The rubric for grades 3–12 includes four “non-negotiable” criteria—all of which had to be met to earn a Tier 1 or Tier 2 rating:
- Text complexity: Materials had to fall within grade-level complexity bands, and texts needed to increase in complexity across grade bands.
- Text quality: The rubric requires that “Texts are of sufficient scope and quality to provide text-centered and integrated learning that is sequenced and scaffolded to advance students toward independent reading of grade level texts and build content knowledge (ELA, social studies, science and technical subjects, and the arts). The quality of texts is high—they support multiple readings for various purposes and exhibit exceptional craft and thought and/or provide useful information.”
- Foundational reading skills: “Materials provide instruction and diagnostic support in concepts of print, phonics, vocabulary, development, syntax, and fluency in a logical and transparent progression.”
- Text-dependent questions: “Text-dependent questions and tasks reflect the requirements of Reading Standard 1 by requiring use of textual evidence in support of meeting other grade-specific standards.”
These are important indicators of alignment and do clearly reflect the requirements of the Common Core literacy standards.