Instructional Groupings

Instructional Groupings were assigned to students who completed the Monster, PI computer adaptive assessment based on performance characteristics they shared with other students in the same grade. See below for descriptions of the different instructional groups.

Skip to Grade: 5 6 7 8

 

5th Grade

For fifth graders, performance on written language was quite similar across morphology, vocabulary, and syntax, which means that students fell into five instructional profiles related to struggling, below average, average, above average, and strong.

Grade 5 Profile 1: Struggling (syntax a relative strength) [15% of our sample]

Description: These students need strong instruction in language! It is often overlooked, though, because basic literacy needs are quite high. This data shows that language challenges are likely contributing to the literacy challenges of these students, so it is important to include this instruction. Related to language, they are struggling with basic concepts of identifying word families, using syntax in suffixes, figuring out word meanings using units of meaning, and applying units of meaning to helping them with word reading and spelling. They are also struggling with general vocabulary principles, but syntax (while below average) is a relative strength. So where do you start?

Build on the syntactical knowledge—start by connecting the idea of breaking sentences into meaningful phrases to breaking words into meaningful parts. Engage in the activities that we have suggested above. The important point for students in this group is that you explicitly draw attention to the language code. Our data suggests these students are struggling in many areas, so rather than trying to teach it all, explicitly integrate this language instruction into your teaching. For example, as you are helping your students with spelling and word reading, highlight the use of units of meaning to help them. If they read nationalistic, talk about and model how it is a long, multisyllabic word—but finding a unit they know like nation can help them figure out how to read, spell, and determine the meaning of the word.

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Grade 5 Profile 2: Below Average (syntax a relative strength) [32% of our sample]

Description: These students are also performing below average and language is likely a key part of their larger literacy challenges. Like those in Profile 1, they need strong instruction in language and the best way to do this is to integrate these language principles into teaching. Specifically, Profile 2 students need support with basic concepts of identifying word families, using syntax in suffixes, figuring out word meanings using units of meaning, and applying units of meaning to helping them with word reading and spelling. They also need support building vocabulary, but syntax (while below average) is a relative strength. So what does this look like?

Similar to Profile 1, build on the syntactical knowledge—start by connecting the idea of breaking sentences into meaningful phrases to breaking words into meaningful parts. Engage in the activities that we have suggested above. The important point for students in this group is that you explicitly draw attention to the language code. Our data suggests these students need broad language supports, so rather than trying to teach it all, explicitly integrate this language instruction into your teaching. For example, as you are helping your students with spelling and word reading, highlight the use of units of meaning to help them. If they read nationalistic, talk about and model how it is a long, multisyllabic word—but finding a unit they know like nation can help them figure out how to read, spell, and determine the meaning of the word. The distinction between Profile 2 and 1 is that the words, complexity, and pace should be accelerated. Profile 2 should move towards less transparent words (i.e., move from fearful to nationalistic to provisions) and more complex syntactic structures more quickly.

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Grade 5 Profile 3: Above Average (syntax and vocabulary relative strengths) [14% of our sample] 

Description: These students tend to be doing well with language, especially with building vocabulary and dealing with some of the advanced syntactical structures of academic texts. An area to focus on here is advancing language and for these student. Specifically, focusing on morphology as a key to building more meaning is important. These students have good initial understandings of morphology, but this is the time to extend those understandings to nuances. Rather than thinking about a few morphological family members, these students should be encouraged to think of full families and discuss the nuances conveyed by various suffixes and prefixes. Rather than just finding parts in the words that they know, they should be thinking about parts that they don’t know and whether they overlap. In their own writing, they should be encouraged to use morphologically complex words as a way of conveying their ideas within more complex syntax. They should also be encouraged to build large webs of meanings for words and consider polysemous meanings.

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Grade 5 Profile 4: Language Strong! (vocabulary and morphology relative strengths) [2% of our sample]

Description: This group of students is language strong! They are doing great and should be the leaders of conversations and activities about language. They should be encouraged to keep building language and continue playing with language as a way of building their literacy skills. These students are your language leaders and can serve as strong role-models and coaches for students who might need more support.

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Grade 5 Profile 5: Average (syntax a relative strength) [37% of our sample]

Description: This group of students is performing where they should be. They are doing well with language and like the above average group (Profile 3), need to be encouraged to start thinking about the nuances of language. While syntax is a relative strength to build on, focusing instruction on morphology and vocabulary can further their language skills. For morphology, these students have good initial understandings of morphology, but this is the time to extend those understandings to nuances. Rather than thinking about a few morphological family members, these students should be encouraged to think of full families and discuss the nuances conveyed by various suffixes and prefixes. Rather than just finding parts in the words that they know, they should be thinking about parts that they don’t know and whether they overlap. In their own writing, they should be encouraged to use morphologically complex words as a way of conveying their ideas within more complex syntax. They should also be encouraged to build large webs of meanings for words and consider polysemous meanings.

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6th Grade

For sixth graders, performance on written language was quite similar across morphology, vocabulary, and syntax, which means that students fell into five instructional profiles related to struggling (particularly with word reading and spelling), below average, average, above average, and strong.

Grade 6 Profile 1: Below Average (syntax and word reading/spelling are relative strengths) [20% of our sample]

Description: These students need strong instruction in language, and their language difficulties are likely affecting their literacy endeavors! While performing below average in all language areas, they are particularly weak in morphology and vocabulary, so these are important areas to build upon. It is important to teach basic concepts of identifying word families, using syntax in suffixes, figuring out word meanings using units of meaning, and building strong lexical representations. So what does this look like.

Build on the syntactical knowledge—start by connecting the idea of breaking sentences into meaningful phrases to breaking words into meaningful parts. Engage in the activities that we have suggested above and use many of the morphological lesson found at www.worddetectives.com. The important point for students in this group is that you explicitly draw attention to the language code. Because all four morphological skills need work as well as vocabulary, rather than trying to teach it all, explicitly integrate this language instruction into your teaching. For example, encourage students to build word webs (see link) for the vocabulary words you think are important to the texts and ideas you are learning. Break long, multisyllabic words like nationalistic into parts and talk about how thinking about those parts can help students figure out the word’s meaning, spelling, and pronunciation. And they can be encouraged to play with words in their own writing. Try adding nuance to a word by strategically adding a suffix or a prefix.

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Grade 6 Profile 2: Struggling Word Reading & Spellers, Below Average language [1% of our sample]

Description: This group of students is pretty rare. These are the low language students that are really struggling with word reading and spelling. As such, these students need a combination of language and strong phonics supports. It is important to note that these can be integrated as many of the difficult patterns that 6th graders encounter are morphological in nature. For example, reading or spelling nationalistic can be supported by highlighting the role of the root word and suffixes and the semantic (meaning), orthographic (spelling) and phonological (pronunciation) information they carry. Like those students in Profile 1, they also need strong instruction in language and the best way to do this is to integrate these language principles into teaching. Specifically, Profile 2 students need support with basic concepts of identifying word families, using syntax in suffixes, figuring out word meanings using units of meaning, and applying units of meaning to helping them with word reading and spelling. They also need support building vocabulary, but syntax (while below average) is a relative strength. So what does this look like?

Engage in the activities that we have suggested above. The important point for students in this group is that you explicitly draw attention to the language code. Our data suggests these students need broad language supports, so rather than trying to teach it all, explicitly integrate this language instruction into your teaching. The difference between Profile 1 and 2 is that these students in Profile 2 need additional support in applying morphological information to supporting their word reading and spelling efforts.

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Grade 6 Profile 3: Slightly Above Average [40% of our sample] 

Description: These students tend to be doing pretty well with language and meeting grade level standards. An area to focus on here is advancing language and for these student. Specifically, focusing on morphology as a key to building more meaning is important. These students have good initial understandings of morphology, but this is the time to extend those understandings to nuances. Rather than thinking about a few morphological family members, these students should be encouraged to think of full families and discuss the nuances conveyed by various suffixes and prefixes. Rather than just finding parts in the words that they know, they should be thinking about parts that they don’t know and whether they overlap. In their own writing, they should be encouraged to use morphologically complex words as a way of conveying their ideas within more complex syntax. They should also be encouraged to build large webs of meanings for words and consider polysemous meanings.

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Grade 6 Profile 4: Average (vocabulary and morphology relative strengths) [31% of our sample]

Description: This group of students is performing where they should be. They are doing well with language and like the above average group (Profile 3), need to be encouraged to start thinking about the nuances of language. While syntax is a relative strength to build on, focusing instruction on morphology and vocabulary can further their language skills. For morphology, these students have good initial understandings of morphology, but this is the time to extend those understandings to nuances. Rather than thinking about a few morphological family members, these students should be encouraged to think of full families and discuss the nuances conveyed by various suffixes and prefixes. Rather than just finding parts in the words that they know, they should be thinking about parts that they don’t know and whether they overlap. In their own writing, they should be encouraged to use morphologically complex words as a way of conveying their ideas within more complex syntax. They should also be encouraged to build large webs of meanings for words and consider polysemous meanings.

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Grade 6 Profile 5: Language Strong (morphology and vocabulary a relative strengths) [8% of our sample]

Description: This group of students is language strong! They are doing great and should be the leaders of conversations and activities about language. They should be encouraged to keep building language and continue playing with language as a way of building their literacy skills. These students are your language leaders and can serve as strong role-models and coaches for students who might need more support. 

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7th Grade

For seventh graders, performance on written language was quite similar across morphology, vocabulary, and syntax, which means that students fell into five instructional profiles related to below average, average with some challenges, average overall, above average, and strong.

Grade 7 Profile 1: Below Average (syntax is a relative strengths) [19% of our sample]

Description: These students need strong instruction in language, and their language difficulties are likely affecting their literacy endeavors! While performing below average in all language areas, they are particularly weak in morphology and vocabulary, so these are important areas to build skills within. It is important to teach basic concepts of identifying word families, using syntax in suffixes, figuring out word meanings using units of meaning, and building strong lexical representations. Syntax is a relative strength that you can build on. So what does this look like.

Build on the syntactical knowledge—start by connecting the idea of breaking sentences into meaningful phrases to breaking words into meaningful parts. Engage in the activities that we have suggested above and use many of the morphological lesson found at www.worddetectives.com. The important point for students in this group is that you explicitly draw attention to the language code. Because all four morphological skills need work as well as vocabulary, rather than trying to teach it all, explicitly integrate this language instruction into your teaching. For example, encourage students to build word webs (see link) for the vocabulary words you think are important to the texts and ideas you are learning. Break long, multisyllabic words like nationalistic into parts and talk about how thinking about those parts can help students figure out the word’s meaning, spelling, and pronunciation. And they can be encouraged to play with words in their own writing. Try adding nuance to a word by strategically adding a suffix or a prefix.

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Grade 7 Profile 2: Above Average (word reading, spelling, and vocabulary are relative strengths) [33% of our sample] 

Description: These students tend to be doing well with language, especially with building vocabulary and applying morphological information to word reading and spelling endeavors. An area to focus on here is advancing language and for these student. Specifically, focusing on morphology as a key to building more meaning is important. These students have good initial understandings of morphology, but this is the time to extend those understandings to nuances. Rather than thinking about a few morphological family members, these students should be encouraged to think of full families and discuss the nuances conveyed by various suffixes and prefixes. Rather than just finding parts in the words that they know, they should be thinking about parts that they don’t know and whether they overlap. In their own writing, they should be encouraged to use morphologically complex words as a way of conveying their ideas within more complex syntax. They should also be encouraged to build large webs of meanings for words and consider polysemous meanings. These students would also benefit from starting to work with advanced syntactical structures. Here, some activities working with breaking down large, complex sentences or changing amongst morphological relatives with the goal of using more nuanced language to convey more nuanced ideas are good activities.

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Grade 7 Profile 3: Average with some challenges (morphological word reading and spelling a relative support) [8% of our sample]

Description: These students are also performing close to average on most language skills, but slightly above average on morphological word reading and spelling. As a result, it is important to direct explicit instruction to building language, particularly related to morphology, vocabulary, and syntax. Like Profile 1, the language challenges these students experience are likely affecting their literacy performance. Because multiple areas of language are needed, it is best to integrate this language instruction across the curriculum. Profile 3 students need support with basic concepts of identifying word families, using syntax in suffixes, figuring out word meanings using units of meaning, building vocabulary, and dealing with complex syntax. So what does this look like?

Similar to Profile 1, start with strengths. These students are applying morphological information rather effectively to word reading and spelling. Build on this and point out the language code that they are using. Then connect that to using the language code to identify word families, figure out words, build lexical representations, and even break down complex syntactical structures Engage in the activities that we have suggested above. The important point for students in this group is that you explicitly draw attention to the language code. For example, as you are helping your students figure out word meanings, highlight the use of units of meaning to help them. If they read nationalistic, talk about and model how it is a long, multisyllabic word—but finding a unit they know like nation can help them figure out how to read, spell, and determine the meaning of the word. The distinction between Profile 3 and 1 is that the pace should be more advanced, which also means that the words and structures dealt with can progress more quickly (i.e., moving more quickly towards less familiar and less transparent words).

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Grade 7 Profile 4: Average Overall (vocabulary, morphology and word reading/spelling are relative strengths) [32% of our sample]

Description: This group of students is performing where they should be. They are doing well with language and like the above average group (Profile 2), need to be encouraged to start thinking about the nuances of language. Focusing instruction on morphology and vocabulary can further their language skills. For morphology, these students have good initial understandings of morphology, but this is the time to extend those understandings to nuances. Rather than thinking about a few morphological family members, these students should be encouraged to think of full families and discuss the nuances conveyed by various suffixes and prefixes. Rather than just finding parts in the words that they know, they should be thinking about parts that they don’t know and whether they overlap. In particular, an area to work on within morphology is using wordsolving to figure out the meanings of unknown words. This can link to building syntactical and vocabulary knowledge as they should also be encouraged to build large webs of meanings for words and consider polysemous meanings. Additionally, they should be encouraged to think about the syntactic information within suffixes as well as how to parse apart the complex syntactical structures that they come into contact with in 7th grade academic language texts.

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Grade 7 Profile 5: Language Strong (morphology and vocabulary a relative strengths) [8% of our sample]

Description: This group of students is language strong! They are doing great and should be the leaders of conversations and activities about language. They should be encouraged to keep building language and continue playing with language as a way of building their literacy skills. These students are your language leaders and can serve as strong role-models and coaches for students who might need more support.

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8th Grade

For eighth graders, performance on written language was quite similar across morphology, vocabulary, and syntax, which means that students fell into five instructional profiles related to below average, average with some challenges, slightly above average, above average, and strong.

Grade 8 Profile 1: Average with some challenges (morphological word reading, spelling, and vocabulary are relative supports) [27% of our sample]

Description: These students are also performing close to average on most language skills, but slightly above average on morphological word reading and spelling and also vocabulary. As a result, it is important to direct explicit instruction to building language, particularly related to morphology and syntax. Specifcally, Profile 1 students need support with basic concepts of identifying word families, using syntax in suffixes, figuring out word meanings using units of meaning, and dealing with complex syntax. So what does this look like?

We recommend starting with strengths. These students are applying morphological information rather effectively to word reading and spelling. Build on this and point out the language code that they are using. Then connect that to using the language code to identify word families, figure out words, and even break down complex syntactical structures. Engage in the activities that we have suggested above. The important point for students in this group is that you explicitly draw attention to the language code. For example, as you are helping your students figure out word meanings, highlight the use of units of meaning to help them. If they read nationalistic, talk about and model how it is a long, multisyllabic word—but finding a unit they know like nation can help them figure out how to read, spell, and determine the meaning of the word. Start with highlighting words with more familiar root words and then move towards less familiar and less transparent words.

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Grade 8 Profile 2: Below Average (syntax is a relative strengths) [8% of our sample]

Description: These students need strong instruction in language, and their language difficulties are likely affecting their literacy endeavors! While performing below average in all language areas, they are particularly weak in morphology and vocabulary, so these are important areas to build skills within. It is important to teach basic concepts of identifying word families, using syntax in suffixes, figuring out word meanings using units of meaning, and building strong lexical representations. Syntax is a relative strength that you can build on. So what does this look like?

Build on the syntactical knowledge—start by connecting the idea of breaking sentences into meaningful phrases to breaking words into meaningful parts. Engage in the activities that we have suggested above and use many of the morphological lesson found at www.worddetectives.com. The important point for students in this group is that you explicitly draw attention to the language code. Because all four morphological skills need work as well as vocabulary, rather than trying to teach it all, explicitly integrate this language instruction into your teaching. For example, encourage students to build word webs (see link) for the vocabulary words you think are important to the texts and ideas you are learning. Break long, multisyllabic words like nationalistic into parts and talk about how thinking about those parts can help students figure out the word’s meaning, spelling, and pronunciation. And they can be encouraged to play with words in their own writing. Try adding nuance to a word by strategically adding a suffix or a prefix.

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Grade 8 Profile 3: Above Average (word reading, spelling, and vocabulary are relative strengths) [23% of our sample]

Description: These students tend to be doing well with language, especially with building vocabulary and applying morphological information to word reading and spelling endeavors. An area to focus on here is advancing language and for these student. Specifically, focusing on morphology as a key to building more meaning is important. These students have good initial understandings of morphology, but this is the time to extend those understandings to nuances. Rather than thinking about a few morphological family members, these students should be encouraged to think of full families and discuss the nuances conveyed by various suffixes and prefixes. Rather than just finding parts in the words that they know, they should be thinking about parts that they don’t know and whether they overlap. In their own writing, they should be encouraged to use morphologically complex words as a way of conveying their ideas within more complex syntax. They should also be encouraged to build large webs of meanings for words and consider polysemous meanings. These students would also benefit from starting to work with advanced syntactical structures. Here, some activities working with breaking down large, complex sentences or changing amongst morphological relatives with the goal of using more nuanced language to convey more nuanced ideas are good activities.

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Grade 8 Profile 4: Slightly Above Average (morphological word reading and spelling are relative supports) [35% of our sample]

Description: This group of students is performing where they should be. They are doing well with language and like the above average group (Profile 3), they need to be encouraged to start thinking about the nuances of language. Focusing instruction on morphology and vocabulary can further their language skills. For morphology, these students have good initial understandings of morphology, but this is the time to extend those understandings to nuances. Rather than thinking about a few morphological family members, these students should be encouraged to think of full families and discuss the nuances conveyed by various suffixes and prefixes. Rather than just finding parts in the words that they know, they should be thinking about parts that they don’t know and whether they overlap. In particular, an area to work on within morphology is using wordsolving to figure out the meanings of unknown words. This can link to building syntactical and vocabulary knowledge as they should also be encouraged to build large webs of meanings for words and consider polysemous meanings. Additionally, they should be encouraged to think about the syntactic information within suffixes as well as how to parse apart the complex syntactical structures that they come into contact with in 8th grade academic language texts.

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Grade 8 Profile 5: Language Strong (morphology and vocabulary are relative strengths) [7% of our sample]

Description: This group of students is language strong! They are doing great and should be the leaders of conversations and activities about language. They should be encouraged to keep building language and continue playing with language as a way of building their literacy skills. These students are your language leaders and can serve as strong role-models and coaches for students who might need more support.

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