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ELA CCSS Standards

ELA CCSS Standards

Author: Jody Waltman

In this lesson, students analyze the origins of the CCSS for ELA and how the CCSS ELA standards will be assessed. In addition, students understand the major shifts in instruction required by the CCSS ELA standards.

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In this tutorial we'll take an in-depth look at the Common Core English Language Arts standards. We'll begin by discussing the history of the Common Core ELA standards and then we'll discuss some of the notable shifts in ELA education that are called for by these standards. Finally, we'll share some considerations that you may wish to keep in mind as you study and perhaps implement the Common Core ELA standards. Let's get started.

Work on the Common Core ELA standards began in 2009 with a team of leaders from 48 states, two territories, and the district of Columbia. This work was sponsored by Achieve, an independent, nonprofit organization that focuses on educational reform. The National Governors Association Center for Best Practices and the Council of Chief State School Officers also supported this work.

The team divided the standards into two categories-- college and career readiness and K-12. The college and career readiness standards outline what students should know and be able to do by the time they graduate from high school. The K-12 standards are grade level standards that identify what students should know and be able to do at each grade level from kindergarten through 12th grade.

The common core ELA standards call for some substantial shifts in the way we approach English language arts education. First, there's an emphasis on regularly working with complex texts. There's also an increased focus on the use of academic language and vocabulary, and on the use of textual evidence in reading, writing, and speaking. These standards state that students should be reading content-rich nonfiction in order to help develop their knowledge.

In grades K through 5, there should be an even balance between informational texts and literary texts. But in grades 6 through 12, there's an increased emphasis on nonfiction. Here are some things to consider as you study and maybe even implement the Common Core ELA Standards.

First, though they are used in the majority of states, the Common Core ELA standards are not nationally adopted standards. Each state has the opportunity to decide whether or not to adopt the Common Core ELA standards. Assessment for the Common Core ELA standards is not standardized.

Some states will use the PARCC assessment, others will use the Smarter Balanced assessment, and still others will develop their own statewide assessments. Since there's such a wide variety in assessments it can be difficult to make any national or even state-to-state comparisons of student achievement. It is important to note, however, that the SAT, the AP exam, and the ACT all beginning to incorporate Common Core elements into their assessments.

In this tutorial we looked at the history of the Common Core ELA standards and we identified the notable core shifts in ELA education that are called for by these standards. Finally, we listed some considerations to keep in mind as you study and implement the Common Core ELA standards.

Here's a chance for you to stop and reflect. Has your state adopted the Common Core ELA standards? Can you see the implications of the core shifts that are called for by the Common Core ELA standards?

Now it's your turn to apply what you've learned in this video. The additional resources section will be super helpful. This section is designed to help you discover useful ways to apply what you've learned here. Each link includes a brief description so you can easily target the resources you want. Thanks for watching today. Have a great day.

Notes on "ELA CCSS Standards"

(00:00 - 00:25) Introduction

(00:26 - 01:13) History

(01:14 - 01:52) Notable Shifts in ELA Education

(01:53 - 02:43) Considerations

(02:44 - 03:01) Review

(03:02 - 03:33) Stop and Reflect

Additional Resources

EQuIP Rubric for Lessons & Units: ELA/Literacy

There are currently many resources available with a CCSS sticker attached, yet very few of these resources are actually aligned. As an educator it can be difficult to know if a resource is aligned. The Equip rubric provides an easy to use rubric for educators when selecting and developing resources and lessons aligned to the CCSS. Below is a link to the rubric as well as a how-to video on using the rubric.
Rubric for ELA grades K-2:
Rubric for ELA grades 3-12:
Video: (Scroll to the center of page and click on the tab labeled "EQuIP Training Materials.")

​Achieve the Core

This website offers information for teachers, coaches, and leaders who are implementing the CCSS in their schools and classrooms. By clicking on your role, subject, and grade, you will find strategies, lessons plans, and embedded professional learning to help you integrate the standards into your curriculum and instruction.

Understanding the K-12 Common Core State Standards in English Language Arts and Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science, and Technical Subjects 

Achieve the Common Core has developed a handout for educators that breaks down the components of the ELA CCSS. This fact sheet provides a high level overview of the Reading, Writing, Language, Speaking and Listening, Technology, and Literacy Standards.