Getting Started

The Common Core State Standards [CCSS] for English Language Arts and Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science and Technical Subjects offers an extraordinary opportunity to transform the educational future of generations of American school children. In 2008, a number of governors and state school superintendents examined the current state of standards across the country and the declining test scores of US students compared to other countries. Seeing that most current standards were a mile wide and an inch deep, work began to develop fewer, clearer, deeper standards that when employed and taught with fidelity would offer students richer and deeper learning experiences that would prepare students for career and college in the 21st Century. Nearly every state has now taken the bold step of adopting these higher, internationally benchmarked standards: a tremendous commitment in and of itself to tomorrow's citizens. Because standards are the shared vision of what we as a society deem most essential for our students to know and be able to do, they offer a platform for systemic change and a commitment to equal opportunity for all students, regardless of where and under what circumstances they attend school. Building on the great work already present in Idaho schools, the CCSS offers a challenge and opportunity unparalleled in recent history that will allow teachers, free of having to cover broad and shallow standards, to create deeper, more authentic learning experiences. As resources continue to be developed, the SDE will update the resources found on this website which will all also be located, along with digital content for all Idaho schools, on the Schoolnet Learning Management System, offered free of charge to all Idaho schools and districts.

button Here are some key ideas and overarching principles of the CCSS in ELA and Literacy:

  1. The need for greater text complexity throughout the K-12 system.
  2. Literacy should be owned by all disciplines.
  3. Writing is a seminal skill, primary not secondary.
  4. Students should write routinely for a variety of purposes and audiences and in concert with analysis and evaluation of complex texts, fostering the creation of flexible, fluent and rhetorically agile writers.
  5. Students will use digital resources with facility to create and present in oral and written form.
  6. Collaboration is highly valued, as it is in college and career.
  7. Research and research skills are highly valued as a key component in the creation and presentation of material in written and oral form.
  8. Creation, the highest level of cognitive complexity, is emphasized as this mirrors real world in career and college.

These short videos from the Hunt Institute Video offer short vignettes expanding on key features of the CCSS, all created by writers of the CCSS.

Videos highlighting the key elements of the CCSS can be found at the engageNY website Link.

This PDF Icon brief document highlights key features of the CCSS, including the integrated, progressive nature of the standards in asking for increasing depth and complexity at each grade level.

Basic Structure of the Standards

The CCSS for English Language Arts and Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science and Technical Subjects is broken into 5 strands: reading, writing, speaking and listening, and language. In each strand there are overarching College and Career Ready Standards that hold for each grade level. Additionally, there are delineated grade specific expectation by grade for each college and career ready standard. For example, standard 9 in the writing strand reads draw evidence from literary or informational text to support analysis, reflection, and research.

button At grade span 11-12 this is specifically defined as follows:

a. Apply grades 11-12 Reading standards to literature (e.g., "Demonstrate knowledge of eighteenth-, nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century foundational works of American literature, including how two or more texts from the same period treat similar themes or topics").

b. Apply grades 11-12 Reading standards to literary nonfiction (e.g., "Delineate and evaluate the reasoning in seminal U.S. texts, including the application of constitutional principles and use of legal reasoning [e.g., in U.S. Supreme Court Case majority opinions and dissents] and the premises, purposes, and arguments in works of public advocacy [e.g., The Federalist, presidential addresses]").

button While at grade 6 the college & career ready standard is the same, the grade specific expectation is different:

a. Apply grade 6 Reading standards to literature (e.g., "Compare and contrast texts in different forms or genres [e.g., stories and poems; historical novels and fantasy stories] in terms of their approaches to similar themes and topics").

b. Apply grade 6 Reading standards to literary nonfiction (e.g., "Trace and evaluate the argument and specific claims in a text, distinguishing claims that are supported by reasons and evidence from claims that are not").

Note that standard 9 reflects the CCSS belief that reading and writing are inextricably intertwined, so students are expected to read and analyze complex texts, listening passages, and video and compose and present based on this analysis.

PDF Icon CCSSI ELA Standards PDF Version

Ordering CCSS ELA/Literacy and Appendix A Booklets:
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PDF Icon Appendix A for English Language Arts and Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science and Technical Subjects offers research supporting key elements of the ELA/Literacy Standards: a cogent, concise and persuasive argument for the need to adopt and implement the CCSS.

Supplemental Info for Appendix A: PDF Icon New Research on text Complexity.

The SDE with the help of Idaho teachers and Achieve, Inc. created a crosswalk between the current Idaho Standards and the CCSS, showing a 90% match between the two. PDF Icon Achieve Gap Analysis Report

PDF Icon Appendix B for English Language Arts and Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science and Technical Subjects provides grade appropriate texts based on the premise that qualitative analysis of text, not just qualitative measures, are needed to choose relevant and useful texts for various purposes. In addition, numerous sample performance tasks and authentic student exemplars are included.

PDF Icon Appendix C for English Language Arts and Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science and Technical Subjects provides annotated student writing samples covering the three main modes of writing emphasized by the CCSS: argumentative, informative and narrative.

All the Common Core Documents can be found at this link: Link