 text complexity band proficiently, with scaffolding as needed at the high end of the range.

    Yes. This information can be shown in your pacing guide, etc. Reading Standard 10 at all grade levels relates to comprehending a range of reading (so a variety of different genres and types of texts) at the appropriate text complexity for that grade or grade-level band.

    Reading content should be provided that is below, at, and above grade level and which supports building students’ reading proficiency. In the standards maps, please create specific citations for the best examples of where something is taught. A citation noting that related instruction occurs throughout the program would not suffice.

  1. The following standard occurs at each grade level. Should Lexile be used as the determiner when assessing the grade level piece of text? Older students might be reading instructional level text in a grade 2 Lexile band, but the complexity may be at a higher level for interest and engagement. L.1.4a Determine or clarify the meaning of unknown and multiple-meaning words and phrases based on grade 1 reading and content, choosing flexibly from an array of strategies. Use sentence-level context as a clue to the meaning of a word or phrase.

    The measurement of text complexity will be up to the individual publisher, but there are numerous examples of the options listed in the Framework, Chapter 2, page 33, (where Lexile is one example). Also, see pages 29-301 where defining complex text is explained using the figure from the NGA/CCSSO (Figure 2.7 The Standards’ Model of Text Complexity and Figure 2.8 Qualitative Dimensions of Text Complexity). When selecting text it is based on qualitative, quantitative, and the reader and task

  1. How do we address the theme of foundational skills at grades 6-8? Does this theme apply to grades 6-8?

    The Framework, Chapter 12, Category 1, criterion 22a makes clear that this theme is required for grade 6 as part of the reading intervention kit. Foundational skills are one of the five themes discussed throughout the framework. In grades 6-8 although there are no reading foundational standards, the framework does acknowledge that students who struggle with reading fluency should receive additional instruction (See the Framework, Chapter 6 (PDF) “Content and Pedagogy: Grades Six Through Eight”. A section on foundational skills is also provided for each of the grade levels 6-8

  1. To meet the wide reading Criteria, do publishers need to provide the independent reading materials?

    Publishers should provide some texts with strategies and guidance that will help a teacher develop an independent reading program, but publishers may provide links to resources (online texts, libraries, etc.) for access to the wealth of reading materials located there as part of the program. For guidance, please see Framework, Chapter 2, which includes sections entitled “Become Broadly Literate”, “Wide and Independent Reading”, and “Planning an Independent Reading Program.”

  1. The Framework, Category 1, 21c states: "Additional opportunities for the teacher to preteach planned content, to check for students’ understanding, to reteach materials already taught, and for students to practice key skills and strategies." Can these be searchable electronic mini-lessons for preteaching and reteaching the core lessons? May we assume that the intervention resources we develop for the core program address this requirement?

    For Program Types 1, 2 and 3, this issue is up to the publisher and their program design (while being embedded as part of the basic program); however, clear teacher guidance must be provided.

  1. For Program Type 1 English learner accommodations, would Level 1 students be mainstreamed with native English speakers? What about Level 2 students? Would such accommodations need to be present in every lesson?

    There is no designated English learner support for Program Type 1. Evaluation Criteria Category 4 requires that Program Type 1 includes strategies for teachers to include differentiated instruction for English learners.

  1. Must the students read the entire novel as part of classwork? Or is the reading of excerpts acceptable?

    Students will benefit more from the novel when it is utilized as a complete text.

  1. Instead of a novel, can grade 8 students be directed to use a memoir such as A Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglas? How about the play, A Raisin in the Sun, in grade 7? Or instead of a traditional novel, the use of the Gris Grimsley graphic novel of Frankenstein, perhaps with class time for Mary Shelley's version in class thereafter?

    As noted in Category 1, Criteria 9, materials are designed to support students’ independent reading of increasingly complex text. The criterion then goes on to list that programs should include, as appropriate to the grade, novels, plays, poetry, and other extended full-length texts for close reading opportunities and broader and enriching literacy opportunities (9.c.). Therefore, the types of texts listed in the question (e.g., memoir, play) should not be “instead” of a novel, but in addition to. Programs should also include shorter, challenging texts that allow for close reading and re-reading regularly (9.d.).

  1. Is a unit on Romeo & Juliet, with selected excerpts, acceptable for grade 7?

    Materials should be designed to support students’ independent reading of increasingly complex texts as they progress toward college and career readiness (See Framework, Chapter 12, Category 1, Criterion 9; also see Appendix A for recommended texts). Ultimately this is a program development decision; however, note that the CA CCSS for ELA first reference the works of Shakespeare in grade 9.

  1. Would teaching selected excerpts from Macbeth at grade 8 qualify as meeting the "novel" requirement?

    No; Macbeth is play, not a novel.

  1. What must an independent reading program look like? Does an eLibrary stocked with 300 books qualify? Does a rich ELA game world qualify?

    See Framework, Chapter 12, Category 1, Criterion 9 (PDF); also see Appendix A (PDF) for recommended texts.

  1. Can you clarify what the reading intervention supplement needed for Grades K–6 must include for grade 6?
  1. Should programs have weekly spelling lists and tests? Or may spelling be addressed through reading, writing and language assignments?

    A well designed program will not teach standards in isolation but instead present an integrated approach covering many standards. Accordingly, spelling may be taught differently at different grade levels. In Chapter 5, the Framework, states that “effective spelling instruction coordinates reading and spelling words (Gerber and Richards-Tutor 2011."

    Additionally, “it is important that spelling is not treated as simply an act of memorization, although irregularly spelled words will need to be memorized. Spelling is a developmental process whereby children, with appropriate instruction that includes ample opportunities to explore, examine, and use printed language, build insights into principles that govern English orthography" (Framework, Chapter 4).

  1. To what degree does the spelling program need to connect with the texts in the curriculum? Can the spelling program sit apart with no explicit core curriculum overlap?

    The Framework discusses the need for an integrated approach. From Chapter 5, pages 63-64:

    Spelling is closely interwoven with the following vocabulary and word analysis standards in the Language and Reading strands:

    • Vocabulary: Use common, grade-appropriate Greek and Latin affixes and roots as clues to the meaning of a word (e.g.,telegraph,photograph,autograph)(L.4.4b).
    • Word Analysis: Use combined knowledge of all letter sound correspondences, syllabication patterns, and morphology (e.g., roots and affixes) to read accurately unfamiliar multisyllabic words in context and out of context (RF.4.3a). Also see Framework, Chapter 4.
  1. What is “authentic writing” for students?

    Authentic writing is typically meaningful to the student and has an intended audience beyond the teacher.

ELD Questions
  1. Are foundational skills taught in designated ELD?

    Note that each grade level chapter of the ELA/ELD Framework contains a section on Foundational Skills for English Learners.

    For the most part, designated ELD instructional time should be devoted to developing the academic vocabulary, grammatical understandings, and discourse practices children need for comprehending and conveying understanding of ELA and other disciplinary content, provided in meaningful, interactive, and grade appropriate ways. Figure 3.11 provides general guidance for supporting ELs acquisition of foundational skills.

    From the ELA/ELD Framework, Chapter 3: In general, the development of foundational literacy skills in English should be addressed during ELA instruction. During designated ELD instruction, foundational literacy practices, strategies, and skills that children are learning should be reinforced. For children enrolled in an alternative bilingual program where foundational literacy skills are first developed in a language other than English, foundational literacy skills in English may be introduced and reinforced during designated ELD.

Program Type 1 Questions
  1. Does Program Type 1 include or even imply any integration of ELD support?

    Program Type 1 must include universal access features to support English learners as described in the Framework, Chapter 12, Category 4, but it will does not contain any materials that support integrated or designated ELD instruction.

Program Type 3 Questions
  1. Is Program Type 3 meant to serve as core materials?


  2. Can you provide examples of linguistic modifications for Program Type 3?

    The San Diego County Office of Education External link opens in new window or tab. provides such examples in Common Core en Español.

  3. Do publishers need to provide instruction for a designated Spanish language development time similar to the designated ELD time for Program Type 3?


    Program Type 3: Biliteracy Language Arts/English Language Development Basic Program, Kindergarten Through Grade Eight (Program Type 3 Basic Biliteracy). This basic grade-level biliteracy language program provides instructional materials in English and in a language other than English, is consistent with the content of the CA CCSS for ELA and includes linguistic modifications for the non-English language. These materials are designed to ensure that students are successful in developing literacy in English and another language. The materials also provide instruction consistent with the CA ELD Standards. English language development instruction should assist students acquiring English as quickly and efficiently as possible. Publishers may submit any combination of grade levels in this program Category, although no partial grade levels may be submitted (Framework, Chapter 12).

    Additionally: For Program Type 3 Basic Biliteracy, the teacher edition provides resources and activities in cross-linguistic transfer contrastive analysis, and activities that encourage students to draw upon literacy/language skills they already possess in another language to facilitate biliteracy development (Framework, Chapter 12).

    Also see Appendix 12-A: Optional Criteria, within the Framework, Chapter 12.

  4. Does Program Type 3 require Spanish as a second language instruction?

    No. Program Type 3 is a biliteracy program. It will be in English and another language.

  5. What are the five most common languages spoken by English learners in California?

    For the data collection period of 2013–14, the languages were as follows: Spanish at 84.21%; Vietnamese at 2.31%; Filipino (Pilipino or Tagalog) at 1.41%; Cantonese at 1.33%; and Mandarin (Putonghua) at 1.17% (CDE DataQuest)

Program Type 4 and 5 Questions
  1. Regarding Program Type 4, is it necessary to cover all disciplines (science; social studies; mathematics; fine arts; health; etc.)?

    Program Type 4 does not require support for all disciplines. Please refer to the standards maps for the specific standards that must be addressed.

  2. Is there an expectation for integrated ELD instruction with Program Type 4 submissions?

    No. Students requiring ELD would be in Program Type 2 with designated ELD support, or Program Type 5 if appropriate.

  3. What standards need to be covered in each grade for Program Type 4?

    The subset of standards that have been identified for a Program 4 must be addressed (see Framework, Appendix 12-b).

  4. Must Program Types 4 and 5 be connected to the core curriculum?

    Yes; Program Types 4 and 5 are not designed to replace the core—they are supplemental.

    However, it’s possible that a district would utilize Program Type 4 materials as a temporary core program for non-readers at the First or Second grade level; the core program would be added once the student reads at the Third grade level or above.

  5. With respect to the purpose of Intensive Intervention as supplemental to the Basic:  What length of time would be considered support to the Basic Program (vs. a replacement for the basic program)?

    It depends on the program design. The only guidance language that deals with this issue is in the program description in Matrix 1: “This program could be used as a temporary replacement core where students are non-readers in the first of second grade level…”; and in Category 1, Criterion #25 b: “The design goal is for students to gain two grade levels for each year of instruction.”

    The part of the program that addresses/includes the foundational standards for the non-readers is going to be different from that for students who are reading but struggling in comprehension and writing.

  6. If Program Type 4 cannot be a core replacement, will there be a “designated” intervention time (as with Program Type 5)?

    The “when and how” to provide intervention is a local district decision.

  7. In reference to Evaluation Criteria Category 2, criterion 2, is there a requirement for alignment to the ELD standards in Program Type 4?


  8. Does Program Type 5 need to include an “organized independent reading program”? (Provide an organized independent reading program as outlined in the Framework, Chapter 12, Category 1 Criterion 9 g.)


  9. Are there percentage requirements for literary and informational text for Program Type 5 (Framework, Chapter 12, Category 1, Criterion 7)?

    No. However, the composition of literary and informational texts should be consistent with the CCSS for ELA.

Assessment Questions
  1. Is there any required timeframe for summative assessments?


  2. Is it acceptable to include performance-based assessments instead of end-of-unit tests?

    The Framework, Chapter 12, Category 3, criterion 1a states the following:
    All assessments should have content validity to assess all the strands. Assessment should be provided to measure individual student progress over varied durations of time, at regular intervals, and at strategic points of instruction and should include: a. Multiple methods of assessing what students know and are able to do, such as selected response, constructed responses (short answers, constructed response, and extended constructed response), performance tasks, open-ended questions, and technology-enabled and technology-enhanced questions.

Transitional Kindergarten (TK)
  1. How does TK fit into this adoption process?

    Kindergarten materials must include guidance for teachers and administrators to adapt those materials for use in a transitional kindergarten setting, including a combination transitional kindergarten/kindergarten class. Guidance should build on the California preschool learning foundations; address appropriate social and emotional development and language and literacy skills; and the pacing, expectations, and amount of learning that is situated in playful contexts. (See Framework, Chapter 3).

Additional Content Questions
  1. Should a publisher include guidance regarding instruction for combinations classes?

    Yes; a submitted program must include guidance on how their program provides suggestions and support for adapting their program to teach combination classes. For example, a publisher may want to provide alternative sequencing and pacing and recommend suggestions for utilizing differentiated materials (See Framework, Chapter 12, Category 5, Criterion 2).

  2. Where should teacher guidance regarding instruction for combinations classes be found? In each unit? In each lesson?

    It’s up to the publisher (see Framework, Chapter 12, Category 5, Criteria 18 and 21).

  3. Can the "pacing guide for 180 days of instruction" (Framework, Chapter 12, Category 5, Criteria 1) include the time allocated to assessment and to unit writing, research, and project-based learning?


  4. Are the newcomer materials (referenced in Framework, Chapter 12, Category 1) optional for the publishers to develop or optional for the districts to use?

    Optional for inclusion by the publisher.

  5. Are student materials required in languages other than English? If not, how can we handle districts that need their materials in Spanish, etc.?

    Program Type 3 provides instructional materials in English and in a language other than English and includes linguistic modifications for the non-English language. These materials are designed to ensure that students are successful in developing literacy in English and another language. The materials also provide instruction consistent with the CA ELD Standards.

    After adoption, publishers may submit materials for consideration of alternate format status. These materials would have the same content and be either in a different physical format or a different language. For those in a different language, the CDE would have them reviewed for accuracy.

  6. In which program types must cross-linguistic transfer be addressed?

    Program Types 2, 3 and 5. – see Category 1, Criterion 23 (e. addresses this specifically).

District Acquisitions of Instructional Materials Questions
  1. Must districts purchase instructional materials from the SBE adoption list?

    No. EC Section 60210 states the following:

    (a) Notwithstanding any other law, a local educational agency may use instructional materials that are aligned with the academic content standards adopted pursuant to Section 60605 or 60605.8, including instructional materials that have not been adopted by the state board pursuant to Section 60200.

    (b) Instructional materials for mathematics that are aligned to common core academic content standards developed by the Common Core State Standards Initiative consortium pursuant to Section 60605.7 shall be deemed to be aligned to the content standards adopted pursuant to Section 60605 or 60605.8 for purposes of Section 60119.

    (c) If a local educational agency chooses to use instructional materials that have not been adopted by the state board, the local educational agency shall ensure that a majority of the participants of any review process conducted by the local educational agency are classroom teachers who are assigned to the subject area or grade level of the materials.

    LEAs may also utilize supplemental resources that meet the requirements of the social content standards requirements

  2. What funding is available to districts to purchase instructional materials?

    Districts may use Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) funds or proposition 20 lottery funds. For more information on the LCFF, please visit the CDE LCFF Web page.

  3. Will the CDE create a toolkit for districts to use when considering materials for adoption?

    No. Such toolkits are often created by county offices of education to support their local districts. Additionally, Achieve has produced the Toolkit for Evaluating the Alignment of Instructional and Assessment Materials to the Common Core State Standards External link opens in new window or tab.. Additionally, the SBE has a policy document “Guidelines for Piloting Textbooks and Instructional Materials”.

Questions:   Curriculum Frameworks and Instructional Resources Division | | 916-319-0881
Last Reviewed: Thursday, December 21, 2023