Have you ever wondered how the Common Core ELA standards differ from grade to grade? I have developed a color-coded document that can serve as a handy resource in ascertaining what changes concerning the specifics of each of the Common Core English Language Standards across grade levels 6 to 12.
You can access and download this document here, for free: Click to access Common Core ELA comparisons document.
But, first, I would like to go over how to use this document.
Optimizing Use of the Common Core ELA Comparisons Document
Let’s first take a look at anchor standard number one for reading:
“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.”
In order to know just what, exactly, student need to be learning about reading closely, making inferences and drawing conclusions, and supporting those inferences and conclusions with evidence, the teacher needs to refer to the grade level standards. Interpreting those specifics, however, is accomplished more thoroughly when the teacher can compare what the students should have and will have to learn about that anchor standards not only in the current grade, but also in the previous and subsequent grades.
I have included the specifics for each grade level standard in literature (top row) and informational text (bottom row) on the same page for each of the reading standards to further allow the teacher to compare standards for reading literature and for reading informational text.
As you can see, the specifics for literature do not change for grades 6, 7, and 9, but in grades 9/10, students are expected to collect “strong and thorough” evidence to support their inferences and conclusions. Additionally, in grades 11/12 students will need include in their evidence determination of “where the text leaves matters uncertain.”
The standards for informational text for anchor standard one do change at each grade level:
At grade 6, students need to cite textual evidence
At grade 7, students need to cite several pieces of evidence
At grade 8, students need to be able to determine the strongest evidence
At grades 9/10, students need to be able to determine the strongest and most thorough evidence
At grades 11/12, students must additionally be able to “determine where the text leaves matters uncertain.”
Color Coding in the Common Core ELA Comparisons Document
The color coding is the element of this document that has made it most beneficial for me. Here is the key to the color coding:
Turquoise – this wording does not change from grade level to grade level
Yellow – cue words that indicate they type of thinking involved
Purple – specifics about the standard that change from grade 6 to grade 7
Green- specifics about the standard that change from grade 7 to grade 9
Grey – specifics about the standard that change from grade 8 to grades 9/10
Red – specifics about the standard that change from grades 9/10 to grades 11/12
It is so important for teachers to understand not only what they need to be guiding their students to learn at their current level as well as what students will be expected to learn in subsequent grade levels. In most cases, this will actually save teachers time and trouble in planning. They will know for sure what students need to know and be able to do this year in order for them to be prepared for what they will be learning next year and in the years that follow.
Unlike in the above example, in some cases the approach to teaching the anchor standard differs greatly from one grade level to another:
All reading standards are included in the document.
Common Core ELA Writing Standards
As with the literature and informational text, each of the anchor standards for writing is color-coded to indicate changes from grade level to grade level:
Looking at anchor standard 6 for writing, it becomes clear that students should begin citing sources (constructing in text citations and bibliographies) in grade 7. In grade 8, their writing should become more analytical (perhaps even begin using hyperlinks to link ideas and information in their documents?). In grades 9/10, students should additionally be using technology to collaboratively develop and publish writing products (this might include document sharing and editing in programs like Google Docs). By grades 11/12, they should be responding to on-going feedback with new arguments and information (again, Google Docs’ sharing capabilities might make this possible).
Again, all writing standards are included in the Common Core ELA Grade to Grade Comparison Guide. Download your copy of this valuable document for free!
In addition, I have also laid out the Speaking/Listening and Language standards in the same color-coded format, one standard per page.
If you find this guide helpful, please recommend it to your colleagues!