Review by Jennifer Sitkin, Common Sense Education | Updated July 2014

Metria Master Teacher Edition

All-in-one standards planning, assessment tool supports quality instruction

Subjects & skills
Skills
  • Character & SEL
  • Critical Thinking

Subjects
  • English Language Arts
  • Math
Grades This grade range is a recommendation by Common Sense Education and not the developer/publisher.
K-12
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Pros: It's an all-in-one, simple, and efficient tool for planning standards-aligned lessons and tracking assessments and interventions.

Cons: While the assessment and follow-up tools offer insights on standards mastery, teachers with large student loads may want a more streamlined way to address students' needs.

Bottom Line: With adequate time and resources, the tool can be a fantastic organizational support to those transitioning to standards-aligned planning and assessment.

In order to maximize the benefits of Metria's Master Teacher Edition, you're best off going all in, using both the planning and assessment features. Even though the tool starts users off by auto-planning an entire school year, keep in mind that you probably won't have to do everything at once. Of course, if you want, you can plan an entire year personalizing the model units as needed, but you can also plan ahead at a pace that you feel works best.

Do, however, give yourself plenty of time to explore all of the suggested lessons and resources as you work to align your curriculum to meet specific standards. If your colleagues are also on board, this work is probably best done in collaborative teams or when shared throughout a department. Throughout the year, be sure to conduct formative assessments to identify your students' strengths and areas for improvement. The reports can be helpful in sharing student growth throughout the year. With this knowledge, you can adapt future plans to best meet your students right where they'll improve and succeed the most.

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Metria's Master Teacher Edition (MTE) is a Web-based tool to help teachers plan and assess using standards-based instruction in English and Math. In many ways, it's a vastly expanded and updated version of Metria's more basic Instructional Designer tool. Upon registration, the MTE platform helps teachers create a yearlong, CCSS or NGSS-aligned lesson planning schedule. Throughout the setup process, Metria provides model units, including detailed lessons with daily learning targets and links to a variety of open educational resources (OERs). At any point, teachers can adjust, change, and personalize any part of these plans. A series of tools help teachers make overall changes to the calendar, or adjust the specifics of any lesson plan, whether based on their own preferences or their students' needs. The pre-made plans can serve as a template to help get teachers started, or as ready-made lessons to teach.

In addition, teachers can use the platform to monitor their students' progress throughout a school year. Scores are color-coded to help make data easy to read -- teachers can keep track of students who are meeting standards and those who aren't. The calendar includes space for tracking interventions, by standard, for both individual students or small groups. The program's reports can be easily shared to help keep both students and families in the loop.

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The link between teachers' planning and assessment strategies is an important part of improving student achievement. With the shift to the Common Core State Standards, many teachers -- both new and veteran -- may find a tool like Metria's Master Teacher Edition valuable in supporting the transition. If it weren't so detailed -- and easily customizable -- Metria's auto-generated, yearlong, standards-aligned lesson calendar might seem like more of a novelty. In reality, it proves to be a very practical tool for organizing and aligning lessons to the skills covered in the CCSS and NGSS. The calendar gives teachers a global view of the whole year -- this helps in mapping out exactly how to find time and space to cover the necessary standards. 

As teachers dive into the individual lessons, the daily learning targets and “I can” statements help simplify complex standards for both teachers and students. Whether they're used as is or adapted, the suggested activities offer great strategies to help students meet each of the standards. The OER resources come from a variety of reputable sources, including the likes of Khan Academy, LearnZillion, ReadWriteThink, and the National Writing Project, among many others. The ability to monitor progress and track interventions helps teachers meet students right at the most crucial points for improvement. While teachers can adjust and change plans as they go, and from year to year, it's important to note that this style of planning might not appeal to every teacher. The platform's structured nature could feel a bit cumbersome to those who tend to plan with a less standards-focused and more holistic approach.

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Overall Rating

Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return?

The tool's suggested lessons include engaging resources from a variety of external sites. The ability to track individual progress and design targeted interventions should increase relevance and buy-in for students.

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer?

Research-based lessons support targeted interventions and differentiated instruction. This very structured approach to planning and assessment is likely to have the greatest impact for elementary teachers, or others with smaller student loads.

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students?

The site itself is an excellent support for standards-based teaching and assessment. New users get a quick, comprehensible pop-up tour of key features. Once started, teachers can access video tutorials and a detailed FAQ page.


Common Sense Reviewer
Jennifer Sitkin Classroom teacher

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