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Common Core State Standards English Language Arts Overview & Task Force Recommendations. Prepared by: Sasha Kirkman & Nancy Lai. Common Core State Standards: Background. National Set of expectations for student knowledge and skills that students need to master to succeed in college and career.

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Common Core State Standards English Language Arts Overview & Task Force Recommendations

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Common Core State StandardsEnglish Language ArtsOverview & Task Force Recommendations

Prepared by: Sasha Kirkman & Nancy Lai

Common Core State Standards: Background

  • National Set of expectations for student knowledge and skills that students need to master to succeed in college and career.

  • Designed by Council of Chief State School Officers and the National Governors Association for Best Practices

  • Adopted by CA SBE August 2, 2010

Organization of Common Core ELA Standards

  • 1- Guidelines for English Learners and Students with Disabilities

  • 2- Table of Contents and Intro

  • 3- ELA and Literacy Foundation(k-5)

  • 4- ELA (6-12)

  • 5- Literacy in History, Science, Tech (6-12)

  • 6- Appendix (Text Complexity, Writing, Speaking and Listening, Language)

  • 7- Text Exemplars and Sample Performance Tasks

    Find the full text at:


  • They demonstrate independence.

  • They build strong content knowledge.

  • They respond to the varying demands of audience, task, purpose and discipline.

  • They comprehend as well as critique.

  • They value evidence.

  • They use technology and digital media strategically and capably.

  • They come to understand other perspectives and cultures.


Key Ideas and Details

1. Read closely to determine what the text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; cite specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions drawn from the text.

2. Determine central ideas or themes of a text and analyze their development; summarize the key supporting details and ideas.

3. Analyze how and why individuals, events, and ideas develop and interact over the course of a text.

Craft and Structure

4. Interpret words and phrases as they are used in a text, including determining technical, connotative, and figurative meanings, and analyze how specific word choices shape meaning or tone.

5. Analyze the structure of texts, including how specific sentences, paragraphs, and larger portions of the text (e.g., a section, chapter, scene, or stanza) relate to each other and the whole.

6. Assess how point of view or purpose shapes the content and style of a text.

Integration of Knowledge and Ideas

7. Integrate and evaluate content presented in diverse formats and media, including visually and quantitatively, as well as in words.1

8. Delineate and evaluate the argument and specific claims in a text, including the validity of the reasoning as well as the relevance and sufficiency of the evidence.

9. Analyze how two or more texts address similar themes or topics in order to build knowledge or to compare the approaches the authors take.

Range of Reading and Level of Text Complexity

10. Read and comprehend complex literary and informational texts independently and proficiently.


Text Types and Purposes1

1. Write arguments to support claims in an analysis of substantive topics or texts, using valid reasoning and relevant and sufficient evidence.

2. Write informative/explanatory texts to examine and convey complex ideas and information clearly and accurately through the effective selection, organization, and analysis of content.

3. Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, well-chosen details, and well-structured event sequences.

Production and Distribution of Writing

4. Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.

5. Develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach.

6. Use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing and to interact and collaborate with others.

Research to Build and Present Knowledge

7. Conduct short as well as more sustained research projects based on focused questions, demonstrating understanding of the subject under investigation.

8. Gather relevant information from multiple print and digital sources, assess the credibility and accuracy of each source, and integrate the information while avoiding plagiarism.

9. Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.

Range of Writing

10. Write routinely over extended time frames (time for research, reflection, and revision) and shorter time frames (a single sitting or a day or two) for a range of tasks, purposes, and audiences.


Comprehension and Collaboration

1. Prepare for and participate effectively in a range of conversations and collaborations with diverse partners, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.

2. Integrate and evaluate information presented in diverse media and formats, including visually, quantitatively, and orally.

3. Evaluate a speaker’s point of view, reasoning, and use of evidence and rhetoric.

Presentation of Knowledge and Ideas

4. Present information, findings, and supporting evidence such that listeners can follow the line of reasoning and the organization, development, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.

5. Make strategic use of digital media and visual displays of data to express information and enhance understanding of presentations.

6. Adapt speech to a variety of contexts and communicative tasks, demonstrating command of formal English when indicated or appropriate.


Conventions of Standard English

1. Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.

2. Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing.

Knowledge of Language

3. Apply knowledge of language to understand how language functions in different contexts, to make effective choices for meaning or style, and to comprehend more fully when reading or listening.

Vocabulary Acquisition and Use

4. Determine or clarify the meaning of unknown and multiple-meaning words and phrases by using context clues, analyzing meaningful word parts, and consulting general and specialized reference materials, as appropriate.

5. Demonstrate understanding of word relationships and nuances in word meanings.

6. Acquire and use accurately a range of general academic and domain-specific words and phrases sufficient for reading, writing, speaking, and listening at the college and career readiness level; demonstrate independence in gathering vocabulary knowledge when considering a word or phrase important to comprehension or expression.

How to Read the Common Core State Standards Document Pg. 8

  • Three main SECTIONS: K-5, 6-12 ELA and 6-12 history/social studies, science and technical subjects.

  • Each SECTION is divided into STRANDS: Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening, and Language (note: 6-12 history/social studies, science and technical subjects focus on Reading and Writing).

  • Each STRAND is headed by a STRAND specific set of COLLEGE AND CAREER ANCHOR STANDARDs (CCR ANCHOR STANDARD) that is identical across grade levels.

  • Each CCR ANCHOR STANDARD has a corresponding GRADE-SPECIFIC STANDARD that translates the CCR into grade-appropriate end of year expectations.

How to Read the Common Core State Standards Document Pg. 8

  • CCR ANCHOR STANDARDS can be identified by their STRAND , CCR status, and number:

    R.CCR.6 (Reading, CCR, number 6)

  • Individual GRADE-SPECIFIC STANDARDS can be identified by their STRAND, grade and number (or number and letter where applicable. See below):

    RI.4.3 = (Reading, Informational Text, grade 4, standard 3)

    W.5.1a = (Writing, grade 5, standard 1a)

Common Core Learning Progression

  • Pick a STRAND (Reading, Writing, Speaking or Language)

  • Pick a COLLEGE AND CAREER READINESS (CCR) STANDARD (Example: Key Details, Craft and Structure, Integration of Knowledge, or Range of Reading and Text Complexity for Reading STRAND)

  • Pick a GRADE-SPECIFIC STANDARD starting at K or 6th

  • Then:

    Review how the standard progresses across grade levels to get a feel for the “spiral” learning progression.

ELA Common Core State Standards (CCSS)

What are the key features and differences between the CA State Content Standards and the Common Core State (CCSS) Standards Spiral?

Major Features

One primary motivation for CCSS was to better align the ELA curriculum with college and work expectations.

  • The disconnect between K-12 education and college/career readiness can be traced to:

    • Insufficient reading of complex texts

    • College expectation of independent reading without teacher scaffolding

    • Insufficient volume of informational text in K-12

    • Focus on narrative writing rather than argumentation

Major Features

Key differences between the CCSS and the CA State Standards are that CCSS:

  • Focuses on reading comprehension and increasing text complexity

  • Standards are task-based with a focus on results rather than means

  • Mandates an increase in informational reading

  • Writing tasks are explicit and focus more on research and media skills

  • Shared responsibility for student literacy across content

CA State Standards

Standards are discrete sub-skills that presume that if added together, students will be able to comprehend.


Standards are descriptions of comprehension performances, with comprehension being the constant, and text complexity the variable.

Reading Comprehension

More Closely

Standard 1 focuses on comprehension

of the text, and 10 explicitly notes the

increase in text difficulty.

“Information is the new literature”

Barring future English majors, the move

from literary texts to information correlates

with the demands students will meet in


Explicit Writing Tasks

  • Movement to decrease narrative and experiential writing and increase expository and argumentation as students move through the grades.

  • Key distinction between argument and persuasive writing is that argument requires that you consider both sides in your analysis. (Interesting implications for CAHSEE essay preparation.)

The CA State Content Standards

  • Literary Response & Analysis Standard 3.1

    • K: “Distinguishfantasy from realistic text.”

    • 4: “Describe the structure differences of various imaginative forms of literature, including fantasies, fables, myths, legends, and fairy tales.”

    • 9 & 10: “Articulate the relationship between the express purposes and the characteristics of different forms of dramatic literature (e.g., comedy, tragedy, drama, dramatic monologue).

In Contrast: An Example of the CCSS Spiral

  • Standards are reinforced and deepened from year to year.

  • Reading Standard 3 for Literature

    • K: “With prompting and support, identifycharacters, settings, and major events in a story.”

    • 4: “Describe in depth a character, setting, or event in a story or drama, drawing on specific details in the text (e.g., a character’s thoughts, words, or actions.”

    • 9: “Analyze how complex characters (e.g., those with multiple or conflicting motivations) develop over the course of a text, interact with other characters, and advance the plot or develop the theme.

What About Assessment?

General Timeline:

  • Pilot test


  • Field test

    – 2012–13 and 2013–14

  • Implementation

    – 2014–15

  • Standard setting

    – 2014–15

Away from the CST

Assessing mastery of the Common Core State Standards

SMARTER Balanced

  • SMARTER Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) is a collection of states working to develop a student assessment system aligned to the Common Core State Standards.

    • As of right now, 30 states have joined SBAC.

    • Goal is to create shared K-12 assessments that align with the Common Core Standards.

What does the assessment look like?

  • Online, computer-adaptive assessments that give a snapshot of student performance without a “one size fits all approach.”

    • As of the 2014-15 school year, the assessment will be in place for grades 3-8 and 11 across the full range of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS).

Assessment, 2

  • Optional interim and formative assessments that help teachers identify the specific needs of each student so that they can help the students progress toward being career and college ready.

  • Online tailored reporting system.

Question Types

  • Selected-response, constructed response, performance tasks, which require application of knowledge and skills.

Anticipated Challenges

  • We don’t know when we’ll have access to release question.

  • If this test is computer-based, how do we maintain test security so all students are taking assessments at the same time? Questions of bandwidth, etc.

  • Where are the resources for increased performance based assessments, which require more man-power than multiple-choice exams?

Common Core Learning Progression

Now review the spiral document:

Think, Pair, Share:

What do you notice about the learning progression? How do you see students being prepared toward college readiness?

(10 min.)

(5 min. share out)

Q & A

We will now take your questions…….

Going deeper with Common Core…

Guiding Question:

What do we need to do to get “Common Core ready?”


What Will Teachers Need?

  • In-Services on the CCS and CCR and the relationship between the 2

  • Time to plan individually and collaboratively examples of effective lessons that implement the CCS and CCR

  • Flexibility in curriculum to achieve and meet CCSS

  • Confidence and support from district/ community leaders and parents to focus on CCDD instead of CST

  • Teachers will need to be trained through professional development in understanding the C.C

  • Is there going to be a pilot program?

  • Assessments

  • Guidance on how to address shill gaps that prevent students from meeting the CCS

  • Time to read, understand and dialogue standards

  • Would be very helpful for teachers to have laminated copies of individual standards to hang in class day by day (as opposed to copying them onto the board)

  • Learn the standards deeply so that they can teach all of their students

  • Curriculum that supports the common core standards

  • Time to create the curriculum


What Will Leaders Need?

  • Be aware of community resources they can be use to meet the standards of the common core

  • Time to read, understand and dialogue around the common core standards

  • Acknowledge these needs

  • Educate the public about the depth of these needs

  • Provide Paid time for teachers to plan

  • Discuss the CCS and CCR at every opportunity multiple times so teachers keep these on their radar

  • Remember that this is developmental process for teachers and takes time


What Will Students Need?

  • Seize the opportunity

  • Believe that they can work hard

  • Do the work

  • Role- models

  • Work ethic

  • Valuing academics

  • Unwillingness to accept a “D” as a passing grade

  • Students need to be headed in the direction of being more independent thinkers

  • Mobile devices with internet connection to study, take assessments, submit homework and assignments on line

  • Time in class to discuss with students what the standards mean, why they exist, what mastery looks like, answer any questions, etc.

  • Help them own the standards

  • Students need master foundation skills at grade level


What Will The Community Need?

  • Align its resources (e.g. modifying programs) to support common core

  • Learn that education is not a cost but an investment

  • Vote to support school funding

  • Demand that the common core be fully implemented in our schools

  • How can community support CC (e.g. provide Students opportunities to apply learning)

  • Information on how Oakland Unified School District is preparing youth for college and career, i.e. what business can expect

  • Start valuing academic and workplace skills in a variety of public displays

  • Create scholarships and internships


What Will Families Need?

  • Model academics at home: be adults who use academic skills in daily life and enjoy using their skills

  • Be sure children have proper rest, nutrition and health care

  • English learner families will need help understanding common core so they can support their kids academics effectively

  • Parents should have copies of the standards so they know where their students need to be, OUSD should distribute, not count on parents to download.

  • Online access to student information

  • Classes

  • Grades

  • Attendance

  • Scores

  • Discipline

  • Teacher communication

  • Information on what, why of CC workshops

  • Information on how to support kids at home(workshops)

  • Support & believe in their students

  • Demand that the core be implemented

  • Get involved with the school

  • Login